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

September 15, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 37





‘Diller Island’ sails to win in court; City Club vows to appeal BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


h, well...that was fast! After hearing arguments in court last week, it only took two days for an Appellate Division court to rule on the lawsuit against Barry Diller’s Pier55 project. Last Thursday, the judicial panel upheld a lower court’s

ruling on the suit — filed by the City Club of New York — in the process, lifting an injunction that had prevented further pounding of piles for the new pier. However, Tom Fox and Rob Buchanan, the two City Club members in the suit, told The Villager that they would seek PIER55 continued on p. 7

Catwalk street shutdown prompts yowls of anger from Soho and Board 2 PHOTO BY MILO HESS



oho residents are furious that the city allowed a designer to take over Greene St. during Fashion Week — despite fierce opposition from the community — and fear that the event opens the door for future disruptions in the neighborhood.

Designer Rebecca Minkoff shut down Greene St., between Spring and Prince Sts., Saturday afternoon to hold a runway show outside her flagship Soho store. The event, which invited more than 800 guests to watch models strut down the catwalk for the debut of FASHION continued on p. 10

A different perspective on the 9/11 Tribute in Light — in a photograph taken standing in the footprint of one of the massive t wins beams, which are, in fact, each made up of multiple lights. See Page 19.

Niou tops Silver’s pick Cancel as Glick romps BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


n a stunning victory, Yuh-Line Niou was declared the winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary election in Lower Manhattan’s 65th Assembly District. Niou shockingly toppled Alice Cancel, who had won the seat in April in a special election to succeed Sheldon Silver, after the former As-

sembly speaker was stripped of his office at the end of last year after being convicted on federal corruption charges. Cancel finished a disappointing fourth out of six candidates in Tuesday’s hotly contested primary. Meanwhile, in the Village’s 66th District, veteran Assemblymember Deborah Glick easily cruised to victory over fiery activist

Jim Fouratt by a margin of about 80 percent to 20 percent. Glick won 3,151 votes to Fouratt’s 777, with a total of 3,928 votes cast in the contest. The Board of Elections still must certify the results as official, but there was no question who won either Assembly race. According to the State ELECTION continued on p. 6

Eliz. St. Garden: R.F.P. issued for housing .......p. 2 Missing Jane senior wasn’t really missing.......p. 14 Standing for Standing Rock ...p. 30

Yorkers. As this process continues, I look forward to working with the community board and the gardeners to recreate an open space that everyone can be assured will be available and open to the public for decades to come.” Chin’s Office noted that page 17 of the R.F.P. requires that proposals incorporate a minimum of 5,000 square feet of “high-quality, publicly accessible space into the project,” with preference for proposals that maximize the amount of open space without sacrificing room for seniors.

(Black) green day: Tobi Bergman, the chairperson of Community Board 2, told us that he got a call from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development this week, alerting him that the agency would be issuing a request for proposals, or R.F.P., on Wed., Sept. 14, for an affordable housing project on the beloved Elizabeth St. Garden. Bergman, who has championed the cause of saving the garden, sees the announcement as possibly being tied to the recent primary race for the 65th Assembly District. He suspects that the R.F.P. was held off this long in order not to hurt the election chances of Gigi Li, who was the only one of six candidates in the race who supported the housing project — which is vehemently opposed by C.B. 2 and the overwhelming majority of residents who live near the garden and enjoying using it. “The timing looks suspiciously like they waited with the announcement, so as not to hurt Gigi — but seeing as she came in last, it obviously didn’t work,” Bergman observed. Li’s political patron, Councilmember Margaret Chin, is hell-bent on building the housing. Bergman assured that the community absolutely will go to the mat to save the treasured green oasis. “There will be a big fight,” he pledged. Meanwhile, Chin put out the following statement on Wednesday: “With the issuance of this request for proposals, we are taking an important step as a community to create affordable housing for our seniors, as well as establishing a permanent garden space at this location. With thousands of seniors on wait-lists for affordable, safe and age-appropriate housing, the need for these senior housing units in the heart of Little Italy is overwhelming. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and H.P.D. for partnering with me to help address this crisis of affordability that threatens the health and well-being of too many elderly New

Remember The Alamo? ... Maybe not: On another subject, C.B. 2’s Bergman said he had heard that the restored “The Alamo” a.k.a. “The Cube” finally would be returned to Astor Place on Wednesday. But a staffer at the Village Alliance business improvement district told us, that while they were told that, too, the sculpture’s reinstallation has been delayed yet again, with no definite date set for its triumphant return. Asleep on the job: We hear from a Grand

Photo by Grand View

Judy Rapfogel handing out fliers for Alice Cancel for A ssembly on Grand St. on Tuesday.


331 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10003 Phone: 212-473-7833 / Fax: 212-673-5248

“It’s worth the trip down the street!” September 15, 2016

Le plot thickens: Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation, reports that, in fact, the facade of the Florent restaurant, at 69 Gansevoort St., has not been restored per the building permits that were issued. As Berman tells it, G.V.S.H.P. asked that the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission check out the work to see that it was being done correctly. L.P.C. reported back that all looked fine — that the R&L Luncheonette signage and brickwork had been restored, as the developer had promised to do. However, now that the construction fencing finally has been removed, it appears that there is a problem: The permit called for corrugated metal siding to be restored to the bottom of the facade, but wood has been substituted for it. G.V.S.H.P. has written a letter to L.P.C. asking for clarification and for the storefront to be redone per the permit. … Vive le Florent facade! Super-savior: Westbeth disabled activist Margie Rubin recently tipped us off that John Catsimatidis, billionaire owner of the Gristedes supermarket chain, has entered into a partnership of sorts with D’Agostino to keep the latter ailing chain alive. West Villagers have been concerned for months now as the D’Ag at Greenwich and Bethune Sts. has been sporting frighteningly empty shelves — a puzzling pattern repeated at other D’Ag’s around the city. The New York Post recently confirmed that “Cats,” who ran for mayor as a Republican in the last election, has indeed “pumped substantial dough” into D’Agostino, which was said to have been looking to unload its stores earlier this summer. The deal reportedly includes “the possibility of a joint venture” between the two chains. “They needed the money right away,” Catsimatidis told the Post, adding, “There is an unlimited amount of time to grow the companies.” The brand names would continue to exist separately, he said.



St. source that, on primary election day, the pollsite supervisor at the East River Houses co-ops not only was wearing his pajama bottoms but actually was caught sleeping at one point! ... Our source also snapped a photo of Judy Rapfogel, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s chief of staff, handing out campaign fliers for Alice Cancel, who finished fourth in the six-way race.

Triangulation: The Remember the Triangle Coalition is planning a public meeting to follow up on feedback from Community Board 2 members and the community, in general, from the C.B. 2-organized town hall meeting this past February on the proposed Triangle Fire memorial project, planned at Washington Place and Greene St. One hundred forty-six garment workers perished in the tragic blaze at the location 100 years ago. However, a vocal contingent of neighbors oppose the flashy, literally, memorial design, which would sport reflective stainless-steel panels, including one reaching to the top of the building. The critics cry that the glare bouncing off the memorial would beam into their windows day and night, and that it would attract unwanted crowds to the spot. The design is also noncontextual with the landmarked building, they protest. Anyway, we’re told the follow-up meeting will be held at The Cooper Union. The tentative date is Fri., Sept. 27. We’re awaiting more details. Angering the project’s detractors, C.B. 2 has declined, thus far, to take a position on the issue. Hope springs eternal: Although New Scoopy continued on p. 3

As for those that are left, she said, “There are also Kwanzan cherry trees in what was the ‘Reflecting Garden,’ between the former dog run and the former water playground — plus many pin oaks, honey locusts and more on Mercer St. between Bleecker and Houston Sts. — that will be taken down. N.Y.U. has not released the design for 181 Mercer St. [a.k.a. the ‘Zipper Building,’ which will replace Coles gym], so there is still time to create a design that does not destroy all these beautiful, air-cleaning, smile-bringing trees.” Cude said she’s looking forward to seeing what information N.Y.U. brings about the project to C.B. 2’s Arts & Institutions Committee, on Wed., Sept. 28, at 6:30 p.m., in the Little Red School House auditorium, at Sixth Ave. and Bleecker St.

Scoopy continued from p. 2


Workers chainsawed down a stand of Kwanzan cherr y trees on Bleecker St. just west of Mercer St. last week, to make way for New York University’s “Zipper Building.” Now neighborhood tree lovers fear that things will get even worse as N.Y.U. will take the ax to more beloved boughs on the South Village block.

York University sparked “pink rage” by chainsawing a stand of Kwanzan cherry trees on Bleecker St. last week, some are holding out hope that another small grove of them further south on the same block might be spared. “While they were old trees, they might yet have provided the community many more years of beauty, shade and moments of joy as they blossomed to welcome spring and shaded us through the summer,” District Leader Terri Cude reflected sadly on the trees that were felled.

