Poor Little Rich Man’s Defiant Fortress Page 04
New Yorkers Say, “We Are Orlando” 16 - 18 June 16 - 29, 2016 | Vol. 02 No. 12
Preservationists Spy Out In Landmark Law’s Gutting 03
Norman Rockwell Back Home on West 103rd Street 06 MANHATTANEXPRESSNEWS.NYC
June 16 - 29, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
As Council Rushes Approval of Landmarks Bill,
Preservationist Critics Spy an Out BY JACKSON CHEN AND YANNIC RACK
ust a day after the City Council’s Land Use Committee voted in favor of controversial landmarking reforms, the bill was passed by a large majority of the Council. But preservationists, though still adamantly opposed to the measure approved on June 8, have found a sliver of solace after discovering a technicality they say could undermine its negative impacts. Under the bill, Intro 775-A, the LPC would be allowed one year to designate an individual property as a landmark. The property would be removed from the calendar if there’s no action from the LPC during that year, but the commission could extend its review for another year after receiving consent from the property owner. For historic districts, the law sets a timeline of two years for an LPC decision before it is de-calendared, with no opportunities for extensions. But, opponents of Intro 775-A are now arguing that the commission has the ability to side-step the one-year deadlines for landmarking individual properties by de-calendaring an item and then immediately re-calendaring it during the same meeting. That action would start the oneyear clock over again, freeing the commission from having to seek approval from the property owner, according to the preservationists. “We understand the Landmarks Commission has the discretion to put things on the calendar and take them off the calendar with the appropriate vote and noticing,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council. “If something lapsed from the calendar because of the deadline, it is theoretically possible for LPC to re-calendar the property during the initial period.” When asked about the LPC’s ability to skirt the proposed new law’s deadlines in that fashion, the commission declined to offer any interpretation of the measure, except to voice satisfaction with changes made to it prior to its passage. “We appreciate that the City Council has made changes to the legislation based on our testimony and suggestions,” LPC spokesperson Damaris Olivo said in a written statement. “We believe the legislation as drafted will provide the flexibility necessary for the commission to fulfill its mandate.” Even with the possibility of the LPC having the flexibility to extend review of possible landmarks unilaterally, Kate Wood, the president of Landmark West!, said that didn’t provide foolproof security for calendared properties. “Having the power and using the power are two different things,” she said. “This puts a sizManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 16 - 29, 2016
City Councilmembers Ben Kallos (speaking) and Corey Johnson at a June 6 rally in opposition to a new landmarking bill approved by the Council two days later.
able burden on communities throughout the city to be vigilant about the commission and how and when it acts on designations.” Wood and other preservationists remain harshly critical of the overall reach of Intro 775-A. Wood explained that the new law introduces a default of de-calendaring for properties that receive no action from the LPC. And, with the commission required to seek owner consent in the event calendaring lapses, she said, property owners essentially enjoy veto power over landmarking decisions. According to Bankoff, preservationists across the city began to worry when the first version of the bill included a five-year moratorium on reconsideration if a calendared property surpassed its one-year deadline. That stipulation was removed, with a new draft circulated to the Council’s Land Use Committee just a few days prior to its June 7 meeting. When Intro 775-A reached the Council floor the following day, it passed handily, with only 10 members voting against it and an over whelming 40 in favor. Before his no vote, East Side Councilmember Ben Kallos criticized how quickly the bill moved to a vote after it was introduced in its final form just a week before. When asked his view about whether the LPC has the ability to bypass the measure’s stated deadlines in the way preservationists are now suggesting, Kallos said only that the bill could have incorporated greater flexibility and more definitive language regarding extensions. “This flexibility should be explicitly written
into the law and not left up to speculations or loopholes,” Kallos said. Kallos’ no vote was joined by four other members who represent Midtown and the Upper East and West Sides —Dan Garodnick, Corey Johnson, Mark Levine, and Helen Rosenthal. “I wish I could support [this bill] since I think in many ways it could bring us a more efficient landmarks process,” Rosenthal said. “My concern is with the few bad apple owners who look for any chance to demolish historic buildings as soon as they see a window of opportunity.” But Brooklyn Councilmember David Greenfield, the Land Use Committee’s chair and the measure’s lead sponsor, contended the bill is simply meant to improve the efficiency of the landmarking process by establishing strict deadlines that would avoid the backlog that built up in recent years. “That we have had over 90 items languishing for more than 50 years on the landmarks calendar is absurd,” Greenfield said, in apparent reference to a handful of those items that had remained calendared for decades. A City Council staffer familiar with the issue said, on June 8, that Greenfield had always been aware of the LPC’s extension loophole, and added that in the councilmember’s view the intent of the legislation — to make the landmarking process more transparent — would still be achieved, even if the commission chooses to exercise its ability to unilaterally re-calendar a property as its one-year deadline approaches.
c LANDMARK, continued on p.15 3
Poor Little Rich Man’s Defiant Fortress BY JACKSON CHEN
he owner of the Imperial Court Hotel, which has recently been hit with $65,000 in fines from the city for running the building as an illegal hotel, voiced confident defiance of attempts to hamper the controversial approach to his business. On June 6, the city announced the steep fines for the building at 307 West 97th Street, made up largely of single-room occupancy (SRO) units, after evidence that owner Ron Edelstein, a self-described billionaire, was illegally renting units out for less than 30 days. The 30-day minimum came in an amendment made to New York State’s Multiple Dwelling Law in July 2010 as a way to restrict short-term rentals and promote permanent residencies in a city with dwindling available living space. “What the tenant advocates would like is for us to rent these units for less that it costs us to operate the property,” Edelstein told Manhattan Express. “And my answer to that is they’re never going to see another rent-stabilized person in that property again.” According to the city announcement, a May 10 inspection from the Mayor’s Of fice of Special Enforcement — which received 33 complaints through 311 about “eroding the quality of life and general sense of safety” — revealed that 99 of the 227 units were being offered for short-term rentals. “Imperial Court is one of the most egregious illegal hotel operations in New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “When building managers break the law — putting people in danger and destabilizing neighborhoods — the Office of Special Enforcement uses all tools necessary to shut them down.” And for residents, who wished to remain anonymous, the revolving door of tourists has created a host of problems like leftover garbage, drinking, and smoking in hallways, along with overall security concerns.
“Before the building converted into a hotel, the tenants don’t even lock the door when they take a shower,” a longtime per manent resident said of the Imperial Court’s shared bathrooms. “Now you have to lock the door constantly, you don’t know who’s living here.” However, Edelstein is contesting the fines and charges that he is running an illegal hotel in court and is confident he will easily win the case because the city levied fines before exercising all available options in trying to shut him and his building down.
cash machine. “If you have recourse and the ability to do something about it, then your giving me a violation or summons is a moot point,” Edelstein said of the city’s actions. “Shut me down, vacate the property.” The owner added that he was allowed to rent apartments for as few as seven days because his building is covered by a grandfather clause in the 2010 state law amendment. The restriction on short-term rentals of less than 30 days does not apply to him, he asserted.
he needs to put them back on.” Rosenthal — who’s working on legislation to increase fines for illegal hotels to a range of $10,000 to $50,000, with additional $2,000 daily incremental penalties, from its current range of $1,600 to $25,000 — said the city is not interested in the funds from the fines imposed on Edelstein, but rather is holding him accountable for seeing that the building is operated according to its zoned use for rent-regulated tenants. The councilmember added the city would never issue a vacate order on the property because
The Imperial Court Hotel, at 307 West 97th Street, currently rents 99 of its 227 units for short-term occupancy, according to a city investigation.
“If the city feels there is such an eminent danger to the population, they have a right to vacate the building,” Edelstein explained. The owner argued that if the city truly wanted to end the alleged illegal hotel practices at the Imperial Court Hotel, they would have issued a vacate order and halted the building’s operations. Instead, Edelstein said the fines issued in June — on top of the $53,000 the city charged him with for violations in March — were just a way for the city to use his building as a
The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for additional comment as of press time. But other elected officials who have been following Edelstein’s defiance said he simply has a misunderstanding of what he’s allowed to do with the property. “It is by law supposed to rent to rent-controlled, rent-stabilized people,” said City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, whose district includes the Imperial Court Hotel. “He’s taken those units off those rent stabilization rolls illegally and
that would eliminate even more affordable housing units and sacrifice the opportunity for returning the other units, currently rented out for short-term occupancy, back to permanent affordable housing. But Edelstein is staunch in opposing the city’s ef forts to return the Imperial Court Hotel to permanent housing, explaining that there is no financial incentive for him to keep the SRO tenants.
