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YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN

Community and Port Authority Gridlocked on PABT BY SEAN EGAN The future of Hell’s Kitchen, along with millions of commuters, is in a state of flux, as The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey continues ahead with its plan to build a new Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT), even as residents and politicians speak out against PABT continued on p. 2

Major Movement on Micro-Park Plans BY SEAN EGAN Last week, the highly anticipated and hard-won 20th Street Park took a decisive step to becoming a reality, with the revealing of rough plans for the green space that will be built on a former Department of Sanitation site between Sixth and Seventh Aves. At the July 15 meeting of the Community Board 4 (CB4) Waterfront, Parks, and Environment Committee (WPE), the New York MICRO-PARK continued on p. 4

BENDING AND BLENDING

Chelsea-based artist Lisa Beth Older’s signature technique is attracting the attention of collectors, office workers, and astrophysicists. See page 17.

Photo by Jane Argodale

Tali battles at a Pokémon Gym on the High Line, at W. 20th St.

Pokémon Go West From the High Line to the Hudson, Stops and Lures Abound BY JANE ARGODALE The new mobile device game Pokémon Go has taken the town, and the world, by storm, with more downloads in its first week on the iTunes App Store than any app before it. The game allows users to catch Pokémon out in the world using GPS, syncing up locations of Pokémon, PokéStops stocked with cool tools to catch Pokémon, lures set up by well-to-do users that attract Pokémon, and Pokémon Gyms where users on different teams battle for dominance, with real-world locations. With plenty of landmarks and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, New Yorkers are joining in, often obsessively, on the craze. The Facebook group Pokémon Go NYC has over 6,000 members who log locations of Pokémon, PokéStops, and Pokémon Gyms, and are hoping to schedule in-person Pokémon Go meetups.

© CHELSEA NOW 2016 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

During a quick search of the Facebook group’s location log, I noticed that information on places of interest in westernmost Chelsea was lacking — making the relatively undiscovered area a gold mine for players seeking an edge. So I set out to document which parts of the neighborhood would be the most fruitful for those in search of Pokémon. Three locations topped my list: the area around Chelsea Market, which is teeming with businesses and interesting landmarks (including the Apple Store); the High Line, with its easy navigation and a Pokémon Gym; and Hudson River Park, with a number of lures and water-dwelling Pokémon. With my friends Tali and Michael in tow, both of them POKÉMON continued on p. 7 VOLUME 08, ISSUE 28 | JULY 28 - AUGUST 03, 2016


Electeds Refuse to Yield to Bus Terminal

Screen shot via Port Authority

Port Authority Chair John J. Degnan (at podium) and Vice Chair Steven M. Cohen (left) responded to electeds’ complaints at a July 21 press conference.

Photo by Sean Egan

Assemblymember Richard Gottfried at the podium, surrounded by his colleagues, calling out the Authority for not knowing the neighborhood and its residents, and selling them out for a profit.

PABT continued from p. 1

the project and its process — which, they assert, lacks transparency and overlooks their input. June 13’s Community Board 4 (CB4) Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen Land Use Committee (HKLU) meeting served as a prelude to the events of the following week, as they met to discuss requests for the PABT project. The Authority’s actions had grown increasingly distressing to CB4, since the project came to light in late 2015. Most significantly, the Authority launched a design competition, and has already narrowed down the selection to five finalists. That did not sit well with the HKLU, who felt the community was being ignored — particularly worrisome, given the project’s potential use of eminent domain (a process by which the government takes control of privately owned land for public works projects), which threatens to displace residents and neighborhood institutions. Thusly, after a spirited discussion where committee members expressed firm condemnation of the eminent domain scenario, the HKLU resolved to draft a letter stating as much (while addressing other issues) to the

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Authority. The letter is on the agenda of, and expected to be approved at CB4’s July 27 full board meeting. Alan Green — longtime Hell’s Kitchen resident, deacon at Metro Baptist Church (410 W. 40th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), and Broadway actor (“School of Rock”) — was on hand at the meeting, speaking to how a land grab by the state could destroy his place of worship and residence. “Hell’s Kitchen is a special part of the city and the thought of eminent domain scares all of us,” wrote Green in an email to Chelsea Now, echoing the sentiments of much of the community, and noting that he found the idea of expanding the PABT an “archaic” short-term solution, especially when the Lincoln Tunnel would not be able to handle increased traffic. “There are seven non profits, including my church Metro Baptist, in those few blocks that do incredible work. Where would they possibly go and have the same space and accessibility to those in the community who are most in need of help?” On the morning of July 21, a group of electeds joined the community in placing pressure on the Authority, at a press conference calling for the immediate termination of the design competition.

Standing on the southwest corner opposite of 4 World Trade Center (where Authority offices are located), Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and State Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried and Linda Rosenthal lined up to deliver statements decrying the way in which the Authority has handled the project’s development thus far. A representative for City Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office was also present to deliver a statement, as was CB4 Chair Delores Rubin. Nadler spoke first, citing a lack of community and neighborhood stakeholder engagement as a source of unease. “This is a non-starter,” Nadler declared. “Eminent domain must be off the table for this project.” “The Port Authority has put the bus before the horse,” quipped Brewer, who highlighted the need to address quality of life concerns. Gottfried chided the Authority for encouraging plans that would require eminent domain, while allowing them to sell the land the current PABT sits on for a massive profit. “Residents of Hell’s Kitchen should not be thrown under the bus terminal,” Hoylman said, criticizing the Authority’s lack of consideration of all its options, including the use of land in New Jersey for an additional terminal — a scenario that has been gaining traction with Manhattanites. New Jerseyans, however, seem to roundly reject this idea. The title of a July 25 editorial from the Newark-based Star-Ledger — “New Yorkers, listen

up: The Port Authority Bus Terminal belongs in Manhattan” — states the commonly held opinion succinctly. Following the conference, the electeds headed to the Port Authority’s board meeting, armed with a jointly written letter addressed to Port Authority Chair John J. Degnan and Vice Chair Steven M. Cohen, outlining their issues in detail. “It would be a grave disservice, not only to our constituents, but to all the people of New York and New Jersey, to proceed with the Competition for a new PABT before a thorough and public examination is conducted of all of the outstanding issues and all of the available alternatives regarding a new bus terminal,” reads the letter, which also calls on the Authority to respect current residential zoning regulations, examine how the PABT would function with other transportation hubs, and enact an environmental impact study. No vote was made on the PABT project, as it was not on the board’s agenda that day. Ruth Arcone, an 18-year Hell’s Kitchen resident who works at women’s homeless shelter the Dwelling Place (409 W. 40th St., btw. Ninth & Dyer Aves.), delivered remarks against the project at the meeting — fearing the loss of her job and a valuable neighborhood resource. “The main people who are going to benefit are the commuters, and mainly from New Jersey, and it seems like they’re going to get most of the benefits PABT continued on p. 12 .com


