The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933
October 27, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 43
How are you, ol’ Chum? Or, How to breathe old life into an all-new bar By Dennis Lynch
edford St.’s legendary watering hole Chumley’s opened its heavy wooden door to a crowd of eager patrons this month after its nine-year absence in the West Village. The new owners completely rebuilt the old bar such that it more resembles itself on the first day Leland
Chumley opened up in 1922 than it did in 2007 when a renegade chimney next door fell through its dining room and nearly shuttered the place for good. The Villager visited the new Chumley’s on its first Friday in business and, naturally, it was packed. The crowd was a mix of middle-aged professionals Chumley’s continued on p. 10
City is set to designate ‘Phase III’ of S. Village Historic District, at last BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
ack in 2006, George W. Bush was still president, “Borat” was a top movie and Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” was the year’s No. 1 song. Well, it’s “crazy” that it took this long, but after 10 years of foot-dragging by City Hall
over two administrations, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has finally agreed to consider designating the last unprotected part of the South Village as a historic district. According to a source, the agency, as soon as next week, will announce that it has “calendared” the district District continued on p. 4
Women brandished their claws at a Trump Tower protest last Wednesday. See Pages 12 and 13.
Downsized Beth Israel could be done in 4 years BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
ount Sinai recently announced that it has started “phase one” of its $500 million plan to rebuild Beth Israel Hospital and create a new “Mount Sinai Downtown” healthcare network. The centerpiece of the plan, a new, smaller replacement hospital for Beth Israel — two blocks from the cur-
Refugee kids get freaky!.......p. 34
rent hospital site — could be completed in as soon as four years from now. This past May, in an announcement that sent shockwaves through Downtown, Mount Sinai Health System revealed that it would sell off most of its historic Beth Israel Hospital campus in Gramercy, at E. 16th St. and First Ave. and build a new, scaleddown Beth Israel at E. 14th St. and Second Ave., on part
of the site of its New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. Since that news, not much has changed about the downsizing plan, according to a spokesperson. But as part of its efforts to keep the community informed, Mount Sinai Beth Israel will hold a community forum about the sweeping scheme on Thurs., Oct. 27, at Baruch College’s Hospital continued on p. 6
Cuomo deflates hosts’ illegal Airbnb ads�������� p. 11 Living the Village dream — via Facebook�������� p. 16 www.TheVillager.comwww.TheVillager.com
can. Anyway, we reached out to the Clinton Foundation for comment regarding Ortel’s myrid charges, but did not get a response. Hey, maybe it was lost in the e-mail!
Do tell, Ortel: We were recently passing by Theatre 80 on St. Mark’s Place, and asked its proprietor, Lorcan Otway, who was sitting outside, if he had any good news tips. He told us that, in fact, yes, an old friend of his from their Grace Church School days, Charles Ortel, has been hard at work investigating the Clinton Foundation. Otway is not a Hillary Clinton supporter, in case you haven’t seen his Facebook page. So we looked up Ortel, who still lives in the Village, and he laid out a pretty convincing argument that the foundation is incredibly flawed and flouting all kinds of laws. Ortel’s angle isn’t the same one that Peter Schweizer took in his book “Clinton Cash” — i.e., that there were constant quid pro quos by power players giving money to the foundation to get access to Clinton when she was secretary of state. Rather, Ortel’s focus is that the foundation has violated the basic principles of charity law. Basically, as Ortel tells it, the Clinton Foundation was created as a humble nonprofit presidential archive and research center in Little Rock, but has grown into a massive international operation tackling everything from AIDS in Africa to rebuilding Haiti; yet, basic steps and protocols were not followed to authorize this expansion. And the Clinton Foundation has never been audited by the feds, either. It sounds like Ortel, who told us he spends every day researching this stuff in the library, has some pretty good points. In fact, he had many, many points. So many, we were a bit overwhelmed by all the info. So we are just writing this relatively brief item — and no, this item’s brevity is not part of the alleged vast left-wing media conspiracy in support of Hillary! Ortel admits he is a Republican and not a Clinton fan, but didn’t tell us who he thought he would vote for. This was a couple of months ago, before we started learning about Donald Trump’s shocking grope-aholism. As for how Ortel has so much time on his hands for this probe, he is a retired financial guy, and has been for decades. All the best people in finance retire early, he told us — obviously because they
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October 27, 2016
Pier55 suit is sunk: The Court of Appeals this week declined to hear a request for an appeal by City Club of New York members on their lawsuit against Barry Diller’s Pier55 “entertainment pier” project. As is their wont, the court gave no explanation for their decision. So the two lower court rulings against the lawsuit stand. Madelyn Wils, the Hudson River Park Trust’s president and C.E.O., again claimed victory against the stubborn plaintiffs. “We’re pleased to see this ill-conceived lawsuit thrown out once and for all,” she declared. “We’re continuing with construction and Hudson River Park looks forward to welcoming visitors to what will be one of the city’s most spectacular new public spaces.” Meanwhile, Tom Fox, who headed the Trust’s predecessor agency, the Hudson River Park Conservancy, when the park was still in its planning stages, e-mailed us from the Philippines, where, if we recall correctly, he was giving a talk on ferry transportation. “I guess they are afraid to hear the case and it is a big loss for state parks,” Fox said. “Let the people beware state parks can be sold to the highest bidder without clear and explicit approval by the Legislature and the courts won’t protect us. It’s a whole new era of vulnerability for parks.” To recap, Fox and Rob Buchanan, another City Club member who is a devotee of rowing traditional Whitehall boats in the Hudson, charged in their suit that the Pier55 project was never put out to bid, as required under the Hudson River Park Act, and that the use of the pier commercially for performances run by a Diller nonprofit group violated the “public trust doctrine,” since, again, the state Legislature never held a vote on whether this could be done. ‘Custer Killer’ vs. pipeline: We got a report from Standing Rock, in South Dakota, this Tuesday from Jean-Louis Bourgeois. The Village activist and scion of the late famed sculptress Louise Bourgeois has been out on the reservation for more than a week, in solidarity with Native Americans who are making a stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline. He’s staying at a hotel run by the Standing Rock Sioux. “I have met these wonderful, wonderful people out there, really brilliant,” he told us. A drone has been recording aerial images of a line of construction machines that are putting in the pipeline, he said, adding, “They are not only construction machines — they are military machines. The place is crawling with local, state and — something I had never heard of before — federal police. It’s clear the authorities are gearing up for a physical confrontation. This is a flashpoint, this is a moment in history,” Bourgeois said. “There are now 270 tribes represented here.” Attack dogs have also been brought, he said, adding, “and we hear they are building more kennels.” He also told us he has a new Native American name, “Custer Killer.” “I would have preferred if someone else did it, but I’m glad to see him dead,” Bourgeois said. Actually, he admitted, he gave
Photo by Shane Balkowitsch
Native Americans listening to a tribal elder this August at a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline project.
himself this name, but it will be duly conferred upon him at an upcoming ceremony. In an eerie twist, Bourgeois grew up in the same E. 18th St. building where Custer’s widow, Libbie, spent years penning letters to rehabilitate the slain reckless and vainglorious general’s reputation. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama was meeting with leaders of the seven tribes of the Sioux Nation, i.e. the Oceti Sakowin, in San Diego on Tuesday, as they hoped to persuade him to deny federal permits for the project, which would go underneath the Missouri River. As Tito Ybarra, a member of the Red Lake Ojibwe and a new friend of Bourgeois’s, explained, “The pipeline is routed to go under the river and it’s not a question of whether it will break, but when it will break. This affects the water of tens of millions of people.” It’s starting to get very cold out there, and Bourgeois is helping out the cause, having paid for 10 large truckloads of firewood. “And I’m going to give a lot more of them,” he said. And it sounds like many of the Native Americans may be sporting decidedly nontraditional headwear, also thanks to Bourgeois. “This was a hat I found in Harlem,” he said. “So far I have given 100 away. I plan to give away 500 or 1,000. They have long ‘arms’ that wrap around the neck. They are the warmest hats I’ve ever worn.” The encampment’s numbers have dropped from 7,000 people down to 3,000, and will only further decrease as the mercury plummets. As for how long he’ll stay out at a frigid Standing Rock, Bourgeois vowed, “As long as it takes.” In a sign that “Standing Rock Is Everywhere,” Bourgeois is also moving ahead with giving a small building in the Village that he owns at 6 Weehawken St. to members of the Lenape, Manhattan’s original inhabitants. “Things are progressing. They’ve given it a name — Padamawiikan — which means ‘House of Prayer,’” he explained. A young local Lenape from Brooklyn, Anthony VanDunk “drilled through the cement floor to reach soil, and they did a ceremony — no cameras allowed,” Bourgeois said. The building will become the Manhattan Lenape Indigenous University, he said.
Astor news flash: An application for a second newsstand for Astor Place, in front of 51 Astor Place, the new Cooper Union building, is on the agenda at Community Board 3. Community Board 2 previously denied an application for a second newsstand in that general area, feeling it would adversely impact the business of veteran news vendor Jerry Delakas, whose stand is in front of the Starbucks. C.B. 3, however, has not yet taken a position, though the issue will be up for, we assume, possibly a vote at the board’s monthly meeting, on Mon., Oct. 31. Susan Stetzer, the board’s district manager, said the issue is “complicated,” but a draft resolution will be posted on the C.B. 3 Web site on Fri., Oct. 28. TheVillager.com
Talking Donald and Detroit with Michael Moore By Tequila Minsk y
n Sunday, Little Italy resident, fashion model promoter Judi Jupiter went to the IFC Center on Sixth Ave. and bought a ticket to King Cobra, a “ripped from the headlines” movie about gay porn. When she discovered that Michael Moore , of whom she’s a fan, would be at the “Michael Moore in Trumpland” 3:20 p.m. screening, she changed her ticket, and sat in the front row. In his new film, Moore performs a “Vote Hillary” one-man show in a movie theater in Wilmington, Ohio, in the aptly named Clinton County. Jupiter, a Michigan native, was among those who asked questions during the Q & A following the film. “Is St. Clair Shores [her hometown, a Detroit suburb] coming back?” she asked. No, Moore said, it will take a while — young people will have to bring back cities like St. Clair Shores.
“Detroit is a black city. They know what it’s about,” Moore said. She asked about the state of the Downtown Detroit art scene, and he responded, again, in the negative. The filmmaker called New York City “a big plastic bubble,” and said he loves the energy, but prefers his hometown of Flint, Michigan. Moore also said that it took him two weeks to make the Trump movie and that he would be on stage performing every night until the election. Jupiter jumped up to be photographed with Moore, whispering in his ear the code word —“Michigander” — for people from Michigan. Full disclosure: This writer is also originally from Detroit. “I could have watched it twice,” she said. “But I left after telling him I had a major crush on him and that I was going to be his next wife. He said I was very kind.”
