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Photo Daniel Kwak

Photo by Michael Appleton, Mayoral Photography Office


Photo Daniel Kwak

VOLUME 08, ISSUE 38 | SEPTEMBER 22 - 28, 2016

Fear/less: My City

Photo by Daniel Kwak

Photo by Daniel Kwak

even the ones closed to foot traffic, authorities called to rescue us over 59th Street. Not afraid the night I rode up to El Barrio alone because the Young Lords had taken over a church and I was convinced that the cause would keep me safe. And it did.

Photo Travis Blair

The author on W. 23rd St.

You’re too stupid to be afraid, my mother used to say. Maybe I was. Wandering the streets, riding subways, entranced by the Red Hook light hitting metal, by the clotheslines, the pigeon coops. Getting lost, coming home after dark, keeping secrets. Painfully shy, my fear of people never caused fear of my city. I was not afraid, at age seven, in Brownsville, going to the store with my cousins, tucking our dollar bills under our arms, just in case. Not afraid, at nine, walking to Coney Island along McDonald Avenue, the rank smell of caged chickens following us, trying to find out if it was still all there in the winter. Not afraid of exploring bridges with my two silly friends from day camp,


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I learned the rules of the street along the way. Who to avoid. When to keep your mouth shut. Stay away from doorways. Walk like you know where you’re going. Never take your money out. Jump the gates. Climb the fences. Run faster than the knife that might cut your pretty young face. Don’t tell anyone. Survival skills. And no matter how smart, young girls do not get away unscathed. Some bad people, some bad nights. But I was never afraid of my city. Saturday evening, September 17, 2016. We are sitting in the Garden at 6th and B, waiting to do some music. Some poems. My friend Ron texts me from Prague. Explosion. Dumpster. Chelsea. Multiple injuries. Pipe bomb explosion. Seaside Park. Second device. 27th Street. FBI. Homeland Security. On scene. Cause “not yet determined.”

floor. Dying. The screams. The smell. The Towers. The falling bodies.

There was no word for homeless. We were always home.

Tonight, twenty-nine injured. Were they sleeping? Watching television? Eating dinner? Do we have the right to be angry? What about our bombs? What about the Syrian children? What about my friends? What have we done?

I had my first panic attack on an Upper East Side avenue. Armies of tight faced women marched by. I’m afraid to ride a bike in traffic. I have trouble catching my breath between subway stops. My heart races when the elevator comes to a sudden halt.

We are here, making music and poetry, Almost as far away as Ron, in Prague, But here. We are all here. Greetings to everyone, messages Ron. Be safe, my darlings. More texts. Are you ok? Are you ok? Are you ok? I do the checklist. My son’s in New Jersey. My daughter’s at home down here. Wait...Gerald lives in the Hotel Chelsea, Janis and Kevin and Jackie and Gary and Michael and Tessa Lou and my cousin Lynn who hates me, all in the neighborhood. Are you ok? Are you ok? Are you ok? Before 2001, we never took attendance. Not even in the ’70s when they called it Fear City. But we were not afraid of our city.

Images flood my mind as I read. Eagles of Death Metal. Paris. Pulse. The gay club in Orlando. Young people bleeding on the dance

Photo by Daniel Kwak

We were always home. On rooftops, street corners, broken glass, basement clubs.

I am not afraid of my city. Neither am I intrepid.

But I’m no longer afraid of people. And I am not afraid of my city. I hate every new wrinkle and crumbling tooth but I’m glad that I did not grow up in fear. And I got to grow old. I remember the feeling of invulnerability. They say all young people feel it but I don’t think they do anymore. I see it in their eyes. What in the world, like Bowie said, what in the world can we do? We live. I live. Newscasters look at us with sad eyes. Sometimes we get scared, too. But when I lie in bed at night, thirteen flights above the river, listening to rain or traffic noise, I am struck almost senseless by the lights of the bridges and the safety of my concrete walls I am not afraid of my city. .com

Photo by William Alatriste, NYC Council

Councilmember Corey Johnson inspected the blast damage — mainly blown-out windows — inside an apartment in the hotel at 131 W. 23rd St.

Chelsea Bombing Breakdown: A Timeline BY SEAN EGAN On the evening of Sat., Sept. 17, a bomb exploded in Chelsea on W. 23rd St. (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.), leaving civilians shaken and leading to a flurry of activity on the part of law enforcement agents and elected officials. The bomb detonated at around 8:30 p.m., believed to have originated from a dumpster near the King David Gallery (131 W. 23rd St.) and Selis Manor (135 W. 23rd St.), an affordable housing center for the blind and visually impaired. The blast shook surrounding buildings, shattered windows, and injured 31 people. Thankfully, none of these injuries were life-threatening, and all affected had been released from the hospital by Tues., Sept. 20. Another bomb (constructed of a pressure cooker, wires, and a cellphone) was found four blocks over on W. 27th St. (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.), though this device did not detonate. The Chelsea explosion followed another bombing earlier that morning in Seaside Park, NJ. At around 9:30 a.m. a bomb placed in a garbage can near the starting line of a 5K run for the Marine Corps detonated. Luckily, the race was delayed, and there was no one around/ injured when the bomb exploded. On Sun., Sept. 18, in the wake of these incidents, a backpack containing five similarly constructed pipe bombs was found in a trashcan at an NJ Transit

tion in Elizabeth, NJ. The incidents were believed to be connected to one another. By Monday morning, authorities had honed in on a prime suspect, 28-yearold Ahmad Khan Rahami, who was captured on security cameras in the area, and whose fingerprints were found on the undetonated W. 27th St. bomb. An American citizen of Afghan descent, his last known address was in Elizabeth, New Jersey, though since 2011, Rahami made frequent and extended trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Authorities apprehended Rahami around 11:30 a.m. on Mon., Sept. 19. He was discovered by a bar owner sleeping in the doorway of his establishment in Linden, New Jersey. Authorities responded to his call, and a foot pursuit and shootout followed. Two officers were injured during the altercation, and Rahami was shot, wounded, and taken out on a stretcher. Following arrest, Rahami was charged on seven counts in New Jersey: five for attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, a count of unlawful possession of a weapon, and a count of possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes. In New York, Rahami was also charged on four more counts: bombing a place of public use, destruction of property by means of fire or explosive, use of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of TIMELINE continued on p. 13

Courtesy FBI

A poster asking for public assistance in identifying the two individuals who removed the W. 27th St. bomb from the bag it was kept in. The men are not suspects, but witnesses, and only wanted for informational purposes. September 22 - 28, 2016


A Determined Return to Routine as

Photos by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Maximo Garcia has owned Great Burrito (100 W. 23rd St.) for 15 years. It reopened Tuesday.

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Their time in unexpected exile seemed much longer than three days — but life began to settle back into its old pattern and pace by Tuesday afternoon, as the majority of businesses on W. 23rd St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves, reopened following an explosion that broke windows and shattered nerves early in the evening of Saturday, September 17. Many stores and restaurants were experiencing a dip in business, as word had yet to reach those for whom this crosstown thoroughfare is a part of life’s everyday routine. “Business went down big time,” said Eduardo Sanchez, 43, manager of Flavors, a cafe at 100 W. 23rd St., on the corner near Sixth Ave. On Tuesday, the usually packed place was having a lackadaisical lunch, said Sanchez, who noted the lack of a crowd. Next door to Flavors is Great Burrito. Owner Maximo Garcia said his wife was at the restaurant on Saturday night when the bomb went off, and the next thing she knew, people were running and bleeding. Tuesday was the first day the burrito joint was open since Saturday, Garcia told Chelsea Now while he doled out burritos de la casa in the small place crowded with lunchtime customers. Garcia, who has owned the restaurant for 15 years, said business was affected, and he hopes something like this does not happen again. Further down the block, closer to the explosion, all the windows at 130 W. 23rd St. were empty maws — the glass was shattered during the blast. Dayron Rodriguez, 39, is a supervisor for GLASSwerks, a family-owned


September 22 - 28, 2016

glass fabrication and installation company based in Long Island City. He said they would work as fast as possible to replace the windows. “I’ve seen broken glass, but this is a lot in one shot,” said Rodriguez, standing in front of the blocked-off building. Though he now lives Uptown, he was born and raised on the Lower East Side and knew the area. “It’s a hardship for everybody,” Rodriguez said of the explosion. “It’s a matter of people coming together to put it all back together.” “Our doors were completely shattered,” said Jessica Kumari, 36, owner of Orangetheory Fitness at 124 W. 23rd St. In addition, the glass windows outside of the studio will also have to be replaced, Kumari said in a phone interview. “It will take a couple of weeks for us to get everything back in order,” she said. After the explosion, police asked business owners on W. 23rd St. if they had any surveillance footage, and Orangetheory did, explained Kumari. The footage, which showed a flash from the blast and then people running, was soon everywhere. “I’m happy that we could help,” she said, “if it helped in any way to catch the guy.” At nearby La Maison du Macaron at 132 W. 23rd St., owner Pascal Goupil, 53, told Chelsea Now, “We have been so lucky. The bomb container was about 30 feet away.” Goupil said his store, which sells made-in-house macarons of every pastel color imaginable and smells like pastry goodness, had taken a hit in business.

