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Stopping the Chop Up the Hudson

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JAC KSON CHEN

Natural History Museum Unveils Expansion

Uber Versus Disability Advocates

Manhattan Stands with Paris

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November 19 - December 02, 2015 | Vol. 01 No. 03

MANHATTANEXPRESSNEWS.NYC


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Stopping the Chop Up the Hudson BY YANNIC RACK

T

he future of the city’s helicopter tour industry is up in the air after frustrated residents and elected officials sounded off about the noisy birds at City Hall last week. “Residents are so disgusted with what’s been going on that there’s an entire organization to Stop the Chop,” said Upper West Side City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal ahead of a November 12 Council hearing on legislation to curb the copters. “These bills before the Council are a critical first step in reducing health and quality-of-life issues that exist because of these tourist helicopters,” she said. Rosenthal and two colleagues, Margaret Chin from Lower Manhattan and Carlos Menchaca from Brooklyn, have introduced a set of bills that would effectively boot the helicopter sightseeing industry from New York City. The lawmakers say the legislation is overdue after years of complaints about incessant noise and noxious fumes caused by the choppers along their route from the tip of Lower Manhattan up the Hudson River to Washington Heights. But helicopter -tour operators argue that the economic benefits to the city outweigh the suffer ing of residents along the path of the tours and near the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. Before the hearing, the copter critics and helicopter huggers held dueling rallies on the steps of City Hall. Locals complained that the cacophonic copters make normal life almost impossible in large parts of Manhattan. “I’ve lived on the Upper West Side for almost 40 years — my home is now a bunker in a war zone that offers little refuge from the thunderous roar and shaking vibrations caused by helicopter tours,” said Rhonda Waggoner, one of the residents who showed up for the hearing. “On good weather days there are more than 300 flights a day,” Rosenthal said. “Because they run

YANNIC RACK

West Side City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal speaks at a November 12 rally that drew other elected officials opposed to the Hudson River helicopter tours, including (l. to r.), State Senator Brad Hoylman, Councilmember Margaret Chin, Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Daniel Squadron (back row), and Congressmember Jerrold Nadler.

a loop on the Upper West Side, from Downtown Manhattan up to the George Washington Bridge and back, each flight has two points of noise impact — so it’s over 600 quality-of-life violations a day for Upper West Side residents.” Tour company workers said the whirlybird whiners should just shut up or get out. “These people need to move away, themselves,” said Luz Herrera, a customer service rep for Liberty Helicopters, the city’s largest airtour operator. “They want to live in the city with the commodities of the city — if you live here, you have to pay the price.” Sam Goldstein, deputy director of the Helicopter Tourism & Jobs Council, was more diplomatic. “We are here because our livelihoods are under assault,” he said. “Don’t destroy our families, and don’t destroy our jobs.” Although residents and elected officials from as far away as Queens, Brooklyn, and even New Jersey, showed up to blast the boisterous birds, the epicenter of the problem is in Lower Manhattan. The Downtown Manhattan Heliport at Pier 6 near the Battery is the only heliport in the city that allows sightseeing helicopters to land and take off. Tour flights thunder in an out of

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 19 - December 02, 2015

JACKSON CHEN

On a clear summer day more than 300 helicopter tours can leave Pier 6 Downtown for trips up and down the West Side along the Hudson River.

the Pier 6 heliport 28 times every hour during the day, seven days a week, according to figures from the Helicopter Tourism & Jobs Council, amounting to more than 100,000 takeoffs and landings each year. “This heliport continues to plague our community with noise and threats to air quality and safety,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, chair of Downtown’s Community Board 1, which has vehemently opposed the tours for years. “It’s truly a constant onslaught of noise,” said Craig Abruzzo, vice

president of Stop the Chop NYNJ, an advocacy group that has been working to clip the wings of the helicopter industry in the city. Opponents of the air-tour industry had more politicians on their side at the hearing, but helicopter boosters boasted the support of the city’s top elected official — Mayor de Blasio — in the form of the city’s Economic Development Corporation. The de Blasio administration opposes scrapping the choppers in part because the EDC gets $2.9

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HELICOPTERS, continued on p.12

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Natural History Museum Expansion Plan Limits Park Incursion, But Not Enough Say Critics STUDIO GANG ARCHITECTS

A rendering of the new central exhibition hall in the Gilder Center, facing Theodore Roosevelt Park.

STUDIO GANG ARCHITECTS

The conceptual design for the American Museum of Natural History expansion, indicating the reduction of the Gilder Center’s encroachment onto Theodore Roosevelt Park, from the area outlined in red to that outlined in blue.

BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he American Museum of Natural History has unveiled its long-awaited conceptual design plans for a new science center, which had drawn critics in advance because of its expected encroachment onto portions of an adjacent park. The design for the Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation showcases a stone cavern-like interior as well as a footprint into the Theodore Roosevelt Park drastically reduced from what was feared. Designed by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, the conceptual design for the $325 million project was approved by the museum’s Board of Trustees on November 4. Beginning its efforts in December 2014, the museum wants the new Gilder Center’s design to create a better directional flow for museum patrons, provide more educational space, and enhance the general public’s understanding of everyday science. The design calls for a new entrance into the museum on

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Columbus Avenue between 79th and 80th Streets. The museum’s expansion plans, early on, caught fire from nearby residents who, in July, formed the Defenders of Teddy Roosevelt Park, an advocacy group that adamantly defends the park space that surrounds the museum. “The park right now is a very cozy, intimate, graceful area,” said Sig Gissler, president of the group. “What they’re proposing to put in there, this big grand entrance, is going to change the nature of the park.” The loud criticism in recent months led the museum’s expansion team to incorporate public input into the conceptual design, according to the museum’s president, Ellen Futter. Futter said that in putting together the new design — 80 percent of which is being built on the museum’s existing footprint — her team was both cognizant and respectful of the museum’s setting in the park. According to the conceptual design, the museum would retool

STUDIO GANG ARCHITECTS

A rendering of the proposed new Gilder Center entrance to the museum, as seen from Columbus Avenue.

three underutilized existing buildings as part of the new Gilder Center. Futter said that in that way the museum could achieve the expansion it aims for while reducing the incursion into the park the design team originally thought necessary. However, in the 20 percent of the expansion that does take over parkland, the design could result in the loss of up to nine trees. To address the possible loss of trees, the museum said it continues to study the issue and has included in its design the planting of 17 new trees and the addition of new park benches. In its initial review of the museum’s conceptual plans, the Defenders released a statement indicating their continued unhappiness about the loss of parkland. “While the plan would take less parkland than originally indicated by the museum, the extensive loss of green space and mature trees… is still cause for deep concern,” the group’s statement read. Gissler and others elaborated on their criticism at a November 12 public information session the museum hosted, but some neigh-

borhood residents voiced support for the expansion (see story on page 5). “The museum has been very judicious with respect to where it has added on and respecting how the park ended up evolving and maturing,” architect Gang said at a November 6 press event. She explained that an important consideration in the design was maximizing use of the museum’s existing footprint. By setting the design further into the existing group of museum buildings, her team was able to create 30 points of connections among 10 of the museum’s buildings, where there were previously dead ends. “The congestion is exacerbated with visitors going one way, hitting a cul-de-sac, turning around, and then bumping into those who are coming in the other way,” Futter said of what last year’s approximately five million visitors might have encountered under the museum’s current layout. “The circulation is exceedingly difficult… the navigation is frustrating.”

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DESIGN, continued on p.12

November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Boisterous Forum Shows Angry Opposition, But Some Support For Museum Expansion BY JACKSON CHEN

A

November 12 informational session for the public hosted by the American Museum of Natural History, just over a week after it revealed its conceptual designs for a new science center to be constructed at its Columbus Avenue entrance, drew angry opposition to the plan’s encroachment onto the Theodore Roosevelt Park but also won praise from some neighborhood residents. The conceptual plans, released on November 4, were the results of a year’s work from the lead architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, the landscape architect Joe James, and other members of the museum’s team. The proposed design for the Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation aims to address the museum’s growing need for an improved interior traffic flow allowing for less patron conges-

tion. According to Ellen Futter, the museum’s president, the annual attendance figures have grown from three million to five million in the past several decades. The new center would also allow the museum to provide more room for its vastly under-displayed collections — Futter said only two percent of the collection is available for viewing — and also make space for educationally-focused resources within the museum. Given more than a week to review the initial designs, residents arrived fully prepared to voice their thoughts after the museum’s presentation. Most of the residential opposition stemmed from concerns over the expansion gobbling up a portion of the Theodore Roosevelt Park. While the conceptual plan showed a drastically reduced footprint into the park compared to what had originally been discussed — 80 percent of the new Gilder Center would be

JACKSON CHEN

Teddy Roosevelt Park, which surrounds the museum.

