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The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

July 7, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 27

Is there a ‘Silver lining’ for Shelly in McDonnell Supreme Court ruling? By Mary Reinholz A unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States overturning the 2014 conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell on corruption charges could lead to a new trial for fallen former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, according to legal experts. Silver, a lifelong Lower East

Side resident, was sentenced in May by a federal judge to 12 years in prison for accepting around $5 million in bribes and kickbacks in two schemes involving his outside work as a private attorney. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, had been convicted for accepting $165,000 and Silver continued on p. 6

E.V. graffiti artist pleads guilty of fatally stabbing love rival six years ago By Lincoln Anderson On June 6, East Village graffiti artist Jairo Pastoressa pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in connection with the stabbing death of Christopher Jusko, 21, in 2010. In return for Pastoressa’s plea, the judge had promised him a sentence of 10 years in prison, with five years of post-

release supervision — and that was what Pastoressa was sentenced to on Tues., June 28. Pastoressa’s mother, Anna Pastoressa, said her son’s nearly six years spent on Rikers Island awaiting trial will count as “credit” toward his 10-year sentence, so he will likely only have to serve up to four more years. A spokesperson for the ManJairo continued on p. 3

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Jim Power fixing up the grout on one of his seven mosaic-tile lampposts that will be returned to the A stor Place / Cooper Square area as sculptural pieces. None of them will have lights.

‘Mosaic Man’ is getting back into pole position By Michael Ossorguine


hanks to a concerted community effort, local artist Jim Power a.k.a. the “Mosaic Man” is restoring his Mosaic Trail installation at Astor Place and Cooper Square to its former glory — yet not without reservations due to what he feels is unfair pay. Since their initial construction, which began in 1985, the colorful light poles have taken a beating from the weather, with many tiles falling off at the base and near the top. The advocacy

groups the Village Alliance business improvement district, City Lore and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation successfully lobbied to have the sculptures’ restoration added to the agenda for the city Department of Design and Construction’s $16 million reconstruction plan for Astor Place and Cooper Square. The overall project includes new pedestrian plazas, the closing of a block of Astor Place and the return of the renovated iconic “Alamo” sculpture — more familiarly known as “The Cube.”

Power is now refurbishing his poles — which will be unpowered, without lights — in donated space at the Sixth St. Community Center, at 638 E. Sixth St., and aspires to complete the project by September, albeit reluctantly. “We’re working without a payroll. I can’t do it anymore,” said Power, 68. “Nine thousand dollars for four month’s work between two people? I don’t know if that’s $5 an hour.” (It would, in fact, come out to about $8 an hour, if they work on the project Power continued on p. 10

Schwartz calls off campaign vs. Glick..............p. 2 ‘Street-hollering woman’ blasts bad bikers.....p. 19 It’s a wrap for Ramadan�������� p. 19


Schwartz pulls out: Fresh off snagging the endorsement of former Public Advocate Mark Green, Village District Leader Arthur Schwartz has decided to throw in the towel in his challenge to Assemblymember Deborah Glick in the Lower West Side’s 66th District. It wasn’t because he didn’t think he had a chance in a September primary face-off with Glick, who, as the first openly gay member of the New York State Legislature, is admittedly an icon in the gay community. And it wasn’t that he lost heart for the race. Rather, it was his actual heart. Schwartz underwent bypass surgery 10 years ago that saw four new arteries created for his pumper. At that time, he was running an upstart challenge to State Committeeman Larry Moss, who had all the political endorsements. Schwartz bravely decided to stay in the race and pulled off a huge upset win, earning a reputation as a formidable campaigner. (He always said his direct mailers and ads in The Villager touting his community accomplishments were a key to his victory.) But that race was really only a few months. This one against the veteran assemblymember has been a slog and it’s been pretty vicious, Schwartz said. (Of course, Glick will say Schwartz was the one slinging mud.) He noted he and a group of college-age volunteers were out petitioning in Abingdon Square recently for signatures to get him on the ballot when a pack of Glick supporters jumped right in front of them and starting chanting for her. “For an hour it was pleasant,” Schwartz said. “Then a horde of young men, wearing Glick T-shirts, brazenly stood in front of my crew yodeling, ‘Glick for Assembly. Sign here!’ I withdrew, and asked one of my volunteers, who wanted to get into a fight, to back off. As I left, I felt my blood pressure rise. For the rest of that week, I would awake each morning with a knot in my stomach and a tightening in my chest.” Anyway, as he wrote in The Villager 10 years ago in a talking point, explaining why he had resolved — while recuperating from heart surgery — to continue with his campaign against Moss, Schwartz always was worried about his heart health because his



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“It’s worth the trip down the street!” 2

July 7, 2016

Deborah Glick now has an open path to re-election. But Hillar y Clinton — who Glick is suppor ting for president — though cleared by the F.B.I. of criminal charges in Ser vergate, is facing Donald Trump. Plus, that pesk y Bernie Sanders is still hanging around!

Ar thur Schwar tz is out of the running for A ssembly, but he’s still sticking by his man Bernie Sanders.

father, a physician, died of cardiac disease at a relatively young age. He said he was feeling it lately and went to see his cardiologist. He had a stress test and was strongly advised to “slow down.” He recently found himself crying at his 10-year-old daughter’s graduation — because he feared he might not be around to see her grow up into a woman. Schwartz penned a column in a monthly Village newspaper that he writes for, saying why he was dropping out — but not without getting in some choice digs at Glick. Her supporters brought the column to Glick’s attention — apparently, she doesn’t subscribe — and she was not happy to see the attacks, plus was suspicious that Schwartz really is dropping out. “Arthur says he is withdrawing from the primary, though he continues his very negative attacks on me, even as he alleges he’s withdrawing,” Glick told us. “I believe nothing until there are no ballot petition signatures filed on his behalf. My campaign continues full-speed ahead. I have enjoyed incredible support from people as we’ve been out petitioning, and a wide range of endorsements. I was always confident of winning.

And I believe that, if in fact Arthur withdraws, it will be because he recognized the overwhelming support that I have in this community despite his incredibly negative and misleading attacks on me. Nothing is over until there are no petition signatures filed for Arthur or anyone else in the 66th Assembly District other than my petitions.” Well, we do believe Schwartz is indeed dropping out of the contest. But he is still actively involved in the Bernie Sanders campaign...movement...whatever we should call it at this point. “I am still a delegate for Bernie,” Schwartz said. “I am still counsel to the Sanders campaign in New York. I am still one of the leaders of the Sanders delegation in New York. I do not think he will get the nomination, but he is fighting hard over several platform planks, and believes that he has support for some of his positions — like anti-Trans-Pacific Partnership — from Hillary Clinton delegates. I plan on continuing to criticize Glick monthly in Westview: one issue per month. ... All that will change is that I will not file to be on the ballot. I will run for re-election as district leader next year.” TheVillager.com

E.V. graffiti artist pleads guilty to manslaughter Jairo continued from p. 1

hattan District Attorney’s Office said she believes that, in fact, is the case. At 5:30 a.m. on Oct. 25, 2010, Pastoressa, who was then 25, and Jusko had a fateful showdown in the hallway outside Pastoressa’s apartment at 272 E. 7th St., a lawless former squat infamous for its turmoil. Pastoressa was armed with an 8-inch knife that he had grabbed from his kitchen. Jusko, a rival tagger, grew up in Stuyvesant Town but had been living in Bushwick. The two young men had reportedly been feuding over a woman. Jusko wound up slashed in the neck and back and staggering down the stairs, dying on the sidewalk outside. Pastoressa turned himself in to police the next day. As The Villager reported this past February, Pastoressa and his mom were reaching the breaking point as the graffiti artist continued to be held on Rikers — approaching five-and-a-half years — without a trial. Initially, Jairo had been put on a suicide watch and moved to Kirby Forensic Psychiatic Center on Wards Island, then was returned to Rikers. A “psych defense” was considered, then dropped. There were changes of the judge on the case, as well as defense lawyers. “The fact that he has spent six years on Rikers is totally absurd,” Anna told The Villager last week. “He can’t wait to get the hell out of that island. He told me, ‘After six years of abuse on this island, I can do four years [Upstate] in my sleep.’ … It was his choice. They offered him a plea, and he took it.” Rikers has taken a toll on Jairo, as it does on everybody, she said. “They torture them on ‘Torture Island,’ that’s what I call it,” she said. “That island should be shut down… He couldn’t do a trial. He’s too fragile at this time. He’s too broken-down. And he didn’t want to put Jusko’s family through it. He can’t endure having them in the room and looking at him.” When he pleaded guilty a month ago, Jairo apologized — though a statement wasn’t necessarily expected — to Jusko’s family members. “He said, ‘I’m not that kind of person, the way I’m being depicted here. … I’m very sorry,’ ” according to his mother. Jusko’s family did not attend the court date. “Jairo feels very bad about this. He couldn’t endure a trial — for the family...for him,” Anna said. “Dirt would be dug up. He said, ‘I can’t put anyone through it.’ ” Anna, for her part, says Jairo “is not a killer” and acted in self-defense when Jusko confronted him. But prosecutors had argued that Jairo lured Jusko to the building, saying “they would settle it like men,” only then to attack him. “I would have liked him to go to trial because I think he would have got off,” his mom said. She noted that she had TheVillager.com

File photos by Jefferson Siegel, left, and Lincoln Anderson

Jairo Pastoressa being arraigned in cour t in October 2010, left, for second-degree murder in the death of Christopher Jusko. After Jusko was slain at 272 E. Seventh St., a memorial photo of him, right, with a message saying he “will always be par t of the Stuy Town Fam” was left outside the building.

gathered evidence to bolster Jairo’s defense, but now that he has pleaded, will refrain from sharing it publicly. In preparation for Jairo’s transfer to an Upstate prison, Anna said, he was moved to another section of Rikers and everything was taken away from him, including his treasured colored pencils, KoolAid powder and other “MacGyvered” art materials. He used the scrounged-up media to create deftly drawn graffiti artworks and decorated T-shirts and other apparel while behind bars. Indeed, Jusko’s tragic stabbing not only snuffed out one graffiti artist’s life but derailed the budding career of another. Antonio “Chico” Garcia, the East Village’s legendary “godfather of graffiti murals,” had been grooming Jairo to be his heir. And the Lower Eastside Girls Club reportedly had been hoping the talented young tagger would teach silkscreening at their clubhouse. Meanwhile, the former squat at 272 E. Seventh St. still has not been brought under control and up to code by the city. The front-door locks reportedly still frequently need to be changed to keep people from breaking in. The building has running water, but no gas or heat. Anna has since given her son’s former apartment to a friend of hers. “The City of New York owns the building — and that’s the truth,” Anna said. In hindsight, she added, “It was a very bad decision. Jairo should never have been living there.”

