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12 years a knave VOLUME 29, NUMBER 9

contested! Chair’s departure means leadership rumble at CB1

BY YANNIC RACK Community Board 1 will soon be shaken up by contested leadership races, as longtime board members scramble to fill the power vacuum left by Catherine McVay Hughes’ resignation as head of the board. Hughes, who has helmed CB1 since 2012, surprised colleagues by announcing last week that she would not seek re-election for a third and final term next month. She will continue to serve as chair until June and has already been appointed for another two-year term as a regular board member. But the loss of Lower Manhattan’s most ardent advocate on issues ranging from flood protection to construction safety also means the top reaches of Downtown’s local authority are now up for grabs — and prospective candidates came out of the woodwork last week. So far, Anthony Notaro, the current vice-chair of the board and head of its Battery Park City committee, and Paul Hovitz, who co-chairs the Youth and Education Committee, are facing off to replace her at the top. Hovitz threw his hat in the ring this week after Notaro had already handed in his application a few weeks ago. Both of them have unsuccessfully run for chair in recent years. In addition, Tribeca Committee chairwoman Elizabeth Lewinsohn is aiming to replace Notaro as vice-chair of CB1 — but she is already facing a challenge from current board secretary Adam Malitz, ensuring there will be more than one contested race this election season. Malitz had originally asked to be reappointed to his current post as secretary, but changed his application this week, according to CB1’s Nominating Committee, which solicits applications for community board positions. Hovitz, a retired teacher who has been on the board for more than two decades, said he welcomed the competition — but added that he felt he could devote more time to the job since he was retired, while Notaro still works as a principal at a small software company. “I think that nobody should really run unopposed unless they’re John F. Kennedy or someone contested Continued on page 15

MAY 5 – MAY 18, 2016

Silver gets a dozen years in prison for corruption By Mary Reinholz and Lincoln Anderson Former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, once one of New York’s most powerful politicians and a lifelong resident of the Lower East Side, was sentenced by a federal judge on Tuesday to 12 years in prison for his conviction last November on seven counts of corruption, including extortion, honest-services fraud and money laundering. He had been found guilty after a five-week jury trial of abusing his public office to provide preferential treatment to a cancer researcher at Columbia University and two real estate developers. In turn, they provided lucrative referrals to two Manhattan law firms that had retained Silver as a part-time attorney since around 2000. Silver was found guilty of raking in $5 million in kickbacks through the two schemes. Judge Valerie E. Caproni, who imposed the hefty sentence, acknowledged some of Silver’s good deeds to his constituents in the 65th Assembly District, such as his advocacy for tenants and help for locals after 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy. But Caproni also character-

Associated Press / Seth Wenig

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver left court on May 3, after he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his conviction last November on seven counts of corruption, including extortion, honest-services fraud and money laundering.

ized the 72-year-old Democrat as a “scheming politician” who was simply trying to hang on to power. She ordered Silver to turn himself in to authorities by noon on July 1, saying she wanted to strike fear into the hearts of other politicians who might succumb to corruption by making it clear that “they could spend their golden years in an

1 M e t r o t e c h • N YC 112 0 1 • C o p y r i g h t © 2 0 16 N YC C o mm u n i t y M e d i a , L L C

orange jumpsuit.” No one else was indicted in the case. Dr. Robert Taub, who received $500,000 in state grants that Silver funneled to the doctor’s mesothelioma research center in return for referrals, served as a witness for the prosecution. Silver Continued on page 23

Ghosts, moves busted at street fair Film festival’s cap-off block party featured dancers, ectoplasm fans BY COLIN MIXSON Families from across the five boroughs and beyond converged on Greenwich St. on Apr. 23 for games, dance performances, bubble-blowing stations, and a certain group of paranormal investigators at the Tribeca Film Festival Family Street Fair. The bounty of bubbles — from heaps of suds to airborne giants — left the impression of winter weather on the spring day, according to one out-of-towner. “Right near Hubert Street they had these different stations with giant bowls of bubbles, and huge, huge wands, and so the street literally looked like it had snow on the ground, because of all the bubbles,” said Barbara Lilien, the Delawarean grandmother of little Frankie Osherow, 2. “That was the most fun.” The frivolity and spectacle were all part of the film festival’s cap-off street fair — a full day of fun and games offered free to all comers on the second to last day of the nearly two-week-long festival. Super-sized soap bubbles aside, one of the day’s biggest draws was the presence of the Big Apple’s favorite paranormal handymen — the Ghostbusters — albeit, in the form of several very convincing fan groups. At Spook Central, the Ghostbustersthemed section of the show, kids got the chance to hang out with the ultracommitted cos-players of New York City Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters New Jersey — collectively known as “Ghostheads” — who sported the iconic beige jumpsuits and intricately handcrafted proton packs made famous by the eponymous film. A few of the more ardent spectral investigators even rode to the fair aboard ghost-themed hearses retrofitted to resemble the iconic Ecto-1, a soupedup 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor, which bore Professor Venkman and his partners towards their various paranormal confrontations. Their dedication struck a few dubious onlookers as a bit overwhelming. “Their whole life revolves around their Ghostbusters events, so they go to hospitals and things, but they spend a lot of money on their outfits, and real cars all decked out,” said Heidi Frederick, the owner of the Seaportarea gym Facelove Fitness. “They had like ten cars set up.” But Frederick showed up with her own


May 5 - 18, 2016

Photos by Milo Hess

(Top) Multiple versions of the Ghostbusters’ Ecto-1 — as well as an inflatable “Slimer” — were on display at the Tribeca Film Festival Family Street Fair on April 23. (Above left) “Ghostbusters” aficionado Henry Frederick, 5, was invited onto the red carpet at Spook Central by the “Ghosthead” cosplayers because they were so dazzled by his homemade proton pack. (Above right) Local dancing troupes brightened up the drizzly day with their energetic performances.

budding Ghosthead in tow. Her 5-yearold son Henry came to the event equipped with a proton pack of his own creation, which he scrapped together — with a little help from his dad — out of vacuum parts and home printers. The end result was so convincing, his grown-up counterparts awarded him a place of honor in the show, according to his mom.

“Henry got invited onto the red carpet,” said the proud mother. “He was the cutest thing in the whole festival.” The Ghostbusters theme was further explored with screenings of the original film, which was followed by a panel led by select members of the Ghosthead community.

The event also offered a full arcade worth of sports and video games, including a parkour obstacle course and a kitchen-simulator game called Short Order, where families teamed up as waiters and line chefs to concoct wacky fantasy dishes under fast-food time pressure in a test of family teamwork and communication. DowntownExpress.com


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File photo by John Bayles

The late-night renovation work on the Brooklyn Bridge — which has been keeping locals up at night since 2010 — is slated to continue until 2022.

no ReLIeF! Work on Brooklyn Bridge, begun in 2010, to continue until at least 2022 BY COLIN MIXsON Downtowners living near the Brooklyn Bridge are furious to learn that a recent respite from the noisy nighttime renovation work on the iconic span is merely the eye of the storm of sound. Letters sent to area residents announced two additional waves of backto-back construction projects on the bridge, set to begin in 2017 — and last until 2022. “We thought we were in the clear — until yesterday,� said John Fratter, a resident of Building 2 at the nearby Southbridge Towers residential complex, who received a letter from the city announcing the new construction on Apr. 27. “This has been horrendous.� Work on the Brooklyn Bridge, which began in 2010 has focused on beefing up the superstructure of the aging span, which first opened in 1883. As with most major thoroughfares, most of the work is done at night, but since the bridge’s approaches cut straight through a dense residential neighborhood, the after-hours jackhammering leaves locals clutching their pillows over their heads. “It was night work and you couldn’t sleep at all,� said Fratter. “Aside from the jackhammering, the other problem we had were the backup sirens of the trucks, DowntownExpress.com

the beeping, that was driving us insane.� The “quality-of-life nightmare,� as Fratter described it, was supposed to have ended in 2014, but unforeseen faults discovered by workers during work extended the project until earlier this year. When the nighttime noise abated about three months ago, locals thought the nightmare was over — until the other shoe dropped earlier this week, telling residents about the new work. “It’s a surprise and a disappointment,� said Joe Lerner, a 40-year Southbridge resident in Building 8, who described work on the bridge as “a never-ending novel.� The first wave of additional construction is actually yet another extension of the original work. Called Contract 6A, it will repair damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and will include repair work to masonry along the bridge’s exit and entrance ramps. That project is expected to begin in June 2017 and finish sometime in 2019. The final project, Contract 7, is designed to prevent the legendary landmark from sinking into the swamp it’s built upon. The work itself will include reinforcing arches and working on foundations to prevent the bridge from “settling� too far into the BROOKLYN BRIdGE Continued on page 9

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May 5 - 18, 2016


BY JANEL BL ADOW May flowers are everywhere! Enjoy your hood!


Long before the Council and Mayor De Blasio passed the law last month to let pets dine with their humans at the city’s sidewalk establishments, we at the Seaport have been chowing down with our hounds. Almost every spot with outdoor seating — from Cowgirl Seahorse to Fresh Salt — has seen a pup or two sit outside while their buddies sip and dine. Last week’s sunny afternoons were no exception. Battery Park City resident Leslie Lipton brought her “baby” Hogan (as in “Hogan’s Heroes”) to Acqua at 21 Peck Slip while she enjoyed some fun time. “It’s a fabulous, beautiful, spring day,” said the Condé Nast executive chef, who is also an attorney. “I’m a lawyer with knives,” she joked as she sat outside with two friends, one of whom recently moved to the neighborhood from Tribeca. “After a hard day’s work, I hate to leave the pooch home while I have a glass of wine.” Acqua has a history of wine and woofs and we’ve even had a few canine birthday parties there. “I’m all for the dogs… and cats,” Gerardo Proto, manager and cat owner, told us. “Why shouldn’t they also enjoy a nice time outside? Our customers love our Italian food, even the dogs love it!” So next time you’re out walking your four-legged friend, stop by Nelson Blue or Dorlan’s, or any of the spots with outdoor tables. Dogs like people watching too!


The spring session of miniMates set sail this week. But it’s not too late to get your toddler into the program. Parents who didn’t sign up can enroll for any or all of the remaining four sessions. Or, you may want to reserve a spot in the next round. The educational program for tykes 18-months to 4-years-old and their caregivers is 75-minutes of creative playtime, art projects, storytelling, dancing and more on Thursday mornings. Kids learn about boats, sea creatures, water and history while having fun. Since the South Street Seaport Museum launched the weekly playdate program five years ago, it has been a huge success. Each session consists of five meet-ups for $125. There’s a 10-percent discount for more than one child and a family membership to the museum gets another $15 discount. For information, email minimates@seany.org.