Write a letter to the editor. News@thevillager.com
Photo by Tequila Minsky
Michael Moore and Judi Jupiter. New York University and Manhattan Community Board 2 present
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October 27, 2016
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District continued from p. 1
for a public hearing. The calendaring announcement will reportedly come on Nov. 1. Word is that the actual hearing is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 22. While the exact boundaries of the proposed area will not be known until L.P.C. calendars it, it will reportedly cover roughly “95 percent” of the 10 blocks that the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has been lobbying for years to add to the two already designated parts of the South Village Historic District. Roughly speaking, this third phase of the district would stretch from the south side of Houston St. down to Watts St., with its western boundary along Sixth Ave. and its eastern boundary along West Broadway and Thompson St. In a statement to The Villager, Damaris Olivo, a spokesperson for L.P.C., said, “The agency has been studying this area for some time, most recently, in light of the commission’s efforts to identify historic resources in neighborhoods undergoing change. As a result, the agency has prioritized this area.” City Councilmember Corey Johnson said finishing the job and protecting the final vulnerable portion of the South Village was critical to protect the area from increasing development pressures. “One of my top priorities since taking office has been to achieve landmark protections for the historic South Village,” Johnson said. “New York is growing and changing rapidly, but there are some historic neighborhoods that are so special they should be protected for future generations. The South Village is one of these neighborhoods, and we can’t let it slip away. I look forward to testifying before the Landmarks Preservation Commission in favor of a new historic district that will grace our city for generations to come.” Andrew Berman, executive director of G.V.S.H.P., said the proposed addition to the historic district includes mostly tenement buildings from the late-19th and early20th centuries. “They were purpose-built to house the last great wave of immigrants,” the preserva-
It’s been a long slog to designation of the full South Village Historic District as proposed by G.V.S.H.P.
tionist said. “These were the kind of buildings that during the first wave of landmarking in the 1960s were excluded by the city, but these are really quite beautiful buildings. The storefronts and the fire escapes are often incredibly ornate. These were often tough places to live on the inside, but the architects didn’t hold back their exuberance in designing the outside.” The district also notably includes St. Anthony’s Church, at Sullivan and Houston Sts. Berman and G.V.S.H.P., with the strong support of Community Board 2, used the rezoning application for the pending mega-project at the St. John’s Center site in Hudson Square as leverage to get the city to finally calendar the final portion of the South Village Historic District. Developers are currently nearing the end of a ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) application process, seeking to rezone the St. John’s site to allow residential use. The sought-after rezoning would also increase the site’s F.A.R. (floor-area ratio) from 5 to 8.7 — a massive 75 percent boost in the allowable bulk. Under a deal between the
developers and the Hudson River Park Trust, the developers would pay $100 million to buy 200,000 square feet of unused development rights from Pier 40 to use at the St. John’s site, which is located directly across the West Side Highway from the ailing 14-acre pier at W. Houston St. The money, in turn, would be used to repair the corroded steel support piles for Pier 40, which, with its artificial-turf ball fields, has become a vital amenity for Downtown families. Twenty-five percent of the St. John’s project’s more than 1,500 apartments would be affordable housing, including a portion for senior affordable housing. The City Planning Commission last week gave its approval to the St. John’s project application. In earlier votes that were both only advisory, C.B. 2 approved the project with caveats, though Borough President Gale Brewer voted a sweeping no against the whole plan. Now, in the final phase of the ULURP review, the City Council will next vote on the application. As usually happens in such votes, Johnson’s Council colleagues will likely follow his lead since his dis-
trict contains the project, and councilmembers generally defer to the local councilmember. Berman of G.V.S.H.P. said, yes, there was definitely an effort to leverage the St. John’s project rezoning to help push the South Village landmarking through to completion. “We’ve been fighting for this district for 10 years,” Berman said. “Our position has been that it’s unacceptable and unthinkable for the city to rezone the St. John’s site for a developer when phase three of the South Village next door has been waiting and being completely ignored. Rezoning the St. John’s site would only increase the pressure on the South Village.” With regard to the St. John’s rezoning, G.V.S.H.P. pushed for three main things: landmarking of the last unprotected one-third of the South Village; no more air rights transfers from Hudson River Park into the C.B. 2 district after the St. John’s project; and no big-box or destination retail stores in the St. John’s Partners project. So far, it looks like the first of the society’s “wants” will be achieved. One pro-development media outlet said the city’s expected landmarking of the South Village’s final portion increases the chances the City Council will approve the mega-project. Crain’s called it “a move that will…help grease the wheels for a massive mixed-use project nearby.” But Berman cautioned that nothing should be taken for granted about the historic district at this point. “It’s not done yet,” he said. “We’re certainly going to have to turn out in record numbers at the hearing to make sure this happens.” G.V.S.H.P. had also been calling for rezoning for the South Village as a way to block development there, but Berman said historic district designation actually is better. “We’re going to continue to ask for rezoning,” he said. “But landmarking is stronger. So I would always ask for landmarking over rezoning.” TheVillager.com
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Downsized Beth Israel could be done in 4 years;
SAN for Ennead Architects and Perkins Eastman
A rendering of the planned Mount Sinai Downtown Beth Israel Hospital, a 70-bed mini-hospital with an emergenc y depar tment at E. 14th St. and Second Ave., which would replace Beth Israel Hospital t wo blocks to the nor th. Hospital continued from p. 1
Mason Hall Auditorium, 17 Lexington Ave. at E. 23rd St., from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. What is known so far is that the smaller East Village replacement hospital would be called Mount Sinai Downtown Beth Israel. It would have 70 inpatient beds, along with operating and procedure rooms, plus a state-of-the-art full-scale emergency department. Mount Sinai will also be keeping its 150 beds for behavioral health patients at its nearby Bernstein Pavilion on E. 16th St. at Stuyvesant Square, so stresses that it will have 220 beds “in the system.” But local residents are most concerned about the number of general inpatient beds that will be available. The new East Village E.D. would be able to accommodate at least 70,000 visits per year, according to hospital officials. It’s still not immediately clear whether the entrance for the E.D. would be on E. 14th or E. 13th St. or where the ambulance bay would be. The hospital will stretch through the block from 14th St. to 13th St., and include the former site of an Eye and Ear Infirmary residential building and small parking lot. Mount Sinai says the existing Gramercy hospital, most of which dates from 1927, “is too old to rebuild to bring it up to date.” “This will be a better facility for the
October 27, 2016
‘This will be a better facility for the community.’ Dr. Ken Davis, Mount Sinai president community,” Dr. Ken Davis, Mount Sinai Health System’s C.E.O. president, told The Villager during an interview earlier this summer. The current Beth Israel hospital and emergency room will stay open during the new hospital’s construction.
Expandable hospital In the future, if needed, both the new East Village hospital building’s number of hospital beds and the size of its emergency department could be doubled by adding two or three floors atop its E. 13th St. side, officials say. The new hos-
pital will be constructed to allow this option. Architects Perkins Eastman will oversee the new health hub’s design and construction. Demolition at the East Village site is expected to begin in early 2017, with construction starting in early 2018, and completion expected by late 2020. Beth Israel is licensed for a total of 799 inpatient beds, including the 150 behavioral health beds at Bernstein. Currently, about 450 beds are used on a daily basis — including 300 general inpatient beds and, again, the 150 behavioral health beds. Half of these beds are currently filled by Brooklyn residents, a significant number of them Orthodox Jews from Williamsburg. Beth Israel, which was founded by Lower East Side Jews, offers “automatic” kosher food (you don’t have to ask for it) and Sabbath elevators (which stop on all floors on the Jewish Sabbath without having to push any buttons), so has always had a strong connection to the Jewish community. As part of Beth Israel’s downsizing plan, Mount Sinai is looking to partner with a Brooklyn hospital to create a 30-bed site with inpatient beds and an obstetrics center that would be geared toward Brooklyn patients. In addition, two of Mount Sinai’s other major healthcare sites south of 34th St. are also undergoing changes.
‘PACC’ upgrade The Phillips Ambulatory Care Center — a.k.a. the “PACC” — on Union Square East is the city’s largest ambulatory care center at 275,000 square feet. It will be renamed Mount Sinai Downtown Union Square, and upgraded to become a specialized-care facility. New services will include endoscopy (scoping inside the digestive tract) and a “Respiratory Institute.” Also, in mid-2017, a new urgent-care center will open in this facility’s second floor, including pediatric care, with weekend and evening hours. Renovation work is almost finished on the place’s lobby, which will have concierge services added. Across town, construction work to upgrade the M.S.B.I. Comprehensive Cancer Center West, at W. 15th St. and Eighth Ave., is almost finished. It will be redubbed Mount Sinai Downtown Chelsea Center. This 80,000-square-foot facility will open a new women’s cancer facility with breast cancer and gynecology oncology services. Expanded mammography services will also be offered. In addition, the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, between E. 14th and 13th Sts. on Second Ave., which is also part of the healthcare chain, will be preserved and upgraded. Its entrance and the entrance for the new hospital will be located 100 Hospital continued on p. 7 TheVillager.com
Floors could be added to new building, if needed Hospital continued from p. 6
feet away from each other. In all, Mount Sinai has 16 ambulatory-care sites and 600 physicians in Manhattan south of 34th St.
Behavioral health beds Mount Sinai will eventually sell off the full-square block that Beth Israel’s main campus occupies between E. 16th and 17th Sts. and First Ave. and Stuyvesant Square. But while that parcel of prime real estate will be unloaded, the health organization will keep its current Bernstein Pavilion — for behavioral health services — one block to the south, and invest in that facility. Although hospital bed use has dropped 10 percent annually since 2012 for other patients — through advances in ambulatory surgery and increased at-home treatment, for example — the same hasn’t held true in mental health, according to Mount Sinai. Hence the lack of reduction of Bernstein’s 150 beds. “System-wide, citywide, beds in the behavioral-health system are at 100 percent occupancy,” a Mount Sinai representative told a joint meeting of Community Boards 3 and 6 on the Beth Israel plan earlier this summer. This past May, a number of nurses, extremely anxious about Beth Israel’s future, called The Villager, tipping the newspaper off that Mount Sinai would be closing the iconic hospital. Fearful of retribution, they all requested anonymity.
‘An exciting time’ But Davis, the health system’s president, in the press release for the “phase one” announcement last week, assured that the overhaul is all for the best. “Our more than $500 million investment marks an exciting time,” he said, “not only for Mount Sinai’s employees and patients, but also the entire Downtown community, as we truly transform how patients access and receive the healthcare services they need.” Davis said as much back in June when The Villager sat down with him for an hour-long informational interview, though he required that the conversation mostly be off the record. On the subject of staff, Mount Sinai previously had said that all union employees affected by the transformation would be offered other union opportunities at equal pay. According to Mount Sinai, so far, more than 150 employees have accepted new jobs at equal or higher salaries within its health system.
Shifting of services As part of the transformation, some TheVillager.com
A rough massing-study rendering showing how the planned new Mount Sinai Downtown Beth Israel Hospital would sit on both E. 14th and E. 13th Sts. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmar y wil still occupy the block’s southwest corner. The buildings nor th of the Bernstein Pavilion are the current Beth Israel Hospital, which will be sold off to finance the rebuilding plan.
procedures and services at Beth Israel that are “highly complex” will be moved to other Mount Sinai facilities over the next 18 months. For example, the Beth Israel cardiac surgery program will be shifted to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, at W. 115th St. and Amsterdam Ave. However, the new Mount Sinai Downtown Beth Israel Hospital will still treat heart patients at a 24-hour cardiac catheterization lab, and will operate an emergency heart attack and stroke program. In other words, they will be able to put a stent into a person’s artery or remove a blot clot from a stroke victim’s brain. And you will be able to have an appendectomy or your gall bladder removed at the new smaller hospital. But joint-replacement services will be moved to Mount Sinai West (the former Roosevelt Hospital), at W. 59th St. and Tenth Ave. Another rendering showing another view of the design for the new East Village mini-hospital. Another rendering showing another view of the design for the new East Village mini-hospital. And while the new M.S.D.B.I. Hospital will still offer obstetrics and gynecological services, it won’t be in the business of delivering babies anymore. Beth Israel currently handles 4,000 births per year. According to hospital officials, 2,000 of these deliveries will be shifted to the aforementioned planned new Brooklyn site, while the other half will be “distributed” among other hos-
pitals, such as Mount Sinai and Mount Sinai West, or competitors like N.Y.U. Langone, if parents prefer. The site for the Brooklyn obstetrics center has not been set.
Prez decides to leave Meanwhile, Susan Somerville, the president of Beth Israel Hospital, has decided to leave her position, according to the health system. “For over 15 years, my husband and I have had a home on the East End of Long Island,” Somerville said. “My husband has retired and I will be joining him in order to pursue new opportunities out East.” She will remain in her role until senior management finds a successor, who will “lead the Mount Sinai Downtown transformation,” according to the health system. “Susan has provided amazing leadership during several challenging years as president of Beth Israel,” Davis said, “and I truly cannot say enough good things about the job she’s done. But we understand her desire to make this transition and wish her all the best.”
Promise to provide info Davis pledged that the health system would keep the community abreast of all its projects and changes Downtown. “As our transformation moves forward, Mount Sinai remains committed
to working with all employees, elected officials, local leaders and the community as the plans solidify,” he said. Mount Sinai will provide updates on its Downtown Transformation Web site, www.mountsinai.org/downtown As to whether a future residential development at the current Beth Israel hospital complex in Gramercy would include affordable housing, it’s too early to know, but hospital officials said Mount Sinai, which is a nonprofit, does endorse affordable housing. All profits from the property’s sale would go toward the new Mount Sinai Downtown transformation projects, officials say.
