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YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN

Starbucks.com

Starbucks now operates more than 300 cafes in New York City — but none have the look, scope or amenities planned for the recently announced Ninth Ave. superstore, modelled after the Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle (pictured here).

A NEW KIND OF GRINDHOUSE FOR THE MEATPACKING DISTRICT

Starbucks Superstore to Offer ‘Coffee as Theater’

Rendering by Rafael Viñoly Architects

A conceptual view of the building proposed for 61 Ninth Ave., where Starbucks is planning to open a 20,000-square-foot roastery and tasting room. © CHELSEA NOW 2016 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BY YANNIC RACK If you think Starbucks has already taken over every corner in New York City, think again — and think big. In what might be the beginning of an international trend, the company announced that it is opening a 20,000-square-foot superstore, designed by famed architect Rafael Viñoly, in the Meatpacking District. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, which will be the omnipresent coffee chain’s largest outlet in the world, is modeled on the concept store and interactive showroom of the same name that debuted in the company’s hometown of Seattle two years ago — and will stand in stark contrast

to the more than 300 Starbucks cafes that already dot the city. “Our Seattle Roastery experience created something that had never been done before, transforming a retail environment into something far beyond just a coffee shop, and into the single best retail experience of any kind,” said Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. “In New York, we want to take elements from what we originally created and build something even bigger and bolder, celebrating coffee and craft in a completely unique and differentiated way. We want this experience to tell

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VOLUME 08, ISSUE 14 | APRIL 14 - 20, 2016


Incoming Starbucks Megastore Modeled on Interactive Seattle Showroom

Starbucks.com

Starbucks.com

Visitors to the NYC Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room will be able to try and buy the company’s specialty roasts, while quizzing baristas about the crop-to-cup process.

Sit back and sip — and get a backstage glimpse of how it’s made — when the Ninth Ave. interactive java hub opens in 2018 (pictured here, the Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle).

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Public Hearing

our customers that we’re coming to Broadway.” The roastery, which teaches visitors about the entire crop-to-cup process of sourcing coffee and will also sell the brand’s small-batch specialty roasts, is

Proposed revisions to M5 bus route The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) proposes to revise the M5 bus route in Manhattan. These changes are proposed in order to improve reliability on the M5. The M5 would be split into two separate routes: the northern route would run between the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal at West 178th Street and West 37th Street in Midtown and the southern route (M55) would run between West 37th Street and the South Ferry Terminal. The M5 is a 12-mile, north-south route that provides local and limited-stop bus service in Manhattan between the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal (at West 178th Street) and the South Ferry Terminal. The M5 serves approximately 11,700 daily riders. The M5 is consistently one of the worst performing bus routes in Manhattan and is plagued by operational issues that result in uneven and unreliable service. Splitting the M5 route into two shorter routes will help to mitigate the effects of delays along the route while allowing for better recovery from delays and providing more even and reliable service for customers.

Date and Place of Hearing Wednesday, April 20, 2016 Hearing begins at 5 p.m. Registration is from 4–7 p.m. 2 Broadway, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10004 The hearing will begin at 5 p.m. All registered speakers will be heard. Each speaker is permitted up to three minutes to testify. Comments will be accepted until the close of the hearing.

Directions By Subway: 4 5 to Bowling Green; R to Whitehall St or Rector St; or 1 to South Ferry or Rector St By Bus: M5, M15 (local or SBS), M20, X1, or X10 By Ferry: Staten Island Ferry to Whitehall Terminal Use TripPlanner+ at www.mta.info for specific directions, including express bus routes. Those wishing to be heard must register in advance either by telephone, by calling 646-252-6777, or in person at the hearing. Verbal presentations will be limited to three (3) minutes. You may present verbal testimony or submit written statements in lieu of, or to supplement, oral testimony concerning the proposed service plan. Email comments will be accepted and you may visit www.mta.info to submit comments online. All written statements must be submitted by April 27, 2016. Comments received after that date and time will not be considered.

Accessibility and Interpreter Services The hearing has been scheduled at a location that is accessible to people with mobility impairment. Sign language and/or foreign language interpreters will be available upon request by calling 646-252-6777 no later than April 13, 2016. Hearing- and/or speech-impaired customers should call 711 for relay services and then ask to be connected to 646-252-6777 to communicate with an agent to arrange sign language interpretation.

www.mta.info

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set to open in 2018 inside a nine-story building that is currently being built at 61 Ninth Ave. (on the corner of W. 15th St.). “A local sensation [in Seattle] since opening its doors, the Roastery is coffee as theater, encouraging customers to interact with Starbucks roasters and baristas in order to deepen their under-

April 14 - 20, 2016

standing of the art behind sourcing, roasting and brewing rare coffees,” the company said in a statement. Starbucks had reportedly been eyeing another location in Asia — the site of its fastest-growing market — to open the second outpost of its high-end coffee temple. After the announcement that the Roastery would come to New York Photo by Scott Stiffler MTA 57878 City instead, The Seattle Times noted CNG Dunkin’ Donuts makes a move for that a spokesperson for the company Starbucks customers, by moving in 1/4 P confirmed a similar superstore in Asia right beside them. The side-by-side 4.313” X 5.6875” is still under consideration, as is a third placement is a first for New York’s 4.8.16 US location. coffee culture. p6 The new tasting room concept was launched as a strategy to build the com- next year, according to Starbucks. pany’s brand in the higher end of the The coffee chain already made local coffee market, and to remain relevant headlines a few weeks ago because one amid the rise of specialty coffee roasters of its stores on Seventh Ave. (btw. W. like Stumptown, which operates two 23rd & W. 24th Sts.) got an unusucafes in New York City. al new next-door neighbor: Dunkin’ Starbucks can likely rely on a steady Donuts. flow of customers to the new coffee The sight of these bitter rivals in complex in the Meatpacking District, such close proximity seems to be a first since the site is in close proximity to for New York, despite the fact that the Chelsea Market, Google’s New York two retailers, combined, operate nearly offices, and the High Line. 900 locations in the city. The impending The building itself, a former lumber- side-by-side showdown didn’t come as a yard that was sold in 2015, is developed surprise to industry watchdogs. by Vornado Realty Trust and Aurora “It was only a matter of time,” Capital Associates. Jonathan Bowles, executive director of The latter company is also working the Center for an Urban Future, a think on a range of other projects in the tank that tracks the spread of chains in neighborhood, including the gigantic the city, told The Wall Street Journal. Restoration Hardware store coming to According to his organization, the corner of Ninth Ave. and W. 12th Dunkin’ Donuts is now the largest chain St., as well as a planned redevelop- in the city based on number of locament of an entire block of historic tions. It has added more than 100 stores Gansevoort St. over the last five years, bringing its curOn top of the three-story retail base, rent figure to 568, while Starbucks has the new building will house offices. added more than 40 during the same Construction is scheduled to wrap up period, bringing its total to 307. .com


CB4 Attuned to Community Needs BY EILEEN STUKANE As host to spirited debate on everything from quality of life concerns to massive city planning projects, verbal fireworks are not unusual displays at the monthly full board meeting of Community Board 4 (CB4). Fortunately, during April 6’s session (held at Hudson Guild’s Fulton Auditorium on Ninth Ave.), CB4 Chair Delores Rubin frequently expressed solidarity with the concerns, and causes, brought to the fore by local residents. Various board members also let the public know that CB4 was focused on the preservation of a W. 20th St. building, and was keenly aware of Port Authority’s ambitious expansion plans for a redesigned bus terminal. The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m., when the public hearing session on permits and variances was easily dispatched.

CB4 unanimously approved a letter to the LPC recommending the rejection of a proposal to alter 404 W. 20th St., widely regarded as the oldest house in Chelsea.

PRESERVING CHELSEA’S OLDEST HOUSE

BARNEYS, PARK, MOM & POP CONERNS

Considered the oldest house in Chelsea, 404 W. 20th St. (btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.) was purchased in April 2015 by a new owner, who is proposing extensive renovations. The 4,700-square-foot historic house was built in 1829-30 for Hugh Walker on land leased from Clement Clarke Moore. During the public speaking session, Adam Taubman of Kramer, Levin, Naftalis, Frankel, the law firm of the owner, and Bill Suk, architect for the owner, spoke about the proposed changes. Taubman said that the building had a DOB violation due to deterioration and lack of maintenance by the prior owner, and that there were “bulging and leaning walls, cracked walls, sloping floors. In response to this violation the owner and his engineer are working in consultation with the Landmarks Preservation Commission [LPC].” He requested that CB4 reconsider its recommendations. It did not. Later on in the meeting, CB4 unanimously approved a letter to the LPC that stated the proposed alterations “would demolish the entire house except for its street facade, and do further violence to this house and to the most historically sensitive and architecturally distinguished block in Chelsea.” The letter recommended “that the LPC reject this proposal and request that the applicant prepare and submit an entirely different design for alterations to 404 West 20th Street.” The board suggested that a new design should retain “to a meaningful extent the substance — not just the façade — of the house.”