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Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association News Story, First Place, 2015 Editorial Page, First Place, 2015 Editorials, First Place, 2014 News Story, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009







GRAPHIC DESIGNERS John Napoli Cristina Alcine

Executive VP of Advertising Amanda Tarley


Photo by Tequila Minsky

Whatever floats your boat: A Soho Fourth of July On Independence Day in Soho Square, at Six th Ave. and Spring St., locals grilled up holiday fare, flew Old Glor y and threw in a canoe for that special touch. The square is due for a major renovation, spearheaded by the Hudson Square Connection business improvement district.


Member of the New York Member of the National Press Association Newspaper Association

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The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for others errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue. Published by NYC Community Media, LLC One Metrotech North 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (718) 260-2500 • Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: www.thevillager.com E-mail: news@thevillager.com © 2016 NYC Community Media, LLC


July 7, 2016




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July 7, 2016


Could Silver walk thanks to ruling on McDonnell case? Silver continued from p. 1

lavish gifts from a wealthy Virginia businessman in exchange for promoting his dietary supplement. But in a June 27 decision written by John Roberts, the Supreme Court’s chief justice, the court said that McDonnells’s conduct did not rise to the narrower definition of what constitutes a corrupt official act. “There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that,” Roberts opined. “But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader implications of the government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.” Roberts wrote in his opinion that government prosecutors overreach when they find illegal quid pro quos in routine activities by elected officials for their benefactors. “In the government’s view, nearly anything a public official accepts — from a campaign contribution to lunch — counts as a quid; and nearly everything a public official does — from arranging a meeting to inviting a guest to an event — counts as a quo,” Roberts said. “But conscientious public officials arrange meetings for constituents, contact other officials on their behalf and include them in events all the time.” Gerald B. Lefcourt, a prominent Manhattan criminal defense lawyer, won a 1993 acquittal on appeal for ousted New York State Assembly Speaker Melvin Miller. Miller had been convicted on eight out of nine felony charges for cheating clients at his law firm out of real estate investments. Lefcourt said, in his opinion, Silver had “a shot” at exoneration by a higher court. Lefcourt said that while Silver’s case was “factually different” from the McDonnells’, the Supreme Court had ruled that “all these things that legislators do are not in and of themselves wrong, and there has to be an official connection to a quid pro quo, such as money and gifts.” The attorney noted that Silver, a liberal Democrat and fixture in the state Legislature for 40 years, had steered $500,000 in two state grants to a cancer doctor in exchange for referral of patients to a Downtown personal injury law firm that employed the powerful pol as a part-time attorney. “But I don’t know if the jury was told what an official act is and how they should consider it,” he said. “According to the Supreme Court [decision], juries have to be told that official acts are not enough: There has to be a substantial connection to a quid pro quo. And the doctor said there was no quid pro quo.” Veteran north Brooklyn Assemblymember Joseph Lentol, a former Kings County prosecutor, chairs the Assembly’s Committee on Codes, which reviews and evaluates all the state’s


July 7, 2016

Photo by Jefferson Siegel

Former A ssembly Speaker Sheldon Silver last December after his conviction on multiple federal counts of corruption. Following the verdict, he was immediately stripped of his political position.

criminal justice legislation. He said he was “optimistic” that Silver, a former longtime colleague, had a chance at vindication as a result of the SCOTUS decision. Lentol also noted, in a telephone interview, that the prosecution’s “star witness” against Silver, the aforementioned cancer doctor, had said at trial that he didn’t regard the $500,000 in state grants he received with Silver’s help as a quid pro quo and that “he didn’t expect a grant.” “This was his testimony and it was central to Silver’s conviction,” Lentol said. “The federal statutes are so vague on honest-services fraud that the prosecutors were able to get a conviction. That was probably true in Virginia. The Supreme Court was itching to put prosecutors in their place.” Lentol said it was “striking” that the court’s decision was unanimous. Silver’s quid pro quo case and that of former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos were prosecuted by the office of Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. While some media pundits characterized the SCOTUS decision as a body blow to Bharara’s wide-ranging corruption probes, his media team claimed the court’s ruling in the McDonnell case would not jeopardize the government’s cases against the two fallen New York lawmakers. “While we are reviewing the McDonnell decision, the official actions that led to the convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos fall squarely within the definition set forth by the Supreme Court today,” read a terse statement issued by spokesperson Nick Biase at the U.S. Department of Justice, the umbrella agency for the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District.

For her part, Susan Lerner, executive director for good-government group Common Cause New York, denounced the court ruling. “The Supreme Court lives in a fantasyland that defies the commonsense understanding of two New York juries,” Lerner said in a press release. “The ruling in McDonnell v. United States could have dramatic effects on New Yorkers and their government. By confirming that a pay-to-play culture is an inherent part of day-to-day politics, the Supreme Court has opened the floodgates for special-interest groups to influence politicians at the expense of American democracy. The decision could also affect the cases surrounding Dean Skelos and Shelly Silver, as well as the ability of federal prosecutors to target and eliminate corruption in government.” U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni ordered Silver to begin his sentence July 1 but postponed that date to late August because of the McDonnell case before the Supreme Court. Joel Cohen, one of the Silver’s lawyers, told The Villager that he and co-counsel Stephen Molo would be filing a brief before Caproni this month, arguing that Silver should remain free on bail while they appeal his conviction. “The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision today in the McDonnell case makes clear that the federal government has gone too far in prosecuting state officials for conduct that is part of the everyday functioning of those in elected office,” Cohen and Molo said in a joint statement. “The McDonnell decision will be central to Mr. Silver’s appeal.” Robert Gage, one of the attorneys for former Majority Leader Skelos, a Republican, did not return a call for comment. Skelos was sentenced to five years behind bars for using his influence to

get jobs for his son, Adam, in companies with business before the state. Adam was sentenced to six-and-onehalf years of jail time by U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood nine days after Silver’s sentencing in May. An appellate lawyer for the elder Skelos argued that he should remain free on bail, pending an appeal, citing similarities to the McDonnell case, according to the Wall Street Journal. Judge Wood acknowledged in court that Skelos might have grounds for an appeal, noting, “There is a danger that the jury decided the case based on a rationale that may be rejected by the Supreme Court.” In 2014, husband-and-wife Bob and Maureen McDonnell were indicted on 14 different counts related to accepting gifts from Jonnie Williams, a C.E.O. of a corporation with business before the state of Virginia. In return for accepting vacations, loans and designer watches and apparel, Governor McDonnell promoted Williams’s dietary supplement, Anatabloc, hosting events for him and encouraging state and private universities to conduct research on the supplement, which Williams hoped could be listed as a pharmaceutical. After a trial in the Eastern District of Virginia, Bob McDonnell was convicted of honest-services wire fraud, along with extortion and obtaining property — both “under color of official right,” meaning the “coercive element” was not specific steps he took but simply the fact that he held political office. McDonnell appealed the decision. But in July 2015, the Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction. McDonnell again appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in August 2015 the Supreme Court ordered that McDonnell remain free pending its decision. The court agreed to take the case in January 2016. Brent Ferguson is counsel with the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, where he works on its Money in Politics team. He said that the SCOTUS ruling “interprets the bribery statutes more narrowly than the government but it doesn’t change the laws. It left the statutes in place.” Others said that while the high court’s decision opens the door to charges being dropped or overturned entirely in quid pro quo cases across the country, it leaves plenty of room for prosecutors to ferret out public corruption — and McDonnell could be tried again. Ferguson said the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, while not a party in the McDonnell case, filed an amicus curiae brief — an informational paper — with the court because it was concerned when the ex-governor tried to invoke the First Amendment to justify benefactors “buying access to public figures.” “The First Amendment protects ingratiation,” he said. “It doesn’t protect corruption.” TheVillager.com

Planned Service Changes

ACE Jul 11 – 15 Mon to Fri 10 PM to 5 AM No A C E trains between 59 St-Columbus Circle and Jay St-MetroTech. A and E trains are rerouted to the 6 Av Line. A trains run via the D and F between 59 St-Columbus Circle and Jay St-MetroTech: • Via the D between 59 St-Columbus Circle and 34 St-Herald Sq. • Via the F between 34 St-Herald Sq and Jay St-MetroTech.

E trains run via the M and F in Manhattan: • • • •

Via the M between 5 Av/53 St and 34 St-Herald Sq. Via the F between 34 St-Herald-Sq and 2 Av. The 2 Av F station is the Manhattan terminal for E trains to/from Queens. No trains between World Trade Center and 7 Av.

C service to Manhattan runs until 9:30pm. Brooklyn-bound service runs until 10PM. Travel • • •

Alternatives Use 6 Av D F stations to connect with rerouted A E trains. Take 1 2 4 5 6 ( ) for service to/from Lower Manhattan. Take 1 2 for service to/from Times Sq-42 St/42 St-Port Authority Bus Terminal and 34 St-Penn Station.

