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Will 61st Century Humans Ponder Manhattanhenge Creators’ Genius? Page 06 Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Dallas... and New York 12 July 14 - 27, 2016 | Vol. 02 No. 14

Colorful Columbus Avenue Fashion Retailer's Final Bow 04

Are People Living in LinkNYC Kiosks? 07 MANHATTANEXPRESSNEWS.NYC


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July 14 - 27, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Now, Any Time of Day, Times Square Dining Can Be G-G-G-Great! BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he modest bowl of cer eal and milk are getting a gourmet makeover as Kellogg’s opens its first-ever cereal café in Times Square. The location at 1600 Broadway at West 49th Street opened its doors to fans of Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam on July 4. (In restaurant biz parlance, that was a “soft opening” in advance of the “official” July 13 debut.) The cereal café’s menu of six cereal mixes, priced from $6.50 to $7.50, and four sundaes, from $8.50 to $9.50, was designed by Christina Tosi, who achieved culinary fame with her quirky bakery, Milk Bar. With ingredients like green tea powder, ground coffee, and blueberry jam, Kellogg’s is hoping to draw in crowds by yanking cereal out of the nostalgic cul-de-sac of childhood memories and elevating it to cuisine sought out long after the breakfast hour ends. “I believe in the excitement a bowl of cereal can bring any time of the day,” Tosi said, adding she’s remained a cereal lover long past her childhood. “I’m so excited to bring back a household staple in a fun, creative way!” The cereal manufacturing giant teamed up with Tosi and Anthony Rudolf and Sandra Di Capua of Journee, a restaurant consulting company that was given authority over the space’s design. According to Kellogg’s, everything from the simplistic venue design of white brick walls and black chalkboards, to the perfect spoon size, was tackled by Journee. The Kellogg’s focus on details extends, as well, to cereal’s best friend, with the milk sourced from Five Acre Farms, a company that boasts local production from upstate Salem and Storrs, Connecticut. While the cereal café is only just in its infancy, the fan favorite award seems to have been all but awarded already to Tosi’s “Pistachio & Lemon,” a medley of original Special K, Frosted Flakes, pis-

JACKSON CHEN

The Kellogg’s Cafe’s all-day cereal menu was designed by Christina Tosi of Milk Bar fame, and boasts locally-sourced milk from Five Acre Farms.

tachios, lemon zest, and thyme. Many cereal samplers compared the flavor to roasted chicken as the aromas of citrus and herbs hit the nose just before the first spoonful. But for prospective customers who still crave the fruity, sugary simplicity of cereal, the café’s offering of “Life in Color” with Froot Loops, marshmallows, passion fruit jam, and lime zest may deliver the desired balance between a childhood and an adult mindset. After ordering his fruity cereal mix, Ravi Rajendra, a tourist from Montgomery, Alabama, was summoned by buzzer to the large chalk drawing of Toucan Sam. The mascot instructs customers to “Follow Your Nose,” but they are actually directed to numbered red cupboards that dispense their orders. “I’ve always been a big cereal fan, and it’s what I have for breakfast most days,” Rajendra said, adding that he too started the habit as a kid. “Now that I’ve grown up, it’s really cool to have a more adulttype cereal.”

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | July 14 - 27, 2016

JACKSON CHEN

Following his nose, Ravi Rajendra picks up his order from a red cupboard.

Rajendra said the simplicity of the recipes at the café might well inspire him to spruce up his breakfasts at home. Kellogg’s is backing up its bet that it can carry cereal past the morning hours by offering four varieties of ice cream sundaes — including Honey Buzz, that features a fetching combo of Honey Smacks, honey, toasted pecans, and banana chips. And adventurous patrons can “raid the pantry,” designing their own cereal concoctions with a list of ingredients including all of the

JACKSON CHEN

The new Kellogg’s café at Broadway and 49th Street officially opens on July 13.

Kellogg’s brand cereals, a variety of fruits, several nuts and seeds, and even a Pop-Tarts crumble. Becky Jones, who was with her family in visiting from Jacksonville, Florida, designed her own bowl, but with a restrained, toppings-free

c KELLOGG'S, continued on p.10 3


Colorful Columbus Avenue Fashion Retailer

Taking Her Final Bow BY JACKSON CHEN

W

hile they may be charmed by the outdoor assortment of brightly colored hats and the window displays, these days Upper West Siders are most likely drawn in by the handwritten notes of “SALE” and “closing” pasted up on the corner boutique at West 73rd Street and Columbus Avenue. Within the first few steps, the red-spectacled owner eagerly greets her customers before they begin browsing the quaint fashion accessories store. After an almost instantaneous elevator eyes glance, the owner is just as quick on the draw in serving up a compliment about the customer’s style, attire, or smile. The owner, Roslyn Grant, has been operating her Upper West Side outpost, Roslyn, for about 20 years. The modest space is filled with her personally curated collection of classic jewelry and fashionable hats that she resolutely insists must serve to complement the spirit of the person wearing them. “I think the person should stand out, not their accessories,” Grant said. “When accessories overpower someone, they’re trying to tell a story they don’t know and that’s insecurity.” Over the years, Grant’s one-of-akind personality has earned her a loyal base of customers who visit Roslyn when they’re searching for an equally unique piece of jewelry. Grant, admittedly bad with names, is much better with faces and readily recalls the ballet dancer who strolls in with her daughter, even as she is taking care of a new customer looking at engagement rings for his fiancée. But Grant, who said she’s a little over 50, a little more over 60, but much younger than Joan Rivers — who died at 81 two years ago — explained she is closing up shop by the end of the month for personal reasons. “I’ve been here many years and sometimes you feel like it’s time to

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JACKSON CHEN

Roslyn Grant has run her fine jewelry and fashion shop on Columbus Avenue for 20 years.

move on,” Grant said, hastening to add that it’s not for financial reasons. “I happen to love the Upper West Side, but for right now I need to take some time off for myself.” Though her shop will soon vanish from the avenue’s roster of mom and pops stores, Grant said she’ll never lose her connection to the area. After moving across the park from the Upper East Side — which she dismissed as “cold and materialistic” — she felt at home with the creative energy of the Upper West Side. It was after a divorce that the neighborhood served as the blank slate for Grant’s reimagining of herself, which eventually led to her opening Roslyn on Columbus Avenue. A former version of her boutique, jointly run with her then-husband, was filled with mass manufactured jewelry that she felt was ugly and lacked any distinctive allure. “I would say I don’t like those, and he would say but someone’s

JACKSON CHEN

Roslyn offers the owner’s personally curated collection of fine jewelry.

going to like them,” Grant recalled. “That’s not good enough. I don’t want everyone to like what I have because then it’s like McDonald’s.” She added, “I want it to be unique, and I only wanted to sell what I loved.” Now Grant boasts everything from floppy summer hats to rose

gold necklaces, diamond rings. and ruby earrings. “This was my expression,” Grant said of her business. “I was very happy, and many days I’d go home with a very big smile on my face, I didn’t need anything else.”

c ROSLYN, continued on p.14

July 14 - 27, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Columbus Avenue Vacancies: Small Business in Crisis or the Normal Retail Cycle? BY JACKSON CHEN

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ith small businesses routinely complaining about their survival struggles in an unwelcome Manhattan retail environment, at least one expert argues that a major Upper West Side commercial area may simply be experiencing a cyclical low point. Still, local elected officials are hearing the cries from business owners and looking for ways to remedy any problems. It was just two years ago that the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District boasted a zero-vacancy rate in its coverage area from West 68th to 81st Streets. But in 2016, the BID is pointing to an unusually high incidence of vacancies, with a reported 10 emptied storefronts — soon to be 11, with Roslyn (see page 4) closing by the end of July — since last fall. Whether it’s due to rising rents or, in the case of fine jewelry retailer Roslyn, personal choices made by mom and pop outlet owners, small busi-

nesses on the Upper West Side frequently turn over and empty storefronts are nothing new to the neighborhood. Rafe Evans, who has worked in real estate brokerage and management in the area for 30 years, said the current high rate of vacancies on Columbus Avenue represents just a snapshot of a longer term story about the area’s retail evolution. “It’s cyclical, sometimes vacancies are a little higher, sometimes they’re a little lower,” Evans, a senior vice president at Walker Malloy & Company, said. “I don’t think it’s a sign of a terrible event looming on the horizon.” In fact, he said, the area’s current vacancies are likely to be replaced in time with a return to the space squeeze seen in 2014 and are a normal variation in what remains a healthy commercial retail environment on the avenue. “It’s a Darwinist society we live in,” Evans explained. “While it’s

c SMALL BUSINESS, continued on p.23

COLUMBUS AVENUE BID

The Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District charts the current picture of retail vacancies on the avenue.

