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The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

August 25, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 34

Rodent combatants nest at Rat Academy BY SEAN EGAN

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n New York, rats are often inconsiderate neighbors (or tenants) whose bad habits and uncleanliness can cause health risks and other quality of life issues. For many, hardly a day goes by where one doesn’t see a rat on the streets, in the subway, or even at home. That’s why on Tues., Aug. 17, the office of City Councilmember Corey Johnson (representing Council District

3), along with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene presented its second “Rat Academy” at the L.G.B.T. Community Center (208 W. 13th St., btw. Greenwich & Seventh Aves.). The program educated the community on ways to prevent and eliminate the troublesome rodents from their homes, businesses, and public spaces. Academy continued on p. 6

Brewer gives thumbs down on St. John’s project; Says it ‘isn’t good enough’ BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

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ale Brewer, the Manhattan Borough president, has split sharply with Community Board 2 over the massive St. John’s Partners project. While C.B. 2, at the end of June, recommended approval of the three-block-long development plan at Houston and West

Sts., Brewer on Monday announced that the project “isn’t good enough.” The “Beep” recommended a flat-out denial of the developers’ land-use and air rights-transfer applications to build on the Lower West Side site, which would involve buying and using $100 million worth of air rights from Hudson River Park. ST. John’s continued on p. 9

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Photo by Tequila Minsky

Protestors slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio for allowing a political donor to level five East Village apar tment buildings.

Villagers protest loss of affordable housing to de Blasio ‘ally’ BY ALEX ELLEFSON

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reservationists and community advocates lambasted Mayor Bill de Blasio Monday for allowing a developer to demolish affordable housing in five historic East Village buildings to make way for a chic hotel. Dozens of protestors rallied outside the property — waving signs that read “save our neighborhood” and “housing, not hotels” — to call attention to the

mayor’s cozy relationship with the developer who plans to level the row of pre-war buildings at 112-120 E. 11th St. “These buildings are being demolished to make way for [the mayor’s] friend, his contributor, his ally’s hotel development,” said Andrew Berman, executive director for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (G.V.S.H.P.). Protestors cited revelations in the New York Post that David Lichtenstein, C.E.O. and found-

er of the Lightstone Group, contributed $50,000 to a key state senate race at the request of a top de Blasio fundraiser. The Lightstone Group, which snapped up the property in April, is partnering with with Marriott International to bring one of the company’s millennialbranded Moxy Hotels to the East Village block. Demonstrators, some accusing the mayor of “graft” and “corruption,” said tenants had 11th street continued on p. 3

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Craft from another era: Judith Ivry Bookbinding BY BOB KR ASNER

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isitors to Judith Ivry Bookbinding on E. Fourth St. often ask: “Where’s the sewing machine?” Ivry, who has been restoring valuable antique tomes and creating limited edition art books for more than three decades, simply replies: “The sewing machine is my hands.” Using a technique that “hasn’t changed since the 17th century,” Ivry sometimes spends up to three hours sewing the binding on a single book. There are some machines involved in the process, such as the board cutter, book press, job backer and various hand tools, but they are manually operated. One of her most frequent clients, Steve Clay of Granary Books, notes that, “Judy Ivry’s bindery feels like something from another era, which it is.” Sure, the digital age presents numerous tools to make a specialized book. There are online platforms like Shutterflyb and blurb. You could even cobble something together on your Macbook. But to get something truly distinctive

Former Florent 411: Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, tried to clarify for us exactly what’s going on at 69 Gansevoort St., the former Florent, but, even he admits, the picture is a bit murky. Based on the permit, the developers have permission to dismantle the former Meat Market hot spot’s facade – but then are supposed to use the original materials and put it all back together again. The permit makes mention of the structure needed to be renovated. Oh well, we guess we will believe it when we see it!

— you need to draw on crafts from an age before books were mass-produced. “Judith is a perfectionist who breathes life into our books,” said award-winning graphic designer Yolanda Cuomo, who collaborates with Ivry on projects. “The books are alive because so much care and love has gone into them.” Ivry began studying her craft as an apprentice for a binder on the Upper East Side, where for two years she learned to “crank it out.” With the help of a Kress Foundation grant, she studied at the London College of Printing. By 1985, she was on her own in New York City, where she worked out of her apartment on 30th St. She managed to find her present loft through the Village Voice and after renting her portion of the space the owner sold

it to Ivry ten years ago. About half her business is restoring antiques, such as old photo albums. She is currently working to restore a first edition of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.” The other half of her work is the design and production of limited edition art books and enclosures. Collaborating with different artists and publishers is a complicated process, involving the talents (and input) of any number of creative people who have come together to create a project. One combined the poems of John Ashberry, the etchings of Tom Levine and a foreword by Patti Smith. bookbinding continued on p. 8

Photo by Bob Krasner

Judith Ivr y working in her studio on E. Four th St. Photo by Bob Krasner

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Protestors demand housing, not hotels 11th street continued from p. 1

been flushed out of the building’s rent-regulated apartments. “This demonstrates the disinterest of the mayor’s promise for an equitable New York, as all of these affordable apartments will be lost, and its tenants injuriously removed with short notice,” said Kelly Carroll, director of advocacy and community outreach for the Historic Districts Council. It is unknown how or when the apartments were vacated. However, state Senator Brad Hoylman, the lone elected official at the rally, vowed to have the Department of Housing and Preservation look into what happened to the tenants. “It raises red flags for those of us who care about affordable housing,” he said. Hoylman also pointed out the mayor appointed Lichtenstein to the Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors — which the senator said puts the developer in “a unique position to do the right thing.” Community groups tried to block the demolition by asking the Landmarks Preservation Commission (L.P.C.) to consider making the block a historic district. A letter sent to the commission in June — signed by the G.V.S.H.P., the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, the East Village Community Coalition and the Historic Districts Council — noted the L.P.C. considered the buildings landmark-eligible after conducting a 2008 analysis for a cityapproved rezoning. However, the L.P.C. failed to calendar the request, which would have postponed the demolition of the 19th-century Beaux Arts structures. “They did nothing. For two months, we waited for a response from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The city’s agency, the mayor’s agency, charged with preserving our city, our history, our neighborhoods,” Berman said.

Photo by Alex Ellefson

State Senator Brad Hoylman vowed to look into what happened to the rent-regulated tenants.

Both the Mayor’s Office and the L.P.C. did not respond to a request for comment about taking action to block the demolition. Berman said the only thing that has changed since the L.P.C. once considered the buildings landmark-eligible is the ownership of the property. He urged the demonstrators to send a message to the mayor asking for them to be preserved. “You can send the mayor an email directly right now saying: I want you to preserve these buildings, stop being a hypocrite, live up to your promise, preserve our neighborhood, preserve our history,” he said.

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Photo by Tequila Minsky

The Lighstone Group wants to replace the Beaux Ar ts buildings with a trendy hotel.

Preser vationists want the city to designate the buildings as a historic district.

