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Bringing Good Eats to a Street Near You

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Teddy Roosevelt's Rat Riders 07 May 05 - 18, 2016 | Vol. 02 No. 09

West Side "Harassment by Construction" 08

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New on the Community Board: Upper East Side BY JACKSON CHEN

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lose to 800 applicants, each of them no doubt confident that they have their fingers on the pulse of their neighborhoods, applied to Manhattan’s 12 community boards that tackle local issues like zoning, landmarks, transportation, and more. It would seems as though this year residents are more eager than ever to contribute, as 527 of the 785 Manhattan CB applications were from newcomers, a 12 percent jump from 2015. CB8, which covers the East Side of Manhattan from 59th to 96th Streets, from Central Park to the river, welcomes four new members from its pool of 33 applications received this year. While the application numbers there were down from the 47 received last year, the new members all voiced eagerness to weigh in on community issues. Michael Mellamphy, 39, has been working at Ryan’s Daughter, the Upper East Side’s self-proclaimed “local friendly neighborhood bar,” located on East 85th Street, since 2000 as a bartender. Soon, Mellamphy, a 16-year resident of the neighborhood, became co-owner with his business partner, James Gerding, and began attending meetings of CB8’s Street Life Committee as well as its full board meetings to understand the relationship between bars and restaurants and the community board. “I wanted to educate myself as to how to interact with community boards, initially to make life easy for us as business owners,” Mellamphy said. Eventually, he began to realize he enjoyed the community interaction and engagement and wanted to be a more permanent presence at the board. Tricia Shimamura, 27, has only lived on the Upper East Side for a year, but her work life may have offered her a deeper understanding of the community and its relationship with government. Shimamura, now a project associate at Columbia University’s Office of Government and Community Affairs, formerly worked as deputy chief of staff for Congress-

Michael Mellamphy.

Tricia Shimamura.

Sara Solomon.

member Carolyn Maloney, whose district covers the lion’s share of the East Side. “The community boards can really act as a sounding board, but they are also the connection to elected officials,” Shimamura said. “I think the most important role that community boards can play is they really are the most humble face of government.” Shimamura has already expressed interest in joining CB8’s Parks Committee because she’s

L ynne Strong-Shinozaki, 56, becomes the fifth member of CB8 from Roosevelt Island. Despite the island being a part of the district, many board members haven’t even visited there, Strong-Shinozaki said. “I wanted to give Roosevelt Island, with the current changes going on with Cornell coming, as much of a voice as to what’s going on,” Strong-Shinozaki said of the university’s plans to open up a technology campus there in 2017.

Strong-Shinozaki, a member of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association and trustee of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, said she hopes to help her fellow board members better understand her area before voting on issues affecting the island. She plans to keep a particularly sharp eye on housing issues as she feels that the sparse availability options on the Upper East Side are steering away its younger residents. n

Fun For The Whole Family

Lynne Strong-Shinozaki.

a board member of Friends of the East River Esplanade, a nonprofit aiming to restore the long stretch of riverfront parkland. CB8’s youngest member, Sara Solomon, 16, joined the ranks as a student from Dalton High School. “I’m very interested in politics,” Solomon said. “I think this is one of the few opportunities for people my age to become involved in their communities and have a vote.” After finding out from a relative who works with another community board that the age minimum was lowered to 16, she immediately seized the opportunity to have a voice in her community’s happenings.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 05 - 18, 2016

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Bringing Good Eats to a Street Near You BY JACKSON CHEN

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t’s unusually quiet in Queens, with only the lull of rainfall offsetting absolute tranquility. Most nearby residents are fast asleep ahead of their morning routine beginning with the rising sun, but a food trucker is awake at 3 a.m. and answering his phone that blares the whistling tune of “Yankee Doodle” to incoming callers. Josh Gatewood, founder and owner of the all-American cuisine Yankee Doodle Dandy’s food truck, throws on a bright red hoody stamped with its logo — a bald eagle in a stars-and-stripes top hat and suit. After downing a Red Bull for breakfast, he heads out into the silent darkness to pick up his truck at a commissary storage space a few blocks away. After what is a 15-minute walk — but, today, is a five-minute drive because of the rain — Gatewood unlocks the gates that store his and many of New York’s other food trucks. There’s only the glow of the truck’s interior florescent lighting as Gatewood and his three employees — Dave Ockrim and Abdel and Jamilia Idrissi — load in a day’s worth of chicken tenders, burgers, Texas toast, and fries. As soon as the truck’s fully stocked, the team makes their way toward Manhattan. With only a driver’s and passenger’s seat, whoever doesn’t call shotgun is stuck in the kitchen area where each and every pothole the truck hits sounds like cymbals crashing. “We’re here before the city’s awake,” Gatewood said of the cityscape absent of office lights as they drive over the Queensboro Bridge. With no traffic at 4 a.m., the commute is only about 25 minutes as

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JACKSON CHEN

Josh Gatewood in front of his all-American cuisine Yankee Doodle Dandy’s food truck.

Gatewood makes it to Midtown Manhattan where they’d left one of their cars at around 6 p.m. the previous evening to secure their vending spot. On West 46th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Gatewood parks his truck alongside many other food vendors, whose range of eats include breakfast, hot pastrami, halal food, and many other cultural offerings. With Yankee Doodle Dandy’s spot secured for the day, the Idrissis sleep in the truck while Gatewood and Ockrim make a detour to purchase propane tanks before heading to the gym. And all of this preparation is conducted long

before they’re open for business — beginning at 11 a.m. and usually running no later than 3 p.m. While waking up at ungodly hours to secure their vending locale is one of the toughest facets of the food truck industry, it’s only one of the many problems the entrepreneurs run into. On his red, white, and blue truck, it’s the splash of orange on his windshield that plagues Gatewood and many others on a daily basis. “You get inundated with orange envelopes,” Gatewood said. “I have nightmares of orange envelopes chasing me.” According to Gatewood, food trucks will “without fail” get a daily

$65 ticket just for doing business because New York City has laws against vending from a metered parking spot, which blanket most of the food truck hot spots. On some days, the city may double-down on food truckers with a more basic parking ticket if they’ve exceeded the limit of their Muni-Meter sticker. But the most prohibitive city regulation that weighs down on the food truck industry is the limited number of Mobile Food Vending Unit Permits issued by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. While that’s a matter

c YANKEE DOODLE, continued on p.5

May 05 - 18, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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c YANKEE DOODLE, from p.4 Gatewood declines to comment on, the Street Vendor Project (SVP) — a nonprofit organization’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the city’s outdoor vendors — has been vocal about its goal of lifting the permits cap altogether. The health department has limited the number of food vending permits in circulation to around 3,000, according to SVP, with an average wait time to win one of more than a decade. The hopeful food truckers need to navigate a black market system run by the permit owners to obtain the legal right to vend. With such a limited number and a fast-growing demand, permit holders — who only pay $200 every two years to renew — can rent out their permits for exorbitant amounts in an unregulated manner. According to Basma Eid, SVP’s organizer, his group has found that people who operate food trucks in Midtown have rented permits through the black market that cost them anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 over the two-year life of the permit. While there are a modest number of seasonal mobile food vending permits that give additional food truckers the chance to work from April to October, Eid said those renting the shorter-term licenses can still expect to pay anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000. Adding to the mobile food vending permit difficulties, Gatewood said all employees of food trucks are also required to obtain a Mobile Food Vending License, on which there are no caps, from the health department. Gatewood’s employees went through a four-to-eight-week waiting period and then complet-

ed a two-day course at a health department facility just to be able to work on Yankee Doodle Dandy’s. The multiple burdens imposed on the food truck industry in New York City have left many owners losing money or even shutting their business down completely. While there was a New York City Food Truck Association (NYCFTA) that advocated for them, its inactivity and eventual demise led Gatewood to attempt to revive the organization. After the leadership of the former NYCFTA abruptly abandoned ship, Gatewood — the former association’s vice president — said he’s looking to create a new and much improved version from the wreckage. David Weber, co-founder of the now defunct Rickshaw Truck that offered Chinese-style dumplings, formed NYCFTA in January 2011. While Weber’s reasoning for the sudden shut down couldn’t be exactly pinpointed, Matt Geller, the president of the National Food Truck Association — which has a board director seat for the NYCFTA — and the Southern California Mobile Food Vendor’s Association, said it could be a number of reasons. Geller, a friend of Weber’s, said an association thrives on lots of engagement and determination. However, Weber unexpectedly shut down NYCFTA in late March, leaving many food truck owners on their own. But refusing to give up on what the food truck association could be, Gatewood rallied the troops to see if they were interested in a second attempt that actually benefits its members. “In March of 2014, I joined the food truck association,” said Gate-

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JACKSON CHEN

PAUL SCHINDLER

DONNA ACETO

The museum expansion has strong support on the City Council, including the local member, Helen Rosenthal, the East Side’s Dan Garodnick, and Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens, who chairs the Committee on Cultural Affairs.