Obituary

Penn South Pioneer Eugene Glaberman, 87, Lived His Liberal Values BY ALEX ELLEFSON Eugene Glaberman, one of the first residents in Chelsea’s Penn South Cooperatives and a longtime advocate for the community, died June 21. He was 87. Velma Hill, his neighbor and close friend, said he passed away at New York University Langone Hospital after suffering a heart attack. To those who knew him, Glaberman is remembered as a cheerful, even-tempered man who was able to unite people around a common cause. He was a tireless champion for his neighbors, and went to bat for the community numerous times to fight for affordable housing, racial equality, and quality of life issues. “He had a way of bringing many people together,” Hill explained. “He cared about anyone who was not treated fairly by society and will be remembered as a person who was always concerned about the community.” Glaberman was a fixture of the neighborhood for more than half a century. He was always quick with a smile and loved to sing. His favorite song was

Photo courtesy Velma Hill

Image courtesy Velma Hill

Gene Glaberman working at his advertising agency in the 1970s.

Gene Glaberman (foreground, arms folded) at a demonstration in 1997. Behind him (white hair) is Gloria Sukenick, another longtime Chelsea activist and Penn South resident.

Sinatra’s “My Way,” Hill recalled. It was Glaberman’s easy-going charm that made him such an effective political activist, friends said. “He was not a ‘my way or the highway’ kind of person. He was a consensus builder,” recalled Bob Sikorski, another neighbor and friend. Friends credited Glaberman with heading a successful push to secure

more affordable housing during a 2005 rezoning battle with the Bloomberg administration. He also used his position as president of the Chelsea Midtown Democratic Club to restore a portion of West 27th Drive that ran through the nearby Elliott-Chelsea Houses. Hill, who met Glaberman in the 1960s when the two were involved in the Congress of Racial Equality

(CORE), said her friend was crusader for social justice throughout his entire life. He used his connections with police and elected officials to bridge the divide between law enforcement and NYCHA residents — and encouraged greater diversity on the local community board. “He was connected in so many ways GLABERMAN continued on p. 15

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Bubble Diagram’s Park Design Elicits Burst of Pride MICRO-PARK continued from p. 1

City Department of Parks and Recreation was on hand to present the first official, concrete plans for the space — which took the form of a “bubble diagram,” named such for the way in which the space and its amenities are represented on the page as rough oblongs (as opposed to precisely organized schematics, which will be produced later). These plans enjoyed a largely positive reception, and the feedback gleaned from the meeting will be used to improve the finalized plans — estimated to be done in the fall. The grassroots effort to establish a park on W. 20th St. officially began in 2013, when Matt Weiss founded Friends of 20th Street Park, which soon established itself as a vocal and motivated coalition of residents and businesses with a shared vision for the abandoned, 10,000 square foot lot in park-starved Chelsea. The group succeeded in having the park appear on the ballot for Council District 3’s 2015 Participatory Budgeting process — an initiative in which Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office distributes about $1 million in discretionary funds amongst community-voted-on public projects. Emerging as the top vote-getter, it won $200,000 — after which Johnson committed an extra $800,000 to the endeavor. An even larger windfall came in late 2015, when the Parks Department pledged $4.3 million in funds for the lovingly dubbed “micro-park.” “To see the progress being made is just a dream come true,” Weiss said of the bubble diagram. “When we started this effort, you know, we had some volunteers within the community who would draw pretty crude renderings of what open space, green space, would look like on that site. So to see it now with an official New York City Parks Department maple leaf, and an actual schematic design com-

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Courtesy NYC Parks Department

The “bubble diagram” for 20th Street Park, as presented to CB4 on July 15.

ing together is incredibly gratifying and exciting.” Weiss is very pleased with the amenities the Parks Department has incorporated into its design, which include open space, benches, planters, and play areas for both younger and older children. In addition,

there is a planned water feature whose white noise will “allow you to feel even further from the street,” Weiss noted, adding that the Parks Department was “very thoughtful” in including nods to the neighborhood’s character in the design. “They’re incorporating a stage, and temporary public arts displays, [a] children’s mural wall,” he said, envisioning the combined effect of these features as creating “a nice connection, a neighborhood connection, to this community that has a lot of history with the arts in its DNA.” These artistic features are among many elements in the bubble design that reflect suggestions that emerged from an April community scoping meeting, held to poll the community for ideas as to what they want from the park. “I think the Parks Department has done a great job incorporating the feedback, to come back to the community with a design for a park that offers a little

something for everyone,” Weiss said. The next step for the Parks Department is incorporating ideas from the CB4 committee meeting while producing their finalized plans — there was an amount of disagreement over the height of the fence, which Weiss believes could be compromised on, and discussion about the arts features and potential public Wi-Fi — but largely its just the “fun stuff” that’s left. While the plans are being revised, the structures remaining on the lot will be demolished in order for a 2017/2018-construction phase and a 2019 opening. “I think what people really heard was we’re looking for an oasis,” Weiss observed. “An urban oasis, right in the heart of Chelsea, that’s a nice escape from the busy streets, and is a gathering place, where people can either get together with and get to know their neighbors, or find a tranquil spot to just be with their own thoughts and just enjoy the city, enjoy some shade.” .com


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Height Victory Makes Fence Advocates Stand Tall BY SEAN EGAN Last week, it was revealed that the NYC Parks Department has agreed to let the fence at Clement Clarke Moore Park (10th Ave., btw. W. 21st & W. 22nd Sts.) remain at its current height of seven feet — providing an example of how community advocacy can influence city-laid plans. This decision came to light when Matt Green, Deputy Chief of Staff for Community Affairs for City Councilmember Corey Johnson, sent an email on July 20 to the West 400 Block Association. The height of the fence became the subject of controversy in March, when the Parks Department presented its plans/designs to renovate Clement Clarke Moore Park to Community Board 4’s (CB4) Waterfront, Parks, and Environment Committee (WPE). While the community was pleased with much of the redesign, they took issue with the Parks Department’s plan to shorten the wrought iron fence that surrounds the park from seven feet to four — in accordance with its Parks Without Borders initiative, which sees lower (or no) barriers as a way to make parks more welcoming and usable. This was an immediate source of contention, as both committee members and residents present noted that the fence was necessary to keep the park safe after dark, as the space was frequently misused prior to the installation of the fence. Community outpouring against shortening the fence’s height could be found in the pages of this very paper, as an article covering the WPE meeting (Changes Coming to Clement Clarke Moore Park; March 16, 2016) prompted a number of responses against shortening the fence. “Decreasing the height to four feet will make the fence easily scalable and revert the park to a haven for crimes of opportunity and the pissoir it once was,” read one strongly worded reader comment submitted by Maya Hess on the chelseanow.com version of the article. “We didn’t hear anything and we began to push a little bit,” said Allen Oster, a member of WPE and the West 400 Block Association, of the aftermath of that meeting. It was then that advocates contacted Johnson’s office to help navigate the issue, and Oster noted that his “office was very proactive in supporting us in this.” For their part, CB4 issued a letter to the Parks Department in early May, cataloging their suggestions to the existing park plans, noting specifically that they wanted the fence height maintained, stating they were “worried about safety concerns that may arise if the fence is removed.” According to Oster, communication continued for a while between the groups advocating for the seven-foot height — such as the West 400 Block Association and Friends of the Park — and the Parks Commissioner and Johnson’s office, who exchanged a few letters. It was also kept in the public eye at meetings of said groups, and eventually, the fortuitous news arrived.