TheVillager.com

August 25, 2016

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Tech enthusiasts find a home at Fat Cat Fab Lab BY MICHEAL OSSORGUINE Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association News Story, First Place, 2015 Editorial Page, First Place, 2015 Editorials, First Place, 2014 News Story, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009

PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN

EDITOR IN CHIEF LINCOLN ANDERSON

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SCOTT STIFFLER

CONTRIBUTORS ALBERT AMATEAU IRA BLUTREICH TINA BENITEZ-EVES ALEX ELLEFSON SARAH FERGUSON BOB KRASNER TEQUILA MINSKY CLAYTON PATTERSON JEFFERSON SIEGEL SHARON WOOLUMS

ART DIRECTOR MICHAEL SHIREY

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ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Jack Agliata ALLISON GREAKER JIM STEELE Julio tumbacO

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Member of the New York Member of the National Press Association Newspaper Association

The Villager (USPS 578930) ISSN 0042-6202 is published every week by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 (212) 229-1890. Periodicals Postage paid at New York, N.Y. Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $29 ($35 elsewhere). Single copy price at office and newsstands is $1. 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. 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 others errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue. Published by NYC Community Media, LLC One Metrotech North 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (718) 260-2500 • Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: www.thevillager.com E-mail: news@thevillager.com © 2016 NYC Community Media, LLC

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n a space located above a West Village jazz club, members of the Fat Cat Fab Lab use nifty technologies to create fun and functional objects. The so-called makerspace hosted a launch party in July to celebrate registering as a nonprofit. The occasion also marked the opening of their newly renovated space, once occupied by a gym, on the second floor of a building at the corner of W. Fourth and Christopher Sts. Previously, the lab drew support from owners of the downstairs Fat Cat Jazz Club (hence, the name), who started it as a community project in 2013. “It was pretty altruistic, what Fat Cat Jazz Club did,” said operations manager Peter Hartmann. “None of us work for Fat Cat, it’s all volunteer. We are our own entity now. The nonprofit now serves close to 45 members and hosts weekly lessons and competitions to supplement their facilities. Lab users create objects using 3D printers, laser printers and C.N.C. routers. They also have the opportunity to work with 3D imaging software, design programs like Adobe Illustrator, and microcontrollers — as well as participate in Fat Cat Fab Lab’s many events. One of their latest events was a competition called Gamesmash, presented by the 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker and the software company MakerOS, to challenge participants to create their own tabletop games using some of the tech at the makerspace. Getting in on all the action isn’t cheap. The cost of membership is $110 per month for hobbyists, and goes up to $220 for businesses, or $550 dollars for a membership that grants desk and storage space on top of access to all the tools in the lab. However, access to the lab’s resources open up almost limitless creative possibilities. They also provide training so members can use the devices safely. “If you made the mistake of using PVC (polyvinyl chloride) in the [laser cutter], it would release chlorine gas, which is extremely bad,” explained operations manager Peter Hartmann. “We have classes

Photos by Tequila Minsky

Lots of objects can be created by 3D printers.

Once you’ve chosen your 3D object and picked the correct printer settings, the Ultimaker 2+ will bring your computerized vision to reality.

that we require to use the 3D printers, the laser cutter, or the C.N.C. router because there’s safety things that people need to know.” But once members get the hang of things, they can get to work building fantastic objects. Member Howard Fink used a C.N.C. router to create an accurate moonscape using data of the moon’s topography. First, Fink plugged data into 3D imaging software to create a 3D rendering of his moonscape. At Fat Cab Fab Lab, a program called Fusion 360 is often used. Fink then sent the file to the C.N.C. router, which cut away into a wood block until only the moonscape remained. Other members are making more functional items. Software engineer Landon Williams used an Arduino microcontroller to create automated blinds for his house, which faces the Hudson River. The system will use a light sensor to lower the blinds during certain times of day when the

Hobbyist Landon Williams (left) and operations manager Peter Har tmann (right) discussing the best nozzle size to make sure no plastic is wasted.

The wide, blue base stabilizes the object as it comes into shape, and can be cut off after printing.

sun is especially bright. He used an Ultimaker 2+ printer to craft small pulleys for the contraption. “We’re literally getting murdered by the sun,” said Williams. “My fiancé’s not tall enough to [pull the blinds] herself. She doesn’t know I’m doing this.” Fat Cat Fab Lab also uses technology to unlock its doors via text message using their Arduino microchips. Program-

ing everyday objects to communicate with other electronic devices like this is part of the concept called the “Internet of Things” the lab is promoting. The lab is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.. Interested tech enthusiasts can also attend some of the events. For more information, go to the lab’s website at http:// www.fatcatfablab.org. TheVillager.com


police blotter

Relentless harassment Squirrelly assailant A brute who was arrested on Aug. 17 for domestic violence, started making threatening phone calls later that day to his ex-girlfriend from jail, according to police. The victim was having dinner with her sister at Spice restaurant, located at 39 E. 13th St., when she started receiving the calls. The man allegedly threatened to kill her if she did not drop the charges against him. The woman, who already had a temporary order of protection against her ex-boyfriend, feared for her life, according to authorities. Police re-arrested the man, David Rodriguez, 22, and charged him with felony intimidation of a victim.

A wily young man led a police officer on a midnight foot chase through the Meatpacking District on Aug. 18 after allegedly beating another man bloody at the corner of W. 14th St. and Ninth Ave. Auin a city rich in shades, here is a COLOR that includes all... thorities say that after the victim pointed in in a city rich here in shades, here isthat a COLOR that includes all... a city rich shades, is a COLOR includes all... out his attacker, the officer shouted: in“Police! Don’t move!” Instead, the suspect bolted and tried to weasel out of the officer’s grasp when he was nabbed after a brief pursuit. Police charged the runaway renegade, Benjamin Howard, 27, with misdemeanor assault. The victim suffered a cut and bruises on his face, according to the N.Y.P.D.

Nightmare in front of N.Y.U.

‘I’m gonna kill you’

Two punks allegedly picked a fight with a man they found napping at 5 a.m. on Aug. 18 in front of N.Y.U.’s Helen and Martin Kimmel Center. One of the attackers allegedly smashed a chair over the less-thanvigilant victim while the other threatened him with a knife, police say. Cops picked up the man accused of wielding the chair, Josue Espinoza Cortes, 23, and charged him with felony assault. The second suspect fled in an unknown direction and is still on the loose. The victim described the attacker as a man with straight hair and a blotchy complexion.

Officers arrested a man who allegedly pretended to have a gun while threatening another man’s life at the corner of Washington St. and Little W. 12th Street on Aug. 20. The victim told authorities he left work at 1:40 a.m. when the suspect approached him, motioned as if he had a gun and said “I’m gonna kill you tonight.” When officers arrested the menace, they found him with a gravity knife and untaxed cigarettes. Authorities charged Amadou Soukouna, 46, who has previous convictions, with felony criminal possession of a weapon.