Public Bucks — Tens of Millions — Already Sunk Into Natural History Expansion, Critics Note BY JACKSON CHEN

A

s the American Museum of Natural History’s expansion plan continues through its public review process, critics of the project have focused on the significant government resources that have already been allocated for its completion. According to Roberto Lebron, the museum’s senior director of communications, the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation has, to date, received commitments for $44.3 million from the city and $6 million from the state. The project, which is expected to cost $325 million in total, has drawn fire because 20 percent of its footprint will encroach on the Theodore Roosevelt Park, which surrounds the museum between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue and 77th and 81st Streets. Opponents have charged that the city and state, in already providing millions of dollars in support, have sided with the museum rather than the community being impacted by the expansion. “There’s not much transparency and very little to no public discourse,” Cary Goodman, a persistent critic of the museum’s project, said of the public funding. “You certainly can’t see it from a regular perspective of a citizen.” But the museum’s Lebron explained that roughly two-thirds of the $325 million price tag is expected to come from private donors. The project, which he said has raised about

6

half of its target budget, received $50 million from Richard Gilder, for whom the expansion is named and who heads the investment firm Gilder Gagnon Howe & Co. At public hearings, the city’s contribution of more than $40 million to date — with millions more expected — is often shouted out in public meetings as neighboring residents complain that community input was not invited earlier in the planning. Seth Kaufman, the secretary treasurer of the park advocacy group Alliance to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park, said the city shouldn’t have given money for a project that was not yet clearly defined. Conceptual plans were only released this past November while city funding dates back several years, he noted. The community had largely been left in the dark about what the final project would look like, Kaufman charged. “Politicians don’t go to the community first and say there’s this plan,” Kaufman said. “[They] don’t go to the community and say this is what the museum is planning, I want your input and thoughts.’” To the project’s biggest critics, elected officials share the museum’s assumption that the Gilder Center is a done deal. Based on the museum’s current estimates of cost, public funding for the project will eventually total approximately $108 million or the remaining third of the estimated $325 million cost, which suggests that $57.7 million would still be forthcoming from the city and state to fund the Gilder Center.

According to a breakdown provided by City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal’s office, city funding for the Gilder Center began in fiscal year 2012, when former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration contributed $2 million, while then-Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, now the city comptroller, kicked in $500,000. The following year, the City Council allocated $2 million of its capital budget for the Gilder Center expansion, and in fiscal year 2014, the Council contributed another $2.5 million from its capital budget, while the Bloomberg administration added on another $8 million for the project. No city contributions were made in fiscal year 2015, but in the current fiscal year, ending on June 30, Borough President Gale Brewer donated $500,000, the de Blasio administration gave $12 million, and the Council put up $16.8 million. Much of the recent public anger focused on city funding of the project has been directed at Rosenthal, since the museum falls within District 6, which she represents. DeAnna Rieber, the president of the West 75th Street Block Association, said she is not opposed outright to the museum’s expansion, but is concerned that Rosenthal supported it ahead of the community’s approval. “This was money, in my mind, that should’ve been approved by the constituents,” Rieber said. “The impact on constitu-

c AMNH, continued on p.19 May 05 - 18, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Teddy Roosevelt’s Rat Riders BY JACKSON CHEN

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hile neighbors and nature lovers consider the Upper West Side’s Theodore Roosevelt Park a community gem, rampant rat infestation has plagued the park’s walking paths and trash cans for years. But the Department of Parks and Recreation has teamed up with local organizations in an attempt to polish away the imperfection. Several months ago, the parks department said it had implemented an “integrated pest management” system to eliminate food, shelter, and water sources for the rats, with baiting them left as a last resort. “Thanks to the community’s assistance and commitment, an integrated pest management program implemented a number of months ago in Teddy Roosevelt Park has reduced the rat population there by 90 percent,” the parks department’s Manhattan borough commissioner, William Castro, wrote in an email. The key pillars of the effort are 19 Big Belly solar-powered trash compactors installed in mid-April to replace the traditional open trash cans. To fund the price tag of $4,000 a piece, the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District raised $84,000 through its annual Upper West Side food festival. Barbara Adler, the BID’s executive director, said the remaining $8,000 would be used to decorate the trash compactors with images of the park in full bloom and of dinosaurs from the American Museum of Natural History, which the park surrounds. “The Columbus Avenue BID board was thrilled to donate these funds for such a worthy project,” Adler said. “It will make this park the first one in the city to solve its rat problem by starving them out.” According to Adler, the rats have been a persistent problem in the park because of visitors enjoying their lunch on park benches but then tossing leftover food into the open trashcans. The BID direc-

tor said she’s heard numerous accounts of rats jumping in and out of garbage cans and dashing across park pathways. Now, the Big Belly compactors are found throughout the park’s trails and outlining its perimeter. The main draw of the compactors’ design is the trash chute that opens up through the use of a handle or pedal. Similar to a mailbox, the trash chute automatically closes after people toss in their litter and release the handle or pedal. As the Big Belly fills up, its sensors alert it to squash the trash to accommodate up to 50 gallons of trash. Once full, the trash compactor relays a notification to the parks department to empty it.

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One of the 19 Big Belly solar-powered trash compactors donated by the Columbus Avenue BID to the Theodore Roosevelt Park that surrounds the American Museum of Natural History.

The compactors have been employed alongside other parks department strategies for dealing with the rats. According to Peter Wright, president of the Friends of Teddy Roosevelt Park — the nonprofit organization that jointly maintains the park with the parks Department — past extermination methods have included using blood thinners, which act as rodenticide, throughout rat burrows and using modern rat traps.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 05 - 18, 2016

c RAT RIDERS, continued on p.19

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West Side Tenants Battle “Harassment By Construction” BY EILEEN STUKANE

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taying healthy while staying put has become an unseen battle raging in many residential buildings on Manhattan’s West Side. With Hell’s Kitchen having emerged as a highrent, luxury neighborhood, many landlords, seeing dollar signs, are determined to transform their rent-regulated apartments into market-rate units. The landlord/ developer drive to vacate apartments seems unstoppable, even though residents frequently decline to move and refuse to be bought out. Landlords often proceed with demolition and construction plans in such buildings regardless, knowing that a certain number of tenants will eventually become aggravated enough to leave. The ones who remain in their homes often have to live in an environment of dust and debris that has given rise to the term “harassment by construction,” an insidious assault on the health of longtime residents. Tenants can organize to stand their ground and remain in their homes. At times, this requires that they navigate the maze of New York City’s bureaucracy to uncover falsified Department of Buildings (DOB) permit applications submitted by their landlords identifying their buildings as “unoccupied” in order to dodge the requirement for a Tenant Protection Plan. Tenants can also enlist elected officials and community leaders to assist them in battling unethical landlords. But their real fight may be the struggle to remain healthy enough to withstand the environmental stress heaped on them. In one West Side building, four of 13 tenants were determined to stay in their homes when a new owner began renovations in 2014. “People couldn’t walk into the building with the white dust coming out,” said one of those residents. “I had asthma and immediately had to get a mask just to walk in the front entrance. The apartments looked white inside, the way the streets looked after 9/ 11. You could see footprints on the floors and a lot of people were having breathing problems. I myself was having breathing problems and I’m a healthy athletic guy. I go to the gym, run track — and I started getting sick. If I, a healthy person in my 30s, was suffering, I can’t imagine what a senior citizen would suffer.” Those who live in buildings with ongoing construction and are in dispute with their landlords spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to avoid further jeopardizing their situations. Two of the four tenants who originally committed to stay in this West Side building eventually moved out. Interviewing residents who have experienced harassment by construction, it became clear

8

that many rent-regulated apartments that landlords would like to convert to market-rate are occupied by seniors who have lived in their homes for decades. Having found refuge within their apartment walls, these men and woman have roots in the community and have no desire to relocate. At ages when many of their peers are relaxing in warmer climes, they are breathing in dust, mold, and toxic fumes, living with insect infestations and mice, and enduring the noise of jackhammers outside their apartment doors. Some described suffering panic attacks from fear of intruders entering unsecured premises. Even when landlords post the DOB’s required Tenant Protection Plan, the obligations often go ignored and unfulfilled. The Community Health Profile 2015, recently released by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, reports that the air in Manhattan Community District 4, which includes Hell’s Kitchen as well as Hudson Yards and Chelsea, ranks third highest when measured for levels of particulate matter (PM2.5), the most harmful pollutant, at 11.4 micrograms per cubic meter. The US Environmental Protection Agency’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards have established a limit of 12 micrograms per cubic meter, which is set to protect the health of asthmatics, children, and seniors. The air in West Side construction sites does not have far to go to surpass the EPA’s acceptable level of pollutants. PM2.5 is made up of fine particles and liquid droplets often found as a result of construction, in dust — which may contain lead, organic chemicals, and metals. Children, who breathe more rapidly than adults and often through their mouths, can inhale more of these fine particles into their lungs. Long-term exposure to fine particles, for adults and children alike, can irritate the airways, affect lung function, and cause coughing which is sometimes chronic, difficulty breathing, and asthma. Of the residents interviewed for this article, all reported coughs, some lingering well after construction was completed. In 2014, Healthy Building Network, a Washington-based organization dedicated to reducing the use of hazardous chemicals in building products, published “Asthmagens In Building Materials: The Problem and Solutions,” an overview of studies correlating the link between asthma risk and volatile compounds called phthalates and isocyanates that are found in a variety of building materials, such as insulation, paints, adhesives, wall panels, and floors. According to Jim Vallette, the research director at Healthy Building Network, the practice in the green building industry when renovating a

YANNIC RACK

Marilyn Hemery, who is recovering from chemotherapy, has lived peacefully at 15 West 55th Street for 45 years, seven of the past eight months without cooking gas.