‘You can call me Al’: We hear from Paul Bartlett that a petition will be starting for an “Al Orensanz Way” co-naming street sign on Norfolk St. between Stanton and E. Houston Sts. in honor of the late Angel Orensanz Foundation director. However, Community Board 3 guidelines require that two years pass after a person’s death before his or her name can be submitted for a street conaming. A memorial for Al Orensanz, who died on July 23 at age 73, will be held at the foundation, at 172 Norfolk St., on Wed., Sept. 21, at 6 p.m. Nope-rah’s Club: Former Lower East Side activist John Penley blasted the recent New York Times article “How the Christodora House Became the Chelsea Hotel of the East Village,” which takes as its departure point Tim Murphy’s new novel, “Christodora.” Penley’s succinct review, posted on Facebook: “The New York Times story on the new book about the Christodora House...which became a focal point for the Anti-Gentrification War In

the Neighborhood, is a revisionist, selective nonhistorical, pro Real Estate Developer...piece of dogs--- crap propaganda.”

Skateboard (crash!) sonata: In other Facebook news, we heard from a violinist, a fellow busker, that Colin Huggins a.k.a. “That Crazy Piano Guy” posted a plea to the Washington Square Park skateboarders, who enjoy hopping over his tips bucket, to rein it in. One of them recently totally lost control of his board and it went flying — right into him. “Dear skateboarders of Washington sq park,” Huggins wrote. “Why did things have to become so negative between us? Was it because I asked you to stop jumping over my buckets during my performances? You only have about an 80% success rate when you attempt this trick. So you should understand it makes me a little tense when you continue to do it. Last night while you were practicing jumps over the no skateboarding sign, one of you lost control of your board and it hit me while I was playing under the arch. I stood up and said, it’s cool. Can you guys just give me a little space? You told me to f--- off and one of your friends told me to shut up and play the piano. As you were leaving I yelled, ‘We should be friends. Why do things have to be this way?!’ And you ignored me. But really, why must it be this way? All things considered even by the most anti establishment/punk rock standards, I’m really a pretty cool guy. I think perhaps next time I’ll ask if you want to play something and I’ll try to do some skateboarding. I think we’re probably equally bad at both. So it might bring us to some common ground. I can’t guarantee you won’t still hate me. But that’s the best I can come up with at the moment. Hugs and kisses, Colin.”

September 15, 2016


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The 9/11 Memorial was covered with flowers on Sunday, including the southeast corner of the waterfall, above, on the footprint of Tower 1, the northern tower, where the executives of Cantor Fitzgerald are listed. Cantor lost the most employees of any company on 9/11 — a total of 658 of its 960 New York employees. The New York Fire Department lost 343 members. Meanwhile, 9/11 Truthers were still at it, saying the terrorist attack was all one big conspiracy. A woman, at right, who said she used to work in the Twin Towers, noted that she was — suspiciously, she felt — asked to back up her computer files a week before the Sept. 11 attack. She had many other points — which were debated strenuously throughout the day with disbelieving passersby. The woman noted she wasn’t actually in the Twin Towers during the attack since she was running late for work that day.

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Niou tops Silver’s pick Cancel as Glick romps Election continued from p. 1

Board of Elections, Niou won 2,742 votes. District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar came in a distant second, with 1,612 votes, besting her rival codistrict leader, Paul Newell, who finished third, with 1,381. Cancel mustered 1,069 votes. Chinatown businessman Don Lee garnered 984, and Gigi Li, the immediate past chairperson of Community Board 3, finished last, taking 827 ballots. With more than double the turnout than the West Side race, around 9,000 votes were cast in the 65th A.D. contest. According to a Grand St. source, Niou was expected to have strong support in that heavy-voting Lower East Side enclave of the district. Despite there being two other ChineseAmerican candidates in the race, Niou was also expected to do well in Chinatown, where she had the backing of the area’s main political club, the United Democratic Organization. Among Niou’s key political backers were City Comptroller Scott Stringer, former Comptroller John Liu and state Senator Daniel Squadron.

‘Time for trust’ In a statement to The Villager the day after the primary, Niou said it’s now time to “restore trust” in Albany. She also seemingly referenced a negative campaign card that was mailed out to Grand St. voters, among others, that accused those politicians who endorsed her of only doing so to “pander to the Chinese vote,” along with a series of other attack points against her. “Tonight, we open a new door and a new chapter for Lower Manhattan, and I am honored and humbled by the trust the voters have placed in me,” Niou said. “This victory is one more step forward for New York, and tonight we silenced the voices of bigotry and division with our campaign of unity, hope and inclusion. Now we have important work to do to restore the voters’ trust in our state government by fighting for better schools, good jobs, affordable housing and a Downtown community that is welcoming to all.” In conceding, Cancel congratulated Niou — and indicated she would try to reclaim the Assembly seat in the next election. “While I am disappointed that I will not be able to continue to work as your representative in the New York State Assembly, that certainly does not mean the task is done,” Cancel said. “I will never stop fight-


September 15, 2016

Democratic Club would throw their support to Cancel and not her. (On Tuesday, Judy Rapfogel, Silver’s former chief of staff and a power in Truman, was seen campaigning for Cancel on Grand St.) Cancel won the special election, fending off a stiff challenge from Niou, former chief of staff of Queens Assemblymember Ron Kim, running on the Working Families Party line. Lester Chang, running on the Republican line and two other party lines, finished third.

Racking up endorsements Photos by Tequila Minsky

Yuh-Line Niou, second from left, celebrating her primar y win on Tuesday night, was congratulated by one of her biggest suppor ters, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, center. Also on hand were Jessica Lappin, the president of the Downtown Alliance business improvement district, second from right, and Queens A ssemblymembers Francisco Moya, far left, and Niou’s former boss, Ron Kim, far right.

ing to improve the quality of life of the community or stop bringing attention to the issues most important to us: affordable housing, local control of education, overdevelopment, and rejuvenating Chinatown small businesses. “I was honored to have been challenged by some of the most knowledgeable and dedicated candidates, who brought an incredible amount of talent and earnestness to this campaign,” Cancel continued. “I congratulate Yuh-Line on a hard-fought victory. I look forward to working

with her on continuing to improve the lives of the residents of the 65th Assembly District. This district has been my home for 30 years, I remain as its district leader and I know you will see me again in two years.” Per Democratic Party procedure, Cancel was chosen in February as the Democratic nominee for the April special election at a closed vote of about 200 Democratic County Committee members. Niou dramatically dropped out of the County Committee vote at the last minute when it became clear that Silver’s Truman

Yuh-Line Niou was all smiles Tuesday night after handily winning the six-way primar y for the Democratic nomination for the 65th A ssembly District, vir tually assuring that she will become the first A sian-American ever to represent the district covering Chinatown in Albany.

Newell, who came in second in the County Committee vote, and had challenged Silver in 2008, was considered a front-runner in the primary election, and won the endorsement of the Daily News. Meanwhile, Niou won The New York Times endorsement. Over all, Niou and Newell both racked up the most endorsements for the primary. Newell also won a bitter battle against Rajkumar for the support of their home political club, Downtown Independent Democrats. However, D.I.D.’s strength is not on the East Side, and the 65th is essentially an East Side district. Sean Sweeney, a power in D.I.D., had blasted Niou as a newcomer to the district, but voters gravitated to her personableness, plus she was the only candidate — besides Cancel, with her few months in Albany — with actual experience working in the state Legislature. Li ran with the support of Councilmember Margaret Chin. Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who had backed Cancel in the special election, switched to Newell for the primary after her political organization, Coalition for a District Alternative, or CoDA, endorsed him. After Silver’s downfall, political consultants predicted that an AsianAmerican candidate would do well in the district, which is more than onethird Asian-American. The question was whether several of them running in the same primary would only dilute the power of the Chinatown vote. Niou’s historic win on Tuesday all but assures victory in the November general election in the heavily Democratic district. Among other things, Cancel struggled with fundraising as the primary race heated up, leading to a striking episode last month when the incumbent suddenly bolted in the middle of a candidate forum on Mott St. to atELECTION continued on p. 8

