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The Underfunding of Nuts and Bolts at NYC’s Non-Profits Page 04 Carnegie Hill Neighbors Block Scofflaw Supertower 06 June 02 - 15, 2016 | Vol. 02 No. 11

Skaters Ramp Up Park Redesign Gripes 08

Joe Morton Is Dick Gregory 20 MANHATTANEXPRESSNEWS.NYC


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June 02 - 15, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Hokule‘a, South Seas Voyaging Canoe, Honors Oceans at the UN BY COLIN MIXSON

A

loha New York! Taking a break from their bold endeavor to circumnavigate the globe with only the sun and stars as their guide, the brave crew of a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, Hokule‘a, will disembark at Downtown’s North Cove Marina for a bit of Manhattan landlubbing on June 5. A highlight of the crew’s time in Gotham will be a state of the seas address by Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson at the United Nations on June 8 as the international body celebrates the annual World Oceans Day. The intrepid seamen and women are also hosting several other community events — including a June 7 appearance at the American Museum of Natural History — at which they will pass on both ancient tips for sailing by the stars and messages from coastal communities they have visited worldwide. “Reaching New York City is a pinnacle point of our journey where we will be able to share what we have learned from the communities we have visited around the world,” said Thompson. The Hokule‘a and her crew set sail from the Hawaiian Islands way back in 2013, heading west toward the setting sun and making numerous pit stops along the way, including layovers at such far-flung locales as New Zealand, Australia, Samoa, Mauritius, South Africa, Brazil, and Cuba before ultimately making their way to New York. Between then and June 5, the Hawaiian vessel will have put four continents and three oceans between her and home, leaving the crew with one overwhelming desire come landfall — meeting the people of New York, according to Thompson. “After sailing three years and 26,000 nautical miles, our crew is looking forward to engaging with the communities of New York City and learning about their efforts to care for [sic] city’s land, waterways, and ocean,” said Thompson. That’s right, there’s no grog and girls — or boys — for these dedicated sailors, but lectures, lessons, and a fair bit of ceremony spanning their two-week stay.

HOKULEA.COM

The route of Hokule‘a, from its 2013 departure from Honolulu to its return next year.

At the United Nations on June 8, the crew of the Hokule‘a will take part in several events as part of World Oceans Day, and, having recently voyaged through the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic, give an account of the watery parts of the world and the communities that cling to their edges. In a traditional Hawaiian ceremony dockside and onboard, they will present UN officials with “ocean protection declarations” regarding the need to ensure the earth’s sustainability that the sailors collected from their various hosts throughout the journey. Due to space limitations, the UN events, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., are invitation-only, but the vessel will then sail the East River, a spectacle that has already drawn attention from boating enthusiasts and ocean advocacy groups such as the non-profit Harbor LAB, which hopes to celebrate the occasion by launching several crafts from its base in Long Island City made of reed and inspired by Ethiopian work boats. Three days ahead of the UN event, on Sunday, June 5, New Yorkers are invited to witness the historic arrival of the Hokule‘a as it sails up the Hudson and docks at North Cove Marina at 385 South End Avenue in Battery Park City at around 9 a.m. The vessel’s coming will be accompanied with cultural performances by Native American tribes and local hula halau troupes, in a celebration set to last until 3 p.m.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 02 - 15, 2016

ÐÐIWI TV/ POLYNESIAN VOYAGING SOCIETY

Hokule‘a, on the seas since 2013, arrives in New York on June 5 and sails up the East River to the United Nations on June 8.

The following Tuesday, June 7, Captain Chad Kalepa Baybayan and Apprentice Navigator Celeste Manuia Ha’o will talk wayfinding at the Hayden Planetarium Space Theater at the American Museum of Natural History (enter at 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue), at 7 p.m. Admission is $15, $13.50 for seniors, and $12 for museum members. On Thursday, June 9, Baybayan and crew will regale New Yorkers with their adventures across the Seven Seas at Patagonia New York Soho, 72 Greene Street, between Spring and Broome Streets, at 7:30 p.m. The crew conclude their public events in style at Pier 26 on the Hudson at N. Moore Street in Tribeca, on Saturday, June 11, where they’ll welcome the public to tour

the canoe and partake in a free festival, dubbed Kamehameha Day, featuring the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge, one of the world’s premiere competitive outrigger canoe races. The Hokule‘a is a 40-year -old replica of ancient Polynesian voyaging canoes, whose twin-hull design gives her the ability to withstand ocean swells. Her iconic triangular sails lend her speeds of up to 20 knots. The Hokule‘a will depart New York City on June 18, and is scheduled to conclude the remaining 34,000 miles of her daunting task around this time next year, when it will have passed through the Panama Canal, braved the Pacific, and returned to her home berth in Honolulu, a world in her wake. n

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The Underfunding of Nuts and Bolts

at NYC’s Non-Profits BY JACKSON CHEN

U

nderfunded and struggling non-profits across New York that are reliant on municipal contracts are calling for a $25 million increase in city funding to cover the costs of things like rising rent, equipment purchases, capital repairs, and more. In contracts with non-profits, costs outside paying staffers their salary are categorized as “other than personnel services,” or OTPS. The broad category can include expenses like employee health insurance, technology upgrades, or even meals and transportation for their clients. As the cost components of OTPS continually rise and the city contract allowance for that swath of expenses remains flat, non-profit organizations feel the pinch. They are now asking for a 2.5 percent increase in the OTPS budget line item to stave off the necessity of cutting staff and programming to make up for the inevitable deficits. In the public’s eye, neighbor hood non-profits providing human services may seem to be doing just fine. The reality for many, however, is that they struggle to keep their heads above water. “Organizations like ours work very hard to stretch every dollar,” said Greg Morris, the executive director of the Stanley Isaacs Center. “OTPS is not something people think about when they donate to people like us, but the reality is I got to keep the lights on, keep the rent paid, and make sure everyone’s got new supplies and resources.” The multi-services center, located in one of the New York City House Authority’s campuses at East 92nd Street and First Avenue, has been open since 1964. Over the years, the Isaacs Center has provided their seniors and youth with places to gather and program-

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ming, while also running the Meals on Wheels program for a delivery area that runs from East 59th Street to East 142nd Street on the East Side. Like many other non-profits focused on providing community services, its attention to its own sustainability is often kicked down the road, despite undeniable deterioration in the resources at hand. Morris explained that his staff has never received raises and the center hasn’t had the opportunity to focus on research and development to see how to better provide their services. “When we don’t have the dollars

erside — which offers a broad array of childhood, youth, senior, housing, and legal services — participates in the highly competitive process of applying for multi-year government contracts. With a track record dating back to its founding in 1959, he said, the center brings strong credentials and credibility to its applications. Still, the contracts it receives often don’t fully cover its OTPS costs, leaving it scrambling to bridge the gap. “Sometimes we then have to increase the cost that we put on employees,” Russo said. “Or have to try and raise private money to make up that difference.” Russo explained that in rough

JACKSON CHEN

Beatriz Diaz Taveras, executive director of Catholic Charities Community Services, speaks about the need for more city funding for non-profits at a May 26 City Hall rally as West Side Councilmember Helen Rosenthal looks on.

to provide the professional development that we would like to provide,” Morris said, “you end up having to cut corners.” On the West Side, the financial constraints facing the Goddard Riverside Community Center, at Columbus Avenue and West 88th Street, has forced it to pass along health insurance cost increases to its employees, according to Stephan Russo, the center’s executive director. Russo explained that Goddard Riv-

terms, Goddard Riverside relies on city contracts for about 75 percent of its budget, with the remainder coming from private donors. Raising money specifically to cover OTPS expenses, he said, is not a particularly attractive draw for those interested in supporting the work of non-profits. “I understand it’s a hard sell sometimes, given the additional money isn’t technically going to feed more people,” Russo said.