structure is to empty a residence for two days, with doors and windows open, to “flush out into the air” the toxic effects of paints, adhesives, and polyurethane in foam insulation to reduce the environmental impact for residents. That would be a tall order in a multi-unit New York City apartment house. Using paints certified as low in volatile organic compounds is also recommended. While scientific research to identify pollutants has not been conducted comprehensively in buildings under construction in New York, Stand for Tenant Safety, a citywide coalition of community organizations fighting to protect tenants from harassment by construction, has been gathering data. STS published a 2015 Summary of Data that identified health-related situations created by construction. In the STS survey of 150 residents living in buildings where construction was ongoing, 87 percent reported excessive dust, which was the greatest complaint, followed by excessive noise at 82 percent. Overall, 71 percent stated that construction was a threat to their health and safety. Vermin (44 percent), inaccessible fire escapes (14 percent), excessive fumes (42 percent), construction debris (73 percent), and building doors left open or unlocked (74 percent) were all listed as concerns by residents. City Councilmember Corey Johnson, who represents the area and is chair of the City Council’s Health Committee, is well aware of the health dangers that result from what he agrees is “harassment by construction,” and has responded with support and proposed legislation to combat the situation.

c HARASSMENT, continued on p.9 May 05 - 18, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


c

HARASSMENT, from p.8

“It is undeniable that unsafe construction causes conditions that impact the health of tenants,” Johnson wrote in an email. “Too often, landlords perform construction work without proper permits and without basic safeguards. Every week, my office hears from tenants who are negatively impacted by construction in their buildings, and we respond aggressively to every report.” The Department of Buildings, he said, “currently lacks the resources and bandwidth to fully enforce tenant protection laws.”

LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT

COOPER SQUARE COMMITTEE

Eighty-seven percent of city residents living in buildings under construction report excessive dust, which in Hell’s Kitchen is likely to exceeds US Environmental Protection Agency safety limits.

The Council, since last September, has been considering a 12-bill package of legislation to reform Department of Buildings practices and help protect victims of abusive landlords. With Upper West Side Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, Johnson is co-sponsor of a bill that takes aim at landlords making false claims that their buildings are unoccupied when applying for building permits. According to Rosenthal’s office, the reform package got its first hearing before the Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee on April 18. A second hearing will take place before the measures go to the floor for full Council consideration.

c HARASSMENT, continued on p.14 ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 05 - 18, 2016

9


Improvements at 68th — Hunter College Stop Look Good to Go BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he Metropolitan Transpor tation Authority has introduced revised plans to make accessibility improvements to the congested 68th Street — Hunter College stop on the Upper East Side’s Lexington Avenue Subway line. According to a presentation given to Community Board 8 on April 20, the improvements include installation of a new elevator at the southeast corner of East 68th Street and Lexington Avenue. The new elevator would bring the station into compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), and will replace an existing flower stand that is a tenant of Hunter College. Beyond the elevator accommodation for disabled commuters, the upgrades aim to eliminate severe congestion that often creates a long queue for straphangers trying to get to street level

MTA

The MTA’s design for a station elevator, a midblock entrance and exit, and stairway improvements for the 68th Street — Hunter College stop on Lexington Avenue Subway line.

from what ranks as the MTA’s second busiest local stop. Access to the universities and medical centers nearby will be enhanced by the creation of a mid-block subway entrance and exit on the east side of Lexington Avenue

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between East 68th and East 69th Streets. The access point would be on the ground level of the Imperial House building, where storefront space would normally be, according to the MTA. The agency is in discussions with both Imperial House, which owns the storefront space, and Hunter to determine how to accommodate the new station entrances. “The museums, the hospitals, and Hunter College are the three jewels that make up the Triple Crown of the Upper East Side neighborhood," said Jim Clynes, chair of CB8. “And [68th Street] is the subway stop that services those three jewels.” Noting that 68th Street is one of the neighborhood’s busiest subway stops, Clynes said its narrow stairwells frequently lead to commuter congestion. He added that both CB8 and Hunter College welcome the station improvements. CB8’s Transportation Committee co-chair Scott Falk echoed that view, saying he has no specific concerns about the project so far. In fact, Falk is glad to see the project moving forward because, following community uproar, a previous improvement plan had been jettisoned and the effort languished for several years. In October 2011, the MTA presented its first crack at the ADA

and congestion improvements at the 68th Street stop, which included two new access points on East 69th Street. Residents rallied against that plan because they felt the installations and extra vehicular and pedestrian traffic would alter the beauty of their block. Organized as the 69th Street Tenant Association, which was mostly made up of residents of Imperial House — a building of nearly 400 coop apartments — opposition eventually deterred the agency from moving forward. In the wake of the first proposal’s withdrawal, the tenant association developed a working relationship with the MTA to forge a compromise. “We’ve been in negotiations all this time with the MTA,” said Sid Davidoff, the attorney representing the association. “Over this long period of time, the MTA became very reasonable.”

MTA

A rendering of a new midblock entrance and exit on Lexington Avenue between Metro Drugs and Garnet Liquors.

According to Davidoff, the agency listened to their concerns and eventually came up with the midblock entrance as a solution, despite it being a “long and involved engineering issue.” The former opposition is content with the plan currently being offered, with no real naysayers at the CB8 meeting or at an MTA public hearing that followed on April 26, Davidoff said. The MTA is expecting to begin construction of the upgrades in 2017, with an expected completion date in mid-2020. n

May 05 - 18, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Police Blotter ROBBERY: TROUBLED TEENS (19TH AND CENTRAL PARK PRECINCTS) Police are looking for two young male suspects for two knifepoint robbery incidents that happened on consecutive days. On April 17 at around 11:30 p.m., the two suspects, armed with a knife near East Drive and the 79th Street Transverse in Central Park, approached a 17-year-old male, demanding his property, according to police. After punching the victim’s head, pushing him to the ground, and kicking him, the suspects made off with the victim’s wallet with $150. Police said that about an hour later, the two suspects approached a 73-year-old male as he was entering his home at East 81st Street and Second Avenue. The suspects again showed their knife before taking the victim’s cellphone and $200, according to police. Police released photos of the suspects (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), describing one as a male Hispanic, 16-20 years old, last seen wearing a shirt with black long sleeves and black and white print on the front, dark blue jeans, and sneakers. The other suspect, also described as a male Hispanic, 16-20 years old, was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, a black hooded sweatshirt, jeans, and black shoes.

SEXUAL ABUSE: SUBWAY NAB (20TH PRECINCT) Police nabbed a registered level 3 sex offender, who’s known for preying on female MTA passengers, on April 21 around 5:30 p.m. As Lieutenant Luis Almonte and Police Officer Leslie Friday were conducting pickpocket and sex abuse train patrols inside the Times Square–42nd Street 1, 2, 3 stop when they recognized Wilson Bradley, a 59-year-old Bronx native. The plainclothes police officers followed Bradley onto a northbound 3 train, as he closely followed a female passenger inside, police said. According to police, Bradley positioned himself behind the

24-year-old victim, “repeatedly thrusting and gyrating his hips against the victim.” After both the victim and suspect left the train at the 72nd St station, the officers placed him under arrest after checking on the female victim. Police have charged Bradley with persistent sexual abuse and forcible touching.

GRAND LARCENY: THE NEW LIQUID ASSET (MIDTOWN NORTH PRECINCT) Police have connected three incidents of grand larceny where a male suspect made off with hundreds of bottles of nail polish from various Duane Reades throughout the area. According to police, Juan Baez, a 48-year-old Bronx native entered a Duane Reade at 22 West 48th Street on January 7 at around 4:45 p.m., and stuffed approximately 192 bottles of nail polish inside his backpack. Baez continued his nail polish spree on April 2 at around 5 p.m. at a Duane Reade on 1370 Avenue of the Americas near West 56th Street, police said. There, he dumped 315 bottles of nail polish into his backpack before leaving without paying, according to police. In the most recent incident, police said Baez was seen on April 11 at around 7:15 p.m. at the Duane Reade at 22 West 48th Street. Baez lifted 186 bottles of nail polish this time, for a grant total of nearly 700 bottles, police said. Police released photos of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a 48-year-old male.

MISSING PERSON:MISSING ON UWS (24TH PRECINCT) Police are looking for Lula Gray, a 53-year-old missing female last seen on April 22 at 2:30 a.m. outside her home at 52 West 105th Street. Police released photos of Gray (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as 5’6” tall, 160 pounds, with a medium complexion, brown eyes, and black hair.

COLLISION: PEDESTRIAN FATALITY (MIDTOWN NORTH PRECINCT) According to police, an 80-year-old male victim was struck on the crosswalk of West 57th Street and Seventh Avenue by an Audi A6 operated by a 23-year-old male, who remained on the scene. Police responded to the incident on May 1 around 8 p.m. and found Richard Headley, an Upper West Sider, on the ground unresponsive and unconscious. Police said that after EMS responded and transported Headley to Cornell Medical Center, he succumbed to his injuries on May 2. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

ROBBERY: GUNPOINT GRAB (20TH PRECINCT) On April 24 at around 6:45 a.m., police said two male suspects robbed a 53-year-old male at gunpoint. According to police, the two suspects approached the victim as he entered the vestibule of his apartment at West 81st Street. After displaying their firearm, the suspects demanded the victim’s property, which included two bags containing $3,400 in cash, a cellphone, and two iPads. The suspects fled in a black SUV. Police released a video of the suspects (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they don’t otherwise describe.

