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November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
CEC3 Bid to Take Rezoning Lead
Sparks Parents’ Backlash BY JACKSON CHEN
ommunity Education Council 3 adopted a take-charge posture in addressing the complex and far-reaching rezoning debate over Upper West Side schools by offering its solution to the Department of Education in an October 18 letter and at an October 19 meeting. Yet both its action and the DOE’s inaction drew heated criticisms from parents affected who feel their children’s lives are simply being juggled around. CEC3 and parents of District 3 had expected the DOE to present a final rezoning plan at the October 19 meeting, but Kim Watkins, the council’s Zoning Committee chair, explained it would not do so “because they are not quite ready.” In the two weeks since then, meetings set for October 29 and November 1 and 3 have been canceled, with the DOE indicating to CEC3 that it remains not ready to present an official proposal. A scheduled November 9 CEC3 vote on the DOE’s recommendation has also been put off. The rezoning discussions about the District 3 schools dates back to February 2015 and involve issues of severe overcrowding as well as sharp disparities in the racial and socioeconomic makeup among schools throughout the district. At the center of the debate are the disparities between P.S. 191 at 210 West 61st Street and P.S. 199 at 270 West 70th Street. The majority of P.S. 191’s students are black or Latino and many come from families who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. In contrast, P.S. 199 has a majority white student population and faces overcrowding in its zone, with a waiting list of nearly 100. The effort to balance available classroom space and to achieve greater diversity in schools now marked by stark segregation has led to a steady stream of new zoning proposals. After many CEC3 meetings, hours of research, and numerous sessions of parents’ testimony, the DOE has
It was more than a year ago, in October 2015, that CEC3 president Joe Fiordaliso and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña were in front of Upper West Side parents talking about a rezoning that has still not been resolved.
presented three scenarios for CEC3 to consider. While the department is the ultimate authority on where to draw the school zone lines, the CEC3 vote carries significant weight. All three DOE options include P.S. 191 moving a couple of blocks into a new school being constructed in Riverside Center that will open in September 2017 and a size reduction of the overcrowded P.S. 199 zone. Many P.S. 191 parents have voiced optimism that the move into Riverside Center will serve as a fresh start for a school that in 2015 was included in the state’s list of “persistently dangerous” schools — a label many felt was unwarranted and that was removed the following year. In DOE’s Scenario A, a new school, P.S. 342, would open in the vacated P.S. 191 building. Both 342 and 191 would absorb some of P.S. 199’s zone, reducing overcrowding and the waitlist at that school. Meanwhile, P.S. 452 at 100 West 77th Street would grow to three class sections for each of its K-8 grades, to alleviate the impact of classroom overcrowding there. In addition to reducing the zone size for P.S. 199, the change would also shrink the zone for
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 03 - 16, 2016
P.S. 87, at 160 West 78th Street, and also make for minor zone changes for P.S. 9, at 100 West 84th Street, and P.S. 166, at 132 West 89th Street. A second option, known as Scenario B, would move P.S. 452 into the vacated P.S. 191 building and have its zone surrounding its former 100 West 77th Street location eliminated and divvied up among neighboring zones. In this option, P.S. 199 would also see its zone shrink. With no resounding support for either option, the DOE recently presented Scenario C, a proposal that incorporates elements of both A and B. In this alternative, P.S. 452 would remain at its West 77th Street location but have its zone shrunk to prevent any more growth in the building — the 100 West 77th Street campus is occupied by P.S. 452, P.S. 334, and the Computer School — that is already packed with nearly 1,400 enrolled students. Given objections in the community to all three DOE options, CEC3 submitted what its majority considers a proper solution to all the major problems faced by the district.
“We wanted to be responsible for our own destiny here, we wanted our neighbors to know where we stand,” Watkins said of its proposal. “That is one of the main reasons we emailed and released the plan.” The council’s proposal would re-site P.S. 452 to the vacant 191 building, create a more robust zone to promote strong enrollment for P.S. 191, newly located in Riverside Center, and resize the P.S. 199 zone to reduce its extreme overcrowding. The CEC3 plan also includes a redrawing of several schools’ zoning lines, including P.S. 87, P.S. 9, P.S. 166, and P.S. 241, located at 240 West 113th Street. “This proposal that was sent to the DOE was based on very strategic thinking, and it was not put together willy nilly,” Zoe Foundotos, a CEC3 member said. “It was a result of the last three years, a lot of number crunching, a lot of listening, a lot of engaging.” There was one dissenting opinion on CEC3 from Noah Gotbaum, who charged the plan was created by a few members and left little room for review before its submission to the DOE. He said CEC3’s proposal wouldn’t solve overcrowding and only addressed diversity in three out of the many schools in the district. “When we said we were adjusting segregation by dealing with three schools when we have 28 elementary and middle schools in this district, we’re kidding ourselves,” Gotbaum said. “I hope that this council will stop patting themselves on the back and really consider… a plan that will be equitable for the entire district.” While some parents sided with Gotbaum’s sentiments, others community members praised CEC3 for finally taking action on this convoluted issue. Clara Hemphill, the founding editor of an independent guide to the city’s schools, insideschools.
c CEC3, continued on p.15 3
With Home-Sharing Crackdown Now Law,
Airbnb Heads to Court BY JACKSON CHEN
The Reverend Kirsten John Foy, president of the Brooklyn chapter of the National Action Network, made a vigorous defense of home-sharing.
The legislation’s lead sponsor, Upper West Side Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, stressed the negative impact of Airbnb’s business on the stock of affordable housing in the city.
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 October 21 triggered the popular home-sharing company Airbnb to file a lawsuit later that day. The new law, sponsored by Upper West Side Democratic Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and Staten Island Republican Senator Andrew Lanza, prohibits tenants from advertising the rental of their entire apartment — like 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 shortterm 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 adver tising 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 October 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 elected officials 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, it had repeatedly warned it would pursue legal action if it were signed. 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 website operators from liability for what their users post on their sites, and the First Amendment of the US Constitution. “In typical fashion, Albany back-room 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 Francisco company retained the California-based Munger, Tulles, and Olson and the New York office of Gibson Dunn to file a lawsuit against Eric Schneiderman, the state’s attorney general, as well as the City of New York and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
c AIRBNB, continued on p.5
November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
c AIRBNB, from p.4 Just days before Cuomo announced his decision, Airbnb attempted to appease its naysayers with a reform proposal that revolved around five new rules for home-sharing. According to its October 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 collect taxes on their hosts that would be dedicated to tenant protection and affordable housing in the city. But Rosenthal argued 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,” the assemblymember said. “They could’ve always done that, why did they have to be dragged to do that?” 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 website 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. With the two sides now enveloped in a legal battle, Rosenthal insisted that her bill does not
clash with the Communications Decency Act because the fines target the hosts who ar e the users of the site, and not Airbnb itself. Acknowledging the matter is now in the courts’ hands, the assemblymember added, “We’re doing what we think is right.” “Airbnb has faced these issues
everywhere in the world,” Rosenthal 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 who live next door to them change overnight.” n
NEW AIRBNB LAW SPAWNS COMPETING DEMONSTRATIONS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s approval of legislation imposing fines on apartment dwellers or owners who advertise rental of residential units for short-term periods drew competing demonstrations from both sides of the issue outside his Third Avenue office in Midtown on October 26.
demonstrators following the call of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the height of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. The crowd that turned out in support of Airbnb was considerably smaller than that predicted in a press release one day before the
“Airbnb is you and me. We’re not getting rich, we are getting by!,”
event, held on a chilly autumn morning. The group, however, did have
chanted several dozen protesters who oppose the new state law,
on hand boxes containing what they said were messages of support
which levies increasing penalties of up to $7,500 for the third offense
for home-sharing from 80,000 New Yorkers.
in advertising apartment units for periods of less than 30 days. Such rentals were already illegal under a 2010 law.
The Airbnb supporters were matched by a similarly sized crowd that praised Cuomo for signing the bill. That group was led by
Some of those who turned out were apartment “hosts” who have
State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, the lead sponsor on the
earned extra income by renting out their homes via the home-sharing
legislation, who said of the other side, “They are trying to obfuscate
website. In the weeks prior to Cuomo announcing his decision on the
the issue. These tenants are here to thank Governor Cuomo. My bill
legislation, Airbnb had waged an aggressive television ad campaign
makes it illegal to advertise, it was already illegal to rent.”
emphasizing the benefits of such hosting for everyday New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet.