Dayron Rodriguez of GLASSwerks said, “I’ve seen broken glass, but this a lot in one shot.”

L to R: Studio manager Debra Wilhelm and owner Jessica Kumari of Orangetheory Fitness (124 W. 23rd St.), whose surveillance camera captured the explosion.

He was happy his windows had not been broken, and Tuesday was the first day the shop was open after the explosion. Outside, a multi-colored placard advertised “Free Coffee for NYPD’s Bravest and News Crews.” Further down the block, customers milled around the neighborhood supermarket, Garden of Eden at 162 W. 23rd St. during lunchtime. Nargis Begum, assistant manager, said, “Yesterday we were open, but it was dead.” Begum, who has worked at the supermarket for 19 years, said business was back to normal the next day, on Tuesday. Longtime Penn South resident Selma Shimshi, 85, was shopping for bread and other sundries at Garden of Eden.

“It was little scary,” said Shimshi, who has lived in Chelsea for over 50 years, of the blast. “Nothing has ever happened like that before. Never expected something like this.” Shimshi, who frequents the supermarket once a week, said she is happy things are getting back to normal. Domino’s Pizza at 170 W. 23rd St. experienced less business during football-Sunday, assistant manager Masum Chowdhury, 22, told Chelsea Now. Customers couldn’t get through the barricades to pick up orders, and some people are still scared, he said. “Business is going back to normal, but it’s going to take awhile,” Chowdhury said. RETURN continued on p. 5 .com

the Block of Chelsea’s Bombing Reopens

Pascal Goupil, owner of La Maison du Macaron at 132 W. 23rd St., said, “We’ve been so lucky. The bomb container was about 30 feet away.”

Made Man Barbershop (169 W. 23rd St.) at lunchtime on Sept. 20. One of the owners said it is usually busier.

RETURN continued from p. 4

Nearby at ViVi Bubble Tea, also at 170 W. 23rd St., manager Jenny Wu, 23, said it opened for the first time on Tuesday after the explosion. “We understand we had to be closed for a few days,” she said. “There is still a little bit level of tension, but everything is going to be okay.” On the other side of W. 23rd St., at Chelsea Papaya, Arif Bhuiyn, 47, said he was surprised an explosion happened in Chelsea. “I never thought it would be this neighborhood,” said Bhuiyn, who has managed Chelsea Papaya and next door’s The Best Pizza, both at 171 W. 23rd St., for 10 years. He was in the basement of the building that houses Chelsea Papaya when the bomb went off. “I was amazed at the response — very quick,” he said of the NYPD and the FDNY. “Everybody came together.” At the Made Man Barbershop at 169 W. 23rd St., one of the owners, Adam Aminov, 37, estimated the street closure after the incident reduced business by about 70%. Aminov and his partners also own a Made Man Barbershop across the street at 170 W. 23rd St. “It takes time — people are scared,” he said, noting that lunchtime is normally much busier than it was on Tuesday. “I’m sure it will be back to normal.” Binod Bhattarai, 51, assistant manager at Landmark Wine & Spirits at 167 W. 23rd St. said he had just done a delivery right by where the bomb was, 15 minutes before it went off. He felt the explosion and heard a loud noise when it happened, but the gravity of what had transpired didn’t hit him until he got to his home in Queens. .com

Manager Calvin Morrison said the UPS store (101 W. 23rd St.) had a normal amount of business on Tuesday.

Carlos Gonzalez, owner of Nobel Printing owner of Nobel Printing (122 W. 27th St.), reported no change to his business, save for a more “quiet” block.

Manager Shanel Feliciano said there has been a slowdown in business at D’Edge Chelsea Salon at 153 W. 27th St.

He has worked on the street for 11 years and knows the neighborhood well, expressing shock that something like this happened in Chelsea. A few doors down at Selis Manor, a home for the blind and visually impaired at 135 W. 23rd St., Cesar Vida, head superintendent for the building for 29 years, shook his head when asked about the explosion, and said, “It was terrible.” An east emergency door, scaffolding and cameras blew out due to the blast, said Vida, 64. Vida explained that the entire building is undergoing a complete renovation and they are in the process of replacing windows in 12 apartments that were damaged. “It’s unbelievable,” said Boris Kataeyv, 36. “When I got home, and heard the news, I was shocked.” Kataeyv has owned Chelsea Hair Studio at 115 W. 23rd St. for almost three years. He estimated that his business is down by 80% and said people

are still calling and asking if his store is okay. Maria Sim, 40, also expressed disbelief that a bomb went off on the street. Sim, a cashier for six years at Cafe DeliCious at 115 W. 23rd St., said she was surprised the area had been targeted. The Dunkin’ Donuts a few doors down at 101 W. 23rd St. was hopping. “Chelsea is back to its normal routine,” said Narendra Gujjar, 23, the store’s manager. Outside the Dunkin,’ a posted sign on the door offered free coffee and a thank you to first responders and uniformed personnel. At the UPS store also at 101 W. 23rd St., manager Calvin Morrison, 28, said it was business as usual on Tuesday. “We’ve been around the block with our terror situations for New York,” he said. “We’re having better turnaround with events like this.” Meanwhile, on W. 27th St. btw. Sixth and Seventh Aves., where a second incendiary device — a pressure cooker

— was found, businesses reported mostly no change. “This street has been quiet,” said Carlos Gonzalez, 64. “It’s been tranquil.” Gonzalez has owned Nobel Printing at 122 W. 27th St. for about 29 years and said his business has not been affected. A few doors down from Nobel Printing, Larry Cowit, 57, one of the owners of Madison Avenue Furs at 118 W. 27th St., said nothing has changed. However, the proximity of his shop to the device was “pretty unnerving,” he said. “It’s pretty freaky it’s our block,” said Cowit. On the other side of the block, closer to Seventh Ave., manager Shanel Feliciano said there has been a slowdown in business at D’Edge Chelsea, a salon at 153 W. 27th St. Feliciano, 25, said she was still nervous after the blast and found device. She added, “You just never know who’s good and who’s bad.” September 22 - 28, 2016


A Shaken Chelsea Quickly Finds Its Footing BY EILEEN STUKANE The windows were still missing on every floor of the building whose street level space houses the King David Gallery. Next door at the St. Vincent de Paul Church, shuttered since 2013, there was similar damage above. Below, shattered glass was strewn on the ground and wedged into the sidewalk cracks as far as the eye could see. Across the street, the tall windows normally affording passersby a clear view into the intense goings-on at Orangetheory Fitness sported the top-to-bottom ducttaped “X” mark familiar to anyone who’s ever prepped for a hurricane. Three days after Ahmad Khan Rahami’s homemade bomb exploded near 131 W. 23rd St., a shaken Chelsea had weathered the storm and was standing tall, albeit on new footing. Barricades lifted, traffic and pedestrians had returned to this block of W. 23rd St., between Sixth and Seventh Aves., which had a stronger NYPD presence. It was a time for attention and assurances from Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other elected officials, that life could return to normal. And so they came. On Tuesday, de Blasio walked the block with NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Commissioner Joseph Esposito, US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and a group of elected officials including NY State Senator Brad Hoylman, NY State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, Manhattan Borough President (BP) Gale Brewer, and Councilmember Corey Johnson. With the 31 people injured from the blast all released from hospitals, officials turned to assessing building damage, and human resilience. Selis Manor, the 14-story affordable housing residence for the visually impaired at 135 W. 23rd St., was visited since it was in close proximity to the explosion, and the mayor stopped in to assess the mood at Malibu Diner — which many neighbors consider to be Chelsea’s kitchen. Waiting for the mayor to arrive at the Malibu, Jesse Bodine, Manhattan Community Board 4 (CB4) district manager voiced an appreciation of the street cameras, the work of city, state, and federal agencies, and the community’s coming together in awareness and strength. “The reaction time and information transfer were so swift,” said Bodine. “You can walk down the