SEXUAL ASSAULT: CHILD OFFERED FOR SEX (CENTRAL PARK PRECINCT) The police are trying to identify an adult male and his child they believe may be linked to an attempted sexual abuse that happened in Central Park on April 28 at around 10:30 p.m.

c BLOTTER, continued on p.15

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National Nurses Week Offers a Chance to Say Thanks BY SHAVANA ABRUZZO

N

urses 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 founder of modern nursing — arrived at the Black Sea to a base hospital atop a large cesspool, with patients languishing in their own excrement on stretchers scattered th r ou g h out th e h al l wa y s , a s 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. Between 2008 and 2010, there were 2.8 million registered nurses, including advanced practice registered nurses, and 690,000 licensed practical nurses in America, reports the US Department of Health and Human Services. Nurses ar e 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 primary healthcare providers, offering diagnoses and writing prescriptions. A special week to show these unsung champions apprecia-

tion is fitting, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn't be honored throughout the year, as well, for their hard work and dedication. Here are some ways to show appreciation for a nurse who has cared for you or a loved one:

c NURSES, continued on p.18

N ATION A L NURSE S W EEK • M AY 6 –12

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 ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 05 - 18, 2016

1-888-FIDELIS fideliscare.org 13


c

HARASSMENT, from p.9

In the meanwhile, residents under siege confront not only risks to their physical health but stress and anxiety that take their toll on their mental health as well. “I was never anxious,” reported one West Side man. “I think I have a wonderful life, and I was having nightmares.” Another West Sider, after undergoing chemotherapy, had to move to a relative’s house in another state to strengthen his immune system away from the worry of what each day would bring in terms of building construction, including mold that could cause infection if inhaled. “When they started working on apartments, they tore out windows and left them open,” said a woman who lives on the West Side. “I used to walk up and down the stairs with pepper spray ready to use. I was one of four left in the building and I was the only woman. I live on the fifth floor. I was terrified walking up the stairs at night. It felt desolate, scary being in a building that’s empty like that.” When construction ended in her building, she became calmer. “I can sleep at night,” she said, and no longer worries about debris falling from a floor above and hitting her in the face when she climbs the stairs, as happened during the construction. Marilyn Hemery has lived peacefully in her third floor apartment at 15 West 55th Street for 45 years. Today, she is battle-weary. Two years ago, her building and the adjoining property at 19 West 55th Street property were purchased by Assa Properties Inc., renovated, and turned into the Branson. Hemery’s building had 37 apartments on 10 floors. Today there are only seven occupied apartments. “I am the only tenant on the first five floors,” said Hemery, who refused a buyout offer of $225,000, when, according to her, Assa was leasing its renovated apartments for $6,000 a month. “I have mice in my kitchen and have to leave lights on 24 /7,” she said. Hemery, who is recovering from chemotherapy, also has to deal with constant layers of dust and a cough. “There was asbestos in the build-

14

ing and the owners never put a notice where anyone could see it,” she explained. “It was hidden. There is supposed to be a Tenant Protection Plan but they do not live by it. They have their own plans.” Hemery and other tenants have filed more 100 complaints with the city and lived anxiously as Assa Properties turned their building into what became known as “the city’s worst illegal hotel.” With the help of State Senator Liz Krueger, tenants prevailed on the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement to file suit against the owners last year, which succeeded in shutting down the hotel activity.

tenant interviewed for this article corroborated, is a widespread landlord harassment tactic. This despite the fact that the New York State attorney general’s “Tenants’ Rights Guide” (available at goo.gl/uYGU8u) states that tenants “have the right to a livable, safe, and sanitary apartment, a right that is implied in every written or oral residential lease… Examples of a breach of this warranty include the failure to provide heat or hot water on a regular basis, or the failure to rid an apartment of an insect infestation.” Con Edison usually turns gas off for a reason — a leaky pipe, a

COOPER SQUARE COMMITTEE

The bathroom of a resident enduring construction in their building.

Today, 15 West 55th Street — the entire building — has been leased from Assa Properties by the fashion designer Domenico Vacca, who intends to open an 8,000-square-foot store and create a members-only club, barber shop, café, beauty salon, rooftop terrace. The apartments will be leased for long-term residence stays of 30 days or more — all in a building that had cooking gas shut off for seven months, from August 2015 to March 2016. “We’re invisible to them,” Hemery said. Unfortunately, the situation at 15 West 55th Street was not unusual. Shutting off cooking gas, as every

broken stove, an unexplained gas smell. It is then up to the landlord to hire a master licensed plumber to do the needed repair and call Con Ed back for inspection. But a landlord looking to harass tenants need simply not hire the plumbers to make the repairs. In Hemery’s case, she made do with an electric skillet for more than six months. Appalled by the frequency of reports of cooking gas shutoffs in Manhattan, Borough President Gale Brewer, in March, wrote a letter requesting a full report of all buildings without gas service to Con Edison’s CEO John McAvoy, the city’s Departments of Buildings

and of Housing Preservation and Development, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the State Public Service Commission, and the State Division of Homes and Community Renewal. While her office follows up with Con Ed and the city and state agencies Brewer contacted, she said she is “pleased” that city councilmembers have introduced “carrot-andstick” approaches to address the problem. Two measures proposed by Br ooklyn Councilmember Jumaane Williams, Intro 1101 and Intro 1102, would “give landlords an incentive to quickly fix illegally installed or modified gas piping systems,” but also “reclassify many gas-related code violations as ‘immediately hazardous,’” Brewer explained. “If passed, these changes will spur landlords to act more quickly to fix hazardous gas systems, removing an obstacle to Con Ed restoring service for many tenants.” Meanwhile, a bill sponsored by Lower East Side Councilmember Rosie Mendez, Intro 1093, “would require the Department of Buildings to be notified within 24 hours when gas service is suspended for safety reasons.” This, Brewer said, is simply “common sense.” There are government resources that tenants in distress can immediately access. The state AG’s “Tenants’ Rights Guide” (again, at goo.gl/uYGU8u) has four pages of state and city resources residents can access, and Schneiderman’s hotline is 800-771-7755. The city’s Rent Guidelines Board also has information on tenants’ rights and resources at goo.gl/ mQZ7Rt. The city’s 311 service can direct complaints to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), which can either investigate them or direct them to the appropriate agency, which may be the Department of Buildings, the Department of Environmental Protection, or the health department. Jeremy House, a health department spokesperson, said, “When there are pollutants in the air or dangerous materials, we would definitely issue a violation. We also coordinate with HPD. As part of the Healthy Homes Program, we take more aggressive steps if children are involved.” n

May 05 - 18, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


wood. “I was expecting people to teach me the ropes, give me guidance, go to events with me, but that was not the case at all.” To be a part of the NYCFTA, food trucks had to pay $99 a month in membership dues, but rarely received the benefits they were hoping for, Gatewood said. “There was no one that really extended an olive branch and said this is where you need to park and this is what you need to do,” Gatewood recalled. “It was like you fend for yourself and figure it out through trial and error.” According to Mohamed Salem, owner of pastrami food truck Deli n Dogz, the organization never even gave him a Twitter mention to its nearly 24,000 followers. Salem, who was a member of the former organization for over a year, said he eventually quit because of the absence of help and resources. “They tweeted out some trucks, but as far as me, they never did,” Salem said. “It’s supposed to be like we get events or they tweet where you’re located, but they never do anything for me.” In comparison, Gatewood said the Maryland Food Truck Association, of which he is also a member, sends out daily emails with catering opportunities or requests for food trucks. He lamented the lost business suffered here in New York, noting the city’s 8.4 million population compared to the 2.7 million people who live in the entire Baltimore metro area. Gatewood said he has approached Weber for his assis-

c

tance in making a smooth transition, but has heard no response. Gatewood has since enlisted the help of Geller, who offered free legal services and advice, as well as support from the national association. “The market is New York, there’s nothing like it in the world,” Geller said. “New York has always fostered a strong food environment, but you’re also dealing with not a lot of land, so regulations are put in.” With several years of running Yankee Doodle Dandy’s under his belt, Gatewood’s plan of action for the new association aims to address what he considers the main problems of the industry — parking, permits, and licensing. At a May 3 meeting with ten food truckers — the second gathering for the new association — Gatewood was voted in as president, with Joe Glaser, who runs the Italian dessert truck La Bella Torte, elected vice president. Gatewood is also in the process of forming an online message board where all interested food trucks can communicate and eventually form a database of frequently asked questions. On Geller’s advice, the new association president is also working on approval of bylaws before taking control of the inactive Twitter and Facebook pages of the former association. After the 6 p.m. association meeting concludes, the Yankee Doodle Dandy team is off to secure parking for the next day. As Gatewood heads back to Queens to his table full of NYCFTA paperwork and parking tickets, he’s already thinking about getting ready to be up again at 3 a.m. n

BLOTTER, from p.11

Police said that the father of the 11-year-old child approached a 50-year-old male near Bow Bridge and West 74th Street and offered his son up for sex for an undetermined amount of money. After declining, the man reported the incident to police. Police describe the adult suspect as a white male, approximately 36 years old, 5’7” tall, 160 pounds, brown hair, light complexion, medium build, last seen wearing a dark colored winter coat with a fur food and dark pants. As for the child, police describe him as a white male with a slim build and last seen wearing a red or orange windbreaker coat.