If you see a lot of fashionable fun people around the Seaport this week it’s all because the Downtown Design Festival kicked off a few days ago. The 12-day fest is a major part of NYC Design Week, a citywide celebration of our top-notch design community. Exhibits, events, and panel discussions explore the explosion in design and creative energy in Lower Manhattan over the last 10 years. The exhibits from Parsons School of Design range across new products, lighting and fashion design. Many of the projects were created by students who collaborated with established businesses and industries. The festival runs through May 17 and includes Downtown

Photo by Janel Bladow

Battery Park City resident Leslie Lipton enjoyed the spring weather with her dog down at the Seaport at Acqua on Peck Slip.

Dialogues speaker series. For instance, “Downtown Dialogues: Beer is Culture,” is one hot topic. On Friday, Sixpoint Brewery Manager Danny Bruckert offers an overview of beer-making, from inception to branding, followed by a beer tasting with the Sixpoint team. It’s at Seaport Studios, 19 Fulton St., 2nd floor, on May 6 from 6:30–9 p.m.. Reservations are a must for this one. Seriously, plan to be at the big opening-night party on Monday, May 9, at 6–8 p.m. The cobbles of Fulton St. will fill with free music and entertainment (with food and drinks for sale). The event celebrates the ways artists, designers, scholars and other creative minds come together to create “new possibilities for social change.” Or how about just to have fun, see clever creations, and meet new friends? Sponsors are the Howard Hughes Corporation and the Downtown Alliance, along with Parsons and Wanted Design NYC. While the party and panels are free, reservations are suggested. Go to the events calendars at www.southstreetseaport.com.

NOT YOUR SUNDAY FUNNIES… Photo by Vinnie Amessé

Kids at miniMATES make new friends while the learn about the sea, boats and ocean life with activity-filled Thursday mornings.


May 5 - 18, 2016

There’s a super new monthly series started by an enterprising artist, Yvonne Grzenkowicz of Eyesnare, Inc. ANNY,

Animation Nights New York, screens animated short films from across the world. This month’s movies include “Dirty Laundry Day” by Jamil Lahham, “Downtown” by Tran Nguyen Tuan Anh, and 16 more mini-movies less than 10 minutes each. Grzenkowicz hopes to make this the Seaport animation fest equivalent to the Tribeca Film Festival, and it should become a fun way to bring our unique neighborhood together. Their new location, 180 Maiden Ln., has plenty of space — and hopefully enough chairs — but bring a blanket or pillow to sit on the indoor “lawn” and make it a party! Beer and wine are available and the movie night is free. Reserve your seat for the next screening on Wednesday, May 11, at 8 p.m. www.animationnights. blogspot.com.


Seaport’s Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra will perform a free concert to celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service and to honor the late Peter Stanford, founder of the Seaport Museum and champion of our neighborhood’s unique character and history. It will be at Melville Gallery, 211 Water St., on Friday, June 10, from 6–8 p.m. If you haven’t seen them perform, you don’t want to miss this. It’s a fun time. DowntownExpress.com

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May 5 - 18, 2016


In-fill face off

Water St. arcade proposal faces pushback in Council

Photos by Yannic Rack

BY YANNIC RACK A controversial plan to hand two football fields worth of public space along Water St. over to landlords faced tough scrutiny in the Council this week, with legislators questioning the measure that aims to put shops into the pedestrian arcades along the Financial District corridor. A zoning text amendment — proposed by the city and the Downtown Alliance, and approved by the City Planning Commission on Apr. 25 — would allow the owners of almost two dozen office buildings along Water St. between Whitehall and Fulton Sts. to build out their covered walkways with lucrative retail in return for fixing up the area’s public plazas. The plan went before the Council’s zoning subcommittee on Wednesday, where councilmembers gave voice to community opposition to the proposal

by grilling its architects on the trade-off between giving up the privately owned public spaces (POPS) in return for an ill-defined public benefit. “You want to give [these building owners] something, when they’ve done absolutely nothing to give us. In fact, we’ve already lost out by giving more floor area for what’s supposed to be public plazas,” said Councilmember Antonio Reynoso. “No one here is doing us a favor — we are doing them a favor. So I’m not sold on this at the moment.” Both the plazas and the arcades were originally created by the builders in a swap with the city to allow greater height for their office towers. Supporters claim the zoning measure would make better use of the arcade space, make the area more inviting to pedestrians and small businesses, and even provide space for community facilities.

Downtown Alliance president Jessica Lappin (inset) wants to allow developers to put retail space into Water Street’s “uninviting and underutilized” public arcades (left) in exchange for sprucing up the area’s equally bleak public plazas (right), but she faced tough questions from the Council at a hearing on the measure on May 4.

“The value of tremendously improved public plazas, new shops and restaurants, and an enhanced streetscape greatly outweighs any potential loss of outdated, underutilized arcade space,” Downtown Alliance president Jessica Lappin told the councilmembers on Wednesday. “These arcades have failed as public spaces.” But some locals who showed up to the Council hearing even challenged the underlying premise of Lappin’s entire argument — that the arcades are just dreary, unused wastes of space. “I use the arcades every day — my kids scooter under 85 Broad Street,” said Pearl St. resident Chuck Delaney, who said he is also a residential member of the Alliance. “No one has ever consulted

me about this,” he added. “Arcades are dark by definition, but they have a tremendous public benefit.” Opponents also complained that the scheme, which would turn more than 110,000 square feet of public space into lucrative ground-floor retail, is an uneven deal and a blatant giveaway to building owners. “This debate is all about the owners getting more square footage for their buildings,” said Alice Blank, who is a member of Community Board 1 but testified against the plan as an architect and local resident. “Everything else about this issue — the under-utilization of the WATER STREET Continued on Page 13


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INTEGRITY SELF-MEDICATION Two shady shoplifters apparently suffering from serious hayfever stole more than $1,000 worth of allergy drugs from a Duane Reade pharmacy on Water St. last weekend, cops say. The two men, estimated to be in their mid-twenties, walked into the store at 200 Water St. just after 7 p.m. on Sunday May 1 and grabbed the $1,144 haul off the shelves, according to police. Among the stolen goods were around 60 bottles of allergy medication, as well as treatments for stomach ulcers and heartburn, according to a report.

HI-FI HEIST A 44-year-old man with retro tastes was arrested for allegedly stealing a CD player and an audio receiver from a Financial District residence last month, police say. The old-fashioned audiophile was seen leaving 120 Nassau St. with the $600 worth of electronics under his arm around 9:30 p.m. on Thursday Apr. 21, according to a report. When a 23-year-old witness confronted the man on the street, he dropped the loot and fled, but he was later apprehended by a police officer in front of 33 Beekman St. and arrested, cops say.

SUNGLASS SWIPE Two thieves with an eye for style stole thousands of dollars worth of sunglasses from a Soho shop last month, according to police. The shifty shoplifters grabbed 16 pairs of shades from the front display area of the Sunglass Hut on Spring St. and hid them in the sleeves of their jackets before making a getaway around 7 p.m. on Wednesday Apr. 13, police say. The haul was mostly made up of Ray-Bans and worth a total of $3,235, according to a report.

FASHION FAUx PAS Three men robbed an American Apparel store last week, cops say — but they might have regretted the theft after realizing they had bagged a bunch of spandex. The fashion fiends stole 26 bodysuits, 12 tops, three unitards, and two dresses — somehow worth $1,426 — from the W. Broadway shop at 7:10 p.m. on Friday Apr. 29, according to police.

LOCKER BUST A New Jersey man shed some pounds DowntownExpress.com

after a visit to a Downtown gym — but not from working out. While the 22-year-old was sweating at the New York Health and Racquet Club on Whitehall St., a sneaky thief emptied his bag and stole almost $3,000 worth of his belongings from the locker room, cops say. The missing items include a $2,200 MacBook and a $600 iPhone 6S, according to a report.

BEATING AT THE BATTERY Two men beat and robbed a man after pulling him out of his car near The Battery earlier this month, authorities said. The man was sitting in his parked Chevrolet Silverado near the Staten Island Ferry at South and Whitehall Sts. around 3 p.m. on Tuesday Apr. 12, when one of the attackers yanked him out of the car’s passenger seat and punched him repeatedly, according to a criminal complaint from the District Attorney’s office. The other assailant then screamed at the man, patted him down and stole his money, according to the complaint. Before they walked away, the first man also took the victim’s phone and smashed it on the ground, the DA says. The assault was caught on camera and the two men, both in their thirties, have been charged with 2nd-degree robbery and criminal possession of stolen property.

PICKPOCKETS ON A TRAIN Police busted two cellphone thieves last week after they allegedly tried to rob a woman on a Brooklyn-bound 4 train at the Bowling Green stop, cops say. The victim, a 47-year-old woman from Staten Island, said she was engaged in conversation by two teens as she boarded the train around 1:20 p.m. on Tuesday Apr. 19 — but noticed in a window reflection that a third teen was trying to steal her phone from her bag, according to a report. When she confronted the trio, one of them fled and the other two blamed their partner, with one of them telling her, “The other guy took your phone,” police say. After getting off at the Borough Hall stop in Brooklyn, the woman alerted a police officer who arrested the two remaining juveniles, aged 15 and 16, who were also from Staten Island, according to police. — Yannic Rack


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May 5 - 18, 2016


From horror to hope Memoir chronicles young girl’s recovery from 9/11 trauma BY YANNIC RACK Helaina Hovitz was starting her second day of seventh grade when the first plane struck the World Trade center on Sept. 11, 2001. Mere blocks away at IS 89, she was rushed out of science class along with her classmates and, together with a friend and her friend’s mother, tried desperately to find their way home to Southbridge Towers amid the unfolding chaos and destruction. “We got outside and we saw the towers on fire, we could feel the heat on our faces. Everyone was stopped dead in the street, looking up,” remembered Hovitz, who was 12 years old at the time. “We could hear the sound of bodies hitting cars.” That horrific day scarred her deeply, and those scars are still healing nearly 15 years later. “All that was going through my mind was, ‘We’re all going to die.’ I didn’t know what was happening, I thought I would never see my parents again,” she recalled. “We were in the middle of it all from start to finish.” Hovitz’s experience of that traumatic day, and her later efforts to deal with it — for good and ill — are documented in her new memoir, “After 9/11: One Girl’s Journey Through Darkness to a New Beginning.” The book follows not only Hovitz’s own story as she struggled for years with undiagnosed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but also the experiences of her fellow classmates and other Downtown children who were first-hand witnesses of the horrors of 9/11. The book is set to come out this summer, but Hovitz has been working on it for the past five years. “I spoke with sixteen other kids on the ten-year anniversary, to see how they were doing, and then I circled back with a smaller group of them last fall,” said Hovitz, who is now 26 and a former contributor to Downtown Express. “It’s my story, but it’s certainly also the story of many of the kids who were in IS 89, kids at PS 234 — kids who I think had very similar experiences.” In the days after the attacks, Hovitz said the constant warnings of more buildings collapsing and the prolonged cleanup in the neighborhood made her increasingly anxious — and the trauma