‘Diller Island’ sails to win in court; City Club vows to appeal Pier55 continued from p. 1

to appeal the decision — all the way up to the state’s high court — the Court of Appeals. The lawsuit against the Pier55 project resumed Tues., Sept. 6, in stately Appellate Division court, on E. 25th St. just east of Madison Square Park. Though the proceedings lasted less than half an hour, the courtroom was packed with high-powered personages eager to see the outcome go their way. Media mogul Diller — who with his wife, fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg — has pledged to donate $113 million toward the $130 million project, was seated right in the front row. The power couple’s gift, pledged through their family foundation, is one of the largest donations ever given to a park. Earlier this summer, the Appellate Division issued an injunction against the Pier55 project, pending its hearing of the petitioners’ appeal. But the court subsequently partially lifted the injunction to allow the project’s first nine piles — out of more than 500 total that would be needed for the pier — to be driven. Not allowing that small number of piles to be installed would have set back construction of the entertainment “fantasy island” a full year. Last Thursday, the Appellate Division ruled that the Hudson River Park Trust’s entering into a contract with PIER55, Inc. — the Diller-led nonprofit that would operate the pier and its extensive entertainment programing— did not violate the “public trust doctrine.” Under the doctrine, the state Legislature is required to approve the commercial use of parks or the removal of parks from public use. However, the court’s decision noted, “There is no case law in New York applying the public trust doctrine to state, as opposed to municipal, parkland.” The court also found that the Trust — the 5-milelong waterfront park’s governing city-state authority — took “a hard look” at Pier55’s anticipated environmental impacts, and gave a “reasoned elaboration” as to why, according to the Trust, the pier would not have a negative impact on its surroundings. The lawsuit argued that the environmental assessment statement, or E.A.S., was not sufficient, and that instead a more-extensive environmental impact statement, or E.I.S., was required. The judges disagreed. In addition, the Appellate panel stated that the petitioners “lack standing to object to the Trust’s failure to issue any bid prospectus…with respect to the Pier55 lease…since they never alleged that…they had the wherewithal to submit a plausible competing bid, or that…they would have done so.” The Hudson River Park Act of 1998, the park’s founding legislation, requires such projects to be put out to bid. However, the judges said that, even without a formal prospectus for the project having been issued, the petitioners, in fact, “had sufficient information to make a bid.” Also, that Pier55 was built on an entirely new footprint — north of the former Pier 54 — did not invalidate the project, either, in the judges’ view. “The 2013 amendment…referring to a ‘reconstruction’ or ‘redesign’ of Pier 54 outside of its historic footprint, makes clear that the Legislature was authorizing an entirely new, redesigned structure,” the judges opined. The petitioners argued unsuccessfully that state lawmakers — when they voted on an amendment to the Hudson River Park Act three years ago authorizing the widening of Pier 54 — naturally assumed the pier would be rebuilt in the same spot — not relocated to the north. In addition, David Paget, the Trust’s environmental attorney, poured water on the critics’ accusation that

Photo by David Shankbone

Barr y Diller attending a premiere at the Metropolitan Opera. His Pier55 project would feature ex tensive enter tainment programming, 51 percent of which would be free or low-cost.

Diller stands to reap huge profits from retaining the lucrative rights to the video and audio of any performances on Pier55. “That is scurrilous,” Paget told The Villager. “He said he will not realize a single dollar from this donation.”

‘This was a ridiculous lawsuit from the start.’ Madelyn Wils

Paget also noted that while the former Pier 54 could hold up to 5,000 people for events, Pier55’s maximum capacity will only be 3,200. But the opponents argue there will be a lot more events over the year — to which Paget responded, that’s irrelevant under the law, in terms of how the project’s environmental impact is measured. Pier55 project supporters trumpeted the latest verdict — while also blasting the City Club petitioners for daring to challenge the high-profile scheme. “Today’s decision shines a light on this small group of detractors and their shameful campaign, which served only to squander precious resources that could have been put to better use to improve the park,” chided Mike Novogratz, chairperson of Friends of Hudson River Park Trust, the park’s main private fundraising

group. Madelyn Wils, the Trust’s president and C.E.O., similarly slammed the suit. “This was a ridiculous lawsuit from the start,” she scoffed, “so we’re pleased by today’s swift and sweeping decision. Today’s ruling marks a victory for the millions of people who love Hudson River Park, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to what will be one of New York’s greatest public spaces.” A Pier55 spokesperson said, “We are grateful for the court’s decision and are pleased to be back on our fall construction schedule, which will make Pier55 a reality for all New Yorkers.” Governor Andrew Cuomo, an early supporter of the project, also cheered the ruling — adding that the park will also provide “economic benefits.” “I applaud the…court’s decision to allow the Hudson River Park Trust to move forward on the long-awaited project to transform Pier55 into a dynamic, vibrant public space all New Yorkers can enjoy,” Cuomo said. “This ruling affirms that Hudson River Park Trust and PIER55, Inc. appropriately assessed the environmental impacts of the project and conducted a timely, thorough review. I look forward to seeing construction move forward, and realizing both the economic and recreational benefits this vital park will bring.” However, the City Club’s Fox and Buchanan said the fight is not over. A longtime waterfront park activist, Fox formerly headed the Hudson River Park Conservancy, the Trust’s predecessor agency. Buchanan is a boating enthusiast who relishes rowing Whitehall boats — traditional Hudson River craft — in the waters of the Lower West Side park. He contends that Pier55 would obstruct people from rowing in that particular “embayment” of the park. Following Thursday’s decision, Fox issued an impassioned statement to The Villager. “Thirty years ago,” he said, “when I played a leadership role in creating both the Hudson River Park and the Hudson River Park Trust, I believed in the strength of environmental regulations, the integrity of the public trust doctrine and the importance of public participation in planning and oversight. “It’s very hard to accept that the current leadership of the Trust could deceive the state Legislature, manipulate the public review process, and short-circuit environmental regulations to allow a billionaire to build his own vanity project that increases the value of his adjacent corporate headquarters, in the middle of a mapped estuarine sanctuary.” (Diller’s IAC Building, evocative of white sails — which he commissioned famed architect Frank Gehry to design — is located on the Chelsea waterfront at W. 18th St., a few blocks north of the planned pier.) “It’s a sad day for the Hudson, the park and the integrity of the environmental laws that were established to protect both,” Fox said. “Today was their victory. They should enjoy it while they can.” Fox said the City Club indeed would seek a hearing before the Court of Appeals — which can decide whether or not to take the case. For his part, Buchanan said their lawsuit is about preserving the park’s integrity. “We sued because the project is an egregious example of what can happen when ‘public-private partnerships’ run amok,” he stated. “The river isn’t real estate, and the spaces in between piers aren’t development envelopes. I think it’s safe to say we’re going to appeal.” In addition, the City Club is currently also fighting the so-called “Diller Island” on at least two other fronts. It has filed suit in federal court against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for Pier55, and also in New York State Supreme Court against the state Department of Environmental Conservation permit for the project. September 15, 2016


Here for you treating members like people, not numbers

Niou tops Silver’s pick Cancel as Glick romps Election continued from p. 6

tend a fundraiser. Her husband and political adviser, former state committeeman John Quinn, had told The Villager they would run a “grassroots campaign,” relying on Cancel’s strong base in the local New York City Housing Authority developments. But it proved inadequate to beat Niou’s more organized and energetic campaign.

Chinatown vote

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September 15, 2016

Along with Grand St., Chinatown was a key factor in the race. As Virgina Kee, the president emeritus of U.D.O., who recruited Niou to run for Assembly, told The Villager last year, “The Asian-American community is hungry to have representation. We want to be proud of the person we send to Albany.” If elected, Niou would be only the second Asian-American in the New York State Legislature, joining her former boss, Kim. D.I.D.’s Sweeney said Niou’s win indeed was a shocker. “Yes, a lot of people were surprised,” he said, “especially winning by the wide margin. We also thought Alice would have done better, considering Truman was (I think) supporting her. “No one can figure out why the other two Chinatown candidates did not get a greater percentage. It is doubtful The New York Times endorsement would influence AsianAmerican voters.” On second thought, Sweeney said, the support of John Liu probably was a big help for Niou in Chinatown. As for the 66th A.D. race, the turnout was light. One woman exiting the poll site at P.S. 41 on Tuesday afternoon — only the second voter to emerge in a half-hour span — would not reveal who she supported. When she was told that the reporter was from The Villager, she pulled out a folded-up clipping of an ad by the Village Independent Democrats club that recently ran in the newspaper that endorsed Glick, Ben Yee for State Committee and a slate of judicial candidates backed by V.I.D. and the area’s other political clubs. “It was a good way to get me to tell you who I voted for,” she said, as she re-pocketed the ad in her purse.

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Lee Berman won the race for Democratic state committeeman in the 65th A ssembly District. The incumbent, John Quinn, did not run for re-election.

State Committee races “It’s not all bad news,” D.I.D.’s Sweeney reflected. “In the 66th A.D., Ben Yee trounced John Scott for State Committee, by some 80 percent to 20 percent. In the 65th A.D., Lee Berman — endorsed by Newell — beat out Christopher Marte and Dodge Landesman for State Committee.” It was a close race on the East Side. Of roughly 6,070 votes cast, Berman won about 37 percent, to Marte’s 33 percent and Landesman’s 30 percent. Berman, 49, is a lifetime East River Houses co-op resident and a member of the legal staff for the New York Police Department. A strong schools advocate, he was formerly a member of Community Education Council District 1. Landesman is the son of Rocco Landesman, the prominent Broadway theater owner and former National Endowment for the Arts chairperson. Marte, whose parents immigrated to New York from the Dominican Republic, is a lifelong Lower East Sider who grew up in a tenement right next to Adam Purple’s former Garden of Eden, and as a kid worked in his father’s bodega on Rivington St. He and Landesman are in their 20s. At a debate of the three candidates last Friday at the Henry Street Settlement moderated by The Villager, Berman repeatedly bashed what he called “The Shelly Silver and John Quinn political machine.” He declared that it’s time for real change in the whole district, and that “everybody” must be represented.

© Luca Sola


Photo by Grand View

A poster for Jenifer Rajkumar on a truck parked outside the Grand St. co-ops on Tuesday. Yes, apparently The New York Times did once describe her as “Not just Jenny from the block.”