IMPERIAL, continued on p.5
June 16 - 29, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
c IMPERIAL, from p.4 â€œWeâ€™re billionaires and we can afford to keep this building empty for the rest of my grandchildrenâ€™s life,â€? Edelstein said. â€œAnd it will not affect our financial lifestyle one bit.â€? The property owner said he is open to the idea of converting the entire building into a transitional homeless shelter to help get hundreds off the streets, but only on the condition that the mayor approaches him to discuss that option. Upper West Side Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, who has also been keeping a close eye on the property and on Edelstein, said his offer of a shelter conversion was an attempt to put himself in the good graces of elected officials, even as he threatens to remove the buildingâ€™s current per manent tenants. The assemblymember said that her office gathered evidence and residential testimony that eventually led to the city inspections. She even personally called the Imperial Court on the pretext
of booking a room for under 30 days. Explaining that Edelstein is just one of many property owners who are contributing to the cityâ€™s affordable housing crisis, Rosenthal said she is working on Assembly legislation to crack down on illegal hotels. â€œCommercial operators are taking these once-affordable units out of the market and taking thousands and thousands of affordable units off the market,â€? she said. â€œThere are many downsides, and on top of it all itâ€™s illegal.â€? From Edelsteinâ€™s perspective, the city is forcing its mission to bolster affordable housing onto his property, making him bear the burden. The billionaire said elected officials would never see the Imperial Court Hotel become a completely affordable permanent housing building. â€œI donâ€™t have to rent the rooms and nobody can force me to rent these rooms, theyâ€™re going to be left vacant,â€? Edelstein said. â€œNobody is going to have the benefit of low rents in that building ever again.â€?
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Now, Norman Rockwell Will Always Be Home on West 103rd Street
Rene Mills (l.), a West Side High English teacher, and Alethea Rockwell (r.), great granddaughter of Norman Rockwell, speaking before the big unveiling.
BY JACKSON CHEN
fter the final bell rang at Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School, the afterschool crowd marched down West 103rd Street. Energized by the summer warmth, they yelled “Norman!” “Rockwell!” as if trying to beckon the American artist, as a long-ago youngster, to come outside and join in the afternoon antics. The parade, with the fanfare of the school’s marching band at the lead, traveled west past the childhood home of Rockwell at 206 West 103rd toward their destination at the corner of Broadway. There, at the northeast corner of the intersection with West 103rd, they would unveil the freshly minted street sign for Norman Rockwell Place. The unveiling was the final step in a story of persistence by the students and their English teacher at West Side High, Rene Mills, who developed a connection to the influential painter and illustrator after a visit they took to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. “So much work and love was put into this and then seeing it all come to fruition,” Mills said. “It has just been a dream come true.” The students’ obsession with Rockwell, who was born in 1894 and lived in Manhattan more
than a century ago, energized City Councilmember Mark Levine, who only became aware of the artist’s connection to his district after being informed by the eager high schoolers. “Renaming a street in New York City is no joke,” Levine said. “They had to tangle with over a year of bureaucracy... It was not an easy process.” Wanting to see some commemoration of Rockwell — best known for a half century of Saturday Evening Post covers — in their neighborhood, the students enlisted 300 signatures on a petition they presented to Community Board 7, which unanimously accepted their proposal. With Levine’s help, the proposal passed the City Council and eventually was signed into reality by Mayor Bill de Blasio on February 25. “I want students to know that the leadership they displayed in making this possible,” Levine said. “The same abilities are going to serve you well... You are going to be leaders in every arena that you step into.” As the cloth concealing the street sign was slipped off with the students, Mills, and Levine all yanking on the ropes, the crowd of students, teachers, museum staffers down from Stockbridge, and even relatives of Rockwell cheered at the legacy standing tall on West 103rd Street.
The West Side High School band led the parade to the Rockwell street sign commemoration.
“It’s really moving there’s this connection with the students here,” said Alethea Rockwell, the artist’s great granddaughter. “It shows how public institutions like museums can do a lot for communities and schools and how art and the history of art are still really relevant to our lives.” Alethea was joined by more members of Rockwell’s lineage in the form of his great niece Jane Rockwell Jaffe and his great great nephew Jason Claiborne. “When he was alive, he didn’t get the respect he deserved as a fine artist because he was commercialized and actually made a living from his art while he was alive,” Jaffe said. “That was considered a sin in those days.” But now, his paintings have become an interesting lens into American culture and history, and for the students of West Side High, served as catalysts for understanding the diverse melting pot New York was in the early 20th century. According to Levine, Rockwell’s paintings are more than just depictions of American life in the past, but poignant commentary on the social change transforming an industrializing nation. “I am convinced that [his] worldview was formed right here on 103rd Street at a time when this city was filled with people fr om all incomes, races, and
The big reveal on West 103rd and Broadway.
backgrounds,” Levine said. “And we know that young Nor man soaked that in and it informed his art for the rest of his career.” Now under neath the heavily faded West 103rd Street sign, the new marker serves to honor the artist’s impact, but also as a reminder to the students of their efforts to memorialize Rockwell by altering the city’s streets. “When you think about this sign, when you drive past it, when you walk down the street,” said Tom Daly, the Rockwell museum’s director of education, “do realize that these kids have the level of dedication that most people wouldn’t even imagine during their lifetime.” n
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he city’s Department of Transportation is looking at changing the direction of three streets in the Lincoln Square area as a simple solution to improve the traffic flow in the Upper West Side neighborhood. Seeking community feedback, DOT representatives presented their proposal to Community Board 7’s Transportation Committee on June 14. According to the presentation, the agency is looking to reverse both West 60th Street, between Columbus and West End Avenues, and West 64th Street, between Amsterdam and West End Avenues, from their current eastbound direction to westbound. DOT also proposed reverting West 62nd Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues, back to its original two-way setup. For the past several years, the Department of Design and Construction has been working on a capital construction project that altered the street into a westbound-only roadway. According to DOT’s Manhattan deputy borough commissioner, Edward Pincar, the restoration of two-way traffic would be contingent on completion of DDC’s construction. The DDC said the scheduled completion date is in spring 2017. To calm traffic and dissuade speeding, the agency would cre-
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ate two traffic lanes for the extrawide West 60th Street, one for through traf fic and the other for tur ns onto Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. All the changes would be topped off with painted “neckd o w n s ” o n We s t 6 0 t h S t r e e t at Broadway, Columbus, and Amsterdam Avenues to give pedestrians a shorter crossing distance and force cars to slow down because of a tighter turn. According to Pincar, the goals of what he described as a “quick safety improvement project that we’re able to install with relative ease” were to address a major pedestrian risk. Specifically, the DOT looks to remove the head-on issue at the intersection of West 60th Street and Columbus Avenue. As it’s currently set up, West 60th Street hosts both westbound traffic and eastbound traffic until they meet at Columbus Avenue, where both directions funnel into southbound traffic and make it difficult for those crossing on foot. While the DOT proposal removes the head-on at West 60th and Columbus, it also creates the same situation at the intersection of West 62nd Street and Columbus. However, DOT said there’s much less traffic and fewer pedestrians at that intersection.
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DOT Proposes Reversing Traffic Flow on Three Lincoln Square Streets
The traffic flow adjustments the city Department of Transportation presented at a June 14 Community Board 7 meeting.
Designated Zones Open in Times Square, As Superheroes Ready a Legal Battle
Emily Weidenhof, the DOT’s acting director of public space, Times Square Alliance president Tim Tompkins, Edward Pincar, the DOT’s Manhattan deputy borough commissioner, and Captain Robert O’Hare, the NYPD’s Times Square unit commanding officer, at Duffy Square, between 46th and 47th Streets, on June 9.
One of the “Techno Teal”-painted DAZs, at 46th Street and Broadway, with the installation barriers and yellow tape not yet removed.
Abdelamine El-Khezzani removes his Spider-Man mask to appear before a City Council Transportation Committee hearing earlier this year.
BY JACKSON CHEN
he Department of Transpor tation has begun the process of painting in defined zones within T imes Square’s pedestrian plaza, leaving portions of the sidewalks and many of their tip-seeking habitués more than a little blue. During the nighttime hours of June 8, DOT workers completed four “Designated Activity Zones” — eight-foot by 50-foot spaces painted “Techno Teal” to contain any commercial activities, such as costumed characters or desnudas pos-
ing for photos with tourists — along Broadway and Seventh Avenue. According to DOT’s Manhattan deputy borough commissioner, Edward Pincar, the agency, with an assist from its 10-member street ambassador team of English and Spanish speakers, would implement the remaining four DAZs beginning on June 13. As for police enforcement, any costumed characters, ticket sellers, or desnudas who solicit money or sales outside the teal-painted areas will receive a ticket starting June 21. Captain Robert O’Hare, the
NYPD’s Times Square unit commanding officer, said violators would typically be charged with a civil offense, but could also be liable to criminal charges and arrest based on their conduct and pattern of violations. Arrest, O’Hare emphasized, would be a last resort. He voiced hope that the NYPD will get compliance from the area’s tip seekers. Outside the slim DAZs, a majority of the T imes Square pedestrian plaza will be labeled with signs and white-painted tape as “Pedestrian Flow Zones” for passersby or locals who want a clear path for easy passage through the hectic area. The DOT said the remaining areas that are neither DAZs nor flow zones will be gener al use areas, or, as the T imes Square Alliance dubs them, “chill zones.” While DOT is laying down the paint, the Alliance will be responsible for maintenance, according to Scott Gastel, a DOT spokesperson. The City Council voted to give DOT the authority to revamp the Times Square plaza — as well as the city’s 72 other pedestrian plazas — on April 7. The agency has created regulations and will monitor them going forward and make adjustments if needed.