May 5 - 18, 2016

didn’t end after she went back to school two weeks later. She suffered panic attacks, nightmares and painful flashbacks that made her relive the day’s trauma over and over again. “There was threat after threat after threat — and there I am, a 12-yearold who can’t even process all this,” she said. “You’re scared when a family member leaves the house, because you’re scared they’re not going to come back.” Despite what people kept telling her, the passage of time didn’t seem to help. The problems were still there in high school, where Hovitz spiraled into depression, and began drinking. “Things began to get really bad. It’s when the more complex symptoms — of fear of abandonment, of hyper-emotional responses, high reactivity, difficulty trusting people — began. Even taking the subway every day was like a horror show,” Hovitz said. Her drinking eventually turned to alcoholism even before she graduated, as she bounced from school to school throughout her teenage years, ditching one therapist after another in hope of finding out what had gone wrong with her. “Over my high school years, I was constantly going from therapist to psychiatrist, just asking, ‘Please, somebody help me, somebody fix this.’ It’s like living your whole life through a lens of fear and panic,” she said. After years of misdiagnoses, including ADHD and bipolar disorder, and medications that either didn’t work or made her sick, Hovitz finally found help in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy, a treatment that has shown promise helping troubled veterans returning from intense combat. Then, six years ago, her eighth therapist gave her the PTSD diagnosis that changed her life. “She said, ‘I know where all this started,’” Hovitz said. “It took me eight years to really start to understand what happened to me. That’s when I really began to recover.” After finally getting on the right track to healing, she started researching trauma in young adults and eventually reached out to her former classmates at IS 89 and other Downtown schools.

(Above) Helaina Hovitz, seen here as a first-grader at the Early Childhood Center (now PS 150), enjoyed a downright idyllic life in the years before the trauma of 9/11 changed if forever. (Right) At age 26, Hovitz finally feels like she has recovered from the experience of Sept. 11, and her memoir chronicling how she rebuilt her life comes out this summer, 15 years after the attacks.

“I heard things that could have just been ripped from my own story — ‘I felt like everyone wanted to hurt me,’ ‘I isolated myself from everyone,’ ‘I couldn’t turn off the mental chatter in my head,’ ‘I couldn’t stop drinking.’ It was unbelievable,” Hovitz said of her conversations with fellow young survivors. “And almost none of them had a diagnosis of PTSD either.” The book follows Hovitz from her pleasant early childhood — to show the stark contrast to her life after 9/11 — right through a few months ago. She also chronicles the fate of other survivors, including a young man named Thomas who now lives in Florida, and whose story Hovitz said was among the most horrific anyone will hear about a child during 9/11. “We find out what happens to the kids you care about in the book, you’ll find out where they ended up,” Hovitz said. Her own recovery entered its last chapter when she got sober around four years ago, which she describes as the final piece of her personal puzzle. Instead of smoking and drinking, Hovitz now does meditation and yoga

Photo by Justin McCallum

— and even turned her new-found focus on positivity into a business, starting the digital news service ‘Headlines for the Hopeful,’ which only reports on good news and efforts to make the world a better place. “I’ve become someone who, instead of living in fear and panic, has found peace and happiness in life,” said Hovitz, who continues to work as a freelance journalist. “I kind of made it my mission to bring positive and hopeful stories to the world, and that’s where this new website that I’ve co-founded comes in.” She also points out that her book is more than a memoir, as it is intended to raise awareness for children struggling in ways similar to Hovitz, and let them know there is hope for a better life. “There’s a lot of awareness we still HOPE Continued on Page 9


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Hovitz Family

Hovitz, flanked by her mother and grandmother, graduated high school at age 17, despite spiraling into depression and alcoholism due to her stillundiagnosed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

HOPE Continued from Page 8

need for people, and kids, who are living with PTSD and don’t know it,” she explained. “The earlier you can intervene, the better — that’s really what I’m trying to put out there. We have to follow up with these kids. It’s different when you’re a little kid and the world is supposed to be a safe place.” Hovitz still lives in Lower Manhattan, and has seen it rebuild just as she has rebuilt herself. But she said she’s in no

BROOKLYN BRIDGE Continued from Page 3

marshy earth underneath, according to the Department of Transportation. That won’t begin until 2019, and won’t be completed until sometime in 2022 — more than a decade after constriction started. Just before the news dropped regarding the new construction, members of Community Board 1 were devising strategies to reopen Brooklyn Banks, a pedestrian thoroughfare beneath the bridge at Pearl St., which has been closed for years to accommodate the renovation work.

hurry to go up to the observatory in the newly rebuilt 1 WTC, also known as the Freedom Tower. “I don’t like seeing the Freedom Tower, it’s tall and it’s scary. I have no desire to go in there,” she said, although adding that she wouldn’t rule out ever getting over that last fear. “Never say never.” “After 9/11” is available for preorder now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The e-book will be released on Aug. 16, with a hardcover edition following on Sept. 6.

Brooklyn Banks provided a quick and easy path from Brooklyn Bridge to the South Street Seaport, two populate tourist destinations. Additionally, the world-famous Brooklyn Banks skate park is located beneath the bridge, and is currently off limits due to bridge construction. “People were starting to ask what’s the process on getting those spaces reopened,” said Diana Switaj, Community Board 1’s Director of Land Use and Planning. “This really puts it on hold for a long time.” “It’s not a new thing,” said Lerner. “If I ever wanted to work towards a pension, I’d work on the Brooklyn Bridge.”

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City Alzheimer’s charity goes own way NY chapter of alzheimer’s association splits off to serve local needs BY shAVANA ABRUzzO President Ronald Reagan, world boxing champ Sugar Ray Robinson, and American artist Norman Rockwell all had Alzheimer’s disease — a silent killer that erodes a person’s ability to remember, think, and carry out the simplest tasks. It robs them of all bodily functions, and eventually their humanity. The degenerative brain disease affects one in nine Americans over 65, and more than 16 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s by 2050 unless a cure is found, according to the National Alzheimer’s Association. The grim prognosis requires an unparalleled response from healthcare experts already toiling overtime to support patients and caregivers. Some are audaciously taking a new approach to break new ground and reaffirm their commitment to the human experience. “We see people, not a disease,” says Lou-Ellen Barkan, president and chief executive officer of CaringKind, formerly the Alzheimer’s Association’s

New York City Chapter, and the Big Apple’s leading expert on Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving. “We understand that one caregiver’s experience is not like any other, and trained professionals offer the guidance caregivers need, when they need it, to make each day a little bit brighter.” CaringKind broke away from the National Alzheimer’s Association in December to return to its roots as an independent charity — one with 30 years of experience in developing and implementing innovative, creative, and leading-edge caregiving initiatives, and helping individuals and families affected by a dementia diagnosis find the right path to their unique needs. The split came after the Chicago-based National Alzheimer’s Association made the decision to restructure the organization in a plan it called “Mission Forward,” combining all of its local chapters into a single charity. The significant structural change would have severely affected the New York City Chapter’s ability to provide


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One in nine Americans over the age of 65 suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

the same quality and level of service for New Yorkers, says Barkan, whose bold move required some soul-searching. “We stepped back and assessed what we did best,” she says. “And what we do best — where we have always excelled — is understanding the needs of New York City caregivers, and providing them with the support they need to care with confidence today and, just as important, to plan for tomorrow.” When it came to selecting a new name for the group, CaringKind seemed the obvious choice.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What kind of person does it take to be a caregiver for someone who has Alzheimer’s or dementia?’ ” says Barkan. “The answer was very clear. It takes a special kind of person to rise to the challenge. It takes the courageous kind. The listening kind. The loving kind. It takes the caring kind.” CaringKind will continue its former services, including: its 24-hour helpline, hundreds of free support groups, workshops, and seminars, a state-of-the-art Early Stage Center, dementia care training programs for home health aides and other healthcare professionals, and a strong relationship with the NYPD to offer a wander-safety program. “We believe in the power of caregiving, and seek a world where everyone dealing with dementia has the support they need, when they need it,” she says. CaringKind [360 Lexington Ave., bet. 40th and 41st Streets in Manhattan], 24-hour helpline at (646) 744-2900, www.caringkindnyc.org.

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May 5 - 18, 2016


In the zone! Doe opts to include Lower Manhattan in new Morton St. middle school’s zone BY YANNIC RACK A highly anticipated new public middle school opening in Greenwich Village next year will be zoned to include parts of Lower Manhattan — a big win for local parents who have pushed for months to get a share of the seats. Community Education Council District 2, the local school board, this week approved a final zoning proposal for the school coming to 75 Morton St., including PS 89 and PS 276 in Battery Park City, and PS 234 in Tribeca. “It’s great news for the families that wanted to be included,” said CEC president Shino Tanikawa after the unanimous vote. The city’s Department of Education had initially presented two zoning scenarios for 75 Morton, with one version including the Lower Manhattan schools and the other cutting off the zone at Canal St., but together with the CEC settled on the more inclusive option last month. “I was glad to hear they made the decision. I think


May 5 - 18, 2016

it was the right thing to do,” Tricia Joyce, a Downtown parent who heads Community Board 1’s Youth and Education Committee, said of the decision. Lower Manhattan parents have been advocating for the larger zone because their current zoned school, Simon Baruch Middle School at First Ave. and E. 21st St., is too far away for most Downtowners even to consider it. “It’s for strictly geographic reasons — Baruch is really difficult to get to,” said Tanikawa. “75 Morton is an easy ten-minute walk from Tribeca — it’s an easy commute. That’s what’s driving Downtown parents’ desire for going there.” Joyce, who has twin daughters in sixth grade at IS 289 and Lower Manhattan Community Middle School, said its distance from the neighborhood is what took Baruch out of the running for her children. “It always came down to location, because Baruch is actually a very popular school for those that can go to it,” she said. “I think Morton is a much more doable zoned school for the west side of Lower Manhattan.

John Ciardullo Associates

The middle school planned for 75 Morton St. will be zoned to include three Downtown elementary schools.