Community concerns Meanwhile, at the joint C.B. 3 / C.B. 6 meeting on Beth Israel’s rebuilding earlier this summer, local residents expressed great concern about the impact on the area’s healthcare. Brad Korn and Brad Beckstrom, two Mount Sinai community and government affairs officials, laid out the hospital rebuilding plan for the audience and fielded questions. “I think a lot of us were traumatized about the closing of St. Vincent’s and Cabrini hospitals,” Mark Hannay told the two. “I freaked out when I saw the articles about Beth Israel possibly closing.” Enrique Cruz, a C.B. 3 member, told the pair that the new E. 14th St. hospital should have at least 200 beds, not just hospital continued on p. 32 October 27, 2016
POLICE BLOTTER Hack attacked
On Sun., Oct. 23, at 4:25 p.m., a man who felt a cab almost hit him at the corner of Christopher and Bedford Sts. wound up hitting the cabbie, according to police. The taxi driver told police that the man accused him of not stopping at a stop sign while driving and almost struck him. The perturbed pedestrian started arguing with the hack and then punched him in the face, causing pain and swelling to the left side of his face. William H. Sneddon, 45, was arrested for misdemeanor assault.
Nabbed by narc A “salesman” approached the wrong customer early Friday morning in front of 250 W. 14th St. Police said that on Oct. 21, at 2:25 a.m., a man offered an officer a controlled substance in exchange for money.
“You want some white girl?” he reportedly asked the officer. Upon a search, a bag of marijuana, a bag of cocaine, a can of pepper spray and a folding knife were allegedly found on his person. Police arrested Muhammado Karaga, 29, for felony criminal sale of a controlled substance.
A bumper crop of fun, color and community The Elizabeth Street Garden’s Annual Har vest Fest was a great time for one and all on Sunday. There was face painting and pumpkin painting, live music and much more. A housing project backed by Councilmember Margaret Chin and Mayor de Blasio, however, would occupy fourfifths of the garden, leaving just 5,000 square feet of open space.
Bagged in subway On Sat., Oct. 22, at 1:45 a.m., a man sitting next to a sleeping straphanger on a bench on the L platform at the 14th St. train station caught the eye of police. The man reportedly jostled the passenger’s property by touching and feeling his bag. The victim was lying on top of his bag and no property was removed. Vernon Matthews, 35, was arrested for misdemeanor jostling.
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Photos by Tequila Minsky
October 27, 2016
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Trying MISSING toMETADATA breathe old CONTENT life into an all-new bar Chumley’s continued from p. 1
in suits, recovering bohemians there for the bar’s literary history, and gray-haired patrons this reporter hoped had a long history with the bar and would talk to me about it. Luckily, one did. Bill Briggs discovered Chumley’s in the 1950s at the height of the bar’s popularity with the Beat writers. He, like many others, had a tough time back then first finding the bar, which is famous for its lack of exterior signage. “Someone told me about it,” Briggs said. “It was hard, but I found it.” Back then it was a laid-back joint with reasonably priced food and drinks, not like the fancy “destination” bar like some of the ritzy joints Uptown, he recalled. With $16 cocktails and a $25 double cheeseburger, on the menu, the new Chumley’s certainly feels more like those Uptown joints Briggs spoke of, but the old-timer shrugged off the notion that the bar has lost all its magic. “At first, it felt a little too clean,” he said. “But you know it fell down and they had to do what they had to do, I understand. But they kept a lot of the books and things ¬— the ghost is still around.” Some folks had less forgiving opinions about the bar’s transformation from divey literary haunt to haute gastropub. One patron who frequented the old Chumley’s in the 1990s sitting at the bar called it “pissy,” and the antithesis of what he liked about the old bar. He added that the team behind the new place did a “beautiful job” overhauling it, but he didn’t plan to come back often. Others made their objections clear in the comment sections of Internet articles and on social media. The ponytailed man that sat next to Briggs at the bar was on the opposite end of the spectrum. He is the person largely responsible for preserving what connection the new bar has to the old one, beside its physical location. Official Chumley’s archivist James DiPaola can usually be found there and is more than happy to, in his words, “infect people with this knowledge” of the bar. He started coming to the historic watering hole in the 1990s. Back then, he volunteered to care for and document the portraits of authorpatrons who once brooded in the dark booths, their framed books jackets that lined the wall, and the countless other knickknacks that made Chumley’s famous. DiPaola was at the bar when the chimney collapsed in 2007 and turned his preservationist mission into more of a rescue operation. When it became clear the Department of Buildings and other agencies weren’t going to let Chumley’s open without completely overhauling the century-old building’s structure, DiPaola carted out the artifacts with the hopes they’d eventually find their way back to 86 Bedford St. When the time came, he rehung those photos of Ernest Hemingway, John
October 27, 2016
Photos by Tequila MInsky
Patrons in the Chumley’s bar room during a weeknight at the newly reopened Bedford St. bar. Many of the photos and book jackets were salvaged from the original bar and have been restored to the walls.
Where Beats once brooded at the old Chumley’s, upbeat young professionals shared drinks in the bar’s new incarnation.
Steinbeck and dozens of other Chumley’s regulars of yesteryear and put their book jackets back on the wall under glass cases. He hung Lee Chumley’s portrait over the fireplace. Chumley’s, as many knew over the last few decades, was “sort of falling apart,” DiPaola said. The book jackets had degraded and the walls sagged. Many patrons loved that shabby charm, but it
simply wasn’t sustainable after the chimney collapse, he said. “The old Chumley’s was nothing but four walls — what mattered was the people in it,” he said. “This is an opportunity to renew that cycle. Lee Chumley didn’t build the bar that it looked like in 2001, 70 years did that. Its this or nothing and if there was nothing, they’d have nothing to complain about.”
And it almost was nothing. Besides the mountain of structural work impeding Chumley’s return, a group of neighbors fought a long legal battle to keep the bar shuttered. They were concerned the tavern would bring “unwanted business” to the area, which was already “oversaturated” with bars, according to their lawyer. Of course, they failed and on Friday night “unwanted business” packed 86 Bedford. Some had heard about an upscale bar opening in the Village and had not been to the old bar. Others had been to the old bar and wanted — and in some cases, felt obligated — to see what the new place was all about. A young couple drinking wine at a table in the packed bar room were part of that latter group. They came hopefully to get some dinner, but it wasn’t looking good for them. There is a 30-day wait list to get a table and have white-vested waiters bring you chef Victoria Blamey’s classed-up American fare. Still, they were happy to be back at a bar they never expected to reopen. “We never would have made the effort to come this weekend if we didn’t have any attachment to the place,” Ryan Auer said. “Who holds onto reopening dreams for nine years? Who has that long of a plan, especially in New York? That is unique, that is rare.” As it turns out, it was their lucky day. Restaurateur Alessandro Borgognone, the place’s new operator, decided he liked Auer and sat him and his fiancée Jennie Conner at a table before he sat for a short interview with me. Borgognone, who owns the massively successful Sushi Nakazawa around the corner on Barrow St., said the Chumley’s phones were ringing off the hook as soon they started taking reservations in September. There’s “nothing crazy, no fusion” on the menu, Borgognone said — it’s mostly “classic American dishes,” that match the classy, speakeasy atmosphere. “We wanted something that would complement the space,” he said. “You can see a beef tartare being on the menu, and you see an amazing burger on the menu. While we walked through the space, we said this is what the space feels like and this is what the space deserves.” From the classed-up menu, level floors and walls and decor — in almost all respects, and for better or for worse, Chumley’s is clearly a different place than it was for Bill Briggs and the decades-worth of others who spent nights there over the last century. For those who bemoan that its new style will just attract tourists and “dude bros,” as one Internet commenter put it, they can take solace that the one thing that hasn’t changed about Chumley’s may keep some of the uninitiated away. When I walked out the door to head home, I saw three furrow-browed men looking at their phones, then up, then walk to the corner of Barrow and Bedford Sts., then back, still looking at their phones. Guess what bar they couldn’t find? TheVillager.com
Airbnb crackdown tightens as Cuomo targets illegal ads BY JACKSON CHEN
overnor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill that imposes escalating fines on those who advertise rentals of unoccupied apartments for periods of less than 30 days. Cuomo signing the new law on Oct. 21 triggered the popular home-sharing company Airbnb to file a lawsuit later the same day. The new law, sponsored by Upper West Side Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and Staten Island state Senator Andrew Lanza, prohibits a tenant from advertising the rental of his or her entire apartment — such as listing a unit through Airbnb — for less than 30 days when that tenant isn’t there. Landlords are similarly barred from listing empty apartments for such short-term rentals. Rosenthal explained that the aim is to crack down on commercial operators of residential buildings using Airbnb to fatten their profits while, in turn, reducing the available permanent housing stock in the city. The measure Cuomo signed builds on a 2010 law prohibiting such rentals in multi-unit buildings by penalizing those who advertise offers of the short-term arrangements. Under the new law, first-time offenders would receive a $1,000 fine that would increase to $5,000 for the second offense and $7,500 for the third strike. The bill passed the state Legislature overwhelmingly in June and was delivered to Cuomo on Oct. 18. He signed it three days later. “This is an issue that was given careful, deliberate consideration, but ultimately these activities are already expressly prohibited by law,” Rich Azzopardi, a spokesperson for the governor, said in a statement, referring to the earlier 2010 enactment. “They also compromise efforts to maintain and promote affordable housing by allowing those units to be used as unregulated hotels, and deny communities significant revenue from uncollected taxes, the cost of which is ultimately borne by local taxpayers.” Rosenthal praised Cuomo’s signing of her bill, noting the eagerness of numerous politicians and the tenant advocacy community to see it become law. As it made clear during the September launch of its Fighting for Hosts campaign, however, Airbnb was prepared to fire back once the governor signed the bill. During the lead-up to Cuomo taking action, Airbnb had repeatedly warned it would pursue legal action if it was signed. On Friday, just hours after the bill became law, Airbnb sought an injunction to prevent it from taking effect and filed a lawsuit charging that the measure violates the Communications Decency Act — which frees Web site operators from TheVillager.com
liability for what their users post on their sites — as well as the First Amendment. “In typical fashion, Albany backroom dealing rewarded a special interest — the price-gouging hotel industry — and ignored the voices of tens of thousands of New Yorkers,” Josh Meltzer, Airbnb’s head of New York public policy, said in a written statement. “A majority of New Yorkers have embraced home-sharing, and we will continue to fight for a smart policy solution that works for the people, not the powerful.” To counter the law, the San Franciscobased company filed a lawsuit against Eric Schneiderman, the New York State attorney general, as well as the City of New York and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Just days before Cuomo announced his decision, Airbnb attempted to appease its naysayers with a reform proposal that revolved around five new rules for homesharing. According to the company’s Oct. 19 announcement, hosts would only be able to list one property, Airbnb would require them to register on an online system, landlords would be able to secure a portion of the revenue from tenant hosts’ rentals to put toward building maintenance, the company would enforce a “three strikes” policy barring hosts after repeated breaking of the rules, and Airbnb would be able to collect taxes on their hosts that would be dedicated to tenant protection and affordable housing in the city. But Rosenthal argued that the announcement of a reform proposal shortly after Cuomo received her bill was “a disingenuous way to work on issues.” “The things they suggested at the 11th hour, no one has stopped them from doing those the whole time,” she said. Instead, Rosenthal argued, Airbnb could have been proactive in preventing and removing those who were clear abusers of its system, and should have listed New York State laws on its Web site to inform potential hosts of their rights and limitations. In July, Airbnb, in reaction to criticism voiced by legislators, announced the removal of 2,233 listings in New York City it suspected of being posted by illegal operators. Rosenthal insisted her bill does not clash with the Communications Decency Act because the fines target the hosts who are the users of the site, and not Airbnb itself. “Airbnb has faced these issues everywhere in the world,” she said. “Increasingly, everyone is saying this is ruining our stock of affordable housing. The people who lose are the permanent residents who end up living in de facto hotels because the people next door to them change overnight.”