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Courtesy NYC Parks Department

A view of the park’s current fence, as seen in the presentation given to CB4 in March. Residents fought in favor of the taller height, citing safety issues.

Courtesy NYC Parks Department

An example of what a four-foot fence might look like, as provided by the Parks Department. Critics noted this size fence would be easy to scale, and help facilitate crime.

The matter of park design and fence height doesn’t seem to be going away, however. The debate continued on in the case of the recently funded 20th Street Park (140 W. 20th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). At a July 15 WPE meeting, while presenting preliminary plans for the space, the Parks Department again proposed a four-foot fence, which WPE bristled at. It remains to be seen if this community feedback will be incorporated in the final plans come the fall, though Friends of 20th Street Park’s Matt Weiss is confident that compromise with Parks

is possible, and that they “will find a reasonable middle ground or solution in time.” Referencing the situation at Clement Clarke Moore Park, Oster noted that the months of meetings and correspondence “ended up being a good experience for everyone, I think. The residents, the city administration, and the Parks Department came together, and hopefully we can now go on and work toward the renovation. It might take a while, but we’re looking forward to getting a new and improved, modern Clement Clarke Moore Park.” .com


Catch ‘Em All, All Over Chelsea POKÉMON continued from p. 1

experts at Pokémon lore (and lures), I explored the area and came away with some tips for fellow players. The stretch of Ninth Ave. by W. 14th St. — near Chelsea Market and bordering on the Meatpacking District — was full of PokéStops and lures. A busy, pedestrian-friendly area, PokéStops were consistently found less than a block apart in this area. The Le Pain Quotidien on the island in the center of Ninth Ave. provided both a PokéStop and a lure, as well as a great seating area to rest in the middle of a long Pokémon hunt. The High Line is an ideal location to play Pokémon Go. On its single path cutting through the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, and Midtown, and dotted with the sort of interesting art and landmarks where places of interest in the game tend to be located, players can find new Pokémon to catch just by constantly moving forward. Though the locations of some PokéStops are outdated — one is located at a large telescope that’s already been removed, another at a statue that seems to have been removed as well — they are certainly numerous. At W. 20th St., there’s a Pokémon Gym right on the High Line. Even on a busy Friday afternoon, there didn’t seem to be any competitors vying to capture it. In just two minutes of tapping her screen aggressively, Tali had easily taken it over.

Photo by Tali Rose Rush

A PokéStop located at the Pier 62 carousel, in Hudson River Park.

Water-dwelling Pokémon are, of course, most easily found near bodies of water, and from the High Line, the Hudson River is easily accessible. On Pier 62, on the northern side of Chelsea Piers at W. 22nd St., there were a number of PokéStops nearby, including the pier itself as well as a carousel, and lures nearby drawing Magikarp from the river onto the land, where they’d flop around like real fish. After walking on the High Line in 90-degree weather, the piers along the Hudson provide great places to play Pokémon while sitting comfortably in the shade. I found it surprising how relatively untapped the Pokémon locations in Chelsea were, compared to more popular areas in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. Though much of Pokémon Go is an

individual game, teamwork helps when it comes to setting up lures for fellow players or taking a gym. As higher numbers of players come to Chelsea, its many PokéStops will be of good use in bringing more of the game’s group effort element to the neighborhood. With safety concerns about the game mounting — it can certainly be difficult to remain aware of your surroundings while also staying focused on an iPhone screen — areas like the High Line and Hudson

Photo by Jane Argodale

Catching a Rattata on the pedestrian island on Ninth Ave. at W. 14th St., across from the Apple Store.

River Park, designed mainly for foot traffic, provide relatively safe places to walk about freely in search of Pokémon. To the fellow Pokémon trainers of West Chelsea, happy hunting!

KNOW WHAT TO DO Photo by Jane Argodale

Photo by Michael Sugarman

A Magikarp flops ashore at Hudson River Park’s Pier 62.

Reporter Jane Argodale playing Pokémon Go on the High Line, with a Doduo perched on her arm.

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Visit NYC.gov/knowyourzone or call 311 to find out what to do to prepare for hurricanes in NYC. #knowyourzone

July 28 - August 03 , 2016

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POLICE BLOTTER THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

Publisher

Jennifer Goodstein

Editor Scott Stiffler

Editorial Assistant Sean Egan Jane Argodale

Art Director Michael Shirey

Graphic Designer Cristina Alcine

PETIT LARCENY: Clear skin, less than clear conscience

GRAND LARCENY: A slice of crime

The presumably squeaky clean complexions of a couple of criminals belies their dirty deeds that wound up costing a Rite Aid (195 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 19th & W. 20th Sts.) a pretty penny. At about 11am on Thurs., July 21, two male perps entered the store, filled up two backpacks with loot, and left without paying. They took a whopping $225 of personal hygiene supplies including (in varying quantities): Dove, Irish Spring, and Zest soaps; hand sanitizer; Aveeno, Olay, and Revlon facial cremes; Aveeno and Jergens lotion; and Aveeno skin and eczema cremes.

One woman wound up getting burnt during her search for a late-night slice on Fri., July 22. Her quest led her to Gotham Pizza (144 Ninth Ave., at W. 19th St.), where the 19-year-old left her $50 Dooney & Bourke handbag unattended on a chair. She returned to discover it had been taken. Her driver’s license and debit card were also lost in the process.

Contributors

Lincoln Anderson Jane Argodale Stephanie Buhmann Jackson Chen Sean Egan Alex Ellefson Winnie McCroy Colin Mixson Puma Perl Paul Schindler Trav S.D. Eileen Stukane

Executive VP of Advertising

THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212741-8211. Community Affairs: 212741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-7418226. Domestic Violence: 212-7418216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7pm, at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced. They are on hiatus until Sept. 28.

