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End of the Road for Cars in Central Park? 04

Palace Theatre Raising the Roof

Healthy Holiday Appetizers

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Palace Theatre Raising the Roof — And Everything Else — 29 Feet for Commercial Space BY JACKSON CHEN

A

century-old Broadway theater will likely be lifted up 29 feet to make room for four floors of commercial space, having won conditional approval, subject to a peer review, from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. The project involves the vertical move of the Palace Theatre at 1564 Broadway at West 47th Street, which was built in 1913. According to Elise Quasebarth, a preservation consultant hired by the development team, the theater was created as a vaudeville venue and later converted to a legitimate theater in 1965 after the Nederlander Organization bought it. The interior of the theater was later designated a landmark in 1987. The owners say they are using a unique jacking technique that will allow the property to be adapted to the changing economics of the city. Many preservationists, however, charge that the theater is being treated as though it stands in the way of development. To pull off the project, Tony Mazzo, president of Urban Foundation/ Engineering, explained that the key to the jacking is to “to go so slowly so the theater doesn’t know it’s moving.” Mazzo, who previously worked on relocating the Empire Theater a few doors down on West 42nd Street, said the theater would be boosted one inch at a time, followed by a round of checks by construction workers posted at each of the jacks. While the building is jacked up, existing structural columns supporting the theater will be removed and replaced by new columns, according to the plans. In order to keep the building aligned, Mazzo said the theater will be wrapped in a protective crate encasing it throughout the jacking process. He said that after the first inch is completed, the rest of the process is just repetitive. The developer added that the lifting should amount to two weeks time and be minimally intrusive on the theater’s interior. Once the theater lifting is complete, the team would work on excavating the ground below, Mazzo said, creating four floors of retail space — one at ground level and three below ground. As for theater improvements, the plans call for a 10,000 square-foot increase of space available for theater use — allow-

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 17 - 30, 2015

ing patrons a proper waiting area that currently does not exist — and a number of cosmetic renovations inside the existing space. “Even when the Palace was built, the one thing it didn’t have was lobbies and amenities space that matched the grandeur of the auditorium and the theater itself,” said Nick Scandalios, the executive vice president of the Nederlander Organization. “The Palace is actually really missing something without the amenities of a lobby space.” However, to get inside the theater, patrons will have to enter through a new entrance on West 47th Street underneath a 75-foot long marquee, as opposed to through the current Seventh Avenue entrance. Despite the plan’s improvements, opponents expressed wariness of the jacking process and possible damage to the historic structure. “We appreciate the ingenuity and technical expertise of the engineering team,” said Alex Herrera, director of the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Technical Services Center. “But there’s so many moving parts for this project to succeed and must be executed perfectly without exception.” One of the biggest worries revolved around the impact on the theater’s fragile composition of plaster and glass, said Historic Districts Council executive director Simeon Bankoff. “I pray their engineers are good enough to do this, but the fact is they shouldn’t,” Bankoff said. “Theaters are not really the most robust thing structurally.”

NEDERLANDER.COM

The Palace’s current marque on Seventh Avenue

Bankoff argued that the project was completely unreasonable and a serious alternative to be considered was not moving it at all. As for Mazzo, there would be enough measures in place to prevent any construction mishaps. The developer explained that even if one of the jacks — whose capacities are twice the amount needed — failed, there will be a mechanism in place that evenly distributes the load and allows the work crew enough time to replace the jack and resume the process. Ultimately, members of the LPC shared concerns about the jacking process but approved the plans. However, the commission included a clause that said the applicant was required to get an independent peer review done of the proposal. Peer review would continue throughout the lifting process. If the peer review raises concerns, the owners and their team will be due back in front of the LPC for additional consideration. n

URBAN FOUNDATION/ ENGINEERING

A schematic showing the current and proposed structure of the Palace Theatre.

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End of the Road for Cars in Central Park?

JOSH ROGERS

Below 72nd Street, cars continue to share the Central Park loop roadway with bikers, joggers, walkers, and horse carriages.

BY JOSH ROGERS

T

he long drive to get cars out of Central Park began a half century ago and there’s at least a chance that road will end for park drivers in the new year. City officials are being quiet about if and when the likely final change in Central Park’s driving rules — banning all private cars on the park’s loop — is coming, but the mayor and his transportation commissioner didn’t leave much doubt it was somewhere in sight when they announced in June that cars would be barred north of 72nd Street and in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park entirely. “A lot of people looked forward to this day and look forward to us taking further steps in the future,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on June 18 in Prospect Park. Two weeks later Polly Trottenberg, commissioner of the Department of Transportation, traveled to Central Park near 92nd Street, the first day of the change there, and said, “We all hope that at some point in the not-too-distant future, we will have a press conference 20 blocks south of here,” according to Streetsblog New York City, which promotes cycling and pedestrian safety. West Side City Councilmember

4

Helen Rosenthal, whose district includes the park, told Manhattan Express that she’s been told by DOT that they are studying the effects of barring all cars but she has not been given a sense as to how long the study would take. “My understanding is that they are absolutely looking at that,” she said. “I am committed to finding a way of getting cars out of the south end of the park.” “That would be terrific,” John Maynard, an Upper West Side senior citizen, said of the possible change before looking at his dog Maise. “She’s very negative on cars, you can quote her. Why do they have [a car ban] on the upper part of the Upper West Side and not the lower?” Trottenberg said in June that “for now,” she and others are concerned about adding roughly 400 cars on the West Side and 300 on the East an hour to street traffic. The park’s crosstown roadways, which are largely separated from park users, would continue to allow cars. Emergency and park maintenance vehicles would also still be permitted on the loop. A DOT spokesperson last week didn’t confirm or deny that a study is underway to eliminate cars entirely, but she did say that the agency is looking at the effects of

the summer changes. “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz, the well-known traffic engineer and former transportation commissioner, said that getting cars completely out of the park would be “barely noticeable” because of the gradual increase of restrictions over the last five decades. “It’s been death by a thousand cuts since [Mayor] John Lindsay did the weekend closure [in 1966], which was radical at the time,” said Schwartz. “Over the years, fewer and fewer cars even know when it’s open.” Schwartz, who writes a column for Downtown Express, a Manhattan Express sister publication, recalled getting a bike lane added to the loop while working in the Koch administration. He also remembers being called on the carpet once when Mary Beame, wife of former Mayor Abe Beame, got stuck in traffic when the park was closed to cars. As he recounted the history, he realized next year would mark the 50th anniversary of Lindsay’s decision to close the loop to cars on summer weekends and said it would be the ideal time to make the last change. Doug Blonsky, president of the Central Park Conservancy, thinks a total ban is still a few years away, and praised DOT for taking a gradual approach to studying the issue. But it’s a change he wants to see. “With the amount of bicycles, tourists, and pedestrians going

up so dramatically, it does make a huge difference for the public,” he said. Of course for drivers and taxi passengers, the end of cars in the park will mean longer trips. Ravinder Multani, a cabbie waiting outside the Time Warner Center across from the park, said of closing the park completely to cars, “These streets are really bad — 56th, 57th, and 58th. It’ll be a nightmare.” He estimates the changes in June added about 10 minutes to a typical ride, and guessed that would drag out to 25 minutes if he couldn’t use the park at all. “People have to pay more money,” he said. The current restrictions are a hodgepodge of confusing rules for the relatively short loop from West 72nd Street down to 59th Street and up to East 72nd. The West Side only opens at 8 a.m., for instance, and there are car pool restrictions for the morning rush across 72nd Street. The changes already in place don’t feel permanent at all and almost seem designed to make a permanent ban less disruptive. With the exception of East 72nd Street, the entrances that are occasionally open to cars don’t have signs laying out the rules. The reduced traffic also seems to have lessened the desire to get cars out — an issue that previously garnered 100,000 signatures.

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END OF THE ROAD, continued on p.20

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

December 17 - 30, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Pedigreed Stained Glass Windows Could Yet Sidetrack UWS Church’s Residential Conversion

JACKSON CHEN

361 Central Park, a 1903 building that originally housed the First Church of Christ, Scientist.

BY JACKSON CHEN

A

ppearing before the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals, potentially the final hurdle it faces, a project to convert a former church’s interior into luxury residential units faced potential roadblocks in a request for more information as well as from the possibility of new evidence about the historical significance of the building at 361 Central Park West. If the project wins the zoning exceptions it seeks and is given the green light from the BSA, the developers — Ira Shapiro and Joseph Brunner — will be allowed to gut the church, which was landmarked in 1974, to make room for 39 units of residential condos, while adding numerous windows and a rooftop penthouse to the exterior. The church has sat across from Central Park at 96th Street since 1903, when it was constructed as the First Church of Christ, Scientist. The building was designed by Carrère and Hastings, a well-known Beaux-Arts architecture firm best remembered for its design of the New York Public Library’s main branch on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 17 - 30, 2015