“But we can’t do those services without a strong organization.” With worsening financial situations, non-profits have banded together under the guidance of West Side City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal and the Human Services Council — an umbrella organization that represents non-profits — and they held a rally on May 26 to grab the mayor’s attention. According to Allison Sesso, the executive director of the Human Services Council, the city is spending almost $5 billion dollars on these human services, which she argued are on the “brink of disaster.” “We as organizations are living payroll to payroll,” Sesso said. “Just like the clients we’re serving are living paycheck to paycheck and we have to stop that.” The city hasn’t been completely deaf to the cries of the non-profits. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to increase the minimum wage of government employees to $15 an hour by the end of 2018 would extend to those working under city contracts. “The de Blasio administration is committed to the city’s non-profit sector and the vulnerable residents it serves,” said Freddi Goldstein, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office. “We are always looking for ways to strengthen non-profits and will continue to do so moving forward.” Goldstein did not address the specifics of the proposed OTPS incr ease, but noted that the administration and the Council are still at work on next year’s budget. The call to action has already won support from 49 councilmembers, according to Rosenthal, who chairs the Council’s Contracts Committee. According to the councilmember,

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NON-PROFITS, continued on p.10

June 02 - 15, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


“City Within A City” Now Open For Business at Hudson Yards BY YANNIC RACK

H

udson Yards is finally open for business — or at least a part of it is. On paper, it has been touted for years as an infrastructure marvel and a “city within a city,” and now the first piece of the megaproject has come to life. Ten Hudson Yards, the first of many buildings rising in the newly created West Side enclave, officially opened this week with a reception to welcome its leading big-name tenant, Coach Inc., to the 52-story office tower at the corner of 30th Street and 10th Avenue. “This is a great day for me,” said Stephen Ross, founder and chairman of Related Companies, which is developing the project with Oxford Properties. “In 2008 we envisioned what Hudson Yards might be, and to see this first building opening, I gotta tell you, it’s a very exciting thing.” Ross added, “This is just a preview of what’s to come, but I think you can see the quality of what we’re doing here, and what our vision is.” Ross was ringed by Coach employees in the building’s second-floor lobby on the morning of May 31, as workers in hard hats could be seen

working on the platform that will shoulder an entire neighborhood — built atop active train yards — just outside. The tower broke ground in December 2012 and is the first one to open in the new 28-acre neighborhood. Five more skyscrapers, a shopping and restaurant complex, a cultural center, and a six-acre public plaza will be added by 2019 alone, when the first phase of the project, from West 30th to West 34th Streets between 10th and 11th Avenues, is completed. When fully occupied, 10 Hudson Yards will house 7,000 employees in total. Move-ins from L’Oréal, SAP, the Boston Consulting Group, VaynerMedia, Intersection, Sidewalk Labs, and Coach, which only shifted a quarter of its 1,200-person staff this week, will continue through the end of the year. For the fashion firm, which is taking almost half of the 1.8 million square-foot tower, the new space is in familiar territory — the company has been headquartered just four blocks north on West 34th Street for decades, and a nearby portion of the High Line is still known as the Coach Passageway. STEVE FREIHON FOR RELATED-OXFORD

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HUDSON YARDS, continued on p.14

10 Hudson Yards seen from across the West Side rail yards.

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UES Neighborhood Advocates Block Supertower’s Flouting of Zoning Regs BY JACKSON CHEN

A

neighborhood organization vigilant in guarding against new supertowers rising on the Upper East Side has managed to hold up a proposed development at 180 East 88th Street, with the city recently issuing a stopwork order. DDG Partners, a Tribeca-based real estate investment and development company, planned a 521-foot tall building on the corner of 88th and Third Avenue. Work on the foundation of the 31-story luxury residential tower was underway when DDG was slapped with a stop-work order from the Department of Buildings on May 26. It was Carnegie Hill Neighbors — an organization dedicated to protecting the historic character of Upper East Side blocks from 86th to 98th Streets west of Third Avenue to Central Park — that first sniffed out the development’s skirting of zoning regulations in order to exceed height limits to which the building is subject. “We knew something was wrong,” said Lo van der Valk, the president of Carnegie Hill Neighbors. “We kept asking questions with what’s going on at 88th, but we said let’s not fool around and try to figure out the zoning ourselves.” Even though the time for challenging DDG’s plans had expired, van der Valk called in George Janes, a zoning and land use consultant the organization has on retainer, who reviewed the zoning documents looking for any discrepancies. In going over the architectural drawings submitted to the city, Janes said he noticed the curious fact that the developers had reduced one of its two lots at the site from 30 feet by 22 feet to four feet by 22 feet. “Developers don’t ever want to make their zoning lots smaller,” Janes said. “If you make the zoning lot smaller, you have a smaller building.” Janes said the discovery became a puzzle for him to work backwards from in trying to figure out the developer’s incentive in doing so. He ultimately concluded that the new smaller zoning lot created a buffer between the much larger lot on which the building was actually planned and East 88th Street. Since the building’s lot doesn’t reach East 88th Street — instead the vacant four-foot lot does — the developer acted on the assumption that it could disregard zoning regulations attached to the side street and build taller, Janes said. The consultant pointed out, however, that under city zoning regulations, adjacent lots owned by the same entity must be treated as the same zoning lot.

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Janes also found that the design lacked the proper entrance and exit onto East 88th Street that DDG asserted was part of the building’s plan. Armed with Janes’ findings, Carnegie Hill Neighbors alerted elected officials of DDG’s apparent violation of zoning laws. “We recognized the comment period had expired, so the question was what do you do,” van der Valk said. “The only way you could approach the Department of Buildings is through your elected officials, and we have two great advocates for neighborhood zoning.” Both City Councilmember Ben Kallos and Borough President Gale Brewer picked up the issue after hearing from Carnegie Hill Neighbors and they put pressure on the city to act. On May 16, the two jointly sent a letter to DOB requesting an immediate stop-work order on construction at the site. Ten days later, the department responded with the stop-work order, having conducted an audit of the plans, which it had initially approved on March 9, according to city records. “Developers regularly submit creative plans to maximize the square footage they can build,” said Rick Chandler, DOB’s commissioner. “To ensure that projects meet zoning laws, DOB routinely audits new building applications.” In the audit, the department found that the developer created an unbuildable lot “for the sole purpose of evading zoning restrictions,” Chandler said, adding DOB is requiring the developer to submit new plans. According to Janes, complying with existing zoning regulations could cost the current design about 60 feet in height, but he added that the developer can craft a redesign that’s completely different from the one submitted originally. Even a reduction of 60 feet in height, Janes conceded, means that Carnegie Hill is getting a new building of unusual height for the neighborhood. Carnegie Hill Neighbors expressed pleasant surprise at how quickly elected officials were able to get the Department of Buildings to halt work on a development at odds with zoning regulations. “I think they recognized they had to do something fast because there was still work on the foundation going on,” van der Valk said. The group, he added, is pleased it succeeded in forcing a new luxury residential tower to play by the city’s zoning rules. “The point is developers already have so many advantages,” van der Valk said. “They don’t need another advantage to make them taller and to circumvent the protections that

DDG PARTNERS

DDG’s rendering of its proposed tower at 88th Street and Third Avenue.

JACKSON CHEN

Carnegie Hill Neighbors’ Lo van der Valk.

the zoning law really wanted in place for contextual zoning.” DDG Partners, which according to the New York Times, donated at least $19,900 to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2013 campaign, couldn’t be reached for comment as of press time. The mayor, in an emailed statement, said, “We listened to the community’s concerns, investigated the project, and put a stop to further construction after the audit determined that the development plans were improper. When we see something that’s not right, we’ll take swift action to correct it.” n June 02 - 15, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Dozens of New Citi Bike Docking Stations Headed to UES & UWS

Painful Varicose Veins? Varicose veins are MORE than a cosmetic problem.

JACKSON CHEN

Dozens of new docking stations and hundreds of new Citi Bikes are headed to the Upper East and Upper West Sides under an ambitious summer expansion effort.