Rosenthal’s allies pointed to what they say is the negative impact of Airbnb rentals — particularly by apartment building owners — on the
The day the governor signed the bill, Airbnb went to court charging
availability of affordable housing. A number of the signs they carried
that the new law infringed on First Amendment rights and was the
charged that rental increases are nearly double in neighborhoods
product of “back-room dealing,” largely, it said, at the behest of the
where Airbnb rentals are common.
hotel industry. Speakers at the rally opposing the law stressed the
A letter to Cuomo from nine local host club leaders in Manhattan
idea that it represented a class war on Airbnb hosts who rely on the
and Brooklyn requested a meeting with the governor so they could
extra income renting out their homes provides.
make their case about the benefits of home-sharing in their lives.
The Reverend Kirsten John Foy, president of the Brooklyn
With Cuomo’s signature on the measure coming a full four months
chapter of the National Action Network, a civil rights group headed
after the Legislature initially approved it, however, the issue seems
by the Reverend Al Sharpton, likened home-sharing hosts to
more likely to be resolved in the courtroom rather than in constituent
those Southerners who opened up their homes to out-of-town
meetings hosted by the governor. — Paul Schindler
Boxes of what Airbnb supporters said are 80,000 letters from New Yorkers endorsing the benefits of home-sharing.
DONNA ACETO DONNA ACETO
The crowd opposed to Airbnb charged that home-sharing drives up the cost of housing in New York.
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 03 - 16, 2016
Pro-Airbnb protesters emphasized the economic benefits to those renting out their apartments.
Levine Leads Push to Expand, Regulate Street Vendor Industry BY JACKSON CHEN
ew Yorkers may be able to enjoy more mobile munchies over the next several years as the City Council considers a package of bills aimed at improving conditions for the city’s many street vendors. The bill was introduced by Upper West Side Councilmember Mark Levine, joined by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and several other colleagues, and aims to double the number of permits in the city to more than 8,000 over a span of seven years. Street vendor permits have been capped by the city at 4,235 since the 1980s, and that limitation has led to a monopolization of the available supply. Permit owners can renew every two years with the city for $200, and often turn around and rent them out for as much as $25,000 in a black market. To address the unwelcoming climate, the Street Vending Modernization Act (SVMA) would allow the city to increase the permit cap incrementally and also better regulate the industry. Under the bill, the city would create a team of officers dedicated to street vendor enforcement and a street vendor advisory panel — comprised of city agencies, community groups, street vendors, and brick and mortar store owners — that would guide new vendor regulations while monitoring enforcement and new permit rollouts. According to Councilmember Levine, the new law’s first year would be dedicated solely to building a new Office of Street Vendor Enforcement. Beginning in 2018, the city would offer up to 600 new permits each year until 2024. After that, the cap on street vending permits would be at the discretion of the to-be-created advisory board, according to the bill. Under the SVMA, each twoyear permit would come at a cost of $1,000. Josh Gatewood, the president of the New York City Food Truck Association, commended the new bill as a step in the right direction. “They are open to completely overhauling the way business has been done, so I think it’s a great first step,” Gatewood said of the City Council. “It sounds like they’re very pro-small business. They realize how difficult it is for us to operate, and it sounds like they’re hearing our grievances and they’re going to help us.” Gatewood’s key concern is about the slow, rationed increase in the number of permits, which he worries will do little to curb the black market control of the industry and access to it. “It’s addressing a hole in the side of the ship by putting a patch on, and the patch is still leaky,” Gatewood said of the bill. “If we could have some
Josh Gatewood, owner of the Yankee Doodle Dandy’s food truck, is president of the New York City Food Truck Association.
sort of system to ensure people that they’re using it for their own business, that could be the way to go about it.” Echoing the Food Truck Association’s views, the Street Vendor Project, a unit of the Urban Justice Center that is a longtime advocate of lifting the cap, described the SVMA as the beginning of street vendors having a voice in city government for the first time. “We believe the Street Vendor Modernization Act is certainly far from our dream legislation,” Sean Basinski, the group’s director, said. “But it is a reasonable compromise and a real step forward in terms of making a real system.” As representatives of many food truckers and cart vendors in the city, Gatewood and Basinski are hoping to get seats at the table of the advisory board to offer their industry insights. One vendor advocate, clearly leery of ostensible allies that he views as compromised insiders in the battle, was harshly critical of the proposed legislation. Robert Lederman, who for years has waged a battle to defend the rights of vendors of First Amendment-protected artwork, attacked the Levine bill as a “conspiracy” between the Council and what he termed the “partly” Council-funded Street Vendor Project that will “create a new police type enforcement agency to issue many more summonses than the NYPD now does.” “Within two years I predict all of these new food vending permits will be controlled by large vending corporations, possibly offshoots of food chains like McDonalds or Burger King,” Lederman charged in an email message criticizing the proposed new measure.
NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL
Upper West Side City Councilmember Mark Levine.
On the other side of the debate over street vending, community boards have held discussions on the SVMA’s impact on their neighborhoods, with stricter enforcement at the forefront of their concerns. Community Board 8, on the Upper East Side, has been calling for a vendor enforcement unit for years but is reiterating its support for maintaining the current permit cap. CB8’s immediate concern is that the seven-year increase in street vendor permits will increase air pollution and damage small businesses, but it also worries about a slippery slope that could lead to a lifting of a vendor permit cap altogether. Michele Birnbaum, co-chair of CB8’s Vendor Task Force Committee, argued that once the seven years are up, the street vendor advisory board would have authority to decide how many permits can be issued and whether a limit is needed at all. She urged that the SVMA receive more more thoughtful consideration, but she readily endorsed the notion of a vendor enforcement squad. “It’s not rooted in any real common sense,” Birnbaum said. “It’s not a bill that addresses anybody’s real concerns. With the exception of the enforcement, which should be made tighter, with more teeth, and made stand-alone.” Levine insisted that his bill represents a “balanced approach” at addressing longstanding problems in an industry that provides real opportunities in New York’s economy. “For so many, it’s really been an economic ladder for almost every wave of immigrants to come through this city,” Levine said. “Street vending, however, has remained frozen in time… We have an arbitrary cap on the number of food vendor licenses which hasn’t been updated since 1983.” n November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
We are NYC’s transit workers. We safely move nearly 8 million bus and subway riders a day: 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. And with growing ridership, we will transport 150 million more riders in 2016 than just a few years ago - with the same number of workers. These are uniquely dangerous and stressful jobs. We are physically assaulted hundreds of times each year. Spitting incidents are at all time highs. Thousands of our brother and sister transit workers, meanwhile, are injured annually by on-the-job industrial accidents. Twelve were killed on duty since 2001. Our contract with the MTA is expiring. We will kick off our campaign for fair raises, solid beneƓts and no givebacks with a rally on 1ov. 15th in Lower Manhattan. We are NYC’s transit workers and We Move NY.
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11/1/16 3:40 PM
The Bat Cave Is At Risk! BY JACKSON CHEN
ildlife conservationists gather ed in Central Park on October 27 to announce a fund to combat the fungal epidemic that has “battered” the nation’s population of fuzzy flying mammals. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) teamed up to create the competitive grant program called the Bats for the Future Fund. The fund, already with a $1 million seed money investment from the USFWS, aims to research and develop treatments for white-nose syndrome. The disease has killed more than six million bats in the last 10 years and has wiped out 90 to 100 percent of bats in some specific sites. The US Forest Service has also committed to a minimum of $100,000 for the fund’s first year. The October 27 event was the kickstarter for a fundraising drive soliciting support from private sources. The name white-nose syndrome derives from the visible fungus that appears on bats’ muzzles and other parts of their body during their hibernation period. The fungus grows in the soil and walls of cold environments where bats can often be found hibernating during the winter. As bats hang motionless until the warmer months, the fungus continues to spread in the winter and eventually grows onto the bats. “It starts to eat away at their skin and it wakes them up too many times,” Rob Mies, the executive director of the Organization for Bat Conservation, said of the fungus. “Once they wake up, then they go back into hibernation, they wake up again. They’re waking up seven times more often than healthy bats without the fungus.” Besides making the furry fliers uncomfortable and itchy, the fungus causes the bats to raise their metabolic rate to fight off the invasion, but it’s at the cost of using the stored body fat that’s meant
Bats nibble on pumpkin in the Tropics Zone at the Central Park Zoo.
to help them last through winter, according to Mies. Mies added that the fungus is an invasive species from Europe and was first discovered a decade ago near Albany. Since then, white-nose syndrome has spread to 29 states and five Canadian provinces, mostly through bat migration. According to Wendi Weber, the northeast regional director for the USFWS, the fungus was detected in Washington State for the first time this year, and deemed it an “emergency room situation.” “That’s a huge jump, a 1,300mile jump, and what we weren’t anticipating was that it would jump that quickly and that far,” Weber said. “Because of this, bats are in real danger of extinction.” If the number of bats keeps dwindling, Weber said the nation’s economy and environment would brunt the impact. “Bats eat millions of insects in their life,” Weber said. “And so without bats, we believe you’d have to be applying a lot more insect control, pesticides, and chemicals to our really important agricultural crops.”