Keep your home, family & ﬁnances above water
October 27, 2016
Mee-youch! Women ‘grab’ the floor and On the evening of Thurs., Oct. 19, the final presidential debate, about 100 demonstrators, mostly women, held a “Pussy Power” protest outside Trump Tower in Midtown. They said they were “grabbing back” at Donald Trump after his shocking remarks — unwittingly taped on a “hot mike” 11 years ago by celebrit y gossip figure Billy Bush — when Trump boasted he could grab any woman by the you know what because of his supposed fame as The Donald. Marni Halasa, the ubiquitous local protester, literally slashed up a Trump poster with her razor-sharp claws. (O.K., actually, someone cut it with scissors first.) For a little while, things threatened to turn into a real catfight when some proTrump counterdemonstrators showed up.
photos by MILO HESS
October 27, 2016
claw back at Trump on night of final debate
October 27, 2016
Lady goes Gaga on The Bitter End balcony Last Thursday, around midnight, Lady Gaga gave a small show at The Bitter End on Bleecker St., per forming three songs for the worldwide release of her new album, “Joanne.” Lady Gaga then per formed t wo encores from The Bitter End’s balcony for her fans and passersby. Our rambling photographer — who just happened to be walking by — admitted her shots weren’t the greatest because of the size of the crowd and the darkness. But they give a sense of the scene. No doubt the paparazzi that Lady Gaga sings about were up front getting photos. The singer was wearing a Bud Light T-shir t because she is on her Bud Light x Lady Gaga Dive Bar Tour to promote the album.
Photos by Tequila Minsky
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October 27, 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.
October 27, 2016
Facebook pages help Villagers connect across time
notebook By Patricia Fieldsteel
YONS, FRANCE — Several times daily and frequently at night, I stroll the streets of Greenwich Village, chatting with friends in Facebook groups devoted to the neighborhood. The two most popular are Greenwich Village Kids 1960s (1,207 members) and Greenwich Village Grapevine (1,121 members). Around the clock, we share news as well as memories, often bittersweet, rekindled by photographs that serve as stepping-stones into a vanished world, a time and place that helped form who we are today. In the early 1990s, Bibbe Hansen, a performance artist, actress, musician and Andy Warhol star, posted a notice on the Internet with a list of names: “New York City — Washington Square Park 1960s. Were You There? Where are you now?” She and musician Chris Lang (now Chris Kitlan Burns, a forensic psychologist) wanted to reunite with childhood friends. From that initial group, others were reached who had grown up or lived in the Village. When Facebook began, they created the “Greenwich Village Kids 1960s”
The Grapevine bar is the namesake of one of the two main Greenwich Village Facebook pages. It stood at the southeast corner of W. 11th St. and Six th Ave. from the early 1800s to 1915, when it was razed for the sixstor y apar tment building there that spor ts French Roast cafe on its ground floor. The former wooden building had an old grapevine on its side, for which the bar eventually came to be named. The vine died in 1883 and was chopped down. But the saying spawned by the bar, “Heard it through the Grapevine,” lives on.
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‘We have a common point of reference.’ Wendy Palitz page, open to anyone who’d ever lived in the Village or been fascinated by it. I sent a questionnaire out to members of the Facebook pages and got many responses. What follows are some of those. Wendy Palitz, an award-winning art and design publisher, echoes the sentiments of many: “I was suddenly in touch with people whose names I knew growing up but never really knew. We have a common point of reference. It’s a tie one doesn’t have with colleagues or friends made later in life. As different as we may be, we were shaped by our neighborhood and the places where we hung out, the people we hung out with.” Real-life friends have been made through the groups. Ann Gonzalez Vece, who describes herself as “Happily Retired,” says, “What a gift to meet someone of the same age, who lived only a few hundred feet away and who knew many of the same people I hung out with.”
As Greenwich Village Kids 1960s evolved, various sub-Villages presented themselves — the kids who had gone to P.S. 41 and P.S. 3, to Little Red School House and Elizabeth Irwin High School, to St. Anthony’s, St Joseph’s, St. Luke’s, Grace Church School, St. Bernard’s, Our Lady of Pompeii and St Joseph’s. Some had grown up in the Central Village, the East Village, West Village, South Village, Little Spain on W. 14th St. and in Soho. Many were the children of liberals, old lefties and communists. Others came from conservative Republican families. Some were the progeny of artists, writers, intellectuals. Others were the offspring of restaurant owners, shopkeepers, building supers, longshoremen, police officers, politicians, homemakers. A considerable number had moved to the Village as adults. Everyone had valuable stories to tell and memories to share. Old childhood conflicts emerged, as well. Aspects of Village history suddenly became obsessions: the Minettas; Hancock St.; Little Africa; the El; the old Meat Market; certain bars, restaurants, clubs and cafes; Sutter’s Bake Shop; the pushcarts of Bleecker St.; Loew’s Sheridan movie theater; the folk music scene; Washington Square Park. Several years ago, Ellen Williams, an author and self-described “ardent Village-history buff,” messaged a few dozen members of GVK 1960s asking if there was interest in a new group called “Greenwich Village Grapevine,” after the Facebook continued on p. 28 TheVillager.com
Not all are ready to get aboard 14th ‘PeopleWay’ BY DENNIS LYNCH
n ongoing effort from commuter advocacy group Transportation Alternatives to establish a possibly permanent “PeopleWay” — a carand truck-free thoroughfare on 14th St. during the L train shutdown — received mixed reviews from the public at a Community Board 4 Transportation Planning Committee meeting on Wed., Oct. 19. Thomas DeVito, TransAlt director of organizing, called the plan extremely preliminary — a “cake not fully baked,” as he put it — and said his group was looking for input from locals. The PeopleWay would make 14th St. a largely highcapacity bus-only roadway with protected bike lines. DeVito and his group said this would be the most efficient way to move people across Manhattan during 2019-20’s 18-month L train closure. But many locals said the group hadn’t thought of where the roughly 16,000 cars and trucks that daily use the major crosstown artery would go. “Our organization has been extremely upset because we have experienced, when all of these vehicles do get detoured, there is no mitigation possible on any of this,” said Stanley Bulbach, head of the W. 15th St. 100 and 200 Block Association. “The local residential neighborhood does not support this,
we make that perfectly clear.” Bulbach and others also criticized TransAlt for what he said was a misleading pitch, because representatives did not disclose that the PeopleWay plan is meant to be permanent, not a temporary fix during the L train shutdown. DeVito later told this paper that the group does tell that to local stakeholders, but that he mistakenly left it out of his presentation at the committee meeting. A handful of folks at the meeting supported the plan. Gary Roth, a Columbia University urban planning professor and W. 24th St. resident, said that a rapid bus system and bike lanes were the only ways to move a volume of people on the level that the L train does each day, and that a PeopleWay would naturally attract fewer cars to the area. “When you take down roadways, people don’t drive in, so there won’t be this flood of traffic,” Roth said. “I think this is the best way to do it. As the High Line helped change how an urban park is conceived, I think a redesigned 14th St. could be a new way to look at a crosstown route in Manhattan, and this could be the template of a crosstown street.” Harris Steinberg, the executive director of Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, called Roth’s take a “rational assumption,” and said that dispersing traffic widely around the area’s grid would alleviate the increased
pressure on the streets immediately surrounding 14th St. The key to implementing such a plan was to look at the big picture, Steinberg stressed. “People will either be encouraged to go on public transportation or they’ll find alternative means to get somewhere,” he explained. “But ultimately, if you want to bend the curve away from vehicle traffic, you have to have these new old ways of moving people around the city. It’s not an inherently bad idea, but you have to look at how it impacts the traffic, pedestrian and bike movement in the city — the total system. It’s about the city as a whole.” TransAlt members found themselves facing sharp criticism at the meeting, but they’ve garnered support elsewhere. More than 6,000 people signed the group’s petition to local politicians and community board district managers. They also have support from at least 52 businesses both on and off 14th St., and from seven civic organizations listed on their petition page. The group counts Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and state Senator Brad Hoylman on its side. Hoylman and a handful of other municipal, state and federal elected officials successfully campaigned for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to analyze the impact of closing 14th St. to vehicular traffic and the impacts to surrounding streets in the
authority’s pre-shutdown study. Hoylman said the city shouldn’t shut down 14th St. if the overflow of traffic leaves residents on neighboring streets “unable to access their homes.” Yet, he said, people also had to consider the benefits that a system such as PeopleWay would have for pedestrian and commuters, particularly for seniors and people with disabilities. “I encourage the germination of these ideas. I think it can only help the eventual outcome,” Hoylman said. “Again, if we do nothing, then we will have ‘Lmaggedon.’ That’s not an option. Yes, traffic on the side streets has to be part of this equation. But there are a lot of other factors that have to be considered — seniors, people with disabilities, cycling, express buses, dedicated bikes that are protected, and greater pedestrian access and safety.” TransAlt did not ask the C.B. 4 Transportation Planning Committee for an endorsement of the plan because of its preliminary nature, and the committee did not weigh in on the discussion. On Thurs., Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the Fulton Houses auditorium, at 119 Ninth Ave., between W. 17th and W. 18th Sts., TransAlt will hold a public workshop to hear more input from locals. For more information and other workshop locations around Downtown, visit transalt.org.
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October 27, 2016
Allison Davis Greaker, 78, ad rep for Villager obituaries BY ALBERT AMATEAU
ears of grief and tears of laughter flowed at Allison Greaker’s wake in Brooklyn this week when her family, friends and colleagues from NYC Community Media, whose publications include The Villager, Downtown Express, Chelsea Now and Gay City News, celebrated her irrepressible wry humor. Allison Davis Greaker died suddenly at the age of 78 at home on Fri., Oct. 21. She had not been feeling well since Wednesday, said her daughter, Allison Hope Greaker. Nevertheless, she went to work that day and the next at the weekly newspapers where she was an advertising account executive. She and her husband, Richard Henry Greaker, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary two years ago on Flag Day, June 14. “My mother was very patriotic,” her daughter said. “She observed holidays like Flag Day. She’s been telling my brother and me, ‘It’s been more than 50 wonderful years — for your father.’ “My mother made a joke of everything. It made life interesting, fun and sometimes embarrassing,” said her daughter. A staunch supporter of the Republican and Conservative parties, Allison boasted at one point that she was the only open Republican in the newspaper office. Her conservative ideology extended to her deeply held Episcopalian faith. She was an officer in the 1928 Prayer Book Alliance, formerly known as Episcopalians for Traditional Faith. “Allison had been working in sales in New York City newspapers for decades,” said Lincoln Anderson, editor of The Villager. “I believe she worked at The Westsider, the Chelsea Clinton News and the
Photo by Cynthia Soto
Allison Davis Greaker at her 50th wedding anniversar y par ty.
Observer before she came to NYC Community Media. “Allison had a wry, humorous perspective on everything, including the newspaper business. But I thought she was very honest in her take on people, although I didn’t agree with her political views. She has a grandson named Andersen, and she always made a point of mentioning that to me since my last name is Anderson,” he said. “I know she had some deep roots in New York City, going all the way back to Colonial times. She would sometimes talk about it when prompted,” Anderson added. A proud Daughters of the American Revolution member, her roots did indeed go back to the Colonial era.
“One of our ancestors was James Blackwell, who bought Blackwell’s Island [now Roosevelt Island] from the Indians,” her daughter said. “It was sold later to the State of New York. During the Revolution, one of our ancestors fought on the American side and his father fought on the British side.” Scott Stiffler, editor of Chelsea Now, said, “Devout faith, conservative politics, occasional profanity — that was Allison. She was not above telling a risqué story, which she did with considerable skill. Great timing.” Added Anderson: “I remember the time a couple other ad reps urged her to tell me about how she once worked as a phone-sex operator! Allison had a big smile on her face.” “We had a lot of fun together playing each other’s devil’s advocate,” recalled Gay City news editor Paul Schindler. “Allison was tireless in bringing Gay City News to advertisers that had never before been considered, and she had remarkable success with that.” “It is always a pleasure to meet someone who is smart, witty and funny, but it’s even better when you get to work with someone like that every day,” said Jennifer Goodstein, NYC Community Media publisher. “Allison brought her own style of selling and competitive spirit to her job. She approached every client as an opportunity to find a creative solution to their business need, often creating one-ofa-kind advertising that brought the client results. Allison’s creativity and successful campaigns earned her recognition from the business community and statewide awards from the New York Press Association. We are privileged to have known her and will miss her greatly,” Goodstein said. Cynthia Soto, office manager at NYC Community Media, said, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Allison for 11 years. She was an amazing woman. I
David Weinberger, longtime L.E.S. district leader, dies at 74 By Albert Amateau
avid Weinberger, a beloved member of the Grand St. Jewish community, whose advocacy for the Lower East Side neighborhood where he was born included his long service as Democratic district leader, died on Oct. 11. He was 74. Although he had been ill with diabetes for the past few years, his passing was unexpected. His funeral service at the Bialystoker Synagogue on Willett St. was attended by neighborhood political and religious leaders. Rabbi Yeshaya Siff, of Young Israel Synagogue, said that Weinberger was a dedicated public servant who loved his family and was devoted to help-
October 27, 2016
ing the Lower East Side community. “From his work with Hatzolah [the Jewish volunteer ambulance service] and the synagogue, to his government service and political work, David advocated for his community and served it with dedication and diligence for years,” said State Senator Danile Squadron. “He will be missed, and my thoughts are with Hedy and the entire Weinberger family,” Squadron said. Hedy, David’s wife of more than 40 years, works in Squadron’s district office. David, the son of Hannah and Harry Weinberger, went to school on the Lower East Side, attending P.S. 64 and 188 and graduating from Seward Park High School. He was a member of the
Photo courtesy Karen Blatt
David Weinberger in a photo from last year.