September 22 - 28, 2016

Photo by Scott Stiffler

Orangetheory Fitness, across from the site of Saturday’s explosion, with windows taped to prevent shattering.

street today and see the NYPD, [and] the FDNY are out. They’re looking for anything peculiar and that makes people a little more nervous, but I think it also gives them a safe feeling.” Any recommendations from CB4 for the community, Bodine said, would not come until after the board has heard from agencies such as OEM, FBI, NYPD. As the mayor and his entourage entered the Malibu and made their way between counter and booths, Mayor de Blasio stopped to shake hands with customer Frank Connolly. “I work across the street,” said Connolly. “I told him I was very impressed with how quickly people came together and caught this guy, and it looks like everyone is working as one unit. He pretty much agreed with me that he’s impressed with the way everyone banded together, the police and emergency services.” While he has no intention of changing his routines, Connolly expressed resolve with apprehension. “I’m nervous. Every day I take mass transit, the subway, and it’s scary. This was too close for comfort.” The mayor pressed on to a booth where Chelsea residents, husband and wife Steve Rosenthal and Jennifer Gilson, were eating lunch. The mayor accepted their invitation to have a cup of coffee and sat down with OEM Commissioner Joseph Esposito too, for about 15 minutes. “We want to have a normal life whether we’re a target or we’re not a target,” said Rosenthal.

Photo by Daniel Kwak

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks with Chelsea residents Jennifer Gilson and her husband, Steve Rosenthal, as they enjoy a meal at the Malibu Diner.

“We decided to stay after 9/11 and we’re staying again. We like this neighborhood.” The mayor commended them on their “very good attitude.” Rosenthal then asked a question that is on everyone’s mind: “Do you know why he [Rahami] picked this block?” The mayor responded, “I can answer very comfortably that there are a lot of mysteries here, your block…” The couple and the mayor found common ground in the fact that the couple’s three children all attend NYC public schools, as did his children.

Rosenthal and Gilson are entrepreneurs, whose businesses, The Magic Shop recording studio and The Living Room performance venue, were both well known staples of the music culture of New York City. Both businesses were forced out of their spaces due to highrent increases inflicted by landlords. In this coming together of community at the Malibu, de Blasio asked “Do you want any assistance from your city in terms of finding space?” and asked Bernadette Nation, director of Small FOOTING continued on p. 7 .com

FOOTING continued from p. 6

Business Services (SBS) at the NYC Department of SBS, to confer with them in the booth as he departed. Looking around, Boris Gacina, Malibu’s manager, commented, “It’s coming back to normal now. It’s still a situation where we’re talking about these things that happened, but we’re getting there.” In a further exploration of how the community is recovering, Councilmember Corey Johnson invited a group to visit the residents of Selis Manor, where apartment windows on three floors were blown out and a number of visually impaired residents were stranded on lower floors since the building’s alarm system automatically locked the elevators. Luckily, no one was injured. “That night the Fire Department hadn’t reset the elevators and our superintendent was out of the building and couldn’t get through,” says Joyce Carrico, president of the Selis Manor Tenants Association. “We had people on the first floor in wheelchairs who couldn’t get to their apartments because they couldn’t use the stairs.” During the Mayor’s visit earlier in the day, Joyce spoke to him about the need for providing collapsible electric wheelchairs that have bigger wheels and can be raised and lowered easily. This terrorist attack is bringing to light measures that can be put in place for safety in the future. “Since the explosion it has been very busy,” said Carrico. “The OEM and Red Cross [American Red Cross of Greater New York] have assisted with meals which we’ve been distributing to tenants. We’re also making sure [to] find out those who would like counseling, and we’ve been making sure they get it. Visions [a service organization for the blind and visually impaired located in the building] offers counseling services as does the Red Cross.” Nancy Miller, Visions executive director added, “What has happened due to the explosion being here is issues of blindness have resurfaced both on the city and the state levels. We’ve been talking about how best to meet the needs of the tenants who live in this building. They range in age from 18 to nearly 100, from very independent people to those who need assistance. With the closing of the street that occurred with the explosion, the question came up, ‘How do the blind people get around?’ ” Miller has been advocating for a statewide bill that requires the licensing and professional recognition of those who train blind people to find their way in .com

Photo by Scott Stiffler

Repairs to King David Gallery were underway by the morning of Tues., Sept. 20.

the greater world. “We have professional mobility specialists with master’s degrees who train blind people in how to use their other senses in order to be able to navigate the outside world, and we cannot get a license for them in New York State,” says Miller. “We’ve been trying for 25 years to get the specialized professionals that train and work for blind people to be licensed. Manicurists are licensed, teachers are licensed, but those who teach a person without sight how to cross West 23rd Street or Seventh Avenue are not recognized.” “A silver lining, if there is one in all this,” sayid NY State Senator Brad Hoylman, who was at Selis with BP Brewer, Assemblymember Gottfried, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, and Councilmember Corey Johnson, “is that a lot of Chelsea residents are going to learn a lot more about Selis Manor and Visions and the wonderful work they do for the community.” However, he added that he has concern for the small businesses along the thoroughfare which, he hopes, will not be struggling for much longer. Johnson, who arranged the visit to Selis, has also been helping residents and businesses get back on their feet. “We are a resilient community,” said Johnson, “and sometimes we have to sadly and strangely deal with the unexpected. That’s what’s happening in this case. We’re not going to be cowed by cowards who are trying to inflict fear and damage to our communities. People should be vigilant and stay safe, and also continue to enjoy their freedom and live their lives.”

Photo by Daniel Kwak

L to R: Joyce Carrico, President of the Selis Manor Tenants Association, Councilmember Corey Johnson, and Chelsea Now reporter Eileen Stukane, at Selis Manor on Tues., Sept. 20.

Photo courtesy Malibu Diner staff

L to R: Mayor Bill de Blasio and Malibu Diner customer Frank Connolly, who works across the street.

September 22 - 28, 2016


Malibu Diner Feeds Needs of Neighbors, and Not Just During Crisis Posted to | Mon., Sept. 19, 2016

Photo by Alexandros Grimpas

Photo by Eileen Stukane

Barbara Police, resident of Selis Manor, speaking with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio outside the Malibu on Sept. 18.

L to R: Malibu Diner owners Jose Collado and Alex Grimpas.

Photo by Scott Stiffler

A Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle, parked outside of the Malibu Diner.

BY EILEEN STUKANE Just as a kitchen is the heart of a home, Malibu Diner has become a central gathering place as Chelsea slowly recovers from the bomb that exploded near 131 W. 23rd St. early Saturday evening — so close to the 14-story Selis Manor (135 W.


September 22 - 28, 2016

23rd St.), where the 200+ visually impaired residents were required to stay inside in the explosion’s aftermath. However, businesses were given opposite instructions by authorities. They were told to evacuate, and at Malibu Diner (163 W. 23rd St., btw.

Sixth & Seventh Aves.), owners Alex Grimpas and Jose Collardo were forced to close down. The community needs its beating heart however, and on Sunday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo stood under Malibu’s awning and said it must open.

A bomb was not be able to break the long relationship between Malibu Diner and Selis Manor. Barbara Police, a resident of Selis who had worked in the administration of Governor Mario Cuomo, personally entreated the mayor and governor on Sunday, and with the combined efforts of Malibu Diner and the American Red Cross of Greater New York, 200 people at Selis Manor received Sunday brunch. In fact, Malibu has been serving breakfast to Selis Manor residents for three years. “We know almost everybody by name,” Collardo said. “I know where they live, and a lot of them have my cellphone number.” Alex Grimpas added, “Yes, we do business here but we’re also here to give back to the community.” Three years ago he and Selis Manor decided upon a voucher system that would allow Malibu to provide at-cost breakfasts for residents. Grimpas thought he would be delivering the meals — but it turned out that residents wanted reasons to leave their apartments and socialize. Being blind or visually impaired, they know the number of steps they must walk to MALIBU continued on p. 9 .com

Photos by Eileen Stukane

L to R: Lorena Velastegui and Paul Allwright are among the 50 Red Cross volunteers serving the needs of the community following the W. 23rd St. explosion.