Stay Informed Call 511 and say “Current Service Status,” look for informational posters in stations, or visit mta.info – where you can access the latest Planned Service Changes information, use TripPlanner +, and sign up for free email and text alerts.

© 2016 Metropolitan Transportation Authority


July 7, 2016


Jamie Rogers is elected chairperson of C.B. 3 By Lesley SussmaN


t a meeting marred by disruptions by Lower East Side and Chinatown activists opposed to the displacement of low-income residents and small businesses by hotels and luxury development, Community Board 3 last week managed to elect a new chairperson, naming Jamie Rogers to the top post. Rogers, 33, is C.B. 3’s current assistant secretary and has served on the board four years. He succeeds Gigi Li, who served four consecutive one-year terms as board chairperson, and is now running for state Assembly in the 65th District, for the seat vacated by disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Silver was convicted last year on federal corruption charges, and Alice Cancel has filled the seat since winning a special election in April. Before the June 28 vote, Rogers and the other chairperson candidate, Enrique Cruz, gave brief statements and answered questions from board members. Members then cast their votes, and Rogers easily defeated Cruz in a 34-to-11 vote. Cruz founded ALBOR, the Association of Latino Business Owners and Residents, in 2013 when he and partners were facing opposition to their plan to open a restaurant on Rivington St. The board also elected other executive officers at the packed meeting, held at P.S. 20, at 166 Stanton St. Alysha Lewis-Coleman won as first vice chairperson, defeating Chinatown activist Karlin Chan. Herman Hewitt, current first vice chairperson, was elected second vice chairperson. Meghan Joye, current C.B. 3 secretary, was reelected. Christian De Leon was elected assistant secretary, and David Crane, C.B. 3’s current treasurer, was also reelected. Rogers owns Pushcart Coffee, a small chain of coffee shops with locations in Chelsea, Gramercy and Williamsburg. Speaking after the election, he told The Villager, “I will lead by example with a clear vision of how the community should be. But I will also be flexible rather than have a static vision.” During the meeting, Rogers was asked how he would advocate for low-income residents and the elderly who live in the Lower East Side and Chinatown. “One of my most important missions will be to keep people from losing their housing and small businesses to high-rise developers — especially people who live in public housing and senior citizens,” he responded. In addition to his voluntary C.B. 3 post and running his business, Rogers is campaign treasurer for City Council candidate Carlina Rivera, who is a former C.B. 3 board member and his wife. The two married last year. Rogers, a Grand St. resident, is also president of Coalition for a District Alternative, or CoDA, the East Village’s leading Democratic political organiza-


July 7, 2016

Photos by Lesley Sussman

Members of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side made their demands known with signs and vocal outbursts.

Jamie Rogers, right, succeeds Gigi Li, left, as chairperson of the East Side communit y board.

tion. Formerly a corporate lawyer, Rogers was appointed to Community Board 3 in 2012. Rivera, a Democratic district leader who now serves as a legislative director for Councilmember Rosie Mendez, told The Villager that her husband will do “a great job.” “I have tremendous confidence in his ability to be fair and responsible,” she said. “I know how much he cares about

the community.” CoDA has already endorsed Rivera to succeed Mendez in the City Council when Mendez is forced out by term limits after next year. At a contentious public session at the meeting’s start, activists with the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side staged a vocal protest against the handling by C.B. 3 of a communitybased Chinatown rezoning initiative.

The coalition is demanding that C.B. 3 push harder to implement the Chinatown Working Group’s rezoning plan, which C.B. 3 members helped in drafting over the past eight years. The plan would create a new special zoning district in Chinatown and the Lower East Side with increased height restrictions and protections to fend off sky-high luxury towers and fancy hotels. Board leaders were denounced as “sellouts” for failing — in the protesters’ view — to forcefully advocate for all aspects of the rezoning proposal. At one point, police had to forcibly eject a protester from the meeting. In an earlier interruption, David Michael, an advocate for National Mobilization Against Sweatshops, or NMASS, charged up and down the aisles hurling abuse at C.B. 3 members and holding up a sign over Li’s head that read, “Sell Out.” Other demonstrators paraded up and down the aisle of the auditorium shouting, “They’re not listening to us and turning over the neighborhood to developers who are treating us like cockroaches!” A large contingent of Chinatown residents held up posters denouncing the city and Mayor Bill de Blasio for not halting the increasing displacement of the neighborhood’s small merchants and residents. Speaker after speaker stood up and C.B. 3 continued on p. 9 TheVillager.com

amid cries for L.E.S. / C’town rezoning support C.B. 3 continued from p. 8

pointed accusing fingers at Li and other board members. “You’re doing a lousy job for this community,” coalition member Louisa Velez flung at Li. Velez accused Li of secretly altering the Chinatown Working Group rezoning plan to benefit high-rise developers. “Did she get bought off, or did she volunteer to do a dirty job for the city and displace people of color and working poor in our neighborhood?” Velez fumed. But Li later responded that she and the community board have been involved in the process and will keep advocating for it. “We have been part of the Chinatown Working Group for the past eight years and we will continue to work with them for the priorities laid out in that plan,” she said. Li could not run for re-election since the board last year adopted a four-year term limit for chairperson. She was honored at the meeting by local politicians’ representatives for her service to the community. They presented her with a variety of certificates of appreciation. The outgoing chairperson was also lauded by veteran board member Hewitt for “all her hard work and having the interest of the community at heart.”


A protester disrupted the meeting while carr ying a sign reading, “Sell Out,” with a photo of Mayor de Blasio and a developer on it. During one tense moment, he held the sign over Gigi Li’s head.

In her remarks to the board on her tenure at its helm, Li said C.B. 3, over all, did a very commendable job and that it is now in a very good place. “I’m proud of the board and all it’s

done for the community over the past four years,” she said. “This is the most diverse leadership the board has ever had. We may not have agreed on everything, but we still worked together to ac-

complish so much.” Li told the board that although she is now pursuing a political career, she will, nonetheless, continue to support the board in all its future efforts.

July 7, 2016


Power to the poles! Back in pole position with help Power continued from p. 1

full time five days per week.) Julie Powell, one of Power’s collaborators on the project, noted that it is “the hardest work she has ever done,” taking up hours of time in the hot outdoor space next to the Community Center. However, both artists predict that they will be able to complete the seven poles by the deadline. One complication that is prolonging the process is the steel caps that the poles are getting, designed to protect them from rain. The yellow crown-like pieces are welded to the tops of the poles and also bolted in. Power said that this process is much harder than it looks, and time-intensive due to the lack of equipment and space to allow for greater mobility and flexibility for the poles. He often finds himself needing multiple assistants, but has insufficient funds to pay them. Power is being paid the aforementioned sum by the Village Alliance for his work, but says he needs something closer to $40,000. Power believes that if the Village Alliance called the City Council about it, the city would be amenable to his request for more funding. At the very minimum, he wants $30 per hour for three people. (For its part, the Village Alliance says it is paying Power on a pole-by-pole basis, as he completes them.) The famed street artist needs assistant workers with him, since he has been putting off hip-replacement surgery for years. He says his hips hurt him every day, and that it sometimes prevents him from lifting the heavy metal poles. In addition, the sheer amount of work, coupled with time constraints make some extra hands necessary. Power and Powell will be meeting with G.V.S.H.P., City Lore and the BID to address these issues and discuss creating a $3,600 payroll for the remainder of the project. The organizers hope to persuade local businesses that have been around for more than 30 years into donating. A few mentioned prospects are Astor Wines or the Kiehl’s skincare and cosmetics store. In addition, Power is creating intricate belt buckles that he plans to sell for $100 apiece online to fund the project. The Village Alliance is also launching a crowdfunding campaign on the platform generosity.com by Indiegogo to supplement Power’s pay and cover miscellaneous expenses, like bonding agents, transportation and tiles. William Kelley, director of the Village Alliance, and Powell say that a URL to this Web site will be live very soon. “There are a lot of people who love the poles, love the project, and want to help out in every way they can,” Kelley said. The poles were being stored in a city Department of Transportation lot in Sunnyside, Queens. Recognizing that Power would be unable to travel there every day, Harry Bubbins from G.V.S.H.P. and Kelley put out the word in the East Village and Greenwich Village that a space


July 7, 2016

“Mosaic Man” fans can help Power better finance his light-pole project by purchasing one of his handdecorated custom belt buckles online. Only $100!