At the start of the public comment session Paul Groncki, representing the 100 West 16th Street Block Association, thanked CB4 for its successful efforts in preventing Barneys from transforming three parking locations into a loading zone on a narrow strip of W. 16th St. Prior to the meeting, Barneys had agreed to withdraw its request. As other speakers brought issues to the podium, however, it became clear that there was an audio problem. Whether the standing microphone in front of the podium was too far away, too high, too low, or the speakers were just not used to talking directly into a microphone, audience members (and this reporter) strained to hear what was being said. Among those who approached the podium, Jelena Pavlovic spoke about a proposed renovation by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation on Clement Clarke Moore Park. On behalf of herself and her two small children (ages two and four), she advocated for maintaining the height of the surrounding fence, which Parks wants to lower. She also asked — even though locals refer to the area as “Seal Park” — that the signature seal-shaped water features be eliminated due to insufficient drainage. She explained that her concern is the possible presence of the “tiger mosquito, the second most prevalent mosquito to carry the Zika virus,” which thrives in standing water. CB4 Waterfront, Parks, and

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April 14 - 20, 2016

Photo by Yannic Rack

Councilmember Corey Johnson, second from left, listens in on one of the group sessions the Parks Dept. organized to determine design priorities for the park.

BY YANNIC RACK A new park coming to W. 20th St. is starting to take root — at least in the minds of the Chelsea residents eagerly awaiting its arrival, who turned out by the dozens to pitch in with their ideas of what the green space should look like. The 20th Street Park, which will fill an empty parking lot between Sixth and Seventh Aves., is set to open its gates in 2019 after almost a decade of grassroots advocacy, a fight for funding, and a lengthy planning process. “Neighborhoods need parks, it’s plain and simple. And soon, you’ll have a brand new space here in the heart of Chelsea,� said NYC Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Mitchell Silver, speaking to the crowd at the first design scoping session for the project, held on the night of Tues., Apr. 12, at PS 340 (Sixth Ave. & W. 17th St.). Close to 100 neighbors showed up to the meeting, which was organized by the Parks Department, together with local elected officials and Friends of the 20th Street Park, the non-profit organization started by local residents (20thstreetpark. org). “It feels incredible to be here,� said Matt Weiss, who started the group and

Image courtesy NYC Department of Parks & Recreation

There was widespread support for some type of water feature, like this spray shower at another park in the city.

the quest for the park in 2010 after he found out that the quarter-acre lot would become available after six decades of use by the city’s Department of Sanitation. With the help of volunteers, the Friends collected over 4,000 signatures, lobbied the city to designate the space as parkland, raised $500,000 in private funding, and eventually secured enough community support to receive $1 million

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Photo by Alan Thomas

Photo by Gunner McCormick

A stronger, faster, smoother trip awaits those sailing the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in 2016.

The Clearwater’s Dave Conover, seen here with the sloop as it undergoes dry dock restoration, says public sails will resume by late June.

Sloop Clearwater Soon Restored for Hudson River Sailing BY DONATHAN SALKALN The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater’s majestic presence on the Hudson River and NYC’s lower harbor is a visual treat to those visiting our shorelines — and for those living in towers with river views. To them, the sloop must appear like a slow-moving 1800s oil painting as it sails on by, framed by their windows. Built as a replica of the Dutch cargo vessels that transported goods up and down the Hudson River during the 18th and 19th centuries, the Clearwater shares the cultural, historical and educational core values that form the foundation of the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT). That is why groups such as HRPT, the Hudson River Foundation and the Chelsea Waterside Park Association have organized and funded trips from Chelsea Piers, in support of the sloop. The excursion offers participants a fleeting glimpse of life as a crew member in past times, as the

Clearwater lumbers past modern-day ferries, water taxis, tourists boats, tugs, barges, cruise ships, tankers, and the maritime patrols of the Coast Guard and NYPD. Dave Conover, Interim Executive Director of the Clearwater and Education Director of their center in Beacon, NY, says, “Finding dock space in the city has become very challenging.” Besides Chelsea Piers, the Clearwater found temporary berths at the South Street Seaport and the Brooklyn Bridge Park, but is mostly docked in the friendly and accommodating waters of NYC Park’s 79th St. Boat Basin. Conover added that Clearwater and the HRPT are currently discussing a potential dock at Pier 26 (at W. Moore St). Launched in 1969, the Clearwater is undergoing the final stage of an historic restoration. Since 2009, work during the winter months has been done to replace structural framing in

both the bow and stern. This past winter, woodworkers turned their attention to the mid-ship. “Because the Clearwater is a wooden boat, and spends a lot of time in fresh water up river, that makes the wood vulnerable to decay,” Conover explains of the need to replace so much wood. “Most fungus that rots wood can’t thrive in salt water.” This winter’s Clearwater restoration project — supervised by carpenters skilled in ship repair (aka shipwrights) — included work on the centerboard trunk, hull reframing and replanking, and the temporary relocation of the engine and fuel tank (for access to the wood). Conover says, “Although much work will need to be done, our goal is to be back in the water by the end of May, followed by sessions of training the crew. It will be ready for public sails by mid-to-late June.” Conover also notes that their sister ship, the Mystic Whaler, will be available for

cruises by mid-April. In restoring the sloop for another 50 years of sailing, the Clearwater has set a fundraising goal of $850,000. A benefit concert, “All Hands on Deck” (a tribute to Pete Seeger), will feature performances from folk, country, bluegrass, and Gospels bands. It takes place on Fri., Apr. 29 at 6:30 p.m., at the New York Society for Ethical Culture (2 W. 64th St., at Central Park West). Visit clearwater.org. The Chelsea Waterside Park Association will have a short presentation o​ f ​ Clearwater’s progress at their annual meeting on Wed., Apr. 20. Open to the public, the free event takes place at St. Paul’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church (315 W. 22nd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Doors open at 6 p.m. to a spectacular spread of fruit, cheeses, beverages, presentations, and fun dialogue. Visit waterfrontalliance.org/alliance-partners/chelsea-waterside-park-association.

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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders smiles as a bird lands on his podium, while he speaks during a rally at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore., on Mar. 25 (robot bird provided by ultra-secret Socialist Super PAC).

Coal Mine Canary Perched On NY Primary BY MAX BURBANK “The Badger State.” “America’s Dairyland.” Or, as Wikipedia calls it, the state with “No Official Nickname.” Wisconsin. How about the “We Hate Frontrunners State?” What the hell happened there? Game changer, right? Super dramatic plot twists galore. Wisconsin Democrats love long walks on the shores of two different Great Lakes, beer, Harley Davidson motorcycles, and, apparently, cranky old socialist Jews — a trait they share with the last seven states holding primaries or caucuses. You’d think that would cheer Bernie up a little. Conversely, you’d think the insurmountable delegate lead every single major media outlet insists Clinton enjoys, despite Sanders winning the last seven contests, would insulate her — but maybe not. Both candidates seem a little stressed. Over the course of the last week, Clinton and Sanders have started to look a little like your parents. You know, still married, but only because of you, and starting to hate you for it almost as much as they loathe each other? “I’m not certain your ‘Father’ has the realism and foreign policy experience to be qualified to remain married to the Democratic process. I don’t even know that he is a Democrat.” “You want to talk qualified? Maybe if I was a Wall Street bank your ‘Mother’ would think I was too big to fail. The .com

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$ real question is, who are you kids going to vote for? ’Cause that’s the one you’re going to have to live with.” The favored media narrative on the Republican side is that Trump had a pretty bad week leading up to his Wisconsin thumping. One might be tempted to say that Cruz “schlonged” him, if that wasn’t the kind of outrageously skeevy phrase mostly found in links to cheaply produced niche porn, where the use of anachronistic Yiddish slang potty talk is considered “hot.”

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NYPA Contest Results Prove We Can Do ‘Better’ BY SCOTT STIFFLER The truly, madly, deeply embedded Manhattanites of NYC Community Media just adore a penthouse view — and, under normal conditions, vastly prefer Park Avenue to Green Acres. But every spring, our fancy turns from the hectic juggling of weekly deadlines to thoughts of slow-paced, scenic Saratoga Springs. That’s where the New York Press Association’s annual convention happens — an opportunity to sharpen our skills at seminars, schmooze with colleagues, and applaud NYPA’s Better Newspaper Contest winners. The Apr. 8 and 9 award ceremonies saw Chelsea Now’s name called three times, for recognition in our division. In the Best Column category, an Honorable Mention went to Chelsea resident Rick Carrier, who impressed with a vivid, breathtakingly paced three-part series based on his World War II experiences. “Rick’s columns seem movie-worthy and make for a great read,” wrote the judge. “His voice is one of only a few left, and to have him as a resource is invaluable.”

Photo by Donathan Salkaln

Still making news: Doris Corrigan was the subject, when Chelsea Now won Honorable Mention recognition in the Best Obituaries category.

An Honorable Mention also went to Chelsea Now for Best Obituaries (a statewide category encompassing all divisions). Albert Amateau was recognized for his coverage of an Oct. 7, 2015 memorial service for Doris Corrigan. Ten longtime friends and colleagues of Corrigan, known for her devotion to the neighbor-

hood and her advocacy of progressive Democratic Party politics, were also recognized for penning testimonials (Pamela Wolff, Gloria Sukenick, NY State Senator Brad Hoylman, Robert Trentlyon and Councilmember Corey Johnson were among the contributors, in a three-page spread compiled by Chelsea Now Editor Scott Stiffler).