FREE PANEL DISCUSSIONS What We See: Stories from the Global Refugee Crisis September 13, 7:30 PM

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) executive director Jason Cone and aid workers will explain why it is vitally important for MSF to speak out about the global refugee crisis, and the mayor’s commissioner for immigrant affairs will discuss the impact in New York City. Hosted by The New School Tishman Auditorium, 63 Fifth Ave, NYC RSVP at

The Global Refugee Crisis: Humanitarian Needs and International Policy September 21, 7:30 PM

Journalist Ann Curry moderates a discussion between MSF, International Rescue Committee, and the adviser to the UN summit on Migrants and Refugees, about the political solutions being offered and the many challenges ahead for people who, through no fault of their own, have been forced from home. Hosted by Cooper Union Office of Continuing Education & Public Events The Great Hall, 7 E 7th St, NYC RSVP at

September 15, 2016


Sidewalk catwalk show prompts yowls of anger in Soho Fashion continued from p. 1

Minkoff’s fall collection, clogged the area with street and foot traffic. “An NFL fullback couldn’t have pushed his way through the crowd,” Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, said of the jammed sidewalks around the event. “It was like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.” The Community Board 2 Quality of Life Committee voted unanimously last month to “strongly” oppose granting a permit for Minkoff’s event. In their resolution, the committee noted that 43 residents sent e-mails and at least a dozen attended the committee’s meeting to express opposition to the outdoor fashion show. The community objected to closing down Greene St. because it would create further disruptions on the Saturday after Labor Day weekend — one of the busiest days for pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the neighborhood — and might also lead to more applications for similar on-street events in the future, according to the committee’s resolution. “We already have enough congestion here on the weekends. There is no need for something like this,” said Bo Riccobono, a member of both C.B. 2 and the Soho Alliance. “But the main concern is that this sets a precedent. Who is the next person or business that is going to

Photo by Tequila Minsky

A model strutted down the “catwalk” on the Greene St. cobblestones on Saturday as a rock band blared behind her.

apply for something like this? Where will it stop?” Despite the community board’s recommendation, the city’s Street Activity Permit Office gave the go-ahead for Minkoff’s show. “The city didn’t listen or even pay at-

ceramics from Greenwich House Pottery and local artists

ceramics from Greenwich House Pottery and local artists

ceramics from Greenwich House Pottery and local artists


September 15, 2016

tention to community concerns in allowing a potentially harmful and disruptive event to take place,” said C.B. 2 Chairperson Tobi Bergman. “SAPO has no idea about how this will impact the community. They just said: ‘This is Fashion Week and we just want to do everything to make Fashion Week a success.’” Bergman also explained that the community board was concerned the crowded street might turn shoppers away from nearby stores during one the neighborhood’s busiest Saturdays. “We don’t oppose street events, but we do think they should serve a purpose,” he said. “Why is one business getting to sponsor a street fair that essentially closes everyone else down?” An inquiry to SAPO about the permit was directed to the Mayor’s Office, which oversees the agency. The Mayor’s Office did not return a request for comment. Susan Wittenberg, a C.B. 2 member who lives on Greene St., said she left the neighborhood Saturday afternoon to avoid the chaos. “Everyone in the neighborhood was miserable. You felt like you had to leave or stay inside all day,” she explained. Wittenberg said the community already experienced enough trauma from Fashion’s Night Out — a booze-fueled promotional event that some said generated more mayhem than commercial activity. The event was canceled in 2013 — one year after a mob trashed a local man’s car near Bleecker St. and Broadway while the driver was still inside. Wittenberg said Saturday’s runway show could bring more fashion-related events that take over the streets. “What happens during the next Fashion Week?” she asked. “This opens the door for every other boutique to want an outdoor event promoting their business.” In response to concerns, the designer

did agree to scale down Saturday’s event somewhat, according to the community board resolution. Rather than set up the night before, event organizers agreed to begin preparing for the show Saturday at 8 a.m. and clear away all equipment by 4 p.m. that day. They also agreed not to bring in food trucks or close curb lanes for the event. However, the application also promised that performers would play acoustic, non-amplified music at the show. Instead, Minkoff brought in a rock band that blared tunes from speakers to hype up the crowd. Sweeney also said the streets were still cluttered with barricades and other equipment as late as 3:30 p.m. “I don’t see how they would have cleared everything away by 4 p.m.,” he said. In February, Minkoff told the New York Observer she hoped to “disrupt” Fashion Week by utilizing a “buy now, wear now” format at her runway show, which allowed customers to immediately purchase clothes worn on the catwalk. The idea boosted annual sales by 200 percent after her spring Fashion Week show. That success inspired the company to consider hosting a runway event outside the Soho store, her brother and the company’s C.E.O., Uri Minkoff, told Business of Fashion. However, Sweeney said Minkoff, who opened her Soho store in 2014, should take her company’s lofty ambitious someplace else. “If she wants to disrupt Fashion Week, fine. But don’t disrupt Soho,” said Sweeney. “This brash, upstart fashionista — who only came to the neighborhood a couple of years ago — is trying to capitalize on the style, creativity and panache that we helped create. It shows no respect for the neighborhood.”


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September is National Preparedness Month! Join NYC Emergency Management to learn how to prepare for all types of emergencies. Activities throughout September: Free preparedness fairs, events and workshops throughout the five boroughs Family day at the Bronx Zoo on Sunday, Sept. 18 Family day at the Staten Island Children’s Museum on Saturday, Sept. 24 and much more!

For more information, visit or call 311.

September 15, 2016


Political party: Electing to celebrate the night

Photos by Tequila Minsky

Although his club’s endorsed candidate, Paul Newell, lost in the 65th Assembly District race, Sean Sweeney of Downtown Independent Democrats, in photo at right, joined the party on Mulberry St. Tuesday night to celebrate the victory of Lee Berman, left in photo above, in the Lower Manhattan State Committee race. Newell endorsed Berman in the election.



At Con Edison, we’ve made it our mission to give customers cleaner, more efficient energy choices. So we’re investing in new technologies, such as smart meters, to deliver the benefits of a smart grid. Also, to help customers make more informed energy-saving decisions, we’re giving them personalized usage reports. It’s this spirit of innovation that guides everything we do. Not only today, but as we look toward the future. For more on how we’re preparing for tomorrow, visit us today at


September 15, 2016



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

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.


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.


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.


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.

September 15, 2016


Police Blotter Punched in the fray

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A robbery attempt at Le Bain, at The Standard hotel, at 444 W. 13th St., ended all washed-up early Monday morning. On Sept. 5, around 2 a.m., a man grabbed $1,000 worth of items from a woman swimming in the pool, police said. The alleged thief then fled toward the elevator, but a man chased after him. The robber pushed and shoved the other man to try to keep him from taking back the goods. But the man finally was able to wrest back the stolen iPhone, sunglasses and Louis Vuitton purse, wallet, and key case. Police arrested Colain C. Nelson, 24, for felony robbery.

Slash attacker A man who had just finished serving food at a restaurant was allegedly attacked in front of 204 W. Fourth St. on Fri., Sept. 9, at 3:40 a.m. According to police, the victim got into an argument with a man, who then took out an unknown object and menaced the server. He then caused physical injury to the victim’s face with a second unknown object,

Firefighters from Ladder 18, at 25 Pitt St., responded to a report on Tues., Sept. 13, of a man who had fallen into a hole at an excavation site at 242 Broome St. at Essex St. The victim, who tumbled about 10 feet down, suffered a compound fracture of his right arm. He was extricated from the pit with “non-life-threatening injuries,” according to a report.

‘Lost’ and found Early last Wednesday morning Sept. 7, police reported that Marianne Novobatzky, 83, of 61 Jane St., had been missing since around 3:30 p.m. the day before. However, it turns out, she was found later on Wednesday. A week later, a resident of Novobatzky’s building told The Villager that the senior woman, in fact, had reportedly merely been in the hospital. A Police Department spokesperson confirmed, “The missing woman was found safe and in good health on Wed., Sept. 7.” The Villager had checked with police on the morning of Sept. 7 around 10 a.m. if the woman was still missing, and was told that she still was. So, she apparently was found sometime later in the day.

Emily Siegel and Lincoln Anderson


To learn more about applying for health insurance, including Child Health Plus and Medicaid through 5@:[H[LVM/LHS[O;OL6ѝJPHS/LHS[O7SHU4HYRL[WSHJL visit or call 1-855-355-5777.

September 15, 2016

What a ‘lifesaver’!

Bad Broome fall

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No good deed goes unpunished — or unpunched. A woman walking near the northeast corner of Eighth Ave. and W. 14th St. told police that she saw two men fighting on Sun., Sept. 11, at 2:40 a.m. She attempted to separate them, but one man hit her in the face, causing bruising and pain. She was removed by medics for treatment to Lenox Health Greenwich Village, at W. 12th St. and Seventh Ave. Courtney Thompson, 21, was arrested for felony assault. According to police, he had three open warrants at the time of his arrest.

police said. The attacker then swiped $40 from the victim. Wesley Murphy, 37, was busted for felony robbery. Police did not say what sparked the dispute or what restaurant the victim was working at.