As the years passed, the congregation’s membership fell and the building was sold to the Crenshaw Christian Center East. However, the ownership passed hands again in the summer of 2014, this time for $26 million, to Shapiro’s sister Irene, who quickly flipped the property to Brunner for $42 million, according therealdeal.com. After spurring debate and opposition through three rounds of hearings before the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the developers ultimately won LPC approval for their plans in March of this year and proceeded to a hearing at the BSA on December 1. As the opposition rallied again to voice their disapproval during the BSA meeting, their main argument centered on a possible discovery about the historical importance of the church’s stained glass windows. That is significant since, according to the developers’ stained glass consultant, their plans envision preserving the windows, but removing religious icons on them as part of the residential conversion. In an attempt to halt the developers, Michael Hiller, the attorney representing the Central Park West Neighbors Association, explained that there’s evidence that the church’s stained glass artist was Mary Elizabeth Tillinghast, a preeminent female stained glass artist from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. According to Hiller, both the group and Landmark West!, an advocacy group pressing for more historic preservation designations on the Upper West Side, are hoping the LPC will reopen its consideration of the project “in the coming days” based on the evidence regarding Tillinghast’s role in creating the windows. Hiller also charged that the developers’ argument for the zoning variances they are seeking from the BSA was without merit and “jargon-infused mumbo-jumbo.” During the board meeting, the developers, represented by zoning consultant Calvin Wong, argued that the building’s current status creates hardships that cause financial burdens in owning the building. Residents opposing the project, however, contended that the landmark status was granted to help keep the church building a community resource. “It could be a museum, some sort of community center, a concert hall,” said Susan Simon, a neighbor of the church. “In those cases, it would still be something that’s a resource for the community as opposed to having this once public facility turned into a private facility.” Simon added that the church structure was enormously significant in its historical value to

the Upper West Side and the city. “It is an absolutely spectacular example of Beaux-Arts architecture,” she said. “It has been what I would call a crown jewel of the Upper West Side for 100 years.” Hiller, the neighborhood association’s attorney, also argued that the church could be retained as some sort of community resource, like a school, a museum space, or another religious institution. According to Wong, there were efforts made to locate a tenant that would not require exterior alterations, but all attempts proved fruitless. For the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, which was interested in the building, a deal was never struck. According to Andy Ackerman, executive director of the museum, it was interested in purchasing the building, as opposed to renting the space. Despite conversations with the developers, however, he said the breakdown in talks was “primarily an economic issue in terms of proposed purchase price.” He declined to elaborate. Though most of the public comments at the BSA hearing were in opposition to the project, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, a non-profit preservation advocacy group, expressed approval. “There’s always a sense of loss when an iconic building like this changes,” said Ann-Isabel Friedman, the director of the conservancy’s Sacred Sites Program. “But on the positive side, it’s still with us and the public view of it is being preserved.” Friedman said that the building had a lot of maintenance issues that were neglected throughout the years. The Crenshaw Church, during its ownership, focused on maintenance of the interior, but the exterior was never really kept up to par, according to Friedman. Only the exterior of the church is landmarked, and Friedman said she considered the proposed changes there “relatively modest” and argued that restorative work the project will enable is crucial. In the end, the BSA concluded that the application for 361 Central Park West required a more realistic valuation of just how lucrative the sale of the new apartments would be as well as clarifications about the scope of the restorative work. In addition, after hearing comments about the possible historical significance of the stained glass, the BSA may give time for the LPC to inquire into that issue. The board gave the developers until a January 12 hearing to provide the additional information requested. n

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Design Process Drags on for UES Pedestrian Bridge Renovation BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he city’s Department of Design and Construction presented its updated designs for renovation of a pedestrian bridge that connects the East River Esplanade to East 81st Street. The work behind the East 81st Street Pedestrian Bridge dates back to 2012, when redesign of an East 78th Street counterpart was successfully completed. However, the idea for the bridge revamping goes back nearly a decade, according to a 2007 DDC progress report. Beyond repair work, the DDC is also planning to outfit the pedestrian bridge, which is currently only accessible through stairs, with access ramps to meet requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The DDC is currently tackling some foundation work on the bridge and afterwards will begin extensive repairs that include the bridge’s removal and rehabilitation of the structural towers. It’s the design of proposed safety fencing on the ramps and the pedestrian bridge span above the FDR Drive that has proved a major sticking point for neighborhood residents. When the plans were initially presented a few years ago, complaints focused on the wire mesh fencing that surrounded the ramps and the span for safety reasons. For residents who lived immediately next to the proposed ramps, the wire mesh would disrupt their views of the East River. “One of the concerns from the group was the fact that we were told you have to have an eightfoot wire mesh fence on the whole span across all the FDR,” said Charles Whitman, a longtime resident of 45 East End Avenue, which is next to the proposed ramp onto East 81st Street. “What it basically creates is what we called the prison yard look.” Hearing the neighborhood com-

plaints, the DDC has since adjusted the plans by introducing transparent viewing windows on portions of the fencing on the bridge span, though not on the ramps. With the updated plans presented to the community during a Community Board 8 T ransportation Committee meeting on December 2, neighbors still voiced displeasure with the design of the ramp on the East 81st Street side of the bridge. According to Whitman, the ramp encroaches too closely to the 33 and 45 East End Avenue buildings and their ser vice exits and reduces the width of the exit’s staircase. He said there would be too much pedestrian and bicycle congestion at the East 81st Street end of the bridge. “We view it as a safety hazard because there’s too much going on overall,” Whitman said, adding that he had not seen any official pedestrian studies of the area. Residents of his building, he said, performed informal counts on the 81st Street side on a Sunday and tallied 350 to 400 people in an hour’s time. During the community board meeting, the DDC told residents they were already moving for ward on the East 81st Street ramp design. While unhappy with the decision about the ramp, Whitman said the DDC overall has been responsive in dealing with resident criticisms and that he hopes officials will continue hearing the residents out. “[The DDC] said it has to be 81st Street,” Whitman said. “We’re saying ‘Fine, but it’s got to be designed properly.’” For the DDC, the next steps involve an analysis of the lighting needed for the pedestrian bridge. The agency expects to hold a joint meeting with the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Transportation in January, which is open to the public. The current design plans are also pending approval from the DOT. n

December 17 - 30, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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Rocky Road to Permit Renewal for West 39th Street Flea Market BY SEAN EGAN

I

t was a tale of two sides, told twice — as separate gather ings of Community Board 4 (CB4) heard testimony from vendors and the owner of the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market (HKFM), which is seeking a permit renewal. Permit renewal for the open-air event, held weekends at West 39th Street and Ninth Avenue, has been the subject of considerable controversy recently given a troubled relationship between the owner, Alan Boss, and at least some of his vendors. During a December 2 CB4 full board meeting, several vendors spoke up about their feelings of being abused at the hands of Boss and his wife, Helene. Five days later, on December 7, CB4’s Quality of Life (QOL) Committee took up the question of the market’s 2016 application for its permit renewal from the city’s Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO), which sparked heated exchanges but also gave Boss and his representatives an opportunity to air their side of the story. At the December 2 full board meeting, Anthony DeVincenzo, a 10-year vendor, spoke of a movement to change up the management of the HKFM. “There is animosity among parties,” he said, “and vendors would like to see the market get its old vitality back.” Mik Farkas, another vendor, said many of his fellow vendors are “fearful to speak up and lose what they have,” and claimed the market is no longer vital and that “it’s being milked for [the Bosses’] personal purposes. The character of the folks running the market is horrendous. I can’t believe some of the things I’ve heard with my own ears.” Another vendor, David Bros, said he left the market after what he described as degrading treatment from the Bosses. April Summers, another former vendor, accused Helene Boss of harassing her and her 12-year-old daughter after she was late with rent, including cursing at the child. The QOL Committee meeting, held at CB4’s relatively small West 42nd Street office space the fol-

8

SEAN EGAN

David Pincus, co-chair of CB4’s Quality of Life Committee, in a moment of exasperation during a hearing on the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market’s permit renewal application.

lowing week, drew an overflow crowd that spilled out well into the vestibule. Representatives from SAPO — which is responsible for permitting on-street events such as farmers markets, block par ties, and street festivals — were on hand to explain their office’s procedures, in particular the requirement that events of a certain magnitude, such as the HKFM, have a sponsoring non-profit that benefits from a portion of profits. They also made clear that SAPO typically honors community board rejections of permit applications or imposes any stipulations the board adds to its approval. HKFM representative Scott Isebrand was on hand to plead the market’s case for permit renewal, highlighting Alan Boss’ longtime association with flea markets, including his famous Sixth Avenue one in Chelsea, which, after being established in 1976, became a magnet for community residents, tourists, and even luminaries like Andy Warhol. The HKFM location on West 39th Street was opened in 2003 and, according to Isebrand, achieved profitability in 2011. At the same time, responding to critics who

point to a dwindling customer base and fewer vendors, he cited factors such as changing tastes, the rise of online shopping, and weather. Isebrand explained that, in compliance with SAPO regulations, Boss, in 2012, the year after turning a profit, created the Hell’s Kitchen Foundation as the sponsoring nonprofit. A spokesperson for Boss said the foundation was “created to foster the arts by providing financial support to local artists as they pursue their passion,” and that it plans to begin giving out grants next year. The IRS did not give final approval to the nonprofit until February of this year. QOL Committee members made clear they were dissatisfied with both the past financial documentation from the market and the foundation and the lack of specificity in Boss’ plans going for ward. David Pincus, the committee’s co-chair, criticized the plan presented as being “highly amorphous.” Both he and co-chair Tina DiFeliciantonio were wary of Boss’ assertion he is “certainly receptive to the stips” required by CB4 because of his aim to “build the market up to what it was.” The co-chairs charged that the HKFM

is not abiding by all the stipulations currently in effect — including requirements for security and for a full time manager (the current one splits his time between Boss’ two flea market locations). And, given that the market achieved profitability in 2011 and established a non-profit foundation the following year, committee members demanded to know why the foundation had not yet made any donations. Boss said that he had waited on full IRS approval before doing so — but that during the three-year interim period, he and the market simply made charitable donations independently, supporting nonprofits by, for example, giving them free space at the market. The committee said it would need to see the books of the market and the foundation to verify those claims, which Boss agreed to provide. Boss also agreed to the committee’s stipulation that the market retroactively direct 25 percent of profits from the interim years since it became profitable to the foundation. When committee members asked about abuse alleged by vendors at the full board meeting the week