BY JACKSON CHEN

C

iti Bike has announced plans to expand north in Manhattan all the way up to 110th Street, while also adding stations in areas on the Upper East and Upper West Sides already served by the bike-sharing operation. According to the announcement, the expansions are expected to begin in August and will also cover several neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Counting the additions in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, Motivate, the operator of Citi Bike, said it will be adding 140 new docking stations overall. According to the Department of Transportation, the Upper West Side will receive 24 new stations total, 18 of them between 86th Street and 110th Street and six of them within the current Citi Bike coverage area below 86th Street. For the Upper East Side, the DOT said there will be 20 new stations overall, 11 stations for 86th Street to 110th Street and nine below 86th Street. The DOT has not yet scheduled any meetings with the affected community boards — CB7 and CB8. Scott Falk, CB8’s Transportation Committee co-chair, said he expects DOT to come before the committee with more details at its July 6 meeting. He explained that DOT informed CB8 in early May that it would be proposing nine new stations in the area on the East Side below 86th

Street where docking stations already exist, while simultaneously reducing the size of some existing stations. “It’s probably a good thing for them to reexamine the appropriate spacing of stations,” Falk said. “I also think it’s appropriate they look at the size of existing stations.” As for the Upper West Side, the DOT previously reached out to CB7, which runs north to 110th Street, to inform its members of plans for the six additional sites to be added to the current Citi Bike coverage area while reducing the size of other stations. As for the expansion further north past 86th Street, Andrew Albert, CB7’s Transportation Committee co-chair, said the board was also familiar with those plans and had discussed some options with DOT. “We knew that more was coming for CB7 in the northern part of the district,” said Albert, who added that community board members raised concerns about possible docking stations at a particularly dark Riverside Drive intersection close to West 92nd Street, at the northwestern point of Straus Park on the corner of West End Avenue and 107th Street, and on the north side of West 90th Street in front of the New York City Housing Authority’s Wise Towers at Columbus Avenue. Albert said that DOT hasn’t scheduled a date to meet with CB7’s Transportation Committee regarding the new docking stations. n

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 02 - 15, 2016

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Skaters Ramp Up Complaints About Riverside Park Redesign

IAN CLARKE

Area skaters doing maintenance work in 2013 to keep the 1996 wooden ramps in shape.

BY JACKSON CHEN

A

coalition of Upper West Side skateboarders is calling on the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation to incorporate more of their input into its redesign of their beloved Riverside Skate Park. The wooden skate park was constructed in 1996 at West 108th Street inside Riverside Park, which is one of only eight designated scenic landmarks within the city. But the skate park itself is also widely considered historically significant — at least among area skaters — having been built by Andy Kessler, a prominent figure in New York City skateboarding who paved the way for the sport’s growth locally. At a time when the ranks of skaters numbered perhaps only in the dozens, Kessler forged a relationship with the parks department to create the Riverside Skate Park, one of the first in New York City. After years of wear-and-tear on the wood structures, local skaters joined together to maintain the park and restore its many original sky-blue ramps. But the parks department has now come to skateboard enthusiasts with a new modernized concrete design and a budget of $1.8 million. The plans, designed by the firm of W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, were presented to the skateboarding community

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on May 14 and two days later to Community Board 7’s Parks and Environment Committee. According to the design, roughly 60 percent of the park would be dedicated to street skating — a category where skaters grind, slide, and jump down various obstacles, with the remaining area used for vert skating, a style in which skaters fly in and out of a bowl, pool, or half pipes.

the park in 2013. “The new design is just a watered-down street plaza and a couple kiddie pools to replace the vert ramps.” The two pools in the proposed design have ramps of only six feet. O’Malley, who designed the first skate park in the world in Carlsbad, California, said the proposed design was not well-researched and excluded feedback from vert skateboarders. As street skating has begun overshadowing the more traditional vert skating in popularity, modern skate parks have reflected the change, with street skating plazas now open in Tribeca, on the Lower East Side, and in Washington Heights. There’s a scarcity of vert skate parks throughout the city, O’Malley said, a situation that could have been addressed with the Riverside redesign. Ian Clarke, who runs the skater coalition and managed repairs at the skate park in 2012, 2013, and 2014, credited the parks department with good intentions, but said it is missing an opportunity to create a world-class skate park for the vert community.

suring nine feet tall with 10-feet extensions. Ideally, he said, the parks department would start from scratch with a new design. A possible compromise, he suggested, would be for the architects to replace one of the bowls in the new design with a deeper 11-foot bowl as a challenge for vert skaters. According to Clarke, however, parks officials were not very receptive to their concerns. “We really made our efforts to communicate with them,” he said. “But they were frosty and pretty much ignored what we wanted.” According to a parks department spokesperson, “NYC Parks is excited about providing a re-envisioned skate park to Riverside Park skateboarders that takes into consideration a wide range of usership and skating skills.” The project is currently being reviewed by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission as well as its Public Design Commission. It is due for a full board vote at CB7 on June 7.

NYC DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION

NYC DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION

A new city parks department design for Riverside Skate Park emphasizes street skateboarding over its traditional focus on vert skating.

The new design would include two ramped pools, but each having a height of only six feet.

After seeing the parks department’s proposal, local skaters said the modern design is a far stretch from Riverside Skate Park’s humble roots — and loses a lot of what makes it a very special place. The current design attracts skaters of different skill levels because of the varying heights of its U-shaped ramps — three, six, and nine-to-10-feet — that skaters pump up and down on. “They’re thoughtlessly paving over an historically vert mecca,” said John O’Malley, who helped out with maintenance efforts in

With less than half the park available to vert skating, he said, Riverside Skate Park would lose its main draw: a three-tiered system of ramp heights that allows skaters to progress as they build their skills. Clarke explained that skaters looking to improve their vert skills can start out on the micro mini ramp, with its highest point at three-and-a-half feet. Once they’ve build up their confidence, they move on to the sixfoot alternative before advancing to the biggest vert ramp, mea-

Upper West Side skaters, who feel like they’ve been left out of the decision-making process to date, continue to hold out hope that the new design can be reformulated to stay true to the park’s original layout and mission. “For $1.8 million, this should not be something you shake your head at and roll your eyes,” Clarke said. “If we took the time to do it correctly with the architects, the local community board, we could have something that the neighborhood and skaters are happy with.” n

June 02 - 15, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Police Blotter DISTRESS SIGNAL: FLORIDA FLYER (20TH PRECINCT) Police responded to a plane in distress in the Hudson River on May 27 around 7:30 p.m. near the West 79th Street Boat Basin. According to police, responding emergency workers found a single-seat plane submerged before securing it to a harbor launch. Police said rescue divers recovered William Gordon, a 56-year-old Florida resident, who was later declared deceased by EMS. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

FORCIBLE TOUCHING: PREDATOR HUNT (23RD PRECINCT) Police are on the lookout for a male suspect connected to three incidents of forcible touching involving two 14-year-old female victims throughout May. According to police, Brett A. Bernstein, a 32-year-old male, kissed the two 14-year-olds and grabbed their hands to place them on his midsection on three different dates in May. On a separate occasion, Bernstein sent images of his midsection and upper body to each of the victims via text messaging, police said. Police released a photo of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a 32-year-old white male, 5'11", 220 pounds, with brown eyes, and brown hair.

PUBLIC LEWDNESS: SERIAL SUBWAY PERV (MIDTOWN NORTH AND 1ST PRECINCTS) Police on May 20 arrested Kenneth Wiley, a Brooklyn resident wanted for several incidents of public lewdness in the Midtown North and 1st Precincts areas. The first incident, according to police, occurred on March 28 around 1 a.m. on the F train. Police said Wiley sat in front of a 27-yearold female and asked her if it was an express train before beginning to masturbate under his hoodie. Wiley later got off the train and left through the exit on the corner of West 47th and Avenue of the Americas. On April 1, police said that a 23-year-old female victim spotted Wiley again masturbating on the northbound 1 train at around 8:30 a.m. He left the subway through the exit at Greenwich and Rector Streets, according to police. Weeks later on April 29 at around 5:35 p.m., Wiley was aboard a southbound train before sitting in front of a 40-year-old victim and beginning to masturbate, according to police. Both the victim and suspect left the subway at the Chambers Street station, police said. Just five minutes later on the same day, Wiley

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approached a 23-year-old female at around 5:40 p.m. while riding the southbound E train, police said. The suspect asked the victim a question before exposing himself to her as he stepped off the train at the Canal Street stop. In the latest incident, police said that Wiley was aboard a southbound N train on April 30 at around 1 a.m. when he asked a 30-year-old female a question. The victim responded and noticed Wiley was masturbating inside his hoodie. The suspect then left the train at the Cortlandt Street stop. Wiley, whom police describe as a 33-yearold, 6-foot tall, 195-pound black male with short black hair, brown eyes, and tattoos of the words “Browns� on his hand and “Brooklyn� on his arm, was charged with five counts of public lewdness and bail jumping. The suspect was previously charged with 16 counts of burglary throughout Manhattan between 2013 and 2016.