built on the museum’s existing footprint — many critics felt any loss of parkland was devastating. “The project would still consume a quarter-acre of parkland and remove nine majestic trees,” said Sig Gissler, president of the Defenders of Teddy Roosevelt Park. “In particular, we worry that the scope of the new entrance, with its attendant increase in foot traffic, would compromise the park’s role as a tranquil, intimate community gathering place.” Gissler, who formed the park advocacy group in July, said the group has grown to about 3,000

supporters, who are “not anti-museum” but “pro-park.” While the group’s president thanked the museum for listening to their concerns, he’s still worried about the future of what he considers a “neighborhood sweet spot.” Since the proposed conceptual design includes the removal of nine trees, James said that there are plans to transplant one of the trees and eventually replace the canopy by planting 17 new trees. In comments to Manhattan Express prior to the public meet-

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REACTION continued on p.12

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UWS Cyclists Cheer DOT Plan for Protected Amsterdam Avenue Lane BY JACKSON CHEN

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ollowing numerous requests for improved safety for Upper West Side cyclists, the city’s Department of Transportation has proposed a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue that won praise from many neighborhood residents. Community Board 7’s November 10 Transportation Committee meeting drew a packed crowd that welcomed the proposal with long, hearty applause after the presentation concluded and the floor was opened up for questions. DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said there hasn’t been a street in the city she’s heard more about than Amsterdam Avenue, which she described as an “important artery” of the Upper West Side neighborhood. The DOT proposal, which calls for the creation of a protected northbound bicycle lane on Amsterdam, would reconfigure the current setup of four lanes dedicated to through traffic and two for parking. According to the DOT’s presentation, the new layout would include three through traf fic lanes, a retooling of the existing parking lanes, and a new six-foot bicycle lane with a five-foot buffer. Many area cyclists showed their support for what they see as a much-needed proposal, given that there is a successful southbound protected bike lane on Columbus Avenue, but no similar northbound option. “What Columbus has, Amsterdam needs,” said Celine Armstrong, a frequent cyclist in the Upper West Side area. “Right now on Amsterdam, there isn’t the perception of safety.” Armstrong said she was recently hit by a motorist who was trying to parallel park, adding that the incident never would have happened on Columbus Avenue. “Due to double parked cars and loading trucks, bikers need to go around and merge with lanes with speeding taxis,” said Avner

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NYC DOT

New York City Department of Transportation rendering of Amsterdam Avenue’s traffic flow if a protected bike lane is added.

May about biking on Amsterdam Avenue. “All of which is a hazardous experience.” May, an Amsterdam Avenue resident who used to bike to his classes at Columbia University, described the avenue as an incredibly scary place to bike. After being hit by a city bus biking along the nearby 97th Street Transverse through Central Park, May made a personal decision to avoid problem areas and not bike northbound on Amsterdam — opting to walk to class instead. Joining May, many other residents shared their own accounts of being hit, knowing of someone who was hit, and the general unsafe atmosphere they perceive on the avenue. Supplementing these anecdotal accounts, the DOT shared data that showed 513 injuries, 36 severe injuries, and two fatalities from 2009 to 2013 on the stretch of Amsterdam Avenue from West 72nd Street to West 110th Street. Additionally, the DOT presented statistics on the impact of the Citi Bike program since its introduction on the Upper West Side, which showed an increase in the frequency of bikes using Amsterdam Avenue nearly tripling, from 217 for a 12-hour stretch in 2007 to 609 in 2015. On top of the swell of bicycles in the area, DOT officials said that the avenue’s existing issues also include drivers speeding 59 percent of the time during off-peak

hours, crosswalks with unusually long spans, and high congestion generally. “Today, Amsterdam Avenue is based on a design that is at least a half-century old,” said City Councilmember Mark Levine, whose district covers a portion of the Upper West Side. “In order to make this thoroughfare safer for all — motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians — we need to modernize it.” While the DOT has a preference for Amsterdam Avenue as the neighborhood’s northbound bike lane corridor, the agency has also studied other options, including using Broadway or converting the Columbus Avenue protected bike lane into a two-way route. Even if the agency decides to go with another avenue, Amsterdam Avenue would still see the pedestrian and parking improvements that are part of the current proposal. According to DOT, Amsterdam Avenue’s west side parking lane would be converted into a combination of left-turn bays and pedestrian islands. The reconfiguration would result in a 25 percent loss of parking spaces, the agency acknowledged. As for the east curb on Amsterdam Avenue, the current onehour metered parking regulation would convert into a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. commercial lane for delivery trucks. According to the DOT, the commercial parking regulations would reduce the likelihood of

trucks double-parking and provide them with a space dedicated for their loading and unloading. Despite widespread support, some voices of opposition were present in the crowd. According to Gary Greengrass, a business owner on Amsterdam Avenue, the proposal would reduce parking spaces for customers. Cyclists and their bike lanes, he said, can be dangerous for pedestrians and the new proposal would create traffic congestion. “Amsterdam is a main thor oughfare, restricting it is going to create more of a bottleneck,” Greengrass said. “Traffic comes to a standstill on Columbus. It’s going t o be t he s ame fo r Amsterdam.” Most of the board’s Transportation Committee members, however, seemed to be in support of the initial presentation. After reviewing the proposal, the committee had questions about its impact on local businesses, the viability of Central Park West as a bike route, and if there could be any interim safety improvements done before implementation of the plan. DOT officials said Central Park West was too narrow to accommodate a protected bike lane. According to Sean Quinn, co-director of the DOT’s Pedestrian Projects Group, the “biggest bang for the buck” would be to tackle this Amsterdam Avenue project as soon as possible. After gathering community input, the DOT is expecting to start the first phase of the project as early as Spring 2016. During its implementation of the first phase — from West 72nd Street to West 110th Street — the city agency will also be looking toward the second phase of the Amsterdam project, which involves bicycle connections south of West 72nd Street. “I hope this is one part of a really much larger project to make the city, as a whole, a safer place for bikers as well as pedestrians, really anyone for that matter,” May said. “It really is a matter of lives and limbs.” n

November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 19 - December 02, 2015

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NEWS ANALYSIS

After Many Long Meetings, Little P.S. 199 Waitlist Relief Likely

MANHATTAN EXPRESS

District 2 CEC president Joe Fiordaliso.

BY JOSH ROGERS

T

he scene next spring on the Upper West Side is coming into pretty clear focus: Many dozens of families will be upset to be on the P.S. 199 waiting list. Some live within a block or two of the popular West 70th Street school, and they may be surprised to know that their children’s chances of getting a coveted seat were not increased as they expected. The future is never certain, but it’s hard to imagine a different scenario, particularly given how school zoning disputes have played out in the past. The November 18 reporting by the New York Times that the Department of Education is now backing off any plans to recommend rezoning only makes the picture more clear. The District 3 Community Education Council has been wrestling with new zoning ideas for two months. There have been lots of long meetings to discuss proposals, but they have largely been attended by parents who thought they were going to be cut out of the P.S. 199 zone. There’s been little sign of participation by the families who will end up being the most aggrieved. That may be because they live closest to P.S. 199 and the original proposal under consideration had them safely within the zoning lines. They would have stayed within the zone regardless of which option was chosen, but since the CEC is against the idea of shrinking the zone significantly, kindergarten applications from some of these families close to the school will be rejected. Since the CEC made it clear two weeks ago that it was not going to reduce the P.S 199 zone by much, Joe Fiordaliso, the group’s president, said he has not heard a lot from families whose chances would be reduced, but he knows they’re out there. Children are worrying, too, he added in a phone interview. He pictures them walking by the school and saying, “‘Daddy, am I going to

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school here, next year?’ What do you say to that? There’s a lot of anxiety and stress for everyone.” He and a few other members of the CEC back reducing the P.S. 199 zone slightly and shifting it to P.S. 452 to the north, but he acknowledges even if that is approved, it would probably only reduce the expected waiting list from 100 to about 85. Fiordaliso doubts there are many parents close to the school who are unaware that their children’s chances of being admitted are iffy given the “chronic” overcrowding problems and the outreach the CEC has done about the rezoning debate, but only a few comments posted to the council’s website mention concern about the zone not being reduced enough. “We know we have to be prepared for all manner of lotteries and competitions in our kids’ lives,” one commenter who lives in Lincoln Square wrote. “But admission to their zoned neighborhood kindergarten class should not be one of them. If 199’s neighborhood continues to be a place where kindergarten admission is largely dependent on who you know (i.e., do you already have a sibling at the school?), with all other families subject to lotteries and summers of panicked uncertainty, everybody loses.” The CEC, an unpaid group of parents elected by PTA leaders in the district schools, has agreed, as is typically done, to “grandfather” siblings of existing P.S. 199 students so that they will have priority admission regardless of whether they stay in the zone. The group also backs moving P.S. 191 on West 61st Street into a new school building being constructed nearby at Riverside Center. Fiordaliso said the promise of a new school building in two years could convince more parents to enroll at the less popular P.S. 191 this coming September. P.S. 342, currently slated to open in 2018 in that new building, would instead open up in the 191’s current space, under the CEC's preferred plan. The CEC also plans, down the road, to consider combining191 with 342, as 191 leaders have requested, but the council is not currently considering grouping the schools with P.S. 199 or creating a “superzone” with all three schools as others have proposed. P.S. 191, which unlike 199, is mostly nonwhite, has been labeled “persistently dangerous” by the state, although the overwhelming consensus is the designation does not reflect reality, and by all accounts, the school is improving under a new principal. Under the first zoning plan the city Depart-

