YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN
State Bills Would Curb Sidewalk Sheds BY YANNIC RACK Businesses in Chelsea are hoping for relief from the sidewalk sheds that routinely spring up across the city and often stick around for years. A set of bills recently introduced in the State Legislature aims to kick the sheds to the curb — by ensuring building owners do actual work rather than let them languish on the sidewalk, where they can become a nuisance for those hidden underneath. Javier Quintans, who owns and runs the seafood restaurant Francisco’s Centro Vasco Continued on page 2
After Ebb and Flow, Pier 57 Gets CB4’s ‘Go’ BY LUCAS ROPEK Passions, like the tide, sometimes run high — especially when waterfront property is involved. And although the reception from local residents was decidedly choppy during a Feb. 3 presentation to Community Board 4 (CB4), it seems as if there will be smooth sailing ahead for plans to revitalize Pier 57. Development firm Youngwoo & Associates and RXR Realty are poised to transform the archaic, semi-abandoned structure (at W. 15th St., in Hudson River Park) into a multifaceted complex that includes a public park, retail shops, and a foodie-focused “hawker’s marContinued on page 4
SNOW WHITE, THE XIV WAY
There’s no such thing as a bad apple in the bunch of Company XIV productions. Their latest stage show, “Snow White,” dazzles with sensual acrobatics and visual pyrotechnics. See page 15.
Courtesy Mathews-Palmer Playground Mural & Arts Program
The empowering message of Arnold Belkin’s 1972 mural endures — and Hell’s Kitchen residents are determined to return the faded artwork to its former glory.
At Winter Gathering, Mural Hopes Spring Eternal BY TRAVIS STEWART The images may be faded, but the message endures — and it’s one that Hell’s Kitchen needs now more than ever. Created by artist Arnold Belkin (1930-1992) in the heroic socialist tradition of Mexican muralists such as Diego Rivera, “Against Domestic Colonialism” depicts working class community members, shoulder to shoulder, fighting eviction and exploitation by wealthy overlords. Over four decades after its 1972 unveiling, the work is in disrepair — and a group of neighborhood residents have made it their number one priority to fix the wall and recreate the mural, which looms large inside of Mathews-Palmer Playground (btw. W. 45th & W. 46th Sts., and Ninth & 10th Aves.). On Mon., Feb. 8, a group of West Side citizens gathered at the Landmark Tavern (626 11th Ave., at the corner of W. 46th St.) for the annual convening of the West 45/46 Block Association. A loose alliance of three preexisting local groups (the West 46th Street Block Association, the West 45th Street Block Association, and the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood
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Association), their joint efforts have come to be known as the Hell’s Kitchen Commons. According to Stephen Fanto, President of the West 46th Street Block Association, around 25 people attended the informal event. The night was cold and damp, but the enthusiasm of the volunteers was palpable in the cozy, convivial pub atmosphere. The main item on the agenda was the ongoing project to recreate the mural, located at MathewsPalmer Playground (on W. 45th & W. 46th Sts., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.). The mural “is a shadow of its former self,” said Kathleen Treat, Chairwoman of the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association and a Hell’s Kitchen resident for 28 years, “[The recreation of the mural] is one of the easier things in this neighborhood to become engaged in. I love its ’30s WPA [Works Progress Administration] sensibility. It’s very New York. I love the painting itself and I love its philosophy. It’s a lovely amenity.”
Continued on page 5 VOLUME 08, ISSUE 06 | FEBRUARY 11 - 17, 2016