Art Director Michael Shirey won First Place for Best Small Space Ad. “The ad pops off the page with red gloves. The perfect amount of copy,” said the judge of Shirey’s design for a Kingsway Boxing Gym ad. Shirey and Account Executive Allison Greacker took home a Third Place honor for Best Multi-Advertiser Page (for their work in our sister publication, Gay City News). Shirey won several additional awards for Gay City News, Chelsea Now’s sister publication, including Honorable Mention for Overall Design Excellence. A Second Place award for Coverage of the Arts went to The Villager (another of our sister publications). Recognized for their contribution: Trav S.D.’s interview with performance artist Penny Arcade; Puma Perl’s profile of the Guerrilla Girls; Scott Stiffler (Arts Editor of The Villager, Chelsea Now and Downtown Express), for his account of paranormal occurrences at Merchant’s House Museum and the Bartow-Pell Mansion; Dusica Sue Malesevic, for

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Bridge Defender. Mother. “I work to keep NYC’s bridges safe.”

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April 14 - 20, 2016

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COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

Photo by Claudio Papapietro, courtesy Friends of the High Line

Find every kind of art under the sun, at an Apr. 23 “Culture Shock” celebration of the High Line’s new programming season.

Image courtesy the artist

Kanako Hayashi’s “The Time of Leaves” is among the video works on display along W. 22nd St.’s “Sneak a Peek” route, Apr. 14–24.

BY SCOTT STIFFLER

CULTURE SHOCK: A HIGH LINE SPRING PROGRAMMING KICK-OFF Think of it as an all-you-can-eat tasting event, but with talent taking the place of food. Spring heralds a new season of free programming on the High Line, and the Apr. 23 “Culture Shock” happening promises to immerse you in an eclectic-even-byNew-York-standards roster of music, .com

dance, poetry, comedy and storytelling performances. The afternoon’s lineup — indicative of events scheduled to take place on the elevated park from the days of light jacket weather all the way through the first bitter chills of winter — has been handpicked by event sponsor Friends of the High Line. Here’s some of the good stuff you’ll find on the plate: Daniel Goode and the Flexible Orchestra lead a march-along, while

providing accordion, trombone, clarinet and hub cap accompaniment; a living sculpture garden is populated by Heidi Latsky Dance troupe members; an “Other Voices” bilingual (English and American Sign Language) performance draws from stories shared by students from PS 347 The ASL & English Lower School; a cavalcade of local luminaries, courtesy of Nat Towsen’s High Line Variety Hour, do their thing; the “Calling All Pirates” interactive extravaganza helps you channel your inner superhero; today’s leading Nuyorican poets perform original spoken word works; the “¡Acopladitos!” bilingual (English and Spanish) family-friendly concert encourages you to sing along; curator Melanie Kress takes you on a tour of High Line Art; and, yes, they even have the dictionary definition of a tasting event — via savory and sweet food vendors, in the Chelsea Market Passage, at W. 15th St. Note: ASL interpreters will be available at the visitor information stations at Gansevoort & W. 16th Sts. Free. Sat., Apr. 23, 12–4 p.m. on the High Line, from Gansevoort St. to W. 26th St. Rain date: Sat., Apr. 30, same time. Visit thehighline.org for more info.

“SNEAK A PEEK” OPEN-AIR EXHIBTION Stand on the street staring into your neighbor’s windows, and you’ll be called nosy (or worse!) — but this collaborative project, curated by Lal Bahcecioglu, applauds curiosity while encouraging art appreciation. “Sneak a Peek” features artworks displayed on TV screens in the windows of residences on W. 22nd St. Passersby will see the residences of their neighbors become temporary showplaces for works including Kanako Hayashi’s “The Time of Leaves,” in which contaminated golden yellow Ginkgo leafs evoke the aftermath of 2011’s devastating earthquake in Japan; and artist duo Ghost of a Dream’s new work, “The End Is Fine,” which uses two adjacent screens to display different ending sequences from classic films. Free. On view Apr. 14–24, Thurs.– Sun., 6–9 p.m. along W. 22nd St., btw. Eighth & 10th Aves.). Opening reception: Thurs., Apr. 14, 8 p.m., in front of Chelsea Florist (NW corner of W. 22nd St. & Eighth Ave.). To schedule a guided tour, email lalbahcecioglu@gmail.com). Preview the project at lalbahcecioglu.com/ sneak-a-peek.

NORTH CHELSEA WALKING TOUR Give somebody directions to a popular Chelsea destination, and chances are you’ll be telling them, “Go West” — but there’s a northern portion, which accounts for nearly half of the neighborhood’s (highly debatable) borders. This walk, sponsored by the preservation-minded Save Chelsea coalition, covers the area between 23rd and 30th Sts. — where changes over the past decade have transformed a once-thriving wholesale and commercial loft district into a land of residential density and new businesses. Armed with a knowledge of zoning reform and infrastructure investment, self-described “freerange urbanist” Laurence Frommer leads the two-hour foot tour — taking into account not just the area’s rich history, but the practical requirements of ensuring the integrity of unprotected locations such as historic Tin Pan Alley. Sun., Apr. 24, 2–4 p.m. Cost: $20. For reservations, visit savechelseany.org. April 14 - 20, 2016

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CB4 Taking a Determined Route on Bus Terminal Plans There are nine questions and all must be answered for a response to count.

Continued from page 3 Environment Committee member Lowell Kern assured that the board’s letter to the Department requested that the fence height remained, and “my understanding from the hearing we had is that the drainage system is going to be addressed in the water feature area.” Rubin added, “This community is very engaged and knowledgeable about this park. Stay involved because the Parks Department has already responded to changes we have suggested. There were problems with drainage last year, and they put in temporary measures very quickly.” Tom Cayler, for 517-525 W. 45th St. Tenants, brought up the issue of owners falsifying building applications with the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) in order to obtain illegitimate building permits. He had forwarded falsified documents relating to his building to the NYC Department of Investigation (DOI), and was asked to prove intent of falsification. “Oddly, I was able to do that,” said Cayler. “Now the DOI does not want to speak to me again. It’s kind of like going to the Wizard who says, ‘Kill the Wicked Witch of the West and then come back to me.’ ” Rubin said that CB4 has been speaking with the DOB “for several months, and with our local elected officials, and we do happen to have a meeting planned with DOB. These are issues that we’re going to be talking about.” Bill Borock, president of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations (CCBA), and Miguel Acevedo, president of the Fulton Houses Tenants’ Association, both spoke about the struggle to save small businesses in the district. Acevedo urged, “It’s not about rallies. Rallies are not stopping small businesses from closing. Find a resolution to work with the City Council; a bill.” The City Council’s Small Business Committee has yet to act upon the Small Business Survival Act, sponsored by 28 councilmembers in 2014. This act would establish a fairer environment for negotiating lease renewals. Rubin commented that CB4’s Balanced Businesses Task Force was looking at ways to work with local officials to resolve the small business crisis. Borock also encouraged residents

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NEWS FROM ELECTED OFFICIALS

Photos by Eileen Stukane

Representing the 100 West 16th Street Block Association, Paul Groncki thanked CB4 for helping to prevent Barneys from transforming three parking locations into a loading zone.

Jelena Pavlovic, mother of two, favors maintaining the current fence height of Clement Clarke Moore Park, but wants its signature seal features eliminated because mosquitoes thrive in its standing water.

to adopt a micro-garden along the route of a bike lane coming to Sixth Ave. Borock warned that the NYC Department of Transportation will turn the areas into “concrete” if several sites are not spoken for soon. To adopt a micro-garden, contact Bill Borock by sending an email to wborock@hotmail.com. Principal Ed Gilligan spoke for his school, PS111 (at 440 W. 53rd St.). The school is phasing out its middle grades and becoming a pre-K to Grade 5 elementary school. Gilligan reminded those assembled that the school’s state-of-the-art playground with a running track, basketball courts, outdoor ping pong tables, a forest walk and play equipment is open to the public on weekdays after school until dusk, and from 8 a.m. to dusk on weekends and holidays.

and size, and may include demolishing the present terminal and taking over private property on Ninth Ave. (btw. W. 39th & W. 40th Sts.). This would destroy about a dozen private properties, both residential and retail, as well as the Metro Baptist Church (which will host Hoylman’s Town Hall, 6:30 p.m. on Mon., April 18, at 410 W. 40th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.). The event will bring together Port Authority design competition representatives and the community for a Q&A session. In a strongly worded five-page letter (with maps), to John Degnan, chair of the Port Authority of NY and NJ, CB4 denounced any plan that would demolish blocks of Hell’s Kitchen. The letter, which was unanimously approved by the board, states: “MCB4 believes that the convenience of commuters should not come at the price of this neighborhood’s homes, businesses, community institutions, and houses of worship.” JD Noland described the letter as “an opening salvo.” Rubin added, “There will be plenty of opining on this project; other opportunities to get to the fever pitch where our voices are heard.” She urged everyone to go to the Port Authority website to take the agency’s design survey: panynj.gov/bus-terminals/pabt-design-survey.html. “Most of the respondents are commuters, and if they are the only ones responding, they’re going to be the ones to sway the votes,” she said.