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August 25, 2016

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Scholars study up on rodent control

Photo by Sean Egan

Erik Bottcher (left), Caroline Bragdon (second from left), Nefer titi Granville (second from right), and Danisa Arias (right) strike a pose after the Academy, near some rodent-resistant trash cans. academy continued from p. 1

After Erik Bottcher, Johnson’s Chief of Staff, reported the Councilmember’s office receives hundreds of complaints about rats, he turned the floor over to D.O.H.M.H.’s Caroline Bragdon, who he referred to as “New York City’s rat czar.” Armed with a thorough and informative PowerPoint presentation, Bragdon highlighted some recent statistics about the rat population in the West Village. So far this year, there have been 1,048 rat inspections in the area, and 16.6 percent of those inspections resulted in failure (she described “success” as below 5 percent). Furthermore, the city has provided 415 visits by pest control professionals to specific sites. She also noted there were 58 violations for un-remediated rat activity in the last six to seven months in the neighborhood. She also stressed the importance of community mobilization to combat rats (including calling 311), and urged the assembled to visit the city’s rat portal (nyc. gov/rats) for resources and neighborhood rat stats, such as its “Rat Indexing” program, which targets certain areas (including Community Districts 2 and 3) for more in-depth surveillance. Also mentioned was the de Blasio administration’s commitment to fighting “rat reservoirs” (areas where large numbers of rats thrive). Next up, Danisa Arias, also from D.O.H.M.H., spoke about ways to identify rat problems, and preventative measures. Rat-proofing methods include sealing up any holes the size of a quarter or larger (preferably using steel or copper mesh and plaster). Securing garbage is also a must, as rats only require 1oz of food and water a day to survive —

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August 25, 2016

gallons-large bags provide enough sustenance for a colony of rodents. It’s all part of limiting access to the rats’ “Triangle of Life”: food, shelter, and water. Arias also cited various ways to identify rats, most notably through their droppings and urine stains. If a problem is detected, and action must be taken, she advised against using poisons (which could be harmful to pets and people) — and advocated bringing in professionals. Also introduced at the meeting was Nefertiti Granville, case manager for Community Board 2 and Community Board 4, who handles rat issues and inspections in those areas. “A lot of times, people don’t know what to look for,” she noted. “That’s why I’m here,” she said, encouraging everyone to reach out to her. Periodically, members of the public directed questions and concerns to moderators. A few concerned Village residents spoke out about excessive rat issues on Jane St., citing overflowing city garbage cans as an exacerbating factor. Bragdon told the crowd that D.O.H.M.H. was aware of the issue and the city would make efforts to rectify the problem — one of a number of times she noted that many rat issues stem from city-owned property, such as sewers, sidewalks, and parks. Julie Lawrence voiced concern about rats plaguing Alice’s Garden in Hell’s Kitchen (W. 34th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), which she helps maintain — an issue she believes originates with a nearby dumpster used by a restaurant and mixed-use building. The officials advised her to report the problem, so that the Department could conduct an inspection, work with the neighbors and suss out the problem. The evening came to a conclusion with a raffle. Johnson’s office was giv-

Courtesy Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

A map of rat activity in the West Village (the most heavily affected areas outlined in blue).

ing away 30 rodent-resistant trash cans to lucky attendees, in order for them to start implementing the strategies discussed that evening. “I thought it was a very good presentation,” commented Chelsea resident and West 400 Block Association member Allen Oster, noting he learned more about the importance of preventative measures. “If you don’t have the defenses up, your offense is gonna fail,” he observed. “This training is a powerful way to give residents the tools and informa-

tion they need to keep their buildings and neighborhoods rodent-free,” wrote Johnson in a statement to The Villager after the event. “While we’re happy to work with anybody who sees rats in their building on a one-on-one basis, we also want people to know that there are a few things you can do to help prevent this from happening in the first place. I’m extremely grateful to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for holding this, I know the attendees benefited greatly.”

Courtesy Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Be aware of the “Triangle of Life,” in order to limit rodents’ access to resources. TheVillager.com


Bonnie R. Crown, 88, champion of Asian literature

OBITUARY BY JEREMY CROWN

B

onnie R. Crown, a literary agent, writer, and lecturer who shepherded the translation of over 100 books from Asia, died of natural causes on Aug. 17 at her East Village home. She was 88. Crown served as the Director of the Asian Literature Program at the Asia Society from 1959 to 1976. During that time she traveled to almost every Asian country — often on her own and spending months away from home — to discover new writers and books to share with the American public. Under the aegis of the Asian Literature Program, she worked closely with James Laughlin of New Directions to broaden the audience for Asian literature and to develop cross-cultural dialogues. The effort provided grants to writers, published new works, placed writings in magazines, broadcast readings on the radio, and produced live performances. Towering literary figures like Allen Ginsberg and W.S. Merwin considered her a great resource on Asian literature. Some of the most popular books she

Bonnie Crown

worked on include “In Praise of Krishna” translated by Denise Levertov & Edward C. Dimock, Jr., the Chinese poetry collection “Sunflower Splendor” co-edited by Wu-chi Liu and Irving Yucheng Lo, and “The Haiku Handbook” by William J. Higginson. Crown lectured and gave readings throughout Asia and the U.S. — focusing especially on Korea. She served on the boards of many Asian-focused organizations, and wrote reviews of Asian writings CROWN continued on p. 10

Photo provided by Jeremy Crown

Bonnie Crown and her husband James Crown seated together in the 1950s.

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E*bill is a safe and secure way to receive your bill via email. And once you receive it, you can pay it any way you like: electronically, in person or through the mail. How’s that for convenient? Visit conEd.com/MyAccount to register. TheVillager.com

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

August 25, 2016

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Ivry’s uncommon craft breathes life into books BOOKBINDING continued from p. 2

“Rarely are two projects the same,” Ivry said, “I love the challenge of figuring out how to convey the artist’s vision.” Sometimes the project is personal. It might be as a memorial for a deceased child, or, more happily, a wedding album. She recently completed an epic ode to marriage — a couple’s 900 picture, five volume tome. Her partner at “Uncommon Binding,” photographer Jason Walz, has collaborated with her on many wedding albums. “Working with Judy is revelatory,” he said “She brings insight, curiosity and creativity to her projects as well as a deep knowledge of traditional and contemporary book binding skills, so her books are alive with memory and life.” She also busies herself making boxes, which look exactly like an antique leather bound book, to hold items bound for auction houses. She has also been commissioned to make special, single edition books that were gifted to high-profile figures like the Pope and David Koch Working in a medium that belongs to another time is not easy. It also means she can’t hold on to her works. “I don’t have copies of most of them,” said Ivry. “I can’t afford them.” Luckily the projects have been photographed and can be seen on her blog (ivrybindery.tumblr.com). Those interested in learning more about Ivry’s uncommon craft can visit her website (ivrybookbinding.com) or visit her studio at 25 E. 4th St. – fifth floor.

A lot of labor and attention goes into each book crafted at Judith Ivr y Bookbinding.

PhotoS by Bob Krasner

The materials might make the studio look like a museum, but it’s a working business.

Letters to the Editor Florent is ‘erased’ To The Editor: Re “Another affront in MePA; Florent storefront is fini” (news article, Aug. 11): Sad to see another part of Meatpacking history vanish. I remember seeing Amanda Lepore sing and dance at the restaurant back when it was packed with people and loads of fun. And they filmed part of “Men in Black” there! Now it’s erased! How sad. I use my photos from those days to illustrate the tours and lectures of the old Meatpacking District.

And that doesn’t even include Dory and billions of her little friends, because we haven’t figured out how to count individual aquatic animals that we grind up for human or animal feed. The good news is that we have a choice every time we visit a restaurant or grocery store. We can choose live foods — yellow and green vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and grains, as well as a rich variety of grain- and nutbased meats and dairy products.