DOA: MIDTOWN MYSTERY (MIDTOWN NORTH PRECINCT) On May 26 at around 2:30 p.m., police responded to the residence of Damien Peters, a 35-year-old Midtown resident, at 346 West 52nd Street, where they found an unconscious and unresponsive Peters, who was later pronounced deceased at Roosevelt Hospital. According to police, the medical examiner is still determining the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing.

MISSING PERSON: CLARENCE WILSON (24TH PRECINCT) Police are looking for Clarence Wilson, an 83-year-old Upper West Side resident, who was last seen leaving his home at 826 Columbus, between West 100th and 101st Streets, at 3 p.m. on May 31. Police released photos of the missing person (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as 5'11", 140 pounds, with a thin build, brown eyes, black hair, and last seen wearing a greet hat, blue jeans, and a red shirt.

MISSING PERSON: MICHAEL LOPEZ (23RD PRECINCT) Police are searching for Michael Lopez, a 44-year-old Midtown resident, who was reported missing on May 26 around 3 p.m. According to police, Lopez was last seen leaving his apartment at 1246 Fifth Avenue near 106th Street, wearing a gray shirt, gray pants, and black shoes. Police released photos of the missing person (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a black male.

visit MANHATTANEXPRESSNEWS.NYC for a list of local police contacts. ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 02 - 15, 2016

                  

   

   

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1143 Fifth Will Grow Taller — But By Much Less Than Feared BY JACKSON CHEN

O

n its fourth redesign, 1143 Fifth Avenue has finally won approval for a small rooftop addition from the city Landmarks Preservation Commission. The building, originally seven stories and now with a set-back eighth-floor penthouse, would have that top floor demolished and replaced with a two-story penthouse. The plans also call for installation of an elevator and emergency staircase that would create bulkheads on the rooftop. Because the building, located between 95th and 96th Streets, is within the Carnegie Hill Historic District, the LPC has been reviewing the plans — first designed by Li/ Saltzman Architects and later modified by Dominick R. Pilla and Associates — since November. After meetings in November 2015 and March and April of this year, the LPC finally approved the project on May 10, but with more modifications.

DOMINICK R. PILLA & ASSOCIATES

1143 Fifth Avenue as it currently looks (left) from the Central Park perimeter wall across the street, and a rendering of how it will look with a two-story penthouse and an elevator bulkhead added on top.

The commission directed the architects to use an off-white colored brick for the new penthouse that would contrast with the building’s red brick and emphasize the difference between original structure and this new addition. The LPC also required a downsizing in the penthouse’s windows so that

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they draw less attention. According to Stephen Gallira, who represents the building’s owner Jean-Claude Marian, the commission stressed that the addition must be sensitive to the original building’s design. Complying with the LPC’s direction over the series of meetings, Gallira and his team made substantial adjustments — and many minor ones, as well — to the submission it made last November. The original plan called for six stories to be added on top, so that 1143 would rise to the same height as the two adjacent buildings. However, after opposition by neighbors, Community Board 8, and the LPC, the architectural team went back to the drawing board several times. “In the end, we really just followed their direction every step of the way,” Gallira said of the LPC and its staff. “We did what we were told, which is how we got approved.” Gallira said the team would revise the original permit applica-

c

NON-PROFITS, from p.4

non-profits that provide human services are often paid 80 cents for every dollar of work they actually provide, leaving them in precarious situations when it comes to OTPS costs. Rosenthal added that the city needs to realize the importance of non-profits

tion it submitted to the Department of Buildings by the summer. If all goes according to plan, construction would begin in September and last for 18 months, he added. While not the ideal outcome from the perspective of preservationists, most are willing to accept the LPC’s conditional approval as a victory overall. “If you consider what was being proposed originally, which was six floors above that seven,” said Lo van der Valk, president of Carnegie Hill Neighbors (CHN), “they never got that. That was the big victory.” He said that if further public input were allowed, his group would have argued for reducing the size of the new rooftop bulkheads. Still, the group was satisfied with the outcome overall. Echoing CHN’s concerns, the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts was also critical of the addition that it considers too large and easily visible. At the May 10 hearing, the organization faulted the last round of review on the proposal for only addressing the color of the bricks and the size of the windows. “A more creative and contextual solution must be found,” it argued. Still, Elizabeth Fagan, director of preservation for the Friends group, said the significant reduction in the project’s size since first proposed demonstrated the impact the community had. According to CHN’s van der Valk, after months of deliberation, the resolution reflected a fair balance between the arguments of preservationists and the owner’s right to modify his building. “I couldn’t be happier, really,” he said. “You can’t really see much of it from Fifth Avenue, that’s the important thing.” n

in providing crucial services for the city. “If the city wants to build infrastructure, the city puts in money in the budget for that and if costs go over, we put in more money,” Rosenthal said, referring to capital spending. “That’s what we have to start doing for our human services contracts as well .” n

June 02 - 15, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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If You’ve Been Waiting for the W Train, It Arrives in November BY JACKSON CHEN

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he W train will be returning this November after the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted on May 25 to revive the line to coincide with the Second Avenue Subway expansion project’s opening. Before the year ends, W trains will begin running local from the Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard stop in Queens across the East Side and then south to the Whitehall Street stop in Downtown Manhattan on weekdays, with no weekend or late night service. With the Q line, which currently runs into Queens, relocated to the Upper East Side as part of the Second Avenue expansion, the W line replaces that access into Queens alongside the N train. The W line’s comeback — which

will cost the MTA $13.7 million a year — will be just weeks before the completion of the Second Avenue line’s Phase 1 in December. That expansion adds three new stations at 72nd Street, 86th Street, and 96th Street, which becomes the new northern terminus for the Q line. Since Queens would lose Q line service, the restoration of the W line was the obvious choice since there needed to be two lines servicing the Astoria area, according to Andrew Albert, a member of the MTA’s New York City Transit and Bus Committee. “The W was the service that previously ran on the Astoria branch, so it was logical to bring it back,” Albert said. “This was the one people were familiar with.”

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 02 - 15, 2016

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Block-Long Sidewalk Plaza Proposal

Divides West 97th Street Neighbors BY JACKSON CHEN

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n Upper West Side nonprofit organization is introducing three one-day plaza events in June on a block of West 97th Street, but some neighbors question whether that is appropriate and worry about the precedent it may set. Friends of Stryker Park was created by UWS residents who are looking to permanently convert the north sidewalk of West 97th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues — which is usually deep, measuring 50 feet across — into a multi-use green space with chairs, tables, and other public amenities. After encountering resistance from other residents as well as Community Board 7, the organization has returned with single-day events aimed at giving neighbors snapshots of what a permanent plaza could look like. According to Friends, a “One Day Plaza” will be held on June 11, 18, and 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the northwest corner of West 97th Street and Columbus Avenue. The schedule lays out themes on those Saturdays as Family Day, Health and Wellness Day, and Celebrate Summer Day, respectively, with each also including music, food, and street activities of general interest. The group hasn’t given up on its effort to permanently alter the

block. In fact, it acknowledges that the one-day events are intended to build support for the block’s transformation while also gathering feedback from the community on how to go about doing that. “[We] got interested in the block because of the potential,” said Jim Henderson, co-founder of Friends of Stryker Park. “The bigger idea is to look at what can be done to enhance the block.” But that bigger picture is precisely what concerns longtime neighbors who warn that changes to the block — even for one-day events — would detract from the residential feel and bring in tourists. Lillian Moore, a longtime resident of West 97th Street, noted that with a superblock running from West 97th to 100th Street and no through streets at 98th and 99th, foot traffic is unusually heavy on both 100th and 97th Streets. There is no room to accommodate a plaza that would narrow the pedestrian sidewalk, she argued. “There’s no streets between 97th Street and 100th Street,” Moore, a member of Community Board 7’s Transportation Committee member, said. “We have schools, driveways, health clinics. We’ve got a farmer’s market.” Moore charged that there are commercial incentives behind the one-day plazas that would lead to the eventual creation of a perma-

FRIENDS OF STRYKER PARK

The north side of West 97th Street from Amsterdam Avenue looking toward Columbus Avenue as it currently looks, with an unusually deep sidewalk measuring 50 feet.