IMMINENT BUS TERMINAL SPARKS EMINENT DOMAIN CONCERNS Representing New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, Eli SzenesStrauss announced a Town Hall meeting to address the impending redesign and development of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Major community concerns have arisen over how the Port Authority has initiated a design competition that allows for the use of eminent domain in order to create a new, much larger terminal that is projected to cost over $10 billion. Designs can differ in configuration

Representing Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Drew Lombardi said Brewer, Councilmember Corey Johnson and a few other elected officials undertook a walking tour of Elliott-Chelsea Houses to investigate subpar conditions and make plans for change. Also, Brewer has requested that state officials meet with elected officials together in a Penn Station working group, rather than individually as state officials have indicated. Brewer also is continuing to follow up with Con Edison about investigating and fixing the loss of cooking gas to tenants. Gaby Dann-Allel, representing New York State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, reported that the Assembly blocked Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $485 million cut of state support for CUNY. There will be no tuition increase at CUNY and SUNY schools. She also highlighted the minimum wage increase to $15, to be carried out in increments and attained by 2018, and the 12 weeks paid family leave to begin in January, 2018.

CB4 LETTERS APPROVED Bundled according to committee, 31 letters were approved by the board, most unanimously. Discussion centered over a letter to the Ninth Avenue Association in regard to its street permit application for the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival. After discussion, it was decided that the permit would be approved — with the understanding that within 60 days CB4 would be apprised of nonprofits receiving monies from the Festival. Another discussion concerned an application to the Board of Standards and Appeals, for a special permit for Avenues, The World School, to use 519 W. 26th St., in a manufacturing zone, for classroom space for two years, while the school expands at another address. This was ultimately approved. The meeting was adjourned. The next CB4 full board meeting is Wed., May 4, 6:30 p.m. at Mount Sinai West (1000 10th Ave., btw. W. 58th & W. 59th Sts.). Visit nyc.gov/mcb4. Facebook: Manhattan Community Board 4. Twitter: @manhattanboard4. .com


POLICE BLOTTER GRAND LARCENY: Elder theft Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. announced the indictment of 47-year-old Linda Vasquez — who, between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2015, managed to steal $42,000 from her 93-year-old neighbor, a US veteran. Vasquez befriended the man, who could not leave his Chelsea home without aid, and did paperwork for him, collecting his personal information in order to make 85 unauthorized withdrawals from his checking account over that three-month period. Vasquez was caught after the man’s friend, who had power of attorney, discovered the withdrawals. She is being charged with Grand Larceny in the third degree and Identity Theft in the first. In a second, similar indictment in February, Tiffany Wright pled guilty to Grand Larceny after stealing $6,000 from a 91-year-old neighbor, by opening a joint checking account, ostensibly to help the neighbor. The Attorney General encourages anyone who suspects an elder is being taken advantage of call the Elder Abuse Hotline at 212-335-9007.

PETIT LARCENY: Still waiting for the sweet smell of justice Authorities would do well to follow their nose with this case, as the scent of uncontrollable body odor might lead them directly to an assumedly smelly scoundrel. At around 1 p.m. on Fri., Apr. 8, an employee of Duane Reade

(322 Eighth Ave., at W. 26th St.) reported that an unknown individual took 20 different units of Degree brand deodorant from a shelf, and left the store without paying for the $94 worth of merchandise. Like a good roll-on in a little black dress, the perspiring perp didn’t leave a trace, as police conducted a canvas to negative results.

HARASSMENT: Violent vendors violate visitor On Fri., Apr. 8, an unfortunate 32-year-old New Jersey woman and her daughter got caught in the crossfire of a food fight that escalated into a hostile turf war. The sticky situation went down (as in, downhill fast) at about 1:30 p.m. on the northeast corner of 10th Ave. & W. 28th St., as the victim and her daughter were sitting on a bench, visiting a 37-year-old female friend from Queens. At this time, another woman approached the trio from a car (manned by a driver), demanding that they leave the location. In the police report, the Queens woman recounted that the suspects sell food in the area, and were upset that she herself brings a delivery to her own customers in the area. Instead of accepting some healthy capitalistic competition, however, the woman from the car escalated the situation by throwing a yellow liquid at the Jerseyan and her daughter, further ordering “Don’t come back here” and going on to threaten, “If I see you, I will hit you with the car,” before driving off. While the victim and witness don’t know who the suspects are, they were able to get the license plate number of their gray Dodge Grand Caravan.

YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN WWW.

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GRAND LARCENY: Help wanted…by authorities

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF: Highline Ballroom blitz

Dressing sharply; having good references; not engaging in theft of personal property during your interview — all great tips for hopeful hires to keep in mind in this competitive job market. Apparently nobody filled one 19-year-old in when he showed up to a job interview at HK Hell’s Kitchen restaurant (523 Ninth Ave., at W. 39th St.) at 12:45 p.m. on Fri., Apr. 8, and sat down to talk to the restaurant’s 37-year-old owner. At some point during their discussion, the owner excused himself to go to his office downstairs, leaving the applicant alone, and neglecting to take his Apple MacBook. Upon returning, he found both the applicant and his $2,000 laptop gone. Video of the incident was available and provided to authorities; the prospect-turnedperp was promptly arrested.

While it’s far more common for lovers to simply go out dancing, jail is definitely a far more unique spot to add to the date night repertoire, as one couple discovered on Sun., Apr. 10. At about 3 a.m., the pair was reportedly throwing down way too hard at the Highline Ballroom (431 W. 16th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), recklessly pushing and shoving other patrons. Amongst the chaos, they also managed to break a pane of glass, valued at approximately $1,500. Even the appearance of police didn’t seem to slow the duo’s roll, as the 44-year-old man intentionally grasped the 32-year-old woman in order to obstruct her arrest, and resisted his own by tightening his arms and pulling away. Needless to say, they were unsuccessful in this attempt at a great escape (or just a decent one), and wound up spending an intimate evening at a far more exclusive, up-and-coming locale: The Big House.

ASSAULT: Punch buggy At around 3:05 a.m. on Sat., Apr. 9, one man became the victim of an extremely literal hit and run. It was at that time, as he was walking back to his hotel, southbound on the eastern crosswalk of W. 42nd St., when, for reasons unclear to him, an unknown male got out of an unknown vehicle, shouting “What the f**k?” at him. The automotive agitator struck the man with a closed fist on the neck, and then hopped back in his car to flee eastbound on W. 42nd St. He left his 25-year-old victim with redness and swelling on the left side of his neck, and incredibly confused about what just transpired.

—SEAN EGAN

CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawedoff shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.

THE 13th PRECINCT

THE 10th PRECINCT

Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Deputy Inspector: David Ehrenberg. Call212-477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212-477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-4773863. Youth Officer: 212-4777411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30 p.m., at the 13th Precinct. The next meeting is Apr. 19.

Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Deputy Inspector Michele Irizarry. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced. The next meeting is Apr. 27.

April 14 - 20, 2016

11


Rhymes With Crazy THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

Publisher

Jennifer Goodstein

Editor Scott Stiffler

Editorial Assistant

When a Panic Puts Four Lesbians in Jail for 15 Years

Sean Egan

Art Director Michael Shirey

Graphic Designers Rhiannon Hsu Chris Ortiz

Contributors

Lincoln Anderson Stephanie Buhmann Jackson Chen Sean Egan Winnie McCroy Colin Mixson Puma Perl Yannic Rack Paul Schindler Trav S.D. Eileen Stukane

Executive VP of Advertising Amanda Tarley

Account Executives Jack Agliata Allison Greaker Jim Steele Julio Tumbaco

Published by

NYC Community Media, LLC

One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (212) 229-1890 Fax: (212) 229-2790 www.chelseanow.com scott@chelseanow.com © 2016 NYC Community Media, LLC Member of the New York Press Association

Chelsea Now is published weekly by NYC Community Media

LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. (212) 229-1890. Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $75. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2016 NYC Community Media LLC, Postmaster: Send address changes to Chelsea Now, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR: The Publisher shall

not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.

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April 14 - 20, 2016

BY LENORE SKENAZY This will sound strange, but it only gets stranger: A man in the Yukon who lives in a hut and has a team of 30 mush dogs got interested in the topic of female sex offenders. Go figure. The man, Darrell Otto, may trod the frozen tundra, but like everyone else, he has Internet access, and somehow he stumbled upon an odd case: Four Texas lesbians convicted in 1998, when they were in their very early 20s, of raping two young girls in a tequila-soaked orgy four years before. By the time Otto was reading about them, the women had been in prison four or five years, but they had at least another decade to go — and one had 30 years to go. That’s a long sentence. The more he read about the case, the more Otto wanted someone to dig deeper. At last he got the National Center for Reason and Justice, which identifies false allegations of harm to children, to agree to investigate. Here’s what it found. The girls, 7 and 9, had been staying with their aunt, 20-year-old Elizabeth

Ramirez, for a week. Two months later, they told their grandmother they’d been raped by Ramirez and her friends, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, and Anna Vasquez. The facts of the story were confounding, at best. First of all, the girls said all four of the women raped them, even though two of the women’s work schedules made that almost impossible. Then, their details differed widely on retellings: Sometimes the girls said they were together during the attacks, other times apart. Sometimes they said they were threatened with a knife, other times, a gun. But most damning of all, the same girls had told a strikingly similar story two years earlier. That time, it was about their mom. This was when their dad, Javier Limon, was engaged in a bitter custody battle with her. Javier Limon figured large in this case, too. He had been in love with Ramirez, and was outraged when she turned him down. He vowed vengeance on her and her family. Slate reports that Ramirez had love letters from Limon.