Or, we can choose dead animals, their body parts, and other products of their abuse. What will it be? Nico Young E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.

ira blutreich

Efrain Gonzalez

We love ’em to death To The Editor: Today’s 10 highest-grossing box office releases are about animals, including: “Finding Dory,” “The Jungle Book,” “Zootopia,” “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Kung Fu Panda.” Nearly half of our households include a dog and nearly 40 percent have a cat. Two-thirds of us view them as family members and cherish them accordingly. We love our animals to death. Literally... . For every cat, dog or other animal that we love and cherish, we put 500 through months of caging, crowding, deprivation, mutilation and starvation, before we take their very lives and cut their dead bodies into little pieces to shove in our mouths.

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When politicians talk — pigs fly! TheVillager.com


BP Brewer rejects St. John’s project ST. JOHN’S continued from p. 1

“A worthy plan for the St. John’s Terminal site would have more and better affordable units, a true neighborhood retail plan, and accessible public spaces that residents will actually use,” Brewer said. “We don’t need to choose between a massive project with massive flaws or letting Pier 40 fall into the river — I firmly believe we can do better with this site. “I believe government should find creative ways to fund the operation and maintenance of its own property assets,” Brewer stated. “All too often, though, it appears that the default financing mechanism is to cede that responsibility to a private developer. … Here, in order to fund necessary and urgent repairs to Pier 40 and have a real chance to create affordable apartments in this neighborhood, I am told I must accept this project at this height and density. But I believe looking at the project in this manner sets up a false premise which I cannot accept. “Funding repairs to the pier benefits the neighborhood, but also benefits the developer by enhancing the value of the market-rate apartments,” Brewer said. “This raises the larger question of what the neighborhood is receiving in return for the increase in height and density and whether those benefits outweigh adverse impacts to open space, transportation, and the very real, albeit temporary, impacts during construction. “I do not think the amount, location and design of the proposed affordable housing is adequate,” Brewer noted, “and I believe significant changes to the site plan in regard to parking, open space, retail and public access are needed to truly stitch this development into its surrounding neighborhood and to ameliorate the impacts cited above.” Brewer specifically said the affordable units should be more equitably distributed throughout the project. Under an amendment to the Hudson River Park Act, the money from the sale of the 200,000 square feet of air rights would be poured back into Pier 40 — the 14acre pier across from the proposed development site — to repair the ailing pier’s metal support piles. Two months ago, Board 2 voted overwhelmingly, with one abstention — by veteran board member Doris Diether — to back the project. The board issued a lengthy resolution with a range of recommendations, including changing the massing of the project, and also urging the developer to allocate funding for area public schools. Tobi Bergman, the board’s chairperson, said it would be a losing battle to fight for the developer to include a public school in the project, given the nearness of other existing and planned public schools. C.B. 2’s and Brewer’s recommendations on the mega-project are part of the seven-month-long Uniform Land-Use Review Procedure, or ULURP, for the plan. Both the board’s and Brewer’s recommendations are only advisory, not binding, though. St. John’s Center Partners, the real estate group seeking to develop the site, responded to the Borough President’s recommendations by promising to continue “the dialogue with stakeholders and the City to make this vital project, offering hundreds of new affordable housing units, urgently needed resources to save Pier 40, and the opportunity to create a vibrant, mixed-use development, a reality.” “We thank the Borough President for her and her staff’s work and value her input. After Community Board 2’s conditional support for the project, this is another step in the process,” their statement read. The applications were reviewed at a City Planning Commission public hearing Wed., Aug. 24. Brewer and C.B. 2 were among those offering testimony on the TheVillager.com

Image courtesy COOKFOX

A rendering showing what uses are planned in the St. John’s project. A rendering of Ian Schrager’s planned wave-shaped building, 160 Leroy St., which is not yet under construction, is shown just nor th (to the right) of the St. John’s project.

We can do better with this site. Gale Brewer Borough President proposal at the hearing. Following City Planning’s eventual binding vote on the project, the City Council will weigh in, also with a binding vote. Under the new project plan, the St. John’s Center — the onetime terminal of the High Line elevated railway — would be razed and replaced with five buildings. Four of these would be residential and one commercial, possibly a hotel. The tallest building would rise 430 feet, sporting 34 floors, and the smallest 240 feet, with 21 floors. The total project’s size would be 1.7 million square feet, with 1.3 million of that residential, and 400,000 square feet commercial. Of the St. John’s Center project’s roughly 1,586 residential units, 476 would be permanently affordable. Of that amount, 175 would be earmarked for low-income seniors; the rest of the affordable units would be for low- and moderate-income families. Affordable apartments would be allotted by a lottery — with preference given to Community Board 2 residents — to be run by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Although 30 percent of the project’s total residential units would be affordable, due to differences in unit sizes, only 25 percent of the total residential F.A.R. (floor area ratio) would be affordable.

Image courtesy COOKFOX

A rendering of the nor th towers in the St. John’s Par tners plan, viewed from the nor th. At 430 feet tall, this would be the development’s highest point. August 25, 2016

9


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Patrick J. Eves, 41, photographer, digital project manager

BROOKLYN obituary BY TINA BENITEZ-EVES

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atrick James Eves, a photographer and East Village resident, died on Sun., Aug. 14, at the age of 41. Born in the Bronx, Eves grew up in Yonkers and attended Mt. Saint Michael Academy. A graduate of Baruch College and the School of Visual Arts, he started his career as a producer and sound engineer for Billboard magazine’s Billboard Radio in 1999. He later held Web production and project management positions at Scholastic, Bravo TV and UGO Entertainment, before joining Rockstar Games in 2011 as project manager for art. At Rockstar, he managed a team of in-house designers and illustrators, working on major releases for “Grand Theft Auto V,” “Max Payne 3,” “Red Dead Redemption” and other Rockstar titles. Eves joined Viacom in 2014, helping manage a variety of digital products, including all apps for MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, Comedy Central and other Viacom brands. Music was Eves’s life. A contribu-

Patrick J. Eves

tor to The Villager newspaper, he also worked with Royal Flush magazine and other media outlets throughout his career, often covering live shows and music festivals and other photographic projects with local New York City artists. He is survived by his wife Tina Benitez-Eves, a contributor to The Villager, his mother Marian, father Jim, brother James, sister Kathy, aunt Mary Eves Law and extended family and friends. A viewing was held at the Jarema Funeral Home, at 129 E. Seventh St., on Tues., Aug. 23. He was interred at Gates of Heaven in Hawthorne, N.Y. Donations can be made in Eves’s name to support the fostered, adoptable pets of For Animals Inc.

Crown, a ‘guiding angel’ CROWN continued from p. 7

for World Literature Today. She never sought credit for her behindthe-scenes work. Instead, Crown wanted the attention directed towards the writers and works. Still, she was often praised in book acknowledgments for her encouragement and support. Nguyen Ngoch Bich, editor of “A Thousand Years of Vietnamese Poetry” aptly described her role as “a great deal more than what her title implies, since she has been the guiding angel of this project.” As a liaison between the United States and Asia, she often made an impression during her travels to far-flung regions. Indian writer Jyotirmoy Datta described meeting her in India for the first time by saying, “Meeting Bonnie Crown was like meeting the Statue of Liberty.” Born in York, Nebraska, Crown was the fourth of five daughters born to Wilbur Arnold and Henrietta Refshauge. She earned an A.B. and M.A. in Literature from the University of Northern Colorado and moved to New York in 1952 to work in publishing, where she became a longtime Villager. Along with her interest in Asian literature, Crown was an avid supporter of the performing arts. In the last years of her life, she hosted many musical

Photo provided by Jeremy Crown

Bonnie Crown giving a lecture in 1978. performances in her apartment on East 10th St., where she and her husband, NYU Political Science Professor Emeritus and author James Tracy Crown, lived for 51 years. She had a love of good conversation and lit up a room with her distinctive laugh. She is survived by sisters Helen Hayes, Ilene Refshauge Gotobed, and Judith Ann Hill, as well as many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. James, her husband of nearly 62 years, passed away three weeks before her death. TheVillager.com


The ship never sails on Lilac’s living history Pier 25’s lighthouse tender has gangplank, galley, gallery BY TRAV S.D.