Some outspoken costumed characters who make a living through the tips of photo-seeking tourists were vehemently against the new laws and — not surprisingly — they remain staunch in their opposition. Abdelamine El-Khezzani, who frequents the Crossroads of the World as Spider-Man, said he and his fellow superheroes plan to wait until the zones are fully installed and enforcement begins before taking steps to challenge the new regulations. “We have to show the government this idea is disallowing us to make a living,” El-Khezzani said. “They’re going to be surrounding us with signs they’re going to design. We are not going to be making a living in these zones.” Spider -Man and other costumed characters, like the Dark Knight aka José Escalona-Mar tinez, said they’re expecting to receive tickets or face arrest due to their disobedience as soon as June 21. Once they do, they’re planning to fight back through legal channels, with their attorney making the argument that their constitutional rights are being violated. “We just wait to see how this is going to go,” El-Khezanni said. “Once they start giving us trouble, then we’re going to sue them.” n
June 16 - 29, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
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CB4 members maintain that approval for the demolition of 317-319 W. 35th St. was improperly obtained.
CB4 Raises Alarm About West Side Demolition “Epidemic” BY WINNIE MCCROY
t its June 1 meeting, Community Board 4 addressed a frequent topic of concern: the improper demolition of buildings throughout Manhattan’s West Side. Concerned about the continued loss of affordable housing — including the destruction of properties within historic preservation districts — the board decided to press the city Department of Buildings to stop “rubber -stamping” demolition permits. Despite the urgency voiced by CB4 members, the DOB, in the wake of the board meeting, insisted it is aware of the problem and had recently taken steps to rectify it. At the meeting, CB4 approved letters to the DOB regarding the improper demolition of 821 Ninth Avenue, between 54th and 55th Streets, and improper approvals for demolition of buildings at 859 Ninth Avenue and 401 West 56th Street, as well as at 317-319 West 35th Street. “[The West 35th Street property] filed for demolition in March, and as of 5 p.m. this Tuesday, they were still approved for it, despite the fact that we asked for
the approval to be rescinded,” said CB4’s Housing, Health & Human Services Committee co-chair Joe Restuccia. “They can’t demolish these buildings. We are asking [the DOB] to change their procedure, perhaps to appoint a special planner for the West Chelsea, Meatpacking, and Hudson Yards districts. As of now we have lost 83 units of affordable housing because people were bought out or pushed out.” Restuccia stated that the DOB doesn’t always confirm whether the buildings are in protected zones before approving demolition requests. Some board members, including Brad Pascarella, spoke about the possibility of the board targeting the professionals “rubber-stamping” these requests. As much as anything else, board members were eager for these issues to be dealt with immediately and for an audit of all buildings in the special historic districts. “This is such an epidemic right now,” said CB4 member Brett Firfer. “Can’t we try to leverage to get a moratorium until they get their house in order? Because every
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 16 - 29, 2016
c CB4, continued on p.10
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CB4 members discuss how to halt improper demolitions on the West Side at their June 1 full board meeting.
c CB4, from p.9
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time they approve [a demolition], we don’t know if it’s legitimate. We need to do something extreme here. There should be no more demolitions until we fix the system.” Board members thanked State Senator Brad Hoylman’s deputy chief of staff, Eli Szenes-Strauss, for addressing the demolition of buildings in his district and following up on their requests for intervention when properties in historic preservation districts were involved. “ R i c k [ C h a n d l e r, c o m m i s sioner of the DOB] woke up this morning to a slew of complaints on this, because they persist in accepting applications for demolitions in historic districts,” said Szenes-Strauss. CB4 member Christine Berthet raised a separate concern, pointing to her fear that without proper attention, many unused buildings could eventually become decrepit and have to be demolished in any event. “ We n e e d a s o l u t i o n , ” s a i d Restuccia. “This is not a citywide problem for us. It’s our local problem. We’ve never seen this many illegally proposed demolitions in such a short time. The city has to seal up and close these buildings so they don’t become filthy and dangerous.” Szenes-Strauss said, “Obviously, we need a proactive network of solutions. I imagine this will end up as patchwork of city and state legislation.” “We can’t wait for legislation while these buildings are left open,” replied Berthet. “We need a next-day discussion to get us in there.”
CB4 Chair Delores Rubin echoed this sentiment, saying, “We need a larger spotlight on this issue. We need our elected officials to make enough noise to take this to the city. We’d like to start seeing some action.” Elected leaders agreed, with Hoylman saying, “It’s unacceptable that years of hard work to create no-demolition districts are being de facto tossed aside. These are real people with real lives who are being displaced or losing the opportunity for future housing, and if DOB can’t implement a definitive solution, we’ll have to figure out how to mandate one. It’s a shame, but it’s the reality we’re facing.” Later in the meeting, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer stated, “We need to have a database of up-to-date landmarked and protected places in all the boroughs.” Rubin responded, “We appreciate your recognition on these DOB issues because we need to figure out a solution fast. We implor e you to use whatever influence you have to stem the wave of illegal demolitions of our affordable housing stock.” After the meeting, Brewer vowed that she would continue to be front and center fighting these illegal demolitions and other drastic renovations that destroy the West Side’s housing stock. “Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen are seeing a pattern of inappropriate requests for demolition from landlords,” said Brewer, “whether we’re talking about historic buildings that are supposed to be protected by the landmarks law or we’re talking about rent-regulat-
c CB4, continued on p.11
June 16 - 29, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
c DOT, from p.7 According to the city’s five-year crash data from 2010 through 2014, the area’s highest incidence rate was found at Broadway and West 60th, with 28 crashes, followed by 18 crashes at Columbus Avenue and West 60th Street. By comparison, the West 62nd Street intersection at Columbus Avenue saw only nine incidents in those five years. Residents of the affected streets spoke out on a range of other concerns that they hope the agency will address as well — with some potentially at odds with the solution DOT was presenting in the first place. For Arthur Hung and his neighbors at the Adagio Condominium at 243 West 60th Street, the DOT’s proposal may result in additional traffic for their street and alter its residential nature. The resident pointed out that there was a massive development in the works — Riverside Center at West End Avenue from 59th to 61st Streets will introduce 2,500 residential units, a K-8 public school, a hotel, public space, and much more — that would create an influx of traffic in the area, of which West 60th Street would bear the brunt. “My concern is that our little residential street will become the conduit and main road that everybody at Riverside Boulevard will be taking to get home,” Hung said. “Because there’s no other way to do it.” Hung explained that since DOT’s
c CB4, from p.10 ed housing that’s supposed to be protected by special zoning rules against harassment. Our city agencies need to do a better job enforcing our laws, and we need to be vigilant and fight back to protect both our historic resources and our dwindling affordable housing.” CB4 members concluded their meeting with an agreement to send two letters to the DOB, one specifically dealing with the property at 317-319 West 35th Street and another more general letter asking the department to address the spate of improper demolition approvals going forward. But all agreed with Rubin
proposal would make West 60th Street a straightforward path from Columbus Circle to West End Avenue, there would be many families and residents using it to get home, adding much more traffic. Other residents of West 60th Street raised concer ns about speeding, especially since the block is a downward slope that could potentially prove hazardous during icy weather. And farther north on West 64th Street, residents are also asking for speed reduction measures to be implemented in tandem with the street’s directional change. Patricia Ryan, the tenant’s association president at the New York City Housing Authority’s Amsterdam Addition, said the new westward traffic needed speed bumps to work. Ryan said she asked for speed bumps 10 years ago, when the block was originally a westbound route, but her request never came to fruition. Now, she argues that the westbound change could threaten the safety of kids from the block’s various nurseries, pre-Ks, and the Samuel N. Bennerson 2nd Playground. CB7’s Transportation Committee agreed with the residential concerns and ultimately approved DOT’s proposal, but requested that the department look for traffic-calming solutions for each of the affected streets, address the impact of the Riverside Center development, and make sure the pedestrian neckdowns accommodate handicapped and disabled residents. n
when she said, “We need to find a more drastic solution than writing a letter,” whether that meant involving the City Council or pressing the mayor’s office to give the matter his full-court press. In response to follow-up questions after the meeting, DOB spokesperson Joseph Soldevere said that the department’s Buildings Information System already includes flags for buildings in landmarked areas. “The department’s new risk management group recently mapped all blocks of special districts with demolition restrictions, to help our plan examiners more easily identify improper demolition applications,” Soldevere said. n
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 16 - 29, 2016
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June 16 - 29, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
Police Blotter COLLISION: WRONG WAY WIPEOUT (20TH PRECINCT) A 54-year-old female passenger died after her vehicle collided with a Dodge minivan that was travelling the wrong way on the southbound Henry Hudson Parkway, police said. Police arrested the 23-year-old Washington Heights minivan driver. According to police, the minivan, a 2003 model, and a 2008 Subaru it had crashed into were found on the parkway at West 79th Street at about 11:30 p.m. on June 7. Police found Jean Herrera, the minivan driver, and a 34-year-old male passenger with various injuries in the Dodge minivan. Herrera was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital, while the passenger was taken to Cornell Hospital. In the Subaru, police discovered Olga Ilina, a 54-year-old resident of New Jersey who was pronounced deceased after being transported to Sat. Luke’s Hospital. The 53-year-old male driver of the Subaru was also taken to St. Luke’s, where he was evaluated as in stable condition. According to their preliminary investigation, police said the Dodge was travelling northbound against the flow of the Henry Hudson Parkway’s southbound traffic when the collision occurred. The Dodge occupants were taken into custody and the investigation is ongoing, police said. Police have charged Herrera with manslaughter, two counts of assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, two counts of leaving the scene of an accident, and several other charges.
