YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN
Why We’re Pink October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; a time for us all to redouble our efforts to eradicate the second leading killer of women in America. Community News Group’s third annual pink edition is dedicated to the need for early intervention because we share the struggle, and are mindful of the sobering statistics and excruciating toll of this deadly disease: • Approximately 40,290 women and 440 men will die from breast cancer before the year’s end, estimates the American Cancer Society.
• One in eight American women will be diagnosed with the disease in her lifetime. • Every two minutes an American woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. • Every 13 minutes a woman dies of breast cancer in our country. • About 85 percent of cases occur in women with no family history of breast cancer. Like most people, we have had friends and family battle cancer, and anyone who has watched the impact of this terrible disease on sufferers and their loved ones understands the urgency for a cure. Our commitment to supporting breast cancer awareness and the decision to start our annual pink paper in 2014 was inspired by my friend,
Holly Reich, and her recent, and third, diagnosis with breast cancer. The third bout would go on to become a fourth and fifth before she left us last Thursday, concluding her 20-year “dance with cancer.” Holly called it that because she floated across the floor, living her life, enjoying every moment, and touching everyone with her smile, spirit, and love of life. Cancer never stopped her — she simply moved through life alongside it. As an automotive writer, Holly traveled the world to the most exotic places, test driving the most exotic cars, but her favorite place was with her husband Mike, and children Dylan and Jenna Kreitman. Her family gave her the courage, style, and grace to “dance with cancer” for such a long time. As all of her friends stop to remember Holly’s kindness, charm, wit, lust for life, and beautiful light that shined from within, there is only one thing I can say: Find a cure, dammit! Until then, we hope our pink edition makes people who would not ordinarily read our newspaper stop, pick it up, read it, and then turn to their families and friends and ask if they have been screened, or offer to go with them for this life-saving examination.
Jennifer Goodstein Publisher, NYC Community Media
This Week’s Pink Newspaper in Recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is Sponsored by © CHELSEA NOW 2016 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
VOLUME 08, ISSUE 41 | OCTOBER 13 - 20, 2016
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Gotham’s Healthcare System is a Bold Pioneer Predating Our Nation BY SHAVANA ABRUZZO The colonials were still 40 years away from declaring independence from the British when the Publick Workhouse and House of Correction opened a humble, six-bed infirmary in 1736 on the site of present-day City Hall that eventually became America’s oldest continuously operating hospital. Bellevue Hospital Center, once a small pest house built on a patch of land leased from Kips Bay Farm to prepare for a yellow fever epidemic, is an acutecare, general hospital where the president and visiting world leaders are treated if they become sick or injured in the Big Apple, and its team of experts are steering the flagship institution of NYC Health + Hospitals — the nation’s largest municipal healthcare organization — to new triumphs. The Harvard-educated chief of breast surgery, whom Caribbean Today magazine hailed as one of the “10 Top Caribbean Born Doctors In The U.S. You Should Know,” is a fierce medical gladiator looking out for the ailing like a lioness minding her cubs. “The patient can be assured that he or she is receiving the highest level of care by a dedicated team of doctors, nurses, and support staff,” says Dr. Kathie-Ann Joseph, also an associate professor of surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, whose innovations include piloting a navigation program in districts where cancer rates are high and screening rates are low, and creating a community tumor board allowing clinical staff throughout the health system to present and discuss interesting, difficult, or unusual cases. NYC Health + Hospitals
EXCELLENCE IN BREAST CARE
Breast health leader: Bellevue Hospital Center is the only Health + Hospitals hospital offering microvascular-free flap reconstruction.
The American College of Surgeons awarded Bellevue’s breast care services a Center of Excellence accreditation in 2014, the highest form of clinical and quality care recognition for breast cancer centers in the country, thanks to a highly skilled breast team dedicated to providing quality, customized care. “We have patient navigators that speak several languages, and survivors that help our patients get through what can be a very scary and stressful situation,” says Dr. Joseph. “We do what we can to make the process easier for our patients.”
FULL RANGE OF MULTIDISCIPLINARY CARE The hospital’s full range of multidisciplinary care includes: • Neoadjuvant therapy (chemotherapy prior to surgery) for locally advanced breast cancer. BELLEVUE continued on p. 15
A look back in time: Doctors and nurses peform checkups.
October 13 - 20, 2016
When Breast Cancer Strikes, BY EILEEN STUKANE When the calendar turns to October, the month designated for Breast Cancer Awareness, women often remind themselves to get checkups or mammograms — but for many women who are already diagnosed with breast cancer, awareness comes from learning what others have experienced, and finding their own paths of survival. That’s where SHARE Cancer Support, a unique self-help organization for women with breast or ovarian cancers, shines through. In its 40th year, SHARE continues to be rooted in the philosophy of Dr. Eugene Thiessen, who believed that women benefit from each other’s support. A physician who specialized in treating breast cancer, Thiessen invited a group of 12 women to share their experiences in 1976. From this core, SHARE grew into what it is today — a mostly volunteer, survivor-led organization currently headquartered on W. 46th St. that now serves an estimated 50,000 women a year through its many free support groups, educational programs, webinars, and, most significantly, its toll-free, English/Spanish National Helpline: 844-ASK-SHARE (or 844-275-7427). Every woman who calls SHARE hears a “hello” from a woman who personally survived a diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer (in 1995, SHARE expanded its support services to include women diagnosed with ovarian cancer; its toll-free Ovarian Cancer Helpline is 866-537-4273). It would be wonderful if the need for support were not so great, but the American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015 there were 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 60,000 in situ cases, totaling almost 300,000 women being newly diagnosed with breast cancer in a year where 40,290 women also died from the disease. Breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in women, the first being lung cancer.
GETTING CONNECTED FOR SUPPORT “Cancer is isolating,” says Jacey Powers, a 28-year-old Chelsea resident, writer/actor and breast cancer survivor who volunteers a number of her Saturday mornings to speak with
October 13 - 20, 2016
From the Midtown location of SHARE, women can attend on-site support groups, and participate in telephone and videoconference groups.
young women who call to talk about their situations and to hear how she handled her diagnosis and treatment. “I have an amazing support system of incredible friends,” she adds, “but it’s hard to find other people who are going through the same thing you are experiencing.” Powers became acquainted with SHARE when her hospital’s patient navigator, the health aide who counseled her about her breast cancer treatment, told her about it, as she was also a SHARE volunteer. Most volunteers were initially newly diagnosed women who reached out to SHARE when they were trying to cope with difficult decisions involving surgery, chemotherapy, fertility, their futures and their families. After they worked through decision after decision, and survived, they wanted to give back by becoming volunteers themselves. SHARE trains women who have received help, as to how to help others. Through the SHARE Helpline, women are linked with peers, so Powers receives calls from women who are younger, in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, recently diagnosed with the invasive ductal carcinoma that she conquered. She is also a success story
Photo by Laura Pennace
Jacey Powers, from a photo shoot shortly after her diagnosis.
in the use of Penguin Cold Caps, (penguincoldcaps.com/us), head gear designed to prevent hair loss when worn during chemotherapy. More common in Europe and Canada, cold caps are not in widespread use in the United States. “I used cold caps three years ago and I didn’t lose my hair,” says Powers.
“However, they’re painful and expensive. The caps are frozen to 30 degrees below zero in dry ice and you have to change them every 20 minutes for eight hours on the day of your infusion. I would bring a group of my friends to the hospital with me SHARE continued on p. 5 .com
SHARE is There for Support
Photo by Nathaniel Johnston
L to R: Roberta Gelb and Jacqueline Reinhard, SHARE’s Executive Director, at their 2016 “Live Laugh Lunch” event.