ASSAULT: STATIONARY STABBING (19TH PRECINCT) Police said that on April 23 at around 11:15 p.m., a male suspect stabbed a 45-year-old male victim 11 times before fleeing. According to police, the suspect exited his silver Toyota Camry and approached the victim in his parked gray Toyota Corolla that was in front of 420 East 61st Street. The suspect brandished a knife and stabbed the victim multiple times before getting back into his Camry and driving off northbound, eventually crashing into a parked Mercedes Benz SUV around East 76th Street and Madison Avenue, police said. EMS took the victim to an area hospital where he was listed in critical but stable condition, according to police. Police attached a video of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a black male in his early 30s.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 05 - 18, 2016

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Political Scandals In Perspective PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN jgoodstein@cnglocal.com

EDITOR IN-CHIEF PAUL SCHINDLER editor@manhttanexpressnews.nyc

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BY PAUL SCHINDLER

I

t may not be surprising that the sentencing of a convicted ex-State Assembly speaker went down this week with little public fanfare — what with a federal criminal probe underway into possible bid-rigging on public contracts by a former top aide and longtime intimate of Governor Andrew Cuomo and a criminal referral by the State Board of Elections regarding campaign fundraising by Mayor Bill de Blasio and his inner circle. Still, we have to resist the temptation to weigh the latest news as the most important news and instead make some effort to distinguish the types of corruption we are talking about in each case. First, let’s consider the May 3 sentencing of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the Lower East Side Democrat who led the Legislature’s lower chamber with an iron fist for 21 years beginning in 1994. In November, Silver was convicted on multiple counts of fraud, extortion, and money laundering in connection with various schemes he hatched to pocket nearly $4 million in exchange for using his office to benefit a cancer research center and several real estate interests. Silver not only personally profited, but he also leveraged the lack of transparency in state budgeting to hide the favors he was doing for those he profited from. He stole at the expense of the public, and he manipulated the system so the public would never understand how its money was being spent. Federal prosecutor Preet Bharara urged the court to give Silver a longer sentence than any state legislator has ever received —and there are many convicts in this category to choose from. Judge Valerie Caproni did not quite meet that challenge, but a 12-year sentence for a 72-year-old man certainly does send an appropriately strong message. The probe by Bharara’s office into the ex-Cuomo aide, at this stage, involves suspected corruption one step removed from the governor himself. Joe Percoco, who is widely reported to be the key subject of investigation, has worked in the Cuomo administration, from which he took a leave of absence in 2014 to join the governor’s reelection campaign. The inquiry is said to involve income earned by Percoco and his wife from business interests that won state contracts on projects including Cuomo’s major Buffalo economic development program and also made big contributions to his reelection campaign. Potential corruption of this sort by a top aide to an elected official would be big news under any circumstances, but it is particularly noteworthy given Percoco’s tight relationship with Cuomo, for whom he worked as early as the governor’s tenure as federal housing secretary in the 1990s. At Mario Cuomo’s funeral in early 2015, the governor described Percoco as “my father’s third son who sometimes I think he loved the most.” Those watching the unfolding scandal are asking whether Percoco could have engaged in significant corruption, especially related

to campaign contributions to the governor, without Cuomo’s knowledge. The announcement by the governor’s office last week that it was launching its own investigation into possible conflicts of interest in the Executive Department was widely seen as Cuomo’s effort to get ahead of any bad news and distance the governor from it if it is uncovered. The questions regarding de Blasio and campaign finance violations are also being framed as criminal behavior, though here the allegations do not involve anyone personally profiting, but rather actions by the mayor’s aides and possibly de Blasio himself to create a structure to evade state political funding restrictions. The allegations, contained in a criminal referral from the State Board of Elections, involve “Team de Blasio” soliciting labor union contributions to county Democratic committees with the intention of those committees, in turn, giving the money to State Senate candidates in amounts above what the unions could have contributed to them directly. The referral has resulted in both Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance issuing subpoenas to top de Blasio aides, though apparently not to the mayor himself. The fact that the criminal referral came to light, however, is not without its own controversy. The State Board of Elections is headed up by Risa Sugarman, a Cuomo appointee who formerly worked for him when he was attorney general — an issue raised by good government groups at the time she was nominated for her current post. The criminal referral, which is supposed to be confidential, was made on January 4, but only leaked two weeks ago, just ahead of news of the criminal probe into Percoco. Defenders of the mayor are saying or clearly suggesting that Sugarman is doing dirty work on behalf of the governor, who has missed few opportunities to embarrass the mayor. Cuomo, in turn, noting that two Republicans sit on the four-member Board of Elections and that the original complaint came from the GOP, argued that the referral going public should surprise no one. Observers, including Jim Dwyer at the New York Times, have also noted that other elected officials — such as former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, when he hoped to retain a Republican State Senate majority — have directed funds to campaign committees that then passed them along to that official’s favored candidates. In fact, good government groups — without offering a view of what may or may not happened with de Blasio and his aides — point out that the ease of evading campaign contribution limits in this way is a systemic flaw in need of a correction in state law. The influence that de Blasio, Bloomberg, and others have sought to exercise over state election contests is clearly at odds with the spirit of campaign finance law, which should be significantly reformed. Whether there is anything criminal here is an entirely separate question. n May 05 - 18, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


EXPRESS YOURSELVES

A Big Step Toward Your Future BY CARMEN FARIÑA

M

onday, May 2 marked College Signing Day — one of great excitement and celebration for many young New Yorkers. Across all five boroughs, high school seniors have made their final decisions on where they’ll be attending college this September. It’s a wonderful accomplishment for them, their families, and their teachers and school staff. For the first time this year, the public schools have launched a citywide College Signing Day campaign for schools to celebrate their seniors’ plans for college and careers. Throughout this week, schools are hosting rallies, assemblies, parades, dinners, and announcements and posting their seniors’ decisions on walls and bulletin boards, while students and their teachers are wearing college gear to mark this important step. As the first person in my family to attend college, I understand how important events like College Signing Day are. Not just to celebrate the seniors and encourage

them to stick with their plans to attend college, but also so that freshmen, sophomores, and juniors can attend the celebrations and get excited and ready to go to college. This also sparks conversations about plans leading up to matriculation, and how to best prepare during the next few months. When the younger students see the seniors’ excitement around their college choices, freshmen and sophomores may start seeing college as a tangible possibility for their future. And they’ll start thinking about the path to get there. Thinking about college early builds students’ confidence and helps them plan for the schoolwork, exams, and applications they’ll need to succeed. In fact, it’s never too early to start thinking about college. That’s why, this January, we had our first-ever College Awareness Day — where teachers and school staff in pre-K, elementary, middle, and high schools wore college attire and shared their college experiences with students. I was in awe of the dedication, excite-

ment, and joy students and staff brought to this day. These events are crucial for getting students to dream big, but we must to do more to support every student in making those dreams a reality. That’s why we’ve launched College Access for All initiatives at the middle and high school levels as part of our agenda to bring equity and excellence to all schools. Through College Access for All-Middle School, every middle school student will have the opportunity to visit a college campus, and there will be new student and parent workshops to start college preparation and awareness early. Through College Access for All-High School, every high school student will have an individualized college and career plan, and take the SAT for free during the school day during their junior year of high school. So, on College Signing Day and the rest of this week — and every day — I encourage parents to talk with their children about their dreams for college and careers, and to work collaboratively with

NYC DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

our school staff to set them on the right path. I congratulate our seniors on their college choices. I know the sky’s the limit for them, as well as for all students following in their footsteps. Carmen Fariña is the chancellor of the New York City public schools. n

Lessons from a Shoebox Philosopher BY LENORE SKENAZY

M

ost 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,” said 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 travManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 05 - 18, 2016

el, 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 for mer Mayor Michael 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 12 x 7-and-a-half 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,” said 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 by faircompanies.com (youtube.com/ watch?v=JZSdrtEqcHU) has garnered nearly 12 million views on YouTube. On it, you

c SKENAZY, continued on p.18 17


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c NURSES, from p.13 • Present a gift card for a massage and soothing spa treatment. • O f fer to cater a meal at the hospital or medical of fice so that all nurses on staf f can benefit. If there is one nurse in particular you want to treat, gi ve a gi ft car d to a near b y restaurant. • N urses spend hours on their feet, and that can cause pain or stif fness thr oughout 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. • C har m bracelets are all the rage, and nurses may appreciate a bracelet that highlights t h e i r c a r e e r p a t h w i t h s p ecific char ms. For something

c SKENAZY, from p.17 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-per -hour ser vice, 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 over -

they can wear on the job, treat nurses to a Steth-o-Char m, a char m that slides securely onto stethoscopes. • Nurses must wear identification or have swipe cards on them to gain access to areas of hospitals. A colorful or decorative badge reel can be a nice way to brighten up a nurse’s day. • O ne of the easiest and most heartfelt ways to show your appreciation to nurses is to simply tell them how you feel. Of fer a handwritten note or speak with a nurse in per son. Such simple gestures do not take much effort, but are bound to make an impact. National Nurses Week offers an opportunity to show respect to these custodians of our health, and thank them for coming to our rescue in our hour of need. n

whelmed. And remember, you don’t have to toss the things you loved. Give them to a friend, or to 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 author and founder of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids,” and a contributor at Reason.com. n