COLLISION: RIGHT TURN RECKLESSNESS (MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT) A pedestrian was struck, and later died, on June 6 at around 4:30 p.m. at the intersection of West 38th Street and Eighth Avenue, police said. According to police, Yuenei Wu, a 67-year-old Brooklyn resident, was in the crosswalk when she was hit by Edip Ozlemis, a 39-year-old Brooklyn resident, and his black SUV as he turned onto Eighth Avenue from West 38th Street. Police found Wu unconscious, unresponsive, and with body trauma. EMS then transported her to Bellevue Hospital, where she later died, police said. While Ozlemis remained on the scene and the investigation is still ongoing by the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad, the driver has been charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian, according to police.
ASSAULT: SUNDAY SLASHING (25TH PRECINCT) Police are looking for a suspect who slashed a 42-year-old victim on June 5 at around 3:15 a.m. According to police, the suspect approached the female victim in front of 167 East 125th Street and slashed her face with an unknown object. Police said EMS responded and transported the victim to Lincoln Hospital, where she received stiches for the laceration. Police released a video of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they
describe as a black male, 18 to 25 years old, and last seen wearing a black V-neck T-shirt, black basketball shorts with a white stripe down the side, and white basketball sneakers.
AD FR MI EE SS IO N
BURGLARY: REAR WINDOW SHOPPING (MIDTOWN NORTH PRECINCT) Police are on the lookout for a suspect who climbed in through the windows of several residences throughout Midtown and burglarized the homes. According to police, the first incident occurred on March 3 between 9:30 a.m. and 9:15 p.m. when the suspect entered a 27-year-old victim’s apartment near West 44th Street and Ninth Avenue through the rear window. Police said the suspect grabbed electronics before leaving through the front door. Later that day, police said that the suspect entered another apartment in the same vicinity around 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. According to police, the suspect again entered the apartment through the rear window and took electronics, a credit card, a bottle of alcohol, and other items, before leaving through the front door. The suspect then used the stolen credit card for unauthorized purchases at Duane Reades across Manhattan, police said. The third incident followed the same pattern but occurred on May 13 between 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the area around West 45th Street and 10th Avenue, police said. According to police, the suspect accessed the apartment of a 36-year-old female through a rear window and removed jewelry before leaving through the front door. The final incident took place in the same timeframe, vicinity, and day, police said, when the suspect again entered through a rear window of an apartment. After entering the four-person apartment, the suspect stole approximately $100, a credit card, electronics, and jewelry before leaving through the front door. The suspect used the stolen credit card at Duane Reades throughout Manhattan, police said. Police released photos and a video of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a black male, 5’10” to 5’11”, 200 pounds, 35 years old, and last seen wearing a black jacket, black pants, a white T-shirt, and carrying a black sports bag.
MISSING PERSON: LEILANI DUNCAN (25TH PRECINCT) Police are searching for 11-year-old Leilani Duncan, an East Harlem resident, after she was reported missing. Police said that she was last seen on June 9 at around 4:30 p.m. leaving Democracy Harlem Prep Middle School at 232 East 103rd Street. Police released photos of the missing person (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as 5’10”, 120 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair, and last seen wearing a blue shirt, black pants, and black shoes.
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ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 16 - 29, 2016
Residential Conversion of Central Park West Church Rejected After Months of Hearings BY JACKSON CHEN
ocal community members rejoiced as the city Board of Standards and Appeals, on June 2, rejected an application to convert the former First Church of Christ, Scientist building at 361 Central Park West into residential use. Since the church, located across the street from the park at 96th Street, is a landmarked building, the project’s owners, developers Ira Shapiro and Joseph Brunner, were required to seek variances from the BSA in order to move forward with converting its interior into 34 residential units (down from 39 originally proposed), with some modifications to the exterior, as well. The application had been tied up with the BSA since it first went before the board in September 2015, according to city records. At a March 8 meeting, the BSA refused to allow Shapiro and Brunner to withdraw their application in the face of an expected negative result, despite the developers’ assertion they were considering other possible uses for the building. They were, however, given another chance to return to the board to make their case, based on an expectation that some new information about the project might come to light. During the June 2 meeting, however, the BSA remained critical, voicing dissatisfaction with the application as presented. The board was particularly wary of new financial projections that included different development cost estimates, projected condo sale prices, and construction financing interest rates. After hearing some public testimony, mostly about the building's use, a majority of the board voted to reject the project, which would have involved altering existing stained glass windows and adding a rooftop penthouse to the 1903 structure. Despite the developers’ representatives requesting a chance to respond in writing to the community and the board’s concerns, the BSA took the position that the applicants had taken more than enough time to get the application right. “We are profoundly disappointed in the decision,” said Mitchell Korbey, an attorney and urban planner representing Brunner. “The addition of 34 units was a minimal variance.” Korbey added, “We’re examining all of our options, including a number of as-of-right opportunities that don’t require zoning variances.” When asked to elaborate on those options, he responded that it was too early to say. The
developers have for some time argued that maintaining the property as a landmark without redeveloping it imposes financial burdens on them. “The Board of Standards and Appeals did the right thing today by denying the variance,” Michael Hiller, an attorney representing the opposition group, the Central Park West Neighbors Association, said right after the decision. “I feel like it was the only reasonable outcome based upon the application as filed and the law that governs the board’s deliberations.” According to Hiller, the BSA’s decision represented an important win for landmarked buildings throughout the city. The developers’ claim of hardship, based on the building’s landmark status compromising its economic viability, he said, would set a dangerous precedent for other landmarks if approved. Susan Simon, the founder of the Central Park West Neighbors Association, agreed, saying that if the First Church redesign went through, like-minded developers would routinely target landmarks as real estate possibilities. “If they succeeded with the hardship call, that would have set a precedent throughout the city on landmark properties,” she said. “Everyone would buy a landmark property and then claim afterwards it was a hardship [in order] to develop it into luxury condos.” Hiller said that the applicants’ arguments for a variance based on the church being obsolete and unusable were untrue because there were two organizations interested in the space. One of the groups, the Fresh Start New Beginning Christian Church, led by its pastor, Terry Starks, expressed interest in returning the space to its original use as a church. “Ain’t nothing wrong with that church,” Starks said. “We just need the doors to be open again and let the community back in.” Starks, who previously was pastor for the Crenshaw Christian Center East that occupied the building until its sale in 2014, said his new congregation’s services would bring the building back to full capacity within a couple of years. “I’m asking you to give me an opportunity to restore that church back to its community,” Starks pleaded with the BSA during the hearing. “We’re talking about thousands of lives that are going to be changed.” Just before the BSA’s decision, Korbey said he would reach out to Starks about his congregation using the building, but Starks told Manhattan Express he had yet to hear from the owners.
The city Board of Standards and Appeals rejected an application for residential conversion of the former First Church of Christ, Scientist building at 361 Central Park West that would have involved altering stained glass windows and adding a rooftop penthouse.
Korbey later said he wasn't aware of whether the dialogue between the developers and Starks had occurred. Starks said he’s interested in purchasing the church or in any alternative options for getting use of the building. “The greatest thing in the world is for Fresh Start New Beginning to be in that building,” Starks said. “We’re the right fit for the church.” Another organization that had previously voiced interest in the property, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, told Manhattan Express earlier this year that its talks with the developers broke down over “an economic issue in terms of the proposed purchase price.” Even if the building’s future is uncertain, opponents of the residential conversion are celebrating the BSA’s action. “Given the political environment where developers have been bringing pressure to obtain approvals that are not warranted or justified,” Hiller said, “I commend the Board of Standards
c REJECTED, continued on p.15 June 16 - 29, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT JACKSON CHEN
As preservation activists and city councilmembers, including Corey Johnson (r., foreground), rally against a new landmarks preservation law, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has signaled support for the measure, happens by.
c LANDMARK, from p.3 That staffer added that the bill’s sponsors don’t think the situation would reach that point. “We don’t expect this will ever come up,” the staffer said. Bankoff, in contrast, said that city’s preservation groups only found out about this loophole early this week — though the Council source insisted the issue was familiar to all involved from the get-go. “This was told to us through Council sources earlier this week, before the Land Use Committee meeting on Tuesday, and we confirmed it with sources at the LPC,” said Bankoff, adding that he thinks the sponsors’ refusal to consider amending the bill runs counter to their claim that the measure is intended to make the landmarking process more transparent. Critical of the rush to pass the bill, Bankoff added that the reforms were unnecessary and simply create burdens for the LPC, which could regulate itself and still has the authority to do so. “I’m glad the Landmarks Commission has the ability to re-calendar essentially at will,” Bankoff said. “Because under these newly adopted guidelines, 30 percent of the historic districts would not have been designated.” n
c REJECTED, from p.14 and Appeals for resisting any kind of pressure that may have been brought.” Preservationists will undoubtedly keep a close eye on any new proposals for the property. According to Kate Wood, president of Landmark West!, the ball is in the developers’ court as they still have options for developing it within existing zoning regulations. According to Wood, there are other groups and developers who potentially could put the building to more appropriate use without imperiling the property’s landmark values. “Landmarks are used for their original purpose or adaptively reused for new purposes all the time,” Wood said. “This one is an extraordinary building and it cries out for an appropriate use.” She added, “The thing about landmarks is it’s never over. Landmarks like the First Church will always need community vigilance.” n ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 16 - 29, 2016
In Orlando’s Immediate Wake, New Yorkers Say “We Shall Overcome”
Flowers and pleas to end the hate outside the Stonewall Inn in the West Village.