Amanda Tarley

Account Executives Jack Agliata Lauren Blair Allison Greaker Jim Steele Julio Tumbaco Published by

NYC Community Media, LLC

One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (212) 229-1890 Fax: (212) 229-2790 www.chelseanow.com scott@chelseanow.com © 2016 NYC Community Media, LLC Member of the New York Press Association

Chelsea Now is published weekly by NYC Community Media

LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. (212) 229-1890. Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $75. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2016 NYC Community Media LLC, Postmaster: Send address changes to Chelsea Now, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Brendan Timony. Call 212477-7411. Community Affairs: 212477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212-4777427. Domestic Violence: 212-4773863. Youth Officer: 212-477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30pm, at the 13th Precinct. They are on hiatus until Sept. 20.

PETIT LARCENY: Hammer time, interrupted The same unlucky Rite Aid featured in the first item found itself at the center of some more criminal shenanigans later in the week. On Sat., July 23, at about 1:30pm, a 46-year-old employee caught a thief trying to make off with two Smartwater bottles, and recovered the property. Channeling the Terminator, the perp swore to the employee he would be back. Indeed, he did return a short while later, wielding a hammer, and asking the cashier where the employee that caught him was. When the cashier didn’t respond positively to this line of questioning, he left — though after a few minutes, the 24-year-old returned with the same inquiry, this time armed with a curved metal bar. The upgrade in intimidation instrument, surprisingly, did not change the cashier’s mind, and the testy thief left. The authorities were called, and responding officers found the perp outside the store. The man

CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawed-off shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.

fled westbound on W. 20th St., but he, and his trusty metal bar, were apprehended. The hammer though, described as having a “sky blue handle,” remains at large.

CRIMINAL MISCHIEF: Roof thrown stones In a frustrating turn of events, a woman was but a stone’s throw away from a vehicular vandal who got away with wrecking the roof of her ride. At about 6:30pm on Sat., July 23, the 48-year-old was standing on the sidewalk near her Honda, which was parked on the 200 block of 10th Ave. (btw. W. 25th & W. 26th Sts.), when she noticed a few small rocks falling from above — one of which created a small dent in the roof of her car. While she quickly realized that these projectile pebbles were being tossed from the roof of the building she was near, she was unable to see who was responsible, allowing them to drive off into the sunset scot-free.

ASSAULT: An on-the-nose item In the early morning of Sat., July 23, one unwitting man became the target of a turf ambush. A little before 6am, the 22-year-old Brooklynite was leaning on a traffic pole at the northwest corner of 10th Ave. and W. 17th St. talking on the phone, when he was approached by an unknown man, who told him to leave the area. The man didn’t pay him any mind and continued on with his conversation. Apparently, the stranger felt exceptionally territorial over the turf, because in response to the individual’s inertia, he punched him squarely in the face, breaking his nose and causing lacerations, and fled. While a canvas of the area yielded negative results, the attacker may have been caught on tape by the ever-watchful electronic eye belonging to the nearby Artichoke Pizza.

—SEAN EGAN

YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN

PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR: The Publisher shall

not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.

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drive on the correct side of the road. • Watch out for parked cars. Oftentimes, drivers exit their vehicles and do not check for oncoming traffic or cyclists. You can be hit by a swinging car door. • Make yourself as noticeable as possible. This could include using a light or horn on the bike to signal your presence to drivers. • Always wear a helmet and other applicable safety equipment.

• Maintain your bike so that it is safe to ride. • Do not carry others on your bike (such as a friend or a child) if it is not designed to do so. Riding on the handlebars or behind the cyclist can be dangerous. • Avoid the use of ear buds or headphones while cycling. You want all of your senses to be available to avoid accidents. • Cycle out of the way of drivers’ blind spots so you’ll be more visible.

• Do not ride your bike on the sidewalk where you could injure pedestrians.

Pedestrians

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walking on a leash, so you’re not pulled out into traffic. • Use caution at bus stops. Many injuries occur from pedestrians running to catch a bus or stepping out into traffic after exiting a bus. Remember, there will be another bus behind the one you’re chasing and safety is more important. • Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing if walking at night. • Do not cross highways or interstates on foot.

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Photo by Yannic Rack

The Canarsie Line currently serves 50,000 daily riders in Manhattan alone, according to the MTA. Seen here, straphangers at the entrance to the Eighth Ave. L train stop on W. 14th St.

MTA Commutes L Train Shutdown to 18-Month Sentence BY ALEX ELLEFSON The apocalyptic L train shutdown is a go! The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced Monday it has decided to close the train tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan for 18 months in order to repair damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. The shutdown, which will prevent trains for traveling across 14th St., will occur no earlier than 2019. The announcement ended a prolonged period where the agency floated two possible scenarios. One involved closing the tunnel completely for a year and a half. The other would close one of the tunnel tubes at a time — allowing trains to run, but at a significantly reduced capacity, and was expected to take twice as long to complete. New York City Transit President Veronique Hakim said the 18-month closure “offered the least amount of pain to customers.” “We think it is better to have a shorter duration of pain than a longer, more unstable process — and risk unplanned closures — by leaving one track open during construction,” she said in a statement. The MTA is now tasked with developing transportation alternatives aimed at minimizing the impact on the estimated .com

400,000 people who use the L train daily. More than half of those riders travel under the East River and 50,000 use the line for crosstown service in Manhattan. State Sen. Brad Hoylman has called for closing portions of 14th St. to expedite bus service and sent a letter last month signed by 10 other legislators requesting MTA and the Department of Transportation (DOT) study ways to improve public transportation along the roadway during the L train disruption. Following the MTA’s announcement, the senator called on the agencies to move swiftly in coming up with a plan. “With today’s announcement of a full 18-month shutdown, it’s imperative that both agencies act expeditiously to determine whether any changes to 14th Street above ground could help otherwise stranded straphangers,” he said in a statement. The Community Board 4 (CB4) Transportation Committee drafted a letter supporting the MTA’s decision to close the tunnel during repairs. However, the committee expressed concern that aboveground changes could divert cars onto narrower residential streets. The letter urges the MTA and DOT to consider traffic calming measures to mitigate the impact of more congestion on surrounding roadways.