L to R: Christine Benjamin, SHARE’s Breast Cancer Program Director, with Kathy Hynes-Kadish, a SHARE volunteer.
SHARE continued from p. 4
and they learned how to do this. I’m one of the very few volunteers who has experience with this technology” (to see Jacey Powers take on breast cancer with humor, visit thattimeihadcancer.com). Aside from Patient Navigators in hospitals, women find their way to SHARE through their doctors, the Internet, and other women in their circles. In the mid-’90s Chelsea resident Roberta Gelb, concerned for a close friend who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, read about a study in which patients being treated for early stages of the skin cancer melanoma had a better survival rate if they participated in weekly support group sessions. Gelb encouraged her friend to join a SHARE support group, and she joined one too, for “Friends and Family.” More recent studies have offered mixed results about whether involvement in a cancer support group can improve survival, but they all conclude that joining a support group improves quality of life. In one of life’s ironies, however, Gelb herself was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, at age 47. “I joined the ‘newly diagnosed’ support group, and the young gal who was facilitating told the story of how she was diagnosed at age 27,” says Gelb, “and I thought, ‘If she can deal with this at 27, I can deal with this at 47.’” Gelb’s husband also joined a support group of other men. “Being able to talk to other men was so important .com
to him,” she says. “As the patient you have enough of your own fear. I did not want to hear him say he was worried about me dying. He needed a place to go to say, ‘I’m afraid of this,’ and to talk about it.” Today Gelb, president of a computer consulting practice, is 19 years past her Stage 1 diagnosis, but still involved in SHARE. As a member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, SHARE participates on various boards, and sends representatives, such as Gelb, who participated in SHARE’s Project Lead, to cancer conferences. Gelb is also SHARE’s representative to the New York State Breast Cancer Support and Education Network. “SHARE is an incredible organization, and the women who are there; it’s my soul,” she says. “SHARE has, I think, 35 support groups throughout the five boroughs,” says Beth Kling, SHARE’s Communications Director. The organization does outreach presentations and provides materials to underserved communities. Calls come into the helpline from women in all 50 states. A feeling of aloneness can be lifted in conversation with a helpline peer, or in a support group for Lymphedema, or Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), or caregivers, among others. Aside from attending on-site support groups, women can also participate in telephone and videoconference groups. A calendar of meetings is posted on SHARE’s website, and, of course, a call to the helpline can offer information.
ATTENTION TO METASTATIC BREAST CANCER A Stage IV breast cancer indicates that the disease has spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body beyond the breast, and is now a meta-
static breast cancer. During October, being aware of breast cancer, usually means focusing on prevention and treating early-stage breast cancer. SHARE wants women with metastatSHARE continued on p. 17
LET’S TURN AMERICA
Early detection of breast cancer can help save thousands of lives across America. PenFed is dedicated to helping spread the word during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and beyond. We remind our female members, employees — and all women — to get regular breast exams and mammograms in accordance with the American Cancer Society’s guidelines.
October 13 - 20, 2016
After Cancer Diagnosis, Drawing Strength From BY PUMA PERL I was 21 years old and four months pregnant with my first child the day I found a lump in my breast. I didn’t tell anyone but the baby’s father. My family didn’t even know I was pregnant. I went alone to the prenatal clinic and was immediately referred to the breast clinic. I was terrified. My favorite aunt had been diagnosed with breast cancer when she was in her second trimester. She delayed treatment and gave birth to a healthy boy, but the cancer had advanced; she died when he was about eight weeks old. The details are hazy because I was only nine. She had been the only one to make me feel special and I grieved alone for a year, as children often do. The specifics of my own experience are a little hazy, too. Several tests and exams confirmed that the lump was just a swollen gland, nothing to worry about. I was lucky. I was also lucky that none of my irregular mammograms, or the follow-up sonograms, revealed anything but dense tissue. As I write, I’m reminded that I am overdue by several months. The aunt who passed away was not a blood relative, but two of my mother’s sisters had breast cancer. When the doctor suggested I come twice yearly because of my family history, I sputtered inanely, But I have lots of aunts. It’s only two of them. But they were in their 80s when they were diagnosed. As many “buts” as I could muster. Recalling my reactions, I think about our culture and the ways our breasts define us at different stages of our lives. About how the girls who developed early were called ho’s in my Brooklyn neighborhood. About how the tall, willowy, flat-chested girl was taunted and called “Nanook of the North.” About boys snapping my bra strap. About having “great tits,” and how it would feel to lose them. And I think about my friends: artists, poets, rock and roll girls. Could I be as brave as they are? The artist known as “Star Angel” is one of those warriors. “Call me Esther Pagan, my real name,” she responded, when I asked how to represent her. “I want the world to know who I am. No more hiding. My cocoon shell dried up.” Esther is a licensed massage therapist and, as an independent contractor, found herself uninsured for several years. “I found out about my cancer by accident,” she said. “I was sharing my concerns about my cardiac history with a friend, and she helped me obtain insurance. I went back to a doctor I’d seen for many years and had a full exam, including a mammogram. The office realized belatedly that they didn’t accept my insurance. He sent a bill for $3,000. On September 17, 2012, he called, told me I had breast cancer, and wished me good luck. I felt devastated, hurt, and angry, but I am a strong person and I started writing poetry and channeling my feelings into becoming an advocate through my voice and my art. From the minute I found out, I wrote, painted, sculpted, made art with anything I could get my hands on. With my art, I heal myself and educate others. I would love to travel with my one-woman show. Four of the pieces show the various stages of
October 13 - 20, 2016
Photo by Esther Pagan
Esther Pagan, self-portrait.
my reconstruction; I photographed each stage and wrote a poem about each experience.” Esther sought treatment at the Mount Sinai Dubin Breast Center and underwent a double mastectomy a month later. “October 17,” she recalled, “right in the middle of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My experience has become my avocation and inspiration. My adversity was not only with breast cancer, but also with medical insurance, the way that I was informed, and my rejections when I applied for aid from non-profit foundations. Our community needs these issues addressed with compassion and effort, and especially for the survival of women of color, who have the greatest difficulties accessing care.” Another artist whose healing process included the arts is Ronnie Norpel. She is also an actress, writer, and teacher. Recently, we talked about the night in 2009, when she informed several of us that she’d be “going under the knife” in two weeks. “I want you to know because you’re my friends,” she said. Laughing, she’d pointed to her chest and added, “I don’t have that much to lose, anyway. Don’t worry. I’ll be fine.” I asked her how she’d been able to maintain her upbeat attitude. “I guess I’ve always used humor to cope,” she replied. “I firmly believe that my hope and positivity carried me through. I’d discovered a pea-size lump the day before I was due for a routine check-up. I was so fortunate that it was caught in the early stages, and that I had great doctors. Women today have greater chances than in the past due to the diagnostic tools that are now available.” Prior to her surgery, she did a “good-bye shoot” on a rooftop between the United Nations and the Chrysler Building, and later was the subject of the Deconstructing Icons project, which documented her journey via photographs. “I am so grateful that I escaped; that I’m still here,” she said. “I was given the chance to examine my philosophies, and I knew I wasn’t ready to go. This has been a lesson in grace.”
Photo by Ian Couch
Ronnie Norpel’s 2009 good-bye shoot.
Courtesy Zoe Stark
Zoe Stark has didicated herself to helping women destigmatize cancer.