She was not allowed to enter them in her defense. Instead, the trial was about four lesbians in a conservative Texas town, right on the heels of the “Satanic Panic.” That’s when Americans across the country became convinced that day care workers were dismembering babies, drinking blood, and ritually raping preschoolers. It sounds outrageous now, but people went to prison, sometimes for decades, for ostensibly making toddlers dig up bodies in the graveyard or flying them down to Mexico to be raped by the army — and back by circle time. (See the case of Frances and Dan Keller). In the end, the fate of the San Antonio Four was sealed when a doctor testified that the lines she saw on one of the girl’s hymens were irrefutable proof of rape. The women entered prison reviled as child molesters — and lesbians. “Many of these cases were fueled by homophobia,” said Debbie Nathan, the Brooklyn-based author of “Satan’s Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt.” Nathan is on the board of the National Center for Reason and Justice. Back then, she explained, many people assumed that every gay person was also a child predator. Nathan urged one of her protégés, Deborah Esquenazi, to keep digging, even as she convinced the Texas Innocence Project to do the same. A lesbian herself, Esquenazi met the women in prison and was shocked to find they were no longer angry. They just wanted to tell their story.

So she brought along a video camera and bore witness over the next few years to an extraordinary turn of events. First, the doctor who had insisted the physical evidence “proved” rape admitted she’d been wrong. It turns out that hymen lines are a normal variation. Second, a new Texas law that allows people to appeal if their convictions were based on “junk science” brought the case back to court. Finally: one of the victims, now in her 20s, recanted her testimony. Then, in 2012 and 2013, after roughly a decade and a half in prison, the women were released — but not exonerated. They’re in legal limbo, working factory jobs as they await what happens next. Which is the red carpet. This week, Esquenazi’s documentary, “Southwest of Salem,” premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival. The San Antonio Four will be there, their first time in New York. It should be sweet — but not as sweet as justice. “Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four” has its world premiere as part of the Tribeca Film Festival on Fri., Apr. 15, 5:30 p.m. at Regal Cinemas Battery Park (102 North End Ave., at Vesey St.), where it also screens on Sun., Apr. 17, 7:30 p.m. On Mon., Apr. 18, 3:30 p.m. and Wed., Apr. 20, 8:30 p.m., it screens at Bow Tie Chelsea Cinema, (260 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). For tickets, visit tribecafilm.com or call 646502-5296. .com


Chelsea Now, Sister Publications Honored at NYPA Continued from page 8 a profile of Magie Dominic in anticipation of an NYPL lecture (“Magic Time at the Caffe Cino”); and our art critic, Stephanie Buhmann, for her look at the Tomi Ungerer exhibit at The Drawing Center. “I love the variety of topics,” wrote the judge. “These are lively pages with bright writing that I’m sure your readers look forward to each issue.” Under the leadership of Editor-In-Chief Lincoln Anderson, The Villager once again made a strong showing at NYPA. Anderson’s honors included First Place for News Story, Second Place for Best News or Feature Series, Third Place for Writer of the Year, Second Place for In-Depth Reporting, and First Place for Editorial Page (judges praised his “very personalized touch to compelling arguments”). He also shared Third Place Best Obituaries honors with Albert Amateau and Judith Mahoney Pasternak. Graphic Designer Chris Ortiz won Third Place in the Overall Design Excellence and Best House Ad categories. Gay City News Editor-In-Chief Paul Schindler (who serves in the same capacity for NYC Community Media’s recently launched Manhattan Express publication) was an Honorable Mention in the Writer of the Year category (“smooth writing, like smooth jazz, is easy to take in,” wrote one of

the judges, adding, “Paul is a fine storyteller”). He shared Second Place in the Best Editorial Page category with colleagues Kelly Cogswell, Susie Day, Nathan Riley and Ed Sikov. Schindler also won First Place honors for Editorials (among his topics: “The Blood Stigma Continues,” which addressed the FDA’s policies regarding the donation of blood by gay and bisexual men). Other Gay City News wins included Second Place for Coverage of Elections/Politics and Third Place for Coverage of Crime/ Police/ Courts (Duncan Osborne, Andy Humm & Paul Schindler). Kelly Cogswell won Third Place for Best Column. Kudos also went to our sister publications in Brooklyn (Honorable Mentions in the Best Front Page and Best Graphic categories for The Brooklyn Paper), and Queens — whose wins included, in the highest circulation category, Second Place for Best Newspaper (TimesLedger), Third Place for Best Editorial Page (Bayside Times), and Honorable Mention for Feature Story (TimesLedger). When the dust settled and the last award was handed out, the collection of NYC Community Media, LLC publications (Jennifer Goodstein and Les Goodstein, Publishers) placed third in overall points, in the Group or Chain Newspapers category. Congratulations to all of the winners, whether colleagues from our own company, or competitors from across the state…now, let’s all get back to work!

Courtesy Rick Carrier

Rick Carrier was given Honorable Mention recognition for his vivid recollections of life as a soldier during World War II.

Being sick and hungry is an urgent crisis no one should face. Help us deliver hope, compassion and love, all wrapped up in a nutritious meal.

Volunteer. Donate. Advocate. godslovewedeliver.org

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April 14 - 20, 2016

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WeddingPrideDirectory CELEBRATING GAY AND LESBIAN MARRIAGE

ATTORNEYS Law Office of Rachel Einbund, PC 118 East 28th Street, #1005, New York, NY 10016 212-252-2125, rachel@lo-re.com http://lo-re.com Law Office of Rachel Einbund is a boutique immigration law firm specializing in family petitions, marriage-based green card applications, and LGBT visa processing. We combine a one-on-one client-centered approach with cutting-edge legal analysis.

CENTER PIECES Edible Arrangements 133-22 Springfield Blvd. 718-528-3344 158-18 Cross Bay Blvd. 718-848-3344 1357 Fulton St. 718-622-3344 1557 Ralph Ave. 718-451-3344 www.ediblearrangements.com/ stores/StoreLocator.aspx

CEREMONY AND RECEPTION VENUES Cove Haven Entertainment Resorts* Our Pocono Wedding Packages provide the perfect intimate celebration for 2, with as little or as much privacy and intimacy and as your hearts’ desire. Beside the backdrop of the beautiful Pocono Mountains, or from a candlelit indoor ceremony, a Wedding Concierge can help you plan a special day that’s uniquely customized for you in every way. Discover all the ways you can create a Wedding to remember. 800-972-3820 CoveHaven.com/Pride Edison Ballroom Delivering Happiness One Event at a Time. 240 West 47th Street, New York, NY 10036 212.201.7650 info@edisonballroom.com Entertainment Cruises* Emilie Hagon • Wedding Specialist 646-358-3117 • ehagon@entertainmentcruises.com Erin Trinidad • Wedding Specialist 646-358-3116 • etrinidad@entertainmentcruises.com Grand Oaks Country Club Grand Oaks goes above and beyond when it comes to setting the standard for superiority in the industry. Award-winning chefs are dedicated to provide customized menus for the most selective tastes. 200 Huguenot Avenue, Staten Island. NY. 10312 718-356-2771 grandoaksnyc.com Highlands Country Club 955 Route 9D, Garrison, NY 10524 845-424-3254 The Highlands Country Club offers a unique blend of romance and elegance in a country setting, just one hour north of New York City. Established in 1898, the Highlands Country Club includes a grand ballroom and several indoor and outdoor spaces that blend old world elegance with the verdant surrounding landscape to accommodate up to 150 guests.

The Hotel Andrew 75 North Station Plaza, Great Neck, NY 516-482-2900 www.andrewhotel.com Leave the details in accommodat-

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April 14 - 20, 2016

ing your friends and family the the professionals at The Andrew, Great Neck’s Boutique Hotel, where chic sophistication meets the timeless essence of Long Island’s Gold Coast.

La Marina 212-567-6300 La Marina, located in upper Manhattan, offers a variety of indoor and outdoor event spaces for parties of 50 -1,500, right on the shore of the Hudson River. Step into our extraordinary venue where the food, the scene and the music share a stage; where the George Washington Bridge consumes the panorama; Boasting unbeatable views and large open spaces, both indoors & outdoors La Marina can be your dream wedding. Landmark Venues 866.683.3586 LandmarkVenues.com Landmark Destination Weddings, Crave Caterers, The Boathouse At Mercer Lake, Stone House at Sterling Ridge, The Ryland Whitehouse Station, Celebrate At Sung Harbor, Hotel Du Village, Liberty House Restaurant & Catering For over 25 years, we have been celebrating beautiful weddings at our venues across News York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Marble Collegiate Church* Weddings at Marble Collegiate Church, renowned for our inclusiveness and diversity, we have many unique spaces to offer, from our elegant Sanctuary, to more intimate sacred venues. At Marble, your Wedding can be spiritual, beautiful and memorable. It’s a celebration of love. That’s what Marble Collegiate is all about. 1 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001 212-686-2770 www.MarbleChurch.org Plaza Athenee 37 East 64th Street at Madison Ave, New York 212-644-0202 plaza-athenee.com Le Trianon, our ceremony space is elegantly appointed in natural earth tones with ten windows overlooking the townhouses of East 64th Street. For your wedding reception, the venue’s dazzling, gold-domed Arabelle restaurant provides one of the most unique settings in Manhattan with its blend of murano glass and brass chandeliers, chiffon colored walls and murals of Asian pagodas. Russo’s on the Bay 162-45 Cross Bay Boulevard, Howard Beach, NY, 718-843-5055 russosonthebay.com Exemplary service and exquisite cuisine combined with professional attention to detail was the best way to achieve customer satisfaction. Sirico’s Caterers Sirico’s is a tasteful event planning and catering hall in Brooklyn, maintaining a beautiful facilities with top-notch event services. With three event halls accomodating 300 guests. They pride themselves on elegant wedding receptions and private events that are second to none. In The Heart Of Dyker Heights 8015/23 13th Avenue Bklyn, NY 11228 718-331-29008–331–2900 www.siricoscaterers.net Soleil Caterers 212-316-5000 Your wedding day is one of the most memorable days of your life and we at Soleil Caterers would love to be a part of it. No matter what your theme or food preferences are, we

will work closely with you down to the last detail to be sure that every moment is exactly as you picture.