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Will 61st Century Humans Ponder Manhattanhenge Creators’ Genius? BY JACKSON CHEN

N

ew Yorkers might complain that they don’t get enough natural sunlight, or alternatively carp about glaring rays suddenly blinding them. But on two days this week — July 11 and 12 — the sun was recognized, all over Manhattan, for the star it truly is. On four occasions each year, the sun plays the lead role in the architectural and cultural phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, where the setting ball of light and heat perfectly aligns with the grid-like design of the borough. The manmade marvel began its viral spread after photos popped up in 2011 showing a stunning solar sphere at the western edge of the stretching cityscape. Coined by pop-culture astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in a nod to Stonehenge, Manhattanhenge now attracts crowds at the borough’s widest east-west thoroughfares, especially 57th, 42nd, 34th, 23rd, and 14th Streets. After disappointing performances on May 29 and 30 — the clouds stole the show on those dates — the sun returned for its July 11 and 12 appearances at 8:20 p.m., as city dwellers hoped to redeem their earlier dashed hopes. Chris Bond and his wife, London transplants who live on the Upper West Side, stationed themselves at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue on July 11, prepared well in advance for show time. It wasn’t the Bonds’ first attempt to capture the phenomenon, having been let down alongside many other New Yorkers during the late May occurrences. “We came here about a month and a half ago to the same place,” Bond said. “I got some decent pictures but I didn’t actually get the sun itself.” Despite a forecast warning of some clouds during the day, the Bonds were upbeat that they would grab their sought-after shot. The couple was joined by a horde of nature-loving photographers as well as many hungry for no-brain-

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er Instagram likes. Each time the intersection’s 57th Street traffic light turned red, dozens would swarm into the crosswalk to try to capture the moment among the blaring taxi horns and bewildered passersby. For the more experienced, setting up at a choice spot required hours of effort upfront. Seeking an elevated view away from the upstreamers who would otherwise end up in their shot, many New Yorkers had seized the Park Avenue Viaduct over 42nd Street at Grand Central Terminal on May 29 and 30 equipped with tripods as well as a healthy patience for crowds. This time around, would-be star photogs received the boot from police, according to Edwin Martinez, who then scrambled uptown for the sunset. “On the overpass, there was a ton of us there, everyone with their tripods set up,” Martinez, a paramedic by trade and a photographer by hobby, said. “We were just counting down the minutes when the Port Authority police [more likely, in fact, the MTA police] came out and chased everybody off the bridge.” MICHAEL SHIREY

c MANHATTANHENGE, continued on p.16

Even moving traffic didn’t discourage eager photographers.

MICHAEL SHIREY

Manhattanhenge fans seize 42nd Street on June 12 to capture the magic moment of sunset.

July 14 - 27, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Critics Charge LinkNYC Proves Pitfalls of Offering Anything Free in New York BY JACKSON CHEN

O

nly a few months after going live, the LinkNYC free Wi-Fi kiosks have been attracting complaints from communities in Manhattan — due, in part, to prolonged camp-outs by people overusing the free amenities offered. LinkNYC, operated by CityBridge, has been activating kiosk towers that measure more than nine feet in height since the early spring, and they’ve now spread up Third Avenue on the East Side and Broadway on the West Side. The links, built to replace an outdated phone booth network, provide free Wi-Fi, two USB charging ports, and a built-in table that offers web surfing and free calls. With something free being offered in New York City, it probably was just a matter of time, but some residents are now reporting instances of users camping out at kiosks and staying for hours. According to some complaints, people have hogged the links by setting up chairs to watch

movies, creating slowly growing outposts, and even, by one account, dealing drugs. During a trip downtown, Valerie Mason, the president of the East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association, found a man who was asleep but had his phone plugged into one of the links near the corner of East 49th Street and Third Avenue. Upper East Sider Cathy Wouk recalled two incidents in her neighborhood — on Third Avenue, at East 82nd Street and at East 87th Street — where people had set up chairs and overstayed their welcome by treating the link as more of a personal computer. “I was visually shocked in both instances,” Wouk said. “I’m so shocked people pull up chairs to these things.” According to Ruth Fasoldt, LinkNYC’s community af fairs manager, the company is still learning how New Yorkers and others are using their services in the beta phase of their 12-year rollout program.

“We are in conversations with the city about how to ensure that Links remain open and accessible for all and are not monopolized by any individual user,” Fasoldt said in a written statement. To LinkNYC critics, the camp-outs are symptomatic of a bigger problem — the lack of any upfront consultation with neighborhoods that may have no interest in the free services being offered or the monolithic towers that deliver them. Wouk’s husband, Jordan, a member of Community Board 8, characterized the links as a “tremendous assault on the viewscape.” At a recent CB8 Transportation Committee meeting, he said that the Wi-Fi kiosks are much taller and brighter than anything else on the city’s sidewalks, like bus shelters or phone booths. The revenue generated by the dual-sided advertising — which allows the services to be offered free of charge and returns money to the city — was an incentive, he said, for the kiosks’ enormous height that impairs pedestrians’ view while lim-

A digital squatter pulls up an easy chair next to a LinkNYC kiosk in a photo taken by a Manhattan resident who wished to remain anonymous.

iting sidewalk space. Mason argued that the Upper East Side has no need for the services LinkNYC delivers, especially at the price of advertising on street corners. “I just don’t think there should be advertisements everywhere you look,” Mason said. “They’re unsight-

c LINKNYC, continued on p.9

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fter a concerted drive to reform procedures for the funding of nonprofits fell short in last month’s adoption of the city budget for the fiscal year that began on July 1, Upper West Side Councilmember Helen Rosenthal and Manhattan nonprofits hope to keep the dialogue alive until the Council makes current year budget adjustments in what is known as the November Plan. At a May rally, nonprofits across the city were led by Rosenthal, the chair of the Council’s Committee on Contracts, in calling for a $25 million increase in the city’s budget for a category of nonprofit contractors’ costs known as “other than personnel services,” or OTPS. That category includes everything from rising rents to client service expenses and supply costs. Despite support from many councilmembers, the OTPS increase was not included in the $82.1 billion city budget passed in June. Left in their current financial state, many nonprofits explain that the extra money would have helped to create a more sustainable business model and, in turn, better ensure reliable and quality delivery of needed human services. “If there’s no increase in OTPS, then we’re not able to pay the increase in costs of things like health insurance, home-delivery meals,” Stephan Russo, the executive director for the Goddard Riv-

erside Community Center, said. “We obviously rather have it passed in June so we can start to see the increase in OTPS in July.” Goddard Riverside, located at Columbus Avenue and 88th Street, offers a broad array of childhood, youth, senior, housing, and legal services. Representing a wide range of struggling nonprofits, Allison Sesso, the executive director of the Human Services Council, said the City Council’s failure to increase OTPS in the new budget left her frustrated. “We’ve been very clear that the human services sector’s financials are on the brink,” Sesso said. “This would’ve been a move in the right direction in terms of getting the sector on a better path to financial solvency.” But she added that the Human Services Council and its allied nonprofits are not deterred from continuing the conversation. Their first opportunity for another shot, according to Sesso, is the November budget modifications. Alongside the Human Services Council, Rosenthal continues meeting with nonprofits and city agencies to make sure the issue is kept at the fore. In fact, their goals have expanded past the $25 million funding increase. On top of securing the OTPS funding boost, Rosenthal wants