Besides serving as a natural insecticide, Mies said bats can also be considered the “farmers of the rainforest,” as they pollinate banana, guava, and agave, that last one which is used to make tequila. So far, white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in seven species of cave-hibernating bats, with two of them being identified as endangered — the gray bat and the Indiana bat — and the northern long-eared bats that are classified as threatened, or likely to become endangered in the near future. Wi t h t h e n e w B a t s f o r t h e Future Fund, the agencies are hoping to give out grants to programs that prevent the spread of white-nose and research and projects that focus on treatment approaches. Mies said that efforts so far have amounted to closing off many caves and mines since people and their gear can also spread the fungus. In terms of solving the problem, though, he said scientists have been testing various treatments in laboratories that treat either the bat’s habitat, its diet, or the bat itself.
Wendi Weber, the northeast regional director for USFWS, spoke about white-nose syndrome, a fungus that could imperil the survival of the nation’s bat population.
According to the NFWF’s vice president of conservation programs, Eric Schwaab, they will be able to award the first round of grants in 2017 and continue doling out funding for government agencies, nonprofits, and scientists who are looking into treatment of whitenose syndrome. Schwaab noted that the grants would be especially important in the Midwest, which is what he considered the “leading edge of the disease’s march across the country.” n
November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
MTA, Maloney Bullish on Second Ave Subway Year-End Opening BY JACKSON CHEN
etropolitan Transportation Authority officials and Congressmember Carolyn Maloney are voicing confidence that the Second Avenue Subway will have its first section operational by the new year. The first phase of the Second Avenue Subway (SAS) will include new stations at 96th, 86th, and 72nd Streets to connect to the existing system at the Lexington Avenue/ 63rd Street stop. In early October, the MTA began testing the new route, which will become an extension of the Q line. “The MTA tells me they are 98 percent complete as of October 1,” Maloney said at a press conference on October 25. “There is no doubt… we’re certain that in the greatest city on earth, we are going to have the first major subway opening in 60 years.” Speaking at a recently opened public plaza at the corner of Third Avenue and 63rd Street — built as a public amenity of the project, adjacent to new exits for the Lexington Avenue/ 63rd Street stop — the congressmember issued her final report card on the SAS’s Phase 1, with an overall grade of A+. Maloney’s report awarded A+ to categories including completion of tunnel construction, progress on station
entrances, and construction management, while other areas like progress toward completion, progress on ancillary facilities, and testing of equipment scored A’s. The congressmember’s previous report card in May offered an overall grade of A-, but several areas earned C grades, including equipment testing, construction mitigation, and transition to Phase 2, which will consist of stations at 110th and 116th Streets and connect to the 4, 5, 6 station at 125th Street. With roughly two months until opening day, Maloney, after talks with MTA, was satisfied that the new subway line would be open, citing more than 90 percent completion for the new stations. “One of the reasons this subway is so important is that it will alleviate overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue line,” Maloney said. “We know from experience that there is a limit of how many people you can stuff in a subway.” According to MTA officials, contractors are working double-time to make good on the end of the year opening date. Michael Horodniceanu, MTA’s president of capital construction, said training for the new workers of the SAS line will be completed by November 11 and the trial-run trains are currently “running and running well.” During their monthly update report to the MTA board this week, independent engineers
East Side Congressmember Carolyn Maloney gives the Second Avenue Subway project an A+ overall, voicing confidence the line is on track for opening by the new year.
discussed different aspects of the project and their possible impact on the promised opening date of December 31. Kent Haggas, the indepen-
c MALONEY, continued on p.13
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Landmarks to Take Up Waldorf Interiors Preservation BY JACKSON CHEN
he Landmarks Preservation Commission decided on November 1 to calendar interior spaces within the Waldorf Astoria Hotel for a public hearing at a date yet to be determined. At that later hearing, the commissioners will deliberate on the interior spaces of the Waldorf Astoria’s ground, first, second, and third floors and their individual merits. According to the LPC agenda, consideration would be given to spaces including several lobbies and ballrooms — the Park Avenue Lobby, Peacock Alley, and the Grand Ballroom among them, but not the 18th floor Starlight Roof that was noted by many preservationists. “I think this is one of the most distinctive interiors in the city,” Commissioner Fred Bland said about the
The Waldorf Astoria’s main entrance on Park Avenue, between 49th and 50th Streets.
Waldorf. “To walk on that main axis entering from Park Avenue and ending up down a level on Lexington, it’s probably my favorite interior experience in all of New York.”
Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of the Historic Districts Council, said the Starlight Roof’s exclusion was unfortunate, but added there were many alterations
to that portion of the hotel. Bankoff and other preservationists, overall, are excited about the news and the unexpected speed in addressing the hotel’s interiors. “It’s fantastic news,” Meghan Weatherby, the director of operations for the Art Deco Society, said. “It’s another step in the right direction in hopefully protecting these wonderful interiors and to really bring this in front of the public so that everyone can present testimony on why the Waldorf is so important.” The Waldorf Astoria, at 301 Park Avenue between East 49th and East 50th Streets, was purchased by the Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese company that is currently investing heavily in American hotels, for $1.95 billion in 2014. Preservationists feared the remov-
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Selldorf Architects to Helm Frick Makeover BY JACKSON CHEN
he Frick Collection announced on October 20 that Selldorf Architects would head an expansion effort that is expected to remain entirely within the institution’s current footprint. During an 18-month selection process among 20 firms, museum officials sought architects that would achieve their goal of growing the space while maintaining the original domestic scale at 1 East 70th Street, a mansion built as the residence of industrialist Henry Clay Frick a century ago. As part of the expansion, the museum will open up former second floor living quarters of the Frick family to allow for more exhibition space. In a unanimous decision, the museum’s Architectural and Long-Range-Planning Committee selected Selldorf, a recommendation later approved by the full board of trustees. The firm, led by Annabelle Selldorf, was responsible for the renovation of New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World on East 84th Street, the modernization of the Neue Galerie on Fifth Avenue — which, like the Frick, is a 1914 Carrère and Hastings design –– and the southern expansion of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. “Annabelle Selldorf is a visionary who creates elegant designs that seamlessly integrate the historic with the modern,” Ian Wardropper, director of the Frick Collection, said in a statement. “Such an approach is essential to our project, which seeks to preserve the peaceful and contemplative
MICHAEL BODYCOMB/ FRICK COLLECTION
The second floor of the Frick Collection, which will be opened to the pubic under a new renovation project in its initial design phase.
experience that the Frick provides to its visitors.” Working with the museum, Selldorf will develop a design plan to address the creation of more programming and gallery space, a reconfiguration of the interior setup to improve visitor flow, and the creation of conservation spaces dedicated to preserving the building and its collections. “Success for the project will be a visitor experience that feels deeply familiar, authentic, and reassuring for those who know and love the Frick,” Selldorf said in a press release. “And a welcoming and enchanting atmosphere for those visiting for the first time.”