N

COURTESY LILAC PRESERVATION PROJECT

The last steam-powered lighthouse tender in America is open to the public, free of charge, May through October.

TheVillager.com

ew Yorkers pride themselves on their cosmopolitanism. There are a finite number of museums in this town; the notion of having “done them all” can be a tempting one. But I’ll lay dollars to donuts you’ve not been to the Lilac, where the exhibition “Adam Payne: Full Steam Ahead” is hanging through the end of September. Open since 2011, the Lilac is one of New York’s newer and lesser-known museums. Its relatively low profile among the cognoscenti might have something to do with the fact that she is a US Coast Guard Cutter, moored at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25 near North Moore Street. For almost four decades (1933-1972), the Lilac served as a lighthouse tender along the Delaware River. Following her decommissioning, she served successive periods as a training vessel and the offices for a waterfront scrap business before being towed to New York and then acquired by the Lilac Preservation Project in 2004. The last steam-powered lighthouse tender in America, the Lilac is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is eligible to become a National Historic Landmark. The Lilac is open free of charge to the public for self-guided tours between May and October. As a tourism experience, the Lilac is best suited for hardier visitors. It is a bit of an obstacle course, with a gangplank, uneven, shifting surfaces, and ladders to be negotiated. And the vessel is in the process of being restored. It is a rough and raw environment. But access to virtually all parts of this interesting ship is ample reward for the curious. Children and nautical buffs will especially appreciate the opportunity to stand at the ship’s wheel on the bridge, to make their way along the decks, and take in the engine room, galley, wardroom and cabins. A permanent exhibition tells the story of the ship’s history through historic photos and descriptive wall text. Unlike most historic ship museums, the Lilac also doubles as an art gallery — a savvy innovation given its proximity to Tribeca and Chelsea. All of the exhibitions have some maritime connection. Recent exhibiLILAC continued on p. 12 August 25, 2016

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PHOTO BY SAM MONACO

Adam Payne with one of his “Full Steam Ahead” works, installed at the Lilac through September.

LILAC continued from p. 11

tions have included a collection of paintings by Rachel Lussier, and a photography show called “Defending New York Harbor.” The current exhibition, “Adam Payne: Full Steam Ahead,” opened on Aug. 10. Payne is a conceptual artist whose work often consists of found objects (or “products”), which he reconceptualizes for the gallery space. “Full Steam Ahead” is described as “an exhibit of maritime art in mixed media” and consists of objects and documents with nautical associations, altered to bring out new meanings. The pieces are installed throughout the ship. Seeking them out carries with it something of the fun of a scavenger hunt, even when the significance of the art is quite serious. Most of the exhibition consists of a series of life vests and life preservers stenciled with the names of explorers and given thought provoking names, like “Nice Face,” “Milquetoast,” or “To Help Give Up The Ship.” The most ambitious of these (in scale) is an entire life raft hanging in the engine room, accompanied by a sound installation. In an ordinary art gallery, these works would inevitably evoke ships, sailing, and the sea. In the Lilac, the poignancy and drama are foregrounded. We are in a vulnerable place; these objects represent lives, both lost and saved. Other interesting pieces include a series of nautical maps with signal flag designs hand drawn over the top in colored pencil. The provocative title of one of these is “Hi Ho The Derry O The Cheese Stands Alone” (the song lyrics are spelled out in the work in the code of the maps). The result is a sort of bi-level semiotics. What does it mean as a message? And what does that message mean when presented as art? The fact that the lyric is nonsense, if anything, reinforces the question. But don’t think about it too hard! As I say, this is one gallery where you want to watch where you put your feet. Says Payne, “Showing on the Lilac is a unique opportunity to interact with some of the history that has inspired these works. The Lilac’s work, servicing buoys and as a lighthouse tender, ensured lines of communication. Now the Lilac is used to help communicate with the past. Showing these works on this ship is a way to better understand nautical history and the individuals who made it.” Admission to the Lilac is free. “Adam Payne: Full Steam Ahead” is on view through Sept. 29. Hours: Thurs., 4–7pm; Sat. & Sun., 2–7pm. At Hudson River Park’s Pier 25 (at N. Moore & West Sts.). Visit lilacpreservationproject.org.

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August 25, 2016

PHOTO BY SAM MONACO

In the main gallery space, Adam Payne’s drawing “Hi Ho The Derry O The Cheese Stands Alone” and the life jacket “To Help Give Up The Ship.”

PHOTO BY MARY HABSTRITT

Wheel fun: Visitors to the bridge can take the steering mechanism for a spin. TheVillager.com


Meet the man on the fifth floor Robinson’s doc charts Busby’s life in the Chelsea Hotel

PHOTO BY LINDA TROELLER, COURTESY SCHIFFER PUBLISHING

Gerald Busby in his fifth floor apartment (from Linda Troeller’s 2015 “Living in the Chelsea Hotel” photography collection).

BY PUMA PERL

W

hat makes a successful businesswoman like Jessica Robinson walk away from her career to become a filmmaker? Over the course of 35 years running Robinson Creative Services, an advertising design studio, her client list included names like Condé Nast and American Express. Previously, as a creative director in advertising, she made videos for an equally prestigious list of clients, including The Graduate Center, CUNY. That pretty much sums up her film experience. As we sat watching raw footage of “The Man on the Fifth Floor: 3 Decades in the Chelsea Hotel,” Robinson elaborated on her inspiration. “One day [Dec. 16, 2007], I happened to open the New York Times to the Neediest Cases section, and there was Gerald Busby. I was shocked. Here was my friend, composer of Robert Altman’s ‘3 Women,’ child TheVillager.com

piano protégé, raconteur, and one of the most charming men I’d ever met, featured as one of the year’s neediest cases. What had happened? I had to find out. I had to tell this quintessentially New York story of culture and counterculture; this iconic story of New York City and a lost Bohemia. I had to become a filmmaker.” The events that brought Busby, now 80, to the attention of the New York Times could not have been imagined when he first arrived in the city several decades earlier. Nobody had yet even heard of HIV/AIDS. The bathhouses and clubs were jumping, and many gay men like himself were giddy with this new, post-Stonewall freedom. Busby and his younger lover, the late Sam Byers, both eventually tested HIV-positive. Sam suffered a long, lingering death, Busby by his side (he was 58 when Sam passed away; they’d been together for 18 years). Depressed and traumatized, he stopped composing and tried to escape through

sex and drug binges. He went bankrupt. After three rehab stints, he finally found sobriety in 2005, and returned to composing music. Several weeks after my meeting with Robinson, I knocked at the door of Gerald Busby’s fifth floor apartment in the Chelsea Hotel, where the “renova-

tions” are ongoing; the halls were draped in plastic, and warnings against photographing inside the building were taped up next to Stop Work Orders. Busby is one of about 80 residents who have hung in; a tenants union now protects their BUSBY continued on p. 14