12

FRIENDS OF STRYKER PARK

A conceptual rendering of a multi-use greenway along West 97th developed by Friends of Stryker Park, which emphasized that a specific design proposal has not yet been developed.

nent version. “People are beginning to understand wherever they can grab the land, they’re grabbing it,” Moore said. Alongside concerns for space, other residents emphasized the risk that a plaza along West 97th Street would detract from its neighborhood feel. “I believe it’ll turn into something for tourists,” said Julie Leak, a 20-year resident of Columbus Avenue. “It’ll create havoc for people who live [there] because it’s going to be very noisy.” Leak said she’d be attending the first two one-day plazas and taking notes on what impacts they have on the block. Moore said she is working with other opponents of the permanent greenway to protest each of the oneday plaza events from noon to 1 p.m. at their West 97th and Columbus location. But Bob Leonard, another co-founder of Friends of Stryker Park, said the group’s efforts would improve a neglected block for which they have coined the description “a sea of concrete.” Besides introducing a place for residents and passersby to hang out, the Friends group said its proposal would better a street that currently has problems includ-

ing unmarked driveways, poor maintenance of lights and trees, cracked sidewalks, and flooding conditions. To date, the Friends group has won support from 700 residents on an online petition to transform the block into a permanent plaza. The group has no specific design in mind just yet for the West 97th Street Plaza, said the Friends’ Henderson, but would submit a proposal next year to the city Department of Transportation’s Plaza Program that awards funding to nonprofits that develop public spaces. For now, Henderson said, the group is focused on the upcoming one-day plaza events. Some neighbors have voiced support for the idea of beautifying the area overall. Danny Perry, a longtime resident of West 97th Street’s south side, said the changes pushed by the Friends of Stryker Park, would be an improvement on a largely unused street. Perry said he welcomed the one-day plazas as opportunities for the community to see the possibilities for the drab block. “When you’re just talking about 97th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus, the block has been the same the whole time,” Perry said. “It’s a long strip of concrete that’s pretty desolate.” n

June 02 - 15, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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13


c HUDSON YARDS, from p.5 “I couldn’t be prouder of the result [of this partnership] and what it means for us,” said the company’s CEO, Victor Luis. He added, “We have been in this neighborhood for north of 50 years, and as we celebrate this year our 75th anniversary, we’re providing our team with a fresh start in a new home — which is very open, airy, and has the most amazing views!” Once it is completed in 2025 and stretches all the way to the West Side Highway, more than 125,000 people a day will work in, visit, or call Hudson Yards their home, according to Related. The development will then span more than 100 shops and restaurants, including New York City’s first Neiman Marcus department store, approximately 4,000 residences, 14 acres of public open space, a new 750-seat public school, and a 200-room luxury hotel. A study recently commissioned by the developers found that the micro-neighborhood would contribute nearly $500 million in New York City taxes every year and generate more than 55,000 jobs on the West Side. “It’s really the beginning of another city within a city,” said Luis. “We’re excited to be at the center of culture, with all that’s coming next door to us with the Culture Shed; at the center of commerce, with all our partners who will be in this and the future buildings; and to be a part of this wonderful residential community that is very fast coming up around us.” With the project’s first phase, the Eastern Yard, scheduled to be fully open in three years, sales for the residences at 15 Hudson Yards and 35 Hudson Yards will launch later this year, according to Related. Another office building, 55 Hudson Yards, future home to law firms Boies, Schiller & Flexner and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, will open in 2018, together with the retail center and six-acre public plaza. The final building, to come online in 2019, will be 30 Hudson Yards, another commercial

c

W TRAIN, from p.11

After nine years of operation since 2001, the W line was discontinued in 2010 due to MTA budget cuts, which led to the N becoming a local train in Manhattan and the Q stretching into Astoria. With the W line’s retur n in November, the N train will revert to express service in Manhattan and the Q will terminate at the 57th/ Seventh Avenue station until the Second Avenue Subway is opened weeks later. On May 24, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the final approval of the MTA’s 2015-2019

14

COURTESY: EARTHCAM

Even without the rest of the neighborhood completed, 10 Hudson Yards has already established the new “city within a city” on the the West Side skyline.

YANNIC RACK

YANNIC RACK

There’s no getting lost in the Coach lobby, where a giant advertisement for the company dominates the space.

Stephen Ross, founder and chairman of Related, chats with Hector Figueroa, president of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.

office tower that is set to house such big-name tenants as Wells Fargo Securities, Time Warner, HBO, and CNN. Ross emphasized how much companies like Coach, with their commitment to rent space at buildings so far only realized on paper, contribute to the project.

“Having the vision to want to develop something and coming here to make something happen,” he said. “I really have to thank Coach for the vision they had in wanting to stay here, and buying into our idea of what the next great neighborhood in the City of New York will become.” n

capital budget of $27 billion, now slated to include around $1 billion for Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway project — for preliminary work on new stations at 106th Street and 116th Streets and a connection to the Lexington line at 125th Street. A $500 million federal grant is also being sought to support Phase 2 work through 2019. For the straphangers who attended the MTA board meeting, the return of the W and the stepped up commitment toward the Second Avenue Subway were welcome news. Jason Anthony Pineiro, a Brook-

lyn resident, said the restoration of the W line, alongside progress with the Second Avenue project, were big steps forward for commuters. Omar Vera, a resident of uptown Hudson Heights and a subway enthusiast, said the return of the W was the first time he’s heard of the MTA restoring service to a line earlier eliminated. “I’m very excited about this because finally after six years, a subway service cut is being reversed,” Vera said. He added that he would like to see the W line extended past Whitehall Street into Brooklyn to the Bay Parkway stop on the D line because

he feels that area is underserved. Albert, who is in favor of bringing W line service into Brooklyn, said the idea came before the MTA board, which responded that there weren’t enough cars or demand for it. Still, commuters on hand at the board meeting were pleased that service from Astoria to Lower Manhattan would be maintained even as the Second Avenue Subway goes online. “I’m going to do two things,” Pineiro said. “Ride the Q for the last time to Queens and ride the W for the first time between Astoria and Lower Manhattan.” n

June 02 - 15, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


ADVERTORIAL

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• Maintain windshield wipers. Inspect and, if necessary change windshield wipers regularly to ensure they are working optimally. Always test wipers before driving in rainy weather. • Turn on lights with wipers. Reduced visibility is a major contributor to wet-weather accidents. Drivers’ views may be hampered by falling precipitation and glare from wet roadways. Cloudy conditions and fog also compromise visibility. When using windshield wipers, turn on your headlights as well. This makes your vehicle more visible to other motorists and improves your own ability to see the road and

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 02 - 15, 2016

pedestrians. • Recognize changing road conditions. Roadways accumulate oil and engine fluids that can float in rainwater, creating slippery road surfaces. This is usually a problem during the first few hours of a rainstorm or in areas that receive little precipitation and then are subjected to downpours. These fluids make rain-soaked roads even more slippery. Slow down, leave more room between vehicles and try driving in the tracks left by vehicles ahead. • Reduce speed. The automotive group AAA says hydroplaning, when the tires rise up on a film of water, can occur with as little as 1⁄12 inch of wa-

ter on the road. The group goes on to say that tires have to displace a gallon of water per second to keep the rubber meeting the road. Drivers should reduce their speeds to correspond to the amount of water on the roadway. New tires can still lose some contact with the roadway, even at a speed as low as 35 mph. Therefore, reducing speed and avoiding hard braking and turning sharply can help keep the rubber of the tire meeting the road. • Rely on the defogger. Use the car’s windshield defroster/ defogger to improve visibility. Turn it on early and keep it on until the rain has stopped and visibility has improved.