c NONPROFITS, continued on p.9

July 14 - 27, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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c NONPROFITS, from p.8 large-scale reform of the way the city interacts with nonprofit contractors. She hopes to expedite the pace at which nonprofits are paid and to set contract rates at levels that more fairly capture the costs they incur in delivering their services. According to the councilmember, nonprofits are sometimes paid six to 18 weeks late and reimbursed for only 80 cents for every dollar of work they do. “If a senior center is running paycheck by paycheck and if they’re getting paid late,” Rosenthal said. “one could imagine a situation where you say to a worker, we just don’t have the money to pay you this month, but we’re going to be getting a big check next month.” According to the Human Services Council, many city contracts are underfunded. For Goddard Riverside, government contracts fail to adequately reimburse overhead costs such as administration, human resources, and IT, Russo said. Overhead costs, he argued, are closer to 15 percent of the cost of delivering services, but contracts typically only cover levels between five and eight percent. On top of that, Russo said, nonprofits can easily be overwhelmed by the differences in procedures from one city agency to the next. “The issue is there is not a lot of consistency and no clarity amongst different agencies,” Russo explained. “Each agency seems to have its own rules and regulations. That’s one of the biggest problems you have with overhead and procurement.” Sesso and Rosenthal remain hopeful that inconsistencies among different agencies can be resolved, noting that the de Blasio administration has been open to dialogue about the need for changes. And they pointed to the mayor’s push

c LINKNYC, from p.7 ly and they obstruct your view.” The neighborhood association president is hoping that LinkNYC considers reducing the height of its kiosks. In terms of addressing the camp-outs, Mason proposed imposing explicit time limits on usage and even posting cameras to guard against abuses.

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for a $15 minimum wage for city and contract employees by 2018. Rosenthal is planning meetings over the next several months with the Human Services Council, the Mayor’s Office of Contract Ser vices, and the various agencies’ procurement officers to push the dialogue forward. “We’re going to continue over the summer to help our colleagues see in practice the underfunding,” Rosenthal said. “The nonprofits are reaching out to councilmembers and the administration, talking about the impact of having budget shortfalls while still trying to serve the clients everyone wants them to serve.” The Human Services Council, meanwhile, has reached out to professional nonprofit consultants, including the nationally recognized Bridgespan Group, to tap their expertise. Rosenthal envisions New York offering a blueprint to other municipalities trying to reform their nonprofit funding practices. “ I h o p e N e w Yo r k C i t y c a n become a model for the state and maybe other states because this problem is happening across the country,” Rosenthal said. “New York City is not alone in this situation.” n

Overall, she’d like to see more community representation when it comes to the installation of the links in the area. “I thought these were being tested to see if people wanted them, but I was surprised that a 12-year contract was signed for them,” Mason said of the rollout. “Nobody asked us where we wanted these and what was going on.” n

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | July 14 - 27, 2016

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DOT to Disperse Citi Bike Docks More Evenly Across UES

NYC DOT

The city Department of Transportation’s current plan for infilling and reducing the size of Citi Bike docking stations on the Upper East Side.

BY JACKSON CHEN

A

t a July 6 Community Board 8 meeting, the city’s Department of T ransportation presented a plan for infilling the Upper East Side with Citi Bike docking stations while reducing the size of some existing stations in response to neighbor hood concerns. About a year into the bike sharing program’s expansion up to East 86th Str eet, DOT and Citi Bike operator Motivate are looking to reconfigure the setup of seven current docking stations, while adding nine new

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stations throughout the neighborhood. The main goal in the reconfiguration of the Citi Bikes program below East 86th is to reduce the walking distance between docking stations, according to John Frost, the executive director of the Citi Bike program at DOT. “These stations will help improve the Citi Bike system’s performance by increasing station density,” a DOT spokesperson said, “ensuring users will always be within a short walk of a station.” While there will be no net change to the number of bikes

available on the East Side between 59th and 86th Streets, the DOT said it has not finalized the exact amount of bikes to be removed from existing docks or installed in new stations. Though CB8 voted in support of the new plan, lingering concerns about the amount of space the stations would take up remained. According to CB8 Transportation Committee co-chair Scott Falk, in selecting the stations put in place last summer, the DOT likely viewed them as the most expeditious way of expanding the program into the Upper East Side. “We’re a difficult enough neighborhood that they wanted as few fights as possible so they threw fewer, huger stations at us,” Falk said of last year’s expansion. “Now what they’re actually doing is going back and trying to better serve the needs of the system and the community.” In pinpointing locations, Frost explained that there were obvious tangible constraints like fire hydrants and manholes, but that DOT was also limited to spots that best fill in the holes within the bike share network. But DOT and Citi Bike are running into more than just those hurdles, with residents voicing concerns about the new docking locations being recommended. According to Betty Cooper Wallerstein, president of the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association, the infill station to be installed on East 83rd Street close to East End Avenue would be disrupted by a steady stream of construction projects on the avenue.

“There should be no bike stations on East End because it’s a small area and has an enormous amount of construction projects,” Cooper Wallerstein said. Another resident, who declined to share his name, pointed out that an infill station at East 78th Street near Second Avenue could prove problematic for the midblock medical offices and its many disabled patients. But the bigger picture for Cooper Wallerstein was that DOT should have consulted the community before selecting locations in order to appreciate all the potential obstacles to siting new docking stations. Falk agreed that more communication from DOT is desir able, but emphasized that at this point it should come regarding any changes to the plans announced last week. He explained that after the mid2015 Upper East Side expansion was announced, there were several minor changes such as locations moved slightly or never installed, that were never run by CB8. “What hasn’t been good so far is the communication about changes, revisions, temporary or new stops,” Falk said about the station installations. “The only way to eliminate a lot of the backlash is to be really good neighbors.” According to DOT, the infill and reductions should be completed in the fall, which will be done alongside Citi Bike’s expansion up toward East 110th Street, which begins in August. n

c KELLOGG'S, from p.3 approach of Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, and Froot Loops. Becky’s siblings, SJ and Terrell, explained that they were raised on Kellogg’s brand cereals during their youth. While the family stuck with fairly conservative choices, SJ said she’d be willing to try the ice cream variations as a dessert item. “For breakfast, you want to go in for what you’re expecting at the first start of the day,” she said. “But if I came here after dinner and I wanted something sweet, I’d try some of the bigger, more festive options.” To keep up with the ever-changing tastes of Times Square, the cereal café’s menu will rotate every three months. A delivery service is also planned, due to launch later this year. n

July 14 - 27, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Despite CB8 Deadlock, DOT Moves on Four East 70s Bike Lanes BY JACKSON CHEN

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he Department of Transportation has begun installation of painted crosstown bike lanes on East 70th, 71st, 77th, and 78th Streets despite having no formal resolution in support from Community Board 8. CB8 first requested in November 2015 that the DOT look into developing crosstown bike routes for the Upper East Side. But even after three lengthy community meetings that considered options of six different pairs of east- and westbound bike lanes, the board, on May 18 in a 25 to 19 vote, rejected a resolution recommending which streets should be fitted with bike lanes. Wi t h u n p r o d u c t i v e r e s u l t s from the community, the agency informed CB8 on June 22 that it had decided to push forward with the two pairs of crosstown routes in the East 70s. According to the DOT, the East 77th and 78th bike lanes were due to be completed by July 8, while the East 70th and 71st pair was expected to be installed by the end of this week. The agency hopes that, once in place, the painted bike lanes will calm traffic by providing clear road markings for both vehicles and bicycles, while not reducing any parking space. “We have engaged with board members, residents, elected officials, business owners, and other stakeholders over the past several months to present and fine-tune this proposal,” Luis Sanchez, the DOT’s acting Manhattan borough commissioner, wrote to CB8. “Adding a five-foot bicycle lane to the streets... will make cyclist movement more predictable and improve safety for all roadway users.” With the discussions always having focused on three pairs of crosstown routes, the agency said that the East 84th and 85th bike lanes are still potential routes. But with so many community concerns having been raised about those two specific streets, the DOT indicated there were no other solid plans for bike lane infrastructure on the Upper East Side right now. Scott Falk, co-chair of CB8’s Transportation Committee, said it wasn’t often that the community