It’s on the 1 train — it’s like two stops!” At Community Education Council meetings over the past few months, Downtown parents turned out to support the proposal, although parents and school leaders at Baruch also worried that losing the three Downtown schools to a new zone would decrease Baruch’s own attendance. MORtON st. Continued on page 21


WATER STREET Continued from Page 6

arcades, the promises of future senior centers and mom-and-pop stores — is pretext. What is real here is the plain value of free New York City real estate, with no compensation for the public.” Landlords would be required to spruce up the nearby public plazas in exchange for the free, ground-floor retail space — which, at the local average rent of $200 per square foot, could amount to an annual windfall of more than $250 million for the building owners if all the arcades were built out. “Nobody in their right mind is going to tell you we need another potted plant in exchange for 110,000 square feet of space,” Blank said of the trade-off. The proposal was originally pitched as a way to enliven the sleepy stretch of office buildings in a fast-growing neighborhood that still lacks many of the retail amenities common in other residential areas. The Alliance also argues that the current regulations around the spaces make it all but impossible for building owners to build out individual retail spaces on their own. But the Downtown business group, together with the Dept. of City Planning and the city’s Economic Development Corporation, did not address one of the main sticking points for many residents, as well as the councilmembers — exactly how the enormous potential windfall from the retail spaces would be balanced by the plaza improvements. “How can we make sure this is a fair, even trade if we’re giving more space to the buildings,” said committee chairman Donovan Richards. “I would assume that building out the arcade space would be more lucrative for building owners,” he added. “Can you tell me the cost for

upgrading the plazas?” “No, we can’t give you a figure,” Lappin said. “Over time, in maybe 10, 20 or 30 years, an owner will benefit from the retail arcade space. But if we don’t create incentives, no one will upgrade the plazas.” City Planning officials previously told Downtown Express that improvements would bring the 1960s-era plazas into compliance with new standards instituted in 2007 and 2009 that require more plantings and greenery, among other changes. The councilmembers also expressed concern over how the measure would limit their own involvement in the approval process for the retail in-fill. Currently, such an application would require a full ULURP process and need to be approved by the full Council, but under the text amendment, in-fill applications would only go before the community board for a non-binding vote. Another line of questioning was on how the Alliance planned to ensure that the spaces would be filled with small shops that benefit the community rather than just more bank branches and drug stores. “How do we prevent big-box stores from moving in?” asked Downtown councilmember Margaret Chin. “The community doesn’t want that.” Lappin pointed out that the small layout of many of the spaces would naturally limit their use, and that banks were not allowed to front on the plazas anyway. “The way that this is written, there is no way that we will get a big-box store,” she said. “The goal here is not to become Broadway.”






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Seaport sunshine Downtowners want to revive stakeholder working group to monitor future development plans for historic district BY COLIN MIXsON Locals are saying that the Seaport needs more sunlight. Downtowners are calling on the city’s Economic Development Corporation to reconvene a closeddoor panel of developers, city reps, elected officials, and local stakeholders dedicated to mapping out the future of the South Street Seaport Historic District, which the city disbanded roughly a year ago. In addition to giving residents a seat at the planning table, locals hope that the bi-weekly gathering, called the Seaport Working Group, will help shed light on the often opaque plans that the EDC, a city agency that acts as the area’s de-facto proprietor, holds for the beloved coastal destination. “I don’t feel like we know enough about what the EDC wants and

they’re the landlords,” said Marco Pasanella, chairman of Community Board 1’s Seaport Committee. “So, one of the nice things about the Seaport Working Group was the EDC was front and center, and this would be an opportunity to say, ‘you’re the city, this is your turf, what do you want?’ ” CB1 passed a resolution last month which called on the EDC, Borough President Gale Brewer, and Councilmember Margaret Chin to work towards reinstating the Seaport Working Group. Pasanella, whose committee drafted the resolution, cited the nearcompletion of Howard Hughes Corporation’s massive retail development at Pier 17, along with the recent approval of its plans to relocate the landmarked Tin Building, in arguing that now was the time to meet up

with the city and start talking about the future. “We’ve got some resolution about Pier 17, we’ve got some resolution regarding the Tin Building, we’re interested in what has yet to be resolved,” he said. “Rather than be reactive and wait for something to come down the pipe, the idea of the Seaport Working Group is to be proactive. We feel like the work of the group isn’t done yet and it would be great to continue.” Other members of the erstwhile panel want to revive it in the hopes of gleaming new insights into Howard Hughes’s plans for the New Market Building, a property owned by the EDC, where the developer had originally planned to build a 494-foot residential tower in response to a lease option proffered by the city. That plan was canceled, in large


File photo by Janel Bladow

Marco Pasanella, chairman of Community Board 1’s Seaport Committee, wants to revive the defunct Seaport Working Group, disbanded a year ago, which regularly brought together developers, city reps, elected offi cials, and local stakeholders to discus plans for the historic district.

part due to local opposition that was voiced by members of the fi rst working group, where local electeds and residents made a priority of halting any attempt to erect a massive tower in the nominally lowrise Seaport District, according to sEAPORt Continued on page 17

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contested Continued from page 1

like that,” Hovitz said. “[But] Anthony runs a business and has commitments, and I’m retired. It’s simply a matter of how much time you have to devote and what it takes. I don’t think anyone has to devote the amount of time Catherine devoted, but you have to be available.” Notaro, who has also served in several leadership positions in his 16 years on the board, countered that he has the experience to lead the community — and wouldn’t be impaired by his business because he wouldn’t want to micromanage the board anyway. “I’ve served as secretary, vice-chair and committee chair, and I think that experience will help me in terms of creating a new leadership team on the board. I think it’s time for new members emerging and contributing,” he told Downtown Express. “A chair should be a leader and a facilitator, who can make sure that everyone contributes,” he added. “We’ve gotten the idea that this needs to be a full-time job and,

year terms, with a maximum of three consecutive terms. While the board does not schedule a special debate before the vote for any contested positions, all applicants will have the chance to pitch their candidacies in three-minute statements at the full board meeting in June. Although the leadership is losing its most recognizable face in Hughes, CB1 is also gaining some new ones — in the form of five members that signed on for their first terms this year. The new appointees are Manuel Romero, Elizabeth Goody, Laura Starr, Vikram Lulla and Charlotte Soehner — a high schooler who will be the youngest member on the board, after Susan Wu, another high school student, decided not to renew her application this year. Hughes served as vice-chair for six years before she replaced Julie Menin — now the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment — when the former chairwoman stepped down in 2012 at the end of her third 




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Paul Hovitz

Community Board 1 members Anthony Notaro (left) and Paul Hovitz (right) will battle it out to succeed outgoing CB1 head Catherine McVay Hughes.

while it is a major effort, I think that one can still manage it [with other commitments].” Current board treasurer Joel Kopel is seeking reelection, and Tammy Meltzer is running for board secretary, while incumbent assistant secretary Dennis Gault is facing a challenge from Reggie Thomas, according to district manager Noah Pfefferblit. Other applicants can still come forward to apply for any position before the full board meeting on May 24, where a final slate of applicants will be presented. Officers will then be elected by written ballot at the board’s June meeting. All CB1 officers are elected for two-


term. Hughes didn’t comment on her decision to step down this week, but said before her announcement that she would not exactly miss the time-commitment the top position entails. “I’ll have so much free time,” she quipped. Hughes has lived with her family one block from the World Trade Center since 1988. She has fought fervently on many Downtown issues, from the James Zadroga Act and the reconstruction of the World Trade Center, to working with the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center and city agencies for many years on construction safety and noise mitigation in the area.

May 5 - 18, 2016


Hoop dreams Downtowner founds basketball league aimed at grown-up athletes on budget BY COLIN MIXSON A local athlete scored a three-pointer in his effort to launch an adult basketball league in Lower Manhattan on Monday, after five teams worth of new members registered in the first 24 hours since the website went live. The new endeavor, called The League NYC, aims to fill a gap in Downtown’s recreational sports scene by providing an affordable venue for local athletes to compete on a proper court after they turn 18. “Once you turn 18, all the leagues were unavailable to us,” said 19-yearold Tribeca native Michael DeMaria. “It’s like once you turn 18, you’re not allowed to play anymore, so that’s why we decided to come up with the idea.” The new league is also a bit cheaper than Battery Park City’s Asphalt Green adult basketball league — hitherto Lower Manhattan’s only league where ballers of a certain age could compete.

Asphalt Green’s league accommodates a nine-game season for teams of between 5 and 12 players for $1,600 per squad. The League NYC will offer a 12-game season for teams of between five and 10 players for only $1,300-per squad. The fee pays for 10 jerseys, a portable score board, referees, and the cost of using the league’s three go-to courts, which include the hardwood at Stuyvesant Community Center, Chelsea Piers, and Basketball City. In addition, The League NYC is developing an app that displays statistics for each player, whose profiles will be updated regularly after every game. DeMaria, who played baseball with the Stuyvesant Community Center’s youth league before aging out, has taken issue with Asphalt Green’s high fees before. HOOPS Continued on page 23

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Michael DeMaria, front and center, founded The League NYC as an affordable alternative to pricier basketball leagues so adult athletes like him and his pals, from left, Manny Alvarez, Sunni Jasavic, and Amel Nikezic can continue to compete after they age out of youth leagues.







