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Why Does New York Honor So Few Women in Monuments? BY TEQUILA MINSKY

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rtist, performer, historian, and activist LuLu LoLo has taken on the mantle of drawing attention to just how few New York City statues and monuments are dedicated to women. Discounting fictitious characters from Alice in Wonderland to the Statue of Liberty, the city boasts 150 public statues of men but only five of women. Last month, in conjunction with the Municipal Art Society, LoLo led a walking tour that took in three of the monuments to women on the Upper West Side and in West Harlem. An additional stop at the Firemen’s Memorial on Riverside Drive gave LoLo the opportunity to discuss the famous early 20th century model who inspired two of the statues there, as well as many others around the city. c MONUMENTS, continued on p.4

Lead Concerns Aside, de Blasio Backs UWS Development 08 April 07 - 20, 2016 | Vol. 02 No. 07

CB11 Says No to Marymount Tower

Docs Push Boundaries at Lincoln Center

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In Hell’s Kitchen, MCC Theater Finally Finds a Home BY YANNIC RACK

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fter three decades of encouraging Off-Broadway actors, writers, and directors to develop their own voices, the groundbreaking MCC Theater has finally broken ground on its new Hell’s Kitchen space. The long-awaited move will provide the nomadic nonprofit company with a stable home for the first time — and allow its founders to expand both the number of productions and the scope of its community outreach. “I don’t think there’s a better feeling, after all these years,” said Bernard Telsey, one of the company’s three artistic directors, after a March 22 ceremony at MCC’s future home in the Avalon Clinton complex on West 52nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. For the past decade, the group — founded in 1986 by Telsey and its two other artistic directors, Robert LuPone and William Cantler — has rented the 299-seat Lucille Lortel Theatre on Christopher Street in the West Village for its Mainstage season. But its development and outreach initiatives, including a PlayLabs reading series and a Youth Company after school program, have been based at various spots around the city. “We kind of took the idea of never having a real home for granted, because you just get used to it,” said Telsey. “Now, knowing that this is real and we have the space, it feels like Christmas every day.” When the company moves into its new 27,000-square-feet ground-floor headquarters in time for the 2018-19 season, it will have year -round use of two stages — a 249-seat theater and a 99-seat black box — as well as ample room for rehearsals and workshops. Plans to house the theater in the base of the 27-story residential complex were first explored around five years ago, when the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs announced it would partner with MCC to finance the $35 million project. But the initial developer backed out of the venture and ownership of the building changed three times, which means the original 2013 opening date for the theater was pushed back repeatedly. Now that the move is at last becoming reality, a vision for expanding MCC’s annual creative output is already underway. The company expects to increase its Mainstage season from four to six productions, and will also significantly build out its PlayLabs program, as well as a youth education initiative that already serves more than 1,200 public school students throughout New York. “Our plan overall is to expand in every area, but it’s not an expansion that will make this a ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | April 07 - 20, 2016

COURTESY: MCC THEATER

RENDERING BY ANDREW BERMAN ARCHITECT

The MCC Theater is finally moving to a permanent space — on West 52nd Street in Hell’s Kitchen.

On March 22, MCC artistic directors William Cantler and Bernard Telsey, executive director Blake West, and artistic director Robert LuPone led a tour of the raw space for the company’s two new theaters, which will open in time for the 2018-19 season.

RENDERING BY ANDREW BERMAN ARCHITECT

In addition to this 249-seat theater, the company will also have use of a 99-seat black box space in the building.

wildly different or alienatingly large organization,” said Blake West, MCC’s executive director since 2006, who added that the company will also invest more in developing new plays and musicals to build on its current programming. “That’s necessary to help strengthen what we do when we produce six plays on two stages,” he explained. “We feel like [the whole venture] is a natural progression, as opposed to a radical shift of who we are right now.” Street-level space for nonprofit theaters has been part of the Avalon Clinton’s building blueprint since 2003, and the complex will also house office and performance spaces for the Alliance of Resident Theatres/ New York, aka A.R.T., a nonprofit service and advocacy group (art-newyork.org) and the 52nd Street Project (52project.org), which creates new plays for, and sometimes in collaboration with, Hell’s Kitchen kids.

Far from feeling crowded by competing agendas, West thinks the presence of other likeminded organizations will make MCC’s new space even more of an asset — both for the theater and the surrounding community. “With all these other partners, that building becomes an even more exciting destination for the whole neighborhood than if it was just one organization,” he said. And with the lively — and rapidly changing — nature of Hell’s Kitchen, he also sees potential for partnerships beyond the MCC’s West 52nd Street walls. “Our experience down in the West Village has been one that has also included a lot of the local businesses for dinners and receptions and cocktail parties with our artists and audiences,” West said. “There’s a lot of development happening out there [in Hell’s Kitch-

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Why Does New York Honor So Few Women in Monuments?

TEQUILA MINSKY

LuLu LoLo and Vilma Nelson.

TEQUILA MINSKY

TEQUILA MINSKY

“Swing Low,” the Harriet Tubman memorial on West 122nd Street at St. Nicholas Avenue and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.

Harriet Tubman pulling up the roots of slavery behind her.

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MONUMENTS, from p.1

The March weather was brisk, but with sunny skies the day mostly cooperated with the desire of participants to soak in the rare women who merited statuary recognition in New York. “I’m disgusted that every public dedication for bridges, roads, airports are named for men,” Vilma Nelson said of her reasons for joining LoLo and the Municipal Art Society on the late winter excursion. The day began where West 122nd Street forms a triangular junction with St. Nicholas Avenue and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, the site of one of the city’s newest and least familiar statues — honoring Harriet Tubman (1822-1913). Sculptor Alison Saar, daughter of famed African-American artist Betye Saar, created a power ful monument to Tubman, who

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was born a slave in Maryland and escaped via the Underground Railroad in 1849. The statue depicts Tubman not as the “conductor of the Underground Railroad but as the train itself… the roots of slavery pulled up in her wake.” Titled “Swing Low,” the statue was championed by former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields and dedicated in 2008. The junction is now known as Harriet Tubman Triangle, and a New York Department of Parks and Recreation information sign offers background information on the iconic abolitionist and on the memorial’s development. Over a 10-year period and at great peril to herself, Tubman made numerous trips returning to Maryland to guide scores of family and friends to freedom. The fact that the statue faces south stirred some controversy

when it was completed, given Tubman’s commitment to lead slaves north to freedom. But from Saar’s perspective, “What is most impressive to me are her trips south, where she risked her own freedom.” The skirt of the larger-than-life bronze figure has bas-relief images of “anonymous Underground Railroad passengers,” some inspired by West African “passport masks” that were worn in traditional performances there. The granite base has panels that alternate between events in Tubman’s life and historical quilting patterns. From Harriet Tubman Triangle, the group continued to the Firemen’s Memorial at Riverside Drive and 100th Street. The memorial, dedicated in 1913, includes allegorical sculptures on the north and south side entitled “Duty” and “Sacrifice” attributed to Italian-born American sculptor Attilio Piccirilli. Celebrated model Audrey Munson is said to have posed for these sculptures and also served as the inspiration for more than 15 other statues in New York City, including the figure on top of the Manhattan Municipal Building titled “Civic Fame,” also dedicated in 1913. In the immediate vicinity of the Firemen’s Memorial, Munson also modeled for the Isidor and Ida Straus Memorial, dedicated in 1915 at

Broadway and 106th Street. Isidor was a co-founder of Macy’s and the Strauses died on the Titanic. LoLo peppered her history lessons with tidbits of art gossip. For example, regarding the statue of “Pomona/ Abundance” at the Pulitzer Fountain by the Plaza Hotel, she explained that Cornelius Vanderbilt III’s wife Grace insisted on moving her bedroom in their Fifth Avenue mansion because she didn’t care to look out on the statue’s bare buttocks. Munson, LoLo said, was for years thought to be the model for Pomona, but now it’s attributed to Doris Doscher. From the Firemen’s Memorial, a brief walk to Riverside Drive and 94th Street took the group to the Joan of Arc (1412-1431) created by sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington and dedicated in 1915. The sculpture was based on a model Huntington had submitted to the Paris Salon, where she received recognition despite the jury’s initial skepticism about such an accomplished work being a woman’s creation. In Huntington’s vision, Joan raises her sword in strength to the heavens. Both Joan of Arc and Harriet Tubman, LoLo said, had dreams that informed the missions they would take on in life.