Barbara Police and NY State Senator Brad Hoylman (foreground) at a Sept. 19 press conference organized by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, held outside the Malibu Diner.

On W. 23rd St. underneath construction shedding that leads to Selis Manor: Josh Lockwood, Regional CEO of the Red Cross in Greater New York and Desiree Ramos Reiner, External Affairs Officer of the Red Cross in Greater New York.

MALIBU continued from p. 8

Manor on Sunday and today, Monday. “The Red Cross does pay for the meals, but we give them a price that is very, very low for 200 breakfasts,” Grimpas said. The owners also decided to donate food to the emergency workers and responders on the scene, and to allow them use of their bathroom facilities. When Chelsea Now visited Malibu Diner, boxed meals were being carried out by Red Cross volunteers.

travel from Selis Manor to the doors of Malibu, and Grimpas and Collardo offer a welcoming environment and nutritious meals of fruit, yogurt, and eggs, among other selections. Responding to the need to deliver, now that residents had to remain in their homes, the owners worked with the Red Cross to get breakfasts to Selis .com

“When there is a resident that is impacted that’s when the Red Cross comes into play,” said Uikki O’Bryant, Senior Disaster Program Manger of the American Red Cross of Greater New York, as she organized her volunteers. “We are helping address the emergency management staff that are on the scene, making sure they’re hydrated. This is what the Red Cross does. We come at the time of need.

We’re really trying to represent the community, neighbors helping neighbors.” Josh Lockwood, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross in Greater New York, who was visiting the area, explained, “Immediately after the event part of our role is to support the first responders with meals, and water, and mental health counseling if needed; so we’re nearby almost immediately providing services to the policemen, FBI, fire fighters, anyone in need. Subsequent to that we worked with our partners in the city and identified any residents who were in need of meals because perhaps their cafeteria had been damaged, so we’ve been supplying breakfast, lunch, dinner, to residents as long as needed. We were happy to connect with Malibu Diner and get some meals from them to provide to residents, who seem very resilient and very full of gratitude as well.” As the community begins to normalize, it seemed the Red Cross would be leaving today. Since Saturday’s blast, 50 rotating Red Cross volunteers had been helping Chelsea residents. On this day, five volunteers were on the scene. “We’re taking our cues from the city,” Lockwood said. “Since we’re supporting the city’s efforts, they’ll tell us when it’s safe.” Lockwood was accompanying NY State Senator Brad Hoylman. Both had just visited Selis Manor. “Thankfully no one was injured there,” said Hoylman, “mostly just windows blown out. There were some near misses, though. The daughter of one of the residents was about to walk some dogs, but she didn’t put her foot out the door, thank goodness, and avoided a catastrophe.” Hoylman praised the city’s responders. “I’m extremely impressed by our uniform servicers and first responders,” he said. “The fact that there was no loss of life — we should be grateful, and everyone from our first responders to our NYPD, Fire Department, Emergency Office of Management, Bellevue Hospital, really worked in concert. That night [of the explosion] I really saw the best of New York City.” At the Malibu Diner, Grimpas reflected on events. “Soon we’ll come back up to normality. People love when they see that we’re here, to be with them, to help the community. Every day we have to be thankful that we’re alive and able to enjoy this beautiful life. Really this is a lesson for us, an opportunity for us to come closer, for people in Chelsea to come closer, and we are here for them.” September 22 - 28, 2016


After ‘Craven’ Bombing, Anger and Resolve in Chelsea Posted to | 5:45 p.m. | Sun., Sept. 18, 2016 BY EILEEN STUKANE The bomb explosion at 8:30 p.m. last night in or near a dumpster in front of 131 W. 23rd St. (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.) sent shrapnel flying and left New Yorkers, and Chelsea residents in particular, in a state of disbelief and concern — feelings compounded by the discovery of a second possible explosive, a pressure cooker bomb found undetonated on W. 27th St. (btw. Sixth and Seventh Aves.). None of the 29 injuries were life-threatening, but as Chelsea’s Councilmember Corey Johnson told Chelsea Now today, “It’s a miracle that there were no fatalities.” Johnson learned that one of those injured last night was a friend who is a staff member at New York’s City Council. “He was on West 23rd Street walking home and he was struck with different material,” Johnson said. “I don’t know what the material was but he was taken to Lenox Health [formerly Healthplex] on Seventh Avenue near West 13th Street. His head was bloody and his back was bloody. His were minor injuries, but it was a very traumatic experience.” Today, W. 23rd St. was filled with NYPD presence and blocked to traffic and pedestrians from Fifth to Seventh Aves. (check Notify NYC for latest street closures). This residential neighborhood seemed an unlikely target for attack. As Johnson said, “There’s anxiety and confusion, people just wondering how could this happen in Chelsea, on 23rd Street. It’s not Times Square. It’s not the World Trade Center.” What’s on the block, in close proximity to where the bomb exploded, is Selis Manor (135 W. 23rd St.), an affordable housing residence for people who are visually impaired or fully blind. “Those residents are the most vulnerable, the blind. Of all the craven things to do!” said a young mother from W. 19th St., on Sunday morning. “My understanding is that the building [Selis Manor] sustained some damage,” Johnson told Chelsea Now, noting there were “windows that were blown out. It must have been terrifying for the folks living there.” Helen Murphy, a resident of Selis Manor, was downstairs playing Bingo when “all of a sudden we hear a ‘ba-boom,’ ” she said. “Somebody says, ‘It’s thunder,’ and I said, ‘It’s not thunder; it sounds like a bomb going off.’ ”


September 22 - 28, 2016

According to Murphy, the president of the building’s tenant association was standing across the street last night after the explosion, and couldn’t return to the building due to the fire trucks, the NYPD bomb squad, and the presence of the mayor. Slowly, holding on to both banisters because she cannot see, Helen made her way up the eight flights of stairs to her apartment. “The elevators lock automatically when the alarms go off,” she noted. In his noontime press conference today regarding the explosion, Mayor Bill de Blasio was clear: “It was intentional, it was a violent act, it was a criminal act, it was a bombing. That’s what we know. To understand any specific motivations, any political motivations, any connection to an organization — that we don’t know.” NY Governor Andrew Cuomo toured the site of the explosion today, alongside the mayor, and commented that although so far there is no known link to international terrorism. “It’s terrorism when a bomb explodes in New York City,” Cuomo said. Mayor de Blasio would not use the “T” word, but said, “We’re interested in giving confirmed facts. When we have those facts we’ll give them to you.” Though the NPYD investigated a Tumblr posting from someone calling himself/herself the “NY Bomber,” who stated that the bombs were “a protest for the oppression of the LGBT com-

Photo by Daniel Kwak

CRAVEN continued on p. 11

FDNY personnel with a stretcher and response gear at the ready. 29 people were injured as a result of Saturday night’s explosion.

Photo by Daniel Kwak

The NYPD set up a protective perimeter almost immediately following Saturday night’s explosion on W. 23rd St. .com

Photo by Michael Appleton, Mayoral Photography Office

The rolling dumpster believed to be the point of origin for an explosion that shattered nerves in West Chelsea, at approx. 8:30 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 17.

CRAVEN continued from p. 10

Photo by Michael Appleton, Mayoral Photography Office

On the morning of Sun., Sept. 18: Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo at 131 W. 23rd St., identified as the location of the previous night’s explosion.

munity,” according to WPIX News, late on Sunday afternoon, police officials and the mayor’s office said they had determined that the manifesto was not credible and was linked to a person in North Carolina. Also by late Sunday afternoon, de Blasio announced an increased police presence in the city and Cuomo said he would be asking the National Guard to be a presence at airports and other transportation hubs. Meanwhile, although our elected officials encourage us to be to be resilient and vigilant, and not cowed by cowardly acts, New Yorkers cannot deny having some trepidation.