Photos by Tequila Minsky

The plan is to put the poles back as near as possible to their former locations.

was needed. Thankfully, the Sixth Street Community Center opened its doors, and the BID brought over the poles on flatbed carts, using rented vans and and “boom trucks” — trucks with a pneumatic crane on them. “The folks at the Sixth Street Community Center have been absolutely incredible,” Kelley said. At first, D.D.C. attempted to bypass Power altogether by repairing the mosaics

independently of him, but Power would not let that happen. “They tried to hire someone to patch my work,” Power fumed. “This is not tile work. It’s completely different.” He noted that his work is far more complex, since the poles aren’t decorated with normal ceramic square tiling organized in neat rows and columns. Rather, he uses a wide variety of shapes, sizes and materials for his tiling, which can be organized

Jim Power is putting on a happy face here, but he indignantly says he needs more funding in order to do the light pole-restoration work the right way and on time.

in any pattern he sees fit. Power uses topnotch bonding agents, such as Rockite cement, to ensure the mosaics can endure the elements. He said that ensuring his grout does not turn to jelly outdoors is another time-consuming, multistep process. The poles themselves are often a nod to impactful people, countries and other landmarks. One of them, for example, Power continued on p. 11 TheVillager.com

from advocates and Sixth St. Comm’y Center Power continued from p. 10

is dedicated to monumental leaders that have spoken at the Great Hall of The Cooper Union. The East Village pulpit for great thinkers of the ages has hosted Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Clinton, Obama and more. The hall has also been a gathering place for movements that shook American political discourse, such as women’s suffrage and civil rights. Power intended to demonstrate this historic legacy in his light pole mosaic that stood outside the hall, and which he is now restoring to return there. Power was very proud to say that Obama has twice touched his mosaics while speaking at The Cooper Union. Another pole is a directional piece that points tourists towards New York neighborhoods and landmarks, such as Chinatown, the High Line and the 9/11 Memorial. This pole, in fact, has already been reinstalled, but is wrapped up until further notice. Often, there will be a small portion of a mosaic that is dedicated to a specific person of interest, such as Michael Malloy, the “Rasputin of the Bronx.” Malloy was a homeless Irishman who survived a multitude of attempts on his life by a group of five acquaintances who were plotting to commit life insurance fraud. Among the methods of murder were poisoned oysters, death by antifreeze substituted for alcohol and a hypothermic death caused by being dumped in the snow. Malloy was eventually killed, but lives on on a side of one of the poles’ bases. According to Power, he started his Mosaic Trail in 1985, and at some point literally printed a fake permit to allow himself to continue constructing them. This is the first time that his mosaics have actually been acknowledged in a city construction project. “When the cops would come around to check the poles for the Ninth Precinct, I would be working on the other side of the street, the Sixth Precinct,” Power remembered with a chuckle. Power said that three of the poles “mysteriously disappeared,” and that 50 others have been torn down over the years. The actual number of poles that were on the original Mosaic Trail remains foggy in many people’s memories. Regardless of the actual number, Power said that those in charge of this project are understating the value and significance of his street art to Downtown Manhattan. “Do you know how much business is going to come into New York City in the next 30 years because of my work?” he asked exasperatedly. While the creator may be a bit unhappy with how this restoration is panning out, G.V.S.H.P. is delighted to see that the project is making some progress, and is happy that a crowdfunding project is on the way. “To see the lasting legacy of Mr. Power still continuing to evolve is a sign that the cultural importance and gravity of the TheVillager.com

Jim Power, with Julie Powell, one of his collaborators, says putting the required steel caps on top of the poles is one of the hardest par ts of the job. The caps are needed to keep rainwater and any thing else from building up inside the poles.

Steal your face! Some mosaic medallions that will go on the poles.

Village has not been subsumed by the outof-scale and out-of-context cookie-cutter development that has been pervasive in a lot of the city,” Bubbins said. However, despite support from activist groups, Power won’t take gratitude and praise as payment. He says he has sacrificed $2 million over the years to work on his poles. “I could be in working in Vegas making five grand a day — now that hurts,” Power noted. For now, Power is devoting all of his time to this project, and says completing

the project by September calls for nonstop labor. Despite his frustrations, he is determined that his historic creation can once again grace the streets around The Cooper Union for decades to come. According to organizers, currently the best way for supporters of the project to donate money is through the 501(c) (3) nonprofit City Lore, which can be contacted at citylore@citylore.org. A PayPal account is also set up, according to Power, who can be reached at nycjimpower@aol.com.

Getting there: In the pole renovation zone at the Six th Street Communit y Center in the East Village. July 7, 2016


Photo by Tequila Minsky

Photo by Lincoln Anderson

Invasion of the brain snatchers: Locked in our cells

Street stencils and ar t in Soho are sending us a message: Our cell phones are monsters that are taking over our lives! Another stencil sprayed on the sidewalk in Houston St., angrily scolds the hunched-over hordes, “F--- your phone! Keep your head up!” SERVING MANHATTAN AND THE ENTIRE TRI-STATE AREA




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July 7, 2016


Photo by Bob Krasner

Up on a roof: A view to a thrill on the Fourth The view of the Four th of July fireworks south of the Brooklyn Bridge from a rooftop at E. 11th St. and Second Ave. in the East Village.

Police Blotter L.E.S. sex-abuse collar Police reported that on Mon., July 4, a teenage suspect was arrested on the Lower East Side in a sexual abuse incident involving a little girl in the neighborhood two days earlier. Police said that on Sat., July 2, around 10 p.m., the suspect approached a 6-year-old girl inside the first-floor stairwell of a Henry St. apartment building. The individual allegedly exposed his penis and rubbed it on the child’s face. Following an investigation, police arrested Christian Pena, 17, of Two Bridges Tower, 82 Rutgers Slip. He was charged with two counts of criminal sex act, two counts of sex abuse and also acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17 years old. According to the Daily News, a woman — who had seen a surveillance video of the suspect released by police — spotted the man on the No. 2 subway platform at 149th St. and Third Ave. in the Bronx, snapped his photo and flagged down a cop, telling him she had seen a wanted man, promptly leading to Pena’s arrest. The News said Pena has nine previous arrests — with most of those cases sealed — and was free on his own recognizance after an October burglary indictment.


July 7, 2016

Varick McDamage

A customer allegedly caused a ruckus at the McDonald’s at 208 Varick St., at Downing St., on Saturday night July 2. Police said that around 10:30, a McDonald’s employee reported that a man had thrown a yellow “Wet Floor” sign at the overhead display monitors in the restaurant, breaking a sign, a monitor and a light fixture in the process. The total value of the damage was more than $2,000. Claudio A. Gonzalez, 34, was arrested for misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Shady attack On Fri., July 1, around 7 a.m., a 36-year-old man told police he had just been attacked. The victim stated that on Eighth Ave. at W. 14th St., a man struck him multiple times, causing physical pain and injury. The assailant then removed a $66 pair of sunglasses from the victim. The alleged attacker tried to run away from responding police, refusing to comply with their orders and blocking vehicular traffic while attempting to flee. Upon a search of the suspect, the stolen shades were recovered. Police arrested the man, age 32, who refused to

give his name to officers, for felony robbery.

Bottle-slash bust A man was assaulted with a broken glass bottle by a stranger in front of 42 W. Eighth St. on Thurs., June 30, at 7 a.m., police said. The victim was struck with the jagged bottle, causing pain and lacerations to the ear, neck and chest. The attacker also raised the sharp glass menacingly at the victim, threatening him and causing him to be fearful for his life, according to the police report. Upon investigation, officers found that the suspect had an open warrant for his arrest. Police arrested Ayotiye Williams, 41, for felony assault.

Too late to say sorry On Fri., July 1, at 4:15 a.m., a man observed a woman drawing on the door of a private residence at 133 Christopher St., and apparently reported it to police. When arrested, the woman reportedly said, “I did it, I’m sorry.” Crystal Sosa, 32, was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Emily Siegel and Lincoln Anderson TheVillager.com


STAY SAFE WHEN DRIVING IN WET WEATHER Drivers must modify their driving habits when weather compromises their visibility and makes road conditions unsafe. Rain can fall any time of year, but tends to be most problematic in spring. According to the Federal Highway Administration, wet roadways, and rain in particular, are the main cause of weather-related vehicle crashes. The National Highway TrafďŹ c Safety Administration notes that, between 2004 and 2013, rain caused 573,784 crashes. To drive safely in the rain and avoid accidents, drivers should follow certain precau-


tions. sÂŹ-AINTAINÂŹWINDSHIELDÂŹWIPers. Inspect and, if necessary change windshield wipers regularly to ensure they are working optimally. Always test wipers before driving in rainy weather. sÂŹ 4URNÂŹ ONÂŹ LIGHTSÂŹ WITHÂŹ WIPers. Reduced visibility is a major contributor to wetweather accidents. Driversâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; views may be hampered by falling precipitation and glare from wet roadways. Cloudy conditions and fog also compromise visibility. When using windshield wipers, turn on your headlights as well. This makes your vehicle more

visible to other motorists and improves your own ability to see the road and pedestrians. sÂŹ2ECOGNIZEÂŹCHANGINGÂŹROADÂŹ conditions. Roadways accumulate oil and engine ďŹ&#x201A;uids that can ďŹ&#x201A;oat in rainwater, creating slippery road surfaces. This is usually a problem during the ďŹ rst few hours of a rainstorm or in areas that receive little precipitation and then are subjected to downpours. These ďŹ&#x201A;uids make rain-soaked roads even more slippery. Slow down, leave more room between vehicles and try driving in the tracks left by vehicles ahead. sÂŹ 2EDUCEÂŹ SPEEDÂŹ 4HEÂŹ AU-

tomotive group AAA says hydroplaning, when the tires rise up on a ďŹ lm of water, can occur with as little as 1â &#x201E;12 inch of water on the road. The group goes on to say that tires have to displace a gallon of water per second to keep the rubber meeting the road. Drivers should reduce their speeds to correspond to the amount of water on the roadway. New tires can still lose some contact with the roadway, even at a speed as low as 35 mph. Therefore, reducing speed and avoiding hard braking and turning sharply can help keep the rubber of the tire meeting the road. sÂŹ2ELYÂŹONÂŹTHEÂŹDEFOGGERÂŹ5SEÂŹ the carâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s windshield defroster/ defogger to improve visibility.

Turn it on early and keep it on until the rain has stopped and visibility has improved. sÂŹ2ECOVERÂŹFROMÂŹAÂŹSKIDÂŹ3KIDSÂŹ can be frightening, but when skidding, resist any temptation to slam on the breaks. Instead, continue to look and drive in the direction you want to go and slowly ease up on the accelerator. sÂŹ 3KIPÂŹ THEÂŹ CRUISEÂŹ CONTROLÂŹ Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to maintain control over the vehicle in rainy conditions, so avoid using cruise control. sÂŹ -AINTAINÂŹ TIRESÂŹ 0ROPERÂŹ inďŹ&#x201A;ation and tire tread levels can improve traction. AAA recommends checking tread depth by inserting a quarter upside down into the tire groove. If you can see above

Washingtonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s head, start shopping for new tires. Check tire pressure on all tires at least once a month. Get an accurate reading when tires are cold and adjust air pressure accordingly. sÂŹ !VOIDÂŹ OTHERÂŹ DISTRACTIONSÂŹ Distracted driving can be HAZARDOUSÂŹ DURINGÂŹ GOODÂŹ ROADÂŹ conditions and even more dangerous when visibility and other factors are compromised. Switch phones and other devices off so you can fully focus on the road and other drivers. Rainy weather can contribute to poor driving conditions. Drivers should make changes to speed and other factors to make wet weather driving as safe as possible.