“In Manhattan, we have a lot of transportation options, so where we see a cause for concern is how the overflow of traffic from the 14th St. corridor will affect some of the smaller streets,” said CB4 Chairwoman Delores Rubin. “It is important for the MTA to work [with the DOT] to figure out the impact of those proposals.” A DOT spokeswoman said the agency is prepared to work alongside the MTA in support of mitigation efforts. The committee’s letter also proposes connecting another subway route to the L line in order to provide crosstown service. The letter acknowledges the project would be expensive, but would mitigate some of the traffic disruptions expected to arise by removing the L line in Manhattan. The MTA said it is in the process of engaging stakeholders to develop alternative service plans. The agency already intends to add additional trains on the M, J, and G lines to accommodate the expected surge in ridership. The MTA hosted four meetings since May in communities along the L line, including one for the neighbors living along 14th St. The town halls allowed for public engagement on some of the solutions proposed by the MTA. When announcing the closure of the tunnel, MTA Chairman and CEO

Thomas F. Prendergast said the agency is “committed to working with the community just as closely as we develop ways to add service to help minimize the impacts of the closure.” Prendergast added that “there is no question that repairs to the Canarsie Tunnel are critical and cannot be avoided or delayed.” The L train’s path under the East River — called the Canarsie Tunnel — was one of nine underwater tunnels that required rehabilitation after being flooded during Superstorm Sandy, the MTA said. The Montague Tunnel used by the R line was closed for 13 months and the G line tunnel under Newtown Creek was closed for two months for repairs. The MTA said damage to the Canarsie Tunnel is extensive and requires mending signals, switches, power cables, tracks, signal cables, communication cables, lighting, and cable ducts. Additional work must also be done protect the structural integrity of the route. While the tunnel is repaired, the MTA said it will also rehab some of the stations along the L line — such as adding new stairs and elevators at the 1st Avenue station. Additional work will also provide additional electric power to allow more trains to operate on the line during rush hour, the agency said. July 28 - August 03 , 2016

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PABT continued from p. 2

and we’re going to bear the burden,” she commented to Chelsea Now after the meeting via phone. “[The Port Authority] don’t seem to be aware of the impact it would have, or they don’t care. And the other thing is it’s just not a reasonable, logical way to do things. It would be a very temporary solution. Things would be better for a while, and then it would be back to the same-old, same-old!” In a post-board meeting press conference, Degnan maintained that the design and deliverability contest would not be called off as the electeds demanded. “I don’t see a reason to defer a process which is simply an early step in what needs to be an inclusive process going forward,” he said. “It’s not designed to come up with a definitive concept that will be implemented exactly as represented.” He also assured that the Authority would be more “aggressive in initiating” a continued dialogue with electeds and the community. However, Cohen also asserted that the Authority indeed plans on pursu-

ing a new terminal in Manhattan as opposed to in Jersey. “I’m confident that the concept that is ultimately approved by the board will minimize, if not eliminate, the concerns about taking private property having an adverse impact on the neighborhood,” Degnan asserted. Responding in a July 26 statement, Hoylman wrote: “I’m deeply troubled by Port Authority Chairman Degnan’s stubborn refusal to hear out the legitimate concerns raised by the duly elected officials representing the west side of Manhattan. With so many fundamental questions left unanswered, we maintain it is premature to hold the design competition and believe the Port Authority should terminate the current competition and start a new process that examines a full range of options and elicits greater input from local stakeholders.” “There’s no question that the Port Authority needs a better bus terminal, but this process cannot start from the top and trickle down to the community,” Johnson reiterated in another statement. “My colleagues in government and I are ready to work with the Port Authority, but we need to do it the right way. It’s time to make this a public process.”

July 21, at a press conference outside of the Port Authority offices, L to R: Ma Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, CB4 Cha

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GLABERMAN continued from p. 3

in Chelsea,” said Philoine Fried, another friend who worked alongside Glaberman at the Chelsea Midtown Democratic Club. “He was a one-of-a-kind leader and he will be missed for all of the things he was able to do — as well as for being a good friend.” Glaberman left his fingerprints on many of his neighborhood’s civic organizations and community groups. He was a nine-year member of the Penn South Cooperatives Board of Directors, Vice President of Community School Board 2, New York Membership Director of the Congress of Racial Equality, President of the Penn South Workmen’s Circle branch, a member of the National Board of the Workmen’s Circle, President of the Eugene V. Debs Society at Brooklyn College, and a participant in the Chelsea Recreation Center Working Group. Glaberman was born in Brooklyn on April 25, 1929. His parents, who were Democratic Socialists, named their son after the American labor leader and fivetime Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene Victor Debs. Glaberman always tried to live up to his namesake, Hill said. “It had a lot to do with his view of life and the values that guided him,” she explained. “He was a real humanitarian.” Gene graduated from Brooklyn College in 1951, and did postgraduate work at Pratt Institute and The School of Visual Arts. After serving in the army, he founded his own advertising agency. Many of his clients came from labor or social justice groups like the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “Most of his clients were either involved in labor, or civil rights or some other liberal movement,” Hill explained. “He did artwork for those organizations because that’s where his politics were.” Hill, a former AFT vice president, said Glaberman worked with the union on a campaign aimed at helping more women of color become educators by providing them with stipends to study education in college. He also assisted in getting union president Al Shanker’s column placed in the New York Times. Glaberman moved into the Penn South Cooperatives soon after their completion in 1962, Hill said. The co-op building, whose construction was sponsored by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, was aimed at creating housing .com

Image courtesy Velma Hill

A portrait by Peter Glaberman, Gene’s nephew.

Image courtesy Velma Hill

Gene Glaberman, in the 1980s, at a rally in support of the teachers union.

Photo courtesy Velma Hill

Gene Glaberman attending a hearing on affordable housing.

for low- and moderate-income families. Glaberman lived alongside a cadre of other activists in the co-op, including civil rights activists Bayard Rustin and A. Phillip Randolph. “There were a lot of people there who were part of the struggle,” said Hill, who moved to the co-op with her husband in 1967. “And when you struggle together, you form relationships. Gene was the type of person who made friends with a lot of people.” Glaberman is survived by his nephew, Peter Glaberman, and Peter’s children, Rosaruby Kagan Glaberman, Ursa Brown Glaberman, and Ellen Glaberman Skolnik, as well as his dear friends, Velma and Norman Hill. Hill is putting together a memorial service for Glaberman, scheduled to take place on Sun., July 31, 4pm, at the Fulton Center of the Hudson Guild (119 Ninth Ave., btw. 17th & 18th Sts.). For more information, email Velma Hill at velmahill38@gmail.com.