Following her surgery, Ronnie’s doctors suggested she attend a panel discussion. One of the speakers was Zoe Stark. “She had a cool vibe, and she was so matter of fact and informative. I felt connected to her,” Ronnie recalled. Zoe was a 45-year-old single mother of 13-year-old twins when she was diagnosed in June of 2007. She underwent 11 surgeries between June and October when she decided, with her doctors, that a double mastectomy would be best, since it was an extremely rapidly moving cancer. ART continued on p. 7 .com
The Art of Expression ART continued from p. 6
“I was lucky,” she told me. “I had good insurance, excellent doctors, and amazing friends and co-workers who supported me.” She did not tell her kids or mother until the final surgery was planned. “I was scared, but I always believed I’d be okay, and I made an early decision to be open about it. I wanted to remove the stigma. The final surgery is very difficult, but I was empowered by it. I took control, and I didn’t allow society to inform my choices. I saved my own life, and by doing that I began to own my womanhood and my sexuality more than ever before.” Her surgeons were so impressed by her positive attitude, that, following her reconstruction surgery, they asked her to talk to a patient who was having trouble with treatment decisions. Over the next three years, she mentored a number of women, sharing her story and giving them information about what to expect at each stage of the process. “I answered the questions that they rarely ask doctors.
Like what about sex? What about new relationships? The stuff women really want to know. I’m still in touch with a few of the women. I don’t use the word ‘survivor.’ I hate that word. It doesn’t define me. I was given some stuff to deal with, and I dealt with it. Some people have it so much worse. I don’t care who knows. This is how we destigmatize.” Alice Espinosa-Cincotta had kept her 2007 diagnosis, “hush-hush,” as she put it, confiding only in her husband, brother, a few close friends, and, by necessity, her supervisors at work. Over the last few years, she’s slowly begun to share with people in her circle. One of them was Zoe Stark. “We looked at each other in recognition and immediately went to the bathroom to compare notes. It’s a bonding experience when you share with other women who have been through it,” Espinosa-Cincotta noted. She was 43 years old and had just started a new job; she’d also won a CUNY scholarship to begin graduate studies. Like Esther, she’d been without health insurance for a period of
Photo by Johan Vipper
Alice Espinosa-Cincotta at her art show.
time and had not had a mammogram for two years. “I think I found myself on the floor when I was given the news. My first question to the doctor was, ‘How much time do I have?’ ” The doctor assured EspinosaCincotta that she was in the early stages, and a good candidate for successful treatment. She opted for partial mastectomies, followed by rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and Herceptin. “They suggested that I stop working because of the side
effects,” she said, “but I was rebellious. Even though I was scared, I was determined to keep living a normal life, going to work, going to school, acting ‘as if.’ This is how I cope; I act like everything is all right. In a way, I numbed myself. I didn’t want pity. When my hair fell out, I bought a cute little wig and cut it like my hairstyle so nobody knew. I even got compliments on it!” ART continued on p. 12
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October 13 - 20, 2016
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New Defense Against Breast Cancer Includes 3D Mammography BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Downtowners now have a powerful new ally on their side in the fight against breast cancer: The outpatient imaging center at Lenox Health Greenwich Village (LHGV). More to the point, they have Dr. Kavita Patel, the center’s medical director, whose training was specifically in breast imaging. The imaging center opened this July on the third floor of Northwell’s new comprehensive care center, at W. 13th St. and Seventh Ave. The building’s first floor opened one year earlier as a standalone emergency department. As far as breast-imaging services, the heart of the new center is its stateof-the-art tomosynthesis mammogram machine. Annual mammograms are the only screening test proven to reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer. Starting annual screening at age 40 saves significantly more lives and adds more years of life for survivors than delaying screening until age 45 or 50. As opposed to old-school mammograms, tomosynthesis, which was approved by the FDA in 2008, represents a quantum leap forward. The older machines would only X-ray the breast in two dimensions — so it was much harder to distinguish different tissues and identify problems if they were there. Tomosynthesis, on the other hand, takes many “slices” of the breast, both vertically and horizontally, giving an exponentially more accurate picture of what is going on. As Patel explained, there are actually four different types of breast density, ranging from fatty to extremely dense. Having dense breast tissue may increase the chance of getting cancer. (Under a New York State law, signed into effect by Governor Andrew Cuomo, women’s mammogram results must now also include one of four letters indicating their type of breast density.) Dense breasts also make it harder to detect the disease in both self-exams and traditional mammograms. Tomosynthesis, though has changed the equation. “We are now ‘slicing’ instead of going just on top,” Patel explained of the revolutionary diagnostic tool. “This has made a significant, significant difference. It’s increasing the cancer detection rate by 20 percent to 30 percent.” There were initially concerns about increased radiation from tomosynthesis. But according to Patel, due to .com
Photo by Tequila Minsky
Dr. Kavita Patel with a critical piece of equipment in terms of breast imaging — a tomosynthesis mammogram scanner.
improved technology, the dose doled out by the machines is now no greater than 2D mammograms. “This is a huge breakthrough,” she said. The dose is equal to “a few weeks of natural background radiation,” according to a fact sheet on breast cancer screening exams Patel provided. Not only is the new screening method more likely to help detect cancer early, it also reduces the number of “false positives,” so that people don’t have to come back for needless follow-up tests and procedures. “Part of the problem with traditional mammograms is we were finding stuff that wasn’t real,” the doctor explained. “We were then doing ultrasound and biopsies.” According to Patel, regarding breast health, the imaging center mostly sees patients for annual screenings. A small percentage of these are called back for additional views or ultrasound. A still smaller percentage have biopsies
performed. An even smaller number are diagnosed with cancer. This reflects national averages. For every 1,000 women screened, 100 will return for an additional mammogram or ultrasound. Sixty-one of these will require additional viewing and be found to have nothing wrong. Twenty others will find that what was seen is not likely cancer and return in six months to keep an eye on the finding. Nineteen will have a minimally invasive biopsy. Five out of the original 1,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Regarding biopsies, Patel performs them herself. Another room has what is known as a stereotactic surgical setup. It includes a table with a hole in it. The patient lies down on her stomach and her breast goes through the hole where it is held in a vise-like device and X-rayed. The image is then viewed on a screen, guiding Patel as she inserts a needle right into the questionable spot and extracts a bit of tissue. This is known as a percutaneous, or
“through the skin,” biopsy and has been the “standard of care” over the past 10 years, Patel noted. Again, it’s an advance over older-style biopsies, which were more traumatic and left larger scars. Mammograms are covered under the Affordable Care Act. The LHGV service is actually a bit cheaper than other places, Patel said. Without insurance, the Village center charges $66 for tomosynthesis, compared to $80 to $100 elsewhere in the city. Again, the single most important thing a woman can do in terms of breast health is to get a mammogram, preferably tomosynthesis, once a year, Patel said. Personal breast exams should be done as often as once a month, she said. As far as nutrition and its impact on breast health, Patel said caffeine can have an effect. “Caffeine can be a culprit in breast cysts — bags of water,” she noted, LENOX HEALTH continued on p. 11 October 13 - 20, 2016
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LENOX HEALTH continued from p. 9
though adding that these are not cancerous. Obesity is also a risk factor, she noted, likely due to the increased estrogen it produces. Men can get breast cancer, too, but it’s extremely rare. Although the center has screened some men, she said, “It makes up a fraction of what we do.” If a man has breast cancer, women in his family are at higher risk, but the same doesn’t hold true vice versa, Patel said. Asked about whether genetic testing would ever be advisable, Patel said it could be considered if a first-degree relative — a mother, sister or first cousin — had breast cancer very young. The LHGV imaging center, which is open 24/7/365 days a year, does about 15 to 20 mammograms per day. Each takes only a few minutes. Currently, because the still-new facility is not seeing patients at full capacity, people can conveniently get a same-day appointment. The results are also fast. “Part of the benefit here is that we will read the studies on-site,” she said. Asked what else women can do to ensure breast health, she offered some tried-and-true advice: “A balanced diet and exercise.” Patel’s goal is to make the W. 13th St. imaging center Downtown’s best. Northwell, the center’s parent health company, is currently doing outreach to women from Harlem to the Battery. A native Staten Islander, Patel still lives there, but really enjoys her new workplace’s location — from its people to its cuisine — plus the brand-new LHGV medical facility, located in the former National Maritime Union building, the top floors of which are currently being gut-renovated for surgical suites and physicians’ offices. “I love working in this neighborhood,” she said. “I feel like I’m in the best neighborhood in Manhattan. I have a fantastic lunch every day. The people are so friendly. And it’s great to help fill the gap left behind in the closure of St. Vincent’s. And we’re happy to take care of the community here. “It is my desire and our goal to become an integrated part of the community,” Patel said. “I am passionate about breast imaging, and I want to build a top-notch facility here for Downtown and Lower Manhattan.” In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Patel has been leading a series of “Interactive Discussions .com
Photos by Tequila Minsky
Dr. Kavita Patel with a sterotactic biopsy operating table. The patient’s breast goes through a hole in the table and is then held in place by a clamp and is X-rayed. Patel then does a biopsy precisely guided by the X-ray image.