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
n two vigils in the West Village on Sunday evening, one crowd numbering in the thousands, another in the hundreds voiced shock, grief, and anger over the murder of 49 patrons of a Orlando, Florida, gay bar in the early morning hours of the same day. Speaker after speaker emphasized that the violence cannot be isolated from a climate of antiLGBT hatred that continues to persist across the nation, but also pledged to continue building community to respond to hostility and bigotry where it exists. At the same time, both crowds rejected the notion that hate is an appropriate response to the violence and specifically called out efforts to pit the LGBT community against the Muslim community over a tragedy in which the shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, is reported to have phoned 911 just prior to the melee and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. Mir Seddique, Mateen’s father, told NBC News that his son, who legally changed his last name a decade ago, was angered several months ago when, accompanied by his own young son, Mateen witnessed two gay men kissing in Miami. The picture of the shooter has been complicated considerably since
Sunday, with news that he may have frequented the bar as a patron and, perhaps alternatively, his wife drove him there several times in a potential scoping of the site. The attack on Orlando’s Pulse nightclub came on the night it was holding its weekly Latin evening. Mirna Haidar, a representative of the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity, told the Stonewall crowd that she has faced discrimination in the US as a Muslim refugee and as a gender-nonconforming woman, but urged everyone to avoid allowing the LGBT community to be set against Muslim Americans because of the Orlando massacre. At that point, a heckler started screaming, “It is a Muslim issue” over and over again. The crowd turned on the heckler, shouting, “No hate. No hate.” Haidar noted that federal blood donation guidelines bar sexually active gay and bisexual men from giving blood, a stinging stigma that the community continues to bear due to unscientific fears. Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation New York, which took the lead in organizing a rally outside the Stonewall Inn that drew several thousand people, told those assembled, “We come together because this is a community that will never be silent again. I ask every person
to think of someone you knew who was killed because of anti-LGBT hatred. Think of a time when you felt unsafe in your own community. And I want every single one of you to think not of what anyone else, not of what I, but of what you can do to change that.” Saying the LGBT community should draw strength from the 49 Pulse nightclub patrons who were killed, Kidd said, “We must go forward in love.” Despite the conciliatory words emphasized throughout the Stonewall event, which began with the crowd singing “We Shall Over come,” several speakers pointed to persistent lingering homophobia in the US that must be confronted. “This massacre did not happen in a vacuum,” said Ann Northrop, a longtime activist who is co-host of “Gay USA,” television’s weekly LGBT news hour. She noted an early morning tweet from Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, since deleted, that read, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Northrop concluded, “We must triumph over this hate.” T om Duane, a for mer West Side state senator and city councilmember, told the crowd, “Now Marco Rubio cares about us. Now Bush cares about us. Where the
hell were they during the Republican primaries that were spewing all that hate?” Kevin Graves, a DJ and activist, framed the alternatives the nation faces in responding to Orlando. “Make no mistake,” he said. “This country is at a crossroads with two alternatives. One is the path of hate and fear. The other is one of love and kindness. Choose the path of love. And action.” But for many in the crowd, the immediate need was for solace. Michael Bruno, an Upper West Side resident, explained, “I really didn’t know what to do. This is the only place I knew to come to get away from all the media reports. I heard there was going to be a crowd.” Several blocks away, on the steps of Judson Memorial Church across the street from Washington Square Park, a group of interfaith leaders led a more somber vigil that emphasized the dangers of Orlando polarizing Americans with a false choice between the LGBT and Muslim communities. “We reject any divisions based on faith,” Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah told a crowd of several hundred. She noted the poignant intersection of Shavuoth, the Jew-
c VIGIL, continued on p.21
CBST’s Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Reverend Fred Davie of the Union Theological Seminary, and Reverend Vanessa Brown of the Rivers of Living Water singing “We Shall Overcome.”
June 16 - 29, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
At Monday's Stonewall Vigil, Gun Control is Key Focus
Crowds thronged to Christopher Street outside the Stonewall Inn on Monday evening in a vigil for the Orlando victims.
BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
hat was billed as a vigil for the people murdered by a gunman in an Orlando nightclub quickly became a rally in support of gun control legislation as elected officials, the head of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV), and even a trauma surgeon called for tougher federal laws to control such weapons. “We passed gun control laws in
this state,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo early in the June 13 event, which drew thousands to the West Village, filling Christopher Street from Waverly Place to Seventh Avenue with the crowd spilling onto Grove Street. “We are saying to our federal government, ‘We know it can be done.’” In 2013, New York passed the SAFE Act, which bans assault weapons and strictly limits other weapons’ features and more tightly
regulates their sale. While NYAGV describes the law as “one of the strongest gun laws in the country,” it has had some implementation problems. Referring to assault weapons, Cuomo continued, “This is an American curse, it is not an international curse.” The crowd was already primed to talk about the issue. Before the rally began, the crowd was chanting, “What do we want? Gun control. When do we want it? Now.” Cuomo was initially heckled by a man in the crowd, though his complaints were inaudible. The heckler was quickly shouted down by other audience members. Leah Gunn Barrett, NYAGV’s executive director, told the crowd that the Orlando gunman had been interviewed by the FBI twice, but was still able to buy a gun in Florida.
“We need to restrain this legal means of terrorism,” she said. The gunman, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando early in the morning on June 12. He injured another 53 people. Police killed Mateen after storming the club in an effort to rescue people who were being held inside. The victims were overwhelmingly Latino and young and included many gay, lesbian, and transgender patrons. The murders sparked vigils across the country, including a June 12 vigil that was held outside the Stonewall Inn. That earlier event drew about 1,000 people to the bar. The 1969 riots that started following a police raid of Stonewall are seen as marking the start of the modern LGBT rights movement. New York City’s LGBT com-
c STONEWALL, continued on p.21
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t was just one year ago that LGBT Pride Month in New York came to a euphoric conclusion with the US Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. But since Sunday, Pride events across the nation have been scarred by the horror of 49 patrons at an Orlando gay bar — many of them LGBT Puer to Ricans who turned out for its weekly Latin night — being gunned down in a mad spasm of hate by Omar Mateen, a 29-yearold Queens-born Florida resident. The aftershocks from the worst mass shooting in American history will still reverberate strongly when New York’s LGBT community gathers on Fifth Avenue on June 26 for the annual Pride March. Beyond the 49 killed, the 53 other patrons injured, their families, and indeed the city of Orlando, the massacre was a tragedy for all of America — and especially for the nation’s LGBT, Muslim, and Latino communities, each of which was already enduring a difficult year. The high court’s marriage equality decision last June was widely heralded in mainstream reporting as the culmination of the 46-year struggle that began with the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969. But the LGBT community itself largely recognized that
the battle was far from over in a nation that still lacks any federal civil rights protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other areas vital to what has come to be called “lived equality.” Advocates were also keenly aware that backlash has often come hand in hand with the community’s greater visibility and its political and cultural advances. That backlash arrived right on time. Some states and localities tried to resist the marriage equality mandate, by excusing public officials from doing their job or even by getting out of the marriage licensing business altogether. Others put forward unprecedented schemes for allowing private citizens to evade those nondiscrimination protections that do exist by giving them religious exemptions they do not enjoy regarding any other group in society. Still other locales became seized by the fear that men, presumably straight, would dress up like women in order to invade female bathrooms and locker rooms, a phenomenon that simply has not materialized anywhere that transgender rights are protected in law. There’s good reason to believe that opponents of the LGBT community are overplaying their hand, especially in light of decisions by corporations, sports leagues, and celebrities to pull
back from jurisdictions, like North Carolina, that have jumped on the backlash. Still, the ugly rhetoric that has been unleashed — a referendum last fall in Houston over transgender bathroom access was a particularly egregious example — dehumanizes LGBT Americans in a way that defines us as “the other.” When we dehumanize each other, we set the nation on a very dangerous course. There can be little doubt but that the vast majority of LGBT Americans share a visceral sense that the awful events in Orlando would not have been possible if there had not been decades in which some institutions in this country — political, religious, legal, and familial — persistently and viciously demonized LGBT lives. Focusing on the shooter’s twisted biography obscures more than it enlightens. He had ties to Islamist radicals, though the strength and significance of those ties is not yet clear, regardless of his 911 pledge of allegiance to ISIS. Mateen’s father surfaced in the crime’s immediate aftermath to say his son responded with revulsion at the sight of two men kissing, but we’ve since learned that the father, too, is profoundly homophobic. Numerous witnesses have come forward to say that Mateen had earlier visited Pulse
c HEARTBREAK, continued on p.19
Stranger In a Strange Land BY LENORE SKENAZY
olomon Feuer werker grew up as an alien. Not “alien” as in “undocumented immigrant.” Alien as in someone from another planet. That planet was Wil-
liamsburg, Brooklyn. While many people in Williamsburg lead lives most of us can relate to, Solomon was the youngest of 11 children in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family. The religious sect he grew up in, a group called the Satmar Hasi-
dim, believes in large families and distrusts the modern world. Members wear distinctive clothing — the men are in black suits, white shirts, and side curls — and speak Yiddish. They do not mingle with outsiders. They do
not watch any media. Boys like Solomon go to sex-segregated schools and are forbidden to study almost anything other than religion. No algebra. No biology.