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a former Seaport Working Group member. “I think the working group was very effective,� said John Fratter. “If we hadn’t done what we did, there would be a tower at the Seaport, and that’s something we won.� With Howard Hughes having put the kibosh on that tower plan, locals are looking to get the scoop on whatever new designs the developer holds for the New Market Building site — which some community board members expect the developer will attempt to acquire outright from the city. “As they have not presented an alternative plan as yet, and they keep giving us bits and pieces, it would be a good time to reinstate the group and make further suggestions as to what we want to see on that property,� said Paul Hovitz, a member of CB1’s Seaport Committee. Representatives from the EDC don’t often attend CB1 meetings, even when invited, according to members. When they do show, they typically come equipped with a well-rehearsed presentation, providing basic information regarding ongoing projects. Candid conversations on the EDC’s vision for the seaport, however, are far less common at the community board’s public meetings, according to Pasanella, who admitted their reluctance to speak freely in an open venue is not surprising. “The [community board] meetings are difficult for people. Often, you expect people to ask a million questions and assault you, so they don’t want to just show up,� said Pasanella. “They tend to speak on the operations side, not on the strategic planning side, so what we’re getting are nuts and bolds kind of things, rather than vision.� The working group, on the other hand, is a different matter. Key members of the community board and certain residents are invited to attend, but the meetings themselves are not open to the public. As a result, reps from the EDC and Howard Hughes are able to speak more freely. “The working group provides an ideal way to do that, to explore those things in a safe space,� he said. “You have these stakeholders, but you’re behind closed doors a little bit.� Both Borough President Brewer and Councilmember Chin strongly endorsed the CB1 proposal, with Brewer lauding the original workDowntownExpress.com

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ing group as a proven method for communicating community concerns and expectations to the Seaport shotcallers. “The Seaport Working Group brought together stakeholders to develop a sound set of principles to guide any mixed-use development proposal in the Seaport neighborhood,� said a spokesman for Brewer. “We look forward to reconvening the group when there’s a proposal for it to review.� Chin echoed Brewer’s praise of the group, while emphasizing the community board’s assertion that now was the time to reconvene the panel and start looking forward. “I am in full support of CB1’s resolution to reconvene the Seaport Working Group, which is needed more than ever to communicate community priorities and to coordinate efforts to revitalize this incredibly important historic area,� Chin said. “I look forward to continuing the conservation about our hopes for the Seaport’s future and how best to make them a reality.� The EDC was rather more reticent about the proposal. A spokesman reiterated the agency’s commitment to working with locals to improve the district — but without touching upon the matter of the working group itself. “We have undergone an extensive process over the last two years to ensure that input from the community and our local elected officials is incorporated into the South Street Seaport, and we will continue to work with all parties to make sure that we bring a strong South Street Seaport project to this neighborhood,� said spokesman Ian Fried. Howard Hughes Corp. was similarly unforthcoming about the prospect of reviving the working group. “The Howard Hughes Corporation is proud to have participated in an unprecedented community planning process with the Seaport Working Group,� said Chris Curry, senior executive vice president of development at the company. “We are currently under construction at Pier 17 and the Fulton Market Building, and are committed to remaining engaged in ongoing community conversations about the future of the Seaport District.� Asked to clarify whether Howard Hughes Corp. would commit to participating in a reinstated working group, a spokeswoman for the developer declined to comment further. The EDC spokesman, similarly pressed, failed to respond at all.

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May 5 - 18, 2016


Show you care for those who care for you By Shavana Abruzzo Nurses have been among the first lines of defense for ailing people ever since the “lady with the lamp” spent every waking minute caring for soldiers in military hospitals during the Crimean War, more than 160 years ago. No-nonsense British nurse Florence Nightingale — social reformer and foundress of modern nursing — arrived in the Black Sea to a base hospital atop a large cesspool, with patients languishing in their own excrement on stretchers scattered throughout the hallways, as rats scurried by. Undaunted, she cleaned the facility from floor to ceiling, and personally ministered to the patients in the evening by lamp light. National Nurses Week from May 6 to 12 commemorates Nightingale’s birthday (she turns 196 this year!), and celebrates the generations of men and women who have followed in her footsteps: there were 2.8 million registered nurses, including advanced practice registered nurses, and 690,000 licensed

practical nurses in America, between 2008 and 2010, reports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nurses are the lifeblood of the medical community, serving multiple, often life-saving, roles. They assist doctors and keep in-patient stays comfortable. Specialized nurses, including nurse practitioners, even serve as the primary healthcare provider, offering diagnoses and writing prescriptions. A designated week to show these unsung champions our deep appreciation is a must, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t honor them throughout the year as well for their hard work and dedication. Here are some ways you can show you care for a nurse who has cared for you or a loved one: • Present a gift card for a massage and soothing spa treatment. • Offer to cater a meal at the hospital or medical office so that all nurses on staff can benefit. If there is one nurse in particular you want to treat, give a gift card to a nearby restaurant. • Nurses spend hours on their feet,

and that can cause pain or stiffness throughout the body. Present a gift card to a store that specializes in comfort shoes or custom orthotics. A certificate for a pedicure or foot massage would no doubt be appreciated as well. • Charm bracelets are all the rage, and nurses may appreciate a bracelet that highlights their career path with specific charms. For something they can wear on the job, treat nurses to a Steth-o-Charm, a charm that slides securely onto stethoscopes. • Nurses must wear identification or have swipe cards on them to gain ac-

cess to areas of hospitals. A colorful or decorative badge reel can be a nice way to brighten up a nurse’s day. • One of the easiest and most heartfelt ways to show your appreciation to nurses is to simply tell them how you feel. Offer a handwritten note or speak with a nurse in person. Such a simple gesture does not take much effort, but it is bound to make an impact. National Nurses Week offers us an opportunity to show appreciation to these custodians of our health, and thank them for coming to our rescue in our hour of need.


For all that you do to bring the Fidelis Care mission to life every day, we are grateful and blessed. Fidelis Care is proud to recognize the talented and dedicated nursing professionals who are at the heart of caring for the health of our more than 1.4 million members across New York State. For information on career opportunities in nursing at FiKeSis *are ]isit ÄKeSiscareorgcareers 18

May 5 - 18, 2016

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May 5 - 18, 2016


Make Make Our Our Home Home Your Your Home! Home! Make Our Home Your Home!

MORTON ST. Continued from Page 12

But Joyce said those fears were dispelled by looking at last year’s enrollment numbers — which showed that only three seats at the school were filled by children assigned through the regular zoning process who would have gone to 75 Morton instead. “I think once we established that, it was a much easier decision to make,” Joyce said. District 2, which covers most of Manhattan up to the Upper East Side, typically sees around 80% of students make a middle school choice, rather than attend their zoned school. “A vast majority of parents and students Downtown participate in the choice process, which means most DowntownExpress.com

of them are putting down unzoned schools,” said Tanikawa. The only complication at the CEC vote this week was a last-minute plea from elected officials and Community Board 2 to include a few blocks between W. 12th and W. 14th St. in the zone as well — which Tanikawa said might still happen in the future, but postponed the issue for the time being. “We asked the DOE to produce another map that includes the blocks they asked us to consider,” she said. “But we didn’t want to delay the decision on zoning, because we wanted it to be included in the middle school calendar.” The new school at 75 Morton will welcome its first class of 6th graders in September 2017 and is expected to eventually grow to a student body of up to 850 children.

in One Community Call Call 201-867-3585 201-867-3585 Ext. Ext. 223 223 Call 201-867-3585 Ext. 223

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Happy Mother’s Day! Lower Manhattan will be busy Sunday as people flock to restaurants to celebrate with their mothers, grandmothers, aunts et al. Mother’s Day has far worse traffic than Father’s Day since dads take moms out and moms cook for dads. The Holland Tunnel will pick up lots of extra traffic in the afternoon. Follow me on Twitter @GridlockSam and check the website www.GridlockSam.com for the latest traffic updates to make sure you give the Mother’s Day gift of avoiding gridlock! The National Alliance for Mental Illness Walk will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The route follows Fulton St. between South and Gold Sts., Gold St. between Fulton and Spruce Sts., Spruce St. between Gold St. and Park Row, Park Row between Spruce St. and the Brooklyn Bridge, Chambers St. between Centre St. and Broadway, Broadway between Chambers and Barclays Sts., Spruce St. between Park Row and Gold St., and Gold St. between Spruce and Fulton Sts. The 4th-Annual March to End Gun Violence from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday will cause slowdowns on Broadway between Barclays and Chambers Sts., and Chambers St. between Broadway

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and Centre St. The Middle Collegiate Church Second Avenue Festival will close Second Ave. between 6th and 14th Sts. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The Love Compost event will close Duane St. between Greenwich and Hudson Sts. from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Milling and paving work 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night this week on Canal St. between Varick and Allen Sts. will cause slowdowns and lane closures throughout the week. In the Battery Park Underpass, there will be a full closure of the north tube from the FDR to West St. 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. each weekday night and 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Use the detour and exit onto South St., continue on to Whitehall St., turn left onto State St. to Battery Pl., and then turn left onto Battery Pl. to West St. The North and South tubes will both fully close in both directions 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. each weekday night. For the south tube detour, go south on West St., left onto Battery Pl., continuing onto State St., and going one block north on Water St., then right onto Broad St. One New York-bound lane of the Holland Tunnel will close 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday. During the same duration, the New York-bound south tube of the Lincoln Tunnel will also close. Watch for major slowdowns into Lower Manhattan and on Canal St.


Dates: Thurs., May 5–Wed., May 11

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BROOKLYN The Community News Group is proud to introduce BROOKLYN PAPER RADIO. Join Brooklyn Paper Editor-in-Chief Vince DiMiceli and the New York Daily News’ Gersh Kuntzman every Monday at 4:30 for an hour of talk on topics Brooklynites hold dear. Each show will feature in-studio guests and call-out segments, and can be listened to live or played anytime at your convenience.






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May 5 - 18, 2016

By Lenore Skenazy Most people moving to the Upper West Side don’t expect to live in a mansion with a pool in the back. But neither are they jonesing to live in an apartment the size of a 2001 Honda Accord. That’s exactly what Felice Cohen did for four years. Though she recently moved two avenues away into the relative luxury of a 490-square-foot studio — “There’s tons of space!” — she squeezed everything she learned about appreciating the small things into a new book, “90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 Square Feet (…or more).” “I wanted to leave my full-time crazy busy job,” says Cohen, now 45, explaining her micro-housing decision. “And I wanted to finish writing my first book. It’s about my grandfather, a Holocaust survivor.” She also wanted enough time to travel, ride her bike and play tennis. (Who doesn’t?) The catch was: She didn’t want to leave the city to do it. She didn’t even want to leave Manhattan. That’s exactly the kind of creative soul former Mayor Bloomberg was thinking of when he announced a complex of mini-apartments ranging from 260 to 360 square feet to be built in the East 20s. He proudly touted the fact that these would let regular folks find affordable homes for a mere $2,000 to $3,000 a month. That’s a billionaire for you. Cohen’s apartment measured just 12x7-and-ahalf feet, but the tab for her prime location between Lincoln Center and Central Park was a fraction of the Bloomberg pads’: $700 a month. That meant she didn’t have to work full time

to afford it. Cohen, whose father was a bankruptcy attorney, said she grew up knowing not to spend what she didn’t have. She also took note of her grandmother’s trajectory, going from a 13-room house, to a two-bedroom condo, to a nursing home room.  “When she died, all her possessions fit into one cardboard box,” says Cohen. Surely there was a lesson there on how little we truly need.  But it still took Cohen a little while to absorb that lesson. Before she moved into the tiny space, she packed up 77 boxes and put them into storage.     It’s possible you’ve already seen her tiny space. A video tour of Cohen’s apartment has garnered more than 11 million views on YouTube. On it, you see that she doesn’t have a kitchen, but she does have a fridge, a hot pot and a toaster. She’s got a loft bed, of course — in New York, when you need space, the only place to go is up. And she’s got a desk, a comfy reading chair, and a bathroom that looks completely normal (to a New Yorker). Come to think of it, my husband and I lived in about 400 square feet for a few years and it didn’t seem nutty either. Which is precisely Cohen’s point: “We can all live without half of what we own. We have closets full of clothes we barely wear. We save something for “just in case,” and “just in case” never

comes. People will say, “I want to save this in case I lose weight.” I say by the time that fits again, it’s going to be out of style.” The solution? Edit, edit, edit. It should come as no surprise that Cohen’s other job is a professional organizer. If you can’t afford her $150-perhour service, she’s got a couple of great suggestions: Go through just one section at a time — your kitchen cabinets, sock collection, whatever. Set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. And remember, you don’t have to toss the things you loved. Give them to a friend, or charity. What you’re getting rid of may end up helping someone else.  In the end, Cohen got rid of her tiny apartment only because she was evicted. Subletting, a new landlord, yada, yada, yada. It doesn’t get more Manhattan than that. That’s when her grandfather stepped in.  “He said, ‘Enough already! Buy a place! You lived in a shoebox to write about my life. Now make sure you buy some good furniture and enjoy your life.’ ” He gave her a down payment for the new studio. By the time Cohen moved in, she had gotten rid of those 77 boxes in storage. It’s likely most of us could get rid of whatever we’re storing, too.  “It’s about living large on your own terms,” summed up Cohen. “Not being stressed to pay bills for stuff you don’t even use.”  Maybe freedom’s just another word for nothing left to store. Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker and author and founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids.