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April 07 - 20, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Mindful of Past Criticisms,

Frick Announces New Expansion Effort MICHAEL BODYCOMB/ FRICK COLLECTION

BY JACKSON CHEN

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ess than a year after abandoning an earlier effort at renovation, the Frick Collection has announced it is once again ready to launch a museum upgrade, this time staying largely if not completely within the building’s existing footprint and avoiding any incursion into a treasured private garden. The plan would also open up the currently restricted second floor to the public. Since 1935, the Frick Collection has enjoyed a reputation as a uniquely intimate museum in Manhattan, its home and collection left for public enjoyment by the controversial industrialist Henry Clay Frick at the time of his

death in 1919. Over the years, the museum, located on 70th Street at Fifth Avenue, expanded several times to accommodate its growing needs, but a 2014 expansion plan was considered too large and invasive by the public. The previous plan, which included the removal of a gated garden that would be replaced by a six-story addition, was ultimately pulled by the museum in June 2015. On March 25, the Frick restarted the process with a request for qualifications sent to 20 architectural firms. “We enter the next phase of our expansion process energized by the promise of an enhanced facility that will address the Frick’s urgent programmatic and museological needs,”

Dr. Ian Wardropper, the museum’s director, said, adding that the goal is to preserve the museum’s environment of “intimate encounters with exceptional artworks.” The project’s architect will be chosen later this year and be responsible for further defining the scope and details of the expansion. The museum indicated that the overall goal is the creation of “new exhibition, programming, and conservation spaces within the institution’s built footprint,” but said that since initial designs aren’t expected to be unveiled until 2017, more specific information on the project is not yet available. According to Heidi Rosenau, the museum’s associate director of media relations and marketing, that

The second floor of the Frick Collection, which would be opened to the pubic under a new renovation initiative just announced.

means that the expansion’s ability to stay strictly within the museum’s existing footprint will await consultation with the architect chosen. The museum has already decided, however, that it can better utilize existing space by opening up the second floor that’s been off limits to the public since the ‘30s. The second floor originally served as the living quarters for the Frick family and currently houses some of the museum’s staff offices, but it will converted into public exhibition gallery space.

c FRICK, continued on p.15

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Costumed Showmen, Broadway Promoters Join in

Pushback Against Council Times Square Plan BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he Times Square wanderers came out to defend their livelihoods during the City Council’s first hearing on a bill that aims to bring order to the city’s pedestrian plazas — none more central in the minds of the measure’s sponsors than the Crossroads of the World. On March 30 during the Council’s Transportation Committee meeting, ticket sellers and Broadway promoters joined now familiar costumed characters in warning of the damage that Intro 1109 would bring. “We work on tips and we work on chances,” said Abdelamine El-Khezzani, better known as Spider-Man of East 45th Street and Broadway. “This has opened up an opportunity for a lot of people to support their families.” But calls for regulation have emerged as tales of aggressive panhandling, harassment, and even assault have moved to the fore in Times Square’s reputation. With little regulation, the area sometimes turns into a battleground of aggression between costumed characters and tourists. On March 26, El-Khezzani himself was involved in an altercation with a visiting Virginia family. According to El-Khezzani, the Virginia family — who have been identified as Rodney Merrill and Margaretta Patman — walked away without compensating Spider-Man after promising a tip. El-Khezzani said he called Patman — who accuses the costumed character of kicking her — a liar and Merrill a chicken. In video footage of a portion of the confrontation, a visibly upset Merrill is seen taking a swing at El-Khezzani, who said the punch landed on his throat. After the family walked away, El-Khezzani approached nearby cops to address the situation. Both parties were then charged with assault, after disagreements over the possibility the two sides could settle things without pressing charges. El-Khezzani said he is due

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JACKSON CHEN

Abdelamine El-Khezzani removes his Spider-Man mask to appear before the City Council’s Transportation Committee hearing.

FACEBOOK.COM

Spider-Man does a kick in his confrontation with Rodney Merrill, over a disputed promised tip.

to appear in court April 6, at which time a previous assault charge against him will also be taken up. The Spider-Man character said he is talking to his attorney about getting the matters heard separately, at different times. At the March 30 Council hearing, however, Spider-Man was joined by Batman and the Joker in insisting such incidents are not representative of their interactions with tourists. Costumed characters, they argued, should not be tarred with the very worst incidents the public hears about. “I would like people to look for the positive,” said El-Khezzani. “We put a big smile on people’s faces.” They may not wear costumes, but ticket sellers and Broadway promoters were on hand at the Council as well to share their wor-

ries about being corralled into a specific zone within Times Square. The ticket sellers, who work solely on commission, said they’d be caged into a small area with their competition just a few feet away. Broadway show promoters, who provide marketing for the plays and musicals running nearby, argued they should be exempt from the legislation. According to Tim Wooster, co-founder of the Broadway marketing company theatreMAMA, his 60 employees don’t fall under the rubric of “financial or commercial action” because they’re simply handing out discount coupons and other advertising material for Broadway shows. Wooster’s business partner and co-founder of theatreMAMA Michelin Hall acknowledged the need for changes in Times Square, but

said the Council’s bill restricting his employees’ activity was not the answer. “If you take that right away and you take these public sidewalks and make them private,” Hull said, “what’s going to happen is this squishing effect where everyone’s competing.” On the other side of the debate, the Times Square Alliance, the area’s business improvement district, held two rallies to generate more support for the bill. During a March 29 rally followed by another right before the Council hearing, the group showcased numerous tweets and testimonials about verbal abuse and inappropriate touching asserted by both locals and tourists passing through Times Square. Kicking off the hearing, the city Department of Transportation presented a rough draft of a plan for three types of designated areas within Times Square. According to Polly Trottenberg, the DOT commissioner, the agency wants to create “flow zones” that establish a clear path for pedestrians and a general use area for scheduled events and sightseers looking to take in the atmosphere. But it’s the proposed “designated activity zones” or DAZs that have caught the ire of costumed characters, street performers, ticket sellers, and Broadway show promoters. According to Trottenberg, there would be eight DAZs that measure roughly 10 feet by 50 feet that would accommodate the approximately 300 total solicitors. The commissioner explained that the DAZs would be subject to some “trial and error” and the agency would make adjustments as needed with help from the NYPD and its Times Square Unit. Members of the Council, including prime sponsor Corey Johnson, a West Side Democrat, stressed that zones wouldn’t be putting anyone out of business. “In no way is anyone trying to

c TIMES SQUARE, continued on p.15

April 07 - 20, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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As Natural History Opens Expansion Review to Public,

New Opponent Emerges

The West Side Tradition

BREAKFAST AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

A rendering of the proposed Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation expansion to the American Museum of Natural History.

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ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | April 07 - 20, 2016

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DINNER

ith its first public scoping meeting scheduled for April 6 — as Manhattan Express is going to press — the American Museum of Natural History is, at last, formally entering the extensive review process for its proposed expansion. Its plans for creating the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation, which would involve encroaching on the Theodore Roosevelt Park that surrounds the museum between 77th and 81st Streets and Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, has already sparked months of disputes with park preservationists. When the museum released its conceptual plans for the expansion in November, it showed that 20 percent of the new construction — at the Gilder Center’s Columbus Avenue entrance — would take place on parkland. As the museum works to engage as many of its critics as possible in finding common ground for moving forward with the project while mitigating its impact on the surrounding park, its plans are making the rounds of city agencies whose approvals are necessary. The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, which is the lead oversight agency on the project, has publicly released several documents, including a positive declaration that “determined that the proposed project may have a sig-

nificant impact on the quality of the human environment.” Yet, even as the museum’s initial steps with public agencies seem sure-footed, a third citizens’ group has arisen in opposition — the Alliance to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park. That group hosted an inaugural town hall meeting on March 30 with several guest speakers. According to Seth Kaufman, the group’s secretary treasurer, the town hall was intended to introduce the new opposition effort while raising morale within the community of park preservationists. “We firmly believe there’s more than enough space on the existing site for them to accommodate any educational center they want,” Kaufman said of the museum’s expansion plans. He added that the Alliance will focus on community outreach, pressuring local elected officials, and pursuing legal avenues for challenging the expansion. According to Michael Hiller, a zoning and environmental litigation attorney who spoke to the new group, there are several aspects of the museum’s proposal that could pose significant hurdles during the environmental review process. “The proposed museum plan threatens to create an assortment of severe, adverse, and potentially disastrous environmental impacts,” Hiller said.

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DUNCAN OSBORNE

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Congressmember Jerrold Nadler find themselves at opposite sides of a battle over the development of a nursing home on West 97th Street.

City Sides With UWS Nursing Home Development Despite Lead Concerns BY JACKSON CHEN

M

ayor Bill de Blasio has now injected the city into a lengthy legal battle by coming down on the side of a nursing home development proposed for West 97th Street that has significant neighborhood opposition. Meanwhile, the state attorney general’s attempt to file a brief in the case, which came well past the deadline for responding to a trial court ruling, was promptly rejected by the court. Jewish Home Lifecare has been trying to push forward with a 20-story nursing home adjacent to an elementary school and several housing complexes in the face of strong local criticism. After State Supreme Court Justice Joan Lobis ruled that the New York State Department of Health didn’t take a hard enough look at the hazardous materials and noise produced by the project, JHL and DOH were told to redo their environmental review. Disagreeing with the court’s decision, JHL filed an appeal on Febru-

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ary 22, while Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office would typically defend state agency actions in court — in this case, arguing that DOH had in fact complied with New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) — failed to file a notice of appeal by a February 1 deadline. A later AG effort to file a brief in the case was rejected on the grounds of not being timely. But JHL just won a hefty ally in the form of the City of New York, which filed an amicus brief on March 22 defending the integrity of the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR), whose standards the DOH applied in assessing the proposed development’s compliance with SEQRA. According to the city’s brief, Lobis’ decision harms the consistency and standards of the CEQR process and would set a precedent that opens the door to untold numbers of challenges over environmental review on projects citywide. “If allowed to stand, the trial court’s decision threatens to upset

the consistent and predictable process developed over decades by the City for reviewing potential environmental impacts of projects and programs throughout the City,” the brief stated. The city’s brief included an affidavit from Esther Brunner, the deputy director for Environmental Coordination in the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. Brunner, who oversees the CEQR Technical Manual, said that current environmental review procedures allow for the city to tackle the large volume of projects that come before it because of consistent standards that have evolved. “If the methodologies and standards for significance… are subject to second guessing by courts,” Brunner wrote, “the City’s goal of high quality, efficient, and consistent environmental review would be unachievable, discretionary decision-making by City agencies would be severely hindered, and predictability for applicants would suffer.”