July 7, 2016


Feds probing Orlando killer’s N.Y.U. Saudi trip By Michael OssorguinE To the surprise of New York University officials, it was recently revealed that Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people last month at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, participated in an N.Y.U.-sponsored trip to Saudi Arabia four years ago. Mateen traveled with three other individuals, who are assumed to be family members, and completed a Muslim religious pilgrimage called the umrah. N.Y.U.’s Islamic Center organized the 80-member trip. Around 40 participants were an New York Police Department contingent, while the rest were connected to programs from N.Y.U., Yale and Columbia. No participants or N.Y.U. officials had any recollection of interacting with Mateen. But when checking records of the 2012 trip, the university’s Islamic Center was indeed able to find his name. Program members do not have to join the group on any of the trip’s organized activities — perhaps explaining why no one has any memory of Mateen or his travel partners. “[The Islamic Center] is uncertain what his connection to the trip was — i.e., whose relative or friend he was,” N.Y.U. spokesperson John Beckman said in a statement. “They believe his presence was not connected with anyone from the N.Y.U. contingent.” The umrah is the lesser of the two mandatory Islamic religious pilgrimages to

Omar Mateen made pilgrimage to Mecca in 2012 as par t of an N.Y.U. program.

Mecca. Yet, unlike the hajj — which must be undertaken during the month of Ramadan, which began June 5 this year — the umrah can be done anytime. The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi officials also confirmed another, earlier trip by Mateen to Mecca, also for the umrah, in 2011. But N.Y.U. reportedly had nothing to do with this trip.

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July 7, 2016

The Washington Post was told by Mateen’s former wife and some of his former friends that he had not been a devout Muslim, but became steadily more religious after his divorce in 2011. Apparently, he had not, until recently, expressed sympathies for the Islamic State publicly, yet was known as an unstable and sometimes violent person. Mateen’s father, an Afghan immigrant, on the other hand, reportedly uploaded YouTube videos expressing favorable views of the Taliban. Both of the gunman’s parents have been added to the no-fly list following the Orlando massacre. N.Y.U. Islamic Center officials believe Mateen’s mother was also on the 2012 trip. The Federal Bureau of Investigation probed Mateen in 2013 regarding his Saudi trips. Nothing suspicious reportedly was found, however. Although the N.Y.U. Islamic Center co-

ordinated the 2012 trip, the travel agency Dar El Salam, which has offices near Bryant Park in Midtown, provided the travel packages. According to the company’s Web site, the programs cost from $2,800 to $4,500. For the 2012 trip, the N.Y.U. Islamic Center facilitated a tour first of Medina in order to visit historical sites, followed by transportation to Mecca to perform umrah. According to Beckman, the F.B.I. has been given all the information N.Y.U. has on Mateen’s trips to Saudi Arabia. Congressmember Adam Schiff, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said law enforcement is searching for more details of Mateen’s activities while in Saudi Arabia, the Wall Street Journal reported. “We’d like to know who he met with,” Schiff said.

Indian Point is shut down one week after restarting By Paul DeRienzo


he Indian Point Unit 2 nuclear reactor was restarted Mon., June 27, after an emergency shutdown the previous Friday caused by a leak in a water pipe. It was the latest in a series of mishaps that have plagued the plant’s two reactors operating near Peekskill, N.Y. Unit 2 was shut down in March for refueling when hundreds of damaged “baffle bolts” were discovered in the reactor’s core. Environmentalists sued to prevent the reactor from being turned back on after repairs were completed. Last month, the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled that the reactor was safe, and on June 16 Indian Point 2 was returned to service. A week later, a leak of Hudson River water was discovered in what Entergy claimed was a “nonradioactive” system in the plant. The reactor was shut down on June 24 to repair the faulty weld. Entergy said it also tested an electrical switch during the shutdown. Friends of the Earth, an antinuclear group originally opposed to California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, had filed an appeal in federal court in Washington, D.C., to prevent the restart of Unit 2 claiming that the reactor’s problems could cause “a catastrophic nuclear meltdown.” Although a panel of judges has turned down F.O.E.’s demand to close down the reactor, the court required Entergy to respond to the safety issues raised by the environmental

group. U.S. Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden took the side of Entergy in opposing the Friends. Crude said the lawsuit “inappropriately” asks to “substitute its judgment about nuclear safety for the N.R.C.’s technical expertise.” Crude said the federal government “has not identified a reason to suspend the license” to operate the reactor. Friends of the Earth had called the reactor’s restart “common sense denied.” Damon Moglen of Friends of the Earth said, “Entergy has decided that the priority is to get the damaged reactor up and running by summer to protect their profits.” Environmental activists have also called for shutting down Indian Point Unit 3, which they claim should be inspected for the same problems found in Unit 2. Entergy said that the inspection of Unit 3 has been moved up to next year from 2019. “The issue of baffle bolts that degrade over time is a known issue in the nuclear power industry,” Entergy said in a statement. Meanwhile, last Tues., June 28, public safety officials from New York State conducted a “radiological emergency preparedness exercise” to test the response plans of surrounding counties to emergencies at Indian Point — including terrorist attacks. The state warned that residents might hear the sound of “artificial gunfire from simulated weaponry” generated by “simulated attack scenarios” on Indian Point.




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 >LZ[YK:[YLL[à ®  à ®[LRZLY]LJVT July 7, 2016


Photo by Tequila Minsky

Not on the fence about honoring Village history For the Four th of July, the fence of Charlton Plaza, on Six th Ave. at Charlton St., was decked out with red, white and blue and por traits of our countr y’s early patriots.

Letters to the editor

public health hazards. Furthermore, to refuse to use recyclable bags is not only a personal health choice, it’s a blow against Big Brother controlling us.

The germ of a protest?

Rusty Wilson

To The Editor: Re “It’s in the bag: Surcharge to start in February” (news article, June 23): I carry plastic bags in my pockets for many uses, and should the stores charge too much for them, I will buy them online. I won’t carry the heavier cloth reusables that must be washed to be germ-free — plus, I don’t like to be ordered about. In places where bag bans and fees are in effect, many people are buying heavier plastic bags online. So, bans and fees really

Ira Blutreich

only affect the poor and are counterproductive to the bans’ and fees’ original purpose. The real solution is to have industry develop better recyclable plastic bags. The thin plastic bags that must be doubled and that people complain about are that thin because they are partially recyclable. Long gone are the days when the customer was always right. Now it’s the corporation and the corporate-bought government that’s always right. They spy on us, take away our liberty and seek to pass responsibility for everything on to the individual. Studies have shown that people don’t wash the reusable cloth bags, which thus become germ-laden

Abbott is a good cop! To The Editor: Re “Cop pulls gun on biker, sparking panic at school” (news article, June 23): You’ve got to be kidding me. Over the years, I’ve been quite familiar with Sergeant Gregory Abbott’s easygoing, calm and rational behavior. If he felt the need to draw his weapon — rest assured, it was warranted! As someone who has sued the Sixth Precinct several times, and complained frequently about out-ofcontrol officers, may I suggest to the parents of my old alma mater, that they apologize to Abbott and concentrate on the drug dealers and street vermin that are the real danger to their kids? Jessica Berk E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.


July 7, 2016


Street-hollering woman: It’s just the way I roll

Notebook By Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence


t will be set, my death, in one of the old familiar places that this heart of mine embraces in this, the great City of Walkers, where I clock a couple of miles every day. Maybe I will leave you in springtime near Union Square, where a young woman was mowed down by a speeding truck. The memorial flowers and notes are gone now from the streetlight, but I think of her every time I pass. She was 21. She died instantly, it is said, the moment she stepped off the curb. For me, it may be in fall, leaving the farmers’ market, my purple Baggu slung over my shoulder filled with goat cheese, anemones and pretzels. Or will it be in winter, near Housing Works? I will be joyous about some sweet booty I’ve just found there. Perhaps an Edna O’Brien paperback, or maybe a chipped saucer, Limoges — fragile, like my bones. Though a more fitting purchase for that day might be a tatted handkerchief, which I’ll be clutching to my heart, a Whitmanesque token of remembrance for my loved ones. Or likely it will be Astor Place, where I was assaulted by a bike messenger in February after he’d unsuccessfully tried to run me down on Lafayette

St. I was in the crosswalk. It was my light. All was clear. But out of nowhere there he was, hurtling north within a literal inch of my so-called life. I screamed my epithet of choice, a relatively mild one, considering — one I find myself using too often these days. But this particular bike messenger, obviously suffering from low self-esteem, took it hard. He did a U-turn, headed straight for me at top speed, and then raised the sole of his enormous Timberland work boot to land a powerful kick on my left bicep. I screamed, but he was gone. A kind man came forward to say he’d be my witness. But to what? That streak of wind, already disappearing onto St. Mark’s? On principle, I filed a police report, though it was met with skepticism: “I need to see your bruise,” said the officer. I didn’t have one, unfortunately, because fortunately I’d been wearing three layers under my puffy down jacket. High noon, lunchtime in Herald Square, gorgeous summer day, and a portly biker swiped me so close he hit my backpack. I screamed the usual. But then, what was unusual, and I tell you this fact to convey the utter depth of his pathology — how badly he wanted to eviscerate me: He left his bike and pursued me on foot! There were so many sunbathers in the chairs, even this hefty fellow couldn’t ram his vehicle through all of them. I ran like a baby gazelle until I came to a security guard. “There’s a guy after me,” I wheezed, “so I’ll just