Harry S. Truman Democratic Club for more than 40 years, long serving as its president. The club was the base of operations for former Assembly Speaker
looked forward to her stories, her jokes and her great sense of humor. I considered her my family, not only my co-worker.” Soto’s two teenage children, frequent visitors to her workplace over the years, referred to Greaker as their “office grandma.” Lisa Malwitz, office manager at sister company Community News Group, said, “Allison was a wonderful woman whom I will miss so very much. She always had a story and could make you laugh with the funny way she told it. My dear friend, may she rest in peace. It won’t be the same here without her.” Allison Davis Greaker was born on July 26, 1938, in Brooklyn, the seventh of eight children of Jocelyn Christine Andrews and Edwin Graves Davis. “My last remaining uncle died a while ago,” said her daughter. Allison went to P.S. 104 in Bay Ridge and Fort Hamilton High School. She also attended Wagner College for two years. “My father and mother met at a Lutheran church social in Marine Park,” her daughter said. “My father was the reigning eligible bachelor there. My mother was there because she couldn’t find an Episcopal church in the neighborhood where she just moved to. They got married on June 14, 1964, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bay Ridge.” “My mother told people she named me Allison so she wouldn’t forget my name. But we all have different middle names,” her daughter said. In addition to her daughter, she is survived by her husband, Richard Henry Greaker, and her son, Richard Nixon Greaker. She also leaves three grandsons, Andersen, Jacob and Richard Thomas Greaker. Clavin Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. A funeral Mass was held at 10 a.m. on Wed., Oct. 26, at Christ Church, in Bay Ridge. Sheldon Silver. Judy Rapfogel, who was Silver’s chief of staff, said Weinberger had a long personal and professional friendship with the former Assembly Speaker. Silver is currently appealing his conviction last year on federal corruption charges. “David was a great Lower East Sider, a dedicated district leader until the day he died and a devoted club member who turned out every Primary Day,” Rapfogel said. “He was a founder and volunteer driver with Hatzolah. On Sept. 11 he was among the volunteers who went down to the World Trade Center site,” Rapfogel added. Weinberger was also for years a member of Community Board 3. In addition to his wife, two sons and a daughter survive, as do several grandchildren, one of whom was recently married. TheVillager.com
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October 27, 2016
Letters to the Editor Pink Paper appreciation To The Editor: Dear Villager, thank you so much for your Pink Paper Oct. 13 edition. As a 23-year breast cancer survivor (thank you, Beth Israel), I really appreciate all the articles related to this awful disease. Thanks again. You always do a great job!
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Life after Dylan
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To The Editor: Re “ ‘Freewhelin’ first love had opened the book” (notebook, by Minerva Durham, Oct. 20): I am so glad that Ms. Rotolo got to live a life free of Dylan, as her own artist, as a wife and mother in New York City, then got to revisit Dylan on her terms in her memoir. Donnie Moder
The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933
June 16, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 24
Critics blast landmark bill as ‘anti-preservation’; Say ‘loophole’ offers little hope BY YANNIC R ACK
contentious bill that will put deadlines on the city’s preservation agency to designate landmarks within two years was passed by the City Council last week. There was heavy opposition from preservationists and even initial disapproval from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission itself — but the measure might be moot due
to a loophole, according to its chief critics. The legislation, Intro 775A, mandates that L.P.C. vote within one year to designate proposed individual landmarks, and take no longer than two years to vote on proposed historic districts — limits that the bill’s opponents charge could lead to the loss of countless potential landmarks. LANDMARKS continued on p. 12
Hoylman pushes Albany to pass child sex-abuse reform, but Senate stalls BY MICHAEL OSSORGUINE
he Omnibus Child Victims Act, or Senate Bill S6367, is the latest effort from state Democrats to reform the statute of limitations on victims of child sexual abuse. The bill, though still in committee, has momentum in the Senate as victims are stepping forward
and Senate Democrats are arguing against entrenched opposition. State Senator Brad Hoylman introduced the Senate version of the bill with several co-sponsors, including Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Democratic Conference. ABUSE continued on p. 14
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Thousands of points of light: Monday night’s vigil stretched along Christopher St. from Waverly Place to Seventh Ave. South.
‘We shall overcome’: Vigils draw thousands to Village BY PAUL SCHINDLER
n two vigils in the West Village on Sunday evening, one crowd numbering in the thousands, another in the hundreds voiced shock, grief, and anger over the murder of 50 patrons of an Orlando, Florida, gay bar in the early morning hours of the same day. Speaker after speaker emphasized that the violence cannot be isolated from a climate of anti-L.G.B.T. hatred that continues to persist across the nation, but also pledged to continue building community to respond to hostility and bigotry where it exists.
At the same time, both crowds rejected the notion that hate is an appropriate response to the violence and specifically called out efforts to pit the L.G.B.T. community against the Muslim community over a tragedy in which the shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, is reported to have phoned 911 just prior to the massacre and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation New York, took the lead in organizing a rally outside the Stonewall Inn that drew several thousand people. “We come together because this is a community that will
never be silent again,” he said. “I ask every person to think of someone you knew who was killed because of anti-L.G.B.T. hatred. Think of a time when you felt unsafe in your own community. And I want every single one of you to think not of what anyone else, not of what I, but of what you can do to change that.” Kidd said the L.G.B.T. community should draw strength from the 49 patrons of the Pulse nightclub who were killed. “We must go forward in love,” he said. Mirna Haidar, a representaVIGILS continued on p. 5
Graffiti artist tags Haring group in lawsuit ...... p. 16 Remembering Ramrod rampage of 1980.........p. 21 Here comes the sun energy...p. 18
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To The Editor: Re “Neighbors still trashing Triangle memorial design; ‘Would be major intrusion’” (news article, Oct. 20): I live at 14 Washington Place, directly across the street from N.Y.U.’s Brown Building, the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in 1911. As I understand it, the residents of this building have offered the most vocal protests regarding the construction of the memorial proposed by the Remember The Triangle Fire Coalition. I’m wondering, frankly, if the R.T.F.C. and some others involved in this proposed memorial truly believe that our objections are exclusively selfish ones. Do they think we’re protesting because our feelings were hurt that neither we nor any other residents of the neighborhood were consulted or even informed of the design until it appeared to be a fait accompli? Or are we angry that we were notified long after the millions of dollars provided by New York State and others was already in hand? Oh, our objections are so much broader than that. First, we are all for the construction of an appropriate Triangle Fire memorial, and, if it were put to a vote, I’m pretty sure the residents of Greenwich Village and/or the entire city of New York would agree with us that the memorial design as proposed by the R.T.F.C. is inappropriate. This glitzy, high-tech, constantly lighted, highly reflective construction appears to be more of a contem-
porary art installation than a memorial of something that happened more than 100 years ago, in the Victorian era. It’s more suitable to Times Square than a quiet street just off Washington Square — where all the memorials are not only appropriate to the setting but to the historic events and/or the people they memorialize. Frankly, I don’t think the R.T.F.C. has thought through some of the practicalities. Considering the location, It’s doubtful the use of reflective aluminum and a moving panel of lights will draw lots of curious tourists and/or “the attention of the entire city,” as the R.T.F.C. hopes. What it will draw are pigeons who’ll leave their droppings on the shiny, slanted panel that skirts two sides of the building at a “hip-high” level, and it will draw the vandals that occasionally roam the Village at night with their spray paints and hammering tools. And it will draw the anger of drivers who turn from Broadway onto Washington Place at the wrong time of day and get zapped in the eye with a reflection from one of the shiny panels. And, to be honest, it will draw my own anger at having to look at something so garish and inappropriate and out of place every time I walk out my door. We believe strongly that this intrusive and inappropriate installation does nothing to enhance the neighborhood, and it in no way suits the building it will be attached to. I find it difficult to believe that the Landmarks Preservation Commission or Community Board 2 would even consider approving installing such an intrusive design on a landmarked building. And, sadly, it seems the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has acquiesced to it, too. Please understand: None of us wants to deny the rights of the union movement — or the victims’ families — to memorialize all the young people so tragically lost in 1911. But shouldn’t they — and N.Y.U., as well — also be concerned with historic appropriateness and community acceptance of the design they’ve chosen? Is there any way we can convince the powers that be that we, the Village residents, should have some say in this — for we’re far more affected by the memorial than the union bosses and the victims’ families who, somewhat out of the blue, came together to impose their will on our community. From the fierce, well-funded resistance our objections are getting, I suspect there may be something else involved in this project. The R.T.F.C. people proposing to build and maintain the memorial design have denied any quid pro quo to get N.Y.U.’s approval, or that of G.V.S.H.P. But, honestly, one has to wonder. Shirley Sealy Letters continued on p. 29
October 27, 2016
No matter who wins...protest the inauguration!
global village By Bill Weinberg
t is starting to feel like a lonely position, but I continue to cling to the apparently heretical doctrine that it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time. It is possible to cast a tactical vote for Hillary Clinton — as the only means to assure the defeat of Führer Pendejo — and still be prepared to cut her zero slack, and protest her policies if she gains the White House. Through cynicism or genuine confusion, Hillary-bashers have been baiting me as a naive liberal since I stated my position of tactical support for her in the voting booth, given the emergency of an actually fascistic G.O.P. candidate. So I need to make clear: I remain intransigent in my opposition to the Democratic Party. If we can ever rebuild a serious left in this country, it is imperative that it be rigorously independent of all political parties — and adversarial toward whoever is in power. The fears of being co-opted by the Democratic Party are legitimate. Note the decision of the Black Lives Matter movement to endorse no candidates — but to carry on their protests no matter who wins. I assume that many (or at least some) BLM activists will, like myself, be casting a necessary, odious vote for Hillary — even as they maintain this principled position. So I was heartened to catch up on Facebook with a member of the Lower East Side anarchist diaspora — John Penley, veteran photojournalist and neighborhood troublemaker, now ensconced in his hometown of Asheville, N.C. Penley and I met way back in the early ’80s, when we were young activists in the Yippies, the remnant counterculture group that continued to protest at the political conventions of both parties every four years — and at the inauguration, regardless of the victor. From his Blue Ridge Mountains perch, Penley is keeping this tradition alive. After protesting both the Republicans in Cleveland and the Democrats in Philadelphia, he has now put out a call for inauguration protests in January —again, regardless of the victor. Says the Facebook page for the event: “Non-Violent Protest on Inauguration Day Washington, D.C. No matter who is elected President we should be in D.C. in the streets.” Penley’s first convention protest was when the Democrats met in New York in 1980. “And I’ve done several since then,” he said proudly. “That’s the Yippie tradition. In 1968, the protest at the DemoTheVillager.com
Photo by Tequila Minsky
“This contest is rigged!” a dog with a Donald Trump ’do barked at the Washington Square dog run’s Halloween costume competition over the weekend.