JACKSON CHEN

New painted bike lanes are beginning to be installed on the Upper East Side, as seen here on East 77th Street, between Third and Lexington Avenues.

board couldn’t come to a decision about bike lane questions (the neighborhood already has a pair of routes on East 90th and 91st Street). With no formal direction from the board, however, Falk accepted DOT’s decision to move forward on its own with crosstown options. “DOT were within their rights to move forward if the board didn’t weigh in,” Falk said, adding he had voted in favor of three pairs during the May full board meeting. “The board is only advisory anyways, but the board didn’t advise ultimately.” Falk said he has heard concerns about the spacing of the routes DOT selected, with two new pairs in the East 70s, but none in the 60s or the 80s. “There are some people who just feel it’s not fair that only one area is getting them,” he told Manhattan Express. “I do think it’s fair to say there’s questions to whether things are spread too far.” But, according to DOT, the work on the bicycle lanes has already begun and would be up and running shortly. The agency added that it would continue working with CB8 and the community for future bike lane options. “I’m so glad that the Department of Transportation decided to give us at least four crosstown bike lanes,” Hindy Schachter, a 49-year resident of the Upper East Side, said. “We have First Avenue, a great protected bike lane, but we

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | July 14 - 27, 2016

have no way of accessing Central Park or the West Side.” Schachter, a cyclist since the late ’60s whose husband Irving was killed in 2014 when a bicyclist hit him as he was jogging in

Central Park, said while she had favored the three pairs discussed but ultimately rejected by CB8, the bike lanes being installed by DOT were a “wonderful step forward.” n

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After Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Dallas, Loca PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN jgoodstein@cnglocal.com

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

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES JACK AGLIATA LAUREN BLAIR ALLISON GREAKER ANDREW MARK JIM STEELE JULIO TUMBACO

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

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BY PAUL SCHINDLER

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ith Americans reeling from a week in which they watched video of two African-American men killed in police shootings that many observers concluded involved wildly disproportionate uses of force and then saw five Dallas police officers gunned down in targeted shootings as they oversaw protests over the earlier killings, New York officials scrambled to emphasize the need for unity and understanding among all communities and between civilians and law enforcement. Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner William Bratton, other city officials, and some elected officials from Manhattan’s East and West Sides all urged empathy for the pain felt among African Americans as well as within the ranks of the NYPD. The mayor and the commissioner specifically addressed questions about police officers’ safety while handling volatile crowd situations, but elected officials currently serving uniformly acknowledged as well the persistence of racial disparities that give rise to incidents like last week’s police shootings in Baton Rouge and a suburb of St. Paul. The response from of ficials came against the backdrop of thousands of protesters gathering in Times Square on Thursday — prior to the Dallas shootings — and hundreds more protesting on each succeeding day through the weekend, in locations from Times Square to Grand Central Terminal and Union Square. Thursday’s protest drew the largest crowed — estimated by police at 1,200 — with more than 40 arrested during a Times Square sit-in. Several dozen protesters were arrested at a Saturday protest. Speaking on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show” on July 8, the morning after the Dallas tragedy, de Blasio said, “An attack on our police is an attack on all of us. It’s fundamentally unacceptable. It undermines, you know, our entire democratic society.” While he and Bratton agreed there was no evidence of any similar attack on police threatened in New York, the mayor

announced that for the time being all officers would travel in pairs and that large scale protests would have a “very large” police presence “to really make sure things are very well controlled.” “This is painful,” de Blasio continued. “And I want to just urge all listeners — whatever you feel politically, recognize that our police officers are hurting today.” T h e m a y o r, h o w e v e r, d i d not shrink from emphasizing legitimate grievances the African-American community has about repeated episodes in which video evidence has surfaced of black men dying at the hands of police in situations where the use of force has been of questionable legitimacy. “We absolutely have to be able to do both,” he said, when asked whether the nation can mourn and be angry about the deaths in Louisiana and Minnesota as well as in Texas. The mayor also stood by comments he made several years ago about the warnings he has given his teenage son Dante — whose m o t h e r, F i r s t L a d y C h i r l a n e McCray, is African-American and who sports an attention-grabbing Afro — about being very careful in any dealings with police. Some police critics blasted de Blasio over those comments, saying they unfairly stereotyped the way cops treat black men. “What I was saying in 2014 — and I have affirmed it since — is just a fact of life in America that we have to grapple with,” the mayor said. “And the events earlier in the week only compounded it.” Like the mayor, other local elected officials struggled to balance anger at the execution of police in Dallas with continued concern about police killings of black men. East Side Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, in calling for US Justice Department investigations into the Louisiana and Minnesota killings, said, “In a space of just two days — 48 hours — two African-American men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, lost their lives during separate encounters with police officers. Their names are added to an already too long list of African Americans who have

On the evening of July 8, police officials in Times Square work to k

been killed in similar situations.” The following day, responding to the shootings in Dallas, she said, “This vicious and targeted attack on Dallas police officers who were working at an otherwise peaceful protest shocks the conscience and troubles the soul. It is a despicable act.” Maloney’s West Side colleague, Jerrold Nadler, struck much the same tone, saying, “The tragedies of Alton Sterling or Philando Castile are not isolated, they are the most recent in what is a long list of senseless murders of black men, women, and children whose encounters with the police can only be described as the worst form of injustice and inequality. The additional tragedy of Dallas strikes at the core of all Americans, when those who put their lives on the line to protect, uphold, and defend our rights become targets themselves because of who they are and what they represent.” Voicing a balanced response to last week’s events was not without political risks. As some commentators came forward to insist that “blue lives matter” and “all lives matter,” activists aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement complained this response trivializes the injustices the African-American community too often suffers. The difficulty of striking just the right tone may explain why out of more

July 14 - 27, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


al Officials — Largely — Struggle to Embrace Unity

LAUREN VESPOLI

keep control of a protest that resulted in more than 40 arrests.

than a dozen East and West Side city councilmembers and state assemblymembers and senators Manhattan Express contacted, only a handful offered comment. East Side Councilmember Dan Garodnick, in a carefully measured response, said, “Each of these tragic episodes is a grave reminder of the work our nation still has to do to root out violence and racism in society. I ask all New Yorkers to join me in both honoring the sacrifices of men and women in uniform and acknowledging the continued injustices against communities of color across America.” Referring to all three incidents, East Side Senator Liz Krueger was more specific, saying, “These terrible acts occur at the intersection of many challenging issues, including persistent racism, mass incarceration, gun violence, and criminal justice reform. In response to such violence it is important to heed calls for unity and solidarity. But at the same time we must also seize this moment to move our society toward greater justice and inclusiveness.” One of the strongest acknowledgments of frustrations within the African-American community came from West Side Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal. Arguing that given the current tensions in the nation, “the job of our men and women in blue becomes more dif-

TWITTER.COM/SCOTTMSTRINGER

City Comptroller Scott Stringer (center), at a June 12 Unity Walk in Brooklyn, is joined by (l. to r.) State Assemblymember Latrice Walker, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblymember Diana Richardson, Senator Jesse Hamilton, and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.

ficult, and they more vulnerable,” she added, “Violence is not the answer, but neither is inaction… We must call out racism in whatever form its ugliness appears. Routine traffic stops do not end in death for white people, and we must all acknowledge this difficult truth. Their lives mattered; black lives matter. We must demand that justice is served.” Several elected officials emphasized specific steps to help New York move beyond the anger and sadness of last week. Comptroller Scott Stringer — a longtime Upper West Side assemblymember — calling on the city to “emerge from our grief united and with a renewed resolve that recognizes that our differences are our strength and not our downfall,” co-sponsored a Unity Walk organized by State Senator Jesse Hamilton in Brooklyn. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, a former Upper West Side councilmember, saying she was “horrified” by the killings in all three cities, pledged to “reconvene and expand” roundtables she, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and civil rights attorney Norman Siegel organized last year to strengthen bonds between the police and youth, community leaders, and clergy across the city. Some African-American leaders were clearly cognizant of the risks of backlash against activism like