One woman at Eataly’s (Fifth Ave. & W. 23rd St.) produce checkout today admitted, “It makes me scared to be outside. You have to live your life in New York City — and I’m getting married next weekend — but it’s very scary, very nerve-wracking.” However, she added that even though she felt that, and she and her fiancé were aware of the explosion, they still went out into the city streets last night. In a testament to resilience, Eataly was packed with people, mostly tourists, some residents, who seemed undeterred by events. Jermaine Kinsey, an employee at Legoland (Fifth Ave. at W. 23rd St.) was in the store at the time of the explosion, which occurred after closing. “I was thankful that the store closes at 8 p.m. and all of our guests got out in time. We have a lot of children here,” he said. Today the store is once again filled with parents and children laughing over Legos. “It was a confusing night,” Kinsey said. “We were still in the building. You could feel the ground shaking but there was confusion. You have to stop and think, ‘What’s going on?’ 9/11 memorial was just last week, and then the next week, something exploded right here. It was really life-changing.” As a Chelsea father holding his six-anda-half-month-old-daughter said, while he shopped, going on as if nothing happened, just living our lives, “is the way it should be, but it’s sad that we live in a world like this, that we have to worry about stuff like this.” His wife added, “But we’re lifelong New Yorkers. This doesn’t change our feelings of living in New York. We’re not going to leave.” The NYPD asks anyone with information to call 1-800-577-TIPS. Visit and for the latest public safety, street closure, and public transit information.

Photo by Scott Stiffler

Photo by Scott Stiffler

Several blocks of W. 23rd St. remained closed to vehicular traffic on the morning of Sun., Sept. 18.

Onlookers at the corner of Seventh Ave. & W. 23rd St. on the morning of Sun., Sept. 18 — as close as they could get to the block btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves., where an explosion occurred the previous night.


September 22 - 28, 2016


Mayor Calls W. 23rd St. Explosion ‘Intentional’ Posted to | 1:30 a.m. | Sun., Sept. 18, 2016

Photos by Zach Williams

Mayor Bill de Blasio, at a Sept. 17 press conference on W. 23rd St., btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.

er the intention, New Yorkers will not be intimated. We are not going to let anyone change who we are and how we go about our lives,” de Blasio said at the press conference. Newly-installed Police Commissioner James O’Neill told reporters that police have video of the explosion, believed to have originated from a dumpster. While on patrol, police from the 10th Precinct witnessed the incident, which took place at 131 W. 23rd St., btw. Sixth and Seventh Aves. (in close proximity to Selis Manor, a housing facility for the blind and visually impaired). The FBI has joined the NYPD in investigating the cause of the incident. There are no indications that it was a gas explosion, O’Neill added. Chelsea residents said they felt the explosion from their nearby homes and were not sure at first what happened. West 22nd St. resident Simitrio Ramirez, 53, told Chelsea Now that he was watching TV when he heard “a really loud shake.” He rushed outside to see what happened. “It was a really loud noise and it felt like it shook the building right away,” he said in Spanish. “I thought it was an attack. I thought about September 11th because the anniversary was so recent.” While in her home near W. 21st St. & Seventh Ave., Sadeta Pupovich, 51, was playing with her granddaughter when her “chair rocked so hard.” She ran up to her  roof and saw people filing out of restaurants and other nearby buildings. This sudden interruption to an initially peaceful Saturday evening “scared” her, she added. “I couldn’t stop crying,” she said.

Flanked by NYPD, FDNY, and elected officials, Mayor Bill de Blasio said an explosion on W. 23rd St. is believed to have been “an intentional act.” Police are still investigating the incident, which occurred at about 8:30 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 17. De

Blasio said, at an 11:20 p.m. press conference, that there is “no evidence of a terrorist connection.” The incident injured 29 people, one seriously. Police with dogs continued sweeping through Chelsea past midnight, after a suspicious pressure cooker was found on W. 27th St. (with a cellphone and wires, as reported by NY1). “I want to be clear, whatever the cause, whatev-

The NYPD directed pedestrians west, away from the site of the explosion, increasing the protective perimeter as the evening went on.

Word spread on social media immediately following the 8:30 p.m. explosion.

BY ZACH WILLIAMS Additional reporting by Gustavo Martinez and Gabe Carroll


September 22 - 28, 2016


TIMELINE continued from p. 3

violence, and using a weapon of mass destruction. Since his capture, Rahami’s troubling online history/purchases have come to light, as has his handwritten journal containing jihadist missives. Authorities believe he is the main culprit in the attacks, but are trying to determine whether or not he worked alone. Throughout it all, elected officials kept their fingers on the pulse. The morning after the blast, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo surveyed the explosion scene with authorities day. At the same time Chelsea’s City Councilmember Corey Johnson also remained vigilant, using Twitter to reach out to those affected, and update his constituents on the developments in the area, and direct them to resources. On Mon., Sept. 19, after more information about the bombings was available, President Obama commented on the situation, advising residents to remain vigilant, and asserting New York and New Jersey would have “all federal support” with their investigation. Following Rahami’s arrest later that day, de Blasio, Assistant Director of the FBI William Sweeney, and Police Commissioner James O’Neill held a briefing. “I have no indication that a cell is operating in the area or in the city, [but] the investigation is ongoing,” said Sweeney. “Based on the information we have now, we have every reason to believe this was an act of terror,” said de Blasio. Throughout it all, Malibu Diner (163 W. 23rd St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.) served as a hub for those affected and uniformed responders, with an American Red Cross service truck parked outside to offer assistance. These recovery efforts seem to have worked. By Tues., Sept. 20, Chelsea appeared to be cautiously back on its feet, after the previously shut down W. 23rd St. was reopened to traffic and pedestrians, businesses opened their doors, and normal public transit resumed in the area. More in-depth, on-the-ground accounts of the neighborhood’s resilience in the aftermath of the attack are contained within the pages of this paper. As Chelsea Now went to press, the police and FBI were asking for community assistance in identifying, for informational purposes, the two men who took the W. 27th St. bomb out of the travel bag it was housed in and left. It is widely suspected that somehow, their moving of the device prevented it from detonating. Anyone with information is advised to call 1-800-577-8477. .com

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Chelsea photographer Jane Schreibman, who alerted police to an unexploded bomb on W. 27th St. on Saturday night, got a handshake of gratitude from a local.

Photo by Michael Appleton, Mayoral Photography Office

Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, visited W. 23rd St. on Tuesday.

September 22 - 28, 2016




September 22 - 28, 2016




September 22 - 28, 2016


Fate of Hopper-Gibbons House Still in Flux BY SEAN EGAN Preservationists who’ve rallied for years around the Hopper-Gibbons House (339 W. 29th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.) — the only documented Underground Railroad site in Manhattan — were left frustrated after the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), at its Tues., Sept. 20 hearing, decided not to take any action regarding the building. At this hearing, the LPC could have required the owner to remove a contentious fifth-floor addition from the row house and restore it to its previous four-story height — the ultimate goal of advocates. Controversy has surrounded the house because its owner, Tony Mamounas, has been trying to legitimize a fifth-floor penthouse he began building when in possession of erroneously issued permits from the Department of Buildings. The building was landmarked in 2009 as part of the Lamartine Historic District, just after those permits were revoked and Stop Work Orders were issued — though work on the addition continued, according to locals. Court

decisions in 2013 and 2015 upheld that Mamounas must gain approval from the LPC before continuing construction. In the 1800s, the house served as the home of abolitionist Abigail HopperGibbons, and a safe haven for runaway slaves, making it a target during the racially charged Draft Riots of 1863. When the house was ransacked and set ablaze, the Hopper-Gibbons fled to safety by running across the row of houses’ flush rooflines — the historical importance of which making Mamounas’ fifth floor addition a particularly offensive to preservationists. Prior to the site’s hearing, the Friends of the Hopper-Gibbons House Underground Railroad Site staged a press conference across from the LPC’s headquarters (1 Centre St.), to implore them to call for the restoration of the house. Joining the Friends’ Co-Presidents Julie Finch and Fern Luskin were State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried and Public Advocate Letitia James — though more than two dozen elected officials co-signed a statement calling for the rejection of the owner’s application to the LPC.

Photo by Sean Egan

L to R: Fern Luskin, State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, Public Advocate Letitia James, and Julie Finch spoke out against the fifth-floor addition to the Hopper-Gibbons House.