Even as de Blasio signed on in support of JHL, other elected officials reiterated their opposition to the development near the school. “I am truly disappointed by Mayor de Blasio’s decision to file an amicus brief in support of the construction of JHL tower,” said City Councilmember Mark Levine. “The construction of a 20-story tower directly adjacent to P.S. 163 would pose an undeniable threat to the learning and well-being of more than 500 elementary school students.” Levine has been pushing Intro 420, a bill that would restrict construction projects within 75 feet of classrooms to a noise level of 45 decibels — an amount that’s comparable to that created by light traffic or in a suburban neighborhood. His bill has already won support from West Side Congressmember Jerrold Nadler and Borough President Gale Brewer, who also expressed dismay about the mayor’s brief on behalf of JHL. “Mayor de Blasio’s decision to file an amicus brief in support of this dangerous construction next to a school baffles me,” Brewer said. “The mayor is weighing in on behalf of an expensive private facility and against public school children.” And while the city’s brief argues for protecting the standards of the CEQR Technical Manual, Marty Rosenblatt, a neighbor of the JHL site, said de Blasio knew of lead concerns at the site well before getting involved. In 2012, after hearing news of JHL’s interest in the parking lot site across his home on West 97th Street, Rosenblatt hired a lead-testing expert and grabbed 100 samples from parking lots throughout the city. According to the testing results, the JHL site showed high amounts of lead, one reaching 3,850 parts per million. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has established 400 ppm as the limit for children’s play areas. Rosenblatt said he contacted de Blasio during his time as the city’s public advocate and was put in touch with Steven Newmark, who was then his general counsel. According to emails obtained by Manhattan Express, Newmark — who has since become the may-

c 108TH, continued on p.9

April 07 - 20, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


c 108TH, from p.8 or’s senior health policy advisor — felt Rosenblatt concluded the samples did not raise safety concerns, apparently because the readings did not average as high as the 1,200 ppm soil lead level established by the EPA for areas other than those used by children. In a series of back and forths between Rosenblatt and Newmark, Rosenblatt pointed to a 2013 letter Nadler received from the EPA’s regional administrator, Judith A. Enck, that warned that it is “particularly important that construction projects that could disturb lead in soil are conducted to carefully follow best management practices to minimize any potential lead exposure.” Enck specifically stated that such precautions are recommended when lead levels exceed 400 ppm, and she directed Nadler to the EPA’s “Superfund Lead Contaminated Residential Sites Handbook” and said developers on such property should employ dust suppression techniques in any soil excavation. In six of the 26 samples Rosenblatt’s expert check at the JHL site, the soil lead level exceeded EPA standards. Just as unexplained as the city’s decision to defend its environmental review procedures for a site shown to have potentially dangerous levels of lead was the state attorney general’s failure to meet its February 1 deadline in the case. According to a brief filed by the Attorney General’s Office on behalf of the DOH on March 22, the SEQRA review completed for the JHL development was sufficient in addressing both hazardous materials and noise. The court, however, threw out the brief, finding that the attorney general, as representative for DOH, had an obligation as a respondent in the case to file an appeal by February 1. The AG’s Office has now filed a motion to be considered an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, to have its brief entered into the record. Rene Kathawala, the attorney for the P.S. 163 parents who are scrambling to block the JHL project, said the AG’s motion is simply an attempt on the attorney general’s part to circumvent its exclusion from the case because of its failure to meet its deadline. “They had the right to appeal and they chose not to for whatever reasons they have,” Kathawala said. “The brief got rejected and instead of putting their tail between their legs, they did something even more outrageous.” Kathawala, who is himself a P.S. 163 parent, was equally disappointed in the mayor’s efforts that bolster JHL’s development plans. “The mayor is supporting a project that a state judge has found will hurt children,” Kathawala said. “It’s wildly offensive and outrageous.” He said that with legal motions now on record from JHL, the city, and the DOH, the case could go to court by June, though he predicted action could be delayed until as late as September. n ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | April 07 - 20, 2016

LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT

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Marymount’s East 97th Street Tower Rejected by CB11

MARYMOUNT SCHOOL OF NEW YORK

A rendering of Marymount School’s proposed new campus on East 97th Street.

BY JACKSON CHEN

C

ommunity Board 11 denied approval of Marymount School of New York’s proposal to construct a 231-foot high campus on East 97th Street, instead siding with neighborhood sentiment in favor of contextual zoning and overall quality of life. The all-girls Catholic school, whose main campus is at Fifth Avenue and 84th Street, first presented its plans for a new building at 115 East

97th Street during an informational meeting in October. The proposed 13-story development replaces temporary recreation courts owned by the school with a 165,000-squarefoot school that includes a new chapel, a 400-seat theater, regulation-size gyms, and classrooms from the sixth to 12th floors. Working with a modest plot of land on East 97th Street, the school argued that it needed to build high in order to incorporate all the facilities that it requires in a

new and improved campus. But the height was what many members of CB11 objected to. First rejected by its Land Use, Landmarks and Planning Committee, the full board seconded that down vote on March 15. Marymount’s plan was at sharp odds with a grassroots effort supported by the board to guide the city’s rezoning of East Harlem. The East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, the result of a 10-month collaboration among East Harlem residents, organizations, and elected officials, was developed to balance the need for more affordable housing with the existing character of the local community. Marymount’s proposed development lot falls within an area that the plan aims to shift into contextual rezoning — either R7A or R7B — that has height limits of either 70 or 80 feet. According to George Janes, CB11’s land use and zoning consultant, the plan welcomes taller buildings on the avenues, but seeks

Loss of Parking Snags West 108th Affordable Housing Plan BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, seeking approval for a proposed new affordable housing project on West 108th Street, is now committed to conducting additional research as part of a parking study that evaluated the impact of losing 675 parking spaces as the result of the development. The nonprofit organization has been informally in front of Community Board 7’s Land Use Committee on multiple occasions regarding its project to create up to 280 units of affordable housing and increase the number of transitional beds currently available at the 108th Street location to 110. The project would demolish Valley Lodge, the current WSFSSH building at 149 West 108th Street, as well as three garages owned by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). During the most recent CB7 meeting on March 16, the organization presented a parking study conducted by Nelson\ Nygaard, a transportation consulting firm. According to the study, the three

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garages currently provide the 675 parking spaces at monthly rates ranging from $372 to $385. The Nelson\ Nygaard study included a review of proposed options for incorporating parking structures into the the new development, which would range from seven to 11 stories in height across the length of the block between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. According to the study, a maximum of 118 parking spots could be created in a below-grade automated parking facility at a cost of more than $17 million. The monthly cost for a spot in that garage would come in at $1,380, the study stated. Though the study did not mention it, the loss of the existing parking structures would also displace four ambulances from the Central Park Medical Unit from their free-of-charge garage spots. The fleet is used by the all-volunteer team of more than 100 and stored in the West 108th Street garages to protect their equipment and medication from extreme heat or cold. “These ambulances are like mini emergency rooms on wheels,” said Rafael Castellanos, president of the CPMU. “They have drugs, medica-

to keep height limits on quieter residential streets. Janes argued Marymount’s project was “completely contrary to what the plan’s trying to implement,” with the rezoning allowing for a new building “no taller than 80 feet when it’s on a narrow street.” Though residents consider the private school to be a good neighbor, they also see the monolith-style tower proposed by Marymount as not contextual within their neighborhood, according to Jules Feinman, founder of the 97th & 98th Streets/ Lexington & Park Ave. Neighbors. Feinman, who is also the project’s next-door neighbor, said that characterizing the proposal as a 13-story building was misleading. Considering the height alone, he said, the Marymount plan is comparable to a 23-story building, which he said is out of step with a block made up mostly of six-story residential buildings.

c REJECTED, continued on p.11

tions, and defibrillators, and if it gets too hot or too cold those items cease to function.” Though some community members spoke up in support of the goal of more affordable housing, a majority of public comments reflected strong objections to the loss of garage space in the neighborhood. “We’re talking about a plan which says let’s get rid of 675 cars as though that did not have to do with... the people who are living in the neighborhood,” said John Moscow, a longtime Upper West Side resident. “It is a neighborhood. It needs a balance of services, and abolishing cars... just doesn’t work.” After listening to the public’s concerns and expressing their own, the Land Use Committee members concluded that WSFSSH needed to do more work on its parking study. “It’s inconceivable that the City of New York cannot get us information about available spaces,” said Richard Asche, co-chair of CB7’s Land Use Committee. “It’s something the board and the community is entitled to know.” According to Paul Freitag, WSFSSH’s executive director, the group is going back to Nelson\ Nygaard to conduct a more extensive parking study and also are working on figuring out, alongside city agencies, a new location for the Central Park Medical Unit’s fleet. Freitag said WSFSSH has asked the consul-

c 108TH, continued on p.11 April 07 - 20, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


c REJECTED, from p.10 “At 23 floors, it doesn’t fit, period,” Feinman said. “In my mind it’s going to be like that wall in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001.” Other residents were curious what the school was prepared to offer the community by bringing a state-of-the-art facility into the neighborhood. Christina Johnson, president of the Lexington Houses Resident Association, said she wanted to see more community interaction from Marymount. The school’s administration has already approached her about a community garden program that would involve Marymount students and Lexington Houses residents, but she said she expected more — in terms of both scholarships and access to the facilities for neighborhood residents. Marymount’s headmistress, Concepcion R. Alvar, has told local residents that the school would be better able to play a supportive role in the community if it is able to move forward on its new campus. Marymount has already submitted its application, which seeks seven variances to move forward

on the project, to the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals. If that process goes well, the school hopes to start construction in 2017 for an estimated completion date of 2020. CB11 was particularly concerned about a variance the school sought regarding nearby open space requirements. According to Janes, Marymount’s development would encroach on open space requirements in place on 1510 Lexington Avenue, an 18-story building next door. That building’s open space requirement is 14,000 square feet, but Marymount’s construction would build on 6,600 square feet of that space. While not sold on the Marymount project, Feinman said he wants to keep open lines of communication with the school and hopes the two sides can eventually come to a reasonable compromise. Marymount is holding two informational meetings on April 11 and May 9 at its main campus at 1026 Fifth Avenue at 84th Street, but they are limited to the school community. No date has yet been set for the next public meeting.