Sound off!

The good, bad and LaGuardia



recent New York Times description of LaGuardia Airport bore a certain resemblance to the end times. As Patrick McGeehan reported on one particularly terrible, very bad, no-good day last month: “Harried travelers abandoned cars and navigated the clogged Grand Central Parkway — the main highway serving La Guardia — on foot with suitcases in tow. Such traffic debacles have become so common that seasoned fliers and travel bloggers have recommended avoiding La Guardia altogether, perhaps for years to come.” This called to mind the evening I’d flown home earlier in the summer to find a line of perhaps 200 to 300 people waiting for a taxi. I whipped out my phone and videotaped it the way you’d video a funnel cloud, or mud slide. And those were people who weren’t going to miss a plane! Anyone trying to depart has been advised by the Transportation Security Administration to arrive at LaGuardia a minimum of two hours before takeoff. So, last week, I did. For a 1 p.m. fight on American, I got to the airport at 10:30 via the amazingly efficient bus from the 74th St. and Roosevelt Ave. station. To my shock, everything seemed efficient when I arrived, too. The check-in lines were vanishingly short, the lady at the bookstore delightfully chatty, and the security line, pleasantly swift and groping-free. I felt I could almost hold onto a bottle of water, it was that sane. Cheerfully, I entered Terminal C to look for gate C37 and saw the sign: Gates C1–14. Hmm. “I just walked all the way to the end,” a lady told me as we meandered around before discovering a little desk where a harried employee was explaining that Terminal C is now in two different buildings at once, physics be damned. To get to the “parallel universe C” requires a shuttle bus, something that must throw off any travelers who allotted themselves just a few minutes to walk to their gate. And to get to the shuttle bus requires schlepping down a bunch of sad, service-entrance steps with your luggage — or, in the case of one family I was watching, with your luggage, your two babies, and your double stroller. No elevator, no offer of help. Welcome, American Airlines passengers! The shuttle bus winds its way past the New York of 1977: Piles of traffic barriers loom next to loading docks protected by the dingy plastic strips you

in a city rich in shades, here is a COLOR that includes all...

in in a city rich here in shades, here isthat a COLOR that includes all... in a city rich shades, is a COLOR includes all...

see at the car wash. All it’s missing is a blackout. “I’ve never seen an airport so messy,” Sravya Bandi, an I.T. analyst down from Montreal, told me. But then you get off the bus, drag your luggage (and kids and double stroller) up three flights of stairs, and suddenly: Oz! This terminal is gleaming! It’s more than respectable, it elegantly refutes the famous Joe Biden quote: “If I blindfolded you and took you to LaGuardia Airport, you [would] think, ‘I must be in some Third World country.’ ” Why, none of the seats here are ripped. No weird brown stains are spreading across the ceiling. And there’s nary an Auntie Anne’s Pretzel to be gnawed. O.K., the parking is impossible, and “There is clearly not enough room to drop people off,” said Marie DeParis, a TV marketing exec on her way to Florida. “But once you walk inside and get past security, it’s beautiful!” The travelers I spoke to from Ghana, Ukraine and even New Jersey marveled at the futuristic decor, including a restaurant so sleek one man wasn’t sure how to order. “I kept trying to signal a waiter,” he said, “until someone explained, ‘No, you order using the iPad.’ ” Bo Miller, a 42-year-old veteran from Charlotte, N.C., said he found the prices futuristic, too. “I just had a burger and the smallest ginger ale I ever had, for $21.” But, he added, the burger was good. Yes, there will be years of construction along with untold parking woes. There may still be those days like the one a traveler named Will recalled from his most recent LaGuardia trip; “We were 44th in line for takeoff.” But for those of us traumatized by the old LaGuardia, the Airport of Despair, the new terminal hints of brighter days to come. After some delays.


SEPTEMBER 20, 2 SEPTEMBER 20,–201 SEPTEMBER 20,A.M. 2016 11:00 6:00

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Skenazy is a keynote speaker, author and founder of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids,” and a contributor at September 15, 2016


Big hopes for E.V. microgrid as disaster buffer By Michael Ossorguine


he Lower East Side was slammed in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge knocked out power and communication lines throughout the neighborhood. Now, a new project — Two Bridges Beyond the Grid — is aiming to mitigate the impact of possible future outages by creating what is known as a local microgrid. This microgrid, billed as the first of its kind, would be an “urban electrical cooperative.” It would be both an electrical-power generation and distribution facility. The current design includes a lithiumion battery plant with an 8 megawatt per hour capacity, and a generation facility with a 2.4 megawatt per hour capacity. Running on renewable energy — solar and natural gas — the microgrid would work with Con Edison to consistently meet local demand, as well as shift into “islanded mode” in the event of an outage on the main Con Ed grid. “We have what amounts to an uninterruptible power supply on a number of buildings,” said Paul Garrin, an executive board member of L.E.S. Ready. “Our microgrid provides 100 percent of the power 100 percent of the time, with surplus.” The project would accomplish a number of goals: It would replace aging electrical equipment, reduce the risk of

another extended power outage, reduce public schools — and buildings of Univercarbon emissions and keep rates low for sity Settlement and Nazareth Housing. the grid’s users. Although the main risk of disruption “We’re trying to connect so-called to the microgrid remains flooding, a 140‘critical facilities,’ ” Garrin said. “That page feasibility study clarifies that the sysis actually a requirement, but it’s a no- tem would be as impervious to unforeseen brainer. All our urban studies from Pratt catastrophes as possible. According to the and from the Department of City Plan- study, “All proposed new power generaning, and all the city projects that were tion, electrical storage, and microgrid condone over the years to classify this area, trol assets will be placed above the historic look at the flood zone and identify vulner- flood line” — on building rooftops and abilities, have found that critical-facilities other strategic, elevated locations. definitions go beyond just hospitals and Victor Papa, president of the nonprofit fire departments. It also includes practical Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, said things: supermarkets, pharmacies. When his organization would be willing to staff we have a loss of power, we lose all that.” the microgrid, as well as be the energy coIn Sandy’s wake, some elderly Lower op’s main administrative force. East Siders living in high-rise buildings “This was a community-born idea and found themselves stuck in their apart- it has to maintain that independence,” ments with no working elevator. Police Papa said. communications went down. Grocery The microgrid’s design, by Lockheed stores were closed due to power failure. Martin Energy, includes demand-side effiBob Fink, a tenant leader at Village ciency measures not seen in conventional East Towers, supports the plan. microgrids, where “load-shedding” nor“I applaud the efforts of the Beyond the mally shuts off power in some apartments Grid team to help us seniors and the all during power outages, and transmission the rest of us to have the basics of sustain- losses reduce the efficiency of energy able big-city life at hand when we are in distribution. On the supply side, the grid need,” he said. would be able to sell power back to Con The 11 buildings currently slated for Ed during the frequent power surpluses, the microgrid are in the northeast corner and buy energy from Con Ed when the of the East Village. They include Campos storage battery plant undergoes a power T:8.75” Plaza I and II, Village East Towers, a su- deficit. In addition, the grid would buy permarket, the Village East Community natural gas from Con Ed, which would be School — which actually houses three a partner in the project.

The regulations that control the buying and selling of power between utilities are extensive, and the transactions would be done through New York Independent System Operator as the arbitrage. Due to these and other complexities, a team of pro bono legal experts, including from Morrison & Foerster L.L.P., has been brought aboard for this project. To finance the microgrid, which Garrin said would cost $15 million to build, the project’s masterminds joined a competition hosted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority called NY Prize. The agency already helped finance the feasibility study, and has $8 million available to design many projects all over the state. The deadline for engineering and business model proposals is in October. The project’s original investment might not be recovered for many years, so a certain amount of debt would be taken on. However, the coalition is looking to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, NYSERDA and the Mayor’s of Office of Recovery and Resiliency, as well as other sources, to help minimize the debt. Although the project is still in its early stages, its leaders believe their model could be reproduced elsewhere, helping revolutionize the utility industry, by increasing efficiency through locally owned generation and distribution.

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September 15, 2016


Susan Richardson, 92, theater producer, manager

Obituary By Dion Drislane


usan Myers Richardson, a longtime Bank St. resident, died in Nashville, Tenn., on Aug. 14. She was 92. She was born in 1924 in Taizhou, China, a small village in Jiangsu Province, the first child of Robert Price Richardson and Agnes Rowland Richardson, who were stationed there as Presbyterian missionaries. Her formal schooling began at the Shanghai American School. She spent her final year of high school in the U.S., graduating from Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. She then returned to her family’s home state of Georgia, graduating from Agnes Scott College. Susan was a talented athlete. Swimming, diving, tennis and sailing are some of the sports in which she excelled. Her lifelong love of baseball must certainly have originated with the diamond her father installed in the yard in Taizhou for Susan and her three brothers. She also took flying lessons and flew small propeller planes as a young woman in Georgia. In 1960, Susan moved to New York and into the basement apartment on Bank St. she lovingly referred to as “Troll House.” She lived there for more than 50 years and loved the Village through all its changes and incarnations. Susan’s theatrical career started with a job as the business manager for the Augusta Players in Augusta, Ga. In New York she produced several Off Broadway plays, including “The Death of a Well-Loved Boy,” at

Susan Richardson.

the St. Mark’s Playhouse; “A Scent of Flowers,” at the Martinique Theater; “One Night Stands of a Noisy Passenger” at the Actors Playhouse; and Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Inspector Hound,” at Theater Four.