ment of Education suggested to the CEC, the P.S. 191 zone would have expanded along with P.S. 452 in the hopes of eliminating the waiting list at 199. The CEC opposes expanding the 191 zone because the “dangerous” designation gives parents added rights to demand placement at another school, so a bigger zone would be an ineffective strategy for addressing the over crowding at 199. The CEC also wants to eliminate the “right of return” at P.S. 199, which — quite unusually — has had waiting lists even for the first grade. Under this right, zoned families denied a kindergarten seat can be admitted in future years if there is space, but this has contributed to the overcrowding and made it difficult to accommodate families who move into the neighborhood with older children. The Department of Ed had been expected to present a proposal along the lines of the CEC suggestions on November 19 and the CEC had scheduled an up or down vote December 2. Whether the CEC will take any action at the November 19 meeting, in the wake of the DOE's decision to make no recommendation, is now unclear. Fiordaliso said any plan will be far from perfect, arguing that said if the CEC had more input as the DOE developed its initial zoning plans, there would be better solutions. He and local school advocates across the city have long criticized the department for underestimating the need for new schools. “We have very little power and authority which makes it exceedingly difficult to affect real and meaningful change,” he said. He added, however, that Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, appointed early last year by Mayor Bill de Blasio, has promised him better communication and transparency and so far he has no reason to doubt her. Similarly, Shino Tanikawa, the CEC president in District 2, which covers the Upper East Side and most of Downtown Manhattan, said relations with the DOE have improved under Fariña, particularly since the chancellor has returned more power to local superintendents. Tanikawa, who has presided over several contentious zoning fights in Lower Manhattan, said her sense is the CEC there will be able to provide more input earlier in the process the next time there’s a need to adjust zoning. But the decisions are never easy. “Whatever you do, you’re going to be pleasing half the people and making half the people unhappy,” Tanikawa said. This time, the unhappy will likely be the waitlisted families near West 70th Street. n

November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


With Pickaxe to Grand Central Floor, East Side Access Project Finally Breaks Through

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YANNIC RACK

Dr. Michael Horodniceanu breaks ground at Grand Central Terminal on the passageway to the new LIRR station being constructed below.

BY YANNIC RACK

S

winging a golden pickaxe, the MTA’s chief engineer chipped away at the concrete floor of Grand Central Terminal last week, finally bringing the long-awaited project to open Manhattan’s East Side to Long Islanders above ground. At a November 10 ceremony on the terminal’s lower-level dining concourse, Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, the head of MTA Capital Construction, symbolically broke ground on a milestone for the East Side Access project, which has been quietly under way for more than a decade. “East Side Access has been in the works for years, much of it as kind of a stealth project right below our feet,” he said. “Now it will be much more visible to the public.” By creating a brand new eighttrack terminal for the Long Island Rail Road below Grand Central, the project will for the first time allow commuters to travel directly to the East Side rather than force them to travel to the West Side at Penn Station. “The Long Island Rail Road has long been constrained,” said Patrick Nowakowski, president of the LIRR.

“This is a complete game changer.” The groundbreaking marked the start of construction on one of several access points that will connect the existing terminal to the new concourse, which will include 25,000 square feet of retail space. Horodniceanu emphasized that customers would be minimally affected by the construction since all businesses will remain open and most of the removed seating has been relocated to other parts of the terminal. “We are not impacting the customers here. I hope we can continue to be as stealth as possible going forward,” he said. “This will, by no means, change the way Grand Central feels and exists.” On a recent tour of the caverns and tunnels beneath the station (see “In ‘Caves’ Below Grand Central, East Side Access Project on Track,” in the last issue of Manhattan Express at goo.gl/1W0NkN), Horodniceanu showed off the scale of the project which is expected to cost the MTA just over $10 billion. Once completed over the next seven years, the new concourse will serve 162,000 customers a day, according to the MTA, potentially shortening Long Islanders’ daily commutes by up to 40 minutes. n

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 19 - December 02, 2015

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Collegiate Church’s 18-Story Residence Wins Community Board Okay, But No Affordable Housing

JACKSON CHEN

West End Collegiate Church at 77th Street and West End Avenue, with the property it owns at 378 West End to the left.

BY JACKSON CHEN

A

n Upper West Side church’s plans to create a 66-unit residential complex on West End Avenue was met with approv-

al from the Community Board 7, who considered the project “reasonably appropriate.” T h e We s t E n d C o l l e g i a t e Church’s plans to construct an 18-story building would combine

the property at 378 West End Avenue with a structure to be built on 260 West 78th Street. Both of the buildings are currently home to classrooms and facilities for the Collegiate School. The plan approved makes no specific provision for affordable housing. To facilitate the new combined building, the church plans to demolish the current existing structure at 260 West 78th Street, which the school now calls Platten Hall. The funding generated by the new development would be used to maintain the landmarked West End Collegiate Church and supports its programs. With the buildings still occupied by the Collegiate School, the start of construction depends on when it moves out, according to Nicole Kolinsky, a spokesperson for the church.

The Collegiate School, which has no affiliation with the church, sold the Platten Hall and 378 West End Avenue for $125 million in the summer, according to Kolinsky. The Old School Building adjacent to the church on West 77th Street is also being returned to the church’s ownership. A letter from school officials stated that its August purchase of a new location at 301 Freedom Place South — 10 blocks below its current location — was aimed at accommodating its growing needs. Kolinsky said that once the school informed the West End Collegiate Church of its plans to move, the church bought the buildings. The purchase gave the church the right to create a residential building with as many as 400 units, but it settled for a modest 66 units.

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COLLEGIATE, continued on p.21

East Siders Open But Wary About Marymount’s Planned 13-Story Campus BY JACKSON CHEN

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n all-girls Catholic school showcased its preliminary plans to construct a 13-story building to an Upper East Side neighborhood crowd that was generally supportive, even if some residents voiced wariness. The Marymount School of New York and the project’s lead architect, Richard Cook of CookFox Architects, presented the conceptual design on October 29 in order to receive early community input. The proposed new building would be located at 115 East 97th Street, across the street from one of the school’s current campuses at 116 East 97th. According to the plans, the new building, which would be fully accessible to differently abled people, would replace the school’s temporary tennis court and turf field. The 165,000 square-foot design calls for a building that would also include a rooftop greenhouse and meeting space, as well as four stories below ground. The plans show a 13-story building rising from East 97th Street, though school officials describe it as

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“a 12-story with a rooftop addition.” According to the school’s director of development, Cathy Callender, the main impetus for the new building was the need for an improved gymnasium and an auditorium for the school’s performing arts program. “The reason we’re building a building is we don’t have a regulation-size gym, we have a teeny tiny-size gym,” Callender said of a facility in the school’s main campus on Fifth Avenue at 84th Street, adding that the school is home to many championship teams but lacks an adequate home court. In addition to the need for proper athletic facilities and auditoriums, Callender said the new building would also allow for improved dining facilities. The current setup, she said, where the students of the main campus and the East 97th Street building have lunch in the basement, is “less than ideal.” Marymount owns three buildings at the main campus at 1026-1028 Fifth Avenue and has another campus at 2 East 82nd Street, but plans to sell the East 82nd Street location and

JACKSON CHEN

Lead architect Richard Cook displaying the proposed Marymount model to Lo van der Valk, president of Carnegie Hill Neighbors.

move out of the current 116 East 97th Street campus. According to Callender, the school has the option to renew its lease at 116 East 97th, but is planning to let it expire in 2021. On top of the basement-level athletic facilities, a new auditorium, and dining facilities, the proposed building includes a media lab, science laboratories, terrace gardens, and classrooms from the sixth to the 12th floors, according to the plans filed with the Department of Buildings on September 29. When designing the building, Callender said that the school could’ve constructed an as-ofright building that was taller and narrower.