c REJECTED, continued on p.21

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The proposed West 108th Street affordable housing development (in lighter shade) would create 280 units of permanent housing and 110 transitional units, but would eliminate three parking structures that provide 675 spaces.

c 108TH, from p.10 tants to conduct additional research regarding alternative parking spaces available around the neighborhood. According to the parking study, there are roughly 3,500 garage parking spaces within a 12-block radius of Valley Lodge. However, community members pointed out that the study indicated no vacancy numbers from those alternatives garage spaces. Asche said the board wanted to see a more in-depth study of below-

grade parking options for West 108th Street, including digging deeper underground. But according to Zabe Bent, a Nelson\ Nygaard principal, the consultants only looked at providing two underground floors of parking because of the high costs. She added that the further below grade they go, the more likely the building would have to add more units and more height to offset the high costs of excavation.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | April 07 - 20, 2016

c 108TH, continued on p.21

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F

ree public access to high speed Wi-Fi is now available throughout the Upper East Side after LinkNYC turned on more than 30 locations along Third Avenue. The modern kiosks replaced the archaic phone booths that m a n y N e w Yo r k e r s h a v e i n recent years treated as makeshift trashcans. Instead, the phones’ underground infrastructure now powers the “links” that offer gigabit-speed Wi-Fi, a built-in tablet for web surfing, an emer gency 911 button, and two USB charging ports. “One in four New Yorkers still do not have access to broadband Internet in their home or office,” said Jennifer Hensley, the general manager for LinkNYC. “We’re excited about the connectivity that this will provide, giving everyone in New York access to the information they need.” As of April 6, LinkNYC has installed 147 kiosks at locations throughout Manhattan, with 92 of them active. The lion’s share of the links are found on the East Side — with Third Avenue kiosks between 14th and 57th Streets already live. The West Side, where kiosks have been installed on Eighth Avenue, between 14th Street and Columbus Circle, has only three active links. According to Hensley, the company activates the kiosks as fiber optics and power connections are completed. She added that the kiosks being installed on Third Avenue will be expanded all the way uptown into the Bronx, where LinkNYC hopes to turn on connections by the summer. Over that time frame, the company also plans to install a total of 510 links that will go live in Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. During the next dozen years, the city hopes LinkNYC can establish as many as 10,000 kiosk connections. “Something had to be done about the city’s payphone booths that were often missing the phones,” said City Councilmember Ben Kallos, an East Side Democrat who has been advocating for pay-

JACKSON CHEN

After making a call to his office, Councilmember Ben Kallos charges up his cellphone at 86th Street and Third Avenue.

phone reform since 2013. “Fast forward to today in 2016. We now have access to free Wi-Fi... at no cost to taxpayers.” Kallos added that LinkNYC’s free services would provide the city with an annual $20 million in advertising revenue, through the franchising agreement established with CityBridge, which manages the program. However, connecting thou sands of New Yorkers for free on a daily basis hasn’t become a reality without some concerns being voiced. The New York Civil Liberties Union said that CityBridge would retain a database of information regarding what users do on their devices and has only committed to make “reasonable efforts” to clear out that data after 12 months of user inactivity. “Free public Wi-Fi can be an invaluable resource for this city,” said NYCLU’s executive director Donna Lieberman in a March statement. “But New Yorkers need to know there are too many strings attached.” LinkNYC contested the NYCLU claims and said user information would never be retained or used by any third parties.

c WI-FI, continued on p.21

April 07 - 20, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


c

MONUMENTS, from p.4

LoLo’s group next hopped a bus traveling down Riverside Drive to 72nd Street to see the monument honoring humanitarian and First Lady Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962). The inspiration for the memorial, LoLo explained, came from Herbert Zohn, a retired art dealer, when he was walking in March 1986 along Riverside Park near 72nd Street, not far from his home. At that time, the park there was shabby and Zohn thought it was a wonderful idea to have a statue of Roosevelt, whom he had long admired. Zohn organized a board of local notables — Jackie Onassis, Helen Hayes, Katherine Hepburn, Senator Daniel Moynihan, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Harry Belafonte, and Mayor David Dinkins — to steer the planning. Through a national competition, a group of art historians and a Roosevelt family member selected sculptor Penelope Jencks. Jencks modeled Roosevelt’s upper body after the first lady’s great granddaughter, Phoebe Roosevelt. According to LoLo,

when Jencks was wrestling with doubts about the statue’s anatomy, she had a dream where Roosevelt was smiling and it erased her concerns. Still, her work took four years instead of the expected 18 months to complete, and plans for the dedication were repeatedly postponed due to the sculptor’s exacting nature. The entire project took 10 years. Ultimately, the state paid for removing an unused entrance to the Henry Hudson Parkway — ironically, a major New Deal public work — the city did landscaping and other improvements, and more than 2,000 donors gave money for the monument, which had a total cost of $1.3 million. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton joined Jencks at the dedication in 1996. During the walk, LoLo pointed to particularly stark statistics about the gender imbalance among statues in Central Park — 22 men and zero women. She mentioned the current campaign underway to erect statues of suffragettes Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | April 07 - 20, 2016

TEQUILA MINSKY

Joan of Arc raises her sword to the heavens at Riverside Drive and 94th Street.

Anthony there. “I want get more involved in advocating for public statues that recognize women and their achievements,” Vilma Nelson said as she was walking from one monument to another. A veteran of a number of other Municipal Society tours, Nelson was clearly inspired by the potential for increasing the roster of women who are honored in New York’s public monuments. n

CONNIE PERRY

P e n e l o p e J e n c k s ’s s c u l p t u re o f E l e a n o r Roosevelt in Riverside Park, dedicated in 1996 by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

13


JOAN MARCUS

Brian Hutchinson and Zachary Quinto in MCC’s 2016 production of “Smokefall.”

c MCC, from p.3

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en], both in terms of residents who will be moving in and the restaurants in the area that we’re really eager to have partnerships with. So, by the time we move in, there’s going to be even more opportunity for all that.” The space itself will feature a courtyard entrance off West 52nd Street, as well as a visual art installation for the theater’s West 53rd Street façade — while on the inside, the new MCC is designed to fluidly connect spaces dedicated to performance, behind-thescenes development, and frontof-house. The project’s architect, Andrew Berman Architect, has previously designed the MoMA PS1 Entrance Building and completed PS1’s 2011 gallery renovation, and is also responsible for the National Opera Center on Seventh Avenue in Chelsea. Since it is funded by a public-private partnership between MCC and the city, $25.5 million in capital money has already been contributed to the $35 million price tag, which includes the cost of building, equipment, and transition costs, as well as some program expansion for the first several years, according to West. A private donor campaign has contributed another $4.5 million to date, and the company

now hopes to raise the rest of the money in a public fundraising campaign (to donate, visit mcctheatercampaign.org). For MCC’s founding members, the two years left to wait until opening seems like a short span compared to the years they spent without a permanent space for their theater — especially for LuPone, the artistic director tasked with finding a home prior to the Avalon venture. “For maybe 10 or 15 years, I would be dragging Will and Bernie out to look at spaces,” he said. “And now I feel like I’m finally getting married, after I’ve been engaged for so long.” He continued, “What’s wonder ful is to finally come to a place where we can rest and do our work. So it’s not only a real accomplishment for the city and this project, but also for us as a theater, to be able to give to our artists a permanent home where they’re not looking over their shoulders all the time.” MCC Theater will stage the world premiere of Halley Feiffer’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecological Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City,” beginning May 19, at the Lucille Lortel Theater (121 Christopher Street, between Hudson and Bleecker Streets; mcctheater.org). n

April 07 - 20, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


c

FRICK, from p.5

Among the upgrades expected as part of the renovation, the museum aims to create a better traffic flow for patrons in addition to improving the quality of staff office space. Museum officials have pledged to steer clear of compromising any of the outdoor space currently devoted to a private garden on the East 70th side of the museum. Opposition to early plans to build on that space was a critical factor in the failure of the plan put forward two years ago. “We are still facing needs, and we want to go forward,” Rosenau said. “Parenthetically, we confirmed we wouldn’t be doing so on top of the garden.” After widespread unhappiness with the proposal the Frick put forward at that time, opponents of the earlier plan are keeping a careful eye on the new process being rolled out. “It’s very encouraging that they are planning to stay within the footprint of the existing building,” said Charles Warren, an architect who opposed the 2014 plan. “It would be even better if they agreed to stay within the envelope of the

existing building. The architect explained that the museum’s commitment to preserving the existing footprint still technically allows it to build vertically — remaining within the footprint but not necessarily the building’s envelope, which is its entire perimeter. “But compared to the barbarism of their earlier proposal,” War ren said, “this is really a positive development.” The Historic Districts Council, an ally of Warren’s in opposing the Frick’s earlier plan, also expressed some relief at the new contextual approach. “I think that’s very exciting that they’re rethinking what their future is,” said Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of HDC. “They seem committed to staying within the footprint of the existing building.” Adding that Frick staff contacted him in advance of their announcement, Bankoff said the museum seems committed to engaging the community. Rosenau confirmed that the museum reached out to several other organizations in an effort to build transparency into its plan-

ning process. “We want it to have success and prosper,” Bankoff said of the Frick. “At the same time, part of our belief for the longtime prosperity is preserving its very distinctive feeling.” The museum, formerly a Gilded Age mansion that Frick called home, still holds true to its roots as a personally assembled art collection including works from Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, and Thomas Gainsborough. “The Frick is an extraordinarily unusual art museum that maintains a domestic scale to the institution,” Bankoff said. “When you see [the artwork], you see it as if it were in a house.” The public’s love for the museum’s warm tranquility helped fuel the opposition to the Frick’s earlier plans. Officials at the Frick seems to understand that and are eager to emphasize that appreciation for that unique feel is what drives them as well. “All along that has been our intent and we appreciate the intimate atmosphere to the Frick,” Rosenau said. “The atmosphere people love about the Frick was never part of the plan to change.” n

c

TIMES SQUARE, from p.6

tamp down or limit expression or free speech or the ability to make a living in Times Square,” Johnson said. “We’re just trying to bring a little bit of order to the plaza itself.” But the costumed characters who testified at the hearing argued that problems in the area can be solved by dealing with the troublemakers and not by restricting the movement of all the performers and promoters. “I’m going to walk Times Square no matter what,” said José Escalona-Martinez, who appeared in his signature Dark Knight costume sans mask. “I am a human being and I have the right to fight for my freedom.” Batman and the Joker even put their rivalry to the side to join in the outcry of those who said they who would be negatively affected by the bill. “We have a First Amendment right to look the way we want,” said the Joker, whose real identity is Keith Albahae. “Let’s be clear what the real problem is. The real problem is about looking different.” n