Photo by Q. Sakamaki

Muslims wrap Ramadan fast

On July 1, for the last Friday prayer during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims at Madina Masjid, at First Ave. and E. 11th St., prayed on the street outside the East Village mosque. For Muslims and non-Muslims alike, tensions are high right now due to the recent deadly wave of ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks around the globe, from Istanbul and Orlando to Bangladesh and Iraq. In turn, many Americans are alarmed that presidential candidate Donald Trump and his G.O.P. cohor ts are fanning the flames with anti-Muslim rhetoric. Muslims assure Islam is a religion of peace, but that the terrorists are per ver ting it.


stand next to you for a while.” The security guard said nothing, not even, “No problem,” so I knew he wasn’t pleased. Still, I held my ground beside him. The biker approached, flexed and said: “Did you call me an a--hole?” The guard’s gaze was stone-fixed on the Victoria’s Secret models in the store windows beyond us in the airy distance. Miraculously, in that fraught moment, he remembered he had a bike. “Yes! Yes, I did!” I yelled then, bad---, to his wide, receding back — then bolted down the subway steps. There’s a public-service poster I’ve seen on defunct Verizon phone booths. Eye-level, curbside, it’s clearly aimed at us, the New York City sidewalk people. It wants us to be polite peds. It depicts a worried little girl above the inscription: When you yell at a driver, what are you teaching her? Survival skills. Defend yourself, hon. Grow up to be a street-hollering woman. It’s visceral and primitive, my outbursts at menacing drivers — bike or car. I regret that my shouts sometimes startle my fellow walkers, few of whom seem to care that they’ve just joined me in a near-death experience. True, my spews may even tempt the insulted biker to wreak vengeance on the next older woman in a crosswalk. My militancy has taken its toll on relaxed walks with my husband. “Just get out of the damn street, woman!” he yells from the far curb as I execute an attitudinal baby-step silly-walk, once I’ve forced an aggressive driver to yield. Not merely punitive, this takeone’s-time tactic helps one’s fellow peds — a nanny with a baby, or a walker on a walker. My mate’s misgivings have an ulterior aspect: He fears he’ll be expected to do the chivalrous thing if an adversary gets violent. But he should talk! This is a man who once challenged a crosswalk-hogging, Corvette-driving foul-mouth to get out of his penis so they could duke it out. I am sadly aware of the futility of my campaign. Things have worsened considerably since I began it a few years back. Multitasking bikers, and so many more of them now with Citi Bikes. Protected by their ear buds, bikers purport not to hear my call. They whiz past in their Lycra, godlike. It’s how they roll. Those whose ears are untethered yell: “I see you!” upon our close encounter. Exasperated that I should question their omniscience, godlike. As though my sudden fear as they bear down, that spike in my systolic blood pressure — as though these diurnal episodes of stress do not eventually lead to death by hypertension! Even without hitting me, they’ll have killed me. They see me, so why do I feel invisible? I say “Stop!” They say: “You stop!” “Shut up!” they say. Or “Bitch!” Or “Beech.” Or “Beesh.” Or “F--- you.” One, wittier than his colleagues, removed both his hands from the handlebars and waved them fussily before his face. “Eeee! Eeee! Eeee!” he whined. He was being me. I’ve instructed my many eulogists that they are to avoid saying that I brought it on myself. Or that I should have seen it coming. Lawrence, a former HERS columnist for The New York Times, is the author of three books and is currently working on a new one, “Becoming Irish.” She teaches at Baruch College. July 7, 2016


New G.V.S.H.P. lieutenant always loved Village BY YANNIC RACK


arry Bubbins was no stranger to the East Village and the Lower East Side when he was young. As a teenager and in his twenties growing up in the South Bronx, he spent his time practicing yoga at the Sixth Street Community Center, going to shows at ABC No Rio on Rivington St., and taking classes at CHARAS / El Bohio, the Puerto Rican cultural and community center formerly housed in the old P.S. 64 building on E. Ninth St. He even worked as a bar-back at the Palladium concert hall and disco when it still stood on E. 14th St., and volunteered at Blackout Books, the seminal anarchist bookstore on Avenue B. It is fitting then that Bubbins, now in his forties, just took a job at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which is still trying to preserve as much as possible of the area’s rich history and diverse culture. “As a born-and-bred New Yorker, I was, like many, drawn to the allure of the Downtown scene,” he said. “I was inspired by the homesteader / squatter / community garden scene, and worked to replicate and build upon those unique successes here in my home borough, the Bronx. So, I’ve had a long connection and inspiration with the communities down here.” In February, Bubbins was named G.V.S.H.P.’s new East Village and special projects director. He now oversees the organization’s small business initiative, analyzes development proposals and how they impact local communities, and monitors applications before the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals. He recently organized an event in Tompkins Square Park to highlight the anniversary of the General Slocum tragedy. More than 1,000 New Yorkers perished in June 1904 when the steamboat — packed with passengers on a church outing from the East Village’s Little Germany — burst into flames on the East River. Bubbins also helped Jim Power, the “Mosaic Man,” connect with the Sixth Street Community Center, so that Power now has a local spot to restore his famous Astor Place poles. Before Bubbins stepped into public service, he got a degree in urban and regional studies from the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University. Af-

Harr y Bubbins has been helping lead the G.V.S.H.P. two-pronged effor t on the contentious St. John’s Par tners development plan slated for the site across from Pier 40.

ter college, he went home to teach at his old junior high school. He then got involved in open space and affordable housing advocacy, and eventually founded the Friends of Brook Park, a leading environmental and community advocacy organization based in the South Bronx’s Mott Haven neighborhood. Through the group, he has had a direct hand in helping to preserve affordable housing, jumpstarting a number of green spaces, and helping to spearhead successful grassroots campaigns to preserve public open space in the area.

Fiery start of L.E.S. summer of ’89



t was a flame-filled end of June on the Lower East Side in 1989. About 27 years ago, a string of arson attacks lit up four abandoned buildings in the neighborhood, as The Villager reported in its July 6 issue. The first fire engulfed three six-story city-owned buildings on E. Second St. Ninety firefighters battled the blaze in the early hours of June 4 until one of the buildings had collapsed entirely. “The fire was throughout the building,” a Fire Department spokesperson later told the paper’s reporter. “No fire starts everywhere all at once unless it is arson.” One next-door neighbor said there had been 40 to 50 fires in the area over the past two years, and that the buildings had “brought trouble for years” and were essentially “a shooting gallery” for drug addicts. The city had plans to rehabilitate them for low- and moderate-


July 7, 2016

income families. Just three days later, another fire occurred on Avenue D, as a building went up in flames right next to an empty lot where another tenement had burned to the ground slightly more than a month earlier. The building was another city-owned property. A Fire Department assistant commissioner said afterward that the structure had “a heavy odor of an accelerant,” according to The Villager’s report. Interestingly, in the case of the E. Second St. fire, the Ninth Precinct commanding officer noted afterward that two locals had told him earlier that night that, instead of watching bargoers nearby, he and his officers should instead patrol the vicinity of the buildings that were to be set ablaze later. One of those men was none other than Clayton Patterson, the longtime Lower East Side documentarian and artist (and contributor to this paper), who later waved off any connection to the suspected arson incident. “Patterson, a video tape artist,” the article noted, “says his warnings were ‘purely coincidental’ and perhaps even an ‘artist’s premonition.’ ”

He also got involved in more wide-ranging issues, such as citywide rezoning and the larger conversation about preservation as a tool to maintain affordable communities. These are all areas in which G.V.S.H.P. has been leading the charge, as he pointed out, making his new job a perfect fit. “The Friends were at a point of stability and success, so I had been on the lookout for a few years for another opportunity in line with my vision,” Bubbins said. “I didn’t just pounce on any opportunity. When I saw this, I was very pleased and excited to see something in perfect alignment with my interests,” he said of his his new post with the society. And even though the tony Village can seem like a long way from the Bronx, Bubbins said that southern Manhattan — where development is rapidly changing established neighborhoods — has more in common with the northernmost borough than one might think. “The diverse array of residents and cultures is similar to the South Bronx,” he said. “The dedicated long-term residents of the Village and the East Village are no different than the people who have stuck it out in the South Bronx through decades of benign neglect. “Those development, real estate and gentrification pressures that were — and still are — so pronounced are unfortunately the same everywhere.” Another big issue Bubbins is now focusing on for G.V.S.H.P. is the high-rise housing project proposed for the St. John’s Center site across the West Side Highway from Pier 40. The development is particularly contentious because the developer is planning to use 200,000 square feet of air rights from the ailing pier to build the “gargantuan” project, as Bubbins called it. “We’ve been hearing from our members about this,” he said. “And we feel the importance of ensuring that this process — which would set a precedent on transferring air rights from Hudson River Park into our unique part of the city — has two main things included, if this deal goes through” The preservation group, first, wants to make sure the deal includes clear restrictions on any future air rights transfer deals involving Pier 40. Second, G.V.S.H.P. wants to achieve a rezoning of parts of the South Village before any deal goes through, to put in place height limits and other protections for the adjacent communities. “This would only be the tip of the iceberg of gargantuan towers and out-of-context development that would continue to creep from the waterfront deeper and deeper into the Village,” Bubbins warned of what would happen without rezoning. “Our community has had this rezoning on the table for years, and yet other top-down rezoning efforts have been passed since then,” he added. “So we’re hopeful, and very confident that those major points will be included if there is a final approval.” Bubbins generally maintains a strikingly positive tone when discussing the fight against overdevelopment. It’s always possible — understandable even — for activists to become bitter after years of focusing on battles fought and, all too often, lost. “At some point,” Bubbins said, “one can become a curmudgeon who says, ‘Oh, I remember how this was 20 years ago.’ Or one can say, ‘I remember how this was 20 years ago, but it’s still wonderful and I’m still working to maintain its uniqueness and make it even better.’ ” A case in point: During the General Slocum event he organized, the program included a walking tour of the area with author and historian Ed O’Donnell. The tour highlighted existing neighborhood spots that have been spared the wrecking ball, thanks to preservation efforts. “My eye goes to see the wonderful resources that still exist,” Bubbins explained. “And certainly there’s lots of change. But this neighborhood still has the unique qualities that make it such a wonderful place.” TheVillager.com