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MARYMOUNT, continued on p.16

November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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HELICOPTER, from p.3

million in annual rent from the operator of the Downtown heliport, Saker Aviation, which hosts five air-tour companies. “As currently drafted, the administration does not support either of the proposed legislation,” said EDC chief of staff James Katz during a sometimes-tense exchange with the Council members. Katz also cited a 2012 study by NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation that said the industry benefits the city’s economy to the tune of $32 million from the roughly 200 jobs it provides, and nearly $10 million in additional tourism. But elected officials said that the city shouldn’t put the interests of a single, narrow industry above those of its own citizens. “The helicopter industry is a nuisance. We cannot protect a single tourist experience… at the expense of the quality of life of thousands of New Yorkers,” said West Side Con-

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YANNIC RACK

Mickey Hart, Liberty Helicopter’s marketing director, leads a rally of those who support Manhattan’s helicopter industry.

gressmember Jerrold Nadler. A 2010 plan by the EDC already aimed at curbing sightseeing choppers by eliminating “short tour” flights (between four and eight minutes), cancelling tours over Central Park and the Empire State Building, and restricting choppers to follow one of two designated routes on

DESIGN, from p.4

Futter said the new design would allow the IMAX theater located in the middle of the museum to serve as the central navigational point. Around the theater, a roundabout style pathway would be created with better directional way-finding, according to the plan. The conceptual design also included the museum’s plans for two new exhibition spaces, more collection display space, and educational labs and classrooms. Additionally, the muse-

c

REACTION, from p.5

ing, Gissler said that his group is always in favor of planting more trees, but that wouldn’t be a proper replacement for the mature trees that would be chopped down for the expansion. He said that they would continue to voice their concerns to the museum, since their action to date has yielded some improvement to design plans. “We’re pleased we had some impact, but we’re still disappointed there’s still extensive loss of land and of trees,” he said. Following Gissler’s comments, other members of the Defenders group suggested that 100 percent of the Gilder Center should be built within the museum footprint and that the museum had the alterna-

12

the Hudson River. The helicopter advocates, supported by EDC, fired back that they have cooperated in the past — even cutting down their flight times — and are open to working with the city to further lower their impact. “It's hard to propose any kind of compromise when we have a gun

um’s library, which currently has limited public access, would be made accessible to visitors. Gang explained that the expansion’s functional design focused on creating both a physical and an intellectual flow to the museum. The urban cavernous styles of the new Gilder Center were inspired by ice caves and canyons that instill a sense of discovery and flow, she said. “Architecturally, we were searching for what is it that represents this flow that is so important for connectivity and design,” Gang said.

tive of constructing the new center on the museum’s parking structure located on its West 81th Street side. However, Ann Siegel, the museum’s senior vice president for operations and capital programs, said that the Columbus Avenue location between 79th and 80th Streets was clearly the best location for solving the museum’s congestion problems and providing an open face for the center’s goal of science innovation. When Gang pointed out that some in the community value the open space on top of the parking structure, members of the audience shouted out opposition to claims of it being an “important or beloved” public space. That in turn led other residents to shout their appreciation for the open space at the Arthur Ross Terrace

to our heads,” Goldstein told the Council members. At the hearing, Councilmember Brad Lander of Brooklyn also questioned whether the EDC paid as much attention to citizens’ suffering as it does to economic metrics. “It’s easy to measure jobs and money. I know it’s hard to measure misery,” said Lander, “but I suppose my question is, have you tried? Have you done something to evaluate just how miserable it is?” Katz acknowledged that “it’s a great question, and well framed,” but said the EDC had not gone beyond looking at 311 calls, which he said showed only 162 helicopter-noise complaints in the past year. But local pols said that figure is irrelevant because they get thousands of direct complaints from their fed-up constituents. “Residents are so sick and tired of this that they have given up on calling 311 at all,” said Rosenthal. The Council has not yet set the date for a vote on the legislation. n

“But also for the sense of discovery we want people to feel.” The plan the museum announced is still conceptual and the expansion team continues its work on the schematic design of the center. The project is expected to head into its public review phase in the first quarter of 2016, which will include going before the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. If approved, the Gilder Center is expected to begin construction in 2017, and the museum is aiming for a 2020 opening, following its 150th anniversary in 2019. n

above the museum’s parking lot. At times, audience members hissed and laughed mockingly at comments from the museum, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the museum’s Hayden Planetarium, was interrupted in making remarks. He was able to voice his view that the concentration of activities and resources at the proposed Columbus Avenue expansion site would create a crosspollination of ideas for museum visitors that would inspire them and encourage innovation. Some neighborhood residents spoke out in favor of the new Gilder Center. Longtime museum-goer and volunteer Jerry Halpern, a lifelong Upper West Sider, said the design was “enormously exciting.” “It is an organic piece of archi-

tecture which makes vivid what I attempt to teach in the museum,” said Halpern, who volunteers as a museum tour guide. “Which is that our collections are a tool in the hands of not just the scientists, but the next generation that is coming up.” Chris Hernandez, a city science teacher, said the museum and its proposed new science center would be a boon for his students and for education as a whole. The museum engages in educational collaborations with scores of schools across the city. “Science education is going through a paradigm shift and an evolution of speed and scope that’s unprecedented,” Hernandez said. “Innovative, informal learning centers like this are needed more than ever to enrich what we do in the classroom.” n

November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Pols’ Pressure Forces MTA to Rethink Second Ave. Subway Funding Cut

ASSEMBLY.STATE.NY.US

MTA chair Thomas F. Prendergast delivering testimony before the State Assembly in Albany.

BY JACKSON CHEN

F

ollowing outcries from politicians, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is taking another look at how to expedite the Second Avenue Subway project’s next phase. On November 12, the MTA’s chair and chief executive officer, Thomas F. Prendergast, met with a bevy of city and state politicians to explore different options for speeding up the perennially delayed expansion project. The Second Avenue Subway was dealt a blow on October 28 when the MTA board voted in favor of a 2015-2019 capital program that cut $1 billion in funding for the project’s second phase. The second phase, which creates three stations on a new subway line, would connect the Lexington Avenue line’s 125 Street Station to a new subway station at 96th Street and Second Avenue. The first phase, with three stations that expand the Q line from East 63rd Street to the new 96th Street station is scheduled for

completion by December 2016. “The MTA is committed to find every possible way to acceler ate this project,” Prendergast said in a statement. “We will employ alternative procurement methods to speed the planning, design, environmental review, property acquisition, utility relocation, and construction preparation in our proposed 2015-19 Capital Program.” The agency had earlier explained that it simply was not feasible from an operational standpoint to “get a tunnel-boring machine in place and chewing rock by 2019.” In Prendergast’s second statement since the political backlash from the funding cut flared up, the MTA chair said the agency shared the goal of bringing more subway access to East Harlem as quickly as possible. At a November 3 press conference, State Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez, whose district includes East Harlem, termed the delay “economic injustice.” The same day, Congressmembers Charles Rangel and Carolyn Maloney noted that the Lexington Avenue line, the only current option on the East Side, is the nation’s most crowded line and pointed to the significant disparity in income levels between East Harlem and the Upper East Side neighborhood served by the new subway line’s first phase. According to Prendergast, the MTA will work with Rangel, whose district covers most of Upper Manhattan, to speed up the environmental review process and secure the most federal funding possible. “If these efforts to speed up the project timetable are successful, the MTA will amend our Capital Program and seek additional funds to begin heavy construction sooner,” Prendergast said. n

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November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


SENIORS

Disability Advocates Charge Uber Undercuts Accessible Rides Push

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leading organization that represents New Yorkers who use wheelchairs is charging that Uber, the car service hailing app, is reducing transportation options for its members and threatens the transportation advances made for them in recent years. “People who use wheelchairs fought hard for access to the taxi system,” said James Weisman, the president and chief executive officer of the United Spinal Association, which has 43,000 members nationwide and some 3,000 in New York City. “Uber’s refusal to provide accessible vehicles undermines their success by replacing accessible yellow cabs with inaccessible Uber vehicles.” In an email, Weisman wrote that the Taxis For All Campaign, which includes his association and other disability groups, with help from Governor Andrew Cuomo, forced the Bloomberg administration in December 2013 to agree to add 2,000 accessible yellow cabs to the fleet of roughly 13,400 in the city. The fleet is supposed to be 50 percent accessible by 2020. Currently, there are 531 accessible yellow cabs and 1,304 accessible green boro cabs on the streets. There are other transportation options for wheelchair users and disabled people. Enter Uber. The app, which allows users to hail a for-hire car using their smart phones, launched in New York City in 2011, but became embroiled in controversy this year when the number of Uber cars reached critical mass and Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed capping them. The focus in that controversy has largely been on reducing any congestion caused by more for-hire cars on city streets. The concerns of people who use wheelchairs or other disabled people have not been central in the debate over Uber. As the competition for customers increased, yellow cab drivers increasingly elected to not use accessible vehicles fearing a loss

UNITEDSPINAL.ORG

United Spinal Association, Taxis For All Campaign, and other wheelchair user advocates held a “roll-in” outside Uber’s West Side headquarters this past July.

of fares and cash that might result from the additional time needed for customers using wheelchairs. The result is that the recent victory for accessibility is evaporating. “Wait times have gone up, but putting that aside, the owners of the yellow cabs are complaining because they can’t get their accessible cabs on the road,” Weisman told the Manhattan Express. The association and other advocacy groups held a “roll in” outside Uber’s Midtown headquarters in July. The group also used a mass mailing and videos to attack Uber. Uber does not operate accessible vehicles, but it does have a tab called UberWAV, for wheelchair accessible vehicle, that links users to other providers that deploy accessible vehicles in the outer boroughs and in Manhattan above West 110th Street and East 96th Street. In an email, an Uber spokesperson wrote, “Uber has helped make the accessible taxi system work, allowing New Yorkers with disabilities to get a reliable ride within minutes, instead of being left stranded. While we are constantly exploring new ways to better serve all people with disabilities, Uber has in fact been commended by members of the disability community for increasing the freedom and mobility of riders and drivers with disabilities."