“It’s important to protect [the Hopper-Gibbons House] from being defaced by its owner,” Gottfried said in his opening remarks. “We have a responsibility to maintain and preserve these kinds of landmarks,” James concurred. “Most importantly, we’re here today to protect American history.” “This building is special, sacred, and unique in Manhattan,” added Luskin,


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noting that if Mamounas wasn’t penalized and made to remove the addition, “other developers will feel gleefully unencumbered by the law.” Shortly thereafter, at the packedhouse hearing, Marvin Mitzner, the owner’s lawyer and applicant, presented plans that would include a modified penthouse addition and bulkhead, to be HOPPER-GIBBONS continued on p. 20 Same day Service available


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El-Amin Gets Nine Years for 2015 Dallas BBQ Assaults BY DUNCAN OSBORNE Bayna-Lekheim El-Amin was sentenced to nine years in prison and three years post-release supervision for assaulting two men in the Dallas BBQ in Chelsea in 2015. “The jury rejected your claim of self-defense,” said Arlene Goldberg, the judge who heard the case in Manhattan Supreme Court, on Sept. 15. “That you did not cause serious physical injury to them was only a matter of luck.” El-Amin faced five low-level felony assault charges in a May 5, 2015 altercation he had with Jonathan Snipes, 33, and his then-partner, Ethan York-Adams, 26, in the restaurant, which is located at Eighth Ave. and W. 23rd St. The prosecution’s case, which included several videos, was that the fight was divided into three parts, and the 42-year-old was not charged with any crime in part one, where he was defending himself from Snipes, who started the fight by attacking El-Amin. In parts two and three, El-Amin was continuing to fight when Snipes had effectively surrendered, the prosecution said. El-Amin always faced the greatest jeopardy from his actions in part three, where he can be seen hitting the two men on their heads with a heavy wooden chair as they stand with their backs to him. “The case boils down to ‘this defendant took it too far,’ ” said Leah Saxtein, the prosecutor on the case, during the sentencing. “He decided to get revenge… He used a dangerous instrument to strike them in the most vulnerable part of the human body.” Saxtein asked that El-Amin be sentenced to 12 years in prison and five years post-release supervision. She noted that El-Amin had a lengthy criminal record of 29 felony convictions in multiple states. Initially, the case spawned outrage over the attack, which was perceived as a hate crime. El-Amin, who is gay, was not charged with a hate crime. As the case progressed and it became apparent that Snipes may have told less than the whole story in his early comments to the press, corners of the LGBTQ community began supporting El-Amin. .com

Some 30 people turned out for the sentencing, with a large number wearing light blue arm or head bands to show support for El-Amin. On May 27 of this year, Robb Stone, an artist who now lives in Los Angeles, posted a Facebook picture of Snipes and York-Adams with lengthy text that described them “a pair of Privileged assholes.” Within 10 days, the post had 569 shares and 769 likes. Ultimately, the view became that El-Amin was facing multiple felony charges because Snipes and York-Adams were white and El-Amin was black. “I know that you want to cast this, your supporters as well, as an issue about race,” Goldberg said. “I don’t see it that way… When you picked up that chair that was a criminal act that cannot be excused.” Neither Snipes nor York-Adams attended the sentencing or are known to have delivered victim impact statements. The couple ended their relationship and York-Adams now lives in Tennessee. Snipes remains living in New York City. El-Amin’s attorney, Percy Gayanilo, asked Goldberg to impose the minimum sentence –– three-anda-half years. “I ask your honor to sentence him to the minimum allowed,” Gayanilo said. “I understand your honor can’t go below that.” The night of the fight, both Snipes and York-Adams refused medical attention because neither had health insurance. When they later learned that New York pays for healthcare for crime victims, they sought treatment. The evidence at trial was that neither man was seriously injured. “The injuries sustained by the victims were minimal,” Gayanilo said. El-Amin also spoke, referring to Snipes and York-Adams as the “drunk white men who felt they were entitled to swing on me.” At times during the trial and during the sentencing, he expressed the view that his side had not been heard. He pointed to his more recent community work as evidence that his criminal record does not represent who he is today. “Yes, I have a past record,” he said. “I own up to that. I paid for everything I’ve done.”

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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


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FREE SCREENING OF “CLASS DIVIDE” Anyone watching “Class Divide,” wrote Eileen Stukane in the April 7, 2016 issue of this newspaper, “will learn more from the soulful insights of the young in this film about the rapidly changing West Side, the effects of income inequality, and the gentrification of Chelsea, than they will from the many urban economists who write books and give speeches.” The passion project from Marc Levin and Daphne Pinkerson (of Chelsea-based Blowback Productions) will have its HBO premiere on Oct. 3 — but you can see it in a movie theater, for free, when Councilmember Corey Johnson hosts a screening to be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers, who will be joined by a few of those who appear in this emotionally charged look at gentrification and growing inequality, as seen through portraits of children attending Avenues, The World School, and those growing up in the Elliott-Chelsea Houses, both attempting to cross the divide. Free. Mon., Sept. 26, 6:30pm at Cinépolis Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). To reserve a ticket, call 212-564-7757 or visit For more info on the film, visit

THE WOMEN’S BUILDING COMMUNITY BLOCK PARTY Whether as a waterfront YMCA for sailors and merchant marines, a drug treatment center or Bayview Correctional Facility, the towering structure at 550 W. 20th St. has spent its entire existence housing those whose lives are in transition or flux. Having closed its doors in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy forced the evacuation of its medium-security women’s prison population, construction is set to begin next year to usher in a new era of permanence and purpose — as New York City’s first Women’s Building, a hub for nonprofits and community organizations working to further the rights, and nurture the talents, of women and girls. Hosted by site developers The NoVo Foundation and Goren Group, this Community Block Party promises to “reflect and honor the Chelsea neighborhood’s

Photo by Tom LeGoff, courtesy HBO

“Class Divide” collaborators Marc Levin and Daphne Pinkerson on the High Line with Elliot-Chelsea Houses residents Rosa and Joel. The film has local screenings, in advance of its Oct. 3 debut on HBO.

Photo by Yannic Rack

A view of the façade of the former Bayview Correctional Facility, soon to be transformed into The Women’s Building.

long history of social activism and dedication to social justice,” while providing the opportunity for input regarding the features and functions on hand when the Women’s Building opens its doors in 2020. A block-long line of booths will offer information and conversation from nonprofit and community organizations, including Women’s City Club of New York, Girls That Build, Caring Across Generations, the LGBT Community Center, Equality Now, and the Women in Prison Project (of the Correctional Association of New York). There will be entertainment and performances from, among others, Girl Be Heard, The Center for Anti-Violence Education, The Brooklyn Women’s Chorus, and Aimee Cox. Free. Sun., Sept. 25, 12–7pm on W. 20th St. (btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Visit

ACTIVITIES continued on p. 19 .com

ACTIVITIES continued from p. 18

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 coastal waters. Hudson River Park’s Pier 26 is the site of multiple family-friendly programs and activities coordinated by the New York Hall of Science. Research stations and a science stage offer handson 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 view/events-Submerge and

CHELSEA COMMERCE: THE EVOLUTION OF EFFICIENCY IN THE 20TH CENTURY WORK PLACE More than a just tour of tour of notable tech and commercial landmarks, this “walking discussion” covers a substantial amount of literal and factual ground. Led by work-flow behavioral analyst and systems developer Brad Martin, the two-hour trip through Chelsea contemplates the evolution of management and work environment design processes throughout the 20th century, as a succession of astonishing devices (calculators, copy machines, credit cards, computers, cellphones) brought radical change to business at hand and the culture at large. Among the scheduled stops are Google’s headquarters, the Ladies Mile Historic District, the former Toy Center, and A.E. Lefcourt’s Clothing Center Building. Sun., Sept. 25, 2–4pm. For tickets ($20; reservations required, comfortable shoes recommended), visit the event sponsor, neighborhood preservation group Save Chelsea, at