‘I can’t vote for Clinton or Trump, forget it.’ John Penley cratic Convention in Chicago changed the world, or at least American politics. Today more and more people understand that both parties are controlled by Wall Street and big money and the 1 percent.” At this moment, Penley is especially concerned with the “threat of nuclear war with Russia.” “As a longtime antiwar activist who did a year in federal prison for protesting at the nuclear weapons plant in South Carolina, I feel we have to get the message out about the breakdown overnight of these nuclear weapons treaties that took years to put together,” he said. He’s referring to the Savannah River site, which was producing weaponsgrade plutonium when Penley was busted for protesting there in 1982. It was more recently serving as a reprocessing site for plutonium removed from decommissioned warheads under a 2000 U.S.-Russian deal — until the deal broke down just weeks ago in the renewed superpower tensions. “This is a very critical time,” Penley emphasized to me by phone from Asheville. “I hope people will address
this at the inauguration.” And who is John going to vote for? “I cannot force myself to vote for Clinton or Trump, forget it,” he responded. “Jill Stein is not on the ballot in North Carolina, or I would vote for her. I am gonna vote in the streets of D.C. on inauguration day.” I have to disagree with Penley about Stein. I find the Green Party candidate no less odious than Hillary Clinton. Having never been anywhere near power, she doesn’t actually have blood on her hands. But her deeply confused politics are evident in her virtual endorsement of the Pendejo as less dangerous than Hillary. On Oct. 14, she tweeted: “Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy is much scarier than Donald Trump’s, who does not want to go to war with Russia. #PeaceOffensive” This is utterly deluded. Pendejo boasts that his prescription for dealing with ISIS is to “bomb the s--- out of ’em.” Rather than going to war with Russia, he would join with Russia in the ongoing destruction of Syria. This is no “peace offensive,” but acquiescence in war crimes. This flirtation with right-wing “isolationism” is one of the obstacles to rebuilding a serious left in the U.S. Burned by the Bush-era misadventures of the “neoconservatives,” with their dreams of “regime change” across the Middle East, many supposed leftists are now making common cause with the “paleocons” — those conservatives, like El Pendejo, who seek “stability” under dictatorships. They have even come to confuse Washington “regime change” conspiracies with authentic revolutions, like that in Syria. This is one of many questions we have to work out. I’d like to see an unflinch-
ingly oppositional left emerge, that seeks solidarity with the secular pro-democratic civil resistance in Syria, and with antiwar activists (however marginal) in Russia who oppose Putin’s bombardment of Syria, and expansionism in Ukraine. But the place to start is stealing back the populist fire from the ascendant ultraright. Pendejo links his rejection of free trade agreements to hateful xenophobia. We must link ours to a spirit of solidarity, building alliances with workers, peasants and farmers in Latin America and elsewhere against our common enemies in the corporate elite. At the moment, Hillary is tilting in a populist direction — taking a stand against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, for instance. There is every reason to expect her to flip once in office — just as Obama opposed the Colombia F.T.A. on the campaign trail in 2008, then signed it once he was in the White House. Hillary’s pseudo-populism is unlikely to fool anyone for long. Ultimately, a radical populism rooted in human solidarity is the only antidote to the negative populism of xenophobia and scapegoating. So I understand that I’ll be voting for an enemy when I vote for Hillary — to keep a greater enemy at bay. I’m just voting — with a sense of stark realism. I’m not selling my soul. Barring a snowstorm, Penley and his band of hearty souls hope to camp out in Washington’s McPherson Square — the same spot that hosted the city’s Occupy Wall Street camp in 2011 — the night of the inauguration, Jan. 19. I don’t know if I’ll have the fortitude to be there physically. But I will definitely be there in spirit. October 27, 2016
Dogs do it up for Tompkins Halloween parade “Only in New York,” said writer Andrew Adam Newman, one of the judges for the East Village’s 26th Annual Halloween Dog Parade, “do you find Broadway set designers making costumes for dogs.” T V personality Giuliana Ransic presided over the festivities as hundreds of four-legged superstars made their way across the viewing stage. Alien canines, furr y pink ladies, hair y rock stars, superheroes with tails and super-villains with overbites filled Tompkins Square Park with creativit y, despite the rain. “Some of the dogs might not be so happy,” Newman conceded, “but the owners clearly love them.” A s did the folks in the over flow crowd, who spent hours oohing, aahing and filling their phones with snapshots.
photos by Bob Krasner
October 27, 2016
Artist armed with a drone’s eye view Photos target scenes mimicking military surveillance, strikes
BY NORMAN BORDEN
omas van Houtryve is a photographer on a mission to bring the drone war home, and raise awareness of the growing use of photography in surveillance, spying, and targeting. The result of his commitment is “Blue Sky Days,” a thought-provoking exhibition whose large images of America were created by using a consumer drone he bought online for a few hundred dollars. “With a bit of tinkering,” he explained, “I was able to add a high resolution camera and a system for transmitting live video back to the ground — a greatly simplified version of the system that American pilots use to guide military drones over foreign airspace.” Starting in 2013, with the help of a Getty Images grant, he visited 35 states over a two-year period and flew his drone over weddings, funerals, and groups of people exercising or praying — the kind of gatherings that have been subjected to US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. He also flew the drone over some domestic settings where US government surveillance drones have been used — prisons, oil fields, and parts of the US-Mexican border. “Blue Sky Days” is, van Houtryve said, “the story of a 2013 drone attack that really affected me, the story of a 13-year-old boy in Pakistan who watched his 67-year-old grandmother get killed by a Hellfire missile. When the boy testified in front of Congress nine months later, he said, ‘I no longer love blue skies, I prefer gray skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are gray.’ ”
COURTESY THE ARTIST AND ANASTASIA PHOTO
“Military Age Males, 2015.” Civilian cadets at the Citadel Military College, Charleston, SC.
“By creating these images,” the artist explained, “I aim to draw attention to the changing nature of personal privacy, surveillance, and contemporary warfare… I want people to rethink drones; I want people to get into their minds that as Americans, they could be watched by a drone.” In researching his project, van Houtryve obtained drone war information by looking at strike reports from the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty
International. With this data, he created a shot list and began to seek out settings and events he could find in the United States (such as outdoor weddings and funerals). Then, by using captions from the strike reports and his research, he connected many of his own drone photographs of what look like typical domestic scenes, albeit from about six stories up, with actual US military strikes overseas. In effect, he brought the drone war home, illustrating how mistakes — sometimes deadly ones
— can happen when US military drone pilots sitting in a trailer in Las Vegas or New Mexico zero in on a target that they perceive to be exhibiting a “signature behavior” (a suspicious pattern of behavior or “signature” perceived to be that of terrorists, which the CIA or military use as criteria in deciding whether to attack a target). For example, in his image “Wedding, 2013,” van Houtryve came across an outdoor wedding BLUE SKY continued on p. 24 October 27, 2016
BLUE SKY continued from p. 23
in Philadelphia by chance while on another assignment. “I was at the top of the Rocky Stairs [at the Philadelphia Museum of Art] and saw the wedding going on below, and sent the drone over it.” In the 40x60 inch print, the caption states, “In December 2013, a US drone reportedly struck a wedding in Radda, in central Yemen, killing twelve people and injuring fourteen.” Looking at this photo, it’s hard to imagine how a drone pilot could have categorized a wedding celebration as “signature behavior.” In showing how government drones can also be involved in domestic surveillance, photojournalism becomes art. In “Heat Signature, 2014,” a drone photo captures countless houseboats moored along the drought-affected shoreline of Bidwell Canyon in California; the accompanying caption connects it by stating, “Global Hawk drones based at nearby Beale Air Force Base can survey as much as 40,000 square miles of terrain per day.” The photographer’s goal of using drone technology to look at America the way we look at other countries is well-realized in the stunning 40x60 inch image of civilian cadets in formation at the venerable Citadel Military College in Charleston, SC. The cadets are faceless and dehumanized because they’re bathed in deep shadows. That’s all the drone can see, which makes the caption for “Military Age Males, 2015” all the more foreboding. It states (in what sounds like government-speak): “The method used by the US government for assessing civilian casualties of drone strikes abroad counts all military-age males within a strike zone as combatants unless there is explicit posthumous proof of their innocence.” That said, it seems very possible for a drone pilot to fire on a target that can’t be positively identified as a combatant, so empathy is not an issue. Other drone images in the exhibition also effectively tie in strike reports. “Funeral, 2014” shows grave diggers preparing for a funeral in Colma, CA, which is San Francisco’s burial ground. The accompanying caption: “In 2009, a drone strike on a funeral in South Waziristan reportedly killed 60 Pakistani civilians.”
October 27, 2016
COURTESY THE ARTIST AND ANASTASIA PHOTO
“Wedding, 2013.” Central Philadelphia, PA.
COURTESY THE ARTIST AND ANASTASIA PHOTO
“Heat Signature, 2014.” Houseboats along the drought-affected shoreline of Bidwell, Canyon, CA.
Get close, and you can read the names on the tombstones. Van Houtryve’s work has already been widely recognized. In fact, Harper’s Magazine published some of his drone work in April 2014 (the
largest photo essay in the magazine’s 164-year history). “Blue Sky Days” is comprised of only 13 images — but their combined effect is powerful, delivering a message that can’t be ignored.
Through Dec. 31 at Anastasia Photo (143 Ludlow St., btw. Stanton & Rivington Sts.). Hours: Tues.– Sun., 11am–7pm. Call 212-6779725 or visit anastasia-photo.com.
The man he becomes
Coming-of-age tale explores black gay masculinity, sexuality BY GARY M. KRAMER
oonlight” is Barry Jenkins’ extraordinary film adaptation of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” which takes its title from a nighttime scene of teenage sexual experimentation on a Miami beach. Before the film gets there, Jenkins introduces the main character, Chiron, as a nine-year-old boy (Alex Hibbert). Nicknamed Little, he is escaping from bullies from school, who threaten to “kick his faggot ass,” by hiding out in a dope hole when he is discovered by Juan (Mahershala Ali), a local drug dealer. After Juan takes him home to his girlfriend, Teresa (Janelle Monáe), Little doesn’t speak much — but he does eat. When Juan returns Little to his mother, Paula (Naomie Harris), she makes clear she doesn’t want Juan involved in her son’s life. Paula, it is soon revealed, is one of Juan’s customers. Juan, however, becomes a kind of father figure to the young boy. A very tender scene has Juan teaching Little how to swim in the ocean, “baptizing” him. He later tells Little, “At some point, you have to decide for yourself who you are going to be. You can’t have anyone else make that decision for you.” These words resonate throughout the film as Chiron grows into adulthood, and is repeatedly forced to face his true nature. What is also particularly compelling about “Moonlight” is how much we learn about the characters through
their internalized — rather than expressed — emotions. Jenkins deftly captures unspoken empathy between characters, allowing viewers to appreciate why they matter to each other. Little also forges a strong relationship with Kevin (Jaden Piner). Helping Little prove he isn’t “soft,” Kevin wrestles with him in the grass, and the sexual tension between the two — which plays out over the course of the film — is already palpable. The second act of “Moonlight” focuses on Chiron (Ashton Sanders), now a teenager, seemingly living in constant fear. His mother’s drug habit has escalated out of control, and in a particularly uncomfortable scene she demands money from him. Chiron is also still being bullied at school. His erotic dreams about Kevin (Jharrel Jerome) become reality in the scene on the beach that involves the boys kissing and more. What transpires after this romantic encounter moves “Moonlight” into its third and most compelling act. Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) has now assumed Kevin’s nickname for him, Black. When he gets a call out of the blue from Kevin (André Holland), Black meets his old friend in a diner where Kevin works. As the men reconnect, “Moonlight” becomes transcendent. It would spoil the pleasures of this intimate, deeply affecting film to discuss too many details — in part because so much of the story happens inside each character or offscreen. One character disappears without explanation, leaving audiences to draw their own conclusions
PHOTO COURTESY A24
Alex Hibbert and Mahershala Ali in Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight,” based on a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney.
about their fate. Some scenes, such as Paula yelling at her son, are presented twice, to emphasize, even magnify, their importance. Jenkins seems less interested in plot than he is in creating a raw space where the film’s potent themes about power and masculinity can be explored. “Moonlight” sensitively investigates what it means to be black and gay amidst a world that revolves around the sale and use of drugs. We understand the characters from quiet moments — such as Little preparing a bath for himself or teenaged Chiron getting a lesson on how to make a bed from Teresa, or when Kevin and Black sit across from each other in a diner. Juan may be a tough drug dealer, but he practically melts when nine-yearold Little looks up at him and begins a series of tough questions by asking, “What’s a faggot?” Jenkins is not afraid to explore
what makes Chiron cry, but he also shows us a shocking act of violence that proves a catalyst in Chiron maturing. Seeing the shy, confused child (and later, the haunted teen) transform into the adult Black, who still grapples with his sexuality and who he is, is remarkable. The three actors who play this one character are all indelible in the role. If Jenkins’ film has a drawback, it is that Teresa and Paula are presented as mother/saint and crack whore stereotypes, respectively. The lack of nuance here detracts from the film’s overall impact. But in the moving, empowering, even necessary “Moonlight,” this is a minor complaint. Runtime: 110 minutes. Written & directed by Barry Jenkins. At Angelika Film Center (18 W. Houston St., at Mercer St.). Call 212-995-2570 or visit angelikafilmcenter.com/nyc.