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A ‘Bending and Blending’ Artist Breaks Out Lisa Beth Older’s paintings are layered, in style and substance BY EILEEN STUKANE Chelsea artist Lisa Beth Older was having a moment when we met in the lobby of what’s still called the American Express Building, even though the company left this 65 Broadway address just over 40 years ago. Looking at her smartphone, Older realized that she had a buyer for another of her “bending and blending” abstract paintings. This original, signature technique requires working with layers of paint so thick Older uses knives, from butter to butcher, as well as brushes, to cross acrylic barriers and create texture that somehow still retains the stand-alone quality of her colors. Her work is reminiscent of Jackson Pollack’s in its abstraction of hues, but that’s where the comparison ends. Older is not dripping paint, she is meeting and conquering it. Lately, the energy that comes through the work is getting the attention of more collectors — among them the American Museum of Natural History, which commissioned a painting that became “My Inner Cosmos” (more about that later). One reason why art lovers have become more aware of Older was right in front of us. “Hardship of Hope,” her installation of eight 36 x 48 inch abstract acrylic paintings, graces the marble-walled lobby in permanent exhibit. The paintings — each individually lit and inset separately under glass — stretch opposite the building’s long bank of 10 elevators. Every canvas is an explosion of color and metallic paints, with a title and a theme. For example, the first painting, “The Gladiator,” is a battle of black, gold, and silver. “It was a challenge to blend those metallic paints, and I wanted this to be a challenge,” Older said, “because that’s what the show was all about, creativity. This painting was very fierce and had a fighting mentality to it, and there’s actually a gladiator in there with a shield — but it’s abstract. It was the image I was trying to portray. I don’t always do that, because usually a painting comes from certain emotions and then I trust my hands to bring it to the right place.” “Hardship of Hope,” Older .com

explained, represents her life, and the lives of many who find it difficult to survive in the city, but hang on to hope. “It’s scary for a lot of people. There’s a lot of change, a lot of emotion. Are we going to make it in this city or be swallowed up by it?” In addition to “The Gladiator,” the other works in the exhibit are “Yellow Ribbon,” “The Empress,” “Reborn,” “Beating Heart,” “Lenore,” “Melee,” and, my personal favorite, “Inferno,” with its defiant curves of red, gold, and silver metallic paints. “I drew mad the day I did ‘Inferno.’ That day I just went at it,” Older said. The way she pours paint to create air bubbles, and maneuvers canvasses, requires more intense physicality to get the desired result.

AN ARTIST FROM THE START Lisa Beth Older, a married Penn South resident, is getting more notice these days, but it has not been an easy journey. When she was a six-year-old girl living in Connecticut, her mother died as a result of breast cancer. Older had started painting when she was three, and she just continued to do what came naturally as she was passed around from one guardian to another during childhood, until she found her way to UCLA, where she did not major in art, but graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. “I’m primarily self-taught, but art has science to it,” she said. “You learn how paints interact, how to base your painting. I bend the paint. I wait until it’s a certain temperature, which depends upon the color and consistency of the paint. You can’t bend fluids.” Elaborating on her style, she explained, “Paint builds and you have another layer and you have to bridge the two perfectly — but it has to be in one fell swoop. It has to be just perfect. Most people would get it muddy. My paintings aren’t muddy. You can look at them for hours. There are some of my paintings that are layered this high,” OLDER continued on p. 18

Courtesy the artist

Lisa Beth Older’s “Glory in Parting” (acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30 inches).

Photo courtesy Lisa Beth Older

Dr. Rebecca Oppenheimer, (right) commissioned Lisa Beth Older (center) to create a work (“My Inner Cosmos”) for the American Museum of Natural History’s Department of Astrophysics. At left, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. July 28 - August 03 , 2016

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OLDER continued from p. 17

Older remarked, showing a three-inch space between her thumb and forefinger. Years after UCLA, Older would attain a law degree. Like Paul Gauguin, the stockbroker, or Mark Rothko, the elementary school teacher, she would go on to live successful parallel lives, one life supporting the other. Early on, she paid her dues, starting out as a resident of the Chelsea Hotel, followed by years in the East Village, where she shared loft space in the late 1980s with artist Fredda Mekul. Older regards Mekul as her mentor. “I learned through her,” she said. “For four years, I studied with her. She has been my inspiration throughout.” Almost offhandedly, Older mentioned that she has a congenital condition and is legally blind in her left eye. “It doesn’t matter,” she insisted. “The art that I do is all about energy and layering, and color itself has a certain energy.” For a time, Older painted in her studio in Woodstock, and also did early portraiture, painting Angelina Jolie for her private collection, and Melania Trump. These days, Older paints, and lives, in Chelsea — after a 15-year-wait, she finally triumphed in the Penn South housing lottery — and her abstract work is far from portrait painting. In fact, her art attracted the attention of Rebecca Oppenheimer, Ph.D., curator and chair, Department of Astrophysics, American Museum of Natural History, because the unusual textures and layers of Older’s work reminded her of a moonscape.

HER INNER COSMOS On a visit to 65 Broadway, Dr. Oppenheimer noticed that “People were stopping and looking at these particular paintings, which you don’t often see. Everyone is always in a rush to get to an appointment. Here, people were okay with missing an elevator and just looking at the paintings.” Dr. Oppenheimer connected with Older about commissioning a painting for the Museum’s Department of Astrophysics, and Older asked Dr. Oppenheimer for her color preferences. “I had never had anyone ask me about colors before — but I had some sort of dream, and purple and green came through. They don’t necessarily go together, but let’s see what Lisa can do with it,” Dr. Oppenheimer recalled, noting that Older wholeheartedly embraced her suggestion, built upon it, “and did a magnificent job.” Today, Older’s “My Inner Cosmos” hangs on a wall in the Department of Astrophysics across from a bust of the astronomer Copernicus.

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July 28 - August 03 , 2016

Courtesy the artist

Lisa Beth Older’s “My Inner Cosmos” (acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches).

The work is indeed filled with deep purple, green, but also reds, yellows, blues, white, black. Unlike the sculptural quality of the “Hardship of Hope” paintings, “My Inner Cosmos” presents more of a mystery that draws you in. “I think everybody reacts a little differently to the painting,” Dr. Oppenheimer said of reactions from other members in the Department. “Everyone seems to see aspects of their own work in it.” “Sometimes,” said Older of a creative process that includes meditation, “I feel there’s a universe inside of me. Yes, we are all connected to the [physical] universe, but there’s an inner universe that can be tapped into.” In addition to “Hardship of Hope,” a permanent installation in the lobby of 65 Broadway (btw. Morris & Rector Sts.), the art of Lisa Beth Older can be viewed on her website, lboart.com, and at facebook.com/lisaolderartist.