on Breast Health.” The next one will be on Tues., Oct. 25, at 200 W. 13th St., fifth floor. Topics will include mammography screening guidelines, tomosynthesis (3D mammography), breast ultrasound and MRI, and dense breasts, with a Q&A. Refreshments will be served. RSVP to Grace Tursi, 645-6656722 or email@example.com.
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 Grace Tursi, marketing representative for the new LHGV, is going from Harlem to the Battery, letting women know of the facility’s stateof-the-art breast health services.
Open House: Thursday, November 17, 6:00 - 8:00pm 146 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011 Tel: 212.242.7802
www.cityandcountry.org October 13 - 20, 2016
ART continued from p. 7
Determined to live as normally as possible, she said nothing to her co-workers, and her supervisors helped her schedule her shifts around the chemotherapy sessions. “I learned that I was a lot stronger and more capable than I thought. I earned A’s in all my coursework. Working with the disabled population is hard, but I did it. The longer you stay cancer-free, the better the chances that you’ll stay that way. I hadn’t been vocal about my experience, but now I feel ready to help others by showing that I’m living my life and they can, too. If I had the strength to beat the sickness, I have the strength to beat the stigma.” Esther Pagan continues to create art and educate others. She recently co-hosted a gala in the Bronx and on October 16, she plans to participate in Making Strides in the Bronx, a walk along Orchard Beach. Ronnie Norpel is still pursuing her careers as an actress, writer, photographer, and performer. She is working on a new memoir, “Boob Job From God,” a follow-up to “Baseball Karma and the Constitution Blues,” released in 2010. She hosts a monthly
performance series at The West End Lounge (955 West End Ave.), and, on October 11, produced the Pink Princess Edition in recognition of National Breast Cancer month. Zoe Stark, in the last several years, has fallen in love, gotten married on the Brooklyn Bridge, made several career changes, and, in her spare time, books bands and promotes rock shows. Alice Espinosa-Cincotta works at the same job and has discovered a love for photography and videography. She participated in her first group show in August 2016, and takes courses at PhotoManhattan. And me, I finally picked up the phone to make that overdue appointment. Maybe some of our readers will, too. Visit nychealthandhospitals.org for info on low-cost and free mammograms. Keep up with Ronnie Norpel’s work at adlibpub.com/gigs.html. For info about Esther Pagan (Star Angel), facebook .com /star.angel .77377?fref=ts. Alice Espinosa-Cincotta: facebook.com/alice.espinosacincotta?ref=br_rs and instagram.com/aliceT:8.75” alleycat/. Zoe Stark: facebook.com/ zoe.stark.58?fref=ts. Puma Perl: facebook.com/pumaperlandfriends.
Photo courtesy the artist
A T-shirt designed by Esther Pagan, aka Star Angel.
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October 13 - 20, 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
October 13 - 20, 2016
phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.
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.
CATHEDRAL HIGH SCHOOL
BELLEVUE continued from p. 3
• Genetic counseling, nutrition, and psychological support, and services such as massage, legal aid, and financial services. • Nipple-sparing mastectomy and tissue-based reconstruction. • Survivorship clinics. Bellevue is also a leader in repairing the space left in the body after the cancer has been removed. “We are the only Health + Hospitals hospital that offers microvascular-free flap reconstruction,” says Dr. Joseph, who strives to provide patients with the best options — sometimes against all odds. Once a patient who was diagnosed with recurrent breast cancer needed a mastectomy, but she was too thin for a tissue-based reconstruction of the breast mound and did not want an implant, the physician recalls. “Rather than just telling her she was out of options, our plastic surgeons put their heads together, spoke with other colleagues, and tried a new procedure called a breast-sharing procedure, transferring a portion of her unaffected breast to create a new breast,” she says. “The woman was thrilled, and she is doing well.”
Health + Hospitals / Bellevue
Medical gladiator: Dr. Kathie-Ann Joseph, chief of breast surgery and director of breast care services, is the Harvard graduate who captains Bellevue’s breast team.
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HEALTH PLAN THAT CARES Medical bills can add to the trauma, but MetroPlus Health Plan — NYC Health + Hospitals’ health services plan — tries to defray the tribulations of breast cancer with a wide range of affordable plans, with premiums as low as $0 to $20 per month and no-cost screenings. “For most of our MetroPlus members, the majority of breast cancer care will be covered by MetroPlus, though a few members may have copays, depending upon their type of insurance plan,” says Dr. Kathie T. Rones, the deputy chief medical officer and a breast cancer survivor. “Under the new Affordable Care Act, screenings such as mammograms are free of cost to members, so there is no reason for women, even of limited means, not to be screened.” MetroPlus’ long history of supporting breast health includes sponsoring and walking in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. “Many of our staff, including myself, have walked to raise awareness and funds for this important cause,” says Dr. Rones. “As a doctor, and a 20-year breast cancer survivor myself, I realize how critical screening and early detection are.” .com
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Among the best: The American College of Surgeons awarded Bellevue’s breast care services a Center of Excellence accreditation in 2014, the highest form of clinical and quality care recognition for breast cancer centers in the country.
Bellevue Hospital Center (462 First Ave., off E. 27th St. in Kips Bay, 212562-5680). Clinical breast exams and mammograms offered on Thurs., Oct. 20 and Thurs., Oct. 27, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. in the Atrium. A breast education forum will be held on Thurs., Oct. 27 at 12:30 p.m. in the hospital’s Farber Auditorium (for info, call 212-562-4516).