c SKENAZY, continued on p.19
June 16 - 29, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
c HEARTBREAK, from p.18 as a drunk patron or had cruised gay dating apps, but law enforcement sources are telling the media that he also visited the club with his wife, who had general knowledge of his murderous intentions. Was he a tortured, closeted gay or bisexual man or was he scoping out the crime scene in advance? Or are both things true? The homophobic rantings of Mateen’s father that have now appeared online make clear that the shooter grew up informed by hatred of the LGBT community. That alone tells us a lot. Many on the right — which has rarely shown concern for LGBT rights — are suddenly focusing on the often lethal homophobia that infects Islamist fundamentalism in order to demonize Muslims in our midst. But as Reverend Chloe Breyer, executive director of the Interfaith Center of New York, told a vigil crowd on Sunday evening, “Islamophobia is not the answer to homophobia.” Muslim Americans as a group are not responsible for the evil of one Muslim American man, and America makes no friends in its struggle against international terrorism by alienating moderate Islamic voices worldwide. Meanwhile, the Latino community, which has become a political football in a campaign
c SKENAZY, from p.18 No non-Jewish studies beyond what a fourth or fifth grader would get at public school. Which is why it is all the more remarkable that about a week ago Solomon stood up in front of a crowd of 300 and announced he had been accepted to medical school. The crowd went wild. This was the annual downtown gala sponsored by Footsteps, the organization that helped Solomon and hundreds of others find their way out of ultra-Orthodoxy to lead lives of their choosing. Footsteps is not anti-religion, it is pro-freedom. Its slogan is “Your life, your journey, your choice.” “Our core value is choice,” explained Lani Santo, the executive director. “We really help people think through the consequences of their various decisions.” Because people leaving ultra-Orthodoxy are often shunned by the community they left behind, including their own families, Footsteps provides counseling, practical help, and a home base for those who lose their entire support system.
season where Mexican immigrants have been tarred as “rapists,” has learned that most of the bodies pulled from the Pulse had brown faces and Spanish names. We are not going to heal from and move beyond the terrible events of Orlando if leaders succeed in urging us to turn on our fellow Americans and seal off our country from dangerous foreign influences. We can only become stronger by making the effort to understand each other. The LGBT community can learn about how Muslim lives in America are often marginalized just like their own and can acknowledge that Latino gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are often sidelined by white gay voices. Muslim Americans can learn more about how to accept sexual and gender diversity within their often tradition-bound immigrant communities. And Latino families in Orlando and beyond are holding tight to the memories of their sons and daughters lost this past weekend. This is a dangerous moment in America and fear could undo us. But even if there are dangerous voices in leadership positions, in the end America, the world’s oldest democracy, gets the government it deserves. As so it’s up to each of us and every constituent community in America to make sure we walk through this crisis with resolve and in unity. n
The gala was organized to celebrate the milestones in the lives of Footsteps participants, since few had family members to cheer them on. Instead, the audience of Footsteps supporters whooped for a member who just got her first tech job, and another who just became an Uber driver. Several members had become engaged, provoking joyous applause. Then Solomon took the stage as the evening’s keynote, and the audience sat in stunned silence as he told his story. “You need to understand just how insane it is for me to be here,” the 26-year-old began. “I grew up in a typically sized family in Williamsburg: I have 10 siblings. Exposure to the mainstream world is almost non-existent. Some people say I’m an immigrant in my own country, but I prefer ‘alien.’ An immigrant might know about science and history and politics — an alien doesn’t. An immigrant has read books and watched television — an alien hasn’t. An immigrant has spoken to people of the opposite sex without feeling like the world is about to end. An immigrant might be culturally
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 16 - 29, 2016
On Sunday evening, the Empire State Building shut off its lights and went black, explaining via Twitter, “In sympathy for the victims of last night’s attack in Orlando, we will remain dark tonight.”
unaware, but at the same time be an informed citizen of the world. An alien is just an alien and let me tell you, if an alien is going to successfully transition to immigrant, they need Footsteps.” Solomon heard about Footsteps through the grapevine as a teen. By then he’d already been sneaking off to the DVD store in the Puerto Rican part of his neighborhood and voraciously renting action flicks. These taught him colloquial English and gave him direction: He wanted to be a cop, just like the guys in the movies. But then he went on a tour of Hunter College sponsored by Footsteps and his life changed. Classes in art and sociology! Laboratories! Students of every stripe talking, studying, laughing together. Footsteps was founded by a Hunter student, Malkie Schwartz, who’d made her way out of ultra-Orthodoxy and wanted to help others who chose that path. Solomon enrolled — and immediately floundered. “I had never tackled the concept of the atom, or seen a periodic table of the elements,” he later recalled. “I did not even
know that all living things were made up of cells.” He had to make up for lost time and, at first, he couldn’t. He was in danger of failing, but reached out for help. And by the next year, he rose to the top of his class in chemistry. He continued to climb, getting A’s in his coursework while working part time and becoming a mentor to others following in his — well — footsteps. He began volunteering at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian and doing genetics research. And last year, he did it. He graduated with a degree in sociology. He put off applying to med school, however, to stay on for a year at Hunter… teaching organic chemistry. Now Solomon is heading to Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Yes, he will be an immigrant from New York. But not an alien. Lenore Skenazy is author and founder of the book and blog “FreeRange Kids,” and a contributor at Reason.com.
MARCHING UP FIFTH IN CELEBRATION OF PUERTO RICAN CULTURE (Above) East Side Councilmember Rosie Mendez (r.), an out lesbian Puerto Rican marching in a parade dedicated to LGBTQ rights, with former Councilmember Margarita Lopez and San Juan City Councilmember Pedro Peters Maldonado. (Right) Mayor Bill de Blasio.
PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO | An estimated 1.5 million New Yorkers turned
Governor Andrew Cuomo marching with Fernando Ferrer, the former Democratic Bronx borough president who in 2005 was the first major party Puerto Rican candidate for mayor.
out Sunday, June 12 on Fifth Avenue for the annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade, an exuberant celebration that travels north from 44th Street to 59th Street. With the themes Familia es Familia (Family is Family) and Amor es Amor (Love is Love), the parade this year was dedicated to family unity, marriage equality, and LGBTQ rights. Sadly, despite this bridge across communities, participants woke up on the morning of the parade to the devastating news that 49 patrons of a gay bar in Orlando, Florida — the vast majority of them Latino, most of Puerto Rican descent — had been gunned down in that day’s early hours. Community prevailed, however, creating a warm atmosphere of unity and cultural pride.
June 16 - 29, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
c STONEWALL, from p.17 munity often regularly meets at the site during momentous events. Dr. Sheldon Teperman, who heads the trauma surgery unit at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, described the wounds caused by assault weapons, saying they “explode organs and sever limbs.” He said that the high oneto-one ratio of deaths to injuries was typical of such guns. “We need to take that seminal piece of legislation, the SAFE Act, and spread it across this nation,” Teperman said at the vigil, which was organized by the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, an LGBT political group. Even speakers who made comments that were closer to what is typically heard at a vigil joined the gun control chorus. City Coun-
Former West Side State Senator Tom Duane outside the Stonewall bar on Sunday evening.
c VIGIL, from p.16 ish festival celebrating God giving the Jewish people the Torah, Ramadan, the Islamic commemoration of the first revelation of the Quran to the prophet Muhammad, and LGBT Pride Month. As Judson’s Reverend Donna Schaper offered a prayer to the “God of many names” and spoke of the incomprehensibility of the violence in Orlando, a heckler passing by yelled out, “I’ll tell you what the problem is. It’s radical Islam, and they should all be arrested immediately.” Faisal Alam, the chair of the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity, told the crowd, “There are no words for me to
cilmember Rosie Mendez, an out lesbian who represents Manhattan’s Lower East Side, discussed Mateen’s motivation in the deaths, which has been described as a hate crime, but took note of Mateen’s weapon. “He killed 50, but he attacked us all,” she said. “He attacked us because of who we are and because of who we love… If a ban existed, I am sure this would not be called what it is being called, the greatest mass murder in US history.” Mayor Bill de Blasio, who spoke last, sought to reassure the crowd. “When thousands of people come together, it is a renunciation of hate,” he said. “We say to Latino New Yorkers, we stand with you and we will protect you, we say to LGBT New Yorkers, we stand with you and we will protect you, we say to Muslim New Yorkers, we stand
share my feelings as a queer Muslim.” Then saying, “I can go on and on about how Islam condemns violence,” he noted that a white man heading to the Pride celebration in West Hollywood — identified as James Wesley Howel of Indiana — was arrested in Santa Monica after police found possible explosives, assault rifles, and ammunition in his car. The assault rifle used in the Orlando attack, he said, was the same model used in the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Connecticut. “The religious right, the political right will use this as a wedge,” Alam warned. “We must stand against Islamophobia.” Sadya Abjani, who is also a member of the Muslim Alliance, said her first “selfish thought” when she heard the news that morning was, “Don’t let the shooter’s name be Muslim.” Reverend Chloe Breyer, executive director of the Interfaith Center of New York, told the crowd, “Islamophobia is not the answer to homophobia.” Saying she “felt broken” when she heard news of Orlando that m o r n i n g , R e v e r e n d Va n e s s a Brown, senior pastor of the Rivers of Living Water, an LGBT congregation, said, “We are crushed down, but this is my word for anyone who can hear me, we are not destroyed.” The Judson vigil ended just like
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 16 - 29, 2016
Mayor Bill de Blasio addresses the crowd.