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PERMIT RENEWAL, continued on p.10

December 17 - 30, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Free Wi-Fi Comes to MTA’s Lexington Avenue Stations REV. BRUCE SOUTHWORTH SENIOR MINISTER GERALD A. BROWN DIRECTOR OF MUSIC

BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he packed sardines who have to put up with the Metropolitan Transportation Author ity’s Lexington Avenue subway line now at least have access to free Wi-Fi in the Upper East Side underground stations. Transit Wireless, the company that began tackling the MTA wireless service goals in 2010, hosted a December 8 press event at the 86 Street station to announce that 4, 5, and 6 riders will now have access to Wi-Fi, cellphone service, and a line for emergency services. The 86 Street Station was one of 16 East Side stations on the Lex line that were outfitted with wireless access. Riders are now able to connect to “TransitWirelessWifi” on their phones for a one-hour period before being prompted to re-connect. “The wireless infrastructure that Transit Wireless is building goes beyond the convenience of making a cellphone call or accessing the Internet from a station platform,” said Transit Wireless CEO William Bayne. “The technology supports public safety through the ability to make E911 calls and access assistance from Help Point Intercoms.” E911 is a feature of the subway station connection that allows police to pinpoint the location of a caller dialing 911 on their cell phone. According to Bayne, the recent upgrades to the Upper East Side stations were part of Phase Four of the its mission to deliver Wi-Fi and cell reception to all of the MTA’s subway stations by the end of 2017. On top of the 16 Manhattan stations, 21 in the Bronx were also recently equipped with wireless services. According to the company’s numbers, underground reception is now available to MTA stations in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx that serve 70 million riders a year. “So we are now connected, essentially, from 23rd Street all the way to the top of the Bronx,” Bayne said.

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He explained that the design process at a given station usually takes four to five months, while the actual construction lasts three to four weeks. For the construction portion, contractors work from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to install the boosters that are located throughout the station, according to the company’s director of radio frequency engineering, Nathan Cornish. In one of the most heavily trafficked stations in the city, Bayne was joined by local politicians, including Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Daniel Garodnick, State Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright, Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla, and Minna Elias, chief of staff to Congressmember Carolyn Maloney — in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. During the ceremony, Bayne also announced that Transit Wireless had sponsorship from Uber, the controversial ride-hailing app. A Transit Wireless spokesperson said Uber had begun a monthlong sponsorship of the company, but did not disclose the financial arrangement behind that. Revenue to Transit Wireless, which is split with the MTA, comes from sponsorships and advertising — which is displayed on the WiFi service connection online page — and allows the service to be free to consumers. Before snipping the red ribbon, Kallos emphasized the value of staying connected during a com-

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 17 - 30, 2015

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WIFI, continued on p.11

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Collegiate Church’s Residential Complex Wins LPC Approval BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he West End Collegiate Church received unanimous approval from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to create a new residential complex on the corner of West 78th Street and West End Avenue. The new 66-unit residential building will result from tearing down an existing building at 260 West 78th Street and combining new construction into a second existing building at 378 West End Avenue. The plans, designed by CookFox Architects, include restorative work, but also call for a penthouse addition. For the church, the residential complex is expected to provide revenue that would allow for maintenance of its landmarked building as well as support for its programming. “This development will provide us the needed resources to preserve our landmark and sustain the philanthropic work the Collegiate Churches do across the neighborhood, throughout the city, and around the world,” said Reverend Michael Bos, senior pastor of the church. During the LPC’s hearing on the Collegiate buildings, the plans were lauded by commissioners who said the “sensitively designed” plans reflect a project that “supports preservation.” “Our priority was imagining a respectful and contextual building that celebrates the traditions of this historic neighborhood and our cherished landmarked church,” said Bos. The Collegiate School, which plans to soon

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PERMIT RENEWAL, from p.8

before, Boss asserted that only a minority of vendors felt wronged and said, “You can’t make all of the people happy all of the time.” “Do you recognize,” Pincus pushed back, “there is a problem that needs work?” “I recognize there is a problem from some people,” Boss replied, saying he’d do his best to improve relations “short of hiring Sigmund Freud.” When the floor was opened up, David Bros and Mik Farkas, clad in yellow shirts from the Street Vendor Project (SVP) of the Urban Justice Center, once again spoke out against the Bosses, as did Urban Justice attorney Sean Basinski, who had also appeared before the full CB4 board on December 2. Basinski suggested it might be time that the market permit be awarded

10

COOKFOX ARCHITECTS

A rendering of planned residential renovations at 78th Street and West End Avenue, seen from 77th and West End, where the Collegiate Church is located.

move to 61st Street and West End Avenue, currently occupies both 378 West End and 260 West 78th. According to the school’s director of finance and operations, Margaret Jadin,

to new management. Boss was not without friends in the room, however, with more than a dozen longtime flea market vendors — a good number of whom had worked with him for decades and followed him from one market to the next — turning out to show their support. The market wasn’t perfect, they said, but it was a vital part of the community and Boss had proved himself a fair and friendly owner over the years. “It’s my little business,” Geisha Otera, a vendor for nine years, said of her space at the market. “It’s really my means of income, and I don’t want that taken away from me.” Dawn, a vendor for six years, had no qualms with management, saying they’ve been “out of their way nice and professional” and calling the market a “cultural stronghold.” One vendor, Peter Farkas (no rela-

they’re hoping to be moved out of the two buildings by September 2017. For the church, the next steps hinge on the school vacating on that schedule. n

tion to Mik), went so far as to raise questions about Bros, claiming he frequently got into arguments with neighboring vendors at the market. Helene Boss spoke up in defense of herself, acknowledging that she is a tough manager, but arguing, “I run a clean operation” and insisting she has a vested interest in “protecting my vendors.” By the end of the meeting, QOL Committee members made clear they see the market as a community amenity they don’t not want to risk losing, and passed a motion to draft a letter to SAPO — with new and updated stipulations — approving Boss and the HKFM to SAPO. The letter, members agreed, would take the form of a “Deny Unless,” making enforcement of the stipulations more stringent, with monthly oversight, and reserving the right to withdraw approval.

The stipulations agreed to included finding a full-time manager devoted solely to the West 39th Street market location, and increasing security once the market exceeds 50 vendors. Boss was given until December 9 to provide the required financial documentation regarding both the market and the non-profit foundation. On December 15, a CB4 spokesperson confirmed that Boss had complied with all the committee’s requirements and that a letter spelling out its approval as well as its stipulations would be delivered to SAPO the following day. The full CB4 board is expected to ratify the committee’s letter in early January. Additional reporting for this article was provided by Winnie McCroy. n

December 17 - 30, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


JACKSON CHEN

Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla, Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright, Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick, and Transit Wireless CEO William Bayne cut the ribbon at 86th Street.

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WIFI, from p.9

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mute, even if phone calls can often times be drowned out by the rush of incoming trains. “Subway delays, making you late to a meeting with no way to tell anyone, was a part of being a subway rider,” he said. “But now you’ll be able to get in touch and get work done.” According to the councilmember’s office, Kallos has been advocating for expanded Wi-Fi service for his district since last year’s City Council’s budget hearings. T ransit Wireless expects to install Wi-Fi services into the Second Avenue Subway stations as

they’re being completed, according to a company spokesperson. Despite constant delays, the Second Avenue Subway project is expected to open up three new stations at 72 Street, 86 Street, and 96 Street by December 2016. Outside of the Upper East Side, Transit Wireless is working on its next phase that includes Wi-Fi and cellphone service for 37 stations in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn by mid 2016. “Bringing Wi-Fi and cell service to underground stations helps commuters stay a little more connected,” Garodnick said. “When your smart phone doesn’t work on the subway, neither can you.” n

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City Planning to Bring Ferry Service to UES

NYC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

Existing and proposed ferry service routes.

BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he city is planning to bring East River ferry service to Upper East Side residents with a route that would travel from Soundview in the South Bronx to Lower Manhattan’s Pier 11 near the foot of Wall Street. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) proposed five new ferry routes on the East River as part of their Citywide Ferry Service project early this year. The Soundview Ferry would travel from the South Bronx to an existing East 90th Street Pier, then to a landing at East 62nd Street, before cruising down to Lower Manhattan’s Pier 11. The Soundview route is expected to be complete in 2018 along with a Lower East Side route from 34th Street to Pier 11, while Rockaway, South Brooklyn, and Astoria-based lines are planned for 2017, according to the agency. All of these routes would have a $2.75 base fare, the agency said. Accor ding to EDC, the full Soundview Ferry trip would time in at approximately 43 minutes,

12

roughly rivaling the amount of time for the subway, at between 40 and 45 minutes. As part of a $55 million ferry expansion project, the EDC will be constructing or upgrading 15 landings. The agency said there’s minor construction and upgrades needed on the existing East 90th Street Pier, but the Bronx landing requires the construction of a pier. A floating barge will be attached to the East River Esplanade at East 62nd Street to accommodate service there. At each of the landings, such barges will have ticketing machines, waiting areas, and glass wind screens. The ferry service will receive an operating subsidy from the city, though the agency said the details of that subsidy will not be finalized until an operator is chosen. An EDC spokesperson said the per trip subsidy could fall anywhere in the range between the current subsidy for bus rides of $2.20 a trip and the subsidy provided to Long Island railroad trips, at $7.85 per passenger. According to the EDC’s projections, when completed, the Citywide Ferry Service would carry 4.6

million riders per year, including the 1.3 million passengers currently being served by existing East River Ferry Service from locations on the Queens and Brooklyn riverfronts to Midtown and Downtown. Satisfied with the success of that East River Ferry pilot program that began in 2011, the EDC decided to study additional ferry routes. The agency is currently in the process of community outreach for the ferry expansion project and visited Community Board 8’s Transportation Committee on November 2. CB8 Chair James Clynes said he was in favor of another commuting option for the neighbor hood, pointing out that the East River was being underutilized by East Side residents. “We seem to be an island without ferries,” Clynes said. “We definitely need a ferry service and we welcome it.” He recalled that the currently idle East 90th Street Pier used to run a ferry up to Yankee Stadium during the baseball season and also served another route that traveled straight to Wall Street. Ultimately, the lines fell out of favor because of low ridership, Clynes said. With ferries being reintroduced to the Upper East Side, he said, the agency is “sitting on a gold mine” with the opportunity to reinstate Yankee Stadium ser vice, as well. Other residents who live near the Upper East Side piers voiced skepticism that the ferry would prove a viable daily option. “I think it’s an alternative when it’s beautiful out and you have the time,” said Fred Horen of the proposed Soundview Ferry. “But I can’t see people commuting on it on a regular basis.” Horen, a longtime resident of East 91st Street, said he would consider using the ferry once in a while. Despite living roughly a block away from the pier, Horen said he would continue to rely on the Lexington Subway and then the Second Avenue Subway, when completed, as well as buses.