The Frick faced opposition when it first proposed an expansion program in 2014, with fears that it would mar the museum’s intimate feel by removing a private garden on East 70th Street to make room for a six-story addition. The garden was created alongside some upgrades in the museum’s last significant renovation in 1977. The museum pulled the plan in June 2015 and restarted the process with promises to not impinge on the garden and stay within the existing footprint. In March, it released a request for
c FRICK, continued on p.11 November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
c WALDORF, from p.10 al of the glamorous interior areas of the legendary 1931 building when reports arose in June of Anbang’s intentions to do gut renovations. According to those reports, much of the hotel would be converted into condo units with far fewer hotel rooms remaining after three years of construction. While Anbang previously had plans to demolish the interiors, the company has softened its approach and been cooperating with the LPC in determining the Waldorf’s future. According to LPC staff, the owners have provided the commission with a lot of information as well as access to the site to conduct their analysis. In a written statement released on October 28, the company stated, “Anbang knows the Waldorf’s history is a large part of what makes this hotel so special. That’s why we fully support the LPC’s recommendation for what would be one of the most extensive interior landmark designations of any privately owned building in New York. These designations are consistent with our vision and will protect the Waldorf’s significant
c WALDORF, continued on p.27 c FRICK, from p.10 qualifications to 20 architecture firms it had prescreened, with the goal of choosing an architect by the end of the year. Charles Warren, an architect who opposed the 2014 plans, said the museum seemed to have listened to the chief complaints of opponents regarding respect for the building’s modest scale and preservation of the garden. Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, said of Selldorf that its past projects have “typically been very thoughtful and detail-oriented.” “We’ve been impressed by Selldorf Architects’ work in the past although we have objected to some proposals they’ve been involved with,” Bankoff said. “We are looking forward to learning more about what they are planning and looking at.” Warren agreed that the selection of Selldorf is a positive step for the museum’s future, though he acknowledged that he had hoped that the museum would have gone with another of the candidates interviewed that had more expertise in the classical architectural style of the Frick. Warren added, however, that Selldorf and her firm have a strong track record of respecting the original character of the structures they work on. “She’s a very capable architect and has shown she can work in sensitive historic contexts, so that makes me hopeful,” Warren said. “But we’ll have to wait and see what they do. It’s so far, so good.” The Frick and Selldorf will begin developing conceptual designs for the expansion and expect to share their initial plans with the public in the winter of 2017-2018. n ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 03 - 16, 2016
Police Blotter Midtown North Precinct 306 West 54th Street 212-767-8400
Midtown South Precinct 357 West 35th Street 212-239-9811
17th Precinct 167 East 51st Street 212-826-3211
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ASSAULT: CAB HOG (17TH PRECINCT)
ROBBERY: PICKY POCKETS (17TH PRECINCT)
A 50-year-old man got violent after a husband intervened when the suspect grabbed the shoulder of his 68-year-old wife as she entered a cab, police said. On October 20 at around 10:15 p.m., the suspect repeatedly punched the 72-year-old man in the face and stomach when the victim pulled the man away from his wife, according to police. The victim received a broken thumb, nose, and finger during the beating, said police, who released a photo of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a 50-year-old white male with gray hair and a goatee.
On October 24, police said a man robbed the Santander Bank at 711 Third Avenue, between East 44th and 45th Streets, but specifically asked for “just 50s and hundreds.” According to police, the suspect entered the bank at around 10:30 a.m. and approached the teller with a note indicating he had a gun. The man made off with $1,200, said the police, who released a photo of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a black male in his 20s, around 5’10”, and with a tattoo on his hand.
ROBBERY: ON THE CHASE (19TH PRECINCT)
GRAND LARCENY: NECKLACE NABBING (MIDTOWN NORTH PRECINCT) A man snatched a chain off a 69-year-old woman’s neck on October 24 at around 12:30 p.m., police said. The victim was outside 1196 Sixth Avenue, between West 46 and 47th Streets, when the suspect yanked off her necklace and fled into the 47-50th Streets/ Rockefeller Center subway station, according to police, who released photos of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a black male, 45 to 50 years old, 6’, 160 pounds, bald, and last seen wearing a black jacket, dark-colored jeans, and a dark-colored shirt.
Police are looking for a man who robbed two Upper East Side Chase Banks in October. Police said that on October 3 at around 5:15 p.m., the suspect entered the Chase Bank at 201 East 79th Street and passed a note to the teller demanding money. The man received $1,000 and fled the bank on foot, police said. A couple of weeks later, the suspect was not so successful as he entered the Chase Bank on 1191 Third Avenue, between East 69th and 70th Streets, and repeated the same pattern. However, the suspect didn’t receive any money and left the bank, said police, who released
photos of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a white male in his 30s, 5’9”, with red/ blonde hair, and tattoos on his neck and hands.
FATAL FIRE: ONE DEAD AFTER UES FIRE (19TH PRECINCT) On October 27, a blaze at 324 East 93rd Street killed one resident and injured at least one other, police said. The residential fire broke out at around 3:30 a.m., and firefighters discovered resident Lemmy Thuku on the third floor unconscious and unresponsive. Thuku, a 25-year-old, was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS. An 81-year-old man was taken to New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center and listed in stable condition.
ASSAULT: SUCKERPUNCH (19TH PRECINCT) Police have arrested 35-year-old Edwin Suazo and charged him with assault for an incident in Carl Schurz Park on October 25 at around 3 p.m. According to police, Suazo approached an 85-year-old man from behind and punched him on the side of the head. Police said the victim fell to the ground, got cuts on the back of his head and above his right eye, and was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital in stable condition.
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c MALONEY, from p.9
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Our Perspective Like Unions, BLM Movement is a Fight for Justice
By Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, RWDSU, UFCW
lack Lives Matter is one of the most important civil rights movements in recent years. And it is one we in organized labor must embrace, not only because it is morally right, but because fighting for justice is what unions do. Created four years ago after the acquittal of the man who killed Trayvon Martin in Florida, Black Lives Matter became a rallying cry when subsequent police shootings across the country claimed the lives of Black men including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Philando Castile in Minnesota and Eric Garner and Akai Gurley in New York. It is a movement that demands the end of police brutality and mass incarceration, and is dedicated to improving the lives of all Black men, women, and families regardless of economic status, religious beliefs, immigration status and sexual or gender identity.
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 03 - 16, 2016
| Sun 12pm-7pm
What it is not is a movement that is anti-police, or anti-white — yet it has been unjustly portrayed as both. It also has been the target of racist hatred: In recent weeks, a BLM float was vandalized at a college homecoming celebration in Idaho, a Virginia college professor compared it to the KKK, and some police groups across the country have vilified it. Critics have responded to the phrase “Black Lives Matter” by saying things like “All Lives Matter,” or “Blue Lives Matter.” That misses the point. Of course, all lives matter, but the tragic, historical truth of our country is that for more than 400 years black lives have not mattered as much as white lives or even other groups of color. Black people have been enslaved, lynched, segregated, disproportionately jailed, and routinely subjected to a different standard of justice than whites. Time after
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dent engineer for the project, said systems testing has been increased significantly but needs to keep up at that accelerated pace. According to the October progress report, fire alarm testing throughout the stations and escalator testing at the 86th Street station could have potential impact on the opening date. “We never had an opening quite this large,” Thomas Prendergast, the MTA’s chair and CEO, said. Prendergast commended the team’s work and said “they prioritized what needs to be done… but there are still a ways to go.” The MTA chair said that progress measures toward completion were positive and pointed to meeting the December 31 opening date. Even as the agency stuck with its promised opening date, Maloney herself wouldn’t guarantee an exact date, but insisted that the SAS would be operational soon. “It is going to be open, whether it’s the end of December, or January 1 or 2,” Maloney said. “The last thing I want to do is push workers to com-
plete a project that may harm someone by not being fully tested.” With the Second Avenue Subway rumbling toward completion, the congressmember noted that there is $1 billion in the MTA’s budget for Phase 2. However, she emphasized that politicians had to ensure that the money is actually put to use. Nick Sifuentes, the deputy director of the transit advocacy group Riders Alliance, said the long-awaited completion of Phase 1 would restore some confidence for commuters, but agreed with Maloney that the MTA must push ahead toward extension of the line to 125th Street. Once completed in full — more than a decade from now — the project will boast 8.5 miles of new subway service from East Harlem to Hanover Street downtown. “When [the SAS] opens, it’s not just going to serve the commuters who have been waiting for it, it’s also going to demonstrate to the public that investment in mass public transit really yields results,” Sifuentes said. “But it reminds us that we’ve got to get Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway funded all the way up to East Harlem.” n
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time, police officers involved in the shooting deaths of black people — many of whom were unarmed — have either not been charged or were acquitted. While it is a movement created by and for Black communities, all of us, regardless of skin color, must come to understand and respect it and to stand shoulder to shoulder with men and women demanding equal justice and equal treatment under the law. That is something we are deeply committed to at the RWDSU, where many of our members are people of color who work largely in relatively low-paying jobs. We must continue to organize in communities of color to help the workers who need it most. And, we must attack racism in all of its forms. As the union pioneer A. Philip Randolph once said: “Freedom is never given; it is won.” That is the aim of the Black Lives Matter movement — and it is why we in the labor movement, and society at large, must embrace it and fight for its ideals.