She also produced the tour of “In White America” and the horror film “Dear Dead Delilah.” For 15 summers, Susan was the business manager for her dear friends Pat and Fred Carmichael’s Caravan Theater at the Dorset Playhouse in Dorset, Vermont. She even acted when called into service, playing Christopher Robin in “Winnie The Pooh” in the 1960s. The summer theater in Dorset was where she designed and implemented a box office system that a number of New York Off Broadway houses continued to use until the advent of computer systems. Susan was also a picture framer and opened her first shop in the basement of 80 St. Mark’s, where she became fast friends with Howard Otway, who owned the revival house upstairs, Theater 80. She became the bookkeeper and program designer for the theater, as well as hostess of the theater’s charmingly quirky New Year’s Eve parties. Act Three of Susan’s career found her keeping the books under the sign “Wise Men Fish Here” for Andres Brown at the Gotham Book Mart until it closed. In 2012, Susan left New York for Nashville to be near her family. She spent the last four years of her life in an assisted-living residence, The Blakeford, where she died last month. Susan is survived by her brother, retired General William Rowland Richardson, and his wife, Mary Bailey Richardson, of McLean, Va.; her sister-in-law, Kathleen Fjone Richardson, of Cincinnati, Ohio; three nephews, five nieces and numerous great-nieces and great-nephews. A memorial service celebrating Susan’s life was held Aug. 26 at The Blakeford, at Green Hills in Nashville. Her remains will be buried at Maple Hill Cemetery in Dorset, Vermont.

How a child learns to learn will impact his or her life forever.

City and Country School Keeping the progress in progressive education. Two-Year-Olds – 8th Grade

Open House: Thursday, November 17, 6:00 - 8:00pm 146 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011 Tel: 212.242.7802

September 15, 2016


Support community news!

Letters to the Editor Leichter: Pier55 will be great To The Editor: Re “Court sinks Pier55 lawsuit; City Club foes vow to appeal” (, Sept. 8): It is puzzling why the few opponents to Pier55 are threatening to pursue their lawsuit after the Appellate Division not only denied their injunction but dismissed the suit. The lack of merit is seen in the Appellate Division rendering its decision 36 hours after argument was held. This is almost unheard of. It is particularly striking that the plaintiffs go on about the project causing environmental harm to the river, when they themselves scrubbed this claim from their lawsuit. As co-author with Assemblyman Richard Gottfried of the Hudson River Park Act and serving on the Hudson River Park Trust’s board of directors for almost 18 years, I am very comfortable that the Trust acted in the public interest. It followed the required review process, adhered to every environmental requirement as advised by counsel, and did not violate the rarely relied on Public Trust Doctrine — facts now affirmed by both the state’s Supreme Court and Appellate Division.

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Gottfried and I sponsored the park act to protect the river, avoid threatened commercial development on the waterfront and create a great park. We would never support a project that violates these principles. Pier55 will be a welcome addition to what is becoming the greatest waterfront park anywhere.

Call 646-452-2475

This is no longer home

Franz S. Leichter Leichter was state senator for the Upper West Side’s 30th District from 1975 to ’98. To The Editor: Re “ ‘It’s good for valuations’: Witkoff says huge new luxe condo helps Village” (news article, Sept. 8): “Native” New Yorkers will not be able to live here in the near future. The Village was never meant to have “huge” buildings. There is change — and then there is change. These monstrosities ruin the whole ambiance of the Village. Good for the neighborhood? Not when all the small shops are closing or have closed. We have almost no grocery shops on my side of the Village. There are plenty of banks, chain drug stores and nail salons, though. Walk down any block and there are many empty stores. The “little guy / gal” can’t afford the rents that have skyrocketed due to the greed of landlords. Some storefronts have been empty for two years or more. I am a born Villager. But if I could move, I would, as

this is no longer my quaint home. Norma Courrier

High-rises vs. healthcare To The Editor: Re “ ‘It’s good for valuations’: Witkoff says huge new luxe condo helps Village” (news article, Sept. 8): Witkoff’s 150 Charles St. has a marvelous view — that is, if you don’t need to get to a real trauma center to treat an aneurysm or stroke in time to save your life, or be maimed. Barbara Ruether

The Bagel? How dare you! To The Editor: Re “ ‘It’s good for valuations’: Witkoff says huge new luxe condo helps Village” (news article, Sept. 8): Look, Mr. Witkoff, I understood that you built this thing and got it done. That is a major accomplishment. Kudos, in a city that fights such things tooth and nail. The West Village is not totally different than 20 years ago in one major respect — the cost of housing. I lived half a block from The Bagel restauraunt, a real cute eatery, but a total “dive,” a totally quirky relic that lasted until 2003. I find it reprehensible you mention it in any way to promote your ultra-luxury building — as if to give yourself street cred. The Bagel lost its lease to the owners, who forced them out after decades because they wanted to expand their other restaurant into its space. It’s dog eat dog. There are no The Bagel restaurants left in the Village. None. It is all too expensive. There are too many day spas and private indoor pools for the few. N.Y.U. is incredibly expensive now, when before it was a poor kids’ school. Donnie Moder

Heart-health reality check

To The Editor: Re “Bob McGlynn, linked Tompkins protests and glasnost” (obituary, Sept. 8): Just finding out that Bob has died of a heart attack at age 60. He was a legendary bike messenger activist, and I actually met him when I also was working as one long before the Tompkins Square Riot. letters continued on p. 20



September 15, 2016

Never forget: Lights shine in strength and beauty

scene By Bill Egbert


s night fell on Sunday, the annual Tribute in Light blazed to life in Lower Manhattan to memorialize the 2,983 people who were killed in the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago. The twin shafts of light are formed by 88 xenon spotlights laid out in two 48-foot-wide squares on the roof of the eight-story Battery Parking Garage, at 70 Greenwich St., just a few blocks south of the World Trade Center site. With each spotlight burning at 7,000 watts, the combined 616,000-watt twin beams are the most powerful light ever projected from Earth, and are visible from up to 60 miles away as brilliant blue shafts reach four miles into the sky. The power for the lights comes from generators fueled, since 2008, with biodiesel made from local restaurants’ used cooking oil, provided by Bronx-based Tri-State Biodiesel. The original display was lit on March 11, 2002, marking six months since the 9/11 attacks, and since 2003, it has returned annually on Sept. 11. Though originally organized by the Municipal Arts Society, the display is now handled by the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Annual funding for the Tribute in Light, which costs $350,000 to put on, is generally ad hoc, and past years’ displays have repeatedly been predicted to be the last. Earlier this year, however, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation allocated a $700,000 grant to the memorial to fund the tribute through 2017.

Photos by Milo Hess

The 88 spotlights are arranged in two 48-foot-wide squares positioned to resemble the positions of the Twin Towers.

The t win shafts of the Tribute in Light reach four miles into the sk y and can be seen up to 60 miles away.

September 15, 2016


Letters to the Editor letters continued from p. 18

I’m very sorry to hear this. I suggest that those of you who are 50 and up get a blood pressure and cholesterol check. There are cheap statin, as well as blood pressure, drugs available that can help you avoid an early death.

bomb on any Assad regime target. Indeed, the U.S. has only assisted Assad by bombing his enemies ISIS and Nusra Front. If Cohen wishes for his Green Party to be taken seriously, he should develop at least a modicum of familiarity with the facts before commenting. Bill Weinberg

John Penley

Green gets it wrong

Save the cherry trees!

To The Editor: Re “Green won’t bash Bashar” (letter, by Mitchel Cohen, Sept. 8): In his letter in response to my quote in The Villager’s Sept. 1 article on third-party presidential candidates, Mitch Cohen writes: “Weinberg conveniently ignores Clinton’s involvement with the bombardment of Assad’s regime!” Mitch is entitled to his own opinions but not his own facts. The U.S. has never dropped a single

To The Editor: Re “Cherished cherry trees chainsawed on Bleecker” (news brief, Sept. 8): New York City keeps breaking my heart. It is hard to believe that New York University’s plan could not include these precious historic trees. We have seen too much of this over the years, with historic trees cut for construction, or replaced by common or even invasive species.