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SHARE continued from p. 5
ic disease to know that they are working to bring just as much attention to their issues. “If you look at the statistics, the mortality rates, the numbers of those who die of breast cancer every year have not declined significantly in the last 20 years,” says Christine Benjamin, SHARE’s Breast Cancer Program Director, and initially its Metastatic Breast Cancer Coordinator. “There’s a whole new movement, a lot of focus now on research for metastatic disease. People are looking at this and saying, ‘Nothing has really changed. We’re still dying. Our sisters are dying. Our friends are dying. We need to do something.’ So there’s a big movement to have more money funneled into metastatic breast cancer.” According to recent medical estimates, about 155,000 women (and some men) are living with metastatic breast cancer in the United States. Benjamin explains that SHARE has increased its offerings for women with metastatic breast cancer and now has 11 telephone support group sessions and two in-person support sessions a month. The organization has also scheduled a special webinar for Thurs., Oct. 13, designated as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. A video collection of the stories of six women, “Holding Our Own: Our Lives with Metastatic Breast Cancer,” which highlights lifestyle, decisions, and personal courage, is available for viewing on the SHARE website at at sharecancersupport.org/
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holding-our-own-videos/. “In many ways SHARE is a very special kind of an organization,” says Kling. “It’s close-knit, a very personal kind of organization. There are many people, many women, who become part of the community and see it as part of their family. You can get all kinds of support. You’re never alone.” SHARE’s toll-free helplines are: for Breast Cancer (English & Spanish), 844-275-7427; for Ovarian Cancer, 866-537-4273 (Espanol; Seno y Ovario, 212-719-4454); for caregivers, 844-275-7427. For more info, visit sharecancersupport.org. Eileen Stukane is a frequent contributor to Chelsea Now. She is co-author of “The Complete Book of Breast Care” (available at amazon. com). Her ebook memoir, “Running on Two Different Tracks,” published by Shebooks, is available at amzn. to/1PqZens.
If you’re like many LGBT owned businesses or corporate buyers, you may never have heard of supplier diversity for LGBT businesses. Major corporations in America have procurement programs in place for LGBT businesses, similar to the well-known programs for minority and women-owned businesses. Please join us for this free educational and networking event. You will learn about emerging procurement initiatives for LGBT businesses during a panel discussion with representatives of NGLCC, an LGBT certified business enterprise (LGBTBE) owner, and two corporate procurement professionals. You will also have a chance to ask questions and then network over food and wine with panelists and guests. Presentation by Jeremy Youett, Senior Events Marketing Manager and Microsoft GLEAM New York Board Lead (GLBT+ Advisory Committee) on Microsoft’s LGBT diversity initiatives. Wednesday, October 26, 6pm - 8pm Microsoft Conference Room Central Park West 6501 11 Times Square 6th Floor (8th Ave. between 42nd and 41st Sts.) Register in advance: http://bit.ly/2ddcj7g
212 473 7875 • manhattancc.org/lgbt .com
October 13 - 20, 2016
POLICE BLOTTER THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
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Chelsea Now is published weekly by NYC Community Media
PETIT LARCENY: Bad Apple On Thurs., Oct. 6, a 70-year-old woman discovered a little too late that the supposed Apple expert she was consulting with was rotten to the core. At about 7pm, while within her W. 28th St. apartment, the woman spoke to who she believed to be a support rep regarding problems she was having with an Apple product. The tech asked the woman to pay a $329 fee for their services, which she agreed to and paid. Presumably left with her gadgets still in disrepair, she talked to an actual Apple technician — er, “Genius” — at an Apple store a little later on, and was informed that an imposter had scammed her. She reported the incident to the police the next day, worried, as she had provided the fraudulent fixer with her credit card number.
LEAVING THE SCENE OF PROPERTY DAMAGE: Yield to bus Two incidents last weeks left no doubt in the mind: the wheels on the bus go wherever they damn well please — regardless of who or what gets in their way. First, on Thurs., Oct. 6, a 39-year-old Brooklyn woman reported to police that she was hit by a yellow school bus while driving southbound on Ninth Ave. At about 6:20pm, the bus made a right turn at the southwest corner of W. 42nd St. & Ninth Ave., and swiped the passenger side rear panel. By the time the police arrived, the bus was gone, though the drivers had exchanged information in the interim. There was no such luck for one unlucky motorist on Fri., Oct. 7, when, on the southeast corner of Dyer Ave. & W. 41st St., a New Jersey Transit bus clipped his driver’s side window at about 10:30pm. That particular bus fled westbound. The 41-year-old New Jersey driver was able to get the license plate num-
ber of the vehicle, however, which may help is locating the reckless driver (though the availability of video footage of the incident is unknown).
CRIMINAL USE OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA: Tint my ride At around 4am on Sat., Oct. 8, an officer observed a 1997 Mitsubishi sedan driving at the southwest corner of Eighth Ave. & W. 28th St., stopping it due to what they determined to be an “excessive window tint” violation — the vehicular equivalent of that guy who wears sunglasses indoors all the time. And just as those sunglasses often serve as a cover for conspicuously bloodshot eyes, these windows shielded onlookers from some less than savory goings-on within the vehicle. When the officer approached the car and its driver about the situation, he observed a quantity of marijuana as well as a digital scale in plain view. The latter item became a damning device upon further investigation, as the officer found an additional amount of marijuana ripe for the weighing in the car. The shady character, a 21-year-old man, was quickly arrested.
PETIT LARCEY: Cops catch cosmetic criminal On Sat., Oct. 8, a woman learned that outside beauty may not be worth all the trouble it causes — especially if it lands
CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawed-off shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.
you on the “inside,” as happened to her. At about 8:15pm that evening, at a Whole Foods (260 Seventh Ave., at W. 25th St.), the store’s security guard observed the woman take a number of items from the shelves, casually place them in a Whole Foods bag, and then attempt to leave the store. She was unsuccessful, however, and caught trying to lift $240 worth of pricey cosmetic products, including eye cream, camellia oil, cleansing balm, and cleansing cream. The 26-year-old Queens resident was arrested upon the arrival of authorities.
THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212741-8211. Community Affairs: 212741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-7418226. Domestic Violence: 212-7418216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7pm, at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced.
THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Brendan Timoney. Call 212-4777411. Community Affairs: 212-4777427. Crime Prevention: 212-4777427. Domestic Violence: 212-4773863. Youth Officer: 212-477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30pm, at the 13th Precinct.
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October 13 - 20, 2016
Public Meeting to Ponder L Train Shutdown Scenarios
THE NEW SOUND OF
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.
Chelsea Now file photo by Yannic Rack
The Canarsie Line currently serves 50,000 daily riders in Manhattan alone, according to the MTA. Seen here, straphangers at the entrance to the Eighth Ave. L train stop on W. 14th St.
BY DENNIS LYNCH The Transportation Planning Committee (TPC) of Community Board 4 (CB4) wants the public’s ideas on how to transform 14th St. into a better transit corridor, above and below ground, at a meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 19, at Fulton Auditorium (119 Ninth Ave., btw. W. 17th & W. 18th Sts.). The board believes the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and city Department of Transportation (DOT) should make improvements around 14th St. as part of the planned 18-month shutdown of the L train tunnels starting in 2019. Transportation Alternatives (TransAlt; transalt.org) will present their “PeopleWay” proposal to make 14th St. friendlier to pedestrian and public transit traffic. The commuter advocacy group’s plan includes creating dedicated space for buses, bikes, and pedestrians. TransAlt claims PeopleWay “could double the capacity” of 14th Street and make it safer as well. Folks will have a chance to weigh in on the plan and discuss their own ideas for the corridor. “We just want to make sure we hear the community,” said TPC Co-chair Christine Berthet. CB4 itself suggested in an Aug. 8, 2016 letter to top brass at the MTA and DOT that their agencies take advantage of the “unimpeded access… .com
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Commuter advocacy group Transportation Alternatives will give a presentation on “PeopleWay” at an Oct. 19 CB4 meeting.
for 18 months” to stations by upgrading and rehabilitating them. In particular, the board suggested they make the Sixth and Eighth Ave. stations handicap accessible, reopen the pedestrian underpass between Seventh and Eighth Aves., rebuild the Eighth Ave. station to increase capacity, and improve rider circulation at the Seventh Ave. station. The board’s letter also suggested in the consideration of adding ferry stops along the West Side — particularly to Pier 57, the Javits Center/Pier 76, and a pier near Clinton Cove — during the shutdown to give commuters coming to and from Brooklyn and Queens an alternate route to the area. For more information, visit nyc. gov/html/mancb4.