Theater for the New City • 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net
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October 27, 2016
Three-house of horror
A trio of Halloween things to do, if you dare BY SCOTT STIFFLER
THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW: STUMP SPEECHES No less than the very soul of America is at stake, in this election-themed edition of “The Pumpkin Pie Show.” A dependable Halloween season source of unsettling images that worm their way into the brain with nothing more than sheer word power and impeccable acting, this 19th season of horror scribe Clay McLeod Chapman’s gutsy storytelling session finds its finest conduit yet in the debate stage histrionics of presidential candidates Pendleton and Templeton — two bitterly competitive senators with skeletons in their closets and blood on their hands. Watched over by a pair of manic, hyperboleprone moderators, these dead ringers for Trump and Clinton trade caustic barbs as a multitude of ladder-climbing sins bubble to the surface. Turns out, the sacrifices we voters are expected to make in the name of goat-god and country involve actual sacrifices. That’s nothing, though, compared to the toll taken on a meek Pendleton rally attendee who sees an opposition protester drawn and quartered; or the self-medicating First Lady who spins a cautionary tale about her devil’s bargain with an interdimensional donor to hubby’s war chest. As fun to watch as the current race is hard to stomach, “Stump Speeches” is an evening of theater that draws back the curtain on human nature and delivers what the voting booth can’t: satisfaction that doesn’t require compromise, and a party line that’s beyond reproach. Through Nov. 5, Thurs.–Sat., 8pm, at UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Pl., btw. First Ave. & Ave. A). For tickets ($20, $15 for students, seniors, and military), visit horsetrade.info/under-stmarks. Artist info at claymcleodchapman.com.
PHANTASMAGORIA; OR, LET US SEEK DEATH! “Mary Shelly’s mother died giving birth to Mary. This knowledge of her body as murderer,” we’re told, in an ominous tone, “it hanged around her like a ghost for the rest of her life.” Set in 1816 and taking place in a candlelit Genevan castle
October 27, 2016
PHOTO BY ANTONIA STOYANOVICH
It’s not up for debate: “Stump Speeches,” the election-themed edition of “The Pumpkin Pie Show,” is worth voting for with your box office bucks.
on the rainy, booze-soaked night during which a teenage Mary would answer Lord Byron’s spooky story challenge by conjuring the ultimate struggle between creator and creation, “Phantasmagoria; or, Let Us Seek Death!” uses biography and gothic storytelling to breathe new life into the origin story of “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.” This Eric Borlaug production runs as part of the 2016 La MaMa Puppet Series, and has its premiere, fittingly, during the 200th anniversary year of the monster tale that refuses to die. The producers are keeping the precise look of their walking collection of corpse parts under wraps, all the better to amp up its visceral impact; but social media teases the towering, tortured visage interacting with passersby, on the block where he’ll rise from a slab in the lab. Written by Chana Porter; conceived and directed by Randolph Curtis Rand; puppetry by Benjamin Stuber. Through Nov. 6: Thurs.–Sat. at 7pm and Sun. at 4pm. At La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 East Fourth St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). For tickets ($30, $25 for students/seniors; limited number of $10 tickets for each show), visit lamama.org or call 646-430-5374. For mature audiences (ages 16+). Postshow panel follows Oct. 30 performance. On Instagram: @phantasmagoriaplay; @ letusseekdeath on Twitter.
BUTOH BEETHOVEN: ECLIPSE Returning after a two-year-long international tour that included a four-star review at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, butoh star Vangeline communes with
PHOTO BY THEO COTE
L to R: Josephine Stewart and Jane Bradley have an eye for unholy creations, in “Phantasmagoria; or, Let Us Seek Death!”
PHOTO BY ROBERTO RICIUTTI
Vangeline Theater’s “Butoh Beethoven: Eclipse” respects ghosts of the past while breathing new life into the Japanese art form.
ghosts of the past, in the New York premiere of a solo performance that pays tribute to a pair of towering giants: Tatsumi Hijikata, founder of butoh, and composer Ludwig van Beethoven. With due respect for the “Dance of Darkness” Japanese art form that came to be in the decade after Hiroshima, Vangeline’s sci-fi noir take gets a further injection of futurism from cutting-edge lighting technologies by European designer Tilen Sepič, a fiber-optic costume by
the French company LumiGram, and by singer Kesang Marstrand’s recording of the Paul Verlaine poem, “Chansom D’Automne.” Communing with the performer by coming in costume is highly encouraged! Nightly through Oct. 31, 8pm, at The Producers Club, Royal Theater (358 W. 44th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). For tickets ($20, $18 for students/seniors), visit brownpapertickets.com. Artist info at vangeline.com. TheVillager.com
Buhmann on Art
Carolee Schneemann: Further Evidence - Exhibits A and B
PHOTO BY VICTORIA VESNA, COPYRIGHT C. SCHNEEMANN, COURTESY GALERIE LELONG & P•P•O•W
From Exhibit A: Carolee Schneemann with “Venus Vectors” (1985).
BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN
n their first joint exhibition since announcing dual representation of Carolee Schneemann in 2015, Galerie Lelong and P•P•O•W present this influential feminist artist by pulling together examples of her critical but lesser-known works from the ’80s, ’90s, and present. Born in 1939, Schneemann has long been known for her discourses on the body, sexuality, and gender. Though trained as a painter, her oeuvre encompasses a variety of media, including filmmaking and performance, among others. As stated in the past, Schneemann is “interested in sensuous pleasure and the power of the naked body as an active image rather than the same old, pacified, immobilized, historicized body.” In these two particular exhibitions, Schneemann focuses on representations of the body in captivity, utilizing visualizations of repressed histories of control and confinement. At P•P•O•W, for example, Exhibit A will present the rarely seen “Known/Unknown: Plague Column” (1995-1996), an installation which combines collage, sculptures, wall texts, photographs, and video. The latter will be looped, showing enlarged permutated cancer cells and juxtaposing these with grids of religious icons. Meanwhile, at Galerie Lelong, Exhibit B will entail two films by Schneemann: “Precarious” (2009) and “Devour” (2003), as well as works on paper (“Caged Cats”). Through Dec. 3 at P•P•O•W (ppowgallery. com; 535 W. 22nd St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.; Tues.–Sat., 10am–6pm) and Galerie Lelong (galerielelong.com; 528 W. 26th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.; Tues.–Sat., 10am–6pm).
COPYRIGHT C. SCHNEEMANN, COURTESY P•P•O•W & GALERIE LELONG
From Exhibit B, a film still from Carolee Schneemann’s “Precarious” (2009, 6 minutes; loop, color, sound; motorized mirrors, multi-channel video projection).
COURTESY C. SCHNEEMANN, GALERIE LELONG & P•P•O•W
From Exhibit A: Carolee Schneemann’s “Plague Column: Known Unknown (Angles and Demons)” (1995-96). TheVillager.com
October 27, 2016
Facebook pages help Villagers connect across time facebook continued from p. 16
18th-century Old Grapevine Tavern that had stood on the southeast corner of W. 11th St. and Sixth Ave., probably the first legendary Greenwich Village bar, where artists, writers, businessmen, Union soldiers, Southern spies, lawyers, police officers and politicians gathered, giving rise to the expression “I heard it through the Grapevine.” “I decided to launch Grapevine,” Williams explained, “because the conversations on GVK increasingly strayed into hostile territory that reflected decades-old social tensions in the neighborhood; there were an increasing number of posts about things that had nothing to do with the Village...and because GVK was originally envisioned as a reunion site for people who had grown up in the Village, and I was more interested in a page for anyone who loves the Village and its history regardless of when they lived here, or, in fact, even if they never had.” Today both groups are active and popular with many crossover members. GVK 1960s is more freewheeling and openended, filled with posts about the music scene of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s — the lives we lived as “kids.” Meanwhile, Grapevine is strictly focused on history, memory and documenting the stories of Village life through personal recollections, articles and photographs, old and new, many from Ellen Williams’s extensive personal archive. Nancy Cooper, a retired director of the Housing Works Bookstore, grew up in the Spanish community on W. 14th St. — a.k.a. “Calle Catorce” — in a building where artists Marcel Duchamp and Alfred Levitt were residents. She credits the Grapevine Facebook page with deepening her fascination with Village history. “It plays a big role in my life because I end up searching out lots of different things and I enjoy research — especially what I can do at home,” she says. Claudia Lorie, a registered nurse, is active in both groups. “My parents, Igor and Sonja Sudorsky, Dachau concentration camp survivors, waited in a U.N. refugee camp for a year till a family from Greenwich Village ‘sponsored’ them,” she says. “They came to work in this family’s Art Foods Deli [near the northwest corner of Sixth Ave. and W. 10th St.]. They’d been artists before the war. The family sold their business permit to my parents for one dollar. “Local artists, intelligentsia and creative GV neighbors frequented the shop. Igor would hold ‘court’ from the back booth and encourage artists to paint at a vacant table. Some locals who came to talk with Igor and Sonja were actor Dustin Hoffman, jazz musician David Amram and also Bob Otter, the photographer. “The Spyro Gyra song ‘Breakfast at Igor’s’ is said to be written about our shop. Songwriter Johnny Marks, illustrator Maurice Sendak, writers Grace Paley, Diane Wolkstein, ee cummings, Allen Ginsberg,
October 27, 2016
Photo by Sean Carillo
In the early 1990s, Bibbe Hansen, a Warhol superstar and mom of the alt-rock musician Beck, posted a notice on the Internet, wanting to reunite with friends from the Village from her youth. This eventually grew into the Facebook page “Greenwich Village Kids 1960s.”
Arthur Miller, Edward Albee and James Beard frequented our store, as did the Joffrey Dance troupe, St. Vincent’s staff, many N.Y.U. professors, local TV news anchors and celebrities, Mayor Koch and most of the local shop owners. … ee cummings critiqued my kindergarten poetry. David Amram babysat my sister and me.” Joe Dean, a retired New York Police Department detective, keeps Grapevine members enthralled with his vivid recollections of growing up in the predominantly Irish West Village. He is often joined by Dermot McEvoy, author of several novels set in Greenwich Village. Both have near total recall and share memories of a kinder, gentler, more familial Village, where apartment doors were left open, neighbors looked out for each other, socialized, intermarried and feuded, as well. Their Village childhoods speak of supers, longshoremen, swimming in the Hudson, playing stickball on designated “play streets” and Saturday double bills at the Loew’s Sheridan. Sandra D’Alfonso Molé, a publicist for small companies in the design and antiques world, grew up on Thompson St. north of Houston St. She describes waiting in a doctor’s office with her late parents, both in their 90s, and seeing “an old-time photo posted in GVK 1960s of a horse cart in the street.”