Further south along the waterfront, interest around the East 62nd Street Pier was similarly muted. “I probably would take the ferry myself for sightseeing, not for work,” said Elizabeth McCracken, a resident of York Avenue. “There may be some people who want to take a ferry to work, but there’d be some competition.” McCracken said there’s a fair amount of Citibike use in her neighborhood and that the completion of the Second Avenue Subway would be strong competition for a ferry. “I wonder whether they’ll be able to generate enough business to keep going,” McCracken said. But according to the EDC’s 2013 study of proposed citywide ferry service, the East 90th and East 62nd Street landings were good locations because of the nearby population density, limited transit options, and travel habits. Proponents of citywide ferry service, like the Waterfront Alliance’s president and CEO Roland Lewis, said that using the alternative “blue highway” has a host of benefits. “For those on York, First, Second [Avenues], it’s really something special to get them to Wall Street and Midtown quickly, easily, and really pleasurably,” Lewis said. “What’s better than starting the day with a ferry ride?” At this point, however, the EDC is not considering having the Soundview service make a stop at East 34th Street on its way from East 62nd Street to Pier 11. Lewis, whose organization advocates for more ferries, said the citywide service wouldn’t be a cure for the current overcrowded transit options, but that it would alleviate some of the pressure. While the agency is focused on pushing through the cur rent route proposals, it indicated there could be future opportunities to add other landing locations. For now, the agency is in the process of selecting an operator by early 2016. n

December 17 - 30, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Hey, Is There a Park Somewhere Beyond that Crowd? BY JOSH ROGERS

Y

ou might think it’s hard to hide Central Park’s 843 acres of green space, but the Columbus Circle Holiday Market seems to give it a try every Christmas season. The market’s crowds and sprawling stalls consume the narrow entrances to the park. It’s easy to imagine a tourist trying to visit the park not realizing they can get to the public space at Columbus Circle. The holiday market, which expanded by a third in 2012 according to DNAinfo, has more space to operate because the city bounced street art vendors out five years ago. The city parks commissioner at the time, Adrian Benepe, said of the parks’ street vendors: “They can still vend their stuff, they just can’t do it in uncontrolled droves where park visitors are forced to walk through a gauntlet of vendors.” Perhaps the “droves” hawking their wares in the holiday market are controlled, but clearly it is not an easy stroll into the park at Columbus Circle, one of the busiest entry points. There are two real differences between the two types of vendors. The street vendors don’t

pay the city and they don’t take up as much space as the Holiday Market. “The [Columbus Circle] Holiday Market is 100 times bigger than the vendors were when they were there,” Robert Lederman, longtime leader of the street vendor group known as ARTIST — for Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics — said, exaggerating for effect. “The vendors even at their most aggressive and greedy never came close to taking up that much space.” Urbanspace, which runs the city’s holiday markets, did not respond to requests for comment. Doug Blonsky, president and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy, acknowledged the market can get a “little clogged” and said he would look into the matter. A Parks Department spokesperson said the agency does monitor the market and makes sure the aisles have six feet of space for pedestrians and that park entrances have an eightfoot clearance to allow for emergency vehicles. But the large, fluctuating space taken up by holiday shoppers is obviously not measured. The agency and conservancy each collected $538,000 from the Columbus Circle mar ket last year, a figure that has grown steadily from $387,000 in 2011, according to the

JOSH ROGERS

The gauntlet of holiday gift items park-goers trying to enter at Columbus Circle face.

Parks Department. Lederman’s group, meanwhile, which had previously earned a good record suing the city, lost a federal court case challenging the 2010 rules, and then the Supreme Court declined to take up their appeal. Lederman said he heard that Justice Elena Kagan, who grew up on the Upper West Side, was the only one who voted to hear arguments. n

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13


Honoring Joan of Arc’s UWS Statue, Pushing for More to Commemorate Women BY TEQUILA MINSKY

O

TEQUILA MINSKY

The Joan of Arc of Statue at West 93rd Street and Riverside Drive.

TEQUILA MINSKY

French Consul General Bertrand Lortholary at the Joan of Arc statue Centennial Celebration.

TEQUILA MINSKY

LuLu LoLo at the Centennial Celebration.

TEQUILA MINSKY

LuLu LoLo, dressed as Joan of Arc, on 14th Street seeking nominations for public statues honoring women.

14

n December 3, students from M.S. 256, which is housed in the Joan of Arc Educational Complex, walked the few blocks from their Upper West Side location to their school’s namesake — the Joan of Arc statue at the foot of West 93rd Street and Riverside Drive. They were to be a part of the Centennial Celebration of the statue. The students joined Parks Department officials along with those from the Riverside Park Conservancy, French Consul General Bertrand Lortholary, members of the Joan of Arc Statue Committee, Jonathan Kuhn, the Parks Department director of art & antiquities, and Anne Higonnet, a Barnard College arts professor, to celebrate the statue’s centennial and its sculptor, Anna Hyatt Huntington. Joan of Arc (1411-1431) was a French patriot and martyr, born as Jean La Pucelle, a peasant said to have been divinely inspired to help liberate the French from English rule. Charles VII appointed her commander-in-chief of a small provisional army, which prevailed over the English in 1429. With that victory, Charles VII was crowned king in Rheims Cathedral. Continuing to fight for France, she was captured in 1430 by the Burgundians and sold to the English, who charged her with witchcraft and heresy. Found guilty in a trial, she was condemned to death and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431. Twenty years later, an investigation into the trial led to her sentence being annulled. Nearly 500 years later, in 1920, Jean La Pucelle was canonized as Saint Joan. In 1909, a group of New York citizens formed a statue committee, and after the 1910 Paris Salon awarded Huntington honors for a sculpture of Saint Joan, the committee gave Huntington the commission to create one in New York City. Architect John Vredenburgh van Pelt designed the pedestal. On December 6, 1915 the sculpture was unveiled with pomp and circumstance, including music from a military band and attendance by the French ambassador to the US. It was New York City’s first public sculpture created by a woman, and its first honoring a woman. Replicas of Huntington’s Joan stand in a town square in Gloucester, Massachusetts, as well as in front of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. During the Centennial Celebration, Higonnet shared interesting backstory on Huntington’s evolutions as an artist. When she received the recognition from the Paris Salon, the jury voiced skepticism that such an accomplished work could have been a woman’s creation. The Centennial Celebration also included an appearance by performance artist LuLu LoLo, who can be seen around town dressed in full Joan of Arc regalia lobbying for more statues in New York honoring women. At present, only five public monuments represent women — including as well, statues of Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meir, and Gertrude Stein. Central Park has none — the statues of fictional Mother Goose and Alice in Wonderland really can’t be counted. There are ongoing efforts, with the support of women’s rights advocates like Gloria Steinem and Lily Ledbetter, to erect statues of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her fellow feminist trailblazer Susan B. Anthony in Central Park. LoLo was inspired to advocate for statues of women when she attended 2011’s centennial commemoration of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, where 146 garment workers — 123 of them women — perished. n December 17 - 30, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Police Blotter ASSAULT: DIRT BIKE DRIVE-BY (23RD PRECINCT) On December 13, a male suspect dressed in all black fled on a white dirt bike after firing gunshots, according to police. At around 4 p.m. on Second Avenue, between 112th and 113th Streets, a male victim felt blood after hearing the gunshots, police said. The victim was brought to Harlem Hospital in stable condition, but police are still looking for the suspect who fled on the dirt bike.

BURGLARY: BOOZE BANDIT (MIDTOWN NORTH PRECINCT) Police are on the lookout for a suspect who has repeatedly stolen high-end liquor from the White Oak Oyster Bar at 818 10th Avenue near 54th Street. According to police, a suspect forcefully entered the bar through a side door on November 27, November 29, and November 30. The liquor totaled to more than $4,000, police said.

GRAND LARCENY: SNATCHING CIGARS (MIDTOWN NORTH PRECINCT) On November 23 at 4:20 p.m., a black male in his 30s, 5’7” and weighing approximately 155 pounds, walked into the Davidoff of Geneva Cigar Lounge at 1390 Sixth Avenue near 56th Street, police said, and made off with four boxes of cigars out of a humidor. The suspect, last seen wearing a gray shirt, black scarf, gray pants, black shoes, and sunglasses fled southbound on Sixth Avenue. Police reported no injuries.