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October 13 - 20, 2016
Clear Shell Sell: Design Firm Has Its Own Penn Station Plan BY DENNIS LYNCH Architect Vishaan Chakrabarti’s Manhattan-based Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) design firm has come up with its own scenario for a new Penn Station that would relocate Madison Square Garden, open its air rights for developments nearby, and turn the circular shell of the almost 50-year-old arena into a massive glass enclosure. The transparent façade and 153-foot-high expanse above would give travelers an almost surreal arrival in the city. They would see the city sky around them, instead of having to navigate through a crowded maze of underground tunnels to reach street level, Chakrabarti said. “My idea was a notion of creating a ‘gateway moment,’ that when you enter the city, you saw the city, you know you were in the city,” he said. Chakrabarti arrived at the idea while flipping through old photos of the mid-1960s destruction of the original Penn Station and subsequent construction of the Garden. He found a shot of the unfinished skeleton of the Garden under construction in an “ah-ha moment,” realized that the perfect structure of a new station was sitting there waiting for him. The shell would have two layers of glass, like a double-pane window, to allow for passive heating and cooling. Fresh air would come in at the street level and hot air would rise and exit through an opening at the center of the roof. The glass envelope would be blast-proof. Removing Penn Station’s street-level roof upon which the Garden sits would allow PAU to remove a number of the support columns that make the existing Penn Station feel even more cramped. That would help traffic flow, which will only increase when the state and New Jersey’s $23.9 billion Gateway program puts two new tunnels under the Hudson and four more platforms underneath the block south of the Garden. Recycling the Garden’s shell would also save millions of dollars in construction costs. The $1.52 billion price tag is half that of the long-delayed and bloated World Trade Center PATH station project, and Penn Station currently serves roughly the same number of commuters every two days that the WTC station served monthly on average this summer. It could boost the local .com
Courtesy Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism
A re-imagined Penn Station looking north along Eighth Ave., opposite the Farley Post Office Building.
economy too, Chakrabarti contends, by turning what he called “a boulder in the heart of the community” into an attraction. “All the space that’s around the station would become much healthier and vibrant,” he said. “Today you have a lot of people who go into the station and take the subway to their offices instead of wanting to get out and have their offices right there — the area doesn’t feel so great, and if it felt nicer, you’d have a lot more demand. It’s like at Grand Central Station, people get off and walk to their office. It would drive changes to the retail around it; it would make it more pleasant, not a place to get away from.” Of course, the plan requires the Dolan family to willingly move their arena. The City Council declined their request to permanently extend the special permit that allows for the Garden in 2013, effectively serving the Dolans “an eviction notice of sorts,” as the New York Times put it. They have seven years left to find a new home. Luckily, the PAU has already found them a space just 800 feet across Eighth Ave. The firm’s plan relocates Madison Square Garden to the Ninth Ave. side of the Farley Post Office building, the state will convert into a
Courtesy Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism
Walking into PAU’s Penn Station wouldn’t feel like a dungeon anymore and would be far easier to navigate than the subterranean labyrinth that is today’s Penn Station.
transit annex for Penn Station. They would sell the Garden’s air rights to developers for projects in the surrounding area, giving them the cash to pay for the new arena. The state estimates transforming part of the post office into the 250,000 square foot “Moynihan Train Hall” will cost $1.6 billion and will be completed by 2020. The new station would house Amtrak and Long Island Railroad ticketing and waiting facilities, along with 588,000
square feet of retail and office space around it. Chakrabarti thinks his plan fits right in. “You could definitely do both a Garden and a train station. They talked about office space — you can put an office anywhere, you can’t put the Garden anywhere,” he said. “We think that’s the best site. The Garden is a two-block-wide building so it can’t fit just anywhere. There’s only a PENN continued on p. 23 October 13 - 20, 2016
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Courtesy Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism
The open-air interior of the station would make train platforms feel less cramped than they do now. PENN continued from p. 21
couple places it can go.” PAU presented their plan to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, although at the time they did not consider it because the Dolans were not considering moving the Garden, Chakrabarti told the New York Times. As seemingly ideal and perhaps even utopian PAU’s Penn Station is, Chakrabarti does not
think its undoable or that it couldn’t get gubernatorial approval. “It’s less complicated than Hudson Yards and the PATH station downtown, if we can get those done we should be able to get this done,” he said. “Madison Square Garden should get a great new home; this isn’t so hard. Refurbishing the structure is quite simple, not to downplay the complexity of any project, in the scale of the things we do.”
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Hot Mic, Hard Stop, Vile Threats The week in Trump
Photo via hillaryclinton.com
In the background, per diem zombie extra Donald Trump grabs a chair while locking down the creepy sociopath vote.
BY MAX BURBANK As I write this column, Donald Trump is in Full Bunker Mode. I imagine him alone, squatting on some gold-plated fixture, sweat cutting furrows through cracking, orange foundation, his pudgy thumbs hammering tweet after delusional, paranoid tweet: He’ll teach the “Disloyal R’s” “how to win” now that “the shackles have been taken off” him. A week ago Trump had almost fully recovered from his miserable first debate performance. He was down to tweeting about Alicia Machado only, like, twice a day. How did things get so bad so fast? The answer to that question is brought to you by the appropriately German word “schadenfreude” — as in, “Boy, that Donald Trump is just a human fire hose of schadenfreude!” Last Friday, The Washington Post broke the “hot mic” story, and I call it that because my kids read this column. Donald Trump, Republican nominee, caught on tape bragging about committing sexual assault, which last I checked was a crime. There are only two options: Either it’s true and Trump’s a sex criminal, or he lied to impress Billy Bush. Let that sink in. To impress. Billy. Bush. Look in the dictionary under .com
“neediest” and it says “the mental state in which one lies to impress Billy Bush.” Side note: I only just learned Billy Bush is the cousin of W. and Jeb! Bush. Every day Donald Trump seems a little less like a human being and a little more like some mythological creature created to lay low House Bush for it’s hubris. Usually the word “delicious” applied to anything other than food makes me cringe, but come on! Like a sulky teen not hip enough for Snapchat, Trump released an apology/hostage video on Facebook: “I regret it, the Clintons are worse, sorry not sorry.” Then on Sunday, hours before the debate, when a lesser man might have been, oh, I don’t know, prepping, Trump livestreamed a press conference with women who have accused Bill Clinton (not a candidate for president) of sexual assault. The event was so bizarre it would take another whole column to describe, let alone make fun of. To save space, I’ll just leave you with a 1998 Trump quote about [Bill] Clinton’s accusers: “His victims are terrible. He is really a victim himself. The whole group…it’s just a really unattractive group. I’m not just talking about physical.” Eugh. So. Having set the debate bar for himself so low
he could tunnel through the mud like some sort of repulsive human filth insect and still clear it, Trump dug deeper. He answered the first audience question in slow, measured tones, a sort of half-assed Pence impression. Apparently he thought if he spoke quietly enough, the hogwash and bile tumbling out his chow hole would land so softly the audience wouldn’t realize he was insane; and he may have been right — but then, and who could have imagined or prepared for it, Anderson Cooper brought up the “hot mic” incident. “You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women,” said Cooper. “Do you understand that?” I’m going to go with “No.” Trump denied doing any such thing, saying over and over again that it was “locker-room talk.” So, in Trumpsylvania, “locker-room talk” isn’t where you boast to your gym buddies about your prowess with the ladies, it’s where you peacock before the Billy Bushes in your life and assert authority over them because they are presumably impressed by, and envious of, the inherent masculinity you demonstrate TRUMP continued on p. 28 October 13 - 20, 2016
Newbies at the Movies
Chelsea fest’s indie ethos puts focus on emerging talent
Courtesy Chelsea Film Festival
Courtesy Chelsea Film Festival
A still from “Cassandre,” one of the works featured in Oct. 16’s slate of French Caribbean short films.