Terrace On The Park 52-11 111th Street Flushing, NY 11368 718-592-5000 www.terraceonthepark.com Award winning food, breath taking views, and impeccable service. Tio Pepe 168 W. Fourth St. in New York 212-242-9338, tiopepenyc.com At Tio Pepe you have a choice of atmosphere. The skylight dining room supplies a touch of romance while the enclosed sidewalk cafe provides a room with a view of Greenwich Village. The Vanderbilt at South Beach Waterfront Facility 300 Father Capodanno Blvd., Staten Island, NY 718-447-0800 www.vanderbiltsouthbeach.com Boasting both a luxurious banquet hall, as well as magnificent outdoor oceanfront space. Vavaldi’s 201-10 Cross Island Parkway Service Road Bayside, NY 11360 718-352-2300 www.vavaldiny.com Woodhaven Manor Caterers & Banquet* 96-01 Jamaica, Ave., Woodhaven, NY 11421 718-805-8500 woodhavenmanorny.com We have created the ultimate venue for the most special of celebrations!

ENTERTAINMENT Amazing Bottle Dancers Add a touch of tradition and excitement to your B’nai Mitzvah or Wedding! bottledancers.com 800.716.0556 East Coast Band New York’s Ultimate Party Band 516-354-2372 EastCoastBand.com Soul System Orchestras 1650 Broadway, Suite #503 New York, 800-466-7685 soulsystemorchestras.com Soulsystem Orchestras bands have been on the leading edge in providing “elegantly hip” wedding entertainment for the past 15 years. Clients can choose from a 3-piece ensemble to a 20-piece swing orchestra and beyond.

FORMALWEAR Lindman NewYork What the dress is to the bride, the necktie is to the groom. Well, perhaps not quite, but it is important. Well-designed neckties for you, the best man, and the groomsmen will capture—as well as add to—the style and sophistication of the wedding as a whole. 917-364-6675 LindmanNewYork.com

HEALTH & BEAUTY Central Park Cosmetics 200 West 57th Street Suite 1005 10th Floor NYC www.centralparkcosmetics.com 646-692-3248 Look and feel your best! Laser Hair Removal,

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HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS Sand Castle on the Beach 127 Smithfield, Frederiksted St. Croix, Virgin Islands 340-772-1205 sandcastleonthebeach.com Our quaint, beach side boutique hotel is designed to meet your personal vacation style. We maintain a sense of intimacy and freedom in this seaside oasis. It’s our home and we invite you to relax and unwind in this comfortable and tranquil setting. Villa Amor Camino a Playa los Muertos, Sayulita Bahia de Banderas Nayarit, Mexico 619-819-5407 hotelvillaamorsayulita.com. “Sweeping ocean vistas and a sexy room concept do away with outside walls and invite you to see Sayulita through a rustling fringe of palm fronds.”Travel+Leisure.

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New Park Takes Root at Scoping Session

Image courtesy NYC Department of Parks & Recreation

Photo by Yannic Rack

Seating space such as this was a big favorite at the design meeting, and will therefore likely find a place at the 20th Street Park.

The debates were spirited — and not always satisfactory for everyone. D’en Vargas, 16, second from right, encountered staunch resistance against his idea for a multi-use sports field on the small plot.

Continued from page 4 through Councilmember Corey Johnson’s 2014 Participatory Budgeting process. A $4.3 million commitment from Parks to build the green space, announced at a Nov. 8, 2015 ceremony, sealed the deal. “This is the beginning of a very exciting process but also the culmination of years and years of hard work and effort,” Weiss said. Although Chelsea has the High Line at its westernmost section, the neighborhood is chronically starved for green space when compared to other parts of the city. It ranks 58th out of 59 city community districts for the prevalence of parks, according to the city, and the area between Fifth and Seventh Aves. has the lowest proportion of green space relative to developed land in Manhattan. “We were just keenly aware that there weren’t any green spaces around,” said Weiss. “This took on a life of its own because it struck such a cord with people in the community.” At the scoping session, after a brief introduction, the space-starved neighborhood residents were broken up into small groups to brainstorm ideas, each one led by a landscape architect from Parks and equipped with maps and cutout models of possible features, including tables and chairs, water elements, plantings, and playground equipment. Sixteen-year-old D’En Vargas suggested a multi-use basketball court to his group — an idea that wasn’t so warmly received. “Without that, a lot of teens won’t come — they go to the park to play sports. .com

It would be uniting us with everybody else,” said Vargas, who lives in Queens but spends a lot of time at his grandmother’s in Chelsea. “This is more of an older group, so my opinion is currently being shot down,” he confided later. “But I’m still fighting for it.” Not all of his fellow parks enthusiasts came equipped with a special wish list, however. “Honestly, just having a park there would be so great,” said Robin Lockwood, who has a four-year-old son and lives on W. 17th St. between Seventh and Eighth Aves. “But most importantly I’d like green space, even though I have a kid — he loves green space, too,” she added after a moment’s reflection. After a one-hour discussion, each group presented their top picks to the room, with front-runners ranging from classic choices such as playgrounds and quiet green space, to more out-there options including an educational garden and a mural. The majority of those in attendance also favored ample seating — for lunch breaks and friendly neighbor chatter — and some type of water feature. Almost everyone opposed a comfort station, which would take up a good chunk of the small space. “I think there’s a lot of overlap in this room,” said Councilmember Johnson, whose early support of the garden helped propel the project. “We’re getting there,” he noted of the hard-earned forward momentum. Now armed with the community’s input, the Parks Department will return to Community Board 4 with a concept design in mid-July, and aims to have a

more finalized schematic design ready in the fall. Demolition on a small building still standing on part of the lot will begin early next year so the garden can be planted in time for its 2019 opening. For Weiss, who had just had his first son at the time he started advocating for the park six years ago, and now has two

more toddlers at home, starting the actual design phase seemed almost too good to be true. “The running joke was always that this park will be built, and my kids will be off to college,” he said. “Now it seems like, thankfully, they’ll still be little ones by the time it’s done.”

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ARTS&ENTERTAINMENT

Photo by Heikki Leise

Tiina Mälberg as Elsa, whose dutiful doorway eavesdropping propels the search for her son’s assailant.

Estonian Women are the Makers of ‘Mother’ Film follows prim and dutiful parent from mouse to lion BY RANIA RICHARDSON A wry whodunit set in a small town in Estonia, “Mother” revolves around the effort to identify who shot a comatose young man, now receiving round-the-clock care from his increasingly resentful mother. As he lies in bed, friends and neighbors visit and unburden themselves with confessions of their private lives. In this cast of characters, someone may know who’s behind the crime — so the prim and dutiful mother, Elsa, listens by the doorway. The intriguing, well-crafted film examines the interconnected lives of a .com

tightly knit community, to expose the dark side of human nature. Accomplished Estonian theater actress Tiina Mälberg makes her film debut as the restrained leading lady. The film’s production team consists of a triumvirate of Estonian women: producer/screenwriter Aet Laigu, screenwriter Leana Jalukse, and director Kadri Kõusaar. An undercurrent of feminism girds the film: Elsa yearns for a different life, and even confesses to her inert charge that she never wanted children, and that motherhood at 17 made her dream of studying in Moscow impossible.

Speaking via Skype in London, from the second home she shares with her husband, Kõusaar discussed her career and “Mother,” her third film. “Elsa has a mask on all the time,” says Kõusaar, lauding Mälberg’s acting. “She is self-sacrificing and does the bulk of the work. I have seen it with my own eyes, with my relatives. The woman is slaving away cleaning, cooking, doing the dishes — and the guy is on the sofa watching TV, with a beer. There has been a generational shift, though.” The crime is big news in the average town, where a portly constable laments

that the biggest transgression on his watch has been a sweater stolen from a clothesline. Economic hardship is the prevailing theory behind the shooting, as many of the working class characters are struggling: a fiancé with no savings, a best friend facing bankruptcy, a father working beyond retirement age. Drawers are turned upside down to locate the stash of money hidden by the comatose son. Scrimping means that meals are meager, and meat is a special treat — but the picturesque family