FORGERY: PREYING ON THE HUNGRY (17TH PRECINCT) On August 20, an ATM technician discovered that a bank machine within the McDonald’s at 824 Third Avenue near 50th Street was

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15

ROBBERY: JEWELRY SPREE (MIDTOWN NORTH PRECINCT) Two suspects, previously wanted for an October 9 robbery at Kenjo Jewelry Store at 40 West 57 Street, have engaged in other similar exploits, according to police. The NYPD says it has connected a robbery at Jewelry Patch on 501 Seventh Avenue near 37th Street on September 19 at 2:30 p.m. to the October incident by comparing the modus operandi of each. According to police, the two suspects entered Madison Jewelers at 1385 Broadway near 38th Street on December 2 at 5:20 p.m. Similar to the previous two incidents, the two male suspects — one described as a black male, 30-35 years-old, 5'7" - 5'8", with a stocky build; the other a black male, early to mid-30s, 5'5" 5'7", with a thin build — threatened the employees with the display of a firearm and made off with multiple pieces of jewelry.

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Police are looking for a black male, late teens to early 20s, suspected of attacking an employee of the West Side Judaica at 2412 Broadway near West 89th Street. According to police, the suspect punched the male victim in the face after making threatening remarks at around 1:15 p.m. on November 30. Police said the suspect was yelling anti-Semitic remarks at the victim. The victim refused medical attention and the suspect fled on a Razor scooter. The incident has been referred to the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit, according to officials.

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357 West 35th Street; 212-239-9811

151 West 100th Street; 212-678-1811

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120 West 82nd Street; 212-580-6411 Anyone with information regarding these incidents or other suspected criminal activity can call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS, visit the Crime Stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com, or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls or contacts are strictly confidential. ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 17 - 30, 2015

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BY CARLYE WAXMAN-HUSSERL RDN, CDN

P

opular appetizers around the holidays include pigs in a blanket, fried mozzarella sticks, fried zucchini, meatballs, and all manner of chips and dips. By the time you sit down for dinner, you already feel like a stuffed mushroom! Your guests may appreciate — and they can sure use — a few healthy yet delicious treats. Yes, it’s easy to buy pre-prepared hors d’oeuvres… but how about pairing that with healthy, homemade treats?

CARLYE WAXMAN-HUSSERL

Make hummus festive by adding chopped red peppers and some green parsley on top at the end.

HEALTH

Let’s Get This Party Started: Healthy Holiday Appetizers LIGHT ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS

The secret to making this healthier is cutting out all that oil. Serving: 2 tbsps. Ingredients: 1 can of Goya low sodium chickpeas 1–2 tbsps. Roland Tahini (yes, this brand matters) 1/4 tsp. salt 2–4 tbsps. water 1 tbsp. lemon juice (or juice half a small lemon) 1 red pepper 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 bunch of chopped parsley Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a red pepper in foil and bake for about 30 minutes in the oven. Take it out and let it cool. Cut in half, remove seeds, and the skin on the outer portion of the pepper. Reserve half of the red pepper to chop up as a garnish. In a food processor, add all liquid and solid ingredients together. Process until very smooth. If the mixture is still too thick, add a bit more water. Add some chopped pars-

16

CARLYE WAXMAN-HUSSERL

Your vegetarian friends will thank you for serving cauliflower buffalo wings.

CAULIFLOWER BUFFALO “WINGS”

Ingredients: 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets, washed and dried well 1 cup of flour 1 cup of skim milk Seasoning (see directions) 1 cup of buffalo sauce of choice (pick the lowest calorie one; I happen to like Archie Moore’s.) 1 tsp. oil

For the vegetarians at your party who can’t participate in the chicken wing experience. Serves 12.

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

ley and red pepper at the end to make it festive! Nutrition Information: 48 calories, 1.6g. protein, 7g. carbs, 0g. fiber.

In a large tossing bowl, combine milk and flour and stir well. Add whatever seasonings you prefer at this point. I added salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix the cauliflower in the large bowl with flour mixture. Spread out in a casserole dish and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Take out the dish. Combine the buffalo sauce and oil together in a smaller bowl and pour over the cauliflower. Place back into oven for about eight minutes. Serve with celery sticks and low-fat bleu cheese dressing. Nutrition Information: 74 calories, 3g. protein, 12g. carbs, 1g. fiber.

TOFU AND EGGPLANT “MEATBALLS”

At 35 calories per meatball, you can have quite a few! Ingredients: 1 medium-sized eggplant 1/2 tbsp. oil 2 cloves of garlic 1 1/2 cups of Panko bread crumbs 2 tbsps. Parmesan cheese 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper 5 dashes of fresh thyme 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1 large egg 1/2 block of tofu Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice eggplant in half, then in half again. Cut into very small pieces (skin on). Heat a medium saucepan, add oil and eggplant, and cook for about two minutes. Add about a 1/4–1/2 cup of water, and continue to cook until it softens (about 10 minutes altogether). Meanwhile, place tofu on a plate and squeeze out all the water (best to do this with a paper towel on top, then use a heavy pan and let it sit for a half hour). Use a potato masher to mash tofu until it is crumbled well (the more you press, the better that texture gets). Once eggplant is cooked, transfer to a food processor and pulse a few times until it is slightly chunky. Add to bowl with the tofu, crushed chopped garlic, panko, beaten egg,

c

HEALTH, continued on p.17

December 17 - 30, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


c

HEALTH, from p.16

and seasonings. Line a large baking sheet with tin foil and coat with cooking spray. Using a big spoon or your hands, mix the mixture together until well combined. Form into small (or big!) meatballs, and place on the baking sheet. Spray cooking spray on top and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Turn over midway through, so both sides get browned. Serve with some hot marinara. Nutrition Information: For larger (12) meatballs: 70 calories, 4g. protein, 10g. carbs, 2g. fiber. For smaller (24) meatballs: 35 calories, 2g. protein, 5g. carbs, 1g. fiber.

Directions: Peel zucchini with a large peeler to get large strips. Do not salt these as they may shrink. Cut carrots into matchsticks (or buy mini carrots). Wash cilantro and peel off a few leaves for each “sushi.” Slice avocado into small chunks and sprinkle with salt. Spread out the cucumber, and use a butter knife to evenly spread hummus from side to side. At the end of one side, stick on the avocado chunk, then cilantro, then carrot. Roll all the way and stand upright. Serve with some hummus as a dip on the side. Nutrition Information: Each bite = 25–30 calories, 1g. protein, 1g. carbs, 0g. fiber.

LOW-CALORIE, LOW-CARB CREAMY ARTICHOKE DIP

This healthy twist on an Olive Garden recipe saves you 325 calories, one (1/4 cup) serving at a time. Ingredients: 1 package of frozen spinach, thawed 1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream 8 oz. low-fat cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (get something fancy, flavor is key here) 1 garlic clove, chopped 2 tbsps. oregano and parsley 1 tsp. crushed red pepper Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp. each) 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs

CARLYE WAXMAN-HUSSERL

Enjoy rolling up the vegetable sushi with your guests.

VEGETABLE “SUSHI” These are fun (and therapeutic!) to make. I suggest saving this for when guests arrive. After serving a glass of wine, teach them how to roll these. Ingredients: 2 large green zucchini 2 large carrots, or buy 1–2 bags of petite baby carrots 1 bunch of cilantro 1–2 avocados, ripe Hummus

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine all but the Panko and mix well. Add to a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the Panko crumbs on top and add a bit more Parmesan. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until brown on top (you can broil for the last minute or two).

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EXPRESS OURSELVES

Holmes Towers a Key Test for NYCHA PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN jgoodstein@cnglocal.com

EDITOR IN-CHIEF PAUL SCHINDLER editor@manhttanexpressnews.nyc

EDITOR AT LARGE JOSH ROGERS

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS JACKSON CHEN, LINCOLN ANDERSON, SCOTT STIFFLER, DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC, YANNIC RACK

ART DIRECTOR MICHAEL SHIREY

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

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

BY PAUL SCHINDLER

P

ublic housing has been in crisis for a long time in New York City, yet it’s also a vital resource in an ever more expensive city where affordability is a concern for millions. More than 400,000 New Yorkers live in public housing administered by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), which also oversees the city’s federal Section 8 subsidized rental voucher program that serves an additional 213,000 residents. NYCHA’s nearly 178,000 units of public housing account for more than eight percent of all rental apartments in the city, and those units make up more than half of all rentals asking $800 or less a month. Citywide, the median private market asking rent is $2,840, well beyond the means of the average NYCHA household, with an annual income of $23,300. Two hundred thousand New Yorkers are on the NYCHA waiting list. NYCHA has been one of the big fall guys in a national political climate where public sector solutions have fallen drastically out of favor. The reduction in federal operating support for NYCHA since 2001 has totaled $1.05 billion dollars, resulting in annual agency operating deficits amounting to tens of millions of dollars. Over the same period, reductions in federal capital support has accumulated to roughly $1.1 billion, worsening the dire physical condition of so many NYCHA sites. If the agency continues on the path it’s been on since 2001, it will accrue a cumulative operating deficit of $2.5 billion over the next decade. We can’t wait on Washington to avert this catastrophe, and we must always temper our expectations regarding Albany. Most of the solution has to come from within New York City itself. NextGeneration NYCHA is the plan that Mayor Bill de Blasio and his housing commissioner, Shola Olatoye, have developed to address the agency’s structural financial inadequacies, and the commissioner recently sat down with Manhattan Express and its sister publications