In the Iranian/German “Paradise,” two seminary students use the Internet to advertise Islam.
both domestic and abroad, “We’re also indie,” said CFF Founder and Executive Director Irene Jean-Baptiste. “This was a festival that was created for emerging filmmakers only,” JeanBaptiste noted. “It’s very new, and that’s how we distinguish ourselves from other festivals in town. We only take films that
BY SEAN EGAN Now in its fourth year, the Chelsea Film Festival (CFF) could be considered the new kid on the block, in a city with no shortage of festivals both long and storied, new and niche. In CFF’s case, their fledgling nature is fitting. While giving voice to brand-new talent,
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October 13 - 20, 2016
are not distributed yet.” While its sense of purpose is clear and concise, a winding series of events and life experiences led to CFF’s founding. Originally from France, Jean-Baptiste spent her years there working as a culture journalist, in TV production, and surrounded by family connected to the art and film worlds. Continuing to immerse herself in the arts, she moved to Chelsea six years ago, in order to study at the Actors Studio; but soon after, the unexpected happened. “After this two year program, I had a car accident, and that’s when things changed, because it was a really bad car accident. I had eight broken ribs, I was in a coma — it was a very intense recovery,” she recalled. While recovering, Jean-Baptiste, who lives near the School of Visual Arts Theater, had the idea for a local neighborhood festival. “Because I live in Chelsea, and after this accident, I had to change my career plans — and decided to create the film festival.”
From there, the festival was born, gathering local support — this year including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and their educational partner, the Fashion Institute of Technology — and setting up shop at local venues like the Chelsea Cinépolis. This year is the biggest installment yet, stretching four days and featuring 90 films from 24 different countries, with a special focus on youth-oriented stories. “It’s such a specific selection that we have this year, from countries that we’ve never represented in the festival before; and it’s very rare to also find films from those countries in other film festivals, or just at the theater,” said JeanBaptiste. The eclectic selections include the Iranian/German drama/romance “Paradise,” an Israeli short about a 17-year-old “Baby Sitter,” and a whole slate of shorts from French Caribbean filmmakers. Nonetheless, Jeane-Baptiste CFF continued on p. 27
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CFF continued from p. 26
asserted, “The films are universal stories.” Still, the fest finds time to shine a spotlight on local talent, as well over a dozen features and shorts hail from New York-based filmmakers. In fact, the plum opening film slot is held by “Misfortune,” an Arizona-set crime thriller directed, written by, and starring NYC native (and NYU Tisch alum) Desmond Devenish. The festival’s purview stretches beyond mere screenings, though. This year finds CFF presenting its second edition of their panel series, “Reel Magic Hour” — talks and presentations that highlight topics like diversity in film and virtual reality. In this way, Jean-Baptiste sees the festival as a kind of “global hub” for new talent. “We really wanted to have the filmmakers interact with other countries,” she commented, “to help them, to give them a platform where they can meet people and execute their dreams; their films.” Naturally, the festival’s efforts have expanded to reflect this. “The community around the film festival got bigger and bigger and bigger, so we created, [last] year, a new program to
put together, not only a one-time event, but a running show and monthly event called Kino & Vino,” explained JeanBaptiste of the program (whose first installment ended this July), designed to highlight winning films from CFF. “Every first Monday, we had a screening, a cocktail, a red carpet, and an after party — it was a full night.” She was happy with its success, and is seeking to stage another set of Kino & Vino screenings for 2017. Still, in the immediate future, JeanBaptiste hopes audiences respond positively to the diverse slate lined up this year, and learn something from the range of stories presented. “I’m just hoping that people go back home, and that those stories that they’re being told by those people are going to resonate into their lives, and see how those stories can affect them and maybe change them — and who knows? Maybe make the world better.” Oct. 13–16, at the Chelsea Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas (260 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) and FIT (227 W. 27th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Prices of tickets/passes to screenings and events vary. Visit chelseafilm.org or facebook.com/chelseafilmfestival.
Courtesy Chelsea Film Festival
Festival opener “Misfortune” is a crime thriller set in Arizona, directed by NYC native Desmond Devenish.
Courtesy Chelsea Film Festival
The Israeli short “Baby Sitter” finds 17-year-old Eilat navigating the worlds of child- and adulthood.
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October 13 - 20, 2016
TRUMP continued from p. 25
when sexually assaulting women. In case that doesn’t sound awful enough, please note a male peacock’s favorite toy is a ball formed of its own dung, which it rolls around with its beak. That is a well-documented science fact you may feel free to look up. Trump went on at length about how, as embarrassed as he might be by the exposure of his “locker-room talk,” ISIS was “drowning people in steel cages” and beheading them. I get that. Next to such atrocities, I guess bragging about sexual assault you maybe didn’t even do but just said to impress Billy Bush seems like small potatoes. After that, Trump was fully unhinged. Any hold Kellyanne Conway had over Trump failed, be it traditional debate prep, drug-enhanced hypnosis, or remote control genital shock harness. Trump lumbered around stage like a per diem extra waiting for his scene on the set of “The Walking Dead.” He alternately caressed, groped, fondled, throttled and supported his girth on his chair. He reprised his Top Ten Sniffs and pointed repeatedly at the ceiling as if signaling the Mothership. He loomed behind Clinton like the muscle in a cheap-ass,
Photo via hillaryclinton.com
Hillary Clinton smiles, knowing the presidency is her get out of jail free card.
direct-to-video mobster movie. And then, this: “If I win,” said Trump, “I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.” Clinton responded it was good a man with Trump’s temperament wasn’t in charge of the law. Trump responded, “Because you’d be in jail.”
All the investigations. All the committee hearings. You may not always approve of Clinton’s actions, but she has never been charged with a crime, let alone found guilty of one. If Trump wins, he’ll use the power of the presidency to open a new investigation, one where the verdict is predetermined, and he will put her in jail. Only a man with no knowledge of
history, no clue as to how our government or laws actually function could say such a thing. That kind of talk is reserved for buffoons who dream of being crowned king, for slighted pre-teens nursing grudges in their mildewed basement bedrooms. That’s not leadership, that’s perverse, twisted fantasy. That’s locker-room talk.