Leah Gunn Barrett, who heads New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.
with you and we will protect you.” The mayor brought Chirlane McCray, his wife, and Police Commissioner William Bratton with him. When Bratton spoke, the heckling and booing was so loud that his comments could not be heard. The crowd was growing impatient toward the end of the roughly two-hour event, so when McCray began to speak, audience
members began to yell, “Say their names” referring to the victims. In a moving close, the rally ended with people stepping to the podium and reading aloud the names of the 49 victims as people in the audience held small lights or lit cellphones in the air. After each name, the crowd responded with “presente.” At a vigil, that means he or she is here.
the Stonewall gathering began, with the singing of “We Shall Overcome.”
the GoFundMe pages established by Equality Florida, the LGBT rights group in the state (gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund),or by Orlando Pride (gofundme. com/29bubytq). n
To support the victims and survivors of the Orlando attacks, visit
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Cirque du Soleil Takes on Hollywood’s Golden Age BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
Martin Charrat, Myriam Deraiche, and Samuel William Charlton in Cirque du Soleil’s new musical “Paramour.”
aramour” is a musical, or, more accurately what the French would call un spectacle. It’s a Cirque du Soleil musical, and it is like what you would see at the Folies Bergères, but all sparkly and new. The story is a cobbled together, conventional tale of Hollywood in its Golden Age — a young starlet, a love triangle, and so forth. The music is derivative and almost completely pastiche, and there are circus acts in almost every scene. As a result virtually every song is a production number, and it comes at you like a tsunami of entertainment. Musical theater purists may scoff; so let them. If you enjoy traditional Cirque du Soleil shows, this gives you all that and a level of showbiz kitsch and glitz that is so over-the-top that the only appropriate response is to sit back and have fun. Plus the performers and the acts are really good, from twin aerialists sailing over the audience to a rooftop chase that’s a trampoline extravaganza. It’s all pretty dazzling. And it’s hilarious to watch members of the cast, during a torch song, turn a speakeasy’s light fixtures into a trapeze act. In addition to expected Cirque performers, the cast includes Jeremy Kushnier as A.J., a well
Knowledge and Mystery T
Charlie Cox and Heather Lind in Nick Payne’s “Incognito,” directed by Doug Hughes, at New York City Center through July 10.
Lyric Theatre, 213 W. 42nd St. Mon.-Tue., Thu. at 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat. at 3 p.m.; Sun. at 2 & 7 p.m. $55-$227.50; ticketmaster.com Or 877.255.2929 Two hrs., 30 mins., with intermission
established film director, Ruby Lewis as Indigo, the young starlet (who looks very much like Rita Hayworth, oddly one of the few Hollywood stars not cited), and Ryan Vona as Joey, her boyfriend who faces competition from A.J. They all look and sound great and make the nonsensical storyline appealing. And they know how to get out of the way of flying bodies. The direction by Philippe Decouflé and overall creative direction by Jean-François Bouchard hold nothing back in the cause of entertaining. Any attempt at serious theatrical criticism of “Paramour” would just be pretentious. So take all your out-of-town friends, have a blast, and call it a guilty pleasure. n
BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
he new theater season is only a few weeks old, but it’s safe to say Nick Payne’s “Incognito” will be one of the most exciting plays you’ll see this year. That may be even more surprising when one realizes that the play is ostensibly about brain function. Or, more accurately, about how much we cannot know about how our brains work but how much we want to. The play is loosely based on several true stories, including that of Thomas Harvey who removed Einstein’s brain during the great man’s autopsy and kept it to study for nearly 40 years. It’s also the story of Henry Mason, a man whose brain seems to have no capacity for short-term information retention, and of Evelyn Einstein who believes she is the adopted daughter of Einstein’s son but might actually be
INCOGNITO MTC at New York City Center 131 W. 55th St. Through Jul. 10 Tue.-Wed. at 7 p.m. Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. $90 at nycitycenter.org Or 212-581-1212 Ninety mins., no intermission
his much younger half sister. In all, over the course of 90 minutes, we meet some 20 people whose lives intersect and overlap. It is not so much a plot-driven piece as a human collage, and the cumulative power of it by the end is profoundly moving.
c INCOGNITO, continued on p.24
June 16 - 29, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 16 - 29, 2016
Corruption and Defeat BY STEVE ERICKSON
ctave Mirbeau’s 1900 novel “Diary of a Chambermaid” has been adapted to film three times. Jean Renoir, Luis Buñuel, and French director Benoît Jacquot have all taken a crack at it. Each version differs from Mirbeau’s original in significant ways. Jacquot’s take suggests that some things remain eternal. Most are negative: classism, anti-Semitism, sexual harassment. There’s also the enduring appeal of the “bad boy,” if that term applies to a man in his 50s. The character with whom Jacquot’s chambermaid falls in love may be guilty of all sorts of crimes, but he’s representative of a world where a man breaks the neck of his “beloved” pet ferret and orders it made into a stew just to prove a point. Léa Seydoux plays the title character Célestine, following Paulette Goddard (in Renoir’s version) and Jeanne Moreau (in Buñuel’s). She wants to stay in Paris but can’t find a job there. She does get a job in provincial France, but treats the experience as an exile from the capital. Her mistress (Clotilde Mollet) gets mad if she eats a prune or two from the household inventory and spends her day ringing the bell that calls for Célestine’s service. Her
c INCOGNITO, from p.22 Far more poetic and abstract than Payne’s previous work, “Constellations,” its underlying questions are how do we know what we know and what defines who we ar e? Payne doesn’t attempt any answers, but rather marvels at the incomprehensible complexity of it all, just as do we in watching. Directed with absolute precision by Doug Hughes with movement by Peter Pucci on Scott Pask’s magnificently minimal set with Ben Stanton’s gorgeous and understated lighting, the play recalls Archibald MacLeish’s “Ars Poetica,” in which he writes,
COHEN MEDIA GROUP
Léa Seydoux plays the title character Célestine in Benoît Jacquot’s “Diary of a Chambermaid,” based on Octave Mirbeau’s 1900 novel.
master (Hervé Pierre) keeps groping her. She finds the gardener Joseph (Vincent Lindon) fascinating. According to the news, anti-Semitism has been on the rise in France lately. The country doesn’t seem to have learned much from World War II, now more than 70 years in the past. French Jews are emigrating to the UK, North America, and Israel. This cli-
“A poem should not mean/ But be.” The power of this piece is in the total experience of it as it unfolds, as we’re drawn into disparate lives and marvel at the power of the couple of pounds of meat we all have in our heads. The four-member cast is stunning. Geneva Carr, Charlie Cox, Heather Lind, and Morgan Spector playing multiple characters bring each one levels of originality and specificity that make them distinct and moving. Neuroscience may not necessarily be an obvious topic for popular theater, but in Payne’s hands it becomes fascinating and deeply human. But then after all, it is the stuff we are made of.