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HOPPER-GIBBONS continued from p. 16

slanted and set back 10 feet in an effort to make it unnoticeable from the street (a claim locals refute). They also touted the front façade restoration they would undertake, replacing the stucco exterior with brick. In the public testimony period that followed, over a dozen advocates — from high school students to veteran attorneys — took to the mike to ask the LPC to save the house. “This defacing is, and will be, plainly visible from public thoroughfare,” Gottfried testified, noting “the lion’s share of the work” on the “monstrosity on top of his landmark” was done illegally. “The owner should not be permitted to circumvent these rules,” he declared. The LPC was then regaled (numerous times) with story of the HopperGibbons’ flight across the rooftops, and pleas to restore the house. Patrick Waldo, of the preservationist group Save Chelsea, said the history of the house represents “a cautionary tale” important to preserve in this day an age, as figures like Donald Trump stoke racial tensions amongst the working class. For their part, it was clear the LPC commissioners did not feel positively

about the rooftop addition after hearing the testimony (and receiving 135 emails regarding the project). “It seems to me that what makes the district unique from others is its roofline and cultural significance,” commented LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan. “For me you can’t separate the two,” she said, noting that the fifth floor gave her “great pause” because “the cultural significance manifests itself in the physicality of the building.” Another commissioner, Michael Devonshire, was more blunt in his appraisal, likening the addition to building a Holiday Inn on the site of the Battle of Gettysburg. Commission Michael Goldblum also criticized the historical accuracy of the “thin brick” they proposed to use for the façade restoration. Nonetheless, the commissioners decided to not take any action regarding Mitzner’s application, as there was a lot of material for the commissioners to absorb and consider to prepare for a deeper discussion — though they advised Mitzner to re-examine the plans with their desire for the addition’s removal in mind. The house’s fate, then, Photo by Sean Egan is up in the air until the LPC takes aT:8.75”Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, joined by Public Advocate Letitia more concrete stance. Chelsea Now will James, said it was important for the Hopper-Gibbons House to be protected continue to follow this saga until they do. “from being desecrated by its owner.”

DISCOVER REAL POSSIBILITIES ACROSS THE FIVE BOROUGHS. We’re right beside you helping you get the most out of life. It’s why we’re working hard to help you plan for your future. Come to one of our free AARP MoneySmarts nancial health workshops. You’ll get unbiased information to help you achieve your nancial goals. Or if you’re wondering what’s next for you, join us for a free Life Reimagined seminar where we’ll give you tools and advice to help you navigate life transitions and achieve your dreams. Hey, if you don’t think “this is right for me” when you think AARP, then you don’t know “aarp.” Get to know us by calling 866-227-7442 or visit


Real Possibilities is a trademark of AARP.


September 22 - 28, 2016




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


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 22 - 28, 2016


The Transcendent Tension of Tammy Faye Starlite’s shape-shifting set list is just what America needs BY TRAV S.D. Few things in this life are as pleasurable to this observer as a Tammy Faye Starlite performance. I first became aware of her in the late ’90s, when she began performing her faux Christian country character at nightclubs and performance art spaces around town (mostly Downtown venues, where her envelope-pushing antics get the most traction). As crazy as the right wing is in our times, it can sometimes slip our memory how unprecedentedly loony they seemed during the age of the Contract with America, the Culture Wars, local amateur militias, and religious cults. Tammy (whose real last name is Lang) tapped into that craziness with a literal vengeance, her satiric wit as sharp as a dagger made of crystal. Supernaturally gifted as a writer, actress, and singer, she’s always seemed to me the foremost heir apparent to Andy Kaufman. She gets into the head of a character, usually an insane one, and stays there. In subsequent years she used both her musical gift and her shape-shifting ability to inhabit a series of popular show business characters, from Nico, to Marianne Faithfull, to Mick Jagger, performing them to great acclaim at places like Lincoln Center and Joe’s Pub. But the times have gotten crazy again — perhaps crazier than ever. Indeed, there could be no more auspicious time to bring back “Tammy Faye Classic,” the country Tammy Faye, to skewer the times with her bodacious barbecue fork. And so she has, with “Tammy Faye Starlite Presents Holy War 2016: The New Regime,” in weekly repertory at Pangea through the end of October. We caught the show at its opening on September 16, and it was everything we were hoping and longing for. Clad in virginal white and clear plastic platform shoes that add four inches to her height, she looks as though she were already dressed for the heaven she is convinced she belongs in. But she proves to be a devil in the guise of an angel. She comes out swinging with a version of “El Shaddai,” a Christian song written in Hebrew and mostly associated with Amy Grant, who recorded it in 1982. It’s the perfect song for this act. Lang is Jewish; undergirding her ire when she plays Starlite is an omnipresent current of tension between the two religions. One of my favorite moments is when she started speaking in tongues, with a good deal of Hebrew flavoring the babble. And how can we Photo by Bob Gruen

STARLITE continued on p. 23


September 22 - 28, 2016

And not a moment too soon: Tammy Faye resurrects the perfect persona for our troubled times. .com

Photo by Albie Mitchell

Hebrew flavors the babble, when this Christian country singer speaks in tongues.

STARLITE continued from p. 22

forget that the 1969 glam-Christian classic “Spirit in the Sky,” which Tammy covers was written by a man named Norman Greenbaum? Lang lampoons the dominant culture with an outsider’s resentment, which is somehow also always mixed with a connoisseur’s appreciation. Country artists (or many of them) have a knack for uttering the most unfortunate things while making genuinely beautiful music. This is one of Lang’s strong suits no matter what character she’s playing. She quite fearlessly “crosses the line” again and again, garnering guffaws and gasps in equal measure. And while the song lyrics are impressively witty, so is her patter, which goes on to epic lengths at times, as though every song contained Barbara Jean’s nervous breakdown in the movie “Nashville.” It’s never a Tammy Faye show unless she goes too far at least once, and you can hear a pin drop in the audience (though I hasten to point out that I cheer her on every time she does it). In the performance I saw, she compared the pneumonia-filled lungs of “Mr. Hillary Clinton” [sic] to .com

Photo by Albie Mitchell

Tammy Faye has gazed into the cultural abyss, emerging with enough new material for at least 19 nervous breakdowns.

the falling Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. She dials the rightwing rhetoric all the way to Nazism in a song called “White as Snow.” Her character radiates the self-hating misogyny so peculiar to women on the American right, reflected by her cover of Jeannie C. Riley’s “The Rib,” and her self-penned “God Has Lodged a Tenant in My Uterus.” Platitudes about family are invoked ad nauseam, even as a palimpsest of incest, pedophilia, failed marriages, promiscuity, drug abuse and alcoholism is plainly visible beneath. She claims her mother had 16 babies in eight years, and that she lost some of her six ex-husbands to divorce, others to NASCAR. Much like Sacha Baron Cohen (of “Borat” fame), another artist she resembles (at least in this respect), she delivers it all straight and with the utmost seriousness. She is playing this part, and never undermines it with self-conscious attitudinizing or apology. It’s on you to get what she’s really saying. That’s why satire is so risky. Much of the joyous experience of her show comes from the crack band behind her: David Dunton, piano;

Richard Feridun, guitar; Eszter Balint, fiddle. On the night I caught them, Lang’s husband and sometime collaborator, Keith Hartel, subbed on bass and sang a number as “Jim Rob,” a part normally performed by Eric Drysdale, who will be performing most of the run. The band is as witty as Tammy is, vamping as long as they need to under the patter, and punctuating the lyrics with just the right Nashville touches, but never slammed in your face with a sledgehammer. For you see, the central irony of Tammy Faye Starlite is that one of

the most “tasteless” of performers around is gifted with extraordinary taste. Seeing her show during this harrowing election season is a wonderfully cathartic antidote to this season of hypocrites. “Tammy Faye Starlite Presents Holy War 2016: The New Regime” is performed at 7pm, Fridays, Sept. 16, 23, 30 and Oct. 7, 14, 28. At Pangea (178 Second Ave., btw. E. 11th & E. 12th Sts.). For reservations ($25 cover, $15 food/beverage minimum), visit

September 22 - 28, 2016


Must-Play Video Games Beckon Before the Holidays

Don’t wait for St. Nick to deliver your fix

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

“World of Warcraft: Legion” is an expansion that’s been received warmly by fans of the MMO.

BY CHARLES BATTERSBY The months ahead will see a glut of new video games scrambling to be the must-have holiday gift. However, recent releases have brought a swarm of titles that will keep players entertained until the big holiday rush arrives — and beyond. Among them are early Game of The Year contenders, high-definition re-releases of classics, and long-running hits that are still going strong, thanks to new content updates.

Image via Bungie

“Rise of Iron,” the new DLC for “Destiny,” continues the game’s course correction after a rocky launch; updated features include new multi-player modes.