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October 13 - 20, 2016
Pathetic Puppet Parody is Stuffed With Stolen Moments
‘Golden Girls’ fans should stay home, eat cheesecake BY SCOTT STIFFLER Picture it: October 7, 2016. New York City. Three friends meet up to see the “That Golden Girls Show! — A Puppet Parody.” They smile; they laugh; they delight in a free-flowing exchange of risqué tales, camaraderie, and affectionate insults. Then the actual performance begins. Soon after, boredom sets in. Then betrayal. The onstage antics are nowhere near as entertaining as the show’s clever press campaign suggests! An interminable 90 minutes later — three times the length of its namesake — our disappointed trio exits the theater, realizing they’ve just had their chains yanked by a bunch of puppets. One of those friends…was me. Happily, I’m still on speaking terms with the others, despite subjecting them to a show for which we were given complimentary press tickets; but are, I feel, somehow still owed a refund (days later, one pal remarked that her favorite part was the theme song sing-along; ouch!). What purports to be an affectionate tribute to the 1985-1992 TV show about four Miami-based seniors living under the same roof (and eating copious amounts of cheesecake) is, in fact, a dead-end walk down memory lane stuffed with potent zingers reproduced verbatim from the iconic sitcom — an act of shameless plagiarism masquerading as a creative choice, while wrapping itself in the protections afforded by “fair use” legal doctrine (you’re allowed to reproduce the work of others by claiming it’s in the service humorous commentary, hence the word “parody” in the show’s title). Created and directed by Jonathan Rockefeller, this community-theater-level endurance test is little more than a collection of one-liners and plot points that “Golden Girls” fans committed to memory long, long ago. There certainly are raucous laughs of recognition the first dozen or so times a character tells a familiar joke, or exhibits their trademark behavior (Blanche is horny; Sophia is cranky). But that well soon runs dry, and only serves to heighten the contrast between quality sitcom writing and Rockefeller’s failed attempt to craft new material for these well-known, much-loved characters. What little “original” content there is manifests in the form of scenarios and dialogue that merely riff on, invoke, or recontextualize “golden” moments from the show. Dimwitted Rose, for example, seeks to marry Dorothy’s ex, the suddenly wealthy Stan, in order to fund her Herring Circus. Stan, for reasons never explained (let alone used to comedic effect) is the only character on stage not made out of foam-rubber. He does, however, use a sock puppet in a manner similar to — but not as funny as — the original series Stan, who once carried around a fake monkey made from a traffic cone, in an attempt to emotionally emancipate himself from Dorothy (1991’s “The Monkey Show,” season 7, episodes 8 & 9). It’s too bad the general approach falls so flat, and so hard — because puppet designer Joel Gennari’s use of exaggerated features (Blanche’s eyebrows), signature props (Sophia’s purse) and multiple costume changes (Dorothy’s jazzercise outfit) nails each character’s essence, and gives their already outrageous behavior a cartoonish quality that’s tremendous fun to watch. .com
Photo by Russ Rowland
Sitting in a theater watching puppets watch TV isn’t nearly as meta, or fun, as it sounds.
The puppeteers are equally game. As Sophia, appropriately diminutive Emmanuelle Zeesman dispenses insults with glee, while deploying a consistently funny geriatric shuffle. Cat Greenfield’s slinky frame and loopy Southern drawl is less an imitation of Blanche and more of an impression, but it’s a good one. Arlee Chadwick, as Rose, is little beyond simply agreeable (it doesn’t help that she’s saddled with Rockefeller-penned takes on the sitcom’s beloved Scandinavian gibberish and St. Olaf stories). The husky line readings and slow burn reactions of Weston Chandler Long (a man!) do great justice to TV Dorothy’s mastery of deadpan delivery. Note to the director: Cutting the show in half, then turning your cast loose for some improvised Q&A (or having Long perform excerpts from Bea Arthur’s 2002 “Just Between Friends” solo stage show) would have sent the audience into the night with the feeling that they saw something new, instead of something they can (and should!) watch every day of the week on Hallmark Channel. Perhaps in an attempt to divert attention from his wholesale plundering, the press release cites its creator/
director as devoting “time to philanthropic work furthering childhood literacy and appreciation of the arts.” That’s nice; but were he to channel every last penny of profit from this show into funding those worthy causes — then add no-kill animal shelters and cleft palate surgeries to the mix — Rockefeller would barely move the needle on the scale of Karmic debt he owes to those whose enduring love “The Golden Girls” merits something other than this lumbering production. It may have been a hallucination brought on by the overly long run time, but at one point, I swear I saw a puppet repeatedly blink the word “torture” in Morse code. Let’s hope fan indifference at the box office sends this anemic atrocity off to the Shady Pines Retirement Home for Half-Baked Ideas. Through Dec. 1: Mon., Tues. & Thurs. at 7:30pm; Fri. at 7:30pm & 10pm; Sat. at 3pm & 8pm; Sun. at 3pm. At Union Square’s DR2 Theatre (103 E. 15th St., btw. Union Sq. East and Irving Pl.). For tickets ($69; $99 Golden VIP), visit ticketmaster.com or call 800-9822787. Visit ThatGoldenGirlsShow.com. October 13 - 20, 2016
October 13 - 20, 2016
Rhymes With Crazy
Clown Crime Mania Smacks of Satanic Panic
BY LENORE SKENAZY Let’s face it: Clowns are creepy. In a way, this current craziness has finally brought that fact out into the open, the way the term “frenemy” finally gave us a way to talk about something we all recognized but hadn’t acknowledged (as did “bad hair day” before that). Clowns exist in something called the “uncanny valley,” where dolls and puppets and ventriloquists’ dummies live (or, actually, don’t live) too: a place between too real to be make-believe, but too make-believe to be real. If you really want to jump out of your skin, pick up your baggage at LaGuardia some time, where a cardboard cutout of a stewardess has a hologram for a head — and it speaks. Welcome to New York!
But what to make of the clown hysteria sweeping the country, leading to strange sightings, warning letters sent home from school, and actual threatening incidents? Last week a clown with a kitchen knife chased a teen off the 6 train at 96th Street. And in Elmhurst, a 16-yearold glanced out his window and saw a clown lurking. Yikes. And that’s not to mention this weird case — a man in Kentucky shot his gun into the air when he mistook a woman walking her dog for a creepy clown. I’m sure the woman appreciated that all around. It all brings to mind the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s–90s, when Americans were convinced Satanists were raping and torturing children in day-care centers. Across the country,
day-care workers were investigated for crimes including sacrificing animals in front of the kids and flushing kids down the toilet to secret chambers where they’d be abused. Under the sway of what we now understand to be manipulative “therapists,” the tots told stories of being flown in hot air balloons, or taken on boat trips where babies were tossed overboard. No evidence was ever found for this — no drowned babies, no giraffes sliced and diced at the zoo (which you’d think would be hard to miss). And yet, cops, juries, and judges ate this stuff up like bunny entrails. It all sounds so obviously nutty now that when I mention these things to people, they laugh. Hardy har har. Except…look what happened to Fran and Dan Keller in Texas. At their 1992 trial, the jury heard that the Kellers had killed a dog and made the kids cut it up and eat it. They also heard that the couple had taken the kids to a cemetery whereupon they shot a passerby, dismembered the body and buried it in a grave they dug. Testimony also had it that the Kellers had decapitated a baby and thrown its remains in a swimming pool that they made the kids jump into. And in case that all sounded just too plausible, they were also accused of stealing a baby gorilla and chopping off one of its fingers. There were many more allegations added to this list. And the Kellers served 21 years in prison. In Debbie Nathan’s book about that period, “Satan’s Silence,” she
nailed a mind-blowing truth: We think we are so sophisticated and scientific today, and may even scoff at the idea of “Satan,” but we have no trouble believing in Satanists. We simply swapped one basic human fear for another that sounds far more plausible to our modern selves. Which could explain why we believe that clowns are out to kill our kids. On the one hand, there’s the rare but terrible truth that some crazy people do shoot kids at school. Combine that with the constant fear that our kids are going to be next, and that it will be by a madman who is nonetheless organized enough to buy a rainbow wig, and you have a mashup of all our modern parental fears: Stranger danger, randomness, the evil intentions of anyone (especially a male) who likes to work with kids. The security expert Bruce Schneier coined a term for this: movie-plot threat. We imagine the threat to our kids is just like one we’ve seen in the movies. It is easier to picture Bozo with a bazooka than a car crash when dad is fiddling with the Garmin, so that’s the threat we focus on. We may even start seeing things. Looking back, someday we’ll be amazed that schools were sending warning letters home about clown crime. But in the meantime, we’ll keep worrying. Because that’s what humans seem to do best. Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker who authored the book, and founded the blog, Free-Range Kids (freerangekids.com).
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