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On April 2, the NYPD’s Critical Response Command evacuated Times Square after observing a suspicious vehicle parked on West 46th Street at around 8 p.m. According to police, the truck had a Brooklyn address on its side, despite its Georgia license plates, and was parked in a bus stop outside the Marriott Hotel’s entrance. The police said that in looking into the truck’s cabin they saw wires extending from the dashboard to the rear and gas canisters behind the seat. The Critical Response Command immediately requested the NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit and Bomb Squad. According to police, the Bomb Squad and ESU determined the gas canisters were empty and later found the driver. The truck was deemed safe, but the investigation is ongoing, police said. Police released photos of the truck (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc) showing the Critical Response Command team who responded.

PATTERN OF ROBBERY: ELEVATOR BOOSTING (28TH PRECINCT) Police are looking for a suspect believed to be tied to three robberies that took place on West 111th Street. On March 19 at around 1:15 p.m., the suspect followed a 16-year-old male into his apartment building’s elevator, located near the intersection of West 111th and Lenox Avenue, police said. The suspect threatened to shoot the teenage victim if he didn’t give up his cellphone, police said. After taking the cellphone, the suspect ran away in an unknown direction. Two days later, on March 21, the suspect repeated his actions at around 4 p.m. near the same intersection, according to police. In this case, the suspect similarly threatened a 17-year-old victim in his apartment’s elevator and was given his cellphone, $10, and a MetroCard before fleeing. In the most recent instance, on April 3 at around 10 a.m., the suspect was in the vicinity of West 111th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue before following an 18-year-old male into his apartment’s elevator. The suspect again threatened to shoot the victim if he didn’t give him his property. But the victim refused and pushed his way past the suspect, who fled the building in an unknown direction. Police released photos of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a black male, ranging

from 20 to 25 years old and last seen wearing a black hooded jacket, blue jeans, and dark-colored sneakers.

UNLAWFUL SURVEILLANCE: CREEPY COMMUTER (MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT) On April 1, a male aboard a 3 train travelling between 34th Street and 42nd Street stops took pictures of a seated 23-year-old female as he stood over her, police said. Police released photos of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc) whom they don’t otherwise describe.

FATALITY: PARKING NIGHTMARE (19TH PRECINCT) Police are continuing their investigation of a fatal vehicle collision at Madison Avenue and East 95th Street on March 26 at around 6 p.m. According to initial investigations, a black 2013 Lincoln sedan backed into the 76-yearold female victim as its driver was attempting to park. Officers found Mary Jo Myszelow, an upstate Cornwall resident, conscious and alert, but with injuries to her head. Police said EMS transported her to Mount Sinai Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries on March 31. Police said no arrests were made and that the investigation was ongoing by the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad.

GRAND LARCENY: STAY ALERT (25TH PRECINCT) On March 8 around 6 p.m., police said a 34-year-old female had her $20 bill stolen from her hand as she was trying to buy a MetroCard at the 116 Street 6 train station. The suspect fled the station and there were no injuries. Police released photos of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a dark-skinned male in his early 20s, 5’8" tall and weighing 160 pounds.

GRAND LARCENY: BRONZE BANDIT (19TH PRECINCT) Police are looking for a Gilt Bronze statue and the person who stole it on March 16 at around 2:30 p.m. According to police, the bronze statue was removed from a 60-yearold female victim’s home during an open house art exhibition at her home near East 74th Street. Police released photos of the statue (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc).

visit MANHATTANEXPRESSNEWS.NYC for a list of local police contacts. April 07 - 20, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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17


EXPRESS OURSELVES

What We Need to Hear from Hillary and Bernie

PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN jgoodstein@cnglocal.com

BY PAUL SCHINDLER

EDITOR IN-CHIEF PAUL SCHINDLER editor@manhttanexpressnews.nyc

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18

W

ith New York’s April 19 primary the next big thing, pundits seem most taken by the questions raised by Ted Cruz’s commanding victory over Donald Trump in Wisconsin this week. Have Trump’s many self-inflicted wounds finally caught up with him or will the Texas senator’s momentum hit a brick wall in urbanized eastern states disinclined to embrace his harshly conservative views on social issues? Manhattanites are no less mesmerized than other Americans by the unfolding Republican train wreck, but their interest is as spectators not participants. In 2012, the borough gave nearly 84 percent of its vote to President Barack Obama against a Republican nominee who fell squarely within that party’s mainstream. Cruz, an obstructionist uniformly hostile to progressive political ideas, and Trump, a megalomaniac unmoored to any overriding policy convictions, but willing to go ugly to stir the crowd, have nothing to sell here. For voters in Manhattan, the real game is Hillary versus Bernie. After a very rough day on March 15, when the former secretary of state swept five big state primaries, the Vermont senator staged an impressive comeback, winning five caucuses before pulling off his big victory in Wisconsin. Sanders continues to dominate the youth vote, and the flood of small dollar donations continues to surge his way. But even without counting superdelegate commitments, which heavily favor Clinton, she enjoys a lead of some 220 delegates over Sanders, making the math very difficult for the feisty Vermonter. Still, he insists he’s in it to win and, whatever the contest’s ultimate outcome, it will have long-term implications on the Democratic Party’s future in a year when the presidential race increasing looks to be its to lose. As the man urgently knocking at the Establishment’s door,

Sanders bears the greater onus for explaining just how his platform would play out in practice. Unfortunately, despite a vision aimed squarely at the heart of American progressive thinking — a reversal of the nation’s growing income inequality, higher wages, a crackdown on bad behavior on Wall Street, truly universal healthcare, and trade policies that do not erode the living standards of Americans — details have not been Sanders’ strong suit. One line of criticism leveled at him is how would he achieve his ambitious goals amidst chronic Washington gridlock. But that may be the least of what he has to explain. He is probably correct that if Americans were in fact to elect a 74-year-old socialist, the ripple effect on congressional races would be profound. So let’s put aside questions about his program’s political prospects. The bigger issue is whether the program can be paid for and work. Sanders is talking about a nearly unprecedented growth in the size of government, but even economists who share his overall goals and some of his specific prescriptions question the optimistic assumptions about economic growth that underlie his proposals. He has not explained how the American economy can sustain a growth rate not seen in many decades. Sanders is ferocious in his critique of Wall Street giants that walked away from the crash of 2008 relatively unscathed, so it was startling to read his equivocation when the Daily News asked him last week what specific authority he would use in taking on those banks too big to fail or even what specific criminal acts he would have prosecuted among the Wall Street crowd he has regularly labeled criminals. I have the nagging sense that Sanders’ problem lies in there never having been a meeting in Washington halted because one of the participants said, “Wait, Bernie should really be here.” We can all cynically ask, “Well, what good did all those Wash-

ington meetings do us anyway?,” but certainly nobody imagines a world where the meetings simply don’t take place. Clinton has just about exactly the opposite challenge from Sanders facing her. She is sure-footed in her encyclopedic knowledge of policy detail, but encounters the public’s resistance in trusting that she harnesses that in pursuit of firmly held principles. And many of the most significant trust issues dogging her are easy targets for Sanders. She has admitted her vote on the Iraq War was a misjudgment, but has been curiously unsuccessful in making the case that four years as secretary of state uniquely qualify her among the five remaining presidential contenders to take on the tragic complexity of the ISIS threat. She claims to offer a more comprehensive answer than Sanders to potential wrongdoing in the financial markets, yet she undermines her credibility with her failure to provide transparency about the content of her infamously well-paid speeches to Goldman Sachs. And as she moves to left on issues like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and fracking, she has failed to convincingly explain her new positions as anything other than political expediency. Hillary Clinton has built a public record of substance and achievement in the face of 25 years of often unhinged opposition from the right wing. But her failure to decisively win over Democratic Party primary voters — especially those too young to have witnessed much of her prelude — now has progressive critics echoing the same sorts of character attacks that have long been mainstays of the Republican hit squad. “Remaking” herself — even if that were possible — is no response to doubts about credibility, but Hillary Clinton will not shake Bernie Sanders unless she can somehow demonstrate that ambition is not the most salient arrow in her quiver. n

April 07 - 20, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


EXPRESS YOURSELVES

School Daze BY LENORE SKENAZY

I

n ancient times — say, the 1950s, or ’60s, or ’70s, or maybe even the ’80s — children were expected to waste a good deal of their time riding their bikes to nowhere, making up basketball moves, or drawing with chalk. Their parents didn’t worry that this meant they were going to end up drug addicts, or at least at a second-tier college. In fact, most parents were eager to shoo kids out of the house. But that was before something began taking over all waking hours of the day. School. When we think about how different childhood is today — structured, supervised, stressful — we tend to blame helicopter parents or the culture of fear that has made stepping outside without mom or dad into an activity mentally accompanied by scary organ music. After all, every parent’s worst nightmare could be just around the corner! But Peter Gray, author of the basic psychology textbook used in colleges across the country (including Harvard), says that while “increased fears from the media” are partly to blame for this new, constricted childhood, there’s another force at play.