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | July 14 - 27, 2016

the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the Dallas killings. The Reverend Al Sharpton, who as head of the National Action Network has led many of the protests nationwide against police shootings involving black men, rejected the notion that Dallas demonstrated that protest is encouraging anti-police violence. Denouncing a New York Post front page that declared, “CIVIL WAR: Four cops killed at anti-police protest,” he told the Daily Beast, “Although I unequivocally denounce what happened in Dallas and have stood with the families in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, by no stretch of the imagination is this a civil war. To say it’s a civil war is to act like all policemen are like the two cops in Louisiana and Minnesota, and that all blacks are like whoever the gunmen were in Dallas.” Letitia James, the public advocate who is the first African-American woman elected citywide, was blunt in rebutting the view that recent events point to a zero-sum faceoff. “Supporting our police and demanding civil rights for all are not contradictory ideas,” she said. Not every leader in New York voiced the same confidence — or interest — in bridging the nation’s divide on matters of race and policing. In a Sunday morning appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that drew

widespread attention — and criticism — former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said, “When you say black lives matter, that's inherently racist… That’s anti-American and it’s racist.” Giuliani, whose two terms in office were punctuated by a number of divisive battles over police treatment of African Americans, asserted, “If you want to deal with this on the black side, you’ve got to teach your children to be respectful to the police and you’ve got to teach your children that the real danger to them is not the police, the real danger to them 99 out of 100 times, 9,900 out of 10,000 times are other black kids who are going to kill them. That's the way they’re going to die.” Pat Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association who has been a frequent critic of Mayor de Blasio’s posture toward the police, said, “Most of the anger directed at police officers over the past few years has been fueled by erroneous information and inflammatory rhetoric put forward by groups and individuals whose agenda has nothing to do with justice. Our elected officials fail us when they prejudge incidents without having all the facts and disparage all law enforcement.” Commissioner Bratton, Lynch’s boss, was considerably more con-

c SHOOTINGS, continued on p.15 13


JACKSON CHEN

Roslyn Grant greets a customer.

c ROSLYN, from p.4 The storeowner’s most prized possession was a heart-shaped 3-carat color-shifting Alexandrite gem that she was told by three separate professionals was worth between $80,000 and $100,000. According to Grant, there were only five in the world with similar qualities, but she is willing to let it go for $75,000. The gem morphs from a brilliant green sheen to a deep red hue depending on the light refracting through it. It’s not yet set in a ring, but Grant was not shy about temporarily mounting it to model it on one of her customers. Even when a potential sale does not involve a favorite rare rock, Grant takes a warmly personal approach toward customers interested in purchasing one of her pieces. Whether it’s an expensive item of jewelry or a simple straw hat, the Roslyn owner is never shy about offering her opinion and advice. That sense of engagement, Grant said, explains her success and longevity on the Upper West Side. “I get very involved with the person,” Grant said of her sales approach. “When they come into

my store, I become their personal shopper if they allow that.” But it’s the customer who must ultimately drive the encounter, she explained. Her instincts about what would work for someone come out as soon as they walk through the door, but she keeps in mind that her job is to be a careful guide, one who doesn’t try to overpower their personal tastes. Upper West Siders now have less than a month to benefit from Grant’s fashion direction, but she said her legacy will not evaporate any time soon. Both her sons have pursued their own career paths, and one, Steven Alan, has made a name as a famous apparel designer, with a chain of boutiques and numerous bold face clients. Her taste, Grant hopes, will be carried down through her children. After closing her shop, Grant, even without a retail base, plans to remain a fixture on the Upper West Side, fueled by her love for the neighborhood. “I fall in love with many people who come in here,” Grant said. “I truly love West Siders, the people, the flavor, the food, the ambience. I don’t think I’ll be comfortable any place else.” n

JACKSON CHEN

With vibrant store windows and hats arrayed outdoors, Roslyn draws customers in.

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July 14 - 27, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT

DANIEL KWAK

One demonstrator, on July 10, made a simple statement of his perspective.

c SHOOTINGS, from p.13 ciliatory toward communities that question the conduct of police in specific cases. The events of the preceding week, he said at a press conference on July 8, need “to be a clarion call for all of us in this country to take seriously the grievances of many in the minority communities in this country have, as well as the concerns that police have.” And more strongly than most New York leaders who spoke out last week, Bratton focused attention on the ready availability of guns in America. We’re a country awash in weapons — 300 million of them,” he said. “And I forget the last count of how many of these AR-15-type long guns are out there, the tens of millions.” n

LAUREN VESPOLI

On July 8, the day after the killing of five police officers in Dallas, protesters outside Penn Station express anger at police abuses.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | July 14 - 27, 2016

15


EXPRESS YOURSELVES

For Gen Z Grazers, Interactive, Locally Sourced a Must… Pokémon a Plus BY LENORE SKENAZY

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ou can tell a person’s age by his teeth. No, not by whether they’re missing or yellowed — or, if they’re really old, wooden! They key is what the teeth are sinking into. Generation Z — the folks born after 1995 — have already established different eating patterns from the rest of us. At least, so said an article I was reading in Nation’s Restaurant News. (Yes, I love reading trade magazines!) Fascinated, I called up the editor to ask, first of all, what new food trends are coming down the pike? And second of all, ye gads — does the generation born after 1995 really have a name already? The answer to the second question is apparently yes. And the answer to the first, according to editor Sarah E. Lockyer, is that Gen Z is even more Millennial than the Millennials. “We always believed that Millennials were the first digital natives,” she said. “But they really weren’t. They weren’t born with a phone in their hand. They got them at 10 or 12.” That makes them practical-

c MANHATTANHENGE, from p.6 Like Martinez, others on the viaduct scurried elsewhere so they wouldn’t miss their chance. Some, no doubt, headed a few avenues east to the Tudor City Bridge — another elevated spot that drew a big crowd in late May — but Martinez chose to head toward his wife’s workplace near the 57th and Fifth vantage point. This wasn’t Martinez’ first rodeo, as it were. He explained that the best angle to capture the phenomenon is from the center of the street, but said that in attempting that shot photographers should use varying levels of exposure because of the sun blasting light directly into the lens. For iPhone users in the crowd,

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ly pterodactyls compared to the Zs. The newest kids on the block want to eat what they see on social media, and they want to put up on social media whatever they eat. That isn’t news. Food porn is possibly more popular than good old-fashioned porn porn. What is news is how the restaurants are responding. Take, for instance, Taco Bell. “Taco Bell used to be food that you ate at 2 a.m.,” Lockyer said. “You really didn’t think about it. And while that still happens today, now you can go on the Taco Bell app and you can add guacamole and take off sour cream and add extra cheese. It’s very mobile-friendly. You order on your phone, you pay on your phone, you go pick it up.” Restaurants that are completely interactive are the ones that are going to win, she said. So are the ones that allow you to, in the words of an ancient Burger King jingle, “have it your way.” Even McDonald’s is jumping on that trend. My husband went to the tricked-out Mickey D’s near Bloomingdale’s and ordered from a kiosk rather than a human at the counter. He was served a giant, juicy burger slath-

like the mother-daughter duo of Gail and Lindsay Krieger, that meant tapping the screen before shooting to automatically adjust for exposure. According to the Kriegers, who ventured in from Long Island, their phone cameras provided the best option in pulling together their spontaneous outing. Regardless of the equipment used to shoot the sunset, the unspoken but overwhelmingly popular technique employed was crossing into the center of the busy Manhattan streets — ignoring the habitually hectic flow of Midtown drivers as well as those parking or pulling out — and snapping several shots before retreating to the parked, or double-parked cars, that provided cover. The sunset, of course, was fleet-