c

UBER, continued on p.20

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 19 - December 02, 2015

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COOKFOX ARCHITECTS

A rendering of the proposed new Marymount School campus building at center, behind a five-story building.

c

MARYMOUNT, from p.10

However, Marymount chose to go with a shorter and wider design, which prevents an “elevator culture,” where students can’t easily walk between classes. Callender credited Cook with being very careful in his design to avoid that problem, but the resulting wider footprint means that the school cannot move forward as-of-right. The next step, she explained, is the Department of Buildings rejecting the school’s application

because the plan is not as-of-right, and Marymount filing an application with the Board of Standards and Appeals. If approved there, the school hopes to start an estimated three years of construction in 2017. In the meantime, residents concerned about the upcoming development are hoping to keep open lines of communication with school officials. Callender said Marymount is planning on holding another public information session on a date to be determined. “We’re just afraid it’s really going

to change the nature of the block,” said Jules Feinman, founder of the 97th & 98th Streets/ Lexington & Park Ave. Neighbors association. “It’s a humongously long project that’s going to disrupt the lives of thousands of people.” Feinman said the long construction process would create noise and congestion issues for the nearby residents. East 97th Street, he explained, is already overcrowded because it acts as a throughway from the East Side, across Central Park, to the West Side, and the construction process would exacerbate that problem. The block association’s president, however, emphasized that the group was willing to work with Marymount in facilitating the project. “We’re not a bunch of NIMBY freaks,” Feinman said, using the colloquial abbreviation for “not in my backyard.” “We’re not saying you can’t build your building because you’re going to deprive people of sleep, but you got to come up with hours that make sense.” Similarly affected by the large project, Christina Johnson, president of the Lexington Houses Res-

ident Association, voiced concerns about the building’s height. “Construction would be another concern, but it’s something that’s not permanent,” Johnson said. “The major concern would be height-wise because that would be something that’s lasting.” Johnson said the proposed building would cast a shadow over the Lexington Houses and their courtyard on East 98th Street, depriving the residents of sunlight. Throwing residents into “perpetual darkness,” she said, is a major concern. The Lexington Houses’ president, however, suggested one remediation the school could attempt would be working with her group to develop a community garden that mutually benefits both groups. Still, Johnson would prefer if Marymount would consider the impact of the new building’s height and reduce the proposed 13 floors. She conceded, however, that she has concerns about construction at any significant height. “To me, it doesn’t really matter what size the building is coming in because sunlight is going to be gone,” Johnson said. n

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November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Police Blotter FATALITY: DEAD PEDESTRIAN AFTER TAXI FAILS TO YIELD (24TH PRECINCT) On November 8, an 88-year-old woman crossing West 109th Street at Columbus Avenue was struck dead by a yellow taxi, police said. At around 12:42 a.m., the yellow taxi, operated by 73-yearold Salifu Abubkar, was making a right turn with the green signal onto West 109th Street before fatally striking the pedestrian. The woman, identified as Luisa Rosario, was found unconscious and unresponsive while lying on the pavement, according to police. Police said Abubkar, a Bronx resident, remained on the scene as Rosario was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Abubkar was charged with a failure to yield to a pedestrian after an investigation by the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad.

BURGLARY: FIRE ESCAPES AS ENTRANCES (19TH PRECINCT) Police are looking for a two-time burglar who accessed homes on the Upper East Side through their rear fire escapes. The suspect entered the East 81st Street homes on November 2 at 7:45 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively, according to police. From the first apartment building, the suspect made off with $1,765 worth of electronics, jewelry, clothing, and personal documents, according to police. Shortly after, the suspect made off with two stolen laptops and prescription medicine worth $2,500 from the second apartment from, police said.

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY: RESISTANCE (26TH PRECINCT) On November 4, two suspects were reported attempting to steal a woman’s purse in Morningside Park near West 116th Street, according to police. Police said that around 6 p.m., the 24-year-old victim was approached from behind and thrown to the ground by one of the suspects who grabbed her hair. According to police, the victim resisted giving up her purse and the suspects fled empty-handed after another person walked by.

FATALITY: PEDESTRIAN LEFT DEAD (20TH PRECINCT) Police said the driver of a 2002 Toyota Camry fatally struck a pedestrian on November 7 at around 5 p.m. The 86-year-old female was crossing West End Avenue near West 64th Street when the vehicle travelling northbound on the avenue hit her, according to police. While the vehicle remained at the scene, the victim was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said. The NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad has an ongoing investigation of the incident, according to police.

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY: FOUR VS. ONE (26TH PRECINCT) Four females are wanted for an attempted robbery on November 4 at around 6 p.m., police said. According to police, four females in their 20s approached a 24-year-old female victim and threw her to the ground at the intersection of Morningside Drive and West 116th Street. The four suspects attempted to grab the victim’s handbag but were unsuccessful and fled.

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EXPRESS OURSELVES

Uptown and Down, Manhattan Stands With Paris

PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN jgoodstein@cnglocal.com

EDITOR IN-CHIEF PAUL SCHINDLER editor@manhttanexpressnews.nyc

EDITOR AT LARGE JOSH ROGERS

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS JACKSON CHEN, ZITA ALLEN, LINCOLN ANDERSON, DUNCAN OSBORNE, SCOTT STIFFLER, DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC, YANNIC RACK

ART DIRECTOR MICHAEL SHIREY MICK MEENAN

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS

Flowers and notes of condolences were delivered by a quiet and somber crowd at the Consulate.

RHIANNON HSU CHRIS ORTIZ

EXECUTIVE VP OF ADVERTISING AMANDA TARLEY ads@manhattanexpressnews.nyc 718-260-8340

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES JACK AGLIATA ALLISON GREAKER JENNIFER HOLLAND ANDREW MARK JIM STEELE JULIO TUMBACO

DONNA ACETO

The silence at Washington Square Park was broken when the crowd, with fists raised in the air, sang “La Marseillaise.”

PHOTO ESSAY BY MICK MEENAN & DONNA ACETO Manhattan Express, the newspaper for Midtown and the Upper East and Upper West Sides, is published by NYC Community Media, LLC. Send all inquiries to: Manhattan Express, One Metrotech Center North, Suite 1001, Brooklyn 11201 or call 718-260-4586. Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this paper, in part or whole, can be reproduced or redistributed. All contents © 2015 Manhattan Express. Manhattan Express is a registered trademark of NYC Community Media, LLC. Jennifer Goodstein, C.E.O. | Fax: 212-229-2790 Subscriptions: 26 issues, $49.00 ©2015 Manhattan Express, All rights reserved. NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC | ONE METROTECH NORTH, SUITE 1001 | BROOKLYN, NY 11201 | 212-229-1890

18

I

n the 24 hours after at least 129 people were killed in Paris in coordinated terrorist attacks for which ISIS has claimed responsibility, crowds turned up at various Manhattan locales to show their respect, love, and solidarity for the people of the City of Lights. Throughout the evening of November 14, one day after the tragic news came from Paris, mourners gathered outside the French Consulate on Fifth Avenue between 74th and 75th Streets to leave flowers and notes of condolences. Along with the blue, white, and red of the French flag, a graphic rendering of the Eiffel Tower used on social media to signal support for the residents of Paris was affixed to the Consulate’s door. Throughout the darkened hours, the crowd remained somber and quiet. Hours earlier, many hundreds surged into Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village to show support for the people of France and mourn those lost. For the most part, that gathering, too, was quiet, except for when the crowd raised their fists and sang “La Marseillaise,” the French national anthem.. n

DONNA ACETO

A sign of spiritual solidarity with Paris at Washington Square Park.

MICK MEENAN

A rendering of the Eiffel Tower conveyed the depth of emotion of those on hand.

November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


EXPRESS YOURSELVES

Schumer, Nadler Play Key Roles in Manhattan Pedestrian Safety BY BETH FINKEL

W

alking the streets of Manhattan is dangerous — and we’re not talking crime. Pedestrians accounted for two of every three traffic fatalities in the borough from 2003 to 2012, highest in the state and well above the national average of less than one in eight. And the older the pedestrian, the more dangerous our streets are. While New Yorkers 65 and above make up 13 percent of the state’s population, seniors accounted for one third of pedestrian fatalities from 2003-2010. Older pedestrians died at a rate of 4.9 per 100,000 New York residents, more than three times the rate of 1.5 for younger residents. Add up all the numbers and New York is the third most dangerous state for senior pedestrians in the nation. Not surprisingly, over half of New York City voters 50 and older surveyed by AARP called traffic lights that are timed too fast for safe crossing a problem. Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Jerry Nadler can do something about what is clearly a threat to the residents of Manhattan. As members of a conference committee reconciling the House and Senate versions of the federal transportation bill, they should ensure that the strong pedestrian safety measures included in the Senate measure remain in the final conference report with the House.