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September 15, 2016

I know money is important, but heritage has even more value. I wish the city would learn that lesson at long last. Lawrence White

The cruelest cut To The Editor: Re “Cherished cherry trees chainsawed on Bleecker” (news brief, Sept. 8): Horrible, simply horrible. N.Y.U. has murdered the soul of our neighborhood. John D. Kruth

Probiotic or antibiotic? To The Editor: Re “Cherished cherry trees chainsawed on Bleecker” (news brief, Sept. 8): R.I.P., cherry trees. For those who believe all biotic beings have souls, that was not the sound of a chainsaw — it was our trees moaning and crying. Judith Chazen Walsh

Sticks in reader’s craw To The Editor: My copy of The Villager this week came with a “Vote Don Lee” sticker slapped across the front page. Does this constitute an endorsement by The Villager? I have no problem with Mr. Lee buying ad space in the paper, or The Villager endorsing him, but this seems highly inappropriate. Jean Albert Editor’s note: That is what is known as a “frontpage sticker ad.” It was not an editorial endorsement. All candidates were offered the option to advertise in The Villager. E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to or fax to 212229-2790 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.

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Abrons artists exalt the Jay Wegman era Departing director leaves legacy of creative carte blanche BY TRAV S.D.


hen an arts organization is over a century old, even major things, such as a staff change, can seem transitory. In the case of the Abrons Arts Center and its outgoing Artistic Director Jay Wegman, the shift has the potential to be seismic. After a decade at the helm of Abrons, Wegman has left to take a post as Director at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. The legacy he leaves behind at Abrons is significant and widely admired. The Abrons Arts Center turned 100 just last year. Its parent organization, the Henry Street Settlement, is even older (it was founded as a social services organization in 1893). Originally called the Neighborhood Playhouse, the space that evolved into the Abrons was part of the “Little Theatre” movement, with a mission of providing classical drama for area residents. The original 300seat Playhouse is still in use, with the addition of newer playing spaces: the “underground” studio, a black box, and an amphitheater. In addition to its curated seasons, the Center also sponsors gallery exhibitions, education programs, summer camps, and artist residencies. Into this venerated and venerable institution walked Wegman in 2006. Originally from Minnesota, he brought with him a background as an ordained Episcopalian priest and Canon for Liturgy and the Arts at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. “Jay came along when things were feeling sort of dry Downtown,”

Photo by Adam Levy

Dickie Beau in “Blackouts,” Oct. 6–15.

recalled Jennifer Miller, whose Circus Amok launched Abrons’ 2016/2017 season on September 11. “All of the creativity I had associated with the Lower East Side seemed to be drying up, and the emphasis at [key institutions like] PS122 and Dance Theater Workshop, seemed to be on expanding. Then I started hearing about stuff happening at Abrons. Jay revived it. He supported and nourished all kinds of queer and heart-

felt and neighborhoody work, and I started to see things there.” Said Wegman about those earlier years, “I was charged with revitalizing the theaters, so I started seeking out underserved, emerging artists — avant-garde performers who didn’t fit into just one genre and who needed a home, and who could benefit from the use of the space. This being New York City, I wanted to present work audiences wouldn’t see somewhere

else. I love stuff that is whacked out — crazy, but a good crazy. Art that takes great risks. Later I got money to commission work and attract international artists, and so it gradually grew.” One of the first artists he brought in was choreographer and neoburlesque legend Julie Atlas Muz, whose memorable performances WEGMAN continued on p. 22 September September15, 15,2016 2016

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WEGMAN continued from p. 21

there included an X-rated version of “Beauty and the Beast” which she presented in collaboration with her husband, sideshow artist Matt Fraser; and “Sisters’ Follies: Between Two Worlds,” an irreverent celebration of the playhouse’s centennial co-starring drag artist Joey Arias and directed by the puppeteer Basil Twist. “Jay has a keen eye and an adventurous spirit,” Muz told this publication. “He made Abrons feel like home for me. I live just down the road, therefore am a real local in the neighborhood. When Jay began his tenure, I had just moved into my apartment. He invited me to visit the theater; and since then, I always have felt very comfortable barging into his office with a question, a need for a hug, or wine, or sometimes chocolate to share... This wild man, with a very experimental and pure sense of theater, also really listens. That’s, I think, Jay’s true strength. He listens. He says yes. He is a dreamer. His curating style is about the artwork and the people, not about his ego or his vision.” Another key Downtown company, Target Margin Theater, has developed and produced many works at Abrons over the years — including the Yiddish-language “The (*) Inn” and their upcoming “Mourning Becomes Electra,” which they workshopped a section of last season. According to David Herskovits, their artistic director, “Jay made the place incredibly hospitable. It’s a place to meet and work; much more a home than a rental house. You end up bumping into other artists working in the building, and building relationships over time, and that enhances the work.” Wegman cites that climate of artistic fermentation as his greatest accomplishment at Abrons. “I loved it when artists popped into my office and would just hang out. I’m proudest of creating an atmosphere, a creative environment that was casual and hospitable,” he said. As it happens, Wegman is leaving on the strongest of possible notes: an exciting season that includes a 150th anniversary revival of the seminal American proto-musical “The Black Crook” (Sept. 19–Oct. 7), London “drag fabulist” Dickie Beau in “Blackouts” (Oct. 6–15), a

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September September 15, 15, 2016 2016


Target Margin Theater’s “Mourning Becomes Electra” plays May 3–20, 2017.


New York City Players’ revival of Richard Maxwell’s “Good Samaritans” plays Feb. 26–Mar. 24, 2017.

revival of Richard Maxwell’s “Good Samaritans” (Feb. 26–Mar. 24), and Target Margin Theater’s “Mourning Becomes Electra” (May 3–20). As for his hopes for his new gig at Skirball, “I want [my programming there] to be as rigorous and challenging as the NYU curriculum, an extension of the classroom. I want to bring art that is not easily categorized and crack open the heads of students — and those of New Yorkers, as well.” The Abrons recently announced

the hiring of its new artistic director, Craig Peterson, whose credits include leadership positions at the Philly Fringe Festival and Gibney Dance. Where he will take the organization next is not yet known. Abrons Arts Center is located at 466 Grand St. (btw. Pitt & Willett Sts.). For info, call 212-598-0400 or visit Facebook: Twitter: @AbronsArtCtr.


Of his decade at Abrons, Jay Wegman says he’s most proud of fostering “a creative environment that was casual and hospitable.”

)WWIRXMEPERHMRÂYIRXMEP Abrons Arts Center has always mattered ABRONS ARTS CENTER

466 Grand St. (btw. Pitt & Willett Sts.) 212-598-0400 The Abrons Arts Center, the performing and visual arts program of Henry Street Settlement, supports the presentation of innovative, multi-disciplinary work and serves as an intersection of cultural engagement for local, national, and international audiences and arts-workers. Artists that have appeared on the Abrons’ stages include Laurie Anderson, Joey Arias, Justin Vivian Bond, Philippe Petit, Rufus Wainwright, and John Zorn.


The Playhouse seats 300 and has changed little since 1915.



015 ushered in the centennial of the Abrons Arts Center, its mission intact, which cannot be said of most institutions today. It was built in 1915, as the Neighborhood Playhouse at the Henry Street Settlement, by Lillian Wald. Wald, who founded the Henry Street Settlement in 1893, was one of the 20th century’s most visionary social activists. Along with The Washington Square Players and The Provincetown Playhouse, the Neighborhood Playhouse created the backbone of modern theatre in New York, with hugely influential performances from Isadora Duncan to Orson Welles, to those of the present day. Wald, an outspoken Feminist who understood the role of theatre and the arts as agents for social change, also created an art school which is still active, offering 100 dance, music, theater, and visual art classes a year — which, like the Playhouse, had a huge role as the birthplace of the American avantgarde and modern art, with faculty and

students like Martha Graham, Alwin Nikolais, Aaron Copeland, Jackson Pollak, and John Cage. Under the directorship of Jay Wegman (2006–2016), the Abrons has returned the to a front-andcenter player in contemporary theatre, through his commitment to both innovation and excellence. Wegman created a home for experimental investigation, a laboratory for theatrical inquiry, and a sense of artistic community, which has been ebbing away under the forces of gentrification. Abrons Arts Center houses three theaters, an art gallery, along with the art school, and a public school program. The Playhouse, a jewel box with its proscenium stage, seats 300 and remains little changed since 1915. The Experimental Theatre is a black box that seats 60, and the underground theater space seats 99. Abrons is the home to both a dance festival and new performance festival, and programs a year-round roster of theatre, musicals, dance, and performance art.


BROOKLYN The Community News Group is proud to introduce BROOKLYN PAPER RADIO. Join Brooklyn Paper Editor-in-Chief Vince DiMiceli and the New York Daily News’ Gersh Kuntzman every Thursday at 4:45 for an hour of talk on topics Brooklynites hold dear. Each show will feature instudio guests and call-out segments, and can be listened to live or played anytime at your convenience.






LISTEN EVERY THURSDAY AT 4:45PM ON September September15, 15,2016 2016

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Just Do Art



Anne de Carbuccia’s exhibition at Westbeth employs a centuries-old device to contemplate contemporary devastation.

Sept. 18, a walking tour led by historian Miriam Berman sheds light on the Flatiron Building and its namesake district.