Or, rather, not at play. “Part of it that we don’t give enough weight to is the increasing amount of influence of schooling.” Think about how school dominates the lives of kids today. When Gray, now a white-haired professor, was growing up, the school year was five weeks shorter. I remember that, too — a threemonth summer vacation. Bliss! No one was freaking out about the “summer slide” — kids forgetting the lessons they left behind in May. Summer was seen as the charger kids needed, not a drain. As for what happened during the school year itself, there was little or no homework in the lower grades, unless the kids had to do something like gather leaves for a project. No nightly homework sheets. No nightly reading log, the bane of my existence as a mom. (Forcing your kids to read a certain amount each day turns out to be the perfect way to make them hate reading. Try it!) Gray, who is at Clemson University this week to give a talk at the Rebooting Play Conference, as am I, says that those logs are just one hint of how parents are now supposed to continue the school day at home. They are expected to review their kids’ homework and, often, to sign it.

They’re also expected to volunteer at the school, as reading buddies, or running the book sale. It’s as if school has become the biggest force in our lives, inescapable from morning to night. Parents are told that this is how it has to be if they want their kids to succeed. Once parents are taught to be “school partners,” said Gray, “all of society develops the view that children grow best when carefully monitored and guided. And it used to be children grow themselves.” This is not to say that kids learn algebra by climbing trees. But they do learn how to gauge risk and handle fear. Playing a game of catch, even against a wall, they learn how to do something over and over to get it right. (Think how much easier it is to learn that lesson on the playground than in the classroom.) Playing with friends, they learn how to control their impulses, share, throw it a little easier to the youngest kid — a trait also known as empathy — all the arts of being human. These activities don’t stunt intellectual development, they make young minds curious and creative. In an essay titled, “Be Glad of Our Failure to Catch Up with China in Education,” Gray compares our education system to Chi-

na’s, where grammar school kids spend nearly 10 hours a day studying, and by high school they face a 12-and-a-half–hour school day. Kids ar e for ced to endur e this “to get a high score on the ‘gaokao,’ the national examination that is the sole criterion for admitting students to college,” writes Gray. What happens to those high-scoring winners? “A common term used in China now to refer to the general results of their educational system is ‘gaofen dineng,’ which means, literally, ‘high scores, but low ability.’ Because students spend nearly all of their time studying, they have little chance to do anything else,” like develop interests, physical stamina, or social skills. That’s a “success” America would do well to avoid. To raise the kind of engaged and eager kids who grow into entrepreneurs and simply happy citizens, we need to stop school from seeping into every hour and activity of the day. Fooling around turns out to be the best schooling around. Lenore Skenazy is editor and founder of the book and blog “FreeRange Kids” and a contributor at Reason.com. n

Letters to the Editor DOT NO “EXPERTS” ON BIKE LANES March 28, 2016 To the Editor: I just have to “express” my opinion on the article about the crosstown bike lanes (“Resistance Mounts to DOT’s East Side Bike Lanes,” by Jackson Chen, Mar. 24). The Department of Transportation proposes bike lanes on streets where there are bus routes, schools, truck deliveries, and already heavy traffic flow, instead of the lesser traveled and congested streets the community board and opponents have suggested. The DOT will implement their plan and anyone who opposes it be damned, as they have done time and time again. ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | April 07 - 20, 2016

Steve Vaccaro, an Upper East Side resident, says the DOT knows what’s best — “they’re traffic experts.” WHAT?? ? I almost choked. The New York City DOT has absolutely NO knowledge of traffic management, as proven by their congestion causing-programs throughout the city. That is what they are experts at — causing as much traffic congestion as possible. These last two administrations and their so-called transportation commissioners, Janette Sadik-Khan and Polly Trottenberg, have made me long for former transportation commissioner Iris Weinshall. Thank you. Richard Hecht Bay Ridge

MANHATTANEXPRESSNEWS.NYC WRITE US! Send letters to the editor, of 250 words or less, to: Editor@ManhattanExpressNews.nyc The editor reserves the right to edit letters due to space or legal considerations.

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EXPANSION, from p.7

He explained that among a long list of concerns about the Gilder Center, there is the loss of green space, the increase in air pollution from greater traffic and congestion around the museum, and severe shadow impacts over open park space that the Gilder Center would create. The attorney added that the museum should acknowledge the noise impacts from the three years of construction, the damage to the park’s natural resources in the form of trees, and the destruction of historical and cultural resources. “The park has been dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt, the only US president born in New York City,” Hiller said. “I expect the city would make every effort to prevent disfigurement of the only New York City park established in his name, especially given the growing opposition.” That opposition now includes at least three factions with the formation of the Alliance. Both the Alliance and Community United to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park, another new entry, seceded from the pioneering park advocacy group, the Defenders of Teddy Roosevelt Park. The Defenders, meanwhile, have recently become members of two working groups — one

focused on the park, the other on transportation issues raised by the expansion — established by the museum to address conflicting goals and agendas within the wider community. The working groups were announced on February 29 and explained as vehicles for the museum to understand the different perspectives of affected stakeholders. According to Adrian Smith, the president of the Defenders group, the working groups have met three times already on a biweekly basis. Based on the environmental documents released to date by the museum, Smith said his group has several concerns, including the plans for replacement trees promised for the park, ongoing funding and maintenance issues, and also an underground delivery driveway, the details of which remain largely unknown. “We still feel there’s a dearth of information on the underground driveway,” Smith said. “We just feel it needs to be addressed in the environmental impact statement and it’s only tangentially mentioned.” While the Defenders group now has an inside line by participating with the museum on the two working groups, the two other opposition groups are hoping that the public scoping meeting on April 6 will be the venue for them and

MICHAEL SHIREY

The Theodore Roosevelt Park that surrounds the American Museum of Natural History.

other community members to influence the museum’s decisions. Despite the museum’s relative wealth compared to its opponents, Hiller said the opposition is facing a winnable fight. “While the museum will undoubtedly have the superior resources, that’s true in virtually every land-use and zoning fight,” Hiller said. “All that should matter is whether the opposition is right to oppose the project.” For details on the April 6 public scoping meeting, visit ManhattanExpressNews.nyc/ amnh-scoping. n

MANHATTANEXPRESSNEWS.NYC

c 108TH, from p.11

c REJECTED, from p.11

Jessica Katz, the assistant commissioner of special needs housing for HPD, said that the agency was aware that the affordable housing project would lead to less parking but argued that adding more underground levels of parking posed a costly financial hurdle. “The deeper we excavate, the more expensive it’s going to be, regardless,” Katz said. “There’s no scenario where digging down 10 stories of parking is going to be less expensive than digging down two stories.” Still, Freitag assured CB7 that WSFSSH has asked Nelson\ Nygaard to explore below-grade options in more detail. According to the Central Park Medical Unit, there has been no news of any replacement location to house its ambulances. “I know various folks from the City of New York offered their intercessions and help in finding a new spot,” Castellanos told Manhattan Express. “As of this moment, I don’t know that a spot has been finalized.” Castellanos added, however, that he expected the project to involve a lengthy process and wasn’t surprised at the time it’s taking to find a new location. Freitag said the revised Nelson\ Nygaard parking study may be ready for CB7 in May. n

Cathy Callender, the school’s director of development said the site’s current zoning doesn’t have any height restrictions and the requested zoning variances actually would create

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | April 07 - 20, 2016

a building with a lower height and a larger footprint at its base. “We were of course disappointed by the CB11 vote,” said Callender. “We remain committed to being good neighbors and supportive of the community and its needs.” n

for free, concer ns about privacy are bound to follow. But the modern kiosks undeniably offer essential services that the seedy phone booths of New York never could. “Upper East Siders won’t have to worry about dead batteries or going over your monthly data as they use LinkNYC for free,” Kallos said. n

c WI-FI, from p.12 “We have a very robust, well-negotiated privacy policy that we worked very closely with the City of New York on,” Hensley said. “We take privacy very seriously for all of our users and everybody accessing the LinkNYC network.” With LinkNYC offering many essential digital age services

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Modern Estrangement BY STEVE ERICKSON

T

he Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “Art of the Real” series is one of three major documentary festivals in New York. Where “DocNYC,” held at the IFC Center and SVA, generally embraces more formally conventional work and the MoMA program “Documentary Fortnight” emphasizes its international focus, “Art of the Real” holds a view of non-fiction that includes elements of narrative and avant-garde cinema. For instance, it has shown Narimane Mari’s brilliant but completely fictional “Bloody Beams” (which, to be sure, won the top prize at a documentary festival in Copenhagen). This year’s lineup looks more politically oriented than usual, with exposés on Korean sweatshops and a look back at Germany’s radical Red Army. However, a film needs an unusual approach to make it into “Art of the Real” — the kind of documentaries usually shown by HBO and PBS, as good as many of them are, wouldn’t make the cut. This year, the festival expands its definition of documentary even further by offering up several programs of shorts by non-narrative filmmaker Bruce Baillie. The shadow of the films produced by Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab hangs over Spanish director Mauro Herce’s “Dead Slow Ahead” (Apr. 21, 6:30 p.m.; Francesca Beale Theater), which documents life onboard a cargo ship. Still, there are some significant differences between his film and “Leviathan.” “Dead Slow Ahead” is less frantic — even if it, too, seems excited by shots in which the camera caresses the exteriors of machinery — and more interested in engagement with the ship’s crew. That said, it keeps its distance from them, seemingly aware of the class differences between Herce and the Filipino sailors who toil onboard the ship. Herce uses devices like cutting the sound during a karaoke party and replacing it with loud electronic drones. In fact,