Provisional Green Light for Russian Dual-Language Program at P.S. 145 BY JACKSON CHEN
he Department of Education has selected P.S. 145 on West 105th Street to be the site of a Russian dual-language program that is provisionally in the works. While there’s a location in mind for the program, the agency is still in the midst of an extensive evaluation and planning phase. “We are incredibly excited to be planning for our first Dual-Language Russian program at P.S. 145 slated to open next school year,” P.S. 145’s principal Natalia Russo said in a written statement. “The school community will benefit from students learning both Russian and English.” The two moms pushing for the dual-language program, Julia Stoyanovich and Olga Ilyashenko, were upbeat after receiving news that a school had been designated. When P.S. 145 applied to the DOE in June for a planning grant that would help fund the program, Ilyashenko said she was hoping for a decision in September. The school has now been selected for the program, but its fate still depends on meeting other DOE requirements. In order for a dual-language program to launch, the DOE seeks a balance of Russian-speaking students looking to strengthen
their Russian and English proficiency, and students whose first language is English interested in having classes taught in both Russian and English. As of now, the DOE is in the planning stages to get the program underway, but there is still no guarantee it will be launched for the 201718 school year. Ilyashenko, however, said that Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña had previously assured her that funds have been allocated and that the program would commence at P.S. 145 in fall 2017. “I took it as an already done deal and we will get the planning grant,” Ilyashenko said. “But as of right now, the information about the planning grant has not been confirmed.” According to Ilyashenko, the DOE has explained to her two options for moving forward with a program. If P.S. 145 receives the grant from the DOE, the dual-language program would be supported with funding for purchasing materials, writing curriculum, and more. If the school doesn’t receive the grant, P.S. 145 could work on an alternative Russian language program, likely more modest in scale, Ilyashenko said. The parents will meet with Russo in mid-November to start discussions on planning,
P.S. 145 on West 105th Street could be home to a Russian dual-language program by the 2017-18 school year.
Ilyashenko said. “Hopefully we’ll have a chance to prove our community is very active and supportive and wants to integrate into school life and help in any way possible,” Ilyashenko said. “And then we’ll see what happens.” The school’s principal has been working closely with the parents pushing for the program, according to the DOE. “Community input is instrumental during this process, and I look forward to continue having meaningful conversations with families about this new program,” Russo said. n
Lincoln Center’s TKTS Pop-Up Wins Three-Month Extension BY JACKSON CHEN
he TKTS pop-up location at Lincoln Center will be sticking around for at least another three months –– until January 28, after a successful trial run. Since August 2, the nonprofit Theatre Development Fund that operates the TKTS booths has partnered with Lincoln Center to offer discounted Broadway tickets for same-day shows or nextday matinees. The group’s fourth location — TKTS also operates in Times Square, at the South Street Seaport, and in Downtown Brooklyn — opened up at the Zucker Box Office inside the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center at 61 West 62nd Street. While operating as a temporary setup, the newest TKTS was a way to attract more people to Lincoln Center events and give Upper West Side residents a less crowded option for purchasing Broadway tickets, as well. “Our goal is to give more New
Yorkers greater access to the arts,” Tom Dunn, Lincoln Center’s senior director of concert hall operations, said in a written statement. “By offering tickets for Lincoln Center performances and by extending our partnership with TKTS, which includes Broadway and Off-Broadway, we are doing just that.” According to David LeShay, TDF’s director of marketing and public relations, the Lincoln Center pop-up has been well received. He added that Lincoln Center’s events season is just beginning and the culture hub’s numerous venues will host many more shows and events during the winter months. “We’d just like to be there when there is more activity on the Lincoln Center campus, which will help us consider next steps,” LeShay said of the pop-up venuture’s future. The Lincoln Center TKTS will continue with their hours of operation of Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. Customers
So far the TKTS window at Lincoln Center, opened in August, is a success.
can either purchase last-minute theater tickets at 40 or 50 percent discounts or Lincoln Center performance tickets for events throughout the week. “Expanding the residency for another three months will give us the opportunity to be at the Zucker
Box Office while the Lincoln Center season is in full swing,” Victoria Bailey, TDF’s executive director, said in a statement. “The feedback to this experiment has been very positive, and we’re excited to see how this location fares during the winter months.” n
November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
At one of the hearings attended by parents, an audience member gestures in exasperation.
c CEC3, from p.3 org, commended CEC3’s courage and thoughtfulness in issuing a plan to address overcrowding and segregation. “Obviously some parents are disappointed, you’ll hear the complaints of several hundred parents who will be inconvenienced for the next couple of years,” Hemphill said. “But what you won’t hear is from the thousands of children who will benefit in the future, many of whom haven’t been born yet.” Indeed, parents did step forward to voice their vehement objection to CEC3 publishing its plan without significant discussion with the community. Several parents complained that their repeated pleas to CEC3 were falling on deaf ears and that attending the numerous meetings that have taken place about the rezoning issue has amounted to a recurring nightmare. They urged the DOE to reject CEC3’s proposal, charging it is based on inaccurate
Keep your home, family & ﬁnances above water
information and wouldn’t solve the overcrowding issue. Several days after the CEC3 meeting, the NYC Public School Parents for Equity and Desegregation and the District 3 (D3) Task Force on Equity in Education sent a joint letter to Carmen Fariña, the city’s schools chancellor. Their letter requests that the DOE reject CEC3’s recent proposal, arguing it mostly addresses the southern portion of a district that stretches all the way up to West 122nd Street. The parents from those two groups pushed the idea of “Community-Controlled Choice,” under which parents can select which schools in the entire District 3 they’d like to send their kids to. Despite what is a clear divide in public opinion about how to solve the rezoning issue, CEC3 members noted the community would have to come together after the council eventually takes a final vote on the options before it at a date not yet determined. n
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The Long and the Short of it written by: Walter Corwin
Directed by Daniel Kelly Features: Sarah Germain Lilly, T. Scott Lilly, Juan Villegas and Skip Dietrich
Nov. 2 - Nov. 13
Wed.- Sat. 8:00 P.M. Sun. at 3:00 P.M.
written by Claude Solnik Directed By: Donna Mejia “A story about the first woman
to run for president ”
Nov. 17 - Dec 4.
Thurs.- Sat. 8:00 P.M. Sun. at 3:00 P.M.
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 03 - 16, 2016
written by Anne Marilyn Lucas Directed by Peter Zachari “A Holocaust Surviver breaks
her silence “ Nov 4. - Nov. 20 Thurs.- Sat. 8:00 P.M. Sunday 3:00 P.M.
Election Day Is November 8
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t’s not at all inappropriate to end this harrowing election season with images from Monday evening’s Halloween Parade downtown. It’s time for all this to be over, and for our country to start putting itself back together next Wednesday. If you want to help lower the final curtain on this freak show, make sure to vote next Tuesday (unlike areas in 21st century America, New York does not have early voting). If you unsure of your polling site, visit https://nyc.pollsitelocator. com/search. n
Meet the New Bot, Same as the Old Bot
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BY LENORE SKENAZY
e don’t kill off our retirees just because they’re not working anymore, so don’t worry about our future robot overlords killing us off us when we’re no longer working — which we won’t be, since robots will be doing everything faster and better than us. Just as machines have been taking jobs from human beings since the invention of the sawmill.
In that future, robotruled time, we might have the choice to actually become one of the superbots by donating our brain after we die, then coming back (sort of) as the brain of a computer just like us –– down to our likes, dislikes, sense of humor, and maybe even our looks. That, my friends, was just part of the trippy argument going on at a monthly event called the Soho Forum, where
free, open-to-the-public debates examine issues of interest to freewill–loving libertarians. I’m not quite sure how robots and libertarians find common cause, but in any event the question to answer was: “Will robots eventually dominate the world and eliminate humans’ abilities to earn wages.” One professor — Robin Hanson, an associate professor of economics at George Mason University —
briskly insisted that in the future, we will see the ascendancy of “Ems,” remarkably human robots that emulate us, because they’re modeled on our own brains. Or at least they’re modeled on the people who would make the very best worker -robots, claimed the author of “The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth.”
c BOTS, continued on p.17
November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
Fossil Fools t
c BOTS, from p.16 But that’s not who will choose, said the “Robots will not take over” debater, Bryan Caplan, also an author and econ professor at George Mason, because when we get around to creating worker robots from human brain scans, we will scan only the most docile, efficient workers, to create docile, non-human-killing Ems. And this is where it started getting weird(er): Hanson believes that company chiefs will still want to hire the most brilliant workers, which means they’ll end up cloning (or replicating, or whatever the word is) jerks. “We expect the highest productivity workers will be chosen,” said Hanson. In other words, the Ems will be clones of the cutthroat people most of us hate. And, being cutthroats, eventually they’ll cut our throats.
“Although it may well be that the first five generations of robots will keep humans around because they feel some vestigial warmth toward our species,” Hanson said. How comforting. Caplan was having none of it. Why on earth would we clone the cutthroats who want to kill us, he asked. Well, over the eons we’ve had quite a lot of experience breeding new beings to do our bidding: Our pets and farm animals. We’ll do the same with humans — cloning the absolutely sweetest ones who also have a fierce work ethic. “We’ve got seven billion people to choose from,” he pointed out. “A normal employer has five.” The moderator, Gene Epstein, economics editor at Barron’s, tried to make peace. “You’ll tweak it,” he nodded to both, seeking to bridge their differences.