EXHIBITON: “ONE PLANET ONE FUTURE” Born in New York City, raised in Paris, and educated at Columbia University (where she studied anthropology as well as 17th - and 18th-century art history), Anne de Carbuccia’s work in the mediums of photography and film reflect a big-picture, longgame perspective developed during her formal academic training, as well as during a series of global expeditions, during which she witnessed pollution, war, species on the brink of extinction, and primitive cultures on the verge of collapse. Her “One Planet” collection of images aren’t simply contemplations of natural beauty; there’s an undercurrent of anger at man’s propensity for inserting a disproportionate amount of death into the circle of life (hence the omnipresent skull imagery, which also references the genre of “vanitas” art). Free. Through Nov. 21. Hours: Mon., Wed. & Thurs., 11:30am– 6:30pm; Fri. & Sat., 12–8:30pm; Sun., 11:30am–6:30pm. At Westbeth Center for the Arts (155 Bank St., btw. West & Washington Sts.). Visit and

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September September 15, 15, 2016 2016

FLATIRON BUILDING WALKING TOUR It’s much more than the spitting image of a retired Monopoly piece, or a selfie waiting to happen. Discover little-known facts about the city’s most charismatic skyscraper — when the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership celebrates the 50th anniversary of the landmarking of the Flatiron Building, with a special version of their weekly walking tour. Guided by native New Yorker and historian Miriam Berman (author of “Madison Square: The Park and Its Celebrated Landmarks”), you’ll first circle around the iconic building, then tour the Flatiron district while learning how the 22-story, 1902-built structure influenced the evolution of a neighborhood. Free; no advance registration required. Sun., Sept. 18. At 11am, meet at the southwest corner of Madison Square Park (23rd St. & Broadway, in front of the William Seward statue). Same time, day, place for weekly 90-minute walking tours. Visit

SUBMERGE NYC MARINE SCIENCE FESTIVAL Immerse yourself in the lore of local marine life, during this all-day festival designed to raise awareness of our


Sept. 24’s “Submerge” marine science event explores the big tent that is the Hudson River ecosystem.

coastal waters. Hudson River Park’s Pier 26 is the site of multiple familyfriendly programs and activities coordinated by the New York Hall of Science. Research stations and a science stage offer hands-on activities, presentations, experiments, and wildlife performances; a tour of Stony Brook University’s R/V Seawolf research vessel reveals how they conduct oceanographic sampling and sturgeon tagging; Pier 26’s Downtown Boathouse staff takes you through the history of kayaks, then puts you in one to paddle the Hudson River;

scuba dive demos have frogmen (and frogwomen) plunging into the Hudson to collect river specimens; and surf/ turf food truck options from the likes of Gorilla Cheese, Urban Lobster Shack and Yaki Taco ensure your energy level doesn’t ebb and flow like the tide. Free. Sat., Sept. 24, 11am–4pm at Pier 26 in Hudson River Park (at N. Moore St.). Visit special-events/view/events-Submerge and JUST DO ART continued on p. 25

A captivating spy tale told with chutzpah

‘Ring of Lies’ thrills, and that’s the truth BY SHAVNA ABRUZZO


hen a Mossad mission goes horribly wrong, only one agent can save the day!” That tantalizing screamer is a teaser of the red meat each page hurls into readers’ voracious jaws in Roni Dunevich’s gritty spy shocker, “Ring of Lies.” The high-speed, contemporary potboiler of violence, cold-hard calculation, and industrial-strength chutzpah is the internationally best-selling Israeli crime writer’s stateside debut of his suspenseful Alex Bartal series, which was serialized in Israel’s biggest newspaper. And it’s a nail-biter from the get-go. Bartal is director of operations at Israeli intelligence agency Mossad — a job requiring the hardscrabble sleuth to sleep with one eye open on good days; but the week that the book follows brings him to the brink of disaster when one of his agents is kidnapped during a top-secret assignment to capture, work over, and kill an Iranian general. The toppled plot triggers the deaths — one member at a time — of a sleeper-cell network of Mossad spies, propelling a series of intensifying calamities that drip, drip, drip a trail of blood, treachery, and infamy across two continents. Convinced of a mole within Mossad, Bartal hot-foots to Europe and Asia to hunt and destroy the turncoat, his adrenaline-packed, action-mobbed

investigation ascending to the highest levels of international espionage and government — and sinking into the deepest recesses of a tortured past. Along the way, readers make the acquaintance of enigmatic sleepers from the Ring of the Nibelungs — named for Richard Wagner’s German-language epic music dramas based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas — and a cast of unsavory actors, including “The Disfigured One,” “The Pockmarked One,” and “The Bald One Without Eyebrows.” Bartal’s relentless pursuit unleashes personal demons that clash with Europe’s murky and troubled history, and make him wonder if he is hunting an apparition or a merciless murderer who will stop at nothing to achieve his deadly purpose. The Mossad agency is the breakout star of “Ring,” riveting readers to the inscrutable operatives and clandestine operations of the Israeli spy intelligence agency which brought real-life Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann to justice. Dunevich’s inaugural English-language novel in his award-winning Alex Bartal series is liquid prose, tumbling drop by drop like a rich brandy — this reviewer gulped it down, cover to cover, in a weekend! Its nail-biting journey through the lairs and labyrinths of intercontinental undercover work is already out in paperback, and captivating whodunnit fans across America.


Roni Dunevich’s inaugural English-language novel has intrigue to spare.

“Ring of Lies” (HarperCollins, 480 pages, 2016, $15.99). Roni Dunevich was born in 1961 in Tel Aviv, Israel. He began his literary career as a copywriter and a strategic consultant.


Facts and fun to be found on Fulton and Front Sts., at Sept. 17’s Farm Fresh Festival for Kids.

JUST DO ART continued from p. 24

THE FARM FRESH FESTIVAL FOR KIDS Sandra Velez — a Chelsea native and co-founder of the non-GMO snack company Fresh Kids — is the director of this firstever festival, whose mission is to bring “a wholesome and magical farm experience” to the South Street Seaport. Games and crafts help kids form healthy eating habits, by learning about the farm-to-table process. Sat., Sept. 17, 12–4pm, on Fulton & Front Sts. The event is free, but requires registration via a visit to

A CONCERT OF HOPE Top-notch vocalists lend their names, time, and talent to this concert, 50% of whose proceeds will benefit NYC homeless services organizations. The roster of performers includes Grammynominated Metropolitan Opera veteran and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade; Tony nominee, Emmy Awardwinning actress, and go-to singer of Sondheim, Liz Callaway; tenor Daniel (the “Singing Cop”) Rodriguez, The Highland Divas, and the Sing The World Choir, combined from its American and Australian membership. The evening’s centerpiece, “Street


Dynamic singer and stage presence Liz Callaway lends her voice to Sept. 24’s Concert of Hope, to benefit local homeless services organizations.

Requiem,” is a contemporary choral work written “to reflect the multicultural and multi-faith traditions of modern city living” and meant to honor the memory of those who have died while living on the street. Sat., Sept. 24, 8pm, at Carnegie Hall (881 Seventh Ave., btw. W. 56th & W. 57th Sts.). For more info, visit For tickets ($28–$48), visit (student/senior discounts available at the box office). For info on organizations to benefit from ticket sales:, holyapostlesoupkitchen. org,,,, and September September15, 15,2016 2016

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Photos by Sharon Woolums

Native Americans and environmentalists rallied in Washington Square Friday evening, condemning a Dakota pipeline project. Others marked the 45th anniversar y of the Attica Prison uprising.

Dakota / Attica rally in Wash. Sq.


ative Americans and “water protectors” rallied in Washington Square Park Friday evening to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux oppose the project because it would cut through sacred sites and burial grounds, plus could potentially burst, polluting their drinking water. NYC Stands With Standing Rock members were also joined by Black Lives Matters and NYC Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee activists who were marking the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison uprising. In all, there were


September 15, 2016

an estimated 300 demonstrators in the square. “Although our acts of resistance are geographically separated, we will be joined together in the spirit of resistance,” NYC-IWOC said of the gathering, in a statement.

“Just as state-sanctioned genocide against indigenous peoples continues today, slavery has persisted in the guise of the prison system.” Village activist Sharon Woolums, who photographed the event,

reported, “There were Native American people there, there were Bernie people, there were Occupy people. ... There was one guy considered the elder. He really had them mesmerized. He said, ‘It’s come full circle now that the Indians are rising up.’ ” Woolums said she personally got caught up in the spirit of the protest. “I am part Cherokee,” she noted, adding, “It was the excitement of the early days of Occupy Wall Street!”

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On the outside, we’re a historic bedrock of the New York landscape. But on the inside, we’re taking a brand-new approach to health care.

Two years ago, we opened an around-theclock, 911 receiving emergency center in the former National Maritime Union Building and brought innovative health care to Greenwich Village. Since then, we have been offering state-of-the-art care with you and your family’s best interest in mind.

Now our outpatient imaging center is open for business, utilizing the most advanced techniques and equipment available. And there’s much more to come. We will be introducing additional medical services in the facility and continuing to raise the standard of healthcare in your neighborhood. Visit us on Seventh Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets. Emergency center (646) 665-6911 Imaging (646) 665-6700 Administration (646) 665-6000


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