22

ART OF THE REAL Film Society of Lincoln Center 144-165 W. 65th St. Apr. 8-21 filmlinc.org

FILM MOVEMENT

A scene from the Louisiana bayou in Roberto Minervini’s “The Other Side.”

the sound design throughout the film is remarkable, combining the natural clanks and creaks of the ship with synthesizer music. The film has a poetic streak, as it focuses on clouds for long stretches while the ship seems to idle. It contains a sense of dread, as well; we seem a step away from the equally isolated, all-male world of John Carpenter’s “The Thing” much of the time. If there’s a dystopian quality to Herce’s images, as well as plenty of beauty, that’s undoubtedly the point; transporting wheat from Ukraine to New Orleans by sea involves some risk, a prospect acknowledged in the film’s first subtitled lines of speech. Brazilian director Sergio Oksman’s “On Football” (Apr. 20, 6:30 p.m.; Francesca Beale Theater) seems aimless and unfocused for its first two thirds and then takes an unexpectedly dark turn that brings its real agenda into the light. Oksman, who’s now based in

Madrid, shot the film during a return trip to São Paulo that coincided with the 2014 World Cup. He tried to bond with his estranged father Simao, who left the family when Oksman was a child. Much of their reunion consists of Simao and Sergio driving around in an old car talking about the World Cup and their memories of previous games while a cameraperson appears to lurk in the back seat, filming them. The film relies so heavily on images of people talking in cars that it evokes Abbas Kiarostami’s “Taste of Cherry” and “Ten.” As one might guess, football is just a pretext to explore father/ son relationships. We don’t learn much about Sergio, but we do discover that Simao is a stressed-out workaholic who can’t afford to live any other way. Even when it succumbs to drift, the film is notable for its handsome cinematography. The final 20 minutes pack an uncommonly sobering punch; Sergio couldn’t have known how his film would end when he began this project.

Italian director Roberto Minervini’s “The Other Side” (Apr. 8, 7 p.m.; Walter Reade Theater) continues his exploration of American subcultures from his “Texas trilogy.” This time, he ventures into a Louisiana bayou world where people hate Obama and love meth. The film runs the risk of European condescension toward poor Americans, most of whom are never going to have a chance to see the film, but it largely dodges that bullet. The film’s first hour concentrates on junkie lovers Mark and Lisa, whose relationship plays out as Mark hides from the law while his mother dies of cancer. He plans to turn himself in and try to get sober in jail after she finally passes. When this happens, he disappears from the film, and Minervini instead focuses on a militia who claim that martial law is around the corner. Nobody in the film has anything close to progressive poli-

c

THE OTHER SIDE, continued on p.25

April 07 - 20, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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Juliano Cazarré as Iremar, at work with the bulls and at the sewing machine.

BY GARY M. KRAMER

T

he striking film “Neon Bull” is set in the Sertão region of northeastern Brazil, which is home to Iremar (Juliano Cazarré), a vaquero, or cowboy. Iremar works with Galega (Maeve Jinkings) and Zé (Carlos Pessoa) doing rodeo shows. Iremar and Zé prepare bulls for a sport where cowboys on horseback pull the bulls’ tails to take them down. Iremar, however, dreams of being a fashion designer and spends his spare time making sparkly outfits for Galega, who moonlights as an exotic dancer. Director Gabriel Mascaro emphasizes the contrast between the characters’ harsh reality and their hopeful dreams, which is what makes his film so affecting. “Neon Bull” immerses the viewer in this remote world, from a slow opening pan across the rodeo bulls to a highly stylized scene of equestrian massage. This slice-of-life story eschews dramatic tension and large plot developments for impressionistic moments. One surreal episode involves Iremar picking up mannequin parts in the muddy landscape. A comically explicit scene has Zé and Iremar conspiring to procure horse semen to earn extra money. And there are erotic moments when different characters seek sexual release as a way of coping with their long days of hard work and often-lonely existence.

For more information please visit our website at www.liveoutloud.info

NEON BULL Directed by Gabriel Mascaro Kino Lorber Opens Apr. 8 Film Society of Lincoln Center Francesca Beale Theater 144 W. 65th St. filmlinc.org

“Neon Bull” deftly captures the characters’ palpable sense of longing for a different life, which provides the film’s emotional core. Iremar’s desire for a better sewing machine may be why he toughs it out cleaning up and smelling like manure for days on end. When he meets Geise (Samya de Lavor), a woman who sells cologne and works as a security guard in a clothing factory, he may find a way to get into the world he wants. In the meanwhile, Iremar helps Galega with her costumes and also acts as a surrogate father for her young daughter, Cacá (Alyne

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | April 07 - 20, 2016

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NEON, continued on p.25

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Manhattan Treasures St. Apr. 15, 8 p.m. Tickets are $35-$75 at beacontheatre.com. Aoki will appear for a post-screening performance.

DON’T MONKEY WITH PATTI LUPONE

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YOUNG LIONS OF BROADWAY Composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa (“Big Fish,” “The Addams Family,” “I Am Harvey Milk”) hosts “Young Lions of Broadway,” an evening celebrating the up-and-comers who may well define the Great White Way for years to come. Erika Anclade, Philippe Arroyo, Summer Boggess, Jamie Bogyo, Sam Bolen, Lexi Butler, Sarah Chapin, Lilli Cooper, Virginia Doyle, Arielle Jacobs, Daniel H. Jenkins, Erin Krebs, Carrie Manolakos, Aaron McAleavey, Jamen Nanthakumar, Celeste Rose, Simon Schaitkin, Ariella Serur, Bobby Conte Thornton, Sally Wilfert, and Luke Zimmerman perform the music of Ty Defoe & Tidtaya Sinutoke, Peter Lerman, Or Matias, Alexander Sage Oyen, Alex Ratner, Tim Rosser & Charlie Sohne, Heath Saunders, Alan Schmuckler, Pete Seibert & Patrick Lundquist, Mark Sonnenblick, Shaina Taub, and Ben Wexler. Alan Schmuckler is musical director. Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St. Apr. 8, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, $18 for those 30 and under at symphonyspace.org.

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than three decades, starring Rosalie Craig as Rosalind. With her father the Duke banished and in exile, Rosalind and her cousin Celia leave their lives in the court behind them and journey into the Forest of Arden. There, released from convention, Rosalind experiences the liberating rush of transformation. Disguising herself as a boy, she embraces a different way of living and falls spectacularly in love. Screened as part of NT Live at Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St. Apr. 10, 8 p.m. Tickets are $24, $22 for seniors, $16 for those 30 and under at symphonyspace.org. For private group screenings, for parties of 75 or more, contact ed.budz@symphonyspace.org.

scape of ethnic diversity on the Broadway stage. The evening features live performances and a panel discussion, with appearances by pianist Alvin Hough, Jr. (associate conductor of “The Color Purple”), LaChanze (Tony Award-winner for “The Color Purple”), Raymond J. Lee (“Anything Goes,” “Honeymoon in Vegas”), Kat Nejat (“West Side Story,” “Lysistrata Jones”), Tara Rubin (casting director, “School of Rock — The Musical”), Jack Viertel (artistic director of Encores! and a senior vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters). Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St. Apr. 13, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, $19 for those 30 and under at symphonyspace.org.

RELIVING THE SWING SOUNDS OF STAN KENTON

EDGAR DEGAS’ STRANGE NEW BEAUTY Edgar Degas is best known as a painter and chronicler of the ballet, yet an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art of his work as a printmaker reveals the true extent of his restless experimentation. In the mid-1870s, Degas was introduced to the monotype process — drawing in ink on a metal plate that was then run through a press, typically resulting in a single print. Captivated by the monotype’s potential, he immersed in the technique with enormous enthusiasm, taking the medium to radical ends. The exhibition includes approximately 120 rarely seen monotypes — along with some 60 related paintings, drawings, pastels, sketchbooks, and prints — that show Degas at his most modern. MoMA, 11 W. 53rd St. Through Jul. 24: Sat.-Thu., 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Fri., 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Admission is $25, $18 for seniors, $14 for students, free for 16 and under. Information at moma.org.

LIVE FROM LONDON: AS YOU LIKE IT “As You Like It,” Shakespeare’s glorious comedy of love and change, is at London’s National Theatre for the first time in more

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The Manhattan School of Music has long celebrated the importance of jazz as an art form. In two performances, the young musicians of the school’s Concert Jazz Orchestra prove why swing is alive and well in a tribute to mid-20th century innovator Stan Kenton. The Orchestra performs a complete recreation of Kenton’s 1955 “Contemporary Concepts,” featuring songs like “Stella By Starlight,” “Cherokee,” and “Stompin’ at the Savoy,” as arranged by Bill Holman and Gerry Mulligan. Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Time Warner Center, Broadway at 60th St., fifth fl. Apr. 11, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. For tickets call 212-258-9595, and for more information visit jazz.org.