Image via Square Enix

With “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided,” players continue to view the world from the perspective of the maligned augmented humans of the game’s future.


September 22 - 28, 2016

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: LEGION “World of Warcraft” (“WoW”) wasn’t the first Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game, but it has dominated the other MMO’s for 12 years, with over five million people still subscribed at the end of 2015. Every couple of years it gets a big update, and its most recent one, “Legion,” was just released. Many “WoW” fans consider it the best one yet. “Legion” is a separate purchase from the main “WoW” game, and its missions are intended for high-level characters. Purchasing it will grant players a “Level Boost” token that can instantly bring any character to level 100. There is also a new playable class called the “Demon Hunter,” which starts at level 98. Demon Hunters have a special introductory set of mis-

sions that will let new players begin their adventure with “Legion,” instead of spending months leveling up from square one. However, it is strongly recommended that new players do level up a character the hard way before tackling “Legion.” For former “WoW” players who have not logged on recently, the Demon Hunters are a compelling reason to jump back in. They are elves who have gained demonic powers, which grant them abilities not available to other classes. They can double jump, sprout bat wings for gliding, and wield a wide set of offensive and defensive powers. Their versatility and fast movement make them an excellent choice for soloing through the new content.

DESTINY: RISE OF IRON Back in 2014, “Destiny” was a hotly anticipated new game from Bungie, the team that made the original “Halo” games. “Destiny” has a lot in common with its ancestor: It’s a multiplayer shooter with a sci-fi setting and a richly detailed story. However, it distinguishes itself from many other shooters by using elements of MMO games, like “World of Warcraft.” When it was first released, it won GAMES continued on p. 25 .com

GAMES continued from p. 24

several Game of the Year awards, but also disappointed some of Bungie’s hardcore fans. In the year after its release, “Destiny” had several major updates that added new content, altered some of the mechanics, and even removed the voice-over acting of Peter Dinklage (of “Game of Thrones” fame). Each of the paid downloadable content (DLC) packs received increasingly positive response from players and critics, and the latest big update for the game, “Rise of Iron,” arrived on September 20. “Destiny: Rise of Iron” added more content to just about every aspect of the game. There is a new single-player campaign with new enemies and locations, new cooperative and competitive multiplayer maps, and more loot (including a giant flaming ax). It’s the perfect excuse to grab a game whose launch controversies prevented many potential fans from ever trying it out.

DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED The “Deus Ex” franchise has an illustrious lineage dating back to the late ’90s. The series is set in the near future, where every conspiracy theory ever dreamed up is actually true. The newest game, “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided,” arrived last month, and it continues the story of Adam Jensen, a cybernetically augmented government agent, who fights cyborg terrorists, even as he fights prejudice against people with cybernetic augmentations. The subtitle, “Mankind Divided,” refers to the way that people with augmentations have become second-class citizens in the future. Jensen has cool cyborg superpowers, but most “augs” are just ordinary people with mundane augmentations, like prosthetic limbs. Despite this, they are viewed with suspicion, due to an incident where many augs were hacked and went crazy. Because the playable character is augmented, the game gives players a sense of what it might be like to live on the bottom rung of an unfair society. Players then get to choose how Jensen responds to the countless injustices that he and other augs face.

BIOSHOCK: THE COLLECTION When people debate whether or not video games are art, the game that takes the vanguard is “Bioshock.” It has been 10 years since the first “Bioshock” game arrived, and two sequels were released in the ensuing decade. All .com

Image via 2K

“Bioshock: The Collection” gathers all three remastered “Bioshock” games in one package, including the steampunk-influenced “Infinite,” pictured above.

three games, along with their DLC, have been bundled together in a new high-definition format for modern game consoles. People who never played this franchise should consider it a must-play experience. Gamers who actually did run through the games in the past also have a reason to grab this edition: a new director’s commentary featuring Ken Levine and Shawn Robertson of “Bioshock” developer Irrational Games. We spoke with Levine about his experience making a commentary track a decade after the first game was released. “The thing that I, myself, remember from the commentary session is how much other people remembered that I didn’t,” he said of his old masterwork. “I found it interesting how you can just bury stuff in your head, and how when someone summons it back up, it kind of comes barreling at you like something rising from the dead.” Longtime fans of the franchise will likewise be able to scour the games again, to see what memories they left buried on the ocean floor.

THE WITCHER III: GAME OF THE YEAR EDITION “The Witcher” is a series of sword and sorcery books from Poland. Although it’s essentially the “Lord of the Rings” of Poland, the series was mostly unheard of in America until the books were adapted into video games. The first game was a cult hit

Image via CD Projekt Red

The celebrated “The Witcher III” takes a victory lap with its “Game of the Year Edition.”

on the PC, but the second and third “Witcher” games grew exponentially in popularity. Witchers are professional monster hunters, and the game trilogy tells the story of a Witcher named Geralt. His use of alchemy has made him more than human, although most people see him as less than human. His magical powers make him the guy to call when a griffon needs to be killed, but once the job is done, villagers can’t wait to get Geralt out of town. He faces prejudice similar to what players find in “Deus Ex.” While “The Witcher III” won

numerous Game of the Year awards in 2015, it continued to release DLC packs in 2016. This is the rare case of DLC being considered just as good as the main game. The game and all of its DLC have just been released together in the “Game of the Year Edition.” This is Geralt’s final adventure, and much of the story revolves around events from the previous two games, so players are encouraged to play them as well. Alas, there is no convenient collection of all three games bundled together, but the first two installments are easily purchased online. September 22 - 28, 2016



September 22 - 28, 2016




Jennifer Goodstein

Buhmann on Art

Philip Pearlstein draws upon his life as a young soldier

Editor Scott Stiffler

Editorial Assistant Sean Egan

Art Director Michael Shirey

Graphic Designer Cristina Alcine


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

Executive VP of Advertising Amanda Tarley

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

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Chelsea Now is published weekly by NYC Community Media

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


BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN Featuring drawings from the 1940s by the revered realist painter Philip Pearlstein, “WWII Captured on Paper” manifests as a stunning historic document. Made from observation and personal experience, the works tell of the physical and emotional realities of a G.I. in an infantry replacement unit during the Second World War. Pearlstein recalls: “During my freshman year at Carnegie, most of the male student body took the introduction to military training [ROTC] instead of gym, and at the end of the school year, in June 1943, we all met at Fort Meade, Maryland. After being interviewed, all of my friends were assigned to the Signal Corps.” Already recognized for his artistic talent, Pearlstein was able to avoid the same fate, perhaps saving his life. In the National Scholastic High School Art Contest, he had been awarded first and second prize for two paintings that were subsequently featured in the July 16, 1941 issue of Life magazine. “On instinct, I had taken a copy of the issue with me,” he explained, “and I showed it to the officer who interviewed me. He seemed impressed, but I was assigned to the Infantry rather than the Signal Corps, packed into a very crowded train, and sent to Fort McClellan, Alabama, where four months of violent physical activity, training in a very hot, sun-blinding summer, transformed me from a pudgy, non-athletic person into a surprisingly muscular G.I.” Between 1943 and 1946 Pearlstein created almost 100 drawings, watercolors and sketches, which are shown in their entirety here, and meant to be sold as a complete group (hopefully to a major public institution). Vividly installed in tableau-like fashion, the faceted works capture various stages, ranging from basic training at Camp Blanding, to a ship convoy to Italy, to Pearlstein’s time stationed in Italy during and after fighting. They are complemented by signs and charts, which Pearlstein made in the visual-aids shop at the time. Represented in such esteemed permanent collections as of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Pearlstein’s oeuvre is well known. However, this body of work will prove a discovery to all and provide a rare glimpse into the artist’s early personal life, even to those well familiar with his work.

Philip Pearlstein: “Convoy to Italy XI” (1944. Pen and ink on paper. 4 13/16 x 6 5/8 in.).

Philip Pearlstein: “G.I.’s at Marina di Pisa Breakwater” (1944-46. Watercolor on paper. 14 x 18 in.).

“G.I. Philip Pearlstein: WWII Captured on Paper” is on view through Oct. 15, Tues –Fri., 10am–6pm, at Betty Cuningham Gallery (15 Rivington St., btw. Bowery & Chrystie), in their Sidecar space next door. Call 212-242-2772 or visit

September 22 - 28, 2016


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


September 22 - 28, 2016

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