• Recover from a skid. Skids can be frightening, but when skidding, resist any temptation to slam on the breaks. Instead, continue to look and drive in the direction you want to go and slowly ease up on the accelerator. • Skip the cruise control. It’s important to maintain control over the vehicle in rainy conditions, so avoid using cruise control. • Maintain tires. Proper inflation and tire tread levels can improve traction. AAA recommends checking tread depth by inserting a quarter upside down into the tire groove. If you can see above Washington’s head, start

shopping for new tires. Check tire pressure on all tires at least once a month. Get an accurate reading when tires are cold and adjust air pressure accordingly. • Avoid other distractions. Distracted driving can be hazardous during good road conditions and even more dangerous when visibility and other factors are compromised. Switch phones and other devices off so you can fully focus on the road and other drivers. Rainy weather can contribute to poor driving conditions. Drivers should make changes to speed and other factors to make wet weather driving as safe as possible.

15


EXPRESS OURSELVES

Clarity — And More Backbiting — In NYS Board of Elections’ Leakgate

PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN jgoodstein@cnglocal.com

BY PAUL SCHINDLER

EDITOR IN-CHIEF PAUL SCHINDLER editor@manhttanexpressnews.nyc

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS JACKSON CHEN, LINCOLN ANDERSON, SCOTT STIFFLER, COLIN MIXSON, YANNIC RACK

ART DIRECTOR MICHAEL SHIREY

EXECUTIVE VP OF ADVERTISING AMANDA TARLEY ads@manhattanexpressnews.nyc 718-260-8340

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Manhattan Express, the newspaper for Midtown and the Upper East and Upper West Sides, is published by NYC Community Media, LLC. Send all inquiries to: Manhattan Express, One Metrotech Center North, Suite 1001, Brooklyn 11201 or call 718-260-4586. Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this paper, in part or whole, can be reproduced or redistributed. All contents © 2016 Manhattan Express. Manhattan Express is a registered trademark of NYC Community Media, LLC. Jennifer Goodstein, C.E.O. | Fax: 212-229-2790 Subscriptions: 26 issues, $49.00 ©2016 Manhattan Express, All rights reserved. NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC | ONE METROTECH NORTH, SUITE 1001 | BROOKLYN, NY 11201 | 212-229-1890

A

report issued this week by Catherine Leahy Scott, the New York State inspector general, clarified a key issue surrounding charges that top aides to Mayor Bill de Blasio — and perhaps the mayor himself — may have violated campaign finance laws in coordinating the pass-along of donations made to county Democratic committees to State Senate candidates in excess of allowable direct contributions to those candidates. The leak of a confidential report by the State Board of Elections raising those charges to the Daily News, Scott reports, came not from Risa Sugarman, the board’s enforcement counsel who prepared the report, but rather from the board’s spokesperson, John Conklin. That fact is significant because the mayor had suggested that the release of the report, an apparent violation of state law itself, came at the behest of Sugarman, a former aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has largely forged an antagonistic posture toward de Blasio since the mayor took office in early 2014. Conklin’s political lineage, as the New York Times noted, is different. Prior to going to work for the Board of Elections, he served for 16 years as an aide to State Senate Repub-

licans, including their leader, John Flanagan of Long Island. It was Republican senators who made the initial complaint to the Board of Elections about the “Team de Blasio” donations to their Democratic rivals, and Conklin admitted to Scott that he emailed the report not only to a Daily News reporter but also to the Senate Republicans. Sugarman is now demanding that de Blasio apologize for impugning her integrity while a spokesperson for the mayor, noting that the fact remains Sugarman did not ensure the confidentiality of her report within her office, said it is the Board of Elections that should apologize. The hapless Conklin, who has been at his communications post at the board since 2009, explained that he was uncertain whether he was prohibited from disseminating the report, despite it being marked “privileged and confidential.” Pointing to the clear policy prohibitions on distributing such information in the way he did, Scott concluded Conklin’s explanation “defies logic and credulity.” De Blasio and his defenders do appear to have jumped the gun in laying blame on Sugarman for something somebody else has now admitted doing. At the same time, it’s a bit rich for Sugarman to claim the moral high ground in a situation in

which a staff member in her own office improperly distributed a confidential report she prepared. Releasing that report to the Daily News was a serious breach of the way in which that office should operate. What’s also clear is that the mayor’s essential complaint — that the report’s release was politically motivated — is borne out by Scott’s report. Republican state senators made the complaint that led to Sugar man’s report, which one of their former allies then leaked not only to the press but to the GOP senators themselves. As I wrote in a previous editorial about this matter, the Republican State Senate majority benefited from the same sort of pass-through evasions of the spirit of state campaign finance law when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg made donations to committees that then forwarded the money to GOP candidates. Prosecutors looking at Sugarman’s report and other evidence will have to conclude whether or not de Blasio’s allies were less attentive to the niceties of the law than Bloomberg’s were. But the play here is the same in both cases. The real lesson to be drawn is that if we care about outsized contributions in state legislative contests, Albany is going to have to go back to the drawing board on campaign finance law. n

EXPRESS YOURSELVES

Swimwear and Other Summertime Conundrums BY LENORE SKENAZY

I

t’s, like, so much fun getting ready for the summer. Here’s my to-do list: • Get new bathing suit. • Come on. Who am I kidding? Get out old bathing suit. Ignore

16

the fact it predates the Bush era. • The W. Bush era, that is. It’s not like I never get a new bathing suit. • It would just be nice if someday they invented an elastic that stayed elastic instead of getting crunchy

after a decade or two. • A l s o , i f s o m e o n e made bathing suits that don’t go out of style every two (in glacial terms) seconds. • Quit obsessing about age of bathing suit! • Quit obsessing about age! “Only as old as you feel.”

•  O r i s i t “ O n l y a s young as you feel”? • Positive affirmation: I feel younger than springtime! • Of course, springtime has been with us for a while. Ever since the Earth started

c SKENAZY, continued on p.17

June 02 - 15, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


c SKENAZY, from p.16 spinning on its axis, right? Or at least since the evolution of plants? I do, for sure, feel younger than that. • Just not in my bathing suit. • Anyway: Buy sunscreen! • Choose: White glop no one in the family ever will use because it’s like slathering on blue cheese dressing and pretending that that’s a normal way to walk around? The Buffalo wing look? • Or the clear spray-on stuff that costs more per ounce than Chanel No. 5? • Buy both. Mere presence of gloppy white stuff in medicine cabinet will protect family from skin cancer by appeasing angry Coppertone God. Can stay there for years. In fact, has. • Ignore whole article glimpsed yesterday that said a responsible family would go through a whole bottle of sunscreen in a day at the beach, reapplying after each swim. • I suppose this is the same family that cleans the coils behind its refrigerator on a monthly basis, as the manufacturer suggests, to “boost cooling efficiency.” Because it’s so easy to move a fridge every month. • Or whenever said family wants. • Which could explain our electricity bills. • Quit thinking about things you didn’t do in the middle of “to do” list! • To do: Get son’s health form. • Also to do: Stay on hold for 45 minutes waiting for pediatrician’s office to remember you are alive, on the phone, and had cheerfully responded, “Sure!” to “Can you please hold?” hoping that your chipper sympathy for their “crazy day!” would get you better service. So much for that. You want a crazy day? Try calling the doctor and, after the first 10 minutes on hold, realizing you really have to go to the bathroom. • Quit drifting off topic! Summer! Coming! Soon! Start exercising! • Start exercising God-given right to enjoy life without jogging, stretching, crunching. • If I want crunch, I’ve got the elastic in my bathing suit. • Get ready for guests: paper plates, napkins, tablecloths. • Feel guilty about using too much paper. • Feel guilty about not inviting people about to not be invited (but at least you’ll be using less paper). • Make guest list for festive (if small) barbecue and swim party. • Swim party? This building’s got no swimming pool. • That’s it: no new bathing suit this year! Happy summer!

LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT

Lenore Skenazy is author and founder of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids,” and a contributor at Reason.com. n

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 02 - 15, 2016

17


The Female Gaze BY STEVE ERICKSON

CHEVALIER

T

he fact that women direct a tiny percentage of American narrative films has become a much-debated subject over the past few years, with the American Civil Liberties Union even trying to get the federal government to investigate it as a matter of job discrimination. Most people would assume that a national cinema with 51 percent of the films directed by women would offer more well-rounded portraits of female characters. But there’s another benefit to a greater percentage of female directors: a more critical take on masculinity. Films like Elaine May’s “Mikey and Nicky,” Claire Denis’ “Beau Travail,” and Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” have cast a female gaze on the bromance and military machismo. These films don’t present “strong women,” but they’re feminist by default, showing the toxic nature of contemporary masculinity. Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari’s “Chevalier” does something similar, using an all-male cast and a setting in which the only female voices are heard on cell phones or in music. The action takes a while to get underway. Its cast of six men, adrift on a yacht off Greece, play verbal games aimlessly before settling on a wide-ranging contest whose prize is the titular ring. The oldest is the Doctor (Yorgos Kendros), who owns the ring. Dimitris (Makis Papadimitriou) delivers a lip-synch performance of Minnie Ripperton’s “Loving You,” while another man waves sparklers near him in the background. Dimitris’ older brother Yannis (Yorgos Pirpassopoulos), Christos (Sakis Rouvas), Josef Nikolau (Vangelis Mourikis), and Yorgos (Panos Koronis) are also present.

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Directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari Strand Releasing In Greek with English subtitles Film Society of Lincoln Center Francesca Beale Theater 144 W. 65th St.filmlinc.org.

STRAND RELEASING

In “Chevalier,” Athina Rachel Tsangari is critical of masculinity, but at greatest risk in this story are the characters’ egos.

The men’s gamesmanship extends to almost every area of life. They score points off each other as they pass the time on their trip; indeed, the film’s press kit mostly consists of a lengthy set of rules for the game, most of which never come up in “Chevalier” itself. Tsangari’s last film, the excellent “Attenberg,” explored the comingof-age of a young Greek woman. It may say something about the sexism of the film industry that it took her five years to follow it up; on the other hand, the awful state of the Greek economy may have more to do with the gap between “Attenberg” and “Chevalier.” The characters in “Chevalier” seem insulated from that state, with the possible exception of the cook. At least for

a week, they live a luxurious, if tense, existence. Exercise, nutritious food, and blood sugar and cholesterol tests are indulgences used for one-upmanship, rather than necessities for health. The cinematography of “Chevalier” is deliberately drab. The colors of the boat are a contrast between brown wood panels and milky whites. There are mirrors everywhere, which may be a joke about the men’s inability to really see their own absurdity. We only see bright colors in the seaside scenes that punctuate the games. Even there, our eye is trained on the men rather than nature, particularly when they go swimming nude. Unlike most filmmakers, Tsangari is not afraid of full-fron-

tal male nudity. Her characters are heterosexual, but there’s plenty of homoeroticism on display, including a man who arouses himself to a full erection and wanders the yacht asking, “Does anyone want me to fuck you?” I might have been more impressed by “Chevalier” if I hadn’t seen it a few weeks after Pierre Perrault’s 1982 master piece “The Shimmering Beast.” Perrault’s film is a documentary about a nine-man expedition of Quebecois urbanites into the wilderness to shoot moose, and it plays like a non-fiction cross between “Deliverance” and John Cassavetes’ “Husbands.” Few filmmakers have made male bonding seem so unappealing, especially when combined with binge drinking and the presence of guns. It’s amazing that Perrault and his subjects got through the film without anyone getting shot. “Chevalier” is clearly critical of masculinity, but it never establishes the sense of danger that per meates “The Shimmering Beast.” Even when needles and knives are brought out, one feels that the characters are basically safe. Their egos are in more danger than their bodies. Tsangari is a little too willing to come down on the side of making the spectator laugh rather than disturbing them. “The Shimmering Beast” is a great film; “Chevalier” is merely a very good one. n

June 02 - 15, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


THE QUESTION:

Who is the new voice in morning radio that everyone is talking about?

THE ANSWER:

-2(3,6&232

PHOTO BY DANNY SANCHEZ

• He’s Funny • He’s Smart • He’s Informative – and a great way to start your day!

MORNINGS: 6-9AM

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 02 - 15, 2016

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Race Man, Funny Man BY ANDY HUMM

N

MONIQUE CARBONI

Joe Morton as Dick Gregory in “Turn Me Loose.”

igger!” That’s what I shouted at Dick Gregory at his insistence. And he replied, “Thank you, white man in the mustache. You just made me 50 bucks.” To see how such an audacious “joke” works, you have to go see Joe Morton’s epic and bitingly funny portrayal, in Gretchen Law’s “Turn Me Loose,” of the groundbreaking ‘60s comedian and race man Gregory who is still with us at 83 — and still making us laugh and think and trying to get us to eat right. Gregory fearlessly found a way a way to get America to see its racism and still be deeply entertained at a time when (Lenny Bruce notwithstanding) mother-in-law jokes were still in vogue. He played venues from the Playboy Club to college campuses. I heard him at the University of Virginia in ’72 when he was on a hunger strike over the Vietnam War — another life-and-

death cause he was able to mine for humor. Morton, himself a 40-year star of stage (“Hair,” “Raisin”) and screen (“Brother from Another Planet,” TV’s “Scandal”), takes us, in 90 minutes, on Gregory’s journey from poor St. Louis childhood to college track star to the Army to a career in comedy launched in Chicago in the late 1950s. He quickly embraced an equally intense commitment to the Civil Rights Movement, working closely with Medgar Evers in 1963 in Mississippi immediately before his assassination in his own driveway. Morton’s rendering of these harrowing moments in Gregory’s life and the life of the movement are spine-tingling, especially how the death of his son in 1963 saved his own life. In an almost entirely one-man show save for ancillary roles played by John Carlin, Morton weaves comedy routines with commentaries on

c FUNNY MAN, continued on p.21

Manhattan Treasures wyn Dance Theatre presents “Refuge,” which explores isolation, inner reflection, and the creation of sacred space through a vocabulary of immediate, athletic, sensuous, and raw movement, all of which defines Selwyn’s work. The piece includes a progressive series of solos and duets punctuated by group sections that magnify the personal experience into a shared one. Ailey Studios, 404 W. 55th St., fifth fl. Jun. 5, 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 at amandaselwyn.notesinmotion.org/?event_code=119.

CAROLINES.COM

DICK GREGORY IN THE FLESH Even as Joe Morton portrays D i c k Gregory to wide acclaim at the Westside Theatre (see Andy Humm’s review above), the legendary comedian himself appears at Carolines on Broadway, 1626 Broadway btwn. 49th & 50th Sts. Jun. 4-5, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $32.75-$46.50 at carolines.com.

AMANDA SELWYN DANCE INSPIRED BY FRANCESCO CLEMENTE Inspired by “Encampment,” a sprawling show of color, craft, sexuality, and symbolism created by the Italian-born ‘80s New York art world star Francesco Clemente, Amanda Sel-

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FRANK DEFORD & BOB COSTAS A contributing writer to Sports Illustrated for more than 50 years and correspondent these days on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” Frank Deford is perhaps best known for his weekly commentaries on NPR’s “Morning Edition” — 1,600 of them in total since 1980. Deford’s new book, “I’d Know That Voice Anywhere,” is a collection of his best writing on athletes and the world of sports from the past 36 years. Tonight he appears in conversation with NBC Sports’ Bob Costas to talk about athlete sex scandals, steroids, concussions, the NCAA, why gay athletes “play straight,” and why he’s worried about living in an economy that is so dominated by golfers. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., Buttenwieser Hall. Jun. 6, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $32-$36, $15 for those 35 and younger at 92y.org.

ADAM HASLETT, TONY KUSHNER & BEN WISHAW Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Adam Haslett (“You Are Not a Stranger Here”) joins Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”) to discuss Haslett’s new novel “Imagine Me Gone,” an elegant, harrowing, and epic story of one family overshadowed by a father’s depression, trying to love and care for one another across the span of 40 years. Seamlessly weaving humor and turmoil, “Imagine Me Gone” provokes readers to think about how they see the most important people in their own lives. Actor Ben Whishaw (“The Crucible,” “Skyfall”) reads from the novel. Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, Jun. 6, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, $15 for those 30 and under at symphonyspace.org.