May 05 - 18, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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“I walk my dogs every night and I always avoid the parks because the rats are always running back and forth,” said Claude Beller, a neighbor of the park and member of Community United, a park advocacy group. Wright said the park’s maintenance crews would encounter rats when it came time to replace the trash bags in the open trashcans. With the new Big Belly trash compactors installed, residents said, there’s been a visible reduction in the number of rats. With their main food source cut off, the decline in the population of rats is also evident in statistics kept by park officials, Wright said. In the past, the parks department had identified as many as 140 rat burrows in Teddy Roosevelt Park. After all the rat treatment efforts, Wright said, he was last informed that the number has declined to 40 rat burrows, a far more manageable amount. “The museum, parks department, and our group all worked together,” Wright said. “As much as it’s humanly possible, I think the problem is very much in check.” n

opportunity to grow that space that would be available for the natural sciences — who wouldn’t jump on that?” The project must work through several rounds of public review, the first of which, on April 6, lasted several hours with widespread opposition from local residents. The museum is currently at work on a draft environmental impact statement, which will also be subject to its own public review by the Department of Parks and Recreation. The project will eventually go before both Community Board 7 and the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. n

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Wright said the rat problem certainly isn’t exclusive to Teddy Roosevelt Park and explained that the presence of red-tailed hawks in the park in recent years raised concerns about the use of rodenticide. About four years ago, the use of the blood thinner, which causes rats to die through bleeding out, sparked controversy when the redtailed hawks began mysteriously dying. The death of the hawks, which are natural predators of rats and pigeons, were believed by many to be tied to them consuming poisoned rats. The hawks’ deaths eventually led to a scaling-down of the use of rat poison, which Wright said may be a possible explanation for why so many city parks are home to large rat populations now. At the height of the rat infestation, Teddy Roosevelt park-goers complained of rodents running through the park as they walked their dogs in the mornings. Many of them simply skipped the park at night, when they assumed rats were more likely to be scuttling around.

bution to about $75 million. That would result in a total state and city investment in the expansion of roughly $81 million, about 25 percent below the museum estimate that public funding could support up to a third of the $325 million cost. Rosenthal contends that city support for its cultural institutions is more than justified by the benefits they deliver overall. The Gilder Center, she said, is a valuable way to expand the city’s science research and learning opportunities. “The American Museum of Natural History is a gem,” Rosenthal said. “And there’s an

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c RAT RIDERS, from p.7

AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

A rendering of the museum’s proposed Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation.

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ents should’ve been weighed very intensely before the money was allocated and I’m just not sure that was done.” Criticism directed at Rosenthal, however, overlooks the fact that more than a third of the total city funding to date — or $15 million — was committed before she took office in January 2014. And in the Council’s $16.8 million allocation in the current fiscal year, only $50,000 came out of the $5 million in capital funds Rosenthal had at her discretion. The remaining $16.75 million was a Council-wide distribution supported as well by Councilmembers Dan Garodnick, who represents the East Side, and Jimmy Van Bramer, the Queens majority leader who chairs the Committee on Cultural Affairs, as well as by the Manhattan delegation as a whole. Rosenthal is not completely surprised at the criticism she’s heard, noting that it only moved squarely into the public eye with the release of the conceptual design in November. In the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, another $250,000 is expected from Brewer’s office. Rosenthal estimated that going forward, the museum could expect another $30 million in city funding for the Gilder Center project, which would bring its total contri-

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Outsider In BY DAVID KENNERLEY

DEAR EVAN HANSEN

I

cried my makeup off!” one young woman squealed as she joined her blubbering friends after seeing “Dear Evan Hansen,” the heart-piercing, soul-stirring new musical about a socially awkward, depressive high school boy desperate to fit in. Not that you can blame them, for the work is cut from the same cloth as “Next To Normal” and “Fun Home,” which draw their power from intimate, harrowing character-driven narratives at once acutely specific and universal in their appeal. It’s no surprise the director is none other than Michael Greif, who helmed “Next To Normal,” and the choreographer is “Fun Home”’s Danny Mefford. This bittersweet comic tuner, featuring a richly textured pop score by the gifted duo of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, may be courtesy of the Off Broadway Second Stage Theatre but it’s got Broadway-bound written all over it. The show even had an out-of-town tryout of sorts at Washington DC’s Arena Stage, which got rave reviews. Your enjoyment, however, will depend on how easily you’re willing to buy the intricate, iffy premise (Steven Levenson wrote the book). Evan Hansen, whose fragile emotional state is reflected by his broken arm (he says he fell from a tree), types an ardent letter to himself as part of a self-help exercise, which gets into the hands of the even more disturbed class freak, Connor Murphy. “I wish that I was part of something,” the letter says. “I wish that anything I said mattered to anyone.” When Connor commits suicide and is found carrying the letter that opens with “Dear Evan Hansen,” his parents assume Evan and their son were secretly best buds.

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MATTHEW MURPHY

Mike Faist and Ben Platt in “Dear Evan Hansen” at Second Stage Theatre through May 29.

Hoping to help the Murphys heal, Evan fabricates a story about their against-all-odds bond, proving that their drug-addled brute of a son was capable of relating to others after all. What’s more, Evan relishes the attention from Connor’s grieving family that he cannot get from his overburdened mother, who is working full time and taking night classes, and absentee father, who walked out on them years ago. After delivering a touching speech about Connor rescuing him from his loneliness when no one else would, the story explodes on social media and Evan becomes an unwitting hero. Plus, he gets to spend time with Connor’s pretty sister Zoe, his secret crush. But how long can he keep up the charade?

The exquisite cast is led by a marvelously twitchy Ben Platt (“Book of Mormon” and the “Pitch Perfect” movies), who lends an endearing charm to the dweeby, ego-starved Evan, torn between grabbing a chance for happiness and telling the truth. His sweet, sonorous vocals make it easy to forgive Evan for being an opportunist and a liar. Rachel Bay Jones, as Evan’s mother, beautifully articulates the turmoil of a doting mother losing patience with her needy son. As Zoe, Laura Dreyfus strikes a firm balance between sullen and sympathetic. Mike Faist, dressed in black, makes the most of the minimal, one-note role of the delinquent Connor.

The most amusing character is the caustic Jared Kleinman (played to smar my per fection by Will Roland), a frenemy who agrees to help Evan concoct false, backdated emails to prove Ethan and Connor’s friendship. He gets the edgiest punch lines, suggesting that Evan broke his arm jerking off and that the two outsiders were gay lovers. He even sings about Connor in rehab hearing stories about “sucking dick for meth.” The drama is supercharged by the bold, razor-sharp production design. Witness the head-spinning images (by Peter Nigrini) of kinetic Instagram and Facebook posts and pix projected onto a stark set (by David Korins, of “Hamilton” fame), punctuated by the occasional glimpse of an inviting azure sky. In the second act, the plot twists become harder to swallow, and the sentiments border on maudlin. If “Dear Evan Hansen” is about seeking meaningful human connection in an increasingly cynical, multi-tasking world, it’s also a commentary on the fickle, sometimes fraudulent and dangerous nature of online social media. Is the oft-repeated message, “No one deserves to be forgotten” a touching tribute or an empty platitude? Judging from the cheers and tears from audience members both young and old, it really doesn’t matter. n

May 05 - 18, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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Drew Gehling and Jessie Mueller in “Waitress,” directed by Diane Paulus, at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

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t’s almost impossible to talk about “Waitress,”the highly anticipated new musical about a careworn server at a Southern roadside diner who also creates its yummy pies, without slipping into corny baking metaphors. Especially when Jessie Nelson (book) and soulful pop singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles (who wrote the superb music and lyrics) have strenuously drawn parallels between baking pies and healing broken hearts, extracting joy from pain, making peace with “happy enough,” and seizing your dreams. The ingredients of this alter nately moody and snappy comic drama, based on the 2007 film of the same name, are chosen with utmost care. You could say that down-to-earth Jenna, the titular waitress (the divine Jessie Mueller, Tony Award-winner for “Beautiful, The Carole King Musical”) serves as the flour for this endeavor. Trapped in a loveless marriage to a brute, she finds herself pregnant and miserable. She gives her pies precious names depending on whatever tribulation — or dream — she’s processing that day, like “My Husband’s a Jerk Chicken Pot Pie,” “Jumping Without a Net Bottomless Pie,” and “Almost Makes You Believe Again Pie.” Jenna’s forbidden love interest, who happens to be her obstetrician (Drew Gehling), adds the requisite sugar. A decidedly sour note is provided by Jenna’s derelict, abusive husband, Earl (a ferocious Nick Cordero). Her wacked-out co-workers at

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ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 05 - 18, 2016

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JAN VERSWEYVELD

Ben Whishaw, Tavi Gevinson, and Jason Butler Harner in Ivo Van Hove’s production of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”

Conjuring Still BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE

T

here is no more terrifying moment to be seen on a Broadway stage in this season — nor has there been in recent memory — than Saoirse Ronan as Abigail Williams quietly and intently staring down Tavi Gevinson as Mary Warren in Ivo Van Hove’s chilling

and brilliant staging of “The Crucible.” The two young women sit facing each other near the apron of the stage as the men of Salem’s witch trial court argue upstage about whether or not to hear Mary’s evidence that Abigail’s accusations are false. Abigail’s laser-like malevolence proves too much for Mary, who crumbles under the implicit

threats and, to save herself from the court that believes Abigail’s accusations over any rational argument, gets back in line with Abigail and her clique of fellow teens in claiming to see spirits. Abigail, having been rejected sexually by John Proctor and then fired by his wife Elizabeth, touches off the hysteria as a means of getting revenge. Cynically latching on to the town’s religious superstitions, Abigail foments fear, nullifies facts, and so stirs up the mob that emotion supersedes proof. The result is full-scale devastation. Arthur Miller’s 1953 play was an indictment of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunts that targeted suspected communists and created the Hollywood blacklist. Just as those under the cloud the Wisconsin Republican created were encouraged to name names to save their own skins, Abigail and the other girls do the same in the play. But Van Hove doesn’t leave “The Crucible” back in the Cold War, much less the 17th century. Instead, he puts the cast in modern dress and places them in a nondescript cavernous room. The echoes of Salem and McCarthyism are inescapable, but the real horror is our current political reality in which self-aggrandizing demagogues seek to control others by playing on their

Forever Young

JOAN MARCUS

Andrew Keenan-Bolger and the cast of “Tuck Everlasting,” directed by Casey Nicholaw, at the Broadhurst Theatre.