Placards ballyhoo Bowery as incubator, birthplace, nexus ‘Windows’ preserves storied past of NYC’s oldest thoroughfare BY TRAV S.D.


ew York’s Bowery has got to be near the top of the list of streets with the greatest name recognition in the world. Once New York’s main entertainment and amusement stem, later its Skid Row, it is as much a part of folklore as it is a part of history. Sadly, most of the Bowery’s storied past has been demolished, built over, or unrecognizably altered. Leading the charge to preserve what is left — and to remind the public how it used to be — is the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors. On July 5, the not-for-profit organization officially launched a project designed to be bring this history before the public. “Windows on the Bowery” consists of a series of 64 placards, each of which gives the history of a different Bowery address. In addition to being hung at the actual addresses, the colorful and descriptive posters will also be hung gallery-style in exhibitions at the Cooper Union Foundation Building at Astor Place and Cooper Square, and at the historic HSBC Bank building at the Bowery and Canal St. Full disclosure: two of the panels (the ones on Miner’s Bowery Theatre and the Tony Pastor Opera House) were written by this correspondent — but I’m in good company. Among the others are the wellknown Irish-American folklorist and musician Mick Moloney; David Freeland, author of “Automats, Taxi Dancers and Vaudeville;” Eric Ferrara, author and director of the Lower East Side History Project; architectural author, historian, and consultant Kerri Culhane, of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council; and 13 others. The Project Director and Editor is David Mulkins, Founder and Director of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors. “We got the idea for this project six or seven years ago,” says Mulkins. “It was the natural follow-up to our getting the Bowery listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, which we accomplished with the help of Two Bridges Historical Council.” One doesn’t have to spend much time with these posters before becoming overwhelmed with the enorTheVillager.com


A display of “Windows on the Bowery” posters, in the western colonnade windows of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building.

mity of how important the Bowery is to New York’s — and America’s — culture. A festival atmosphere pervades; the sum of the experience gives you a feeling that the street was sort of like Coney Island without the rides. Dime museums, theatres, vaudeville houses, saloons, boxing venues, hotels, social clubs, and even a zoo, have graced the street. Too many birthplaces to count: the first modern tattoo parlor, the first exhibition by P.T. Barnum, and even the first punk rock club (the Bowery continues to be influential and innovative into modern times). A large part of conveying that wonder is the impact made by the visuals, which were created by the graphic design staff and students of Cooper Union, led by professor Mindy Lang. “They were awesome,” Mulkins gushes. “We kept adding additional work as the project progressed and they were like, ‘Bring it on!’ They’re the ones who got

the idea for the display component at Cooper Union. It took a lot of people to pull this off.” Mulkins also cites the generosity of the many institutions and private collectors who contributed the gorgeous historical visuals that are vital to these hangings. Among those he mentions are the New York Public Library and the Harvard Theatre Collection, as well as collector Adam Woodward. “[Woodward] has this amazing collection of images and ephemera, material which has largely been unseen. We found this poster for Owney Geoghegan’s Boxing Saloon. On the list of talent the poster advertises is a then-unknown John L. Sullivan.” Also incorporated are works by living photographers. 92-year-old Erika Stone contributed photos of Sammy’s Bowery Follies, the tourist theme bar WINDOWS continued on p. 22 July 7, 2016




“Windows” Art Director Mindy Lang and Tony Roman of J.A. Digital, who installed the posters at Cooper Union. 

The 315 Bowery placard gives props to CBGB as the “Birthplace of Punk Rock!”

WINDOWS continued from p. 21

which was a going concern as late as 1970. And there are photos of CBGB by Godlis, Bob Gruen, and Stephanie Chernikowski. What is it about the Bowery? Mulkins, who taught high school history for 25 years, offers his own explanation: “I’ve always been attracted to the history of suppressed or forgotten people. Bowery has this seminal connection to that. It was this multicultural nexus. So many groups made early contributions here: African Americans, Irish, Chinese, Italians, the Yiddish theatre. It’s New York City’s oldest street. It’s been an incubator for so many culturally important innovations, and a home to so many of its innovators: tap dance, vaudeville, Stephen Foster, Irving Berlin, jazz, beat literature, the first pro baseball club, punk rock, Lincoln’s anti-slavery speech at Cooper Union. John Brown’s body was prepared for burial here. The Globe Dime Museum, where Houdini gave his first solo public appearance, was here. Sophie Tucker, Al Jolson, and


July 7, 2016


Take Back NYC spokesperson Kirsten Theodos in front of TD Bank at Bowery & Canal.

Eddie Cantor all got their starts here. The Bowery story contains so many issues, events, and influences — with equal merit — we couldn’t include them all. We kept adding, but this project only scratches the surface.” But it’s mighty impressive nonetheless! For more information, visit: boweryalliance.org/windows-on-the-bowery.


The Bowery-Mandarin Dynasty Chandelier storefront’s poster touts its address as the birthplace of the vaudeville hook. TheVillager.com

Your next away mission: Trek to the Intrepid

‘Academy Experience’ primes cadets for Starfleet careers BY SCOTT STIFFLER


hat began on September 8, 1966 as a five-year mission to seek out new worlds and ways of being, “Star Trek” didn’t even make it past season three as a network television series. By then, though, creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a culturally diverse 23rd century starship crew united in the name of interstellar exploration had so firmly taken root, fan devotion would inspire five additional TV shows and 13 feature films — with more of both on the way. The far-reaching franchise’s first incarnation may be approaching the age of AARP eligibility, but your career as a fresh and eager cadet is just beginning — when you strive for high achievement on the aptitude tests that propel “Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience” from a drool-inducing collection of glassenclosed memorabilia to a hands-on, destination event. The exhibition, at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum from July 9–October 31, beams down to our planet at a highly illogical point in the space-time continuum. Yes, we’ve yet to evolve from a savage state of prejudice, poverty, and petty conflict; and yet, our 21st century existence is brimming with hohum tech that was strictly the stuff of science fiction when the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 introduced us to phrases like “warp speed” and “beam me up.” Those blue and red velour shirts worn by Mr. Spock and quick-to-perish security officers may not have survived the 1960s as must-haves of the well-equipped everyman, but “Trek” has otherwise proven itself to be impressively predictive — influential, even — in the creation of 3D replicative printing, voice recognition, handheld touchpads, and virtual reality. The enduring influence of a show made in the past and set in the future has a way of asserting itself throughout your “Academy Experience,” imbuing this self-guided stroll through all things “Star Trek” with a gee-whiz awareness that sinks in the moment you realize the person next to you is taking selfies and posting TheVillager.com


This publication’s arts editor, Scott Stiffler, loving the power that comes with the Captain’s chair — a logical reaction, for those visiting this mostly accurate recreation of the bridge from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

them on social media, using a cellphone whose multitasking abilities put Captain Kirk’s flip phone communicator to shame. Cleverly designed as a 26thcentury visit to Starfleet Career Day, you enter the 12,000 square foot tented pavilion on Pier 86 and begin by taking a Recruitment Quiz. Answering questions such as what hostile species concerns you the most and what Vulcan trait you admire lay the groundwork for determining what specialty you’ll be assigned — when, just prior to exit, you turn in the watch-like device that has been tracking your journey through nine interactive zones designed to assess language, medical, navigation, engineering, command, and science skills. Those results are displayed on a computer panel (yes, in full view of the other cadets), and can also be sent via an email containing your official recruitment certificate, a personnel file, a “species selfie,” and a transporter video (which depicts you in the process of, as Dr. McCoy testily put it, having your “atoms scattered back and forth across space”). Among the interactive opportuni-

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TREK continued on p. 24 July 7, 2016


TREK continued from p. 23

ties: taking the readings of a patient laid out on a Medical Tricorder table; communicating in Klingon; and phaser training. Enormous fun though it may be, you’ll have to wait five minutes before attempting to best your firing range score, so that others can have their turn. Fans of the original series might be a bit disappointed with this particular zone, though, as the phaser in your grip is of “Next Generation” variety. But why quibble? The exhibition even has two Tribbles — along with other props and costumes on loan from a German collector (including a Vulcan ear mold, and an original series tricorder and communicator). As for those still pining for a different model of phaser than the one at the firing range, they need only walk a few steps away — where a display case contains a Plasma Pistol made for “Star Trek: Enterprise,” a Type II Phaser from “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” and a Phaser Pistol from 2009’s big screen reboot. Treasures of similar rarity are found throughout, as the multiroom exhibition contains a combination of interactive zones and displays of memorabilia (including Captain Picard’s Robin Hood getup from Season 4’s “Qpid” episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”). A series of wall panels, whose themes include “Clashing Cultures” and “Alien Anatomy 101,” are extremely informative; but those who find themselves squinting at small type are advised to swallow their pride and bring a pair of reading glasses — an embarrassing but necessary conceit that, as every good cadet knows, helped James T. Kirk see things more clearly at a crucial moment in 1982’s “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” Sacrificing ego for the sake of your ship may be a hallmark of good leadership, but it won’t help the Enterprise emerge unscathed from the designed-to-end-in-doom Kobayashi Maru test — which you’ll take at the exhibition’s crown jewel: a showroom-new bridge that’s a faithful recreation of the “Next Generation” original — except for slight variations in design, which allow up to six cadets to take the test at once. Viewscreen updates from various crew members and prompts


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At the June 30 press preview, George Takei (aka helmsman Hikaru Sulu in “Star Trek: The Original Series”) ponders a new career with Starfleet Medical.