ered in chipotle mayo that made the Big Mac look like the meat equivalent of a flip phone. Maybe even a landline. Burgers themselves are still cool, but Gen Z is not eating as many of them as their elders. The Zs prefer chicken, pizza, and food that is ostensibly “clean” — a word that is both holy and amorphous. If you ask me, it roughly translates to “$1 extra.” YPulse, a New York market research firm specializing in young people, calls this trend the “healthifying” of fast food. Young folks aren’t rejecting milk shakes or cheeseburgers, they just want them organic, or locally sourced, or something more “pure” (i.e., labor intensive) like that. So “clean food,” light-colored, ostentatiously healthful restaurants are winning out, as are places that feel communal: You walk in and sit at a big table with people you don’t know. Maybe you don’t actually strike up a conversation, but at least you feel like you aren’t alone. (Except if everyone else is having a great time and you’re poking at your oatmeal.)  Communal tables are popular with older folks, too, particularly

those folks willing to forgo a couple of car payments to afford a cup of soup at Le Pain Quotidien. But for young people, communal eating is not a new concept, it is just the way they expect to eat: in groups and sharing food. And then comes the sharing of the experience of the sharing of the food. Everything is documented to the point where showing friends what you ate is almost like showing them your closet or (I’m dating myself again) your bookshelf.   So if you wonder who the Gen Z kids are and what they are bringing to the table (as it were), it is: organic ingredients, hyper-customized entrees, lots of sharing each other’s food without getting (visibly) annoyed about it, and phones busy every step of the way, from finding the restaurant to videoing the very last drop of sriracha dipping sauce. This generation may still be too young to earn a living. But the way they’re going, they better start soon. Lenore Skenazy is author and founder of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids,” and a contributor at Reason.com. n

JACKSON CHEN

Photographers, seen here in May trying to capture Manhattanhenge on the Vanderbilt Viaduct over 42nd Street at Grand Central Terminal, were shooed away from the bridge this week.

ing, but for some photographers a more enduring image — as much a part of the fun as Manhattanhenge itself — was the crowd it attracted. “I think the most interesting part

for me was not Manhattanhenge,” Alex Gong, a Hell’s Kitchen resident, said. “It was the people who are shooting those images. I think the best photo I got today is of people.” n

July 14 - 27, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Police Blotter ATTEMPTED RAPE: REAL LIFE BOOGEYMAN (23RD PRECINCT) According to police, a male suspect entered the home of an eight-year-old female on July 7 and attempted to sexually assault her. Police said the incident occurred around 11:15 p.m. near East 108th and First Avenue, where the victim was awakened by the home intruder. No injuries were reported to police, and the suspect fled through a bedroom window and a rear fire escape. Police released a sketch of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a male Hispanic in his 20s with black shoulder-length hair and acne-like skin.

ATTEMPTED RAPE: TAKING THE WRONG STEP (23RD PRECINCT) Police have arrested a suspect in another attempted rape that happened on July 11 at around 7:15 p.m. Police said that a male suspect followed a 31-year-old female toward her building around East 102nd Street and Park Avenue. Once inside, the suspect attempted to rape her as she headed up the stairs to her apartment, but the victim fought him off before he fled on foot. On July 13, police announced the arrest of Justin Ramirez, identified as a homeless 22-year-old.

HOMICIDE: FATAL STABBING (28TH PRECINCT) Police have arrested three suspects connected to a fatal stabbing inside 95 Lenox Avenue, between West 114th and 115th Streets, that left a Bronx woman dead and another in stable condition. Police said they responded to the incident on July 5 at around 2 a.m., when they discovered the 38-year-old female, Michelle Kenny, with stab wounds on her torso, and a 21-year-old female who was stabbed on her arm and torso. According to police, the two victims were transported to St. Luke’s Hospital, where Kenny died from her injuries. Police arrested three suspects the same day, two of whom were residents of 95 Lenox Avenue. According to police, Ashanti Daniels, 26, of the same Harlem address, was charged with murder, attempted murder, and criminal possession of a

weapon. Tyson Martin, 28, also from that Harlem address, was charged with assault, and James Martin, 27, was charged with assault and tampering with physical evidence, police said.

GRAND LARCENY: THE LONG CON (FIRST AND MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCTS) Police have tied together 10 incidents of grand larceny involving female victims and their handbags or pocketbooks. According to police, the most recent incident at 220 West 42nd Street was reported on June 30 at around 1 p.m., when a 73-year-old victim reported a missing black handbag with her camera and miscellaneous items. Prior to that, police were informed of an incident on June 26 at around 1:15 p.m. at 38 West 39th Street, where another female victim, 42, reported that her handbag with cash, credit cards, Gucci glasses, a monthly MetroCard, and her driver’s license inside was stolen. And before that, police reported that on June 19 at around 2:15 p.m., a 67-year-old female victim had her handbag taken that had cash, credit cards, an E-ZPass device, her driver’s license, and keys. Only one of the incidents was in Downtown Manhattan, with the remaining nine in Midtown. Police released a photo and video of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a white male last seen wearing a white pocket hat, plaid collared shirt, tan slacks, brown loafers, and glasses.

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RESCUE: LATE-NIGHT LIFEGUARDS (26TH PRECINCT) Police were able to rescue an unconscious 24-year-old male who was found in the Hudson River near West 132nd Street and Marginal Street. According to police, they responded to a call on July 1 at around 10 p.m. On the scene, police located the nude male about 60 feet away from the pier, unable to swim and in extreme distress before losing consciousness. Police officers entered the waters to reach the male, securing him to a pylon and eventually getting him back to the pier. The male was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.

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Trek to the Intrepid And You’re a Starfleet Cadet

ERIKA KAPIN PHOTOGRAPHY

George Takei , helmsman Hikaru Sulu in “Star Trek: The Original Series,” at the June 30 press preview for the Intrepid’s “Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience.”

BY SCOTT STIFFLER

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hat began on September 8, 1966 as a five-year mission to seek out new worlds and ways of being, “Star Trek” didn’t even make it past season three as a network television series. By then, though, creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a culturally diverse 23rd century starship crew united in the name of interstellar exploration, had so firmly taken root, fan devotion would inspire five additional TV shows and 13 feature films — with more of both on the way. The far-reaching franchise’s first incarnation may be approaching the age of AARP eligibility, but your career as a fresh and eager cadet is just beginning — when you strive for high achievement on the aptitude tests that propel “Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience” from a drool-inducing collection of glass-enclosed memorabilia to a hands-on, destination event. The exhibition, at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum through October 31, beams down to our planet at an odd ripple in the space-time continuum. We’ve

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yet to evolve from a savage state of prejudice, poverty, and petty conflict, but our 21st century existence is brimming with ho-hum tech that was strictly the stuff of science fiction when the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 introduced us to phrases like “warp speed” and “beam me up.” Those blue and red velour shirts worn by Mr. Spock and quick-to-perish security officers may not have survived the 1960s as must-haves of the wellequipped everyman, but “Trek” has otherwise proven itself to be impressively predictive — influential, even — in the creation of 3D replicative printing, voice recognition, handheld touchpads, and virtual reality. The enduring influence of a show made in the past and set in the future has a way of asserting itself throughout your “Academy Experience,” imbuing this self-guided stroll through all things “Star Trek” with a gee-whiz awareness that sinks in the moment you realize the person next to you is taking selfies and posting them on social media, using a cellphone whose multitasking abilities put Captain Kirk’s flip phone commu-

nicator to shame. Cleverly designed as a 26th-century visit to Starfleet Career Day, you enter the 12,000 square foot tented pavilion on Pier 86 and begin by taking a Recruitment Quiz. Answering questions such as what hostile species concerns you the most and what Vulcan trait you admire lays the groundwork for determining what specialty you’ll be assigned when, just prior to exit, you turn in the watch-like device that has been tracking your journey through nine interactive zones designed to assess language, medical, navigation, engineer ing, command, and science skills. Those results are displayed on a computer panel (yes, in full view of the other cadets), and can also be sent via an email containing your official recruitment certificate, a personnel file, a “species selfie,” and a transporter video (which depicts you in the process of, as Dr. McCoy testily put it, having your “atoms scattered back and forth across space”). Among the interactive oppor tunities: taking the readings of a patient laid out on a Medical Tricorder table, communicating