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BUSBY continued from p. 13

rights to remain in their rent-stabilized units. When the nattily dressed Busby answered the door, smiling widely, I immediately understood why Robinson called him “charming.” From almost the moment we began chatting, I was entranced, you might even say smitten. He felt like a lifelong friend I just hadn’t met yet. Following the death of Sam Byers, he downgraded from a four-anda-half-room apartment to this studio. Somehow, even with the presence of a piano, computer equipment and artwork, it is his spirit that fills his room. There is no sense of material clutter. Our interview was freewheeling — speaking of art and AIDS, poetic inspiration, the links between brilliance and narcissism, existential film, whiskey, and addiction (his, and the winding roads of his journey). Busby also spoke of the five geniuses with whom he has had the good fortune to work: Paul Taylor, Virgil Thomson, Martha Graham, Leonard Bernstein, and Robert Altman. The late Thomson, a composer and critic, was also his mentor. Altman, he explained, was the most “mystical” of the five. “He wanted you to be the best, so he gave you the very best of what he had.” Scoring 1977’s “3 Women,” Busby learned to “put things together and turn them into something else.” He also forayed into acting with Altman, drawing on his fundamentalist experiences growing up in Texas to improvise the role of the preacher in 1978’s “A Wedding.” Busby’s life today is about writing as “fast and furiously as possible. Just go,” he said. “Instinct, intention, and, eventually, critical thought kicks in.” He no longer plays the piano, but works on his compositions eight to 10 hours a day. He listens to Mozart every morning and considers Bach the artist of construction. “They are both surprising and inevitable,” he explained. He rarely reads books, although he does utilize poetry as a muse for his compositions. “The most important thing to me at this stage of my life is being willing to make myself happy for no reason at all, to get reasonableness completely out of my thinking as the source of happiness and success. Reiki [healing meditation] is the center of that practice for me,” he revealed. “I’ve learned that if I make myself happy by being continually present to myself, reasons for happiness pour into my life. Health, success, friends and money all appear and support me. The key is to stop identifying myself with any negativity. This shows me what I really

14

August 25, 2016

COURTESY BUSYBUSBYFILMS LLC

“The Man on the Fifth Floor” director Jessica Robinson behind the camera.

need to stay healthy and write music and fulfill my obligations. My objective is to relate to consciousness with total openness and regard emotion like a gas that passes through me.” “The Man on the Fifth Floor: 3 Decades in the Chelsea Hotel” is still in the fundraising stage; they have finally finished the rough cut and are ready to prepare the final cut. Top billing is shared by Busby and the Chelsea Hotel itself, and includes appearances by Larry Kramer, Brad Gooch, Linda Troeller, Craig Lucas, Paul Taylor, and other artists and former residents. Jessica Robinson and her production team are hoping for a December release. “It’s so easy to lose contact with the past because time keeps marching on,” she said. Looking back at the city’s iconic history from the ’70s to the ’90s, it astounds me to remember that it was a slower, darker world with all this amazing creative energy gurgling under the surface. It was a rich and creative stew, a wonderful piece of madness. Gerald Busby is a genuinely witty and idiosyncratic character whose life parallels an iconic era and that’s what makes this film so unique.” For more info about the film, and to make a tax-deductible donation, visit busybusbyfilms.com. View a teaser at vimeo.com/151860812. Learn more about Gerald Busby at geraldbusby.com.

COURTESY BUSYBUSBYFILMS LLC

L to R: Sam Byers and Gerald Busby, in 1976.

COURTESY BUSYBUSBYFILMS LLC

Playwright and activist Larry Kramer is among those interviewed for Jessica Robinson’s upcoming documentary on the life of Gerald Busby. TheVillager.com


The fog of desire

A gay Korean American discovers his sexuality at ‘Night’

BY GARY M. KRAMER

S

pa Night” is a complex, quietly powerful drama about ethnicity and gay identity, written and directed by Andrew Ahn. David (Joe Seo) is a shy, closeted young man who lives in LA’s Koreatown with his father Jin (Youn Ho Cho), and his mother Soyoung (Haerry Kim). When Jin loses the family restaurant, David secretly takes a job at a Korean spa. The experience transforms him. He witnesses naked male guests engaging sexually with each other and slowly embraces his own sexuality. In the process, he becomes more independent of his family. Ahn’s film is a minor masterpiece that benefits immensely from Seo’s extraordinary performance. He conveys David’s shame, his pent-up desires, and the emotions they unleash with just the slightest expression and body language. Ahn and Seo spoke with our sister publication, Gay City News, about their hot film.

COURTESY STRAND RELEASING

Joe Seo in Andrew Ahn’s “Spa Night.”

GARY M. KRAMER: Andrew, What prompted you to tell this story? How much of it reflects your upbringing? ANDREW AHN: Emotionally, David aligns with who I am and my coming of age. My Korean and gay identities were separate when I was growing up, but when I heard of a friend hooking up at a Korean spa, I knew this location would be a great location for setting a film that talked about a gay Korean’s identity.

his parents love him so much. Because he wants to preserve that relationship, his sexuality is scary. This fear that he is not going to give his parents what they expect and want. For me, it was that the parents love him and he loves them. JS: In Asian families, no matter how old you are, you don’t talk back to your parents. You can’t tell Dad that he is messing up. You can’t say that without being hit. It’s taboo.

GMK: Joe, How did you identify with the character of David? JOE SEO: It was a difficult character because he is more reserved than I am. His fight is internal. I related to it as an immigrant story that parallels with mine. Your parents expect and want things for their kids, and the kids can’t cope with what their parents want and how the [kids] want to live in America. My parents want me to “stop the acting nonsense and go into medicine.” This struggle transcends Asian American-ness. It goes to every immigrant American family.

GMK: Andrew, Can you talk about creating the hothouse atmosphere in the film, and what or how much you wanted to show? There is casual nudity, but the gay sex scenes are more sensual than explicit. AA: I was talking to my cinematographer, Ki Jin Kim, about this. When we wanted the Korean spa to be a cultural space, we would see a lot of nudity, in a very matter of fact way. As the film got more sexual, we would see less and less and less, and more of a subjective point of view: parts of bodies, looks, or see things through steam. We wanted to suggest a lot, and I think that that helped in many ways. Sex scenes are difficult to direct and for actors to be in. To break it up made it easier. It allowed us to craft these moments and play with the pacing and make sure the erotic moments could stretch the time,

GMK: What observations do you have about Korean parents and their expectations for their children? AA: As I developed the screenplay, David’s dilemma becomes harder because TheVillager.com

so it stands still. As for the space itself, we were gunning for the location, which had this fantastical quality — the blue neon is very evocative. Many of the spas in Koreatown are beige. They are calming, relaxed spaces, and this one felt electric. GMK: Joe, your poker face and body language are very expressive. Can you talk about how you approached playing the character in this other, physical sense? JS: That’s all Andrew. He would tell me — “That’s not David.” The character couldn’t get angry. Andrew led me the right way to keep it internal and made me remember why David is here at that moment and why he wouldn’t be this way or that way. He made sure that I was playing David’s developing. AA: I wanted David to be a real person, and I feel that means having sexual desires and urges and being a son and wanting to do right by your parents. I love the juxtaposition that he’s having dinner with his family in one scene and then being cruised in the spa in the next. We have different sides and are one way in one space and another in another space. GMK: Andrew, what can you say about the issue of homosexuality in Asian culture in general and Korean culture in particular?