Continued on page 19 April 14 - 20, 2016

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NY Primary a ‘Must-Win’ (Unless They Lose) Continued from page 7 Big D kicked off his seven-day tumble by retweeting unflattering pictures of Cruz’s wife and repulsively threatening to “spill the beans” on her (an act no one wants to visualize), which he defended by telling Anderson Cooper that Cruz “started it.” Cooper, finally locating his AWOL journalistic spine, replied, “With all due respect, sir, that’s the excuse of a five-year-old.” Ouch. I think it’s the “all due respect part” that really makes it sting. I mean, if that’s all the respect Trump is due, he shouldn’t be running for treasurer of a Kiwanis bake sale, let alone the Presidency. The Yuge One’s Campaign Manager/ Enforcer Corey Lewandowski did his part to make things worse by getting charged with “simple battery” for yanking former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields’ arm like he was trying to start a balky lawnmower. Trump, abandoning previous claims that Fields was making the whole thing up for attention, now stated Creepy Corey had no choice but to rough her up ’cause she had this pen thing that could easily have been “a little bomb.” That’s in quotes because I didn’t “make it up for attention” — it’s literally “something Trump said.” Apparently unsatisfied with the percentage of women voters who’ve come to like him less than E. coli, Trump finished the week by boldly stating that there had to be “some sort of punishment” for women who had abortions. Maybe Ivanka (aka the Marilyn of Trump’s Muntser family) told him he’d gone too far, as the next day he released an official statement declaring he had not changed his position on abortion, and then went on to completely change his position on abortion. He would never punish the ladies. Donald loves the ladies. It’s doctors that need to be punished. Unless doctors vote, in which case another statement might need to be released tomorrow. It took the AP less than two hours after the polls closed to Call Wisconsin for Cruz, which was a yuge disappointment for fans of the D-ster’s late night infomercial/press conferences. I was personally looking forward to seeing Donnie crush that poseur Charlie Sheen’s world record for using the word “winning” the most times,

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donaldjtrump.com

“So we totally forgot about that whole ‘register to vote’ thing, but you guys didn’t, right? Right? Boy, this is, like, the quietest rally ever.”

facebook.com/hillaryclinton

“So the primary in your state is really soon, right? I mean, like, really, really soon...as in ‘live to see the day’ soon?”

and maybe buying a Trump Chamois Cloth or two. Because, maybe you didn’t know this, but they are tremendously absorbent, the most absorbent, really, believe me, you are going to be so happy. So here we are, just days from the New York primary with a real nailbiter! This is an absolute must-win for Clinton, but also for Sanders. That means after New York it’s all over, or it would mean that if phrases like “must-win” meant anything beyond upping the word count in columns like this one. For Bernie it’s all about the delegate math. He’s got momentum — but without winning New York by a comfortable margin, he has no credible

shot of catching up, is what every major media outlet owned by a huge corporate conglomerate says. For Clinton, a loss in her home state would be a devastating psychological blow that would in no way keep her from winning the nomination, but holy crap THAT FRIGGIN’ BIRD! WHAT THE HELL? DID THE CLINTON TEAM SOMEHOW FORGET TO PUT A BIRD EXTERMINATOR ON THE FRICKIN’ TEAM!? For the Democrats, screw policy, this comes down to one simple question: Which candidate is the New Yorkiest? The woman who 15 years ago made her home in the census-designated hamlet of Chappaqua, lured by the scenic vista of the Saw Mill

River, the convenient access to the greatest city on earth and the siren song of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s ass vacating its long-held senate seat? Or the native son, Brooklyn born and bred Central Casting Jewish lefty who loved New York so very much he couldn’t even wait till he was 30 to climb aboard the express hippy train to Vermont? A contested GOP convention, with its almost certain promise of Republican on Republican violence, suddenly seems more inevitable than just a tantalizing possibility! That pretty much has to be the story, because it’s Ratings Crack, a needle of pure pharmaceutical adrenaline plunged through the chest wall and into the fibrillating heart of Big News! Hell, it could give papers, actual physical, hold ’em in your hand NEWSPAPERS another three months off the respirator! But what about we get a grip for a second? Breathe. Trump isn’t just going to win New York, he’ll win it so, so big, the biggest really, you’ll have such a big win, believe me. Because Cruz. It is scientifically impossible to calculate the degree to which New Yorkers despise Ted Cruz. This love child of a bowl of Cream of Wheat and some sort of smug-ass, hairless guinea pig was already DOA in the Empire State before that whole “New York Values” thing. And just what the hell is that, anyway? Is it Republican Bastard Code for Jews or LGBTs? Do his strategists have some grand scheme wherein losing every single vote in New York State is strategically advantageous? Someone needs to tell Cruz the New York Primary isn’t a game of Friggin’ Hearst, you can’t shoot the moon. In a few days, all the pundit bluster about Ol’ Tiny Hands having leveled off on crazy votes will be drowned out by a Trump victory press conference/rally/ product trade show/frat party so gigantically crass, vulgar and terrifying, it will make all previous Trumpstravaganzas look like a Kasich rally. Kasich. Kasich? You know, that other guy still running for the Republican nomination? Never mind. You’ll remember him on the 20th, because he’ll be the guy that doesn’t win, but gets every single delegate that doesn’t go to Trump when not even one New Yorker votes for Cruz. .com


Kõusaar’s ‘Mother’ Nurtured by Deadpan Humor, Bleak Reality

Courtesy Meteoriit

Photo by Heikki Leis

Director Kadri Kõusaar acknowledges the biological barriers that inhibit women filmmakers, but credits generous maternity benefits in Estonia for the realization of “Mother.”

Jaan Pehk as police officer Savi and Andres Noormets as schoolmaster Aarne Männik, in a rare moment of action for the sleepy town in which “Mother” takes place.

Continued from page 17 home is always tidy, and the berry bushes in the garden are fertilized. According to Kõusaar, the shooting location in the northeastern part of Estonia was thriving in Soviet times, with oil shale mining a major industry. Environmental concerns curtailed it, however. “My grandparents had a similar house and garden. You had to grow your own potatoes and black and red currants because they weren’t sold. Average folks still suffer, especially in small towns. I don’t think the country is doing that well for a certain segment of society.” Official reports, though, assert the Estonian economy is growing, and its citizens have a high standard of living. Smaller than the other two Baltic nations (Latvia and Lithuania), Estonia regained independence in 1991, after 50 years of Soviet occupation, and quickly embraced modern advancements with widespread Wi-Fi and an e-government for everything from obtaining a passport to establishing a business. Capital city Tallinn became a tech hub, where the software for Skype was developed. With a mere 50 miles separating Helsinki from Tallin, it’s no surprise that Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki is an influence on Kõusaar. The sense of timelessness, deadpan humor and bleak reality in “Mother” bring to mind his work. She also admires directors Lars von Trier (whom she calls “a master of psychology”), Pedro Almodovar (the subject of her university thesis), .com

and Jim Jarmusch — himself a disciple of Kaurismäki. Kõusaar’s first feature, “Magnus,” was screened at Cannes in 2007, when she was 26. Overwhelmed by the crowds at the foremost film festival in the world, she says she felt like “maalt ja hobusega,” literally “from the countryside, and with a horse” — an Estonian expression that roughly translates to “a country bumpkin.” A successful novelist, Kõusaar was initially afraid of cameras and the technological aspects of filmmaking. A small acting role in Amos Gitai’s 2004 film “Promised Land” (starring Rosamund Pike, who she slightly resembles) gave her an up-close experience with the process, allaying the fears that hinder too many women interested in the business. “The barriers should be addressed to encourage female filmmakers,” she says. “There is a bias by many producers who smirk or don’t want to do business with you, they just want to flirt. The other issue is biological. When you are having little children and you’re breastfeeding, you don’t want to leave them because of your mothering instinct.” Kõusaar shot “Mother” last August with an eight-month-old at home, and she credits generous maternity benefits in Estonia — even for freelancers — for its realization. She does not identify with the mother in her film. “She’s this gray mouse who then becomes a lion,” says Kõusaar of Elsa, who imagines romance and escape to a sunny life in Spain. “She has a craving for a better life.” Fittingly, the movie’s

theme song, written by constable actor and Estonian musician Jaan Pehk, is titled “Butterfly.” Runtime: 89 minutes. In Estonian with English subtitles. Thurs., Apr. 14, 8pm; Sat., Apr. 16 and Fri., Apr. 22, 7:45pm at Regal Cinemas Battery

Park (102 North End Ave., at Vesey St.). Mon., Apr. 18, 4pm at Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Visit tribecafilm.com or call 646-502-5296 for tickets ($20 plus $3.50 phone & web processing fee; $10 plus processing for pre-6pm screenings).

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‘Fang’ Digs Its Claws Into Family Dysfunction Director’s sophomore time at bat has humor, insight, bite TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW “THE FAMILY FANG” Director: Jason Bateman Screenwriter: David Lindsay-Abaire Runtime: 107 minutes Sat., Apr. 16, 9pm at the John Zuccotti Theater @ BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center (199 Chambers St., btw. Greenwich & West Sts.). Sun., Apr. 17, 9:45pm at Regal Cinemas Battery Park (102 North End Ave., at Vesey St.). Wed., Apr. 20, 9pm at Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Tickets: $20 plus $3.50 phone & web processing fee ($10 plus processing for pre-6pm screenings). Visit tribecafilm.com or call 646-502-5296. Photo by Alison Rosa

Jason Bateman and Nicole Kidman, as Baxter and Annie Fang, deal with collateral damage from a childhood spent as props in the performance art of their now-missing parents.

BY PUMA PERL In an early flashback scene in “The Family Fang,” a film based on the novel by Kevin Wilson, we meet the four family members sitting in a car as the father, Caleb, prepares them for a performance. The parents are the darlings of the avant-garde set, known for their guerilla performance art, with their children Annie and Baxter, identified only as Child A and Child B, growing up as players — and pawns — in the pieces.