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 03 - 16, 2016
Caplan was not convinced that the day of the Ems will ever come, because who would volunteer to become one? “First thing, you’re actually dead,” he said. “They have to slice your brain in pieces. Very few people would want their biological death in order to have a computer simulation.” “Today we can’t conceive of it,” agreed Hanson. But when humans in the future see that the Ems talk and look and act like “real” people — except they never die — then the prospect might become attractive. Hanson made it sound as normal as wearing glasses, another biological enhancement people eons ago could not have conceived. And that was Hanson’s big point: Of course this stuff sounds bizarre to us. But think back 1,000 years to the subsistence
farmers. If you’d told them that someday we’d be able to talk to someone across an ocean, there’s no way they would have understood much less believed you. And now we have Skype and FaceTime. Would the Ems own proper ty? Would they eventually fight? Or would the earth become a paradise with Ems doing all our work? Those issues were not resolved. In fact, nothing really was. A before-and-after poll of the audience found that the exact same number had changed their minds from negative to positive, and vice versa. It was the least strange moment of a very strange night. Lenore Skenazy is the author and founder of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids,” and a contributor at Reason.com. n
Loving, Up Close BY STEVE ERICKSON
irector Jeff Nichols’ “Loving” has all the ingredients to make an irritating piece of Oscar-bait. It’s a period piece addressing important issues. The Academy Award voters will never realize that “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle” was a more subversive take on racism than Paul Haggis’ “Crash,” so a film that blatantly foregrounds its grappling with American history is likely to get their nod. To my relief, “Loving” is modest and humanscaled. There’s a bare minimum of courtroom histrionics. While it does depict white ACLU lawyers arguing against laws banning interracial marriage, it doesn’t show whites as the saviors of the Civil Rights Movement. It’s rooted in a very specific and detailed sense of time and place. “Loving” begins in Central Point, Virginia, in 1958. Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga) are a married couple. He is white, and she is African-American. While they know that it’s against the law for an interracial couple to get married in Virginia — they drive to Washington, DC, for the ceremony — they don’t expect any serious circumstances and are surprised when cops come by and haul them off to jail. After receiving a suspended sentence, they relocate to Washington but don’t like it very much. In particular, Mildred wants to head back to the Virginia countryside, but doing so risks another arrest and serious jail time. The area of rural Caroline County where the Lovings lived in the ‘50s is carefully sketched out: drag races, parties with moonshine and live bluegrass, early R&B and rock’n’roll on the soundtrack. Richard spends most of his time with blacks, but it seems significantly less segregated than the urban life of the time depicted in “Loving.” In the summer, the cinematography is appropriately hazy. Nichols seems horrified by the conditions in the Washington neighborhood where the Lovings move. It’s introduced with images of animals eating trash on the street. At night, the sound of people talking keeps Mildred up. Richard is the only white man in sight. Left unsaid is the implication that this grime is a product of segregation and that white neighborhoods are much nicer. Nichols’ work, particularly “Mud,” has often
Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton in Jeff Nichols’ “Loving,” which opens November 4.
LOVING Directed by Jeff Nichols
suggested that he’s a Southern regionalist; here, he went as far as shooting in the same Virginia towns and neighborhoods where the Lovings’ arrest and initial trial took place. There’s been a lot of Oscar talk about Ruth Negga’s performance — including a Freudian slip from one critic who managed to turn her last name into a slur in the obvious way while he thought he was praising her — but it’s not at all showy. Joel Edgerton’s work is even more minimalist. Neither character talks that much. They’re products of the age before mass media, even if they own a TV set. (When they move back to Virginia, they live in a house without a telephone.) Mildred is more active and talkative; she’s the one who makes the initial decision to write to Bobby Kennedy, which leads to the ACLU contacting her. Edgerton’s performance rides a fine line between emphasizing his character’s laconic nature and showing enough of his intelligence and personality so that Richard never seems stupid. It’s hard to imagine defendants in a comparable Supreme Court case now declining to personally appear at the court. Of course, there are parallels between the struggles depicted in “Loving” and those still going on. The kind of ugly urban decay and segregation shown in the Washington scenes remains with
Focus Features Opens Nov. 4 Loews Lincoln Square amctheatres.com 1998 Broadway at W. 67th St. Regal Union Square regmovies.com 850 Broadway at E. 13th St. us. Some of the arguments used against the Lovings’ marriage are specific to interracial marriage: “God created the races and set them on separate continents” (Of course, this never addresses the faults of the slave traders who brought Africans to the New World to begin with.) Some of them will sound mighty familiar to anyone who remembers the recent battles over same-sex marriage. Period pieces face the danger of rendering prejudice safely defeated and relegated to the past; take “The Imitation Game,” which actually felt less daring than Basil Dearden’s classic “Victim,” a film made while homosexuality was still illegal in the UK. Rather than making any grand statements about American racism, “Loving” is a touching, gentle portrait of a couple that, along the way, depicts their glancing interaction with the Civil Rights Movement. n November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
Iggy Pops Off, Stooges Get Their Due BY STEVE ERICKSON
imme danger, little stranger,” sings the Stooges’ Iggy Pop on the song that lends its title to Jim Jarmusch’s documentary on the band. He was probably thinking of an exciting sexual encounter, but the power of the Stooges’ music is so primal that it suggests something a whole lot more serious and sinister. Danger to the Stooges themselves, first and foremost. Original bassist Dave Alexander passed away of pneumonia in 1975, and today Iggy is the sole survivor from the band’s original lineup. That taste of danger would prove intoxicating to future musicians — Jarmusch includes a montage of various punk bands covering Stooges songs in the late ‘70s — but it drove away hippie audiences who, in 1969, the year of Woodstock, didn’t want to hear there was really nothing to do, as the first song on the first Stooges album says. If you were a working-class teenager stuck in Michigan, however, the ‘60s no doubt looked a whole lot less exciting. Jarmusch has always been an unconventional director, but never a flashy one. His Neil Young doc “Year of the Horse” was fine but somewhat workmanlike. “Gimme Danger” brings somewhat more visual pizzazz to the project, with sparingly used but witty animation. Jarmusch
also shows his sense of humor by editing in clips from TV shows and Hollywood movies. These are actually quite creative. Iggy grew up in a trailer, and he talks about identifying the same model in Vincente Minnelli’s Lucille Ball vehicle “The Long, Long Trailer.” Jarmusch shows a clip from “The Ten Commandments” when Iggy describes his attraction to ancient Egyptian pharaohs. He uses an ancient anti-drug educational film to illustrate Iggy’s recollections of his introduction to heroin. As critic Richard Porton pointed out, this use of found footage actually isn’t far off from politically-minded British documentarian Adam Curtis, even if Jarmusch has less lofty goals. “Gimme Danger” includes interviews with most of the major figures involved with the Stooges saga — Jarmusch was fortunate to talk to saxophonist Steve Mackay and drummer Scott Asheton, who have died within the past two years, and get archival interviews with guitarist/ bassist Ron Asheton, who died in 2009 — but it’s Iggy’s story. Fortunately, Iggy turns out to be a great raconteur. Jarmusch passes the microphone to him and lets him take control of most of the film. AMAZON STUDIOS & MAGNOLIA PICTURES
c IGGY, continued on p.25
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Queen of the Harlem Renaissance BY TRAV S.D.
ZORA NEALE HURSTON: A THEATRICAL BIOGRAPHY
his year is the 125th anniversary of the birth of trailblazing African-American writer, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960). To mark the occasion, the New Federal Theatre is reviving its 1998 production of Laurence Holder’s “Zora Neale Hurston: A Theatrical Biography.” Sometimes known as the “Queen of the Harlem Renaissance,” Hurston had a life and a career that were extraordinary by any standard. Raised in Eatonville, Florida, America’s first town to be incorporated and governed entirely by African Americans, Hurston went on to study at Howard University and later Barnard College. While at Barnard, she was tapped by anthropologist Franz Boas to collect material on the folk culture of African Americans, a lifelong project that would come to embrace a study of the people of the Caribbean, as well. Said Woodie King, Jr., artistic director of the New Federal Theatre and director of the upcoming play, “She was a pioneer of promoting the folkways of African Americans that had been unheard up until that time. She went into the South and collected tons of stories. She studied folk music and blues songs, she spoke with people on chain gangs, in prison, in lumber camps, at fishing holes, on front porches. It all had an impact on her.” Hurston had already begun publishing her fiction prior to this folklore fieldwork, becoming one of the key players in the Harlem Renaissance by the mid-1920s alongside such figures as Langston Hughes. Her subsequent studies of folk culture would come to enrich her short stories, novels, and non-fiction works of a decade later to a marked degree, giving them a distinct, authentic flavor. Her principle works were written during the Great Depression: the novels “Jonah’s Gourd Vine” (1934), “Their Eyes Were Watching God” (1937, her best-known work), and “Moses, Man of the Mountain” (1939), and the non-fiction works “Mules and Men” (1935) and “Tell My Horse” (1938). In the 1940s
New Federal Theatre Castillo Theatre 543 W. 42nd St. Through Nov. 20 Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 2:30 p.m. $40; $30 for students & seniors castillo.org or 212-941-1234 Eighty-five mins.