BROADWAY’S CHANGING — MORE DIVERSE — FACE Actor, writer, and activist Christine Toy Johnson hosts “The Changing Face of Broadway: Race and Diversity in the American Musical Theater,” an exploration of the challenges and rewards of nontraditional casting and the changing land-

MICHAEL FEINSTEIN & THE GREAT JAZZ STANDARDS Michael Feinstein explores jazz standards that, while originally written for film, stage, and nightclub acts, became classics thanks to artists like Coleman Hawkins and Ella Fitzgerald. The show gives you the chance to enjoy the evolution of “Body and Soul,” “Stardust,” and “All the Things You Are” from the Ambassador of the Great American Songbook. Joining Feinstein will be the Tedd Firth Big Band and three special guest vocalists — cabaret icon Marilyn Maye, soul songstress Freda Payne, and Veronica Swift, the second-place winner of the 2015 Thelonious Monk International Vocal Competition. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room, Time Warner Center, Broadway at 60th St., fifth fl. Apr. 13, 7 p.m.; Apr. 14, 7 & 9 p.m. Tickets are $125.50 for the Apr. 14 early show; $65.50-$85.50 for the Apr. 14 late show at jazz.org. For Apr. 13 tickets, call 212-721-6500.

STEVE AOKI WILL SLEEP WHEN HE’S DEAD In a special Tribeca Film Festival screening, director Justin Krook presents his fast paced biodoc about one of the most prolific DJs working today: Steve Aoki. In “Steve Aoki: I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead,” Krook examines the passion and drive that motivate the DJ as he prepares for one of the biggest shows of his career. Chief among the influences on Aoki, the audience learns, is Rocky Aoki, a daredevil showman, Benihana restaurant tycoon, and Steve’s absent father. The film chronicles the younger Aoki’s journey from his college dorm days launching a music label to his headlining of some of the world’s largest music festivals. Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway at 75th

In “Don’t Monkey with Broadway,” twotime Tony Award winner Patti LuPone offers inimitable interpretations of classic Broadway show tunes by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Jule Styne, Stephen Schwartz, Charles Strouse, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. She’ll talk about how her life-long love affair with Broadway began as well as her concerns about what it is becoming today. The evening is conceived and directed by Scott Whittman, with musical direction by Joseph Thalken and arrangements by Dick Gallager. Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St. Apr. 19, 8 p.m. Tickets are $55-$75, $40 for those 30 and under at symphonyspace.org.

TAXI DRIVER AT 40 Martin Scorsese’s psychological thriller “Taxi Driver” celebrate its 40th anniversary at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. One of the most memorable films from Hollywood’s ‘70s creative blossoming, “Taxi Driver” starred Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle, and Cybill Shepherd and was written by Paul Schrader. Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway at 75th St. Apr. 21, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $70-$355 at beacontheatre.com. Following the screening, Kent Jones moderates a conversation with Scorsese, De Niro, Foster, Shepherd, and Schrader.

WONDER WOMAN IS WONDERFUL Lynda Carter, TV’s legendary Wonder Woman, returns to Jazz at Lincoln Center with her All-Star Band performing her new show, “Long Legged Woman,” a unique take on classic blues, rock, country, standards, pop, and original songs. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room, Time Warner Center, Broadway at 60th St., fifth fl. Apr. 22-23, 7:30 p.m. $45.50-$70.50 at jazz.org or 212-721-6500.

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April 07 - 20, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


tics — Mark repeatedly refers to Obama by the N word — but the militia leader is a frustrating figure because he offers cogent critiques of American military intervention in the Middle East and drug laws before claiming the UN is going to round up gun owners and send them to “FEMA camps.” Mark and Lisa’s story is filled with a surprising amount of sweetness and tenderness, and there’s even an appealing camaraderie among the militia. Despite these surprising ambiguities, “The Other Side” helps explain the widespread enthusiasm for Second Amendment libertarianism:

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Santana). Cacá also has dreams — of owning a horse and reuniting with her long absent father — but her situation seems as unlikely to change as anyone else’s. The young girl is unhappily resigned to her hardscrabble life, living in a makeshift camp with the three adults. “Neon Bull” takes a small narrative turn when this “family” dynamic is upset. Zé, who is good with horses, is asked to leave the camp to handle a prize stallion elsewhere. He is replaced by Júnior (Vinícius de Oliveira), a handsome, long-haired man who attracts both Cacá and Galega’s attention and inspires a bit of jealousy in Iremar. That little dramatic happens in the film may frustrate viewers who invest in these characters. Mascaro wisely allows viewers to fill in the blanks about Cacá’s father as well as about Iremar’s future. Part of the magic of “Neon Bull” is its absolute authenticity. Mascaro puts considerable emphasis on the bodies of both the bulls and the human characters, who in many ways behave like animals. The bulls are seen being guided in their pens, fed, and cleaned, and their lives are not unlike Iremar’s. He too is a creature of habit, forced to repeat the same tasks day after day. He eats, sleeps, and pisses, just like the animals. The only difference is that his dreams provide an escape from his routine and an outlet for creativity. The emphasis on the characters’ bodies reveals truths about them.

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One of the cargo ship sailors in Mauro Herce’s “Dead Slow Ahead.”

its subjects are so alienated from mainstream politics that they see no alternative. It’s frightening to think what a French or Italian TV audience will make of American life after seeing this film. n

Just as Iremar combs and sands the bull’s tails for the rodeo, Júnior brushes his long hair, which is a symbol of his identity. Galega is seen waxing her crotch in private, while Iremar washes his lean, muscular body in a homoerotic sequence, demonstrating how the two characters care for their appearance. Mascaro seems interested in both the organic and mechanical demands placed on animals and humans alike. The physicality of the bulls and their keepers are a focus of attention, but both the animals and the characters behave like machines in providing labor. During a midnight rodeo, the bulls are sprayed with florescent paint and trotted out as “neon bulls,” but their performance is not so different than Galega dancing in the horse mask and hoof costume Iremar makes for her. A lighthearted scene of the characters dancing mirrors the interaction between the bulls and horses in the rodeo arena. Both animals and humans “perform” in ways that define who they are. “Neon Bull” succeeds in part because Cazarré delivers such an un-self-conscious performance as Iremar. The handsome actor is alluring whether he is handling the animals, working on his designs, or encouraging Cacá to find her father. In support, Santana is particularly strong as Cacá, who may be the most sympathetic character. Watching Iremar clean Cacá up after she falls in manure may be the most oddly touching — and representational — moment in this impressive film. n

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | April 07 - 20, 2016

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Kids Count BABY GOT BACH

GILBERT & SULLIVAN’S “IOLANTHE” The Blue Hill Troupe presents Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta “Iolanthe,” a tale of a fairy who, returning after a 25-year banishment for marrying a mortal, seeks protection for her son, who is half-mortal and half-fairy. The queen grants the boy a title in the House of Lords, but when he falls in love with the young ward of the Lord Chancellor, Fairyland and Parliament fall to pieces. El Teatro of El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Ave. at 104th St. Apr. 9 & 16, 2 p.m.; Apr. 10, 3 p.m. Tickets are $28-$100 at tinyurl.com/iolanthe2016. Proceeds benefit the Children’s Cancer and Blood Foundation.

ARE WE THERE YET?

FAR OUT — SCALING THE SOLAR SYSTEM Youth ages six to 12 can explore the very same Solar System that so awed Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei by investigating the qualities of the planets on the 92nd Street Y Library Science Center’s Global Microscope video projector and then generating their own scale model of the planets. 1395 Lexington Ave., Apr. 17, 10 a.m. & 11 a.m. Admission is $16 at 92y.org, and children must be accompanied by a supervising adult.

A CREATIVE FAMILY PASSOVER SEDER Rebecca Schoffer, director of Jewish family engagement at the 92nd Street Y, and Matt Check lead a playful, interactive, and meaningful Seder experience designed for kids up to 12 but perfect for families who wish to celebrate ancient traditions in a communal fashion. All the food is kosher and nut-free, and vegetarian meals are available through phone registration (212-415-5631). 1395 Lexington Ave., Warburg Lounge, Apr. 23, 5 p.m. Tickets are $75, $55 for children, $25 for those one and two years old at 92y.org. Free admission for infants under one.

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Everyone knows that car rides can be boring. And when things get boring, time slows down. In Dan Santat’s “Are We There Yet?,” today’s Lincoln Center Kids Storytime book, a boy feels time slowing down so much that it starts going backward into the time of pirates! Of princesses! Of dinosaurs! The boy was just trying to get his grandmother’s birthday party, but instead he’s traveling through Ancient Egypt and rubbing shoulders with Ben Franklin. When time flies, who knows where — or when — he’ll end up? Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium, 61 W. 62nd St. Apr. 16, 11 a.m. Admission is free, but seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Information at family.lincolncenter.org.

KEEPING IT GREEN FOR FAMILIES Spend quality time with your family helping keep Central Park green by spreading mulch or raking leaves. Central Park Conservancy environmental educators lead stewardship projects throughout the park every year during spring and fall. Groups are limited to three children, five and older, per parent or guardian, and you must pre-register at discovery@centralparknyc.org (include the date requested, the number of adults, and the number and ages of children) and then bring an enrollment form (at http://goo.gl/7YxinH) signed by each child’s parent. Available dates are Apr. 24 & May 8, 10 a.m.-noon, and when you pre-register, you’ll receive notice of the meet-up location.

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“Baby Got Bach” is an interactive program, appropriate for ages three to six, that starts with BackStage Up Front, where kids play with real musical instruments, get hands-on experience with musical concepts, and play together on percussion instruments in a jam session. Then, it’s time for the MainStage Concert — a listening tour of great live classical music performed by world-class concert performers led by pianist Orli Shaham and her friends, including 92Y School of Music faculty. 92nd Street Y, Weill Art Gallery, 1395 Lexington Ave. Apr. 16, 4 p.m. Tickets are $18 at 92y.org.

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