Both versions move in the right direction — and neither requires additional federal funding. The House requires the federal secretary of transportation to “encourage” states to adopt design standards that take into account all users of roads and requires a report by the secretary identifying best practices. Encouraging states is good, but it doesn’t go far enough. The Senate requires the transportation secretary to establish design standards for the safe accommodation of all users through all phases of project planning, development, and operation. It provides a waiver for states — including New York — that already have a policy in place or a law on the books to provide for safe and adequate accommodation for all users, ensuring those states receive additional federal resources to implement their policies while making all states safer for pedestrians. And it requires state transportation departments to report on implementation and determine compliance. The Senate’s Safe Streets provision has the backing of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, the Alliance for Biking and Walking, and the group America Walks, along with the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the American Planning Association, and others. The population of Manhattan, New York, and the nation is aging. People are living longer, and the Baby Boom generation is moving into retirement. As people age, they become more suscepti-

ble to dangerous roads; in 2013, the 50-plus accounted for 33.7 percent of the nation’s population but 45 percent of pedestrian fatalities. And from 2009 to 2013, pedestrian fatalities grew by 16 percent while overall traffic fatalities actually declined. As we age, we are looking for safe communities where we can remain close to our families. The ability to walk safely to shop, visit a park, attend an event, medical appointment, or cultural or religious institution, see friends and family, or simply get exercise is becoming more and more important. Research shows that well-designed sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, and other features to accommodate all modes of travel can significantly reduce injuries, deaths, and automobile crashes. Additionally, safe, convenient, and efficient transportation infrastructure enhances the quality of communities, supports property values, and mitigates the effects of traffic congestion. As the shortest day of the year approaches and darkness falls before evening rush hour — and as Americans embrace more transportation choices — we’re reminded of just how important safe streets are. That’s why we need Senator Schumer and Representative Nadler to make sure federal law keeps pace with our needs. Beth Finkel is state director of AARP in New York State and a resident of Manhattan. n

The Magic in Finding Something Precious But Lost BY LENORE SKENAZY

R

emember that old expression “Finders keepers, losers weepers?” Does it even exist anymore? Last week I lost my phone on the Q58 bus, but before I even realized it was missing, I sat down at my computer and found emails from my family, “Call a lady named Grace. She has your phone.” She did indeed. She’d found it on the seat next to her, taken it with her to work, and reached the “favorites” on my contact list. Soon I was in a Mexicana Car Service car heading to her at her workplace in Maspeth, Queens: United Basket. This turned out to

be a cool 100-year old factory filled with every possible basket (big surprise) and an even cooler young woman, Grace Chen, who cheerfully handed over the Android, adamantly refused a reward, and hurried back to her job. A couple of months ago someone stole my wallet on the subway, and another wonderful young woman — a waitress in a Colombian restaurant — found it on the street, bereft of cash but otherwise intact, She contacted me and also refused a reward. Could it be that this is the way of the world — or at least New York? Finders aren’t keepers? I started asking around.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 19 - December 02, 2015

“I got a message that said, ‘I found your phone. Please call me,’” recalled Natalie Yates, co-founder of the digital agency Blue Iceberg Interactive. “I did. It was a taxi driver — in Westchester. He’d just gotten off his shift, found the phone, and he said that once his wife got home, she could take care of the kids and he could drive back into Manhattan with his truck to bring me my phone.” Drive it in? After his shift? “I can survive without my phone for a night!” Natalie told him. To which he replied with a laugh, “A lot of people can’t.” Instead, they arranged for him to drop it off the next day, where-

upon he told Natalie that he always returns things, including, one time, $10,000 that had been left in his cab. For that good deed, he got a $20 tip. Natalie gave him $30. For her return efforts, performer Laurie Gamache got some lovely wine. “I used to live in a little basement studio on West 96th Street,” said Laurie, who now teaches theater arts at the School of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as running the Theatre West 97th program at the Franciscan Community Center on the Upper West Side. “I was getting

c

SKENAZY, continued on p.20

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officer at Rubin&Co, an executive communications and content creready to go on the road with ‘A Cho- ation company, had a different sort rus Line,’ and so I was cleaning out of experience recovering something the place.” In a crack in the plaster of lost. She came home one night to a 72-02 Astoria Boulevard ransacked apartment. her fireplace, she found a class ring. 72-02 Astoria Boulevard East Elmhurst, NY 11370 What pained her most was the The year on the ring was East Elmhurst, NY 11370 Contact Duane Henderson, Counselor 72-02 Astoria Boulevard 1980-something, and this was loss of a bag of jewelry, including Contact Duane Henderson, Counselor 718-278-3240 Office • 914-714-8174 East Elmhurst, NY Cell 11370 still in the ’80s. There was a name sentimental pieces given to her by 718-278-3240 Office • 914-714-8174 Cell Contact Duane Henderson, Counselor engraved, too. Laurie put it in a her parents. 718-278-3240 Office • 914-714-8174 Cell “I was devastated,” she recalls. box in her desk drawer, intending About a year later, she called a to try to find the owner. But then it charitable organization to come pick slipped her mind. For decades. “By the time I got back — years up some furniture she was donatlater — I forgot all about it,” she ing. As the workers lifted up her 72-02 Astoria Boulevard mattress, there was the jewelry bag. explained. But when she was preEast Elmhurst, NY 11370 72-02 Astoria Boulevard 72-02 Astoria Boulevard She had put it there for safekeeping tact Duane Henderson, Counselor paring for a move, she cleaned out East Elmhurst, NY 11370 East Elmhurst, NY 11370 78-3240 Office • 914-714-8174 Contact Duane Cell Henderson, Counselor Contact Henderson, which, apparently, worked. her desk and Duane opened a little box she —Counselor 718-278-3240 Office • 914-714-8174 718-278-3240 Cell Oh yes! The ring! Office • 914-714-8174 Cell on it all year,” “I’d been sleeping found. How to find she said. its owner? According to my sister-in-law, Well, in the intervening years a device had been invented to do however, even in a world of good just that: the Internet. So instead people and eureka moments, there of thumbing through phone books, is only one sure-fire way to find a Laurie instantly found the owner on lost and precious item: Go online line — an upstate judge — and sent and shop for a replacement. Press it back to her. The judge’s husband “Purchase.” Look up. There it is. runs a winery, so the exchange concluded with a drinkable reward, Lenore Skenazy is a speaker, nicely aged. author, and founder of the book and Just like the ring. Dana Rubin, the chief executive blog “Free-Range Kids.” n

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Launched in August 2014, UberWAV is generating “nearly 4,000 trips per month” with an average pick up time of five to seven minutes, the spokesperson wrote. Uber is known for generating controversy and lawsuits. The California chapter of the National Federation of the Blind sued the San Francisco-based company in 2014 after drivers refused to transport service dogs. That case is in settlement talks with the federation hoping to set a national standard for Uber’s handling of service dogs. A wheelchair user in New York City and another in Arizona have sued the company. In disability cases, Uber, which does not employ drivers or own cars, has said that it is an app and not a public accommodation as that is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act and so it is not subject to the provisions of that federal law. Hundreds of cab companies, riders, and drivers have hauled Uber into federal court in class action lawsuits accusing the company of unfair

business practices, stealing tips, charging fees that it is not authorized to collect, and other allegations. Uber responded to the mayor’s cap proposal with an aggressive and well-funded media and lobbying campaign. The de Blasio administration eventually withdrew the proposal and is now conducting a study on Uber’s impact. That study is to be completed by the end of this month. Since March of 2014, Uber has spent just under $390,000 lobbying City Council members, the mayor’s office, and the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, with $302,500 spent on lobbying the Council. Between mid-2013 and mid-2015, Uber spent $110,000 lobbying state officials, though some of those lobbyists were also counted as lobbying New York City elected officials. Advocates worry that Uber will win a state law that allows it to operate anywhere by preempting local regulations and the company’s economic impact will continue to reduce the transportation options for people who use wheelchairs and scooters, leaving them with even fewer choices. n

November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


COOKFOX ARCHITECTS

A photo of 378 West End Avenue with the Collegiate School’s Platten Hall behind it compared to a CookFox Architects rendering of the reconstruction of the properties with Platten Hall replaced with a building that steps back from the street as it rises.