mate inspired Jacquot to explore the roots of French anti-Semitism through the character of Joseph, the filmmaker suggesting that 20th-century anti-Semitism got its start in France, not Germany. Joseph says horrible things like “The Jews should all be disemboweled” and contributes to a newspaper called Le Petit Parisien, which offers up anti-Semitic headlines and caricatures. Célestine argues with him about the Jews, saying that they behave no worse than any other religious group, yet in the end she toler ates his anti-Semitism as the price of his company. It may even add a frisson to Joseph’s sex appeal. In an interview, Jacquot explains Joseph’s seductiveness this way: “Despair and poverty can easily lead to finding the most apocalyptic of discourses appealing. Célestine is attracted by the radical energy that Joseph exudes and which fits in with the radicalism of the times, a populism marked by anti-Semitism.” Jacquot’s “Diary of a Chambermaid” isn’t far off from Susan Sontag’s essay about the dark but lingering appeal of fascist director
Leni Riefenstahl’s films and photos. Jacquot is working in a more permissive environment than Renoir or even the famously kinky Buñuel were. (A scene of Joseph scrubbing his feet seems a nod to Buñuel’s foot fetish.) As a result, his “Diary of a Chambermaid” is the most sexually explicit film version yet. That doesn’t mean it’s particularly erotic, however. Jacquot associates sex with humiliation, even death, and constantly reminds the modern-day spectator of the risks of sex — often forced by men upon women — before reliable contraception. At a border crossing, a proper lady is embarrassed when she’s forced to open a locked contraption; while she insists that it contains jewelry, it proves to hold a dildo. Célestine’s embrace kills a tubercular man during coitus, with both their faces smeared with blood. It would be easy to turn Célestine into a heroine whom everyone could admire and easily identify with. Jacquot is after something more complicated. To a large extent, she’s defeated by her libido. She has few options, and her situation is mocked by the pastel world in which she moves. Her costumes are studiously pretty, as is the décor of the manor where she toils. Jacquot tracks this world with zooms. “A Single Girl,” which followed a young hotel maid for 90 minutes in real time, is the Jacquot film that “Diary of a Chambermaid” most resembles. If “Diary of a Chambermaid” is a disguised portrait of the present, things have gotten much worse in the 20 years between 1995, when “A Single Girl” was made, and now. n
DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID Directed by Benoît Jacquot Cohen Media Group In French with English subtitles Lincoln Plaza Cinema 1886 Broadway at W. 62nd St. lincolnplazacinema.com
June 16 - 29, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
Drowsy Driving can be as Dangerous as Driving impaireD The public is well educated about the dangers of driving while impaired by medication, alcohol or illegal drugs. But drivers may not be aware that driving while tired can be just as dangerous. Driving when tired can be a fatal mistake. Just as alcohol or drugs can slow down reaction time, impair judgment and increase the risk of accident, so, too, can being tired behind the wheel. Drowsy driving is reportedly what caused the fatal crash in June 2014 between a limousine and a Walmart truck that ended the life of comic
James McNair and seriously injured fellow comedian Tracy Morgan. The driver, Kevin Roper, was going 20 miles over the speed limit and was almost at his drive time limit, according to preliminary reports by the National Transportation Safety Board. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 100,000 car crashes in the United States each year occur as the result of an overly tired driver. Various studies demonstrate that drivers who have remained awake for 18 hours prior to driving
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 16 - 29, 2016
mimic the driving performance of intoxicated motorists. In fact, drowsy driving can be confused with driving with a high blood alcohol content. Sleepiness can arise relatively quickly, and according to Thomas Balkin, PhD, director of the behavioral biology program at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and a leading expert on sleep and fatigue, it’s difficult for drivers to assess just how sleepy they are. “Sleepiness affects the part of the brain responsible for judgment and self-awareness,”
he says. “When you’ve reached the stage where you are fighting sleep, the effect of any method of reviving yourself can be very short-lived.” Furthermore, people do not have to be in a deep sleep to actually be asleep behind the wheel. Micro-sleeps occur when certain brain cells temporarily shut down for a few seconds. A person is not completely asleep but in a sort of fog as if they are asleep. When sleepiness sets in, the best course of action is to pull off the road. Opening the window, turning on the radio
or blasting cold air is, at best, only a temporary solution. If driving with passengers and feelings of sleepiness appear, hand the keys over to a passenger and have them take over driving, if possible. Otherwise, a short nap and a cup of coffee can be used in combination to increase alertness. It’s also a good idea to avoid beginning a long road trip in mid-afternoon around the hours of two or three o’clock. While alertness generally dips in the evening hours, due to the circadian rhythm, alertness also dips in the late after-
noon, prompting drowsiness. A 2010 study by the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety found that as many drivers reported falling asleep at the wheel in the afternoon hours as reported falling asleep late at night. Driving in a warm, quiet car also may spur drowsiness, as would driving after a heavy meal. Driving tired is just as dangerous as other impaired driving. Slow reaction times and unawareness of surroundings can contribute to accidents that are otherwise avoidable..
June 16 - 29, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
Manhattan Treasures 1900–05. “Carnival” is a complement to Gehr’s 2007 “pre-cinema” work “Panoramas of the Moving Image.” The Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53 St. Through Jul. 4 only: Sat.-Thu., 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Fri., 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Admission is $25; $18 for seniors; $14 for students; free for 16 and under. Information at moma.org.
installment of City Opera’s Spanish-language series “Ópera en Español.” Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater, Time Warner Center, Broadway and 60th St., fifth fl. Jun. 22-23 & 25, 7:30 p.m.; Jun. 26, 4 p.m. Tickets are $20.50$160.50 at jazz.org.
presentation with their real lives. Funnyman and Broadway Tony-winner Nathan Lane joins them in conversation. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., Kaufmann Concert Hall. Jun. 26, 7 p.m. Tickets are $40-$46; $15 for those 35 and under at 92y.org.
TONY BLAIR’S VIEW OF TODAY’S WORLD
TAKE IT EASY Veteran singer and songwriter Jackson Browne, famous for co-writing “Take It Easy” with the Eagles’ Glenn Frey and one of the premiere acts in David Geffen’s 1970s Asylum Records, with hits including “Rock Me on the Water,” “Doctor My Eyes,” “Jamaica Say You Will,” and “The Pretender,” plays three shows at the Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway at 74th St. Jun. 17-18 & 20, 8 p.m. Tickets are $56-$156 at beacontheatre.com.
THE PROMISE OF YOUNG CHOREOGRAPHERS Now in its seventh year, the Young Choreographer’s Festival features work from more than a dozen young artists in all genres of dance, including George C. Berry, Eimile Davis, Patricia Crumrine, Lauren Blue DeAngelo, Brinda Guha, Hannah Larson, Shannon Mueller, Brianna Pavon, Devin Richey, Brianna Roland, Sofia Sanchez, Rae-Ann Thomas, and Andrea Ward. Guest dancers performing include Derek Mitchell, Jenn Freeman, Marinda Davis/ MarInspired the Storytellers, the Shelly Hutchinson Collective, Synthesis DANCE/ Tracie Stanfield, and White Wave/ Young Soon Kim Dance Company. Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at W. 95th St. Jun. 18, 8 p.m. Tickets are $28; $25 for students & seniors at symphonyspace.org; $30 at the door.
STATEN ISLAND TENDERLOINS “Impractical Jokers,” now in its fifth season on truTV, is all about pulling off the most insane public prank. Colin Jost hosts a panel of the show’s outrageous stars — Brian “Q” Quinn, James “Murr” Murray, Joe Gatto, and Sal Vulcano, also known as the Tenderloins. Hear all about their wildest, most embarrassing misadventures and how these four best friends from a Staten Island high school continue pushing the boundaries of comedy. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., Kaufmann Concert Hall. Jun. 21, 8 p.m. Tickets are $42; $15 for those 35 and younger at 92y.org.
FINAL WEEKS OF ERNIE GEHR’S “CARNIVAL” The world premiere of Ernie Gehr’s largescale, multiscreen video installation “Carnival of Shadows” is simultaneously a reflection on early animation and genre cinema, a playful exercise in moving-image graphics, and an extension of the artist’s interest in the abstraction, texture, and rhythms of visual material. Its source is an early 20th century shadowgraph toy, which used “paper print films" in the form of sequential silhouette drawings that were brought to life as they passed before a stroboscopic screen. Gehr’s silent, digital video adaptation transforms five original paper subjects, all issued in France c.
LGBT PRIDE MARCH The annual LGBT Pride March, first held in 1970 to commemorate the previous year’s Stonewall Rebellion that launched the modern gay rights movement, kicks off from 36th St. & Fifth Ave. at noon on Jun. 26, and heads south toward at an endpoint in the West Village on Christopher St. The march, which often runs to six or seven hours is one of the biggest and most colorful parades in New York. This year’s grand marshals are 15-yearold Jazz Jennings, the co-founder of the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation, Subhi Nahas, a Syrian refugee who founded that nation’s first LGBT magazine, Mawaleh, and Cecilia Chung, an internationally known HIV activist who is a founding producer of the San Francisco Trans March. For complete information visit nycpride.org.
ÓPERA EN ESPAÑOL “Florencia en el Amazonas,” Daniel Catán’s passionate, sensuous opera, inspired by the magical realism of Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, has become one of the most popular and frequently performed contemporary operas. The first Spanish-language opera ever commissioned by a major American opera company, it is the first
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | June 16 - 29, 2016
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair sits down with Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein, the director of Jewish Community and Jewish Life programs at the 92nd Street Y, to offer his take on the current world situation, especially regarding the Middle East in crisis and extremism globally and how governments and educational institutions can respond. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., Kaufmann Concert Hall. Jun. 27, 7 p.m. Tickets are $100 (maximum of 2) at 92y.org. For security reasons, all ticketholders’ names must be provided at purchase and attendees must bring photo ID. No large backpacks, purses, or briefcases are allowed — nor can they be checked. Arrive at least one hour early for security clearance.
JIM AND JEANNIE GAFFIGAN LAUGH WITH NATHAN LANE Actor and comedian Jim Gaffigan, who plays a version of himself on his eponymous TV Land hit, is joined by his wife, Jeannie Gaffigan, the co-creator of the show, for a night of laughs as well as insight into how they balance their semi-fictional onscreen
ETIENNE CHARLES’ “SAN JOSE SUITE” Trumpeter Etienne Charles, a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, is joined by alto saxophonist Brian Hogans, pianist Victor Gould, guitarist Alex Wintz, bassist Jonathan Michel, and drummer John Davis in a performance of Charles’ “San Jose Suite,” a musical exploration of the stories, rituals, native chants, rhythms, and other cultural elements that shaped three different cities known as “San Jose,” found in California, Costa Rica, and Charles’ native Trinidad. Charles’ Creole Soul band uses jazz as a foundation to engage 20th century Caribbean folk and pop traditions, with musical elements from Trinidad, Jamaica, Haiti, and Martinique. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Time Warner Center, Broadway at 60th St., fifth fl. Jun. 28-29, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. The cover charge is $35; $25 for students except for the Jun. 28 early show at jazz.org.
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