Posted To Mystery box: CB1 receives enigmatic proposal from sculptor (Apr. 21) Precedent has been set: the Battery already has a memorial it didn’t ask for: the damaged Sphere from the WTC. People wander by heading for the Statue Liberty boats and gaze at it wondering what that beat-up sculpture is. It’s also a back drop for the happy hour drinking at Pier A. Which is a very respectful way to treat the memory of 9/11. Officials responsible for preserving the history of 9/11 must be very proud. And despite the overwhelming public demand for

the return of the Sphere to the 9/11 WTC Memorial, where, you know, it came from and was on Sept. 11, memorial foundation officials will not allow that. Because that would interfere with the happy selfies the memorial inspires. And bother the site’s investors. Michael Burke Virtually NOBODY wants this “memorial” in Battery Park in general and especially not on the Oval in particular. It will not happen. The Sphere is there temporarily and I am very hopeful that it will return to Liberty Park just south of the WTC site in due time. It’s a great spot and

a place has apparently been made for it there if the final decision is made to move it. Luis Could the sculptor propose a fountain for Petrosino Square where there should be ART? A permanent fountain like that, smaller, could replace the unwanted mobile Citibank advertising and the tourist bike rental depot. How refreshing an occasional blast of water fifty feet high would be, well, maybe scaled down, maybe just two-stories high. Minerva Durham


Silver Continued from page 1

The media swarmed the fallen pol as he exited the court. “He’s trying to get out the back way!” somebody shouted from deep within the pack of frenzied news hounds. A few reporters climbed over parked vehicles to hurl questions at Silver such as, “How do you feel now?” and “What are you going to say to your wife tonight?” The last was a reference to recent claims by the government that Silver was also a philandering husband to his wife of nearly 50 years, Rosa. She attended the sentencing but did not leave with him. Silver has been accused of engaging in affairs with two women for whom he got jobs, a charge Silver’s defense team claims is false and salacious. “They’re like piranha,” a passerby murmured with amazement, after catching a glimpse of Silver enveloped by the stampeding media mob. A couple of husky security guards helped Silver get into a waiting yellow cab. Before taking off, he responded to one of his interrogators who wanted to know what his plans were. “I believe in the justice system, and we’ll see whatever remedies the system makes available,” he said, his voice faltering a bit. His legal team said he would appeal. Left-wing comic and activist Randy Credico attended Silver’s sentencing, and described Caproni’s ruling as “very unfair” and denounced U.S. attorney Preet Bharara as a “sadistic narcissist,” looking for headlines. “Why doesn’t he go after some-

WATER STREET Continued from Page 13

Community Board 1 initially rejected the text amendment after a heated debate, but later narrowly passed a resolution supporting the measure

HOOPS Continued from Page 16

Following the opening of the ritzy Battery Park City athletic center in early 2013, the Battery Park City Authority made moves to shutter the beloved Stuyvesant Community Center, saying the newer facility eliminated the need for the aging sports center. After that proposal went public, a 16-year-old DeMaria appeared before Community Board 1 in opposition to the BPCA’s anti-Stuyvesant agenda, saying the authority was leaving less DowntownExpress.com

body like Senator Chuck Schumer, who has made millions off of Wall Street?” Credico asked. Credico said he has known Silver for years and credited him with helping his campaign to revise the draconian Rockefeller drug laws. Bharara had initially asked the judge to lock Silver up for more than 14 years, considerably less than the maximum sentence of well over a century, but longer than any other New York politician has ever gotten. Silver’s dozen-year sentence is two years less than what former Brooklyn Assemblymember William Boyland, Jr. got last year in a corruption case. Silver’s attorneys called on Caproni to temper justice with mercy, noting their client has battled prostate cancer, now in remission, and spent nearly 40 years trying to assist people in crisis on the Lower East Side. “He has helped people and tried to lift them up during dire times,” said attorney Joel Cohen, who asked for a sentence of community service with little or no incarceration. Cohen noted some 100 letters sent to the judge requesting leniency for Silver. Several were from high-profile New Yorkers, including former Mayor David Dinkins and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, attesting to his character and commitment to progressive causes. But it was to no avail. Just before she gave him 12 years behind bars, Caproni told Silver sternly: “I hope the sentence I impose on you will make the next politician hesitate before he accepts a kickback or bribe.”

Bharara, who sat in on the sentence in a back-row seat, later issued a statement: “Today’s swift sentence is a just and fitting end to Sheldon Silver’s long career of corruption.” Silver, however, may wind up doing no time at all, should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the conviction of former Governor Robert McDonnell of Virginia, who was convicted with his wife, Maureen, on corruption charges in 2014. The eight justices seem sympathetic to McDonnell’s case, reported the Washington Post on April 28, noting they were concerned about federal corruption laws criminalizing behavior that’s considered “everyday or routine” for politicians who perform services for benefactors. “For better or for worse, [this] puts at risk behavior that is common,” said Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who along with Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. suggested that the federal corruption laws are so vague that they might be unconstitutional. A verdict in the Virginia case could come at the end of June, shortly before the date when Silver is scheduled to begin his sentence. If it’s favorable for the McDonnells, Silver’s attorneys could negotiate a deal to keep Silver out of prison, said Gerald Lefcourt, a prominent Manhattan criminal defense lawyer who has represented Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman and several convicted New York politicians. “What is a quid pro quo? It’s so vague and the [laws] give so much power to the prosecution,” Lefcourt said in a telephone interview. “How do you know the difference between what’s

politics as usual and what’s criminal? It’s a slippery slope.” He noted that Dr. Taub said in Silver’s case that he did not consider their dealings to be a quid pro quo situation. Even if Silver stays out of his prison, his reputation is in ruins, destroyed by a media that “tarred and feathered” him during his prosecution, said Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf. He compared the “bloodletting” against pols like Silver to the Tammany Hall era of Mayor Jimmy Walker and, more recently, to that of former Mayor Ed Koch, when a prosecutor named Rudolph Giuliani rose to prominence by sparking the city’s Parking Violations Bureau scandal in the 1980s. It led to the suicide of Queens Borough President Donald Manes. “Prosecutors need something to do and there is corruption out there and headlines to be made. But these scandals don’t make New York look good,” Sheinkopf said, adding they also might be a deterrent to young people deciding on careers in politics under constant scrutiny. “Politics isn’t noble anymore,” he said. Another staunch Silver ally over the years, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, said, “The convictions of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and other public officials in recent years are disheartening. While most people in public service would never abuse their official position for personal gain, no one is above the law. I believe it’s clear that we should end outside income for legislators.”

with some stipulations — including a requirement that each potential retailer come before the board for approval before they build out. Before it approved the plan, the Planning Commission did incorporate

some of the changes that CB1 had asked for — notably the 45-day community board review period for individual infills. The Planning Commission’s fullthroated support for the initiative wasn’t

entirely unexpected, since the commission’s chairman, Carl Weisbrod, is the former president of the Alliance. The plan now still needs to be weighed by the Land Use Committee, as well as the full Council.

wealthy Downtowners in the lurch by shuttering the affordable community center, and leaving the more expensive Asphalt Green as local athletes’ only alternative. “Speaking for the middle and lower classes, are we not a part of this community?” DeMaria asked CB1 at the time. The whippersnapper then went on to say that the Stuyvesant center was “about everyone, regardless of how much money they make. Asphalt Green is the complete opposite.” These days, DeMaria says he

doesn’t have a problem with Asphalt Green — but, that being said, his heart remains with the Stuyvesant Community Center. “I don’t have a bone to pick with Asphalt Green. I think they run a great service, but it should be more affordable, especially coming into the neighborhood as a new place,” he said. “Tribeca is a community and Asphalt Green has more of a commercial feel. At Stuyvesant, everyone knows each other. It’s great.” DeMaria and his three partners don’t expect to make a killing with The

League NYC, and say their low price point shows they’re more interested in breaking even that getting rich. But that doesn’t mean the Price University business major expects to walk away empty-handed. “We’re not really trying to make a buck, but it does looks good on a resume,” said DeMaria. If everything works out, The League NYC will be hosting its first game at the beginning of June. Anyone looking to register can head to the website www.theleaguenyc.com for more information. May 5 - 18, 2016


Carol From The Clouds, Where Fear Can’t Reach Lipnik is a sublime vocalist and a profound presence BY TRAV S.D. One of the most exciting performance spaces in New York right now has got to be the back room at Pangea. Of late they have been playing host to a series of artists-in-residence who are character-based female singers — women who are not just amazing vocalists, but who bring largerthan-life personalities to the table as well. Recent months have seen successful Pangea runs from Weimar-era embodiment Mad Jenny (Jenny Lee Mitchell), Tammy Faye Starlite’s turn as Marianne Faithful, and MAC-award winning cabaret empress Molly Pope. And now I must add to my list of favorites Carol Lipnik, whose residency at Pangea runs through June 26. Every time you meet something you’ve never encountered before, it expands your world just a little bit. What I particularly love, or find intriguing, about Lipnik is how she represents an unusual combination of elements one might expect to be contradictory: cabaret performance, but with a spiritual orientation. Cabaret culture in general tends to be very “New York,” which means that it can be edgy, hard, competitive, and cruel in its humor. None of those words apply to Lipnik, whose Earth Mother energy savors more of Woodstock than 52nd Street. While she is quite a bit different stylistically, the only person I can think of who possessed a similar mixture of elements was the late Laura Nyro. Swaddled in turquoise wrappings and festooned with ankhs, Lipnik comes off as a spacey specimen, but the solid and confident chops undergirding her performance bespeaks serious discipline, considerable training and much hard work. Her current set consists primarily of songs rich in imagery inspired by the elements of