to explain how the plan could stave off mounting deficits and instead produce a $230 million surplus over the next 10 years. To be sure, the plan is ambitious, and in some places probably overly optimistic. NYCHA believes that by working closely with residents and changing internal procedures it can improve on its 74 percent rent collection rate and save $30 million a year. It projects central office workforce savings of $90 million annually through the attrition of 1,000 employees — nine percent of the total. Other projections seem more clear ly achievable: The city will waive NYCHA’s payment in lieu of taxes, saving the agency $30 million annually. Shifting some public housing units and some residents into the Section 8 program, where federal dollars are available, could provide more than $70 million in operating savings and reduce annual capital needs by more than $300 million. One of the most ambitious initiatives under NextGen NYCHA is its plan to develop new housing units — not as public housing but rather as private market developments, at both “affordable” and market rates — as “infill” on existing public housing campuses. Projecting it can build at least 10,000 new units of affordable housing, NYCHA would be contributing more than 10 percent of all new construction envisioned in the mayor’s pledge to build and rehabilitate 200,000 units of affordable housing. NYCHA projects that the affordable and market rate developments could yield $400 million to $800 million over 10 years. Building market rate housing on public housing land is controversial. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to use an 80/ 20 market/ affordable formula in infill projects was shot down. De Blasio, in contrast, is emphasizing that much of his effort will be comprised of 100 percent affordable housing developments, with the remainder being 50/ 50

projects. Holmes Towers, at First Avenue between 92nd and 93 Streets, has been selected as one of two initial sites for the 50/ 50 initiative. Half of the units built will be affordable — meaning tenants will pay no more than 30 percent of their income on rent — for people at or below 60 percent of the area median income. A family of three would qualify with an income of $46,600 or less. The key question regarding viability is whether the program’s enticements are sufficient to attract private developers. In an effort based in reducing open space long available to residents of a public housing project, where amenities are few and far between, the government also has solemn obligations to the tenants already in place. One key concern raised by Holmes residents since their site was named earlier this year is the possible loss of a playground. And, of course, they want to know what they will get in return. In a presentation by NYCHA, residents were told that Holmes has an inventory of more than $30 million in needed repairs and upgrades, but were promised nothing more specific than that a “significant” portion of the revenues from the 50/ 50 project would directly benefit their development. Olatoye emphasized that in cases like a playground’s displacement, a new facility of like or better quality would be provided. Olatoye came to NYCHA with a strong housing development résumé and, in meeting with our editors, showed an impressive facility for getting to the heart of NYCHA’s challenges. And she placed considerable emphasis on the importance of “engaging” the 400,000 residents who live in public housing. Holmes Towers will be an early test of her success in bringing its tenants to the table in a meaningful and mutually satisfactory fashion. NYCHA and the city owe that to public housing residents, and we hope that it is a test they prove to be ready for. n

WRITE US: Address letters to the editor, story ideas or tips, and proposals for writing an Express Yourselves op-ed to Editor@ManhattanExpressNews.nyc. December 17 - 30, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


EXPRESS YOURSELVES

On No-Fly List Access to Guns, Governors Cuomo, Malloy Are Right BY DANIEL J. O’DONNELL

J

ust last week, Connecticut Gover nor Dannel Malloy announced a common-sense first response to our nation’s gun-violence epidemic. By executive order, Governor Malloy intends to ban individuals on the federal no-fly list from being able to purchase fire arms in Connecticut. This move has been supported by President Barack Obama and most congressional Democrats — who faced stark opposition from not only congressional Republicans on the Hill, but from that party’s presidential candidates, as well. With more mass shootings in the United States than days on the calendar, it is long past time to rethink the accessibility of guns. Prohibiting suspected terrorists on the federal no-fly list from being able to purchase guns is a common sense, easy step we can take to make us all safer — a step that the federal government has yet to afford us. I commend Governor Andrew Cuomo for his response to the San Bernardino terror -

ist act. His call on federal officials to either pass a law prohibiting anyone on the lists from purchasing a firear m, or to make watch lists available to individual states so that New York can implement its own ban, is precisely what New York needs. If we must move forward with this policy via executive order it should proceed quickly and be supported by the federal government’s immediate cooperation. A state-level executive measure to ban gun sales to these individuals has the advantage of being expeditious and clear of political grandstanding, and I will support Governor Cuomo if this occurs. On the other hand, legislative action is fundamental to our democratic values — bipartisan support for legislation that codifies such policy into state law would be the first of its kind in the United States. Legislative action would set the bar higher throughout all levels of government across the country to ensure that firearms stay out of the hands of those who inflict terror in our communities.

New York State, in addition to states across America, must step in where Congress has refused to take action. By working with the White House to gain access to the databases, states can vow to circumvent Congress’ inaction on gun-violence prevention. Governors and state lawmakers have an opportunity to curb gun violence in a way that the federal government has not, an opportunity that must be seized to ensure the safety of all the citizens we dutifully represent. My colleagues and I must insist on a path to bar gun sales to individuals on federal terrorism lists and we must insist on protecting all New Yorkers from the mass shootings that have plagued our country for years. If there is question of which path, executive or legislative, is best, I contend that it is of little importance just so long as we act swiftly to prevent another national tragedy. Daniel J. O’Donnell has represented the Upper West Side’s 69th District in the New York State Assembly since January 2003. n

Time to Talk and Sing in Yiddish Again BY LENORE SKENAZY

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iddish is the language that used to work like magic for the Jews of Europe. You could be from Russia, Romania, or France, and even if you couldn’t understand a lick of each other’s official languages, you could almost certainly speak the Jewish language of Yiddish, and all talk together. Or sing. Coming this Dec. 24–29, you can do — or attempt — both at the first annual Yiddish New York Festival sponsored by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, on the Lower East Side. Those activities are what the Jews who survived the Holocaust were asked to do in the lobby of an Upper West Side hotel in 1948: Talk and sing.

Sing your hearts out. The man requesting this was Ben Stonehill, the owner of a flooring company in Sunnyside, Queens. He had heard that Jewish refugees were being temporarily housed at the Marseilles Hotel on West 103rd Street and wanted to save their songs that came from a world literally gone up in smoke. So he schlepped into Manhattan with the best sound equipment he could find: A big, bulky wire recorder. He set himself up in the lobby, which was teeming with Jews only recently arrived from Europe. “Sing,” he told them in the Yiddish he, too, had grown up speaking. “Sing whatever you’d like.” Those are the recordings socio-musicologist Miriam Isaacs will play at the Festival

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 17 - 30, 2015

on December 24. And then she will teach some of those songs to the audience. “Stonehill’s recordings are a kind of time capsule,” said Isaacs, herself born in a post-war displaced persons camp in Germany. “It’s a snapshot taken only a short time after liberation, before pressures to Americanize and forget what had happened.”  Some of the songs date from before the war. They come from the Yiddish theater and from the synagogue. Believe it or not, there are also some that are positively bawdy. “A lot involve rabbis or rabbis’ wives,” said Isaacs, laughing. “I’m not a psychologist but I guess these boys who were studying in the yeshivas were so protected from sex, who do they [see] who’s

a female at all?” Only the rabbi’s wife. So there’s a song, for instance, about how her “apron goes higher” — that is, she’s pregnant. Except, being yeshiva boys, they could never say that. Other songs mention delicious pastries that make it clear that pastry is not what they’re singing about at all. But of course there are also the heart-wrenching songs, including some composed in the concentration camps to remember and tell what happened there — if the singers survived. And there are many songs from after the war about never being able to go home again. “Where Shall I Go?” is one. “Pack Up,” another.

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Cars “don’t get in my way or inhibit me from running,” one jogger said. Several dog walkers said they were more concerned with cyclists running the lights than the occasional cars. Both Community Boards 7 and 8, which cover the Upper West and East Sides, backed experimental bans four years ago. A similar proposal by Councilmember Rosenthal last year got some resistance on the East Side. “I still think it’d be a great idea, especially in the summer,” said James Clynes, chairperson of Community Board 8. If the city does move toward a ban, it may indeed start with a temporary plan. The closure north of 72nd Street was temporary for two summers before last June’s change covering the entire year. For their part, most horse carriage drivers, who have been fighting the city on a possible ban of their industry, don’t seem too enthused either way about getting cars out. They said the cars don’t affect the horses, but they were concerned about traffic increases for everyone using the park.

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END OF THE ROAD, from p.4

SKENAZY, from p.19

And then there are the songs just trying to make sense of the world — “songs philosophizing about the brevity of life, questioning God,” said Isaacs. She grew up hearing some of these. “My mother was a survivor who had been in Auschwitz and Ravensbrück. She never talked about it, but she did sing while she was doing housework, and there were some songs that I’d never heard elsewhere.” One of these was, “God In His Judgment Is Right.” Isaacs’ father did not agree that God could possibly have approved the Holocaust. “So my parents used to quarrel in a good-hearted way over theological issues,” Isaacs recalled. “And my mom would say, ‘Well, you just have to have faith in God.’ ” And she’d sing that song. It was a song Isaacs had never heard again — until she heard it on a Ben Stonehill recording from the Hotel Marseilles. The recordings are not pristine, but that’s part of their moment-inamber magic. In the background,

JOSH ROGERS

A rare sign, at the East 72nd Street entrance to the park, spelling out the rules of the road.