“sincerely held religious beliefs.” The success of this dark and magnificent interpretation comes from brilliantly exposing the self-serving evil that nourishes itself on the manipulation of the credulous. Van Hove’s masterful interpretation of Miller’s play is fully realized in the splendid cast. In addition to Ronan, who is cold and terrifying as Abigail, and Gevinson, who is compelling as the conflicted and fragile Mary Warren, the entire company excels. In particular, Jason Butler Harner is excellent as Reverend Samuel Parris, whose religion is as much about expediency and seeking power as faith. Jim Norton is heartbreaking as Giles Corey, pleading for his life and that of his wife against raging falsehoods. Ciarán Hinds as Deputy General Danforth, starkly resolute in the intractability of his faith and righteousness, gives a performance that will give you nightmares for a week. And at the center of the play is the relationship between John Proctor, a grippingly intense and committed Ben Whishaw, and his wife Elizabeth, Sophie Okonedo, whose every moment is richly filled. The couple battle for their integrity in the face of condemnation for not confessing to that which they know is untrue.

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BY DAVID KENNERLEY

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f somebody offered you a magic elixir that guarantees you will live forever, fixed at your current age, would you gulp it down? “Not so fast,” cautions “Tuck Everlasting,” the soft-spoken, utterly enchanting new musical about a family frozen in time, now at the Broadhurst Theatre. Based on the 1975 novel by Natalie Babbitt, this fairy tale with music by Chris Miller and lyrics by Nathan Tysen, has a quaint, timeless quality that perfectly suits its subject. With a book by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle, the enterprise is enhanced by Walt Spangler’s imaginative, earthy set, much of it fashioned from scraps of wood. The tale begins when the Tuck family unwittingly drinks from a spring deep in the woods of New Hampshire in 1808, later discovering that their bodies never age. Flash forward nearly a century, where a girl named Winnie, who has run away from her tyrannical mother (Valerie Wright) and Nana (Pippa Pearthree), stumbles upon the Tucks in the woods and discovers their secret.

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J a n Ve r s w e y v e l d ’ s l i g h t i n g complements his set beautifully, and the muted palette of the contemporary costumes by Wojciech Dziedzic stands in stark contrast to the purple passions of the play. The original score by Philip Glass, at times barely perceptible, adds to the accumulating tension as the trials progresses. The revival of a classic play always raises the question of what new can be found. Here, “The Crucible” stands as a stark reminder of what can happen when mass hysteria and superstition trump due process and rational thought. Shocking as it seems to an enlightened mind that rejects the super natural, we are still surrounded by latter-day Cotton Mathers who build their politics

c EVERLASTING, from p.22 Winnie seems to have a crush on Jesse Tuck (the delightful, exceedingly crush-worthy Andrew Keenan-Bolger), forever 17. If Mr. and Mrs. Tuck (Michael Park and Carolee Carmello) are distraught about being discovered, they find themselves enchanted by the vibrant, inquisitive young interloper. The gruff, brooding older son, Miles (Robert Lenzi), has a dark past that Winnie coaxes him to reveal. Not that it’s any surprise. As the charming Winnie, emerging star Sarah Charles Lewis is one of the most gifted and appealing youngsters to grace a Broadway stage this season. Free from any hint of smarminess, which often plagues child actors, she has the poise and precision (not to mention formidable vocal chops) of an actor many years her senior. According to her Playbill bio, she is an 11-year old playing an 11-year old. Did Miss Lewis somehow discover a magical spring of her own? This family-friendly “Tuck” owes much of its power to restraint. Many of the musical numbers feel like dainty, lyrical ballets. Yet it’s hard to believe that this delicate, plaintive piece is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, known for muscular, raucous

ARTHUR MILLER’S THE CRUCIBLE Walter Kerr Theatre 219 W. 48th St. Through Jul. 17 Tue., Thu. at 7 p.m. Wed., Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m. Sun. at 3 p.m.  $42-$149; ticketmaster.com  Or 800-745-3000 Two hrs., 50 mins., with intermission

around fear and intimidation, leaving untold damage in their wakes. As this awe-inspiring production makes clear, those demagogues — and not the prejudices and myths they play on — are today what we should fear most. n

extravaganzas like “The Book of Mormon” and “Something Rotten.” There’s only one number, set in a carnival, that might qualify as a razzle-dazzle crowd-pleaser. In this mystical “Tuck Ever lasting,” the emotional intensity sneaks up on you. In Act II, the soaring ballad “Time,” delivered with aplomb by Lenzi and revealing Miles’ pain of losing a wife and child, is heart-wrenching. At that moment we realize just what is at stake when you opt for life everlasting. You are stuck in the past, watching life pass you by, while the rest of the world hurtles forward. And the central message, wrapped up in a bow, is one worth heeding. “Don’t be afraid of death,” Mr. Tuck advises Winnie. “Be afraid of not being truly alive. You don’t need to live forever, you just need to live.” n

TUCK EVERLASTING

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Manhattan Treasures St., fifth fl. May 6-8, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 (May 6), $45 (May 7), $35 (May 8), with $30 student tickets for the nightly late shows at jazz.org.

COOPER HEWITT’S BEAUTY TRIENNIAL

Kotb of “The Today Show” to discuss their new children’s book, “Our Great Big Backyard” — a tribute to our national parks and the importance of connecting with nature, published this month to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., Kaufmann Concert Hall. May 11, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $27-$45, $15 for those 35 and younger at 92y.org.

A RIGHT TO SING THE BLUES

JENNY SABIN STUDIO/ COOPERHEWITT.ORG

WILL RAGOZZINO/ SOCIALSHUTTERBUG.COM/ THEJEWISHMUSEUM.ORG

LOOKING HIGH AND LOW FOR MIZRAHI Brooklyn-born Isaac Mizrahi’s inventive and provocative style has advanced complex fashion issues about high versus low, modern glamour, and contemporary culture. His runway shows were cast with unconventionally beautiful models of all ethnicities dressed in Star of David belts, Western-wear infused handmade lace, Adidas sneakers in place of high heels, handbags worn as hats, and humble cotton undershirts paired with floor-length taffeta skirts. “Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History,” organized thematically, explores key trends in his work — from the use of color and prints, to witty designs that touch on issues of race, religion, class, and politics. The core of the exhibition features iconic designs from the Isaac Mizrahi New York clothing label (1987–1998), the “semi-couture” collections (2003 – 2011), and the trailblazing line for Target (2002 – 2008). The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave. at 92nd St. Through Aug. 7: Fri.-Tue., 11 a.m.-5:45 p.m.; Thu., 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Admission is $15, $12 for seniors, $7.50 for students, free for those 18 and under. Free admission on Sat. More information at thejewishmuseum.org.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH SEBASTIAN MANISCALCO? Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, a late night TV phenomenon known for posing questions like “What’s wrong with people?” and “Aren’t you embarrassed” and for his popular podcast “The Pete and Sebastian Show,” brings a new hour of skepticism to the Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway at W. 74th St. May 6, 7:30 & 10:15 p.m.; May 7, 7 & 10 p.m.; and May 9, 8 p.m. Tickets are $40.50-$80 at beacontheatre.com.

vately owned public park between 400 & 410 E. 59th St., btwn. First Ave. & Sutton Pl. May 7, 10 a.m. For more information, visit bit.ly/1VE7SWv, and for details of all of the Jane Jacobs walks this year, visit janeswalk.org. For information on the work of the East River Fifties Alliance, visit erfa.nyc.

ELLINGTON BY JUILLIARD

CELEBRATE JANE JACOBS, HALT BILLIONAIRE’S ROW’S SPREAD Jane Jacobs, the famed urbanist who helped preserve Greenwich Village and wrote the seminal “Death and Life of Great American Cities,” turns 100 this month. Around the time of her birthday every year, the Municipal Art Society hosts a series of walks in her honor. This year, Lisa Mercurio — a member of the East River Fifties Alliance, which advocates for a community-based rezoning to protect the neighborhood between 52nd Street and 59th Street, east of First Avenue, from out-of-scale megatowers — leads a tour of her quiet residential neighborhood. The tour begins in a pri-

JAZZ.ORG

The Juilliard School Jazz Orchestra, featuring some of the world’s most talented emerging jazz artists, many of whom are already professional musicians, has performed at the Blue Note and Alice Tully Hall, and for three evenings celebrates the music of Duke Ellington at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, Broadway at 60th

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 05 - 18, 2016

The fifth installment of the popular contemporary design exhibition series “Beauty — Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial” celebrates design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body, and senses. With a focus on aesthetic innovation, the exhibition features more than 250 works by 63 designers from around the globe, and is organized around seven themes — extravagant, intricate, ethereal, transgressive, emergent, elemental, and transformative. Curated by Andrea Lipps and Ellen Lupton, the exhibition’s projects range from experimental prototypes and interactive games to fashion ensembles and architectural interventions. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, 2 E. 91st St. Through Aug. 21: Sun.-Fri.,10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Admission is $16, $10 for seniors, $7 for students at cooperhewitt.org; add $2 for purchase at the door. Free admission for visitors 18 and under, and on Sat., 6-9 p.m., pay what you wish.