Elizabeth Van Dyke in “Zora Neale Hurston: A Theatrical Biography.”
there followed a memoir, “Dust Tracks on a Road” (1942), and one last published novel “Seraph on the Sewanee” (1948). Over the years she also wrote plays, poetry, short stories, articles, and opinion pieces. In later years she fell out of favor. The fact that she wrote in phonetically rendered black dialect (an outgrowth of her anthropological fieldwork) alienated her from many black readers and intellectuals (including novelist Richard Wright), as did the fact that she was an outspoken political conservative. In 1948 she was framed by Florida authorities, who accused of her molesting a 10-year-old boy, a crime of which she was manifestly innocent, having been in Honduras at the time. This incident finished her career as a public figure. Hurston spent her remaining 12 years both penniless and obscure. According to playwright Holder, Hurston’s famously go-it-alone personality contributed to this isolation: “She didn’t really like authority, and being a woman, she was constantly being upbraided by men, being told to stay in the kitchen and so forth. She rebelled against it. She knew who she was and was quick to remind everyone. But,” he added admiringly, “she was one bad-ass bitch! She told Langston Hughes and Richard Wright where to go. And these
were all guys who were helping her out! She castigated [scholar] Alain [LeRoy] Locke, and he was the one who helped her get into Barnard. So she didn’t really belong to anyone. She was a loner.” In 1973, Hurston’s unmarked grave was located by the young writer Alice Walker, who collaborated with others to erect a headstone, and led the rehabilitation and popularization of Hurston’s place in American literary history, beginning with a 1975 article in Ms. Magazine entitled “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston” (later anthologized as “Looking for Zora”). With renewed interest by the public, Hurston’s works were republished, re-evaluated, and celebrated, and are now considered classics. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” was made into a 2005 TV movie by Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones, starring Halle Berry. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is the same book that inspired playwright Holder’s decades-long engagement with Hurston. “When I read that book I was floored — floored!” he said. According to Holder, he immediately began working on an adaptation that was being workshopped in 1979 when a call from Hurston’s estate shut it down. “That’s when I started writing a biographical play,” says Holder. This became “Zora,” which starred a then-unknown
Phylicia Rashad and was presented in 1981 on a double-bill that also included Holder’s biographical play about Malcolm X entitled “When the Chickens Came Home to Roost” — starring a then-unknown Denzel Washington (now, there’s a night of theater I wish I could go back in time to see!). In total, Holder has written five theatrical works about Hurston. In 1998, his “Zora Neale Hurston” was presented as a co-production of the American Place Theatre and Woodie King, Jr.’s National Black Touring Circuit, starring Elizabeth Van Dyke, who had directed “Zora” back in 1981. The play is a twohander; all the men in Hurston’s life were played by Joseph Lewis Edwards. Both actors are returning for the current revival. For her portrayal of Hurston in the original production, Van Dyke won an AUDELCO Award for Best Actress. In the 18 years since that last production, America has seen the election of its first black president and the appointments of its first black attorney general and two black secretaries of state, including the first black female in that position. Oprah Winfrey became the world’s first black female billionaire. At the same time, America has continued to struggle with racial division, most markedly regarding unfair law enforcement and criminal justice practices. What does a figure like Hurston have to tell us today? Said King, “It would be amazing for me to know that this show would help audiences discover
c ZORA, continued on p.25
November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
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Jonathan Larson’s Pre-Middle Age Angst BY DAVID KENNERLEY
verybody knows the tragic backstory of “Rent,” where the show’s 35-year old creator Jonathan Larson died of an aortic aneurysm just hours before the Off-Broadway premiere in 1996. The Pulitzer Prize-winning, pop-rock musical was hailed as a game-changer, pumping fresh oxygen into Broadway (where it ran for 12 years), and, as Larson intended, brought musical theater to the MTV generation. Several national tours followed, plus a 2005 movie starring much of the original cast. Today, “Rent” remains a juggernaut, with productions all over the globe. Not so well known is that Larson penned an autobiographical rock monologue titled “Tick, Tick…BOOM!” a couple of years prior to “Rent.” After being reshaped into a three-hander by David Auburn, the spunky tuner was staged Off-Broadway in 2001 at the Jane Street Theatre (fittingly, the same space where “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” got its start). Now the chamber musical is having its first full Off-Broadway revival, courtesy of the Keen Company, playing at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row. If “La Boheme” was the inspiration for “Rent,” perhaps “Company” was the jumping off point for “Tick, Tick…BOOM!” Like the Sondheim classic, the action unfolds in a series of disconnected vignettes and centers on a rudderless, unmarried guy fretting over a landmark birthday (Jonathan turning 30; Sondheim’s Bobby turning 35) and looking to friends for solace. The musical is peppered with sly Sondheim references — snippets of librettos and lyrics, a spoof of the song “Sunday” from “Sunday in the Park with George,” and even a cameo voiceover by the
Keen Company The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row 410 W. 42nd St. Through Nov. 20 Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. CAROL ROSEGG
George Salazar, Ciara Renée, and Nick Blaemire in Jonathan Larson’s “Tick, Tick…BOOM!,” directed by Jonathan Silverstein, at the Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row through November 20.
legend. Which makes sense since Sondheim was Larson’s idol and occasional mentor in real life. The zippy, 90-minute piece, set downtown in 1990, finds Jonathan striving to become a successful musical theater composer while moonlighting as a waiter at a local diner (Larson worked at the iconic Moondance Diner on lower Sixth Avenue, long since replaced by a tony hotel). He lives in a dumpy loft on the edge of SoHo with his longtime pal, Michael, who happens to be gay and gave up an acting career to work at a Madison Avenue ad agency (the term “sell-out” surfaces more than once). Jonathan’s relationship with gorgeous girlfriend Susan, a dancer, is coming apart at the seams. Is it better to persevere or settle? The ticking is getting louder. Under the assured direction of Jonathan Silverstein, this is an unfussy, stripped-down affair with a minimal set, by Steven Kemp, dominated by a wonderful architectural feature resembling an enormous loft ceiling with skylights, covered in bright graffiti swirls. But it is awkward-
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ly askew, suggesting a “BOOM!” is taking place. The spirited band, led by Joey Chancey, is visibly onstage where it should be. When not in a scene, actors sit on tall stools and guzzle bottled water. While the choppy book feels a bit simplistic and dated, much of the score is still fresh and vibrant. When it comes to the demanding role of Jonathan, Nick Blaemire has some mighty big shoes to fill. Raúl Esparza (who, as it happens, played Bobby in “Company” on Broadway) originated the role Off-Broadway, and in the Encores! version a couple of years ago, Jonathan was portrayed by none other than Lin-Manuel Miranda. If Blaemire seems tentative in some of the more raucous sequences, he nails the soulful ballads, like “See Her Smile,” where he laments there’s nothing he can do to make Susan stay. Sadly, he is forced to wear oversized, pleated, rust-colored corduroys that are so hideous it’s distracting.
c TICK TICK, continued on p.24
My Fractured Queer Family BY DAVID KENNERLEY
hen “Falsettos,” a comic, sung-through musical tracing the tribulations of a fractious band of New Yorkers — many of them gay — landed on Broadway back in 1992, it was a heady time for LGBT rights. ACT UP was still in full-on warfare mode, desperately trying to draw attention to the shameful complacency surrounding AIDS (shockingly, the number one cause of death among US men ages 25-44). Bill Clinton, who would be elected president that November,
was vowing to enact legislation allowing gays in the military — a goal he would, of course, fall spectacularly short of due to entrenched homophobia. The very existence of “Falsettos” was an implied political statement. At a time when the LGBT community was being demonized, it was one of the precious few Broadway offerings showing that gay people can have just as tender and messy relationships as straight people. It also asserted that gay men dying of AIDS are deserving of compassion from the community around them. The piece ran for more than a
year and won Tony Awards for Best Book (by William Finn and James Lapine, who also directed) and Best Original Score (also by Finn). Now, nearly a quarter-century later, “Falsettos” is being revived in a slick, sensitive new Broadway production courtesy of Lincoln Center Theater. And while, understandably, the show has lost much of its urgency, it retains its ability to touch the heart. It also retains its chaotic quirks, with wild mood swings — jumping from jubilation to despair — that can be difficult to reconcile. Lapine is back at the helm.