‘From one little photo, an interesting discussion evolved... .’ Sandra D’Alfonso Molé “It looked like a foreign world to me,” she says, “but I happened to be sitting next to my mother who was born in 1922 in the Village and lived there for another 42 years. She immediately recognized the location and correctly identified the street. It opened up a discussion of our old neighborhood, and I realized how historically layered our little corner of the universe was. “From that one little photo, an interest-
ing discussion evolved about the shops and owners from her time growing up. I had heard these stories before but they now came to life through this one photo. “Other photos followed. I started looking at the pictures and putting aside the ones that my mother and father, who came to the Village as a 17-year-old, might recollect. I would hear incredible stories of their past. “It was through these groups that I realized my parents had a whole life before I came along — listening to music in the Village clubs, playing baseball and riding bicycles on the streets, going dancing to some of the local nightclubs and rooftop parties, playing soccer in Washington Square Park when very few Americans knew what soccer was.” Music journalist Ted Panken grew up on Bleecker St. near Thompson. He credits the two Facebook groups with helping him learn about himself and the milieu that shaped him “by imparting to me a sense of place and groundedness that I didn’t necessarily feel as a young person growing up in the Village.” For Grapevine members, the pictures are crucial. Especially popular are old photos posted with a “Where is this?” question. Those who don’t find this of interest, tend to hang out more in GVK 1960s or on smaller FB Village pages. No matter which group, there are certain unifying commonalities, such as the profound anger and grief over the loss of St. Vincent’s Hospital and the devouring of the Village by multimillionaires, megareal-estate interests and global chain stores that have destroyed the character and fiber of what was once an avant-garde, vibrant, edgy, highly diverse and creative neighborhood. Musician Peter Rozé, who today lives in New Orleans, says the Village “was, and I emphasize ‘was,’ the last Bohemian stronghold of radical, progressive-minded thinkers and doers. Now, it just holds a lot of history.” Perhaps Nora Paley, who lives in Vermont and is the daughter of the late author/ activist Grace Paley, summed the groups up best: “Often the photos take my breath away. Seeing a photo of the landscape where my distant childhood lives, and sharing that landscape with others who I mostly don’t know, but who had overlapping childhoods, is fortifying to my root system. What could lend more strength to the present than that? I do not know many of the participants. It is lovely to hear word from the adult forms of kids I do remember. There are people I have only met in pixels whose realities, sometimes historic, and sometimes present, are familiar and have become dear to me.” Join us as we summon up this vanished world and document for the future today’s Village. Consider contributing your own stories, photos and memories. We look forward to meeting you! TheVillager.com
Letters to The Editor Letters continued from p. 20
Wells Fargo?... No! To The Editor: No, no, no! Not another bank. Wells Fargo, what are you thinking? You have another branch three blocks away. We don’t need anymore banks. We need grocery stores. Six or more banks on a short stretch of Sixth Ave. — between Third and 12th Sts. — is already too many. Enough is enough! But you are putting one in the former Urban Outfitters space at Waverly Place. It looks like the space has been split in two and there’s a sign for Wells Fargo in the window of the corner store. I hope that The Villager can do an article on the proliferation of banks, drug stores, nail places, etc. and lack of qualityof-life shops for locals. This area desperately needs a decent grocery store like Brooklyn Fare with fair prices. Norma Courrier
Cyclists flout rules To The Editor: Re “Bike attorney likes how the wheels are turning” (news article, Oct. 20):
Hey, Steve Vaccaro, do you feel bicyclists should follow the same rules of the road as motorists? When I am driving my car, I constantly see bicyclists running red lights, not yielding to oncoming traffic, etc. I think it’s great to share the road with bicyclists. They reduce emissions and healthcare costs nationwide — but they can be dangerous at times, too. Matt Sayle
Chin will win! To The Editor: Re “Marte would have my vote” (letter, by Dodge Landesman, Oct. 20): My friend Dodge Landesman, whom I have known for seven years since he was an 18-year-old high school student, is now an impressive and mature Fordham graduate; Dodge recently obtained 30 percent of the vote in a close three-way race for the mostly honorary position of Democratic State Committee — a loss, though not bad for a first time on the ballot. Even President Obama lost earlier elections. However, I totally disagree with Dodge about our councilwoman, Margaret Chin, whom Dodge basically trashes. I campaigned with and for my friend Councilwoman Margaret Chin and served on one of her committees on vacancies, and will
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again campaign with her and for her when she wins her well-deserved third term. I sometimes disagree with Councilwoman Chin on specific issues. Some voters totally disagree with her. However, the majority of voters keep re-electing her because they know she is there for them — and has been there for them for decades. Gil Horowitz
Sold us down river! To The Editor: It is a sad day for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and our Village community. G.V.S.H.P.’s boss, Andrew Berman, has sold us down the river. He has supported the Pier 40 air-rights transfer. He has moved us closer to the realization of the mega-development monstrosity 550 Washington St. And he has also given the green light to the Hudson River Park Trust to illegally develop in, on and over the Hudson — a navigable waterway. In a fancy bit of footwork, Berman, has supported the Pier 40 transfer — but with a caveat. He indicates there will be no further trade-offs, using the river, in our community. Why does he support the Pier 40 transfer and yet deny it in the rest of our community? What makes Sammy run? Could it possibly be the sweet smell of power? The power that accrues to our lo-
cal politicians and their wannabees from the 550 Washington debacle? Mel Stevens
Gotta have pier! To The Editor: I am 11 years old and live in Union Square, and I play on the Gotham Girls U12 soccer team that practices at Pier 40 in Hudson River Park. The fields are convenient, useful and, best of all, fun. I would guess that 10 teams can play on the fields at the same time, which means that a lot of people are able to play outdoors at Pier 40. This shows that people like it there — so please don’t take it away from us. Losing our fields would be really sad, not only for my soccer team, but for all of the teams that use the pier. You should think about how much people love having a place to play sports in their community, and do whatever it takes to save Pier 40. Josie Parks E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to email@example.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.
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Community concerns on new hospital still high
SAN for Ennead Architects and Perkins Eastman
Another view of the planned new Downtown Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, at E. 14th St. and Second Ave. The existing New York Eye and Ear Infirmar y can be seen to the right of it. The hospital would ex tend through the block to E. 13th St. to the east of the Eye and Ear Infirmar y. Hospital continued from p. 7
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October 27, 2016
70. Many at the meeting were frustrated with Mt. Sinai seemingly blurring the situation by repeatedly stressing that it will have 220 beds “in the system,” by counting the 150 behavioral health beds at Bernstein. Again, it’s the 70 general inpatient beds that residents are concerned about. “For 126 years, Beth Israel has been what it is and it hasn’t gone broke,” Cruz said. “Three years ago, Mount Sinai merged with this institution with the option that you were going to downsize it. And now you’re coming to us and telling us we’ve got to take it. This is a very aggressive downsizing. You’re really not leaving a lot on the bone,” he warned. However, one of the officials reiterated the fact that inpatient stays have dropped drastically, a major reason why fewer people need hospital beds. “My wife is having hip replacement,” the hospital rep said. “She’s going to be in for one day. Ten years ago, it would have been a week. “Mount Sinai will lose money on this process,” he added. “They are going to spend more to upgrade for this community than they will make on the sale [of the Beth Israel site in Gramercy].”
Who gets a big hospital? But community members remained
unconvinced. “There’s 1,000 people coming in at Essex St.,” said one woman, referring to the Essex Crossing mixed-use megaproject. “There’s going to be huge towers at Cherry St.,” she added of the new “supertall” residential high-rises already under construction, also on the Lower East Side. “You’re leaving Lower Manhattan without a large hospital,” activist Luke Henry said. Speaking after the meeting, local resident Cheryl Freeman recalled how Beth Israel, because it is outside the flood zone, could keep functioning during Sandy four years ago, unlike N.Y.U. Langone and Bellevue hospitals. “God forbid we have another Hurricane Sandy,” she said. “You’re going to have patients shipped all over the five boroughs because the new Beth Israel won’t be able to hold them.” In general, the future reality of healthcare will favor the rich, she predicted. “I see it down the line, that the people with Medicaid and Medicare, we’re the ones who are going to have to be running here and there [for medical attention],” she said. “While the people in the condos will be able to lay up in the hospitals — they’ll have that luxury.” Whether Mount Sinai officials will be able at the Thurs., Oct. 27, forum to reassure and convince the community about the plan remains to be seen. TheVillager.com
October 27, 2016
Photos by Clayton Patterson
Like, are you feelin’ me? Apparently so. The kids really got a rise out of The Enigma’s horns. Though they might have been a bit puzzled by his cranial tattoos and crenelated ears.
Rev. B Dangerous definitely “nose” how to enter tain. He “nailed” it, as Not ever yone has a taste for this kind of sideshow enter tainment, but the young refugees lapped it up. far as the kids were concerned.
Freaky fun for young refugees
efugees, in general, and refugee kids in particular, can be made to feel like virtual freaks in their new countries. It doesn’t even have to take a Donald Trump. But at the Wildstyle & Tattoo Messe in Austria, real live freaks had some fun with the kids and showed them some love. The event is a combination of sideshow acts and a tattoo messe (or “fair,” in German). Clayton Patterson, the Lower East Side documentarian, regularly goes to Austria to participate in and document it. “In a back area at the Wildstyle and Tattoo Messe show in Dornbirn,
October 27, 2016
there was a group of refugee children and some parents and guardians,” Patterson recounted. “A few of us went out, and the freaks did their acts for the kids. They loved it. I heard one young boy say ‘Afghanistan.’ “In Austria and Germany, many cities have messes, or large conventiontype halls, to hold shows in,” Patterson said. “The spaces are built to be functional entertainment centers, not hotels, although they are much better than a tent in a compound. “At our show, outside in the parking lot, Gary Rumley, the Rev. B Dangerous, noticed a bunch of kids playing in the paved lot. Gary discovered these people are being warehoused in a messe halle. So he gathered some of us up, Kiros the Twisted Man, The
Enigma and me. The freaks dazzled the kids — freaked them out in a happy and fun way, with mothers and burka-covered guardians smiling in the background I am sure this was a day these kids will never forget. “I believe that these folks’ conditions and placement are as good as the local Austrian government can provide. It is safe and clean, but it’s just not meant as housing. But Europe is overwhelmed with the refuges. “If you want to stop the refuges, stop the war,” Patterson stressed. “And it is an American tragedy, from my perspective, being in Europe and watching the Presidential Kardashian race — that the most pressing issues are his hair, e-mails, groping, he is a pig, she is a criminal, and so on.” TheVillager.com
Blink wants members to feel good as well as fit
health By Lincoln Anderson
link Fitness is looking to get East Villagers in the mood — that is, in a healthy, endorphin-boosted kind
of way. The value-based fitness club — whose trademarked mantra is “Mood Above Muscle” — celebrated the grand opening of its newest location at 98 Avenue A on Tuesday. That’s developer Ben Shaoul’s new residential building between E. Seventh and E. Sixth Sts. As a part of the opening, Blink is giving 50 free one-year memberships, worth more than $10,000, to the Lower Eastside Girls Club. “We are so pleased that Blink Fitness has chosen to donate these memberships to families and staff of the Lower Eastside Girls Club,” said Dr. Lyn Pentecost, the Girls Club’s executive director. “As an organization, we are committed to providing health and wellness programming for our community. We are glad to welcome the club to the neighborhood and look forward to future opportunities for collaboration.” “We are excited to open our doors and welcome the East Village community,” said Brandon Hall, the new club’s manager. “We’re sure that Blink will become a healthy, happy hub of activity in the neighborhood.” The newest Blink gym will boast topof-the-line strength equipment, including free weights, “plates” and machines for upper body, lower body and core, as well as a premium cardio machines and a multiuse space for exercises, stretching and functional training. Certified personal trainers will be available for members who wish to create a custom workout experience tailored to their personal goals. Memberships are available for as low as $25 per month with a free start-up personal-training session. Blink feels that exercise is not only about looking good but also feeling good, hence its “Mood Above Muscle” credo. This goal is achieved through the chain’s “five pillars”: respectful and friendly staff, bright and open gym design using colors scientifically proven to enhance mood, a clean facility, and music specifically selected to motivate members. Todd Magazine, Blink’s president, in an interview with The Villager, noted that he has family roots in the neighborhood. “My grandfather had a store in the East Village,” he said. “It was on Second Ave. between Ninth and Tenth Sts., an awning store called Biltwell. My grandma worked there, my dad did, too. The company actually did the awnings for a flashback scene in ‘The Godfather.’” Magazine, who is from Long Island, now lives with his wife in the Village near Union Square. His daughter lives in the East Village. This Blink is the 48th one. TheVillager.com
photos by Peter Roessler
At the grand opening, Brandon Hall, the new East Village Blink Fitness club manager, presented Rosie Rodriguez, the Lower Eastside Girls Club’s director of philanthropy, with an oversized key fob representing 50 free annual memberships.
Cutting the ribbon on the new Avenue A Blink gym.
His first one, opened just five years ago, was in the old Tower Records record store location, at E. Fourth St. and Broadway. The chain now boasts 300,000 members in the New York metro area. “Our whole philosophy is celebrating the emotional part of fitness above the physical,” he explained. “Our marketing showcases various body types — everyone we show isn’t in what we would say is the paradigm of fitness. It’s a journey
— you don’t always have to show people at the end of that journey. We’re really inviting everybody to be part of our gym brand. “There’s an emotional benefit of exercise — versus depression, boosting selfesteem,” Magazine noted. “Even the first time you exercise, you get that endorphin rush that you’re doing something good for your body and your mind.” As for the Girls Club free memberships,
Magazine said that, when opening a new location, he always likes to connect with a local organization that promotes healthy living. Blink also hires locally, he added. The club’s hours are Monday to Thursday, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information about Blink Fitness, visit www.blinkfitness.com or the club’s social channels below. October 27, 2016
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