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According to the project’s architect, Richard Cook of CookFox Architects, the new building would feature red and tan masonry that matches the surrounding buildings and residential terraces that allow for planting. The building plans also incorporate ideas for environmental sustainability and a goal of achieving Leader ship in Energy & Environmental Design certifications. The plans also call for the creation of a small garden, named the Healing Turtle Island Garden, between the church and the residential building. The garden’s name comes from an initiative by the Collegiate Churches of New York — of which the West End Avenue church is one of the ministries — for reconciliation with the indigenous Lenape tribe, who lived in an area stretching from southeastern Connecticut to northern Delaware that includes the city. Turtle Island was the Lenape name for what European settlers termed the New World. After tearing down the old building, the construction of the new property at 260 West 78th Street

would be done alongside renovation work on the existing 378 West End Avenue building. The renovations of the West End Avenue building would include restorative work on the building’s façade, cornices, and balconies and a full window replacement program. Additionally, the renovations would include a two-story rooftop addition that is minimally visible from the street. After the presentation during CB7’s November 4 meeting, the board unanimously approved the plan, which members said they felt was contextually sensitive to the historic district and took steps to visually reduce the building’s bulk and introduce greenery to the property. The board’s one suggestion was about the possibility of an affordable housing component in the plan, but the church contended that would create a much bulkier building. With board approval, the project now moves for approval from the city’s Landmarks Preservations Commission since it’s located in the Riverside-West End Historic District. Kolinsky said the church expects to go in front of the LPC in early December. n

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Columbia University Honors Dance Pioneer Arthur Mitchell, Accepts His Archive BY ZITA ALLEN

A

rthur Mitchell, the pioneering ballet dancer, artistic director, and choreographer who, in the 1950s, became the first African-American principal dancer with the New York City Ballet (NYCB) was celebrated at Columbia University October 27 and 28. The occasion marked Mitchell’s donation to Columbia of his archive — a treasure trove of photographs, posters, clippings, and correspondence with the likes of Igor Stravinsky, Josephine Baker, Alvin Ailey, Geoffrey Holder, Carmen de Lavallade, David Dinkins, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Nelson Mandela. The archive also includes film footage and other material documenting an amazing life, a stellar career, and the impact of a man whose life has helped change America’s cultural landscape. On October 26, the two-day event, entitled “The Arthur Mitchell Project Symposium,” opened with a retrospective of the career of this self-described “political activist through dance,” among whose achievements was the co-founding in 1969 of the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH). The centerpiece was a conver sation between Mitchell, who is now 81, and friends, including icon Carmen de Lavallade, former NYCB ballerinas Allegra Kent, a Bar nard College dance professor, and Kay Mazzo, a founding member of the George Balanchine Trust. Barnard professor Lynn Garafola, who co-chairs the Dance Department, moderated as Mitchell recalled how, when he was a young teen, dancer Mary

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COURTESY: JENNIFER PELLERITO, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

A young Arthur Mitchell showing off the ballet technique that won him his distinction as the first AfricanAmerican principal dancer with the New York City Ballet.

Hinkson introduced him to the Katherine Dunham School where future mentor and DTH co-founder Karel Shook taught ballet. Mitchell also expressed heartfelt appreciation for NYCB’s founder and choreographer George Balanchine and co-founder Lincoln Kirstein when recounting his historic admission to that company and how, years later, Balanchine made generous gifts of his own masterpieces and more to Mitchell’s fledgling company. Punctuating these and other moments were film clips of Mitchell partnering Hinkson in Balanchine’s “Figure in a Carpet” or dancing with de Lavallade in Donald McKayle’s classic “Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder.” There was

also a clip of Mitchell partnering Kent in the “Agon” pas de deux that Southern TV stations refused to air because it featured a black man dancing with a white woman. The two days were full of such reminiscences as well as analytical insights shedding light on Mitchell’s illustrious career and his tremendous impact on the nation’s arts and culture. Three panel discussions on October 27 focused on the key role Mitchell’s archive can play going forward in incorporating African Americans’ stories and influence into our understanding of ballet history. One panel tackled the role Mitchell and DTH played in creating opportunities for other artists of color. Moderated by Pulitzer

Prize-winning columnist, author, and Columbia professor Margo Jefferson, that panel included former DTH principal Karen Brown, one of the few black women to serve as artistic director of an American ballet company (Oakland Ballet), Karyn Collins, a Rutgers University journalism professor and dance critic, Robert Garland, a DTH choreographer and former principal, DTH founding music director and composer Tania León, and Vernon Ross, former DTH wardrobe master and designer who now works with the Metropolitan Opera and Radio City Music Hall. Another panel looked at the importance of Mitchell and Shook, his DTH co-founder, having created an institution that included not only the company but a school and an outreach component, as well. Moderated by Brent Hayes Edwards, a Columbia professor of English and Comparative Literature, it included former DTH principal ballerina and current artistic director Virginia Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post critic Sarah L. Kaufman, Florida State University professor Anjali Austin, a former DTH dancer, and Barnard’s Garafola, The third panel discussed the political, cultural and socio-economic turmoil of the Civil Rights era and its impact on Mitchell’s decision to create DTH and debunk all the myths and bugaboos that plagued aspiring black ballet dancers for so long. This panel also grappled with questions about how to build on advances into this once taboo dance terri-

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ARTHUR MITCHELL continued on p.25

November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


MUSEUM SPOTLIGHT

A Concise But Wide-Ranging Pollock Show at MoMA

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“Untitled,” c. 1950; ink on paper, 17 1/2 x 22 1/4".

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ith “Jackson Pollock: A Collection Survey, 1934–1954,” the Museum of Modern Art offers what it ter ms “a concise but detailed survey” of this abstract impressionist American painter. The exhibition, which runs from November 22 through March 16 in the second floor Paul J. Sachs Prints and Illustrated Books Galleries, traces his evolution from the 1930s and early 1940s — during part of which he worked for the WPA Federal Art Project — when his work consisted of what MoMA describes as “loosely figurative images based on mythical or primeval themes,” to the late ‘40s and early ‘50s when he pioneered his “drip painting” style that resulted in the radical abstractions for which he is best known. A reclusive figure — with his wife Lee Krasner, a painter and the steward of his legacy after his death at 44, he left Manhattan for the then quiet confines of Long Island’s East End toward the end of 1945 — Pollock struggled with alcoholism and sought Jungian psychotherapy, the influence of which some critics see in his work after 1940. He died when he crashed his convertible under the influence of alcohol in the sum-

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mer of 1956. MoMA’s exhibition features about 50 works — paintings, drawings, and prints — from its collection, which the museum boasts “is unparalleled in the breadth, depth, and quality” of Pollock holdings. The exhibition includes what MoMA termed arguably Pollock’s greatest masterpiece, “One: Number 31, 1950” (1950). The exhibition also includes rare and little-known engravings, lithographs, screenprints, and drawings. The array of works brought together here, drawing on a wide array of materials and techniques, underscores, in MoMA’s estimation, “the relentless experimentation and emphasis on process that was at the heart of Pollock’s creativity.” n

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 19 - December 02, 2015

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Manhattan Treasures es assault complaints; Regina Kulik Scully, the founder and CEO of the Artemis Rising Foundation, which works to develop culturally transformative media, education, and healing projects; and Amanda de Cadenet, a photographer and former actress who hosts a late night Lifetime Channel talk show. Lexington Ave. at 92nd St., Buttenwieser Hall. Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $32-$46; $15 for those 35 and younger at 92y.org.

GOLDEN HITS FROM A MILLENNIUM AGO

over other layers of paper — as well as more “extreme” versions of the craft, such as layered and burnt linoleum, overlaid cardboard and fabric, gigantic collaged works, and popstyle drawings collaged into digital videos. The exhibition includes established artists who are veterans of collage and new generations of artists experimenting with this malleable medium. El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Ave. at 104th St. Through Dec. 12: Tue.Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $9; $5 for students & seniors. Free for those under 12, and for seniors on Wed. More information at elmuseo.org.

WOODY ON THE CLARINET Filmmaker and comedian Woody Allen shows his musical side in performance with the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band. Café Carlyle, 35 E. 76th St. Every Mon., 8:45 p.m. through Dec. 14. Tickets are $120 at the bar; $165 at a table, with a $25 food & drink minimum. Premium seating at $215, plus a $75 minimum. For reservations, call 212-744-1600. COURTESY: AYALA MUSEUM/ PHOTO BY LEANDRO Y. LOCSIN, JR.

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AWAKENING SPRING IN LATE NOVEMBER From his breakout hit “Barely Breathing” nearly 20 years ago to his Tony-winning 2006 musical “Spring Awakening,” Duncan Sheik has proven himself a remarkably versatile singer and songwriter. At Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Sheik will perform music from his albums — including the latest, “Legerdemain” — as well as favorites from his theater work. Nov. 21, 10 p.m. 881 Seventh Ave. at W. 57th St. Tickets are $44-$52 at carnegiehall.org thal at the piano, Martin Wind on bass, and Tim Horner on drums. Nov. 22-28, 7 p.m. 254 W. 54th St. Tickets are $60-$115 at 54below. com (add $5 for admission at the door), and there’s a $25 food & drink minimum ($85 minimum on Nov. 26, Thanksgiving).