May 05 - 18, 2016

Photo by Albie Mitchell

Swaddled, festooned and seemingly spacey, Carol Lipnik is a disciplined artist in full command of her considerable abilities — and her enraptured audience.

nature: sand, shells, trees, stars, flowers, and woodland creatures. The metaphorical themes of the songs often serve as touchstones for playful sonic experiments. Thus “The Werewolf Song” calls for hairraising cries and howls. A song called “The Oyster and the Sand” features the simulated “whoosh” of ocean waves. In “Mermaid Blues,” she emits a vocal effect not unlike a glass harmonica. It is as though she were Prospero, using bardic magic to direct the forces of nature. Usually I roll my eyes at such crunchy shenanigans, but in Lipnik’s hands, it’s too sublime and profound to be a drag. Maybe it’s because she’s savvy enough to have a sense of humor about herself and her act. Her patter is sparse, but what there is of it is kind of wry and deadpan in the manner of Steven Wright, tinged with just an overlay of self-parody. “This is an anthem for crows,” she announces, kicking off a song that does indeed prove to be just that. “Feral creatures is my subject,” she says in the lead-up to a beautiful tune entitled “Wild Geese.” “My piano used to be a tree,” she reminds us. And she describes the song “Freak House Blues” as “something that a Victorian Pierrot puppet might say while trying to catch the moon.” But what truly sells it is the authority of her gift. You get the sense that both her message and her voice are coming from a very deep, honest and pure place, both anchored and flash. The breadth of her musical vocabulary allows her to throw a Hank Williams style yodeling whoop into one song; in another, she reaches down for the lowest note she can hit on the word LIPNIK Continued on Page 26


Just Do Art

Photo by Michael Priest

L to R: Laura Kamin, Anita Keal, Kate McGonigle and Alice Jankell in “Letters to Sala,” May 15 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.


LETTERS TO SALA Having survived seven Nazi forcedlabor camps from 1941 to 1945, all while keeping a diary and preserving hundreds of letters and photos, Polish teenager Sala Garncarz settled in New York City with those materials, then proved equally adept at hiding the trove, and her experiences, from those she was closest to. Once discovered, daughter Ann Kirschner told the story of a mother’s instinct to protect, in the memoir “Sala’s Gift: My Mother’s Holocaust Story.” Playwright Arlene Hutton’s adaptation, “Letters to Sala,” had an OffBroadway run in 2015. Now, much of that cast reunites for two performances only — an 80-minute concert presentation that communicates the essence of how the atrocities of the Holocaust can affect, and even divide, successive generations. Sun., May 15, at 12pm & 3:30pm, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (36 Battery Place). Tickets are $20, $15 for Museum members and students (valid ID required), and $10 for children (for ages 10+). To purchase individual or group tickets, call 646-437-4202 or visit mjhnyc.org/calendar. Also visit letterstosalany.com.

PEN PARENTIS SEASON CLOSER: “HEAVY HITTERS” School’s almost out for the summer — so before the kids become a daytime DowntownExpress.com

presence (and a potentially distracting one at that), Pen Parentis is wrapping up their Literary Salon season with an evening of mandatory schmoozing and optional boozing sure to inspire parents to remain prolific writers during those months when the juice box set rules the home front. Emerging author (and, of course, parent) Marika Alzadon will read from her work, alongside notable authors Anjali Mitter Duva and Rick Moody. Then, the trio will engage the audience in a discussion about how they use fiction to explore big ideas (hence the “Heavy Hitters” theme). The Salon returns on September 13, with featured authors Simon Van Booy, Daphne Uviller and Thelma Adams, joined by the 2016-2017 Pen Parentis Fellowship winner. Tues., May 10, 7pm at Andaz Wall St. (75 Wall St.). Free and open to the public; 21+ only. RSVP strongly suggested, via penparentis.org/calendar.

REVEREND BILLY AND THE STOP SHOPPING CHOIR Be ye hardline atheist, open-minded agnostic, or one of unshakable faith — it’s hard not to join the chorus of believers, when the sermons preached by the left-leaning, right righteous Reverend Billy and the songs belted out by The Stop Shopping Choir posit the notion that Mother Earth is speaking to us directly when flood waters rise, species disappear, and man turns on his own in the name of turning a profit. Two new works by this troupe of performance art activists, known for bringing down the

Courtesy City Lights Books

Reverend Billy’s new book provides a backstage glimpse at his movement’s evolution, while the companion CD delivers activism you can dance to.

house in concert and ending up in the Big House after social justice skirmishes, provide unique windows into their creative process and political evolution. In his new book — “The Earth Wants YOU” — Reverend Billy reconstructs how he and his followers went from confronting mindless consumerism in the aisles of the (now-shuttered) Times Square Disney Store to shouting “Hands Up! Don’t Shop!” in a Walmart near Ferguson, MO. Along the way, there are Choirpowered theatrics in the lobby of a Midtown bank, in the shadow of the SPECTRA pipeline, and alongside Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter protesters. Budding activists and armchair anthropologists will find much to chew on in this slim but potent tome — which is especially effective when exploring the backstage mechanics of wearing a papier–mâché Golden Toad head, sticking it to Monsanto, and mounting an ecothemed Passion Play on the banks of the Hudson. Although Reverend Billy cer-

tainly draws back the curtain, he doesn’t lift the veil all the way, thus creating in print the same disorienting, confrontational, call-to-action gut punch you get in stage and street theater form. No less nuanced, but much more consistently danceable, is the book’s companion CD, which features 11 new and stage-tested “punk gospel” songs from The Stop Shopping Choir — including “Fabulous Bad Weather,” “We are the 99%” and “Shopocalypse.” Backed by The Fiery Eagles of Justice, Reverend Billy delivers a free-form sermon (with select performances from The Stop Shopping Choir) at Joe’s Pub (45 Lafayette St., at Astor Pl.) on Tues., May 10, at 9:30pm. For tickets ($12, plus $12 food or two-drink minimum), visit joespub.publictheater.org or call 212-967-7555. Reverend Billy will do a solo reading on Tues., May 17, 7pm, at Community Bookstore (143 Seventh Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn). Free admission. Visit revbilly.com and communitybookstore.net. May 05 - 18, 2016


Photo by Albie Mitchell

Carol Lipnik and Matt Kanelos, seen here in performance at Joe’s Pub.

LIPNIK Continued from Page 24

Photo by Bobby Miller

Carol Lipnik is an Earth Mother with expansive vocal and emotional range.

Request for Proposals for the Operation and Maintenance of a Ferry Service at Gangway Six at The Battery, Manhattan The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (“Parks”) is issuing, as of the date of this notice, a significant Request for Proposals (RFP) for the operation and maintenance of a ferry service at Gangway Six at The Battery, Manhattan. rd All proposals submitted in response to this RFP must be submitted no later than Friday, June 3 , 2016 at 5:00pm. There will be a recommended proposer meeting and site tour on Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 at 10:00am. We will be meeting at the proposed concession site (Block # 3 & Lot # 1), which is located at Gangway Six at The Battery, Manhattan. If you are considering responding to this RFP, please make every effort to attend this recommended meeting and site tour. nd Hard copies of the RFP can be obtained, at no cost, commencing on Monday, May 2 , 2016 through Friday, June 3rd, 2016, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., excluding weekends and holidays, at the Revenue Division of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which is located at 830 Fifth Avenue, Room 407, New York, NY 10065. nd rd The RFP is also available for download, commencing on Monday, May 2 , 2016 through Friday, June 3 , 2016, on Parksʼ website. To download the RFP, visit: http://www.nyc.gov/parks/businessopportunities and click on the “Concessions Opportunities at Parks” link. Once you have logged in, click on the “download” link that appears adjacent to the RFPʼs description.

For more information or to request to receive a copy of the RFP by mail, prospective proposers may contact Revenue Division Project Manager, Joe Conforti, at (212) 360-1341 or at joe.conforti@parks.nyc.gov.

“down.” On “My Piano” her voice climbs up into the stratosphere on heavenly steps. The moment by itself is enough to make the song memorable — then, just to show that it wasn’t a fluke (to borrow a whale word) she up and does it again! Coming from Lipnik, these feats strike one not so much as acts of bravery than as the natural behavior of someone who lives someplace above the clouds where fear can’t reach. Despite the undeniably esoteric aspects of her performance, much of her act is old-fashioned show biz. Her encore is straight up vaudeville: For her big finish she sings a version of the standard “Moon River,” performing a solo on the kazobo, an instrument in the kazoo family. And, much like the old school vaudeville divas of yore, there is an entire team supporting her, a small bullpen of songwriters who

craft all the original material in the act including herself, Tom Ward, Michael Hurley, Laura Gilpin, and her accompanist Matt Kanelos, who also creates sound effects and sings harmonies. On the night I attended, I observed a small and vocal cult of die-hard Lipnik fans, who appeared to know both her songs and patter by heart. When the show was over, the audience ULULATED its approval, and one gentleman in the back of the house collapsed, apparently from an overdose of positive energy. And then she gave herself over to one last, no less spiritual ritual: the encore. Sunday evenings, through June 26, at 7pm (doors open 6pm for dinner & cocktails). At Pangea (178 Second Ave., btw. 11th & 12th Sts.). Tickets: $15 in advance via 212-995-0900 or pangeanyc. com, or $20 at the door. $15 food/beverage minimum. Michael Musto is the guest on May 8; Sven Ratzke, on May 22. For artist info, visit mermaidalley. com and mattkanelos.com.