AA: I think actually, homosexuality is becoming more accepted in Korean culture. It’s more progressive in Korea than in the Korean-American community in LA, which hasn’t progressed much. It’s changing, and I’m excited that “Spa Night” can help that dialogue. When I looked for other gay Korean people growing up, I could only think of Margaret Cho. It took time for me to realize and find a queer Korean-American community. GMK: What can you say about your experiences in spas? AA: When I heard about the gay cruising from my friend, I had to see it for myself. It really does happen in a blatant way that is shocking. I had to prove it to people while I was trying to make this film. It’s a really insane kind of environment, and what makes it crazier it can be very erotic and the next minute can be Korean cultural. The space continually changes and morphs and that fascinates me. JS: I did not go to Korean spas in Los Angeles until I made this movie. I hate hot rooms and humidity! Runtime: 97 minutes. Directed by Andrew Ahn. At Metrograph (7 Ludlow St., btw. Canal & Hester Sts.). Visit metrograph. com or call 212-660-0312 for more info. August 25, 2016

15


BACK TO SCHOOL

Don’t walk in worry on the way back to school RHYMES WITH CRAZY BY LENORE SKENAZY

C

an we please stop telling parents that it is normal to be terrified for even the shortest periods of time when kids are doing the most mundane of activities: walking to or from school? Because here’s what NBC’s Alyssa Newcomb reported the other day in a piece on “Back-to-School Safety Tech That Helps Keep Kids Safe” (the title alone reinforcing the idea that kids are not safe without us taking new, techassisted precautions): “No matter how mature and responsible a child is, those few blocks without adult supervision are enough to make most parents worry.” Since when? Since crime is back to the level it was in 1963? Since we are living in the safest times in human history according to Harvard’s Steven Pinker? Since even child deaths at the hand of a kidnapper — already extremely rare — are now one-fifth of what they were just 20 years ago? “Most parents worry” about a fewblock walk, in these particularly safe times, even if they know their kids are mature and responsible?

That seems like some kind of illness. Yes, it is normal to worry if the neighborhood is truly crime-ridden. And naturally, it can be worrying if a child is late getting home, or if it is the first week of school and the child is just getting used to the walk. But for parents to worry no matter how mature their kid, how short the walk, and how safe the neighborhood does not make sense. Igniting the fuse of fear makes sense for only two groups of people: The media, who depend on fear to keep us engaged; and the makers of tech tracking devices, who depend on our dollars to stay in business. After all, if they can convince us that it is normal to fret any time we take our eyes off our kids, they can sell us products that keep our eyes on them.

And so reporter Newcomb goes on to list four products that track kids and apprise the parents of their location. The Pocketfinder is one. It goes in the child’s backpack and “updates a parent’s smartphone with their location every two minutes.” Obsess much? It also alerts parents the second their child veers off the prescribed path. What a joy that makes walking home: Follow that squirrel for a block and mom calls 911. Then there’s Life 360, which is free and sounds like Harry Potter’s Marauder’s Map, showing every family member’s location. But if you pay a premium (aha!) you can get “expanded history data and a live adviser for urgent situations.” Just suggesting “urgent situations” makes the walk sound dire. The Canary, also profiled, is part of a $199 home security system, allowing you “to see live video and hear audio from their home. Parents can even replay the video clip from when their child walked in the door, ensuring that they were with only authorized house guests.” Maybe it should really be called the Stool Pigeon. It seems less like a normal household device and more like the closed-circuit television above the door at a 7-Eleven. And finally there’s the August Smart Lock, which lets you “see and speak to whoever is at your door, even if you’re not home.” It also locks and unlocks your door, long distance, “making it

ideal if your kid forgets their key,” according to Newcomb. At $400, it might be more ideal to make your kid a few extra keys, or even hide one someplace clever. So now I, too, have some advice on how to keep your kid safe on the way home from school — advice that the television report, in its haste to hail technological solutions to nearly non-existent dangers, forgot. Teach your children to: • Look left, look right, and look left again when crossing the street. • Make sure that anyone turning sees them in the crosswalk. • Ask strangers for help if they need it. Teaching “stranger danger” removes all the people who could help them in an emergency (remember, a Utah Boy Scout was lost for three days because every time he heard a search party member calling his name, he scampered off to hide from the “stranger”). However, teach your kids that they while they can talk to anyone, they cannot go off with anyone. And they should not get into someone’s car. Those are tips that make a lot of sense and, by golly, they are free! Of course, for a premium, I will add a new and pointless tip every month. Sign up now! Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker who authored the book, and founded the blog, Free-Range Kids (freerangekids. com).

Backpack to school, safely W

hen it comes to backpack safety, most people tend to think about injuries caused by a heavy backpack, or one worn improperly. However, there are other dangers associated with backpacks, and caution should be used. Backpacks come in all shapes and sizes and can be a handy tool for students and adults. When worn correctly, with weight evenly distributed across the back and shoulders, backpacks can be safer and more effective than using a purse or briefcase. But many people wear overly-loaded backpacks slung over one shoulder, which can pose problems with posture and lead to back issues. In addition to the physical strain backpacks can cause, they can be a danger in other ways. Many people fail to recognize how much space a backpack can take up. Entering the tight quarters of a school bus or commuting on a train or bus means a bulky backpack can knock into other people. If that backpack is full of heavy, cumbersome books — or even a laptop computer — an inadvertent bump by the pack can cause injuries. Also, backpacks taken off and placed in bus aisles can be a tripping hazard. Students can also be injured if a heavy pack falls on them. Children tucking backpacks into lockers or

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August 25, 2016

classroom cubbies may find that they slide out and hit another classmate. Backpacks change the way individuals walk. Because the person is carrying around extra weight, she may lose balance or trip and fall, especially when going down steps. To avoid these secondary hazards from backpacks, consider these tips: Don’t overload a backpack. Carry only what is necessary. If too many books are the issue, parents should talk to school administrators and teachers to reach a happy medium regarding textbook usage. Safely store it on a lap or under bus seat. Be sure that straps, or the pack itself, are not extending into the aisle. Know how much space the bag takes up when worn. Be conscious of others when turning around or entering a confined space. Take care on stairs. To help avoid slips and falls, hold on to stair rails and do not run with a heavy backpack. Choose a lightweight bag. Canvas backpacks are generally lighter in weight than leather backpacks. Do not add extra weight unnecessarily. Avoid rolling backpacks. These can actually be difficult to roll, and some schools ban this style bag because it is a tripping hazard. TheVillager.com


BACK TO SCHOOL

Become a savvy back-to-school shopper Back-to-school season can be as expensive for parents as it is exciting for students. Once the initial letdown of the end of summer vacation wears off, many kids are excited to return to school, where they can see their friends, study their favorite subjects, and participate in extracurricular activities. Parents of school-aged youngsters may share in that excitement while also knowing that back-to-school season can stretch their budgets. One of the ways to salvage those budgets is to save on school supplies. Fortunately, there are several ways parents can do just that:

Be patient

Take inventory

Shopping early can save shoppers money in many instances, but parents may benefit by exercising patience when it comes to buying school supplies for their children. Teachers often give students lists of supplies they will need for each class, and parents who wait to receive such lists can avoid spending money on items their kids won’t need. Even if you wait it out, you may be able to get a head start, as some teachers may post supply lists on school websites, while others might e-mail lists to parents before back to school season hits full swing.