in Klingon, and phaser training. Enormous fun though it may be, you’ll have to wait five minutes before attempting to best your firing range score, so that others can have their turn. Fans of the original series might be a bit disappointed with this particular zone though, as the phaser in your grip is of “Next Generation” variety. But why quibble? The exhibition even has two Tribbles — along with other props and costumes on loan from a German collector (including a Vulcan ear mold, and an original series tricorder and communicator). As for those still pining for a different model of phaser than the one at the firing range, they need only walk a few steps away — where a display case contains a Plasma Pistol made for “Star Trek: Enterprise,” a Type II Phaser from “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” and a Phaser Pistol from 2009’s big screen reboot. Treasures of similar rarity are found throughout, as the multiroom exhibition contains a combination of interactive zones and displays of memorabilia (including Captain Picard’s Robin Hood getup from Season 4’s “Qpid” episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”). A series of wall panels, whose themes include “Clashing Cul-

c STAR TREK, continued on p.23 STAR TREK: THE STARFLEET ACADEMY EXPERIENCE Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Hudson River at W. 46th St. Through Oct. 31 Sun.–Thu., 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–9 p.m. $25, $18 for children (free for four & younger), $23 for seniors Information at intrepidmuseum.org/ Startrek.aspx

July 14 - 27, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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19


Star Broadway Composer David Yazbek Takes the Stage BY DAVID NOH

W

hen I met my favorite living musical composer, David Yazbek, at the June 21 press preview at 54 Below for its upcoming shows, I reminded him that once upon a time — really, not so very long ago — crossover hits from Broadway could often be found at the top of the pop charts. From Petula Clark singing “You’d Better Love Me” from “High Spirits” to various artists’ versions of “What Kind of Fool Am I” (“Stop the Word I Want to Get Off”), “My Cup Runneth Over” (“I Do, I Do”), “The Impossible Dream” (“Man of La Mancha”), and “Sherry,” this was how I was introduced to — and came to yearn for — Broadway all the way from my 1960s childhood home in Hawaii. Those hits were melodic, lyrically canny, and instantly catchy, much like the songs Yazbek writes for theater, which, in these days — dominated by sullenly nattering Sondheim wannabes and treacly, bombastic power anthems about dreary self-realization — are musical manna from heaven. Two particularly lovely ballads of his, “Breeze Off the River” from “The Full Monty” and “Love Sneaks In” from “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” in a more enlightened era than now would definitely have been snapped up by, say, Sinatra, if he were alive, or Streisand and been big juicy hit records for either of them. “That’s interesting,” replied Yazbek, who will be performing at 54 Below July 29-30 (7 p.m., 254 W. 54th St.; 54below.com/events/david-yazbek). “I came up loving Frank Loesser. I love Sondheim, but to me ‘Guys and Dolls’ is the perfect musical, partially because the songs are perfect musical theater songs, and also many of them are perfect pop songs of the time. They’re also musically fascinating and the lyrics are brilliant, whereas Sondheim was clearly writing strictly for musical theater. I try to do both, but it has to do with my influences. “As far as people like Streisand and Sinatra singing my stuff, I wish that would happen. On every show I’ve ever written, someone, usually a producer, has said, ‘Oh, we gotta get fill-inthe-blank to sing it!’ On ‘The Full Monty,’ it was Whitney Houston, and for our recent London production of ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,’ someone said, ‘I know Adele!’ I’m sitting there, going, ‘Sure. Right.’” Recalling how his “Women on the Verge” was one of the 2010 season’s most anticipated productions — with a cast that included Patti LuPone, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Sherie Rene Scott, and Laura Benanti, but somehow just did not jell or click — I wondered if had they changed its locale from Madrid to Manhattan, it might have worked better. “That was discussed briefly but one of the things against that was the Spanish element of

20

54BELOW.COM

Broadway composer David Yazbek performs a cabaret show at 54 Below July 29-30.

it. I love that kind of music, and I’ve been a fan of Pedro Almodóvar [the movie’s auteur] since his first commercially available movie. I love filmmakers who have this verticality to what they do, meaning every shot, every line, it’s all deep and there’s a lot going on. He’s one of them, and I really just wanted to honor his world he’s made in all these movies. It’s almost like the Marvel [Comic] universe. I wanted to be a part of that — he and I have become good friends — and he likes the songs, so I feel like I succeeded. “We did it in London last year, and, while it has always been a really good show, we did it wrong on Broadway. It was too big or something, but in London it went over really well. I was so satisfied and maybe at some point I’d like to bring it here to like Brooklyn Academy of Music or Off Broadway. I don’t think it needs to come to Broadway, but I want to see it in New York with the right cast. “The original Broadway production was overproduced and we made several mistakes. We didn’t go out of town and, if we had, we probably would have all said, ‘Uh-oh, we better pull back on certain things.’” Asked about diva in excelsis LuPone, Yazbek enthused, “I love Patti, the most professional actor I’ve worked with. She doesn’t accept anything but hard work, not perfection, because she’s not a perfectionist. Just be the best that you can do. She’s a real actor: I can talk to her as a composer about how she’s acting a song. And she’s listening and not just thinking, ‘I gotta have a big ending here.’ She’s thinking about the show.” At the 54 Below preview, Yazbek performed a hauntingly beautiful song, reeking of nostalgia and seduction, about Omar Sharif and the scents and sounds of an Arabic childhood. It was from his new show, “The Band’s Visit,”

based on the 2007 film about an Egyptian orchestra being stranded in Israel, set to open at the Atlantic Theater in the fall. I congratulated him on writing a musical song about something for a change, and he laughed, ‘You gotta — I like to write songs that are about something. My mother’s side of our family was matrilineally Jewish, and they were Christian on my father’s side.” Yazbek adores Arabic music. “Our ears may not be used to it but if people would listen, they’d synch into it. Because of the show, half of our band are masters of Arabic music as well as Western stuff. We also have Javier Diaz, one of the great Afro-Cuban — as well as orchestral — percussionists [presently in the pit of ‘On Your Feet,’ joyously rousing ecstatic audiences], and now I find myself playing Eddie Palmieri stuff all the time. It’s interesting who you play with. There’s a big-time link between Arabic and Spanish music, especially flamenco, and in Andalusia and southern Spain.” Yazbek is currently considering doing concerts with this tasty group on Friday and Saturday nights after the show, when it opens. He seems to be having the time of his life whenever I’ve seen him concertize, but Yazbek explained it this way: “I think I love it. I don’t remember much because I will come offstage and then I will forget everything that happened. I’ll remember what other people played as in ‘that solo was awesome,’ or ‘you guys were locking together really well.’ Everything before and after on that night, I hate. I like rehearsing but I don’t like sound checking and arriving and talking, and afterwards talking to people. I like playing music and just going with that. I am a musician first, also a theater composer, but

c YAZBEK, continued on p.23 July 14 - 27, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Manhattan Treasures FUNNY CAN BE HARD, TOO “Difficult People” creator, writer, and star Julie Klausner (“How Was Your Week?”) and her co-star Billy Eichner (“Billy on the Street”) appear in discussion following an advance screening of a Season 2 episode of the Amy Poehler-produced Hulu hit comedy series. The series premise is two aspiring New York comedians who aren’t living up to their potential and hate just about everything and everyone — except for each other. Klausner and Eichner will chat about just how it is playing wayward version of themselves. 92nd Street Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall,1395 Lexington Ave. Jul. 17, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $42, $15 for those 35 and under at 92y.org.