“Falsettos” has always been a peculiar, patchy musical — a meshing of two Off-Broadway shows. Act I (set in 1979) is drawn from “The March of the Falsettos, which debuted in 1981, while Act II (set in 1981) is from “Falsettoland” that debuted a decade later. The titles of the musical numbers alone reflect a vast diversity, from “Four Jews in a Room Bitching” to “Making a Home,” “Days Like This I Almost Believe in God,” and “You Gotta Die Sometime.” Finn’s musical style remains full of verve and whimsy.
c FALSETTOS, continued on p.24
November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
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-
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 03 - 16, 2016
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.
c TICK TICK, from p.22 As Susan, Ciara Renée turns in the standout performance of the evening, adding layers of emotional complexity to what could be a cookie-cutter role. Plus, she delivers some heart-stirring, life-affirming vocals. George Salazar does his best to believably capture Michael’s ups and downs. One moment Michael is rhapsodizing about his new highrise apartment with its parquet floors and dishwasher; later he’s disclosing a health crisis. “I know I’m sick, Jon,” he says. “And I’m not going to get any better.” Remember, this was before antiretroviral cocktails, when having HIV/ AIDS was seen as virtually a death sentence –– and too
often was. Although it stands solidly on its own, “Tick, Tick…BOOM!” resonates more forcefully when considering Larson’s posthumous triumph with “Rent.” The uncanny prescience of writing a show about following your bliss before time runs out is lost on no one. For Larson, the “boom” turned out to be all too real. No less extraordinary is that Blaemire himself knows a thing or two about the hardships Larson endured as a promising young composer. He wrote the music and lyrics for “Glory Days,” which premiered on Broadway in 2008. That modest pop musical shuttered the day after it opened — one of the most notorious flops in recent memory. n
c FALSETTOS, from p.22
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The impeccable cast works hard to smooth over the bumps. As Marvin, Christian Borle (fresh from his Tony Award-winning turn in “Something Rotten”) reveals undercurrents of warmth in an otherwise unlikable protagonist who has left his unsuspecting wife, Trina (Stephanie J. Block, in top form), and geeky, pre-teen son (Anthony Rosenthal) to be with a man. Whizzer, his immaculately groomed, self-absorbed new lover, deftly played by Andrew Rannells, exhibits a cocky allure that makes it easy to understand why Marvin upended his life. Block literally stops the show with her tour-de-force number, “I’m Breaking Down,” where she realizes the terrible toll of Marvin’s betrayal. Here the balance of comedy and catastrophe is pitch perfect. The plot gets tangled further when Mendel (Brandon Uranowitz), Marvin’s insecure psychiatrist, falls for Trina and they, against all odds and ethics, become a couple. Later, this fraught, dysfunctional family is expanded by the addition of the sympathetic lesbians next door, Dr. Charlotte (Tracie Thoms) and Cordelia (Betsy Wolfe). The ever-shifting family structure, it should be noted, is nicely echoed in David Rockwell’s abstract, versatile set featuring a variety of large, soft gray building blocks constantly being reconfigured. Marvin and Whizzer have their ups and downs, and often find
Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells in William Finn and James Lapine’s “Falsettos,” at the Walter Kerr Theatre through January 8.
themselves sparring on the racquetball court or in the bedroom. It’s not until Whizzer gets sick that the potency of their love fully shines through. “Slap my face or hold me,” Marvin says toward the end. The show, which clocks in at two hours and 40 minutes, hums along briskly enough, but could use some judicious trimming. The creepy, neon-accented fantasy dance routine, “March of the Falsettos,” feels sorely out of place. The book has its share of stereotypes that have not aged well — the nagging, New York Jewish psychiatrist, for example. Not that a bouncy, quasi-operetta about cheating, divorce, and terminal
c FALSETTOS, continued on p.25
November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
c IGGY, from p.19 The original Stooges lineup only recorded two albums; a second incarnation featuring guitarist James Williamson recorded a third, 1973’s “Raw Power,” before imploding into a mess described at the beginning of “Gimme Danger” and recorded on several live albums. Like many artists who become legendary after their deaths, that slim discography has been padded by an endless series of demo collections, most of them not worth one’s while, as well as a box set containing every single take recorded for their second album, “Funhouse.” That album, which mixed jazz and funk into their garage-rock stew, may represent the band’s peak. After its release, they went on the road, playing a series of rock festivals and gradually gaining greater popularity despite a lack of radio airplay or label support. But at one of these festivals Iggy first tried heroin, and the band soon became a debacle. Riddled with constant lineup changes, they were dropped by Elektra Records in 1971 before a third album could be completed. “Gimme Danger” makes a case for the Stooges as serious avant-gardists, not just noisemakers. Iggy recalls buying Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders albums while working at a record store, as well as drumming for blues musicians in Chicago. The
c ZORA, from p.20 a figure who was present at the Harlem Renaissance, through the Great Depression, through World War II, through the beginning of
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c FALSETTOS, from p.24 illness spotlighting miserable neurotics is for everyone. But if you focus on the underlying spirit of love and acceptance, this “Falsettos” can warm even the most hardened critics. Perhaps the contrast between the two iterations a quarter-century apart can be summed up by their respective Playbill covers. The current Playbill depicts a complex, heart-shaped diagram featuring arrows and cute, smiling faces. On the 1992 cover was a stark illustration by none other than Keith Haring – known as much for his AIDS activism as for his artwork and by
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November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
Manhattan Express’ Allison Greaker Dies at 78 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 Manhattan Express, Gay City News, Chelsea Now, and the Villager, celebrated her irrepressible wry humor. Allison Davis Greaker died suddenly at the age of 78 at home on Friday, October 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 newspaper group 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. 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,’ ” her daughter said. “My mother made a joke of everything. It made life interesting, fun, and sometimes embarrassing,” said her daughter. A staunch Republican, Allison boasted at one point that she was the only openly GOP staffer in the office. She was, as well, a woman of deeply held Episcopalian faith and was an officer in the 1928 Prayer Book Alliance. “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 Observer before she came to NYC Community Media.” A proud member of Daughters of the American Revolution, Greaker’s roots went 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
c WALDORF, from p.11 public spaces. We are now finalizing renovation plans for the Waldorf that preserve these spaces and will ensure that the Waldorf will provide memorable experiences for generations to come. We look forward to sharing our plans publicly when they are complete.” In early September, State Senator Brad Hoylman sent a letter urging the LPC to consider the landmark designation for the Waldorf’s interiors, noting its cultural significance in hosting “countless New Yorkers and visitors alike, includ-
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.” “We had a lot of fun together playing each other’s devil’s advocate,” recalled Paul Schindler editor of Manhattan Express and Gay City News. “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-of-a-kind advertising that brought the client results.” Cynthia Soto, the newspaper group’s office manager, said, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Allison for 11 years. She was an amazing woman. I 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.” Allison Davis Greaker was born on July 26, 1938, in Brooklyn, the seventh of eight children of Jocelyn Christine Andrews and Edwin Graves Davis, and she 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,” Allison’s daughter recalled. “My father was the reigning eligible
ing United States presidents, world leaders, and prominent figures in business, the arts, and civic life.” Hoylman said the Chinese company has been well served by its advisors and that its recent actions indicate it wants to be a good citizen and caretaker for the Waldorf. “I’m elated because these interiors at the Waldorf are some of the most beautiful and historic, representing a very important period of New York City and American history,” Hoylman said. “That the possibility is favorable that we could preserve these for future generations is an incredible statement about
ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | November 03 - 16, 2016
PHOTO BY CYNTHIA SOTO
Allison Greaker at her 50th wedding anniversary party in 2014.
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.” In addition to her daughter, Allison Greaker 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 on October 26, at Christ Church, Bay Ridge.
how the city regards its history.” Describing himself as still only “cautiously optimistic” about the Waldorf situation, Bankoff emphasized that he appreciates Anbang’s cooperativeness. “It’s really good they’re working with the Landmarks Commission and that they’re acting so swiftly before activity has happened,” Bankoff said of the insurance giant. “While I’m sure Anbang has plans at least on the drawing board, they are bringing the Landmarks Commission in before the plans become public. It becomes much less confrontational and more of a collaboration.”
According to LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, the owners’ cooperation allowed the commission to do “unfettered research… and come up with a really wonderful collection of interior rooms.” If the spaces under consider ation are landmarked after the public hearing, Srinivasan said, the action would “ensure both the integral part of the interior design and arrangement that historically defined the Waldorf, but also protect its unique experience of visiting, encountering, and discovering this historic hotel in its entire grandeur.” n
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November 03 - 16, 2016 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc
November 03, 2016