Courtesy the artist

The eight abstract acrylic paintings that comprise “Hardship of Hope” are on permanent display in the lobby of 65 Broadway. .com


Nature Under Surveillance

‘Plasma’ is strange, bloody good cinema BY STEVE ERICKSON For far too long, the uncanny has been missing from American independent cinema. It has a long and venerable tradition in our literature, from Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft to Thomas Ligotti and lesbian transgender author Caitlin Kiernan. But while indie horror films continue to be made, something as weird and uncategorizable as Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan’s “For the Plasma” is a UFO in the American film scene. For one thing, it’s far more upbeat than most of the films I could compare it to. A story of two women who work together over the course of a summer under increasingly weird circumstances, it doesn’t end with everlasting love and friendship, but nor does it culminate in terror. Helen (Rosalie Lowe) arrives in a remote town in Maine for a new job. Charlie (Annabelle LeMieux) is already there. Theoretically, their position involves monitoring CCTV cameras in a nearby forest for signs of fire. But Charlie has developed a new obsession: she thinks she can detect future movements in the stock market from patterns in the cameras’ images. She’s hooked up with brokers in New York and receives checks daily based on her predictions. Charlie sends Helen out into the woods to get more detailed information about the forest. One night during a blackout, the women meet their neighbor, a lighthouse keeper (Tom Lloyd). Bryant and Molzan shot on 16mm film, although “For the Plasma” is being distributed and projected digitally. The use of celluloid enabled them to capture a rich color palette. Early on, Charlie analyzes a photo in detail for Helen, pointing out its shadowy areas and the way a tree seems to bow toward the light. The film’s use of color, particularly green, enables such a close reading. The scenes in the forest are lovely in a way that’s slightly ominous. The presence of CCTV cameras is necessary for Charlie and Helen’s work but still feels out of place and creepy, something Helen seems to agree with. Charlie, in contrast, has .com

Christopher Messina/Cochin Wood

Rosalie Lowe in Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan’s “For the Plasma.”

become immune to their presence and thinks it’s perfectly natural to put security cameras in the middle of the woods. By the time Helen’s GPS starts malfunctioning and she finds swamps where paths are supposed to be, I felt spooky overtones of “The Blair Witch Project” and Kiernan’s novel “The Red Tree.” Charlie finds a way of monetizing nature without destroying it. But is she deluded or has she stumbled onto a new form of magic in the trees? The film seems to side with the latter explanation, but it keeps its options open. Toward the end, two Japanese businessmen approach her with a very open-ended project: studying satellite photos for a purpose they won’t explain. “For the Plasma” riffs on the American fondness for conspiracy theories without suggesting that Charlie’s full of crap. LeMieux and Lowe’s performances seem amateurish at first. They’re obviously outsiders to this small Maine town, and while they

might not feel out of place in a Joe Swanberg film, they seem glaringly strange in “For the Plasma.” Not until Lloyd enters the film do they fall into context. While I don’t know for sure, I’m guessing that Lloyd is an authentic Maine local, complete with a thick accent and smalltown friendliness. Charlie and Helen are far more guarded, although not

exactly hostile to strangers. Part of the film’s weirdness stems from its collision of these two worlds — Lloyd seems grounded firmly in reality, while the women have one foot in a collective fantasy. If there’s a tradition into which “For the Plasma” falls, it’s a small canon of films about female identity transference: Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona,” Jacques Rivette’s “Celine and Julie Go Boating,” Robert Altman’s “3 Women.” (Sophia Takal’s forthcoming “Always Shine” is one of the few examples directed by a woman, and Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell’s “Performance,” obviously inspired by “Persona,” is the male equivalent of such work.) Helen is sent into the field to do Charlie’s grunt work, essentially. Before she arrived, Charlie seemed to rely entirely on her CCTV cameras. While the two women are often separated, they spend a lot of time together, as well, and start to develop a resemblance. Helen’s mild dissatisfaction with the project rubs off on Charlie. “For the Plasma” may frustrate some people by erring too much on the side of the enigmatic, especially in its final half hour, but it offers up a compelling optimist’s vision of the forest of life, before which we’re all searching for answers. Runtime: 94 minutes. At Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Ave. at Second St.). For screening dates and times, visit anthologyfilmarchives.org.

Theater for the New City • 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net

The Elephant Pen Written by: Etienne Lepage Directed by Lissa Moira “A mental game of

predator and prey” July 7th - July 17th

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August 6th - September 18th Opens right here on 10th Street on August 6th at 2:00 PM All performance locations and times are available Online! July 28 - August 03 , 2016

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Buhmann on Art ‘Persuasive Percussion’ at On Stellar Rays

Courtesy On Stellar Rays

Installation view, “Persuasive Percussion,” at On Stellar Rays through Aug. 12.

Courtesy On Stellar Rays

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN Presenting new works by gallery artists Athanasios Argianas, Julia Bland, Zipora Fried, and Ryan Mrozowski, this exhibition explores the visual manifestation of two crucial aspects of sound: rhythm and repetition. In fact, the exhibition title, “Persuasive Percussion,” was taken from a series of LP albums released in the late 1950s and early 1960s by Enoch Light (1905-1978), a classical violinist, bandleader and recording engineer credited with pioneering the use of a specific stereo effect, in which sound bounces between the right and left channels to establish an immersive aural experience. None other than Josef Albers, whose influential color theory most famously played out in rhythmic variations of colored squares, designed seven of the “Persuasive Percussion” LP covers. In this spirit, these contemporary positions have much to offer. The sculptor Athanasios Argianas, for example, creates works that source from the compo-

Ryan Mrozowski: “The Swimmer.” 2016. HD Video, color, silent. 3:05 minutes. Edition 1 of 3. BUHMANN continued on p. 21

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July 28 - August 03 , 2016

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‘Midnight’ is an Oasis Tuneful tale of love and loss has memorable music, and more

Courtesy On Stellar Rays

Julia Bland: “Midnight Morning.” 2016. Canvas, wool, linen threads, wax, fabric dye, oil paint and ink (96 x 82 inches).

BUHMANN continued from p. 20

sition and transcription of sound, as well as language. He is particularly interested in the rhythms and frequencies of speech, and how the pronunciation of consonants and vowels can determine pattern and form. In contrast, Ryan Mrozowski employs stock images of flowers, fruits, and dots, among other things, to create a sense of optical play. Meanwhile, Zipora Fried’s “Night” series consists of colored pencil drawings, which are characterized by densely repeated gestures. Fried, one gathers quickly, is less interested in the particulars of language than in capturing the essence of a sensory experience at large. In her work, the hand serves as a link between an inner mood and its visual realization. In her large-scale, site-specific mural, for example, a group of reappearing heads succeeds in establishing a metaphor for the intersection of a psychological space and a material one. By employing dyed, stitched and painted fabrics, canvas, as well as hand-woven supports, Julia Bland creates stunning paintings that imbue archetypal and familiar geometric forms with a strong sense of the personal. “Geometry is a kind of grammar,” the artist once poignantly remarked, adding, “Language breaks down into isolated moments.” In that sense, Bland’s work, despite its abstraction, seem sto share more with intimate diary entries than with Albers’ use of geometry to illustrate his color theory. Through Aug. 12 at On Stellar Rays (213 Bowery, btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.). Hours: Tues.–Fri., 10am–6pm and Mon. by appointment. Call 212-5983012 or visit onstellarrays.com. .com