One carriage driver, however, said that park trips north of 72nd Street are now much nicer. “On a long ride, it’s the best,” David Koch said as he waited in line for passengers. “You’re in the middle of this green oasis, there are no cars and all you hear is clip clop, clip clop.” n

horns honk, people call out lyrics when someone forgets a line, and babies cry. There are lots and lots of babies crying, because after the war, many of the survivors were young. Their parents and grandparents had been killed, and some of their children, too. They wanted to create new life. That is why many of the Stonehill recordings are simply love songs.  “Singing is restorative,” said Isaacs. “The survivors who made it through the war were not treated to therapy. They were as traumatized as human beings can get. But remarkably and wonderfully, music is very healing, and this gave them an opportunity to express what they had been through and to meet people of the opposite sex.” Amazingly, life goes on.  Thanks to Ben Stonehill, it is also frozen forever.  For more information about the Yiddish New York Festival, go to yiddishnewyork.com. Lenore Skenazy is a speaker, author, and founder of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids.” n

December 17 - 30, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Through a Glass Darkly BY STEVE ERICKSON

T

here’s a shot upon which Hungarian director László Nemes’ Auschwitz-set drama “Son of Saul” could have ended that would make it one of the most tasteless films ever. Thankfully, Nemes is smart enough to let it go on a bit longer and conclude on a deeply disturbing note. “Son of Saul” has been dividing spectators since its Cannes debut last May. (Ushered into the competition despite Nemes being a first-time filmmaker, it won the Grand Prize.) One acquaintance described it as “aesthetically, historically, and morally reprehensible.” On the other hand, the notoriously grumpy filmmaker Claude Lanzmann — director of “Shoah,” the most acclaimed movie ever made about the Holocaust — has said that it’s the first narrative film on the Holocaust of which he approves. If enough Americans care to see a subtitled Hungarian film and argue about it, it could be 2015’s controversy magnet, a la “American Sniper” or “Zero Dark Thirty.” In Auschwitz in the fall of 1944, Saul Auslander (Géza Rohrig), a Hungarian Jew, is a member of the Sonderkommando. The Sonderkommando are a small group of Jews who work for the Nazis and live apart from the rest of the concentration camp inmates, getting slightly better treatment. His daily rounds of brutalizing work, such as sweeping out crematoria, have made him a zombie. But one day, he springs back to life when he discovers a corpse he takes for his son’s. (The film never definitively answers whether he’s right about this.) He hides the body and searches for a chance to bury it and for a rabbi to perform the Kaddish over the corpse. Saul is usually depicted in close-ups or medium shots of his

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Géza Rohrig as a Hungarian Jew assigned to be part of the Sonderkommando at Auschwitz in László Nemes’ “Son of Saul.”

face or neck. The camera rarely ventures very far from him. At times, cinematographer Mátyás Erdély practically seems to have a camera track glued to Rohrig’s body. Nemes got his start working with Béla Tarr, famed for his longtake style, and he’s retained that influence from Tarr. There’s a long strain of thought about the moral implications of aesthetic choices in French film criticism, perhaps best exemplified by critic-turned-filmmaker Luc Moullet’s remark that “morality is a matter of tracking shots” (later repeated by Jean-Luc Godard) and peaking with Jacques Rivette’s attack on Gillo Pontecorvo’s “Kapo.” Since then, it’s been received wisdom for many cinephiles and critics that documentary is the only ethical way to depict the Holocaust. The kinky concentration camp antics of Liliana Cavani’s “The Night Porter” haven’t helped, nor did Roberto Benigni’s dire Auschwitz comedy “Life Is Beautiful.”

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 17 - 30, 2015

SON OF SAUL Directed by László Nemes In Hungarian, Yiddish and German with English subtitles Sony Pictures Classics Opens Dec. 18 Lincoln Plaza Cinema 1886 Broadway at W. 62nd St lincolnplazacinema.com Film Forum 209 W. Houston St. filmforum.org

Nemes is clearly aware of these debates, which have obviously informed his directorial choices. In the press kit, he says he wanted “Son of Saul” to avoid beautiful images and to look like a horror film. I’m not sure he successfully dodged the latter — piles of corpses aren’t so far from George Romero, even in this context. But Erdély shoots with a shallow focus allowing sound (including a Babel

of unsubtitled background noise in many languages) to overpower the image. It’s as if Saul were navigating around Auschwitz without glasses; the audience shares his myopic POV. Such an approach allows Nemes to suggest all kinds of disturbing material without explicit violence. The narrative is deliberately confusing; all kinds of action, most of which only tangentially involves Saul, is taking place around him. Some critics of “Son of Saul” have compared its style to a video game. To me, that seems really off-base. For one thing, first-person shooter games generally use far more rigid perspectives than Nemes does. For another, so what? Even if it were true, I’m not sure that it’s such a damning criticism. Certainly, it would be ethically dubious for Saul to run around Auschwitz like a player in a first-person shooter game. But he’s prey here, not a predator, and he’s well aware of it. What’s more problematic is Nemes’ flirtation with sentimentality. It would be going too far to say the director is using the Holocaust as a pretext, but what really seems to be on his mind is Saul’s desire to do right by his son (whether real or imagined) via Jewish ritual. The Jewish-American market is too small — and, probably, too liberal and secular — to have “faith-based” films aimed at it (although the Israeli “Fill the Void,” made by a female Orthodox director and released by Sony Pictures Classics a few years ago might qualify); however, practicing Jews might respond particularly strongly to this film. Even in Auschwitz, Nemes suggests, there are moments of happiness. Fortunately, he does no more than make the suggestion before going back to the film’s regular rhythm of unpleasure and culminating in an emotionally devastating ending. n

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A Gift Guide for Gamers on Your List

GAMERATEDGAMES.COM

“Life Is Strange,” which can only be downloaded, offers an alternative to zombies and space marines.

BY CHARLES BATTERSBY

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ideo games are ubiquitous during the holidays — but gamers frequently have to feign delight when they receive the dreaded “wrong game” from a well-meaning, but ill-informed, relative. With dozens of seemingly interchangeable games on the market, it can be difficult to keep up with which game is the killer app for that new console under the tree. These recommendations will arm you with the knowledge to pick the right gift for the gamer in your life.

CONSOLE CONCERNS Hardcore gamers will argue about the minute technical differences between a PlayStation 4 and an Xbox One. For many consumers, though, the choice of which console to buy comes down to which games are available for that system only. When the holidays roll around, gamers will often want these exclusive titles. The first “Halo” game was the sole reason why many people bought the original Xbox back in 2001. This science fiction shooter series is known for its multi-player experience as well as the ongoing story that is continued from game to game. “Halo 5” is the first in the series to debut on the new Xbox One. People who are upgrading from an Xbox 360 are likely to have already played the previous games in the series, so “Halo 5” is the best choice for them. If this is

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All in one: “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” is a coveted compilation of previous games in the series, updated for the Xbox One.

someone’s first Xbox system, “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” is the way to go. This is a compilation of the previous games in the series, updated for the Xbox One.

ACTION WITHOUT ARMS For people who don’t like shooters, there is another exclusive on the Xbox this season: “Rise of the Tomb Raider.” “Tomb Raider” has been around for two decades, but the series has had a resurgence in popularity lately. “Rise of the Tomb Raider” will eventually come to PlayStation and PC, but for now it’s one of the best ways to make people jealous of your new Xbox One. It’s also available for the old Xbox 360, for those who haven’t joined the current generation yet. “Tomb Raider” inspired another big franchise, “Uncharted.” Instead of Lara Croft, “Uncharted” features a male protagonist named Nathan Drake, who raids tombs in exotic locations all over the world. This series was one of the PlayStation 3’s best exclusives, and a new “Uncharted” game is coming to PlayStation 4 next year. In the meantime, the newly released “Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection” brings the original three games to Sony’s newest console. Players who have a PlayStation 4 but never played the old “Uncharted” games will find this to be a must-have.

EXCLUSIVES A major exclusive for the PlayStation 4 is “Bloodborne.” This came out earlier in the

year and might slip under the radar during the holidays. Gift-givers should take care in who receives this game, though, because “Bloodborne” is for hardcore gamers only. From the developers of the notoriously difficult “Souls” series, “Bloodborne” has a merciless difficulty level that will be appreciated by players who pride themselves on their skill and dedication. The Nintendo 3DS has been around for four years, but Nintendo keeps updating its hardware with slight revisions. The latest is the New Nintendo 3DS, which is fully compatible with all of the games for the previous versions (and most games for the original Nintendo DS). While there are some newer, flashier games for this platform, “Animal Crossing: New Leaf” is the ideal gift for both kids and adults with their first 3DS. It is a cute, whimsical “life simulator” that is intended to be played a little bit every day — for years on end. Many other games can be “beaten” after a few hours, but “Animal Crossing” is a gift for the long run. But players who are dying to have something that takes advantage of the special features of the New 3DS will appreciate “Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.” Most games are not exclusive to any particular platform, though. “Fallout 4” was released last month, and is currently the big new game on both consoles and on the PC. It’s a free-roaming

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December 17 - 30, 2015 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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adventure through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and players can spend hundreds of hours exploring it. Despite the post-nuclear setting, there is a heaping dose of humor to this game. Older teens and adults will enjoy the dark comedy, although its use of gore and drugs means that it’s not suitable for younger players.

KEEPING UP WITH THE DOWNLOADS Many of the best games from the past year aren’t actually available as physical gifts. Consoles, handheld platforms, and desktop computers can all download games without needing a physical disc. Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Nintendo’s eShop, and the popular PC digital distributor Steam all sell physical gift cards that can be put under the tree or in stockings. One notable game that can only be downloaded is “Life Is Strange,” which goes against

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72-02 Astoria Boulevard East Elmhurst, NY 11370 72-02 Astoria Boulevard Contact Duane Henderson, Counselor PC PLENTY East Elmhurst, NY 11370 718-278-3240 Office • 914-714-8174 Contact Duane Cell Henderson, Counse Many people still play their 718-278-3240 Office • 914-714-8174 7 games on PCs, and serious PC gamers will appreciate a mouse built specifically for their favorite game. Razer makes special mice with additional buttons intended for certain genres. The Razer Naga is designed for MMOs (massively multiplayer online games) like “World of Warcraft,” while the Hex is for MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arenas) like “League of Legends.” They’re a fun extravagance for someone who already has the game they want.