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May 05 - 18, 2016


SuZen Sees Visions of Light & Spirit Immersive retrospective inspired by Buddhist teachings BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y For over 50 years, SuZen’s working and waking lives have been shaped by a devotion to fine art photography, design, travel, peace activism, and the creation of public art. “I’ve been a seeker all my life. I’ve been always connected to Buddhist images, loving light,” says the artist who legally changed her name to SuZen in 1981. A decade before that, she moved into Westbeth, a pioneer, one year after the former Bell Laboratory Complex at 55 Bethune St. opened its doors as an affordable housing complex where artists could both reside and create. “Then, it was a very seedy part of town,” SuZen recalls of the Greenwich Village waterfront location, which has served as the home base from which she curated, organized and created work that has appeared in, among other public places, the lobby of One World Trade Center and the TWA terminal at JFK. Inspired by the Buddha’s teachings, SuZen’s 50-year retrospective, “Visions of Light & Spirit,” marks her third solo show at Westbeth. In addition to the entire gallery space being filled with the progression of her work from 1966 to the present, this exhibition premieres “Transmigration,” a one-room work in which the viewer, surrounded by sounds of nature, walks through diaphanous layers of fabric, immersed among images of underwater life cast from a continuous loop from two projectors in sync. A single stingray swims up, alone, into

Photo by Shelley Seccombe

SuZen, at the May 1 opening of her retrospective exhibition (on view at Westbeth Gallery through May 21).

a bird form. “I’ve collected video footage throughout the years,” the artist notes of the sources of her imagery for the multi-media installation, whose essence is “all about the projection of light. Because you’re walking through the fabric, you’re seeing multiple images and it’s very holographic; very three dimensional,” she says, further noting how “Transmigration” is a logical progression in her art and perspective. SUZEN Continued on Page 28

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May 05 - 18, 2016


SUZEN Continued from Page 27

“Very early, I was taken by multiple realities that exist,” recalls SuZen, whose early-era works explored these concepts on an intuitive level before her attraction to Buddhism began to overtly influence the direction of her work as a fine art photographer. Jerry Uselmann, the master of photographic layered realities, the forerunner of photomontage, is a photographer she was acquainted with as a student who greatly influenced her. Sandwiching negatives together and printing multiple images onto one photograph is a technique she used in her early work. “I was very taken by his Jungian, dreamlike images.” Reflections, and reflections through glass, are a repeated theme in SuZen’s work. For example, in the black and white “Reflections of Venice,” SuZen loved the reflections of the original photo. “I printed four of them and mounted them together to create reflections of reflections with a dramatic perspective of the buildings,” she explains. Throughout the years, traveling to over 40 countries offered the artist an immense cache of images to draw upon for her current retrospective. The exhibition starts with photos from her first post-student trip to Europe in 1966 and includes a 1968 4x5 view camera shot of building a sand castle at the ocean — “California Dreaming.” These represent very different photographic experiences than today’s digital world. In the West gallery room, the intrepid artist shows a vibrant, trippy series of images from the interior of caves in Yangshou, China. “I love the darkroom,” SuZen says, explaining that early in her photographic life she favored printing in large scale. “I would combine images, butting them together,” essentially, making one-of-a-kind images. She reminisces about the 5-foot by 6-foot piece that Standard Oil bought. Selecting work from six of her series amidst the vast volume of her work, SuZen had to make tough choices as to what she would show. In the cozy far end of Westbeth Gallery’s main space, SuZen is showing images from her “Blindseries” — as in Venetian blinds with light filtering through. In the adjoining gallery, she has three life-size self-portraits printed on canvas with shadows cast from the blinds. “Flowing Light,” a part of this series, became a stories-high mural in 1984 on a building on W. 42nd St., across from the Port Authority. “It’s amazing. If you visit my mural today, it looks just as good as it did in 1984,” she says. Additionally, in a glass case, SuZen is showing the diminutive small screens of “Blindfolds” — 4.5 inches tall. In her “LIGHTvision” series, images from the “Sacred Journey” and “Transmigration” installations are shown throughout the gallery — some, color prints. Others, printed on aluminum, reveal a subtle luminosity. In one particularly tranquil room, images hang from her “Selectively Toned” series and her “FOGseries,” bathed in the most peaceful pastels. In the West Gallery room, her amusing “Lost Glove” series is an installation in which the titular objects are scattered on the floor.


May 05 - 18, 2016

© SuZen

The multi-media installation “Transmigration” immerses the viewer in sounds and images from the natural world.

© SuZen

© SuZen

SuZen’s “Flowing Light” mural, created in 1984, can still be seen on a W. 42nd St. building across from the Port Authority.

To achieve the “Reflections of Venice” look, SuZen printed four of the original photo, then mounted them together.

Curator of her own exhibition at Westbeth Gallery, the artist shares the different threads of her work from her traditional black and white days to expansive explorations of the medium. Throughout it all, be it conceptual, sculptural, ethereal or whimsical, her lifelong passion for the medium is constant.

“Visions of Light & Spirit: SuZen’s 50th Anniversary Retrospective Exhibition” is on view through May 21 at Westbeth Gallery (55 Bethune St., btw. Washington & West Sts.). Free. Hours: Wed.–Sun., 1–6pm. Artist Talk: Sun., May 8 & 15 at 3pm. Artist info at suzennyc.com and bit. ly/SuZenGPlus. DowntownExpress.com

Dynamic International Airways and Guyana Celebrate 50 Years of Independence and Growth “The airline has given dozens of Guyanese people jobs, and Dynamic’s fares are low enough to allow the Diaspora to come home. “ BY PETER MOSES NEW YORK - Guyana may be a small country north of Brazil in South America, but with the help of Dynamic International Airways and its expanding New York hub at JFK, the country’s footprint on the world stage is destined to grow. Many Americans have heard of Guyana but don’t know much about where it is, what tourists can do there or how easy it is to fly from New York to this English-speaking Garden of Eden. In May of 2016, Dynamic International Airways and the nation of Guyana are taking steps to change that. The airline and Guyana are teaming up to celebrate DowntownExpress.com

50 years of independence by this former British territory and a new logo has been affixed to one of Dynamic’s fleet of six Boeing 767 jets. It incorporates the jaguar (national animal of Guyana), the country’s flag and coat of arms and, temporarily, a banner that announces the Jubilee Celebration taking place in New York from June 4-12. “The country is looking up and raising its connection to the world,” said New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud (DCanarsie), who was born in Guyana and moved to the United States with her family in 1983. “This partnership with Dynamic will encourage tourists to come and experience

Guyanese life which includes eco-tourism, waterfalls, beaches, great food and first-class accommodations.” But for the 140,000 Guyanese diaspora who live in the New York City area, Dynamic provides an affordable option to travel back and forth from home with regular service out of JFK. Guyana is home to nearly 750,000 residents, but more than 300,000 citizens live overseas. The largest single group of Guyanese who live outside the country reside in the five boroughs of New York, and Dynamic is the leading air carrier between the two nations. “The partnership between Guyana and Dy-

namic matters to us,” said H.E. George Talbot, United Nations ambassador to the United States. “The airline has given dozens of Guyanese people jobs, and Dynamic’s fares are consistent and low enough to allow the Diaspora to come home. We are so grateful to Dynamic for this opportunity.” For tourists, the charming people and beautiful landscape are Guyana’s chief natural resources. However, the country produces and exports sugar, diamonds, bauxite and shrimp. Guyana’s service industry is growing to meet the needs of tourism and industry. Captain Gerry Gou-

viea, Dynamic’s agent in Guyana, said the airline runs on a 95 percent ontime departure rate and flights average 90 percent capacity. New flights are being added to the JFKGuyana schedule as well as two new aircraft joining the fleet in the coming months. “We started Dynamic with the intent to serve in an underdeveloped niche market,” said Karen Kraus, interim chief operating officer for Dynamic. “With this growth we are experiencing, we want people to know there is a reliable, inexpensive alternative for getting to Guyana and our non-stop flights make it easy on travelers seeking a high level of service.” May 5 - 18, 2016



May 5 - 18, 2016


A Lombax Leaps to the Silver Screen ‘Ratchet & Clank’ is goofy fun for PlayStation fans

Courtesy Gramercy Pictures

L to R: Jim Ward as the voice of Captain Qwark, James Arnold Taylor as the voice of Ratchet, David Kaye as the voice of Clank, Bella Thorne as the voice of Cora, and Vincent Tong as the voice of Brax.

BY CHARLES BAT TERSBY The Ratchet & Clank games have been around for 14 years. There is a new generation of potential fans who aren’t even old to remember the original game when it came out, and there is a new generation of technology that far surpasses the old PlayStation 2, where the duo first appeared. The games are being rebooted this month with a new installment for PlayStation 4, and an animated feature film is now in theaters to introduce the franchise to a wider audience. Ratchet is a “Lombax,” an anthropomorphic space cat. He works as a lowly mechanic, but dreams of joining the heroic Galactic Rangers. Meanwhile, an evil alien race called the Blarg are building an army of robot soldiers as part of a mysterious-but-definitely-sinister plan. Clank is a tiny, defective robot who is kicked out of the Blarg army, not just because he’s small, but also because he opposes their fiendish scheme. Ratchet and Clank meet by chance, then team up to warn the Galactic Rangers about the Blarg. Clank is out to save the universe, but Ratchet sees this as his chance to impress the Rangers and fight alongside their leader, the heroic Captain Qwark. DowntownExpress.com

The Ratchet & Clank games are well-written comedy adventures that don’t take themselves too seriously. Among game franchises, it is an excellent choice for a film adaptation. One of the screenwriters, TJ Fixman, actually wrote for the games, and the voice actors who play Ratchet and Clank in the games (James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye) play them in the movie. Several other voice actors from the games reprise their roles too, including Jim Ward’s hilarious Captain Qwark, and Armin Shimerman as the delightfully insane villain Dr. Nefarious. The film adds in a handful of new characters, expanding the roster of the Galactic Rangers with celebrity cameos. It also makes much ado about Sylvester Stallone’s bit part as a giant evil robot. Most of the Hollywood names are unnecessary, and their characters are just supporting roles. They are upstaged entirely by the talented duo of Taylor and Kaye. The notable exception is Paul Giamatti as the blustering leader of the Blarg. He hams it up as a villain who is in charge of a barely competent army (although a more genuinely dangerous villain appears in the later half of the story).

Courtesy Gramercy Pictures

David Kaye as the voice of Clank (left) and James Arnold Taylor as the voice of Ratchet star in “Ratchet and Clank.”

“Ratchet & Clank” works best as a comedy; neither Ratchet nor Clank have much of a character arc. In fact, the supporting role, Captain Qwark, has the most interesting emotional journey. Because the story liberally borrows from the plot of the first game, fans will be one step ahead of the characters the whole time, too. There’s still lots of laughs to be had, and some insider gags for PlayStation enthusiasts (was that a Sly Cooper cameo?). People who have never heard of these characters

before will still find an abundance of goofy humor that doesn’t require previous knowledge of the franchise to appreciate. Directed by Jericca Cleland and Kevin Munroe Screenplay by TJ Fixman, Kevin Munroe and Gerry Swallow. Runtime: 94 minutes. At various Manhattan locations, including standard and 3D screenings at Regal Battery Park Stadium 11 (102 North End Ave., at Vesey St.). Follow twitter.com/RatchetMovie. May 05 - 18, 2016



May 5 - 18, 2016


Profile for Schneps Media

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May 05, 2016

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May 05, 2016