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FEMININE PERSUASION: A CELEBRATION OF WOMEN SONGWRITERS In her annual Thanksgiving week show at Feinstein’s /54 Below, Ann Hampton Callaway celebrates the work of women songwriters who have inspired her own career as a composer and lyricist. Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” Carole King’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”, and Dorothy Field’s “The Way You Look Tonight” are among the tunes Callaway will perform, along with classics from Peggy Lee, Joni Mitchell, Cynthia Weil, Michelle Brourman, and Amanda McBroom. Callaway is directed by Dan Foster and backed by her all-star trio — Ted Rosen-

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Kirby Dick’s Oscar-nominated documentary “The Hunting Ground” is shaping the current public debate around campus rape, the statistics about which are shocking — one in five college women is sexually assaulted, yet only a fraction of these crimes are reported and even fewer result in punishment of the perpetrators. The 92nd Street Y hosts a screening of the film and a panel discussion featuring five women with important things to say about this topic. Investigative journalist Marie Brenner, a writer-at-large at Vanity Fair, moderates a conversation that features Maria Cuomo Cole, the executive producer of “The Invisible War,” a 2012 investigative documentary exploring the epidemic of rape and sexual violence in the US military; Sofie Karasek, who last year was among 31 women students at the University of California at Berkeley who charged the university botch-

“Philippine Gold, Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms,” curated by Florina H. Capistrano-Baker of Manila’s Ayala Museum and Adriana Proser, the Asia Society’s senior curator for traditional Asian art, is an exhibition of spectacular works of gold primarily discovered over the past 40 years on the Philippine islands of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. The regalia, jewelry, ceremonial weapons, and ritualistic and funerary objects attest to the prosperity and achievement of Philippine societies that flourished between the 10th and 13th centuries, long before the Spanish discovered and colonized the region. The majority of these works suggest they were developed locally, but some indicate that Philippine craftsmen had been exposed to objects from beyond their borders through the robust cultural connections and maritime trade during an early Southeast Asian economic boom. Today, the Philippines has the second largest gold deposit in the world. Asia Society, 725 Park Ave. at E 70th St. Through Jan. 3: Tue.-Sun., 11-6 p.m., with Fri. closing at 9 p.m. Admission is $12; $10 for seniors, $7 for students. Free for anyone under 16. More information at asiasociety.org.

COLLAGE ADVENTURES “Cut N’ Mix: Contemporary Collage” explores the work of more than two dozen Latino artists experimenting in ways that expand the gestures of cutting paper, mixing various mediums together. So-called traditional collages are included — in which papers, photographs, prints, and magazine images are placed

FUNKADELIC ROYALTY

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Recording both as Parliament and Funkadelic, George Clinton revolutionized R&B during the 1970s, twisting soul music into funk by adding influences from late-‘60s acid heroes including Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Sly Stone and ruling black music of the era as a result. With the early ‘90s rise of funk-inspired rap, Grammy-winner Clinton’s status enjoyed a revival that has continued to this day, including a honorary doctorate several years ago from Boston’s renowned Berklee College of Music. B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W. 42nd St. Nov. 24, 8 p.m. Tickets are $42.50 at bbkingblues. com; $48 day of show, with premium seating at $80 and a $10 food & drink minimum for all table seating.

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November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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ARTHUR MITCHELL, from p.22

tory that were made by Mitchell and, more recently, Misty Copeland. Kendall Thomas, a professor and the director of the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at Columbia’s School of Law, moderated a panel that included this writer, who is a contributor to the Amsterdam News and the first black critic for Dance Magazine, Harlem Stage director Patricia Cruz, Farah Jasmine Griffin, an English and Comparative Literature professor at Columbia University, and Brenda Dixon Gottschild, author and professor emeritus at Temple University. Praising Mitchell for his decision to donate his archives to Columbia was former Columbia Law School dean of students Marcia Sells, who this year left the university for the same post at Harvard Law School. The archive is currently being sorted and catalogued thanks to funding from the Ford Foundation and is expected to be open to the public in 2017. “I believe that dance, and the arts more broadly, can be

EVE GLASBERG/ COURTESY: JENNIFER PELLERITO, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

During a symposium about his life and work at Columbia University last month, Arthur Mitchell holds a photo of himself dancing.

u s e d a s a c ata l yst for soci a l change — this is why I started the Dance Theatre of Harlem,” Mitchell told one reporter. “With these materials now at Columbia, artifacts of American dance history and African-American history will be accessible to academics and the general public, furthering this change.” n

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Kids Count

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THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS PARADE For the past 89 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has captivated children of all ages and — with Santa taking up the rear of the cavalcade — also signaled the official start of New York’s Christmas Season. Viewed by an estimated 3.5 million New Yorkers, plus an additional 50 million people at home, the parade begins at 77th St. and Central Park West, proceeds south to 59th St., where it turns east toward Sixth Ave. for the triumphant march down to 34th St. at Herald Square. If you want to catch the festivities in person, the best locations are — for early birds — from 75th St. to 59th St. on Central Park West, between 9 and 10:30 a.m. Sixth Ave. between 34th and 38th Sts. and the area right in front of Macy’s are pretty much closed off for use by television camera crews. If you are looking for special access for spectators with special needs, contact Healing Arts Initiative at 212-284-4100 or atoutreach@hainyc.org. The best fun of all, however, might come the evening before, when the big balloons are inflated on Central Park West. Head over to the inflation areas surrounding the American Museum of Natural History at 79th St. and Columbus Ave. between 3 & 10 p.m. on Nov. 25.

effects, and percussive clapping and stomping. The result is a 45-minute frolicsome hide-and-seek celebration recommended for ages eight to 12. Presented by LC Kids at Clark Studio Theater, Lincoln Center, 165 W. 65th St. Nov. 21, 1 p.m. Tickets are $25 at family.lincolncenter.org.

WHO IS DUKE ELLINGTON?

KEEPING IT GREEN SYMPHONYSPACE.ORG

MORE MODEL TRAINS THAN YOU’VE EVER SEEN As part of its holiday season celebration, the New-York Historical Society is transformed with the installation of a spectacular exhibit of treasures from the renowned Jerni Collection — the largest and most comprehensive collection of American and European model trains, scenic elements, and toys, now owned by the Society. The dynamic display — which includes rides for those three to six — appeals to all ages interested in revisiting the beauty and allure of toys from a bygone era. In an exhibition that unfolds over a broad swath of New-York Historical’s first floor, the space is transformed into a magical wonderland. Theatrical lighting, an ambient audio soundscape, and other effects create an immersive experience right from the moment visitors enter the W. 77th St. entrance, where movement and sound from four large-scale multimedia screens make it seem as though trains are roaring through the space. A 360-degree mountainous landscape is on view in the Judith and Howard Berkowitz Sculpture Court. 170 Central Park W. at 77th St. Through Feb. 28: Tue.-Thu., Sat.,

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NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY

10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.5 p.m. Admission is $20; $15 for seniors; $12 for students; $6 for ages 5-13. More information at nyhistory.org.

WHIMSICAL DANCE FROM MONTREAL The playful Canadian dance ensemble Cas Public explores the joy, humor, and mischief of childhood in “Gold,” set to a soundtrack featuring Glenn Gould’s famous “Goldberg Variations.” Whimsical movements mix with gliding video panels, dynamic lighting

film “Hugo” by Martin Scorsese, discusses his new book, The “Marvels.” Two seemingly unrelated stories — one in words, the other in pictures — come together in a tale filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, heartrending beauty, and Selznick’s most arresting art to date. This event will include readings from the novel, a look at the book's magnificent artwork, and original music written and performed by Lucas Elliot Eberl. Actress Barbara Barrie will read from selected works by William Shakespeare, who served as inspiration for “The Marvels.” Recommended for ages nine and up. Thalia Kids’ Book Club at Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at W. 95th St. Nov. 22, 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 at symphonyspace.org.

Through interactive performances and lessons, young audiences at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People will go on Duke’s journey from Washington, DC, to New York City, where he digs deep into this music called jazz as it is being birthed from the belly of New Orleans. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will illustrate how Ellington’s discovery of the blues and development of his own innovative ideas created a new vernacular that would forever change the musical landscape of jazz. His legacy as a composer, a leader, and a vanguard of American music is celebrated in this hour-long, youth-oriented event. Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at W. 95th St. Nov. 21, 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. Tickets are $10-$25 at symphonyspace.org.

FROM THE CREATOR OF “WONDERSTRUCK,” “HUGO CABRET” Brian Selznick, author and illustrator of “Wonderstruck” and “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” which was adapted into the

If you want to spend quality outdoor time with the family and make a contribution as well, join the Central Park Conservancy as it works to keep Central Park clean by spreading mulch or raking leaves. Conservancy environmental educators lead stewardship projects throughout the park during the spring and fall. Children must be at least five years old, and at least one parent or guardian must be present for every three kids. Pre-register at centralparknyc.org/about/ programs/youth-programs/keeping-it-greenfor-families.html to learn the location of the Sun., 10 a.m.-noon outings. Available reservations remain for the season’s final two cleanups on Dec. 6 & 13.

LEAF LIFT AT RIVERSIDE PARK Riverside Park Conservancy hosts a similar volunteer clean-up program of raking leaves off the park’s pathways, high-traffic areas, and lawns. All leaves are added to the conservancy’s compost pile and turned into valuable mulch for use throughout the park. All ages are welcome and jumping in piles is encouraged! To register for the season’s final outing, Nov. 21, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., contact 212-8703070 or grassroots@riversideparknyc.org.

November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 19 - December 02, 2015

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November 19 - December 02, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

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