If you have more than one child, chances are you already have lots of school supplies around the house. Dust off kids’ backpacks and study areas from last school year to determine which supplies you need to buy and which you already have. Encourage kids to store their supplies in a predetermined area once the school year ends, as this will make next year’s inventory that much easier to examine and assess.

How to bag a healthy school lunch The benefits of a healthy diet are clear and well documented. In addition to providing the nutrients a growing body needs, consuming a balanced diet helps children maintain a healthy weight. Obesity continues to be a growing problem among school-aged children and can contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and many other adverse medical conditions. Children attending school will eat at least one meal away from home each day. A healthy lunch provides sound nutrition to give students energy to do well in school and for the rest of the day. Children who do not eat well at lunch may have difficulty concentrating, while others may feel sluggish or tired. As part of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the United States National School Lunch Program was revised to guarantee healthy, nutritionally sound choices, as established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for lunch. America’s school menus were altered to be healthier than ever, including more fruits and vegetables while limiting calories. Despite some controversy through the years, including some students saying the smaller portions and food choices aren’t always satisfying, states suffering from high child obesity rates have seen marked improvements. Whether students purchase lunch from school or bring lunch from home, there are ways to guarantee a more diverse offering and better nutrition. Here are some guidelines to follow: Offer nutrient-dense foods. Foods should contribute to the daily recommended amounts of protein, iron, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Provide a selection of foods, such as

lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, that will give children the nutrients they need. Nutrient-dense foods also help kids feel fuller, longer. Limit fat intake. Avoid foods that do not get their fat from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. The American Heart Association recommends kids get no more than 25 to 35 percent of their calories from fat. Fish, nuts, and olives are healthy fat sources. Let kids choose some of their food. Giving kids a say in their diets will make them more likely to enjoy their lunches and cut back on snack foods. Eating meals regularly will keep energy levels up during school and make kids less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks to fill hunger gaps. Make small changes that add up. Switching from white bread to whole-grain breads, and opting for low-fat dairy products instead of full-fat dairy products can make a world of difference. Kids may not notice a change in texture or flavor, and many of kids’ favorite foods — such as chicken nuggets, pizza, and macaroni and cheese — can be made with healthier ingredients. Remember, beverages count, too. Giving children a healthy lunch and then packing a sugar-filled, high-calorie drink negates your efforts. Water is always the best option for a healthy drink. Low-fat milk and real fruit juice consumed in moderation also make healthy alternatives to sugary beverages. Offering healthy school lunches is an important step to raising healthy kids. New guidelines and offerings make it easier for kids to get the nutrition they need for their growing bodies.

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Spend now, save more later While inexpensive supplies can be hard to resist, such items likely won’t withstand the test of time, forcing you to spend time and money each year buying replacement supplies. Paying more now for certain items, including stronger backpacks and more highly rated calculators, may end up saving you money in the long run, even if the initial pill is somewhat tough to swallow.

Use technology to your advantage Department stores and businesses that sell school supplies, such as pharmacies and office stores, may or may not discount too many items once back to school season hits full swing. But savvy parents can still find deals by using technology to their advantage when shopping for school supplies. Download apps like RetailMeNot to your smartphone and enable its updates so your phone essentially notifies you of any discounts the moment you walk into a given store. If you don’t receive any updates, search for discounts via the app or the internet as you shop. Chances are strong that there are deals to be had, even if you don’t learn of the deals until you arrive at the store. School supplies can be expensive, but parents can employ several strategies to save on school supplies now and in the future.

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War on C’town eatery’s new door BY AMY RUSSO

A

coalition of neighborhood advocates has mobilized to stop the placement of a Chinatown restaurant door next to a subway entrance and bus stop — which they believe will threaten pedestrian safety and further crowd the area. Gracias Mama, a new eatery on the corner of East Broadway and Rutgers St., plans to move its commercial door from East Broadway to Rutgers St. so that it may apply for a liquor license. While on East Broadway, the door was within 200 feet of a nearby church and, by law, too close for the restaurant to gain a liquor license. The door’s new location would make them compliant with the rule. The coalition of opponents, including L.E.S. Dwellers, Residents of Two Bridges, Orchard St. Block Association and Knickerbocker Village Tenant Association reached out to public agencies, including the M.T.A. and the Department of Buildings (D.O.B.), to block the door’s new location. They have circulated online and paper petitions and hope to get 500 signatures. “The F train is really our connection to the rest of the city and we just don’t want it to be a major safety issue,” said Christina Zhang of Knickerbocker Tenant Association. However, the M.T.A. brushed off opposition from locals. “This is not a situation unique to this business or street or subway entrance,” the agency said in a statement. “We have subway entrances throughout the city, and we have businesses whose entrances are close to those subway entrances, and both have co-existed peacefully. We have visited this particular location and found nothing that raised concerns.” The coalition also said their cause is receiving little attention from Community Board 3. The board votes on whether to approve the liquor license, not the location of the door, and so has not weighed in on the controversy. However, the coalition argues the relocation of the door is imperative if a license is to be considered — so the issue should be taken up by C.B. 3. However, the community board did demand Gracias Mama meet stipulations before their liquor license be considered. One required the restaurant to not have a takeout window — which opponents of the door said demonstrates the board is measuring pedestrian traffic concerns for the liquor license application. Last year, community planning fellow Dylan Dekay-Bemis prepared a Chinatown pedestrian circulation study for the board that identifies mobility issues in the neighborhood. “While the constriction of effective sidewalk space is certainly a problem

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PhotoS by Amy Russo

Gracias Mama wants to open their restaurant at a heavily trafficked intersection.

Gracias Mama will have to move their entrance underneath the red awning, which is right in front of a subway entrance, to be granted a liquor license.

for seniors and the mobility impaired, poor circulation is an issue that adversely affects all pedestrians,” the study found. The study also notes “the amount of activity occurring in the area often creates an environment that is difficult to navigate for pedestrians.” Susan Stetzer, district manager for C.B. 3, said the issue of pedestrian mobility will likely appear on the agenda in September. However, she said the board “has no knowledge of whether additional traffic would be generated” by relocating the door. Diem Boyd of L.E.S. Dwellers said the problem is obvious. “How can there not be any more traffic if you relocate the door and now you’re adding people being

dropped off in front of that door?” he asked. Stetzer confirmed that Gracias Mama agreed to the stipulations for the liquor license. However, the State Liquor Authority makes the final call. The restaurant also needs to get D.O.B. approval to move the door. The D.O.B. has not received an alteration permit application to allow a relocation of the door. However, the department responded to a 311 complaint in June that stated illegal work was being done to move the restaurant entrance. D.O.B. inspectors made two visits to the building, but could not gain access on either occasion. No violations were issued, because an inspector must witness the illegal work being carried out to warrant a violation. August 25, 2016

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ADVERTORIAL

TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones

Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell

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August 25, 2016

phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.

Daydreaming

Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-

haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.

Eating

Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at

a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.

Reading

Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.

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August 25, 2016

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