Costumes from various iterations of “Trek” appear throughout the exhibition, such as this Starfleet uniform from 1979’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (widely panned by fans at the time).

requiring a series of fight-or-flight decisions make this moment in time the closest any of us will ever get to serving with the United Federation of Planets. After your test, a stolen moment in the Captain’s chair goes a long way toward exiting this “Academy Experience” with your pride, and hope for the future, intact. Sitting at this iconic center of command


This hallway timeline charts the franchise’s 50-year history — once inside the exhibition, though, it’s as if you’re entered a 26th century version of Starfleet Academy.

with a full complement of Starfleet tech at your fingertips, and spouting instructions like “Engage!” and “Make it so!” as if these things might actually happen, you won’t want to leave. But if you must, there’s only one way to go: Boldly. “Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience” is on view July 9–Oct. 31, at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space

Museum (W. 46th St. & 12th Ave.). Open Sun.–Thurs., 10am–8pm and Fri.–Sat., 10am–9pm. Last entry, one hour prior to closing. Tickets are $25 ($18 for children, $23 for seniors, free for children 4 and under. Discounts for museum members and groups of 15 or more. For group sales, call 646-381-5010. Otherwise, visit intrepidmuseum. org/Startrek.aspx. TheVillager.com

The big chill Hunter’s ‘Healing’ has poignancy and power BY DAVID KENNERLEY


ew York’s summer theater scene usually boasts lighter, feel-good fare, especially during LGBT Pride Month, when it throws on a rainbow-hued feather boa and kicks up its heels. Openly gay playwright Samuel D. Hunter (“The Whale,” “A Bright New Boise”) is oblivious to this tradition. And that’s fine by me. Presented by Theater Breaking Through Barriers, Hunter’s latest work, “The Healing” (which opened June 11), is an exquisitely poignant, largely joyless affair. Under the acutely sensitive direction of Stella Powell-Jones, an air of mordant desperation hangs heavy over a group of friends reuniting to bury one of their own. Their sorrow feels all too real, intensified by protracted, awkward silences. The action is set in the dead of winter at the dour, cramped southeastern Idaho abode of Zoe, who passed away under woeful circumstances that become painfully clear as the play progresses. The living room, designed with obsessive, hoarder-esque detail by Jason Simms, is cluttered with cutesy figurines and gewgaws — clowns, frogs, Mickey Mouse, and the like — most of them ordered from the Home Shopping Network. “Sometimes I just get lonely, and… I just like knowing that even when I’m gone they’ll still be around,” Zoe says, in one of several flashbacks offering clues to her plight. The friends have traveled from afar to attend the funeral. Since Zoe had no close family, it’s up to them to pack up the house and dispose of its contents. Hardly anyone else came to the funeral. And yet, this is no ordinary social circle. Some 25 years ago, the gang bonded at a nearby Christian sleepaway summer camp geared toward kids with disabilities. Accordingly, several roles are played by actors with disabilities, which adds a fascinating dimension to the work, alternately uneasy and inspiring. Not that the word “disability” is appropriate for this highly accomplished ensemble. Shannon DeVido is TheVillager.com


Mary Theresa Archbold, Jamie Petrone, and John McGinty in Samuel D. Hunter’s “The Healing,” at Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row through July 16.

outstanding as Sharon, the whip-smart, successful executive who happens to be wheelchair-bound. Sharon, now an atheist, is livid that poor Zoe, a devout Christian Scientist who relied on prayers instead of pills to cure her frequent bouts of illness, learned her faith from the head counselor at the camp. Sharon bitterly recalls the counselor telling the young campers, “If we prayed hard enough, Jesus would heal our broken little bodies.” Pamela Sabaugh portrays Zoe with a light touch. To be sure, Zoe is despondent and obsessed with earning God’s love, but Sabaugh refuses to play her as a crazed zealot, and when Zoe has a crisis of faith, it feels completely believable. “I’m asking for God and I’m not getting anything,” she says. “I’m worried that God is not in my life anymore.” David Harrell is affecting as Donald, a gay man who could really use a boyfriend. He proves that the absence of a

forearm in no way impedes his progress wrapping up figurines in newspaper. The only couple is Bonnie (Jamie Petrone, who uses a wheelchair) and Greg (John McGinty, who is deaf), who did not know Zoe or attend the camp. This is their first trip together and their new relationship is sorely tested. Rounding out the bunch is Laura (Mary Theresa Archbold), a gloomy associate professor of Baltic studies at the University of Montana. This supremely sad visit uncovers wounds that have been festering for years and draws out a number of fraught themes surrounding loss, mortality, and the power of faith, friendship, and shared memories. Each character is in need of healing in some way. They casually selfmedicate using antidepressants, Ativan, Xanax, and, in Zoe’s case, shopping and God (sometimes she has difficulty separating the two). Not surprisingly, the subtext of “The

Healing” is that people with disabilities are as capable as anyone — skilled at packing up a house, holding down jobs, and loving relationships. My only quibble is that the climactic scene, where the group comes face-toface with a longtime nemesis, is not as powerful or satisfying as it could be. Throughout the entire play, a television blares the Home Shopping channel, with a disembodied, otherworldly voice repeatedly offering the promise of a better life in three easy payments of $19.99 plus shipping. Nobody bothers to change the channel, claiming it’s because they can’t find the remote. When it’s finally found, they leave the strangely comforting channel on anyway. Through July 16, at Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row (410 W. 42nd St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.). Tues.– Wed. at 7pm; Thurs.–Sat. at 8pm; Sat.–Sun. at 3pm. For tickets ($55) visit telecharge.com. July 7, 2016


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Senior style in film, classes at Greenwich House By Tequil a Minsk y


lona Royce Smithkin is a fire-engine red carrottop 91-year-old spitfire and Greenwich Village artist. She is also a member of the Greenwich House senior center on Barrow St. Her puckish face graces the promotional material and the DVD cover of “Advanced Style,” a documentary film about women of a certain age and their embrace of fashion as an art form. Smithkin is one of seven women profiled in the 2014 film, which examines how their personal style and vibrant spirit has guided their approach to aging. Seniors at the Greenwich House center recently had the opportunity to see the flick in their “screening room” — the smaller of their dining rooms. The film’s refreshing, light tone and its subjects’ love of life delighted Greenwich House members and left them energized. “I’m inspired,” one member pronounced at the movie’s conclusion. The film is an outgrowth of Ari Seth Cohen’s photo book of the same name. The book, which includes text, is an ode to the confidence, beauty and fashion achieved through living glamorously by women in their later years. The book evolved from Cohen’s blog, which was inspired by his own grandmother’s unique personal style and his lifelong interest in the put-together fashion

Photos by Tequila Minsky

Debra Rapopor t showed Greenwich House members photos from Ari Seth Cohen’s book “Advanced St yle” during a screening of the documentar y film of the same name.

of vibrant seniors. While Smithkin was not at the event — she is currently at her Massachusetts



studio — a discussion with another of the film’s creatively clad subjects followed the screening. Westbeth resident Debra Rapoport arrived looking fabulous, wearing apparel and accessories that she creates — including a hat from paper towels and bracelets from toilet paper rolls. The screening was also an appetizer to a “Fabulous Fashion” series of jewelrymaking workshops at the Greenwich Village senior center that Rapoport will be leading. The workshops will be held the first Tuesday of each month, starting July 5, for the next four months, at 1:30 p.m.

Rapoport will guide participants in how to creatively “upcycle” paper products into wearables. Anthony Cilione, director of the Judith White Senior Center, the Greenwich House center on Barrow St., explained that the free classes are open to anyone over age 60. Membership to the center is also free. “We ask you to register,” he said. The movie “Advanced Style” is part of the center’s popular film program. The center, at 27 Barrow St., shows films, including classics, Mondays and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., followed by discussion.

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July 7, 2016

At the Greenwich House screening of “Advanced St yle,” Debra Rapopor t, who is profiled in the documentar y film, spor ted a hat and bracelets made from “upc ycled” household materials. TheVillager.com

Photo by Damien Acevedo

NYC Rush keep it loose at holiday tournament


The NYC Rush softball travel team are always in a hurry, it seems, to go head to head with the best competition around the tri-state region. But they slowed it down on

Free cartoons are his speed

Photo by Lincoln Anderson


The new LinkNYC sidewalk wi-fi kiosks around town are definitely providing passersby and residents and businesses nearby with free high-speed Internet service. But they aren’t that convenient for making free phone calls or using the touch screen because these are located too close to the ground. Often, you’ll see someone squatting next to one engaged in a telephone call. However, one man, at least, has found a solution, using a crate as a seat at this kiosk on Third Ave. to watch the screen. The man said he didn’t speak English, but did say he was “homeless.” Meanwhile, Tomas, a Polish immigrant and hard-working HVAC repairman, scoffed that the guy just sits there for five hours a day watching cartoons. Why doesn’t he want to work? Tomas demanded. Hey, for some folks, watching free cartoons all day on a highspeed wi-fi kiosk is...well... just about their speed.

Monday to do some stretching and warmups before the 14-and-under U.S.S.S.A. July 4th Explosion Bash Tournament at the Mount Airy Lodge complex in New Windsor, N.Y.

The Lower East Side squad played four grueling games against some tough teams from Upstate, northern New Jersey and Connecticut, winning one and losing three.


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July 7, 2016


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The Villager  

July 07, 2016

The Villager  

July 07, 2016