Christine Dakin with pianist Brian Zeger, and on opening night only a performance of Martha Graham’s “Deep Song” by Graham principal dancer Blakeley White-McGuire. Ailey Citigroup Theater, 405 W. 55th St. Jun. 7, 7 p.m.; Jun. 8-9, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-$35 at buglisidance.org.

HONORING BILLY STRAYHORN AT 100

BUGLISI DANCE CELEBRATES 23 YEARS Buglisi Dance Theatre, celebrating its 23rd anniversary, presents “Women of Distinction,” celebrating women dating back to Enheduanna — the earliest known author/ poet, born in Mesopotamia to Theodora, one of the most powerful of the Byzantine empresses — in a world premiere by Buglisi. The program also includes Buglisi masterworks “Requiem,” Sand,” “Sospiri,” “Suite: Solos and Duets,” a special performance by

JAZZ.ORG

Billy Strayhorn (1915-1967) is said to have written his iconic “Lush Life” at the age of 16. Some dispute that, but there’s no doubt that Duke Ellington's first recordings of Strayhorn’s

c MANHATTAN TREASURES, continued on p.21

June 02 - 15, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


his career and race work — as well as analysis of what ailed America and still does. As we all cope with these unbelievably unsettling times, I can’t think of a better show to put it all in perspective. (The name Trump is not spoken, but hovers nevertheless.) “We didn’t die during the Civil Rights Movement so that we could elect a black president,” he says. “We died to save the least among us.” The most riveting scene has Gregory in his dressing room getting a call from NBC’s “Tonight” show in the early 1960s — every comedian’s dream. The struggle that he goes through with the show’s booker, host Jack Paar, and himself as he tries to balance his ambition with his need for self-respect is unforgettable. “I can make a white man laugh about anything I want him to!,” he says to his mirror as he debates with himself. “I can make him beg me to make him feel bad. Just with a joke.”

c MANHATTAN TREASURES, from p.20 work were made when Strayhorn was only 23 years old. In this centenary year of Billy Strayhorn’s birth, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis concludes its 2015-16 season by celebrating his life and career, joined by renowned vocalist and pianist Johnny O’Neal, who throughout his career worked with regularly with Clark Terry, Ray Brown, and Art Blakey, among others. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater, Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, Broadway at 60th St. Jun. 10-11, 8 p.m., with pre-concert discussions beginning at 7. Tickets are $40.50$130.50 at jazz.org.

TURN ME LOOSE: A PLAY ABOUT COMIC GENIUS DICK GREGORY Westside Theatre 407 W. 43rd St. Through Jul. 3 Tue.-Thu. at 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $79; turnmelooseplay.com Or 212-239-6200 Ninety mins.

Dick Gregory himself is still at it — and has been known to make comments on gay issues that are less than politically correct. This show does not get into that. But in its laser focus on race, it confronts us with who we are as Americans — a culture that still imbues the n-word with a terrible sting. That is something “Turn Me Loose” — and Dick Gregory — are still trying to defuse. n daughter of Nigerian immigrants who attended SUNY’s University at Albany. The film is a montage of a trouble relationship between a young Latino couple that culminates in tragedy during an impulsive moment. Admission is $10 at TicketRiver.com/event/20260.

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INDY AND NEW YORKEY The New York Film Salon kicks off a monthly series of independent movies produced or directed by New York State-based filmmakers and presented as a networking vehicle for filmmakers, distributors, actors, students, and the public. The screenings take place on the second Tue. of each month at the Medicine Show Theatre, 549 W. 52nd St. On Jun. 14, 7 p.m., NYFS screens David Finkelstein’s “Recording Device” (25 mins.), a poetic exploration of the ways we store our memories. The film is a collage of words, images, and music demonstrating how we scratch and etch our impressions onto paper, film, vinyl, and other media, shaping our view of the world. This journey through an interior landscape is filled with snakes, saxophones, and pyramids. Also screened is “Goodbye Apathy,” a 30-min. film from Osaretin Omo, a Los Angeles-born

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Since Ido Aharoni assumed the post as Israel’s consul general to New York six years ago, there have been two Gaza wars, two Israeli elections, and an often stormy relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama administration. Tonight, Aharoni sits down with Carol Giacomo, a member of the New York Times editorial board, to discuss his reflections on the path forward in US-Israeli relations. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., Buttenwieser Hall. Jun. 16, 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $32-$36, $15 for those 35 and younger at 92y.org.

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Kids Count SHINE AND THE MOONBEAMS With infectious rhythms and catchy melodies, Shine and the Moonbeams infuse classic funk, soul, blues, and jazz music to bring a brand new R&B sound to kids and families. Celebrating the global family, this local band delights audiences with its distinctive sound, energy, and jubilation. Get up and dance! Lincoln Center, David Rubenstein Atrium. Jun. 4, 11 a.m. Admission is free, but LC Kids members are offered priority seating. RSVP at LCKids@LincolnCenter.org.

GODS & MORTALS AT MOUNT OLYMPUS A special exhibit at the Onassis Cultural Center NY, “Gods & Mortals at Olympus,” is in its final weeks, and on Jun. 5, the center hosts its Family Program at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. & 2 p.m. Take a trip to ancient Greece in an interactive introduction to the gods and mortals of Mount Olympus. The program includes master storytellers, mask-making workshops, buried treasure exploration, and more. Admission is free, but you must pre-register at onassisusa.org/kids-family.php?m=3&h=11. The Onassis Cultural Center NY is located in Olympic Tower, 645 Fifth Ave., with entrances on 51st and 52nd Sts. For more information, visit onassisusa.org or call 212-486-4448.

CARIBBEAN MUSIC, DANCE & MASK TRADITIONS

FAMILY.LINCOLNCENTER.ORG

DIVAS & DUDES AT THE CIRCUS Manhattan Dance Academy and Dancing Divas and Dudes present “The Circus,” their annual dance recital, showcasing children from ages 2 to 14. Group dances and solos in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop vary from beginner to advanced dancers, but always delight audiences. Symphony Space, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, 2537 Broadway at 95th St. Jun. 11, 5 p.m. The running time is two and a half hours. Tickets are $25 at symphonyspace.org.

Haitian artist Goussy Ceélestin and Retumba!, an all female multi-ethnic ensemble dedicated to the traditions of the Caribbean and Latin America, offer a journey through Caribbean traditions in dance and music. Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the Tisch Building, 212 W. 83rd St. Jun. 4, 2 & 3:30 p.m. Also at the museum this weekend is “Vejigante! Carnival Mask Making.” Create your own masks inspired by the vejigante, a colorful character who blends Puerto Rico’s African, Spanish, and Caribbean influences. Jun. 4, 11 a.m. & noon; Jun. 5, 11 a.m., noon, 2, 3 & 4 p.m. To reserve your space for either event, sign up when you arrive at the museum. Admission to the museum is $12, $ 8 for seniors, free for those under 12 months old.

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c MANHATTAN TREASURES, from p.21 BRAWN MEETS BRIGHTNESS “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey,” a one-man show written and performed by James Lecesne, who wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award-winning film “Trevor,” is a gripping show recounting the tragic disappearance of a flamboyant gay teen in a small Jersey Shore town that will never be the same. ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 02 - 15, 2016

Tony Speciale directs, with music by Tony Award-winning composer Duncan Sheik (“Spring Awakening”). 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., Kaufmann Concert Hall. Jun. 17, 8 p.m. Tickets are $32-$45, $15 for those 35 and under at 92y.org.

RETURNING “HOME” FROM THE CAMPS Pan Asian Repertory Theatre presents Ken Narasaki’s “No-No Boy,” directed by Ron Nakahara and based on the novel by John Okada, which is a story of Japanese Americans returning to the West Coast in

the wake of their internment during World War II. “‘No-No Boy’ is especially topical in this election year, where questions of allegiance and what it means to be an American are asked again,” said Tisa Chang, Pan Asian’s artistic producing director. Playwright Narasaki said, “Even today, the term [“no-no boy”] can spark bitter explosions amongst people who remain angry about the kinds of real life-or-death decisions they and their generation were forced to make.” The Studio Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd St. Jun. 21-25, 7:30 p.m. and also at 2:30 p.m. on Jun. 22. Tickets are $41.25$77.25 at telecharge.com or 212-239-6200.

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