THE BRASSY BROTHERS MASON

JAZZ IN JULY ON THE EAST SIDE Pianist Bill Charlap leads a shifting roster of fellow musicians in six evenings of “Jazz in July” at the 92nd Street Y. On Jul. 19, 8 p.m., the series kicks off with a tribute to Swing Era hits, from “Moonglow” to “Four Brothers,” on which Chapin is joined by four ace horns led by Harry Allen on tenor sax. On Jul. 20, 8 p.m., Charlap performs in piano duo with Renee Rosnes and is joined by clarinetist Ken Peplowski and singer Sandy Stewart in an evening featuring the silver screen tunes of Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, which included “That's Entertainment” and “Dancing in the Dark,” among many. On Jul. 21, 8 p.m., the velvet voice of Nat King Cole is celebrated in a show starring his brother, singer and pianist Freddy Cole, as well as cornetist Warren Vaché and tenor saxophonist Houston Person. On Jul. 26, Charlap remembers stride piano icons Eubie Blake, Willie the Lion, and Fats Waller, joined by fellow pianists Ted Rosenthal and Rossano Sportiello, plus Anat Cohen on clarinet. And on Jul. 27, 8 p.m., “Jazz in July” honors Billy Strayhorn, the songwriter behind “Take the A Train” (no — it wasn’t his close collaborator and alter ego Duke Ellington), on the centennial of his birth. Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, Steve Wilson on alto sax, and tenor sax player Jimmy Greene join Charlap for this evening. (The Jul. 28 close-out show, an evening of Gershwin and Arlen, is already sold out.) Kaufmann Concert Hall,1395 Lexington Ave. Ticket prices vary, but begin at $52, $25 for those 35 and younger at 92y.org.

BRYANFERRY.COM

STAR DRUMMER AT A VERY EARLY AGE This week, the Evan Sherman Big Band, helmed by a renowned drummer still in his early 20s, performs the late night sessions at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Time Warner Center, Broadway & 60th St., fifth fl. Jul. 20-22, 11:15 p.m. The cover charge is only $5! More information at jazz.org.

IZZARDRY He’s sold out Madison Square Garden and became the first stand-up comedian to play a solo show at the Hollywood Bowl (twice now). Eddie Izzard performs two nights at the Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway at 74th St. Jul. 22-23, 8 p.m. Tickets are $50-$80 at beacontheatre.com.

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ALICE UNBOUND Seattle grunge-metal band Alice in Chains, reportedly still at work on its sixth studio album, brings its current tour to New York with two nights at the Beacon Theatre, joined by Puddles Pity Party, aka Big Mike Geier. 2124 Broadway at 74th St. Jul. 25-26, 8 p.m. Tickets are $49.50-$99 at beacontheatre.com.

NO LONGER PLAYING THE ROXY Roxy Music vet Bryan Ferry, whose solo career has taken him from hard-driving rock to crooner style to cabaret, appears for two nights at the Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway at 74th St. Jul. 27 & 29, 8 p.m. Tickets are $59.50-$200 at beacontheatre.com.

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Trombonist Elliot Mason, a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis who is described as “one of the most important trombone voices of today's generation,” and trumpeter Brad Mason are brothers who share a unique musical bond and vision when performing together. Their quintet, which also includes pianist Dave Kikoski, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Ali Jackson, celebrate the release of their new album “Efflorescence.” Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Time Warner Center, Broadway & 60th St., fifth fl. Jul. 18, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $30; $20 for students at jazz.org.

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c STAR TREK, from p.18 tures” and “Alien Anatomy 101,” are extremely informative. Those who find themselves squinting at small type are advised to swallow their pride and bring a pair of reading glasses — an embarrassing but necessary conceit that, as every good cadet knows, helped James T. Kirk see things more clearly at a crucial moment in 1982’s “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” Sacrificing ego for the sake of your ship may be a hallmark of good leadership, but it won’t help the Enterprise emerge unscathed from the designed-to-end-in-doom Kobayashi Maru test — which you’ll take at the exhibition’s crown jewel: a showroom-new bridge that’s a faithful recreation of the “Next Generation” original — except for slight variations in design, which allow up to six cadets to take the test at once. Viewscreen updates from various crew members and prompts requiring a series of fight-or-flight

c SMALL BUSINESS, from p.5 true many retailers cannot weather whatever the latest headwinds are, many more will get through and we’ll see new kinds of things being established.” He acknowledged that he is voicing an unpopular opinion and stressed his empathy with small businesses that have recently been forced to shutter their doors. The bigger picture, however, is a real estate market simply going through

ERIKA KAPIN PHOTOGRAPHY

ERIKA KAPIN PHOTOGRAPHY

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decisions make this moment in time the closest any of us will ever get to serving with the United Federation of Planets. After your test, a stolen moment in the Captain’s chair goes a long

way toward exiting this “Academy Experience” with your pride — and hope for the future — intact. Sitting at this iconic center of command with a full complement of Starfleet tech at your fingertips,

and spouting instructions like “Engage!” and “Make it so!” as if these things might actually happen, you won’t want to leave. But if you must, there’s only one way to go: Boldly. n

its crests and troughs, Evans said. “The sky is always falling for somebody, it falls for many retailers,” he said. “Instead of blaming themselves for being behind the curve in innovation, losing sparkle or creative edge, they blame outside forces.” But in response to struggling businesses that have been vocal about their problems, government officials are eager to show they can provide assistance to owners who simply need a bit of a helping hand in operating to their fullest potential.

During the Columbus Avenue BID’s annual meeting on June 21, City Comptroller Scott Stringer said his Red Tape Commission, a collaboration between government and small business representatives, has created a list of 60 recommendations to improve relations and smooth interactions between business owners and the agencies that oversee them. “At the end of the day, we have to make sure everyone has a chance,” Stringer said.

At the same meeting, Borough President Gale Brewer said the gripes she hears about most frequently are the commercial rent tax — amounting to six percent of the annual base rent— imposed on Manhattan businesses operating below 96th Street, major construction projects that result in scaffolding that conceals storefronts, and, finally, the lack of a more productive relationship with the city’s Department of Small Business Services. n

c YAZBEK, from p.20 that’s almost like a day job.” Yazbek remembered writing his first song “when I was 10 to 11. I joined a band and my memory of those songs was that they were really catchy, but horrible.” “Catchy is good,” I responded. “I’ll never forget going to the men’s room during the original 1975 run of ‘Chicago,’ and damn, if every single guy in there wasn’t humming ‘All That Jazz.’ You have that most rare ability to write irresistible stuff one likes upon first hearing.” “Oh, that’s an enor mous compliment, because that’s what I go for, and the other thing I try to do sometimes is reprises in the second act, with songs that have definite hit potential,” Yazbek said. “Rodgers and Hammerstein in

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | July 14 - 27, 2016

‘South Pacific’ did it like four times with ‘Some Enchanted Evening,’ and the second act is all reprises. Like, I need to put a swimming pool in my house, let’s reprise this one three times!” Yazbek’s first job after graduating from Brown was staff writer for “The David Letterman Show”: “I had always been writing words and music, a humor column, reviews. I was at ‘Letterman’ less than a year, didn’t like it, a weird experience, but I did learn a lot. I was hoping it was going to be like ‘Your Show of Shows’: Woody Allen and Mel Brooks going, ‘It’s boffo! We’re gonna do this!’ Instead, you’re a veal in a tiny office, generating content. It was exciting to see if you had a bit, a gag, or a skit airing on TV, but writing on staff was not for me. I needed to be the originator of the piece that I was doing, but I still wrote a lot of scripts for TV, children’s

shows, but mostly to support my music.” Creating musicals is such a fragile, fraught task in a very rough business, and I wondered how Yazbek dealt with all the crazy-making aspects of Broadway, besides his twice-daily 30 minutes of meditation. “It doesn’t drive me that crazy. I have to say when ‘The Full Monty’ opened, shortly before 9/ 11, the reviews were all great and it was kind of clear that it was going to do well. I got a lot of letters from really cool theater friends of mine, like Cy Coleman, and then got one little note card from one of my Zen teachers who’d seen all the publicity about me and this first show of mine. It read: ‘May your practice sustain you in these difficult times.’ I still have that card and I thought then, ‘This is good.’ That keeps your feet on the ground really well.” n

23


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