BY SCOTT STIFFLER When the simple act of being yourself makes the whole world a dangerous place — or, at the very least, a deeply unwelcoming one — you take your happiness, your success, and your shot at true love wherever you can find it. For Idaho escapee and self-professed “skinny queer” Trevor Copeland, that all-purpose safe space is a Greenwich Village bottle club: The Never Get. Just beyond its front room, where gay men sip drinks and enjoy a certain amount of protection courtesy of the mobbedup management, there’s a dingy little performance space presided over by Sister Etcetera — an enterprising crossdresser who took a chance by booking endearingly self-effacing singer Trevor and his composer/ pianist/romantic partner Arthur Brightman; at midnight; on a Tuesday; in the dead of winter. Soon thereafter, the duo are playing to packed houses — with Trevor’s lilting baritone delivering alternately campy and cutting interpretations of Arthur’s boy-meets-boy love songs, and without the risk mitigator of feminine pronouns. Which makes Trevor and Arthur considerably ahead of the curve. Too bad they’re also a little behind the times. Cleverly, stealthily calculated to wring every last drop of emotional resonance from the implications of its title, “Midnight at The Never Get” puts poor Trevor and Arthur’s creative burst in the years leading up to the Stonewall Rebellion of June, 1969 — after which the burgeoning LGBT rights movement renders their material positively tame by comparison. Almost overnight, songs like “The Bells Keep Ringing” and “I Prefer Sunshine” position our lads as two Jerry Hermans in an increasingly Stephen Sondheim world (Arthur, clinging to his American Songbook sensibilities, can’t fathom the appeal of

Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Sam Bolen, as Trevor Copeland, is a dapper baritone who still believes in love.

the Beatles, let alone the notion of marching in the streets). Told in the form of flashback anecdotes and taking place in some sort of cabaret-room-cum-hereafter-waystation, Trevor recreates the old act while waiting for recently deceased (and long-estranged) Arthur to join him. The witty, dishy tone he brings to their hardscrabble origin story takes a dark turn, when Arthur heads straight (so to speak) to the West Coast — where mainstream success, minus that flamboyant cabaret crooner he once wrote love songs to, is his reward. Packed with a satisfying mix of torch songs and zippy little numbers, the music and lyrics of Mark Sonnenblick, who plays

the show’s onstage pianist, are as easy to consume in one bite as they are to chew on for a while (you’ll find yourself preferring the latter). But it’s Sonnenblick’s book, along with co-creator Sam Bolen’s unsinkable Trevor, that allows “Never Get” not just to fly, but to soar. Directed by Max Friedman. At the New York Musical Festival: Thurs., July 28 at 9pm; Sun., July 31 at 7pm; Mon., Aug. 1 at 8pm. At 42West at the OUT NYC Hotel (514 W. 42nd St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). For tickets ($27.50), call 212-3523101 or visit nymf.org/midnight ($2 service fee for online purchase). Also visit nevergetmusical.com. July 28 - August 03 , 2016

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Rhymes With Crazy

Mulling Over Mail-Order Matrimony BY LENORE SKENAZY Years ago, when Marcia Zug read a GQ magazine article about mail-order brides, she was revolted. In it, a high-flying New York City photographer fed up with all the demanding models he was dating wanted to find a subservient woman to make him happy. So he ordered a pretty bride from a foreign country. When the bride got here he found her annoying, too. So he sent her home — pregnant with his child — and went back to dating models. Zug never forgot that piece. And even after she left her hometown of Manhattan to become a professor of family and immigration law at the University of South Carolina, she felt she had to expose the evil men who get their brides by mail. She delved into her research and guess what? Now she’s married — to a very different narrative. “I’m not suggesting that this is the marital path for everybody,” Zug said in a phone interview. But in her new book, “Buying a Bride: An Engaging History of Mail-Order Matches” (NYU Press), she presents the opposite of the idea she went in with. Far from depressing and degrading, mail-order matrimony “can actually be a very good choice for certain people in certain situations.” The book starts at the dawn of mail-order love: Jamestown, Virginia, circa 1600. Unlike New England, which was settled by families, Jamestown was settled by men. Conditions were horrendous — one settler described it as “hell, a misery, a death” — and there weren’t any English-speaking women to not enjoy it with. Some men hightailed it home, others married Native American women and

went to live in their comfier villages. In desperation, the Virginia Company decided to try attracting Englishwomen by paying their dowries. For young women toiling as servants just to save up enough to marry, the offer was liberating, and about 140 came over. They got to choose their husbands and seem to have been treated quite well, thanks to the laws of supply and demand. Laws were written to keep them happy. They could, for instance, legally break an engagement — something they couldn’t do back in England. Fast forward to the Western frontier a couple hundred years later when, once again, American men were heading out, and women weren’t. As much as these men needed wives, some women back east needed husbands. These included women appalled by the local prospects, like the gal who placed this ad in a Missouri paper in 1910: “Attractive woman, not a day over thirty, would be pleased to correspond with eligible man. Would prefer one with property, but one with a good paying position would be satisfactory. The young lady is of medium height, has brown hair and gray eyes, not fat, although, most decidedly, she is not skinny. Her friends say she is a fine-looking woman. Object matrimony. Reason for this advertisement, the young woman lives in a little dinky town, where the best catches are the boys behind the counters in the dry goods and clothing stores, and every one of ’em is spoken for by the time he is out of his short pants.” Gosh, I’d marry her — what spunk. Zug found little evidence of exploitation or mistreatment of these brides. And today, the same holds true.

MANTA SPA FOCUSING ON MAN TO MAN MASSAGE

Americans seeking brides can easily go online to meet prospects. Most of the women live in Asia or Eastern Europe. And while it seems like a terrible imbalance — any schlub with U.S. citizenship can attract a desperate catch — it is a better marriage market for everyone. “The women come from countries where their prospects are not great,” says Zug. Some live where they’re not allowed to pursue a career. Some live where they are worthless if divorced, widowed, already have children, or are

simply too old — perhaps 25. They look to America, and the path to get here is marriage. “These men are often much more attractive to them than the men they see in their countries,” says Zug. The men are not allowed to marry women sight unseen. Legally they must meet at least once before they marry, and the mail-order sites organize trips to get the prospects together. Once here, says Zug, the brides not only have far rosier prospects than back home, they often make the men shape up, too. As in “I’m learning a whole new language. Go get your GED!” And unlike the GQ article, many of these couples live happily ever after — maybe even happier than most, since everyone likes to get a surprise in the mail. Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker who authored the book, and founded the blog, Free-Range Kids (freerangekids.com).

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