DION IN CONVERSATION WITH ROLLING STONE Dion came up out of the Bronx in the 1950s, tearing through the music charts in a ferocious display of talent, first as lead singer for the vocal group the Belmonts. In the 1960s, he found his R&B groove, with solo hits like “The Wanderer,” “Runaround Sue,” “Ruby Baby,” and “Lovers Who Wander.” His influence has been noted in Americans’ embrace of the British Invasion, as well as in the work of Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and Lou Reed. Dion still performs and recently released a new studio album, “New York Is My Home.” He’ll play a few cuts as he sits down for a conversation with Rolling Stone’s Anthony DeCurtis. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., Buttenwieser Hall. May 8, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 at 92y.org.

JAZZ.ORG

Michael Feinstein demonstrates how the blues became part of America’s popular musical lexicon through songs like “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Great Balls of Fire,” and “Show Me the Way to Get Out of this World.” “There were a lot of singers before Ella who would have sung ‘Am I Blue’ and ‘I’ve Got a Right to Sing the Blues,’ who would have sung the song square,” said Feinstein, “but it was vocal jazz artists who mined the jazz and blues elements from these songs, and therefore made them enduring standards.” Joining Feinstein will be the Tedd Firth Big Band and singers Mary Stallings, a renowned vocalist who’s worked with top jazz musicians since the 1950s, Storm Large, a versatile artist well known as a member of the genre-crossing “little orchestra” Pink Martini, and Jamie Davis, a world-traveling baritone powerhouse. Jazz at Lincoln Center, Appel Room, Time Warner Building, 10 Columbus Circle, Broadway & 60th St., fifth fl. May 11, 7 p.m.; May 12, 7 & 9 p.m. For tickets, call CenterCharge at 212-721-6500.

THE MODERNISM OF EVERYDAY “Energizing the Everyday” is a celebration of the exceptional gifts from leading

BUSHES AND TREES Former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, appear with Hoda

COOPERHEWITT.ORG

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Kids Count HEADLINE BARK IN THE PARK Central Park Paws holds its next Bagel Bark — where dog caregivers can share light fare in the early morning while their charges dash about off-leash. North Meadow East, just above the 97th Street Transverse, near ballfield 12. May 7, 7:30-9:30 a.m. Dogs, of course, must go back on-leash at 9, when Paws and Central Park Conservancy hold special programming concerning interests of the park’s dog community. For more information, visit centralparknyc.org.

PILLOWS FOR MOTHER’S DAY Children learn to create a pillow using unique shaped fabrics, makers, and stuffing. A hidden message inside can be a special way to say, “Thank you” to Mom on Mother’s Day. Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Tisch Building, 212 W. 83rd St. May 7-8, 11 a.m., noon, or 4 p.m. Admission is $12, $8 for seniors, free for infants under 12 months. For more information, visit cmom.org.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER The whole family can celebrate the bird migration season at Central Park Conservancy’s annual “On A Wing Festival.” Meet live bats, butterflies, and birds of prey, some of which call the park their home. This afternoon event takes place from noon-3 p.m. on May 7 at Belvedere Castle, mid-park just above the 79th Street Transverse. At noon, the Long Island Aquarium presents “Secret World of Insects and Butterflies” at Shakespeare Garden. At 1 p.m., the Organization for Bat Conservation presents “Live Bat Encounter.” At 2 p.m., Master Falconer Lorrie Schumacher presents “Talons! Live Bird of Prey Experience.” Each hour also offers opportunities to take “A “Birding Basics for Families Walk” to scout out migrating warblers and other songbirds or a workshop “Flight Patterns: Drawing the Shakespeare Garden” led by artist Jessica Daryl Winer at Shakespeare Garden. The afternoon’s events are free and tickets are not required, but to let the Conservancy plan accordingly, RSVP at http://goo.gl/da1kQU. For complete information, visit centralparknyc.org.

INDONESIAN PUPPETRY & DANCE The Children’s Museum of Manhattan presents a weekend of programs celebrating Indonesian Culture. “Wayang: Indonesian Shadow Puppet” is a program for kids six and above to learn to design and construct intricate paper puppets while learning about the Wayang kulit shadow puppetry of Indonesia. The word wayang

CENTRALPARKNYC.ORG

comes from the Indonesian word for shadow, bayang. Wayang kulit puppets are considered to be the oldest form of freestanding puppetry. The puppetry program is held May 14 and 15 at 11 a.m., noon, and 2, 3, and 4 p.m. “Saung Budaya” is an Indonesian dance group for those five and younger, where tots will learn about sharing traditional stories through dance and music and enjoy a performance by the troupe of instructors. The dance program takes place on May 14 at 2 and 3:30 p.m. The Tisch Building, 212 W. 83rd St. Admission is $12, $8 for seniors, free for infants under 12 months. For more information, visit cmom.org.

YOUTH SYMPHONICS The InterSchool Orchestras of New York is a youth orchestra program consisting of several orchestras and a symphonic band. Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space presents a program of the organization’s four entry-level ensembles — ISO at Turtle Bay, Trinity Florentine, Morningside, and Queens East Orchestras — as well as its intermediate level ensemble, Carnegie Hill. 2537 Broadway at 95th St. May 15, 4 p.m. Tickets are $20, $10 for children at symphonyspace.org.

c MANHATTAN TREASURES, from p.25 collector George R. Kravis II gave to Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. From radios to furniture, the exhibition displays some of the most influential objects in the history of modernism, alongside contextual works drawn from the museum’s collection. Cooper Hewitt, 2 E. 91st St. On exhibit through Mar. 12, 2017: Sun.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Admission is $16, $10 for seniors, $7 for students if purchased online at cooperhewitt. org. Add $2 for purchase at the door.

ROCK HARD & THRIVE Summer on the Hudson, a program of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, presents its 15th annual Mamapalooza Outdoor Extravaganza. On International Day of Families, you can rock hard and thrive, with music, family-focused business, wellness activities, and art activism to inspire all to find their voice and convey peace and equality. Performers include Jeanette Berry and the Soul Nerds, which draws on R&B, soul, jazz, reggae, blues, funk, and neo-soul to tells stories that bridge over genres to the heart of all things — love; Miranda Writes, a hip-hop a crusader for positivity; j and the 9s, a hard-hitting, costumed flute rock experience from Brooklyn that breed together rock-and-roll riffs, the raw sound of punk, and an entertaining interactive stage show; and Cecilia Villar Eljuri, whose music is a mirror on this generation’s global fusion reflecting her Spanish and Lebanese heritage, the rhythms of her homeland, Ecuador, and the punk and rock and roll from the melting pot of her New York youth. Riverside Park South at W. 70th St. May 15, noon-5 p.m. This event is free, with food on sale, and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. More information at goo.gl/wUpS5L.

ning role as President Lyndon B. Johnson and Anthony Mackie plays Martin Luther King, Jr., Annette Insdorf interviews Cranston, Mackie, director Jay Roach, and writer Robert Schenkkan. “All the Way” is a behind-the-scenes look at Johnson’s tumultuous first year in office following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, as he struggles to pass the landmark Civil Rights Act, even as the Vietnam War begins its dangerous escalation. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave. May 18, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $42, $15 for those 35 and younger at 92y.org.

ABOVE, BEYOND & ACOUSTIC WYNTON MARSALIS HONORS MILES DAVIS The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, featuring Wynton Marsalis, debuts new arrangements and revisits favorites from Miles Davis’ legendary body of work. The diverse, label-defying Davis, who would have turned 90 this year, remains the pinnacle of transformative expression, musically and beyond. Jazz at Lincoln Center, Rose Theater, Time Warner Building, 10 Columbus Circle, Broadway & 60th St., fifth fl. May 12-14, 8 p.m. Tickets are $50.50-$150.50 at jazz.org. A free pre-concert discussion takes place nightly at 7 p.m.

Electronic supergroup Above & Beyond — Paavo Siljamäki on grand piano and Jono Grant on Rhodes and Tony McGuinness on guitars and vocals — continues its acoustic tour celebrating the release of its new album. “We had so much fun doing the first run of acoustic shows and it was really the reaction from our fans that convinced us to tour it more extensively,” the group said in a release. Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway at 74th St. May 20-22, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $64-$164 at beacontheatre.com.

CYNDI LAUPER & BOY GEORGE BREAKING POWERFUL After a preview of HBO’s “All the Way,” in which Bryan Cranston reprises his Tony Award-win-

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Cyndi Lauper and Boy George, whose May 25 show is sold out, have scheduled a second show on May 26, 7:30 p.m. Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway at 74th St. Tickets are $75-$155 at beacontheatre.com. May 05 - 18, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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

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

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 05 - 18, 2016

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.”

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May 05, 2016