ALWAYS ACCESSORIZE Finally, for those who are stumped about what to get the gamer who already has everything, consider accessories for their existing controllers. KontrolFreek thumbsticks clip onto controllers to add functionality and flair. They come with logos of popular games like “Call of Duty,” and are designed to enhance performance of specific kinds of games, like shooters. Grip-iTs offer similar features, but at a stocking stuffer price point.

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Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection” brings the original three games to Sony’s newest console, the PlayStation 4.

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Manhattan Treasures

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Feinstein’s/ 54 Below. 254 W. 54th St. Dec. 20-24, 7 p.m.; Dec. 25, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 26 & 28-30, 7 & 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $85-$155 at 54below.com or 646-476-3551, with a $5 surcharge on ticket purchase at the door. Food & drink minimum is $25; $85 for prix fixe menu on Christmas.

KEVIN YATOROLA

NORM LEWIS NO LONGER A PHANTOM AT 54 BELOW Norm Lewis, who recently made history in “The Phantom of the Opera” as Broadway’s first African-American Phantom, makes his Feinstein’s/ 54 Below debut with a swinging Christmas show, where he plans to feature special guests each evening. 254 W. 54th St. Dec. 20-24, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $65-$140 at 54below.com; with $5 extra for purchase at the door. There’s a $25 food & drink minimum.

DANNY AIELLO’S PRE-CHRISTMAS BASH Actor and singer Danny Aiello is joined by his band Joe Geary & the Guys in an evening of song, story, and comedy. Aiello sings from his five albums, including his Christmas release, “My Christmas Song For You,” and will draw on tales from his new memoir, “I Only Know Who I Am When I'm Somebody Else.” The Triad, 158 W. 72nd St. Dec. 23, 3 & 8 p.m. Tickets are $40-$60 at triadnyc.com/ shows, and there’s a two-drink minimum. 54BELOW.COM

DICK HYMAN NEVER MISSES A NOTE Legendary pianist Dick Hyman, with more than 100 albums to his name, appears for two nights in programs hosted by WBGO Radio announcer Rhonda Hamilton. The 88-year-old pianist’s body of work ranges from original piano and orchestral works, to interpretations of classic American music, ragtime, and variants of stride piano. The word on the street is he never misses a note — testament to his universally recognized technical mastery. Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Broadway at 60th St., fifth fl. Dec. 21-22, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. Cover charge is $35; $25 for students at jazz.org/dizzys/reserve/163189 or 212-258-9595.

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FELIZ NAVIDAD FROM JOSÉ FELICIANO HIMSELF Since 1970, José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” has been a Christmas carol classic. Tonight he brings his “Holiday Feliz Navidad Show” to B.B. King Blues Club & Grill 237 W. 42 St. Tickets are $52.50 at bbkingblues.com.

FEINSTEIN’S MIRACLE ON 54TH STEET Singer and pianist Michael Feinstein, backed by a jazz band, hosts his annual holiday show — which the New York Times has termed “as much a Christmas season ritual as catching the Rockettes at Radio Music Hall or visiting the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree” — in the newly re-named

A NOT EXACTLY CHRISTMAS EVE CONCERT Often called “Israel’s Bruce Springsteen” and a tireless advocate for peace, David Broza returns to 92Y for his annual concert, a tradition that began on December 24, 2001. An energetic and charismatic performer, Broza fuses cultural influences from the countries where he has lived — Israel, Spain, England, and the US. Backed by a five-piece band, vocalist and guitar player Broza welcomes special guests Steve Earle, Mira Awad, and Ali Paris. 92nd Street Y, Lexington Ave. at 92nd St., Kaufmann Concert Hall, Dec. 24, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $60-$75 at 92y.org.

MELBA MOORE PAYS TRIBUTE TO LUIGI FACCUITO Eugene Louis “Luigi” Faccuito was an American jazz dancer, choreographer, teacher, and innovator who is best known for creating a jazz exercise technique, developed for his own rehabilitation after suffering paralyzing injuries in a car accident at the age of 21, which became the world’s first standard technique for teaching jazz and for teaching musical theater dance. “Luigi… A Benefit-Tribute Concert” stars Tony-winner Melba Moore, who was recently inducted into the Official Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame. The event benefits Luigi’s Jazz Centre in Manhattan to allow it to continue providing scholarships, classes, and workshops worldwide for teaching his jazz technique and style. Moore is joined by other artists in a show directed and choreographed by Luigi’s Jazz Centre’s Tome' Cousin. Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St. Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 at symphonyspace.org.

NEAL SLAVIN

JUDY COLLINS IN SONGS FOR PEACE Founded by Leonard Bernstein in 1984, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine’s annual New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace features Judy Collins and host Harry Smith, along with the Cathedral Choir and Orchestra and soprano soloist Jamet Pittman. The program includes Vivaldi’s “Gloria in excelsis deo, et in terra pax,” Moses Hogan’s “Walk Together, Children,” William Dawson’s “Balm in Gilead,” the traditional spiritual “This Little Light of Mine,” the world premiere of Robert Sirota and Victoria Sirota’ “Prelude and Spiritual for Mother Emanuel,” and, in tribute to Bernstein, his “Chichester Psalms.” 1047 Amsterdam Ave, btwn. 111th & 113 Sts. Dec. 31, 7 p.m. Ticket are $40-$150 at stjohndivine.org.

GOV’T MULE BACK AT THE BEAON FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE For the 12th year running, Gov’t Mule rings in the New Year from the Beacon Theatre stage, with shows on Dec. 30 & 31. The New Year’s Eve show will be a three-set extravaganza paying homage to the Allman Brothers Band, the Band, and the Grateful Dead. Special guests Steve Kimock, Lincoln Schleifer, Larry Campbell, Chuck Leavell, Jack Pearson, and Paul Riddle join in the celebration. 2124 Broadway at 74th St. Dec. 30, 8 p.m.; Dec. 31, 9 p.m. Tickets are $50.00 - $89.50 at beacontheatre.com.

MARIN MAZZIE MAKES HER OWN KIND OF MUSIC Three-time Tony Award nominee Marin Mazzie (“Ragtime,” “Passion,” “Kiss Me Kate”) returns to Feinstein’s/ 54 Below on New Year’s Eve with her show “Make Your Own Kind of Music,” featuring beloved songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s as well as musical choices for the very last night of the year. 254 W. 54th St. Dec. 31, 7 p.m.

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JAZZ.ORG

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ANNALEIGH ASHFORD & THE WHISKEY 5 RING IN 2016 Annaleigh Ashford and the Whiskey 5 return to Feinstein’s/ 54 Below to make New Year’s magic with an eclectic mix of songs, stories, some sort-of impressive magic tricks, and an appearance made by a rainbow. Tony Award-winner Annaleigh Ashford (for “You Can’t Take It With You,” currently in “Sylvia,” and known for “Kinky Boots” and Showtime’s “Masters of Sex”) and music director Will Van Dyke reprise some of their “Lost In The Stars” favorites as well as debut some new tunes to celebrate this past Year of the Goat. 254 W. 54th St. Dec. 31, 11 p.m.; doors open at 9. The evening includes a twocourse dinner, a dessert buffet, an open bar, tax, and gratuity, with premium tickets including a half bottle of Laurent Perrier Brut Champagne for each party of two and an individual dessert platter during the dance party. Tickets are $330-$350, with premium tickets are $425 at 54below.com. 54BELOW.COM

Tickets are $85-$150 at 54below.com, or at the door for an extra $5. There is a $45 food & drink minimum.

TICKETS ARE GOING FAST — NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH IT

PAQUITO D’RIVERA BUILDS TO A DECEPTIVE FRENZY Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola rings in the New Year with an allstar band and two exciting sets of live music and specialty menus. Clarinetist/ saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, a Carnegie Hall Lifetime Achievement Award-winner and NEA Jazz Master fresh off of winning this year’s Best Latin Jazz Album — his 14th Grammy — brings his band to the stage. The show reflects his passion for utilizing Cuban, Brazilian, Venezuelan, Martiniquean, Puerto Rican, Austrian, French, Mexican, German, and sounds from many more countries into the universal language of jazz and bebop. D’Rivera’s infectious blend regularly sells out top concert halls in New York, but he also knows how to channel his magic into the club setting, working crowds into a frenzy with deceptive ease. D’Rivera’s musicians include pianist Alex Brown, steel pan player Victor Provost, drummer Eric Doob, bassist Zach Brown, percussionist Arturo Stable, and violinist Eduardo Coma. Broadway at 60th St., fifth fl. Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. & 11 p.m. Tickets are $175 (7 p.m., including a three-course, Latin-inspired menu); $285 (11 p.m.; three-course menu, plus a midnight champagne toast) at ticketing.jazz.org/single/SelectSeating.aspx?p=5447 or by calling CenterCharge at 212-721-6500.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 17 - 30, 2015

JERRYSEINFELD.COM

Comedian and consummate Upper West Sider Jerry Seinfeld performs once a month throughout 2016 at the Beacon Theatre as part of a residency entitled “Jerry Seinfeld: The Homestand.” Seinfeld said, “My favorite theater in New York to perform in has always been the Beacon. Comedians live for certain houses that just feel alive for some reason. The Beacon is that place for me.” Seinfeld’s first appearance is Jan. 7, 8 p.m. 2124 Broadway at 74th St. Tickets are $79-$175 at beacontheatre.com, where the entire year’s tickets are now on sale.

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