“Don’t let the chaos control you,” instructs the father. “The chaos will happen all around you, not to you,” a sentiment that echoes throughout the film. Chaos and control: Fang family values. The elder Fangs, dominated by Caleb, created a tragic, comedic and subversive existence in which art is the driving force, with the parents acting as directors of the events that shape their children’s lives. The siblings have

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April 14 - 20, 2016

evolved into emotionally isolated, dissatisfied adults with difficulties coping in the world outside of their previous fishbowl existence. They have remained close to one another in the ways that survivors of extreme dysfunction often do. When a series of disappointments and bizarre incidents bring all four Fangs back to the family home, the psychodrama continues, despite the siblings’ efforts to separate themselves. The plot peaks when the parents suddenly vanish. Annie immediately surmises that it is a continuation of a life built on performance, despite evidence presented by the authorities. Baxter is less certain, and both must face the damage done in their upbringing. Were they a real family or just an elaborate performance? How much do you sacrifice and how far do you go to make what you consider beautiful art? With the disappearance of their parents, are the Fang children finally free, or are they still emotionally enslaved by actions, which manipulated not only the observers, but the players? Despite the circumstances in which they are raised,

there is a commonality of feelings, and in the ways that the inner and outer lives of parents shape children. This is the second directorial outing for Jason Bateman, who plays Baxter. He does both with a balance of humor and insightfulness that keep the story accessible and touching, without undue sentiment. Nicole Kidman gives a layered and subdued performance; we sense her fury at her parents as she continues in the protective and nurturing role she has always played with her brother — somewhat heroically, since she was never on the receiving end of such actions. It’s a no-brainer that Christopher Walken is the perfect Caleb. I think it would have been more subversive if a “good guy” sort, like Tom Hanks, had played the role, but I have no argument with Walken’s performance. Maryann Plunkett, as Camille, does an excellent job (I wouldn’t have minded seeing a little more of her). In the end, the mysteries of the Fangs’ disappearance are revealed, but we are left with many more questions about the meaning of art and family that may never be fully resolved. .com


Two Stories About ‘High-Rise’

Buhmann and Egan on class warfare within a vertical world TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW “HIGH-RISE” Director: Ben Wheatley Screenplay: Amy Jump Runtime: 119 minutes Wed., Apr. 20, 8:30pm at the SVA Theater (333 W. 23rd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Thurs., Apr. 21, 9:45pm at Regal Cinemas Battery Park (102 North End Ave., at Vesey St.). Fri., Apr. 22, 3pm at Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.).

Photo by Aidan Monaghan, courtesy Magnolia Pictures

Tom Hiddleston as new tenant Dr. Robert Laing.

Wheatley’s SlowDescent Nightmare Has a Strange Allure

Sienna Guillory as Jane Sheridan, an upper-class actress and instigator.

BY SEAN EGAN After decades spent in development hell (and everyone from Cronenberg to Roeg attached), J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel “High-Rise” has finally made it to the big screen, no worse for wear, and as vital and disarming as one could hope for from a night of dystopian sci-fi cinema. As directed by UK critical darling Ben Wheatley and adapted with an ear for darkly comedic dialogue by Amy Jump, the film mostly follows Tom Hiddleston’s Dr. Robert Laing, the newest tenant of the titular state-ofthe-art (by ’70s standards), high-rise. With the all but self-sustaining complex’s frequent power failures stoking the fires of unrest between the working class families living on the lower levels and the high society upper-floor residents, Laing finds himself at the center of this hermetically-sealed community as it falls into utter chaos and total class warfare. The slow descent into absolute depravity and madness is fascinating to watch — not least of all because, for some reason, no one ever seems to consider leaving the building, even as the violence escalates and their home, literally and metaphorically, burns around them. But, all things considered, this is not a movie that’s too concerned with plot in a traditional sense, but rather with feeling — specifically, feelings of tension and dread. Wheatley is aided immensely in this pursuit through the superbly surreal scenic design of the

high-rise itself (an elevator constructed entirely of mirrors, a parking lot that seemingly stretches into infinity, a distressingly perfect “supermarket floor”), which lends the film an unsettling, yet engagingly off-kilter, atmosphere. Instead of dispensing with story details in a straightforward way, Wheatley hops from vignette to vignette, and from striking image to striking image (framed immaculately by cinematographer Laurie Rose), disorienting viewers’ sense of temporality. Montages (expertly edited by Jump and Wheatley) are another one of the film’s strong suits, as carefully shot abstractions are cross-cut with scenes of extreme hedonism and violence (and some dancing) — all while an eclectic soundtrack scores the microcosmic apocalypse happening onscreen. This more impressionistic method of storytelling lets one gradually acclimate to, and then immerse themselves in, the high-rise crew’s particular brand of collective insanity — allowing them to be both repulsed by and relish in its hallucinatory, gory glory. The cumulative effect gives “HighRise” the feeling of a waking dream — or, more accurately, a nightmare — where everything is slightly off, and logic most certainly does not prevail. In the end, the utter collapse of society and civility — both in film and out — seems not just like the only rea-

.com

Photo by Aidan Monaghan, courtesy Magnolia Pictures

sonable outcome, but an inevitability. “High-Rise” is bold, darkly beau-

Tickets: $20 plus $3.50 phone & web processing fee ($10 plus processing for pre-6pm screenings). Visit tribecafilm.com or call 646-502-5296.

Continued on page 23

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The Many Levels of ‘High-Rise’ Continued from page 21 tiful genre filmmaking at its very best. The mix of sumptuous visuals, heady themes and black comedy, as well as its similarities to other acclaimed dystopian sci-fi flicks (it’s a bit like “Snowpiercer” mixed with “Brazil”) all but guarantees passionate cult status, and soon — though its bizzaro, bloody aesthetic and ideology might not sit well with everyone. Keep an open mind, and it’ll knock the wind right out of you, and beg you to revisit its immaculately crafted world. You, like the film’s tenants, will find yourself disinclined to leave the strangely alluring, slow-motion nightmare that is “High-Rise.” ••••••••••••••••••••••

In Close Quarters, a Society Savaged BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN Though seemingly set in 1975 London, “High-Rise” is a retro-futuristic thriller, whose subject is as timeless as it is timely: the mutation of human selfishness and narcissism into a devastating torrent of hate, violence and destruction. However, no matter how grim the abyss of the human psyche explored here, director Ben Wheatley knows how to tell the story of J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel with enough dark humor that it leaves the viewer wide-eyed and entertained, rather than emotionally stirred. Though history is rich in examples that illustrate exactly what unfolds, we somehow manage to feel far removed from the scene. It is as if we were touring a surreal landscape, where the larger picture feels familiar, but the details belong solely to fiction. This might be largely due to the main protagonist, Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston), over whose shoulder we get to peek. Laing’s unwavering cool evokes some of the less lethal tendencies of “American Psycho” killer Patrick Bateman. Aspiring, desensitized and physically trim, Laing moves into a new high-rise devel.com

Photo by Aidan Monaghan, courtesy Magnolia Pictures

Jeremy Irons as architect and penthouse-dweller Anthony Royal.

opment that promises to have all the conveniences and commodities modern tastes might desire, such as a swimming pool and a supermarket on the 17th floor. Still somewhat unfinished, it is a world unto itself, surrounded by nothing but a seemingly endless parking lot, which brings America’s sprawling strip malls to mind as well as Joni Mitchell’s lament: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” This extreme bleakness is all the more reason for the inhabitants to focus all of their attention on the interior life of the building, which under such pressure is meant to implode. Luxuriously reaching skyward like a “Metropolis”-worthy version of the Tower of Babylon, the building’s floors harshly illustrate the divided social structures of many a civilization: the lower, middle, and upper class. While Laing inhabits the 25th floor, the luckless documentary filmmaker Richard Wilder (Luke Evans), his heavily pregnant wife Helen (Elisabeth Moss) and their kids, for example, live in claustrophobic quarters on the second floor. In contrast, the creator of the structure, the architect Anthony Royal (Jeremy Irons), is perched in the multi-level penthouse, which includes an outdoor garden spacious enough to evoke an idyllic English countryside, horseback riding and goats included. Unrest develops as minor power failures reveal the imperfections of the new structure, cracking the false facade of pro-

gressive and peaceful communion contained within. Tension escalates as various floors try to claim elevators for themselves and the upper echelon forbids noisy children from lower floors from using the pool. It is Wilder, who then sets off the spiral downward by crashing a posh pool party with a horde of unruly children. A dog drowns, and Wilder finds himself beaten senseless by a mob. As anarchy ignites, the inhabitants increasingly shut out the outside world, bolting doors and indulging in their darkest fantasies and lusts — be they for sex or blood. Only few are able to traverse between floors and castes without being attacked immediately. It is Laing, who does, having previously finessed both ends of the social spectrum: Wilder and Royal. Because of this, we get to trail him and observe much of the mayhem through his eyes, pondering the question of whether seeming neutrality is the key to survival. All along, a fantastic soundtrack accompanies the endof-the-world visuals, including such pioneering bands as The Fall and Can. A truly special treat comes in the form of Portishead’s first recording in seven years: a cover of ABBA’s “SOS.” When listening to the emotions expressed in those famous lyrics while watching the savage laceration of society on screen, both seem to belong to completely unrelated species. How can humanity and humans be so far apart from each other?

April 14 - 20, 2016

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April 14, 2016

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