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

November 24, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 47

Now first son-in-law, Kushner launches P.R. volunteer campaign By Joaquin Cotler


t’s the beginning of a new chapter for Jared Kushner, one of the closest advisers to President-elect Donald Trump. The rookie political operative, whose fortune lies in his Kushner Properties real estate portfolio, will be shifting his focus to the White House, where his

father-in-law plans to live part time starting in January. Residents of Kushner’s buildings hoped his new career in the public eye would cause him to change what they call his company’s hands-off management style. But despite a brand-new, well-funded public-relations campaign, Kushner — with his Kushner continued on p. 10

‘Father of LEED’ hopes to help spark LES Park building’s return to use By Dennis Lynch


ower East Siders are organizing another push to open a city-owned building on Stanton St. in Sara D. Roosevelt Park to the public. A coalition of local stakeholders want the Parks and Recreation Department to make good on a promise it made almost 20 years ago to reopen the for-

mer recreation center that the agency has used as an operations facility since the 1980s. Members of the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition and other neighborhood groups will take their fight to City Hall at the City Council’s Dec. 1 Committee on Parks and Recreation meeting to discuss building continued on p. 7

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Members of GAG (Gays Against Gays) protested outside the Trump Soho Hotel on Monday night. They were par ticularly focused on Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, a leader of the alt-right movement.

Trump already leaving his mark, local politicians say By Lincoln Anderson


ocal politicians, university presidents and faith leaders — Jewish, Muslim and Christian — gathered in Washington Square Park last Thursday to condemn the recent spike of hateful incidents in the area following the presidential election. The rally was, in particular, “to support the West Village

Electors must dump Trump...p. 15

community” in the wake of the troubling rise in hate. The incidents have included anti-Semitic graffiti on student dormitory doors at The New School, threatening graffiti and post-its at New York University on an Islamic prayer room and a dorm door, and swastikas gouged into an elevator door at state Senator Brad Hoylman’s building on Fifth Ave. Just three days after the press

conference, Hoylman was targeted by a hater yet again, receiving anti-Semitic fliers at his Village home, apparently sent by an Arizona man. Hoylman’s husband and their young daughter are Jewish, and Hoylman follows the faith. At Thursday’s press conference in front of the iconic park arch, the politicians and faith leaders challenged such bighate continued on p. 6

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Rabbi didn’t have a prayer: Nov. 8 was a heartbreaker and nightmare come true for most Downtowners, but at least progressives could enjoy Brad Hoylman’s resounding re-election win in the 27th state Senate District. The incumbent beat challenger Rabbi Stephen Roberts, who ran as an independent, with nearly 96 percent of the vote, “and the most raw votes of any senator in the state,” Hoylman noted in a Facebook post. He slammed Roberts for spending more than $50,000 in what he called “a negative campaign” against him. Indeed, on Election Day, we saw Roberts campaigning on the corner of Sixth Ave. and W. 11th St. near the P.S. 41 poll site and handing out his “walk cards” to voters. He said he had personally handed out about 30,000 of them during the whole campaign. They showed photos of Donald Trump, fallen Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — and also a scowling Hoylman! Apparently, Roberts’s efforts to paint Hoylman as corrupt and part of the problem in Albany didn’t fly with voters. At any rate, the earnest rabbi said he really enjoyed campaigning, and that he’s now going to focus on trying to change the rules, so that independents don’t need to get an unfairly high number of valid signatures of voters in the district, 3,000, in order to get on the ballot for state Senate. Those running for the major-party lines have a big advantage, only having to collect 1,000 valid signatures. You Niou it: Also romping on Election Day was Yuh-Line Niou, winning 76 percent of the vote in Lower Manhattan’s 65th Assembly District, formerly represented by Silver. She’ll take over in January from Alice Cancel, who has briefly held the seat since beating Niou in a special election back in April. While Hillary Clinton didn’t make history on Nov. 8, Niou did, becoming the first Asian-American to represent Chinatown or any part of Manhattan in the New York State Legislature. Niou has been getting lots of good press about her victory, even scoring an interview in style mag Vogue.


November 24, 2016

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Last Friday and Saturday, the newly redubbed “Alamo Plaza” — ever yone still calls it A stor Place — was transformed, sor t of, into a scene from the Seven Kingdoms from “Game of Thrones” for a DVD promo for the popular series.

Cude vibrations: As expected, Terri Cude won election to chairperson of Community Board 2 last Thursday night, sweeping all 36 votes of board members present. That wasn’t exactly a shocker, since she was the only candidate running. A Soho activist in the audience wondered to us why the members even had to fill out paper ballots, and didn’t just do a show of hands. We don’t know…maybe it was so someone didn’t charge, “The election was rigged!” (That’s a popular expression nowadays, or at least it was… .) Tobi Bergman, the outgoing chairperson, pointedly said it’s better for the board to have contested elections... . But, c’mon, it’s not good for anyone’s ego to be destroyed by Cude in an election! ‘Thrones’ rules plaza: Just one day after the ribbon was finally cut on the completed Astor Place / Cooper Square renovation — complete with the restored “Cube” sculpture — the new plaza was promptly invaded by a two-day “Game of Thrones” promo last Friday and Saturday. Some medieval-ish huts were hastily thrown up, “The Cube” was eerily illuminated with red spotlights and the show’s fans would be doing something with “V.R.,” we were told by some security guys there Thursday night. It was all to promote the show’s sixth-season DVD release. Not surprisingly, the blogosphere blew up indignantly that the plaza had been so quickly commercialized. However, William Kelley, the executive director of the Village Alliance business improvement district, said the outrage is a bit overblown. “The space has been open for about six months, and in those roughly 180 days, the plaza has had three major events totaling seven days, all free and open to the public,” he said. “The events — NYCxDESIGN, the ‘Astor Alive!’ festival and the ‘Game of Thrones’ activation — were all different in nature, but generally allow people to participate in some way. I think this HBO event is more noticeable because of its timing, coming right on the heels of the city’s ‘Cube’ installation and ribbon-cutting ceremony — which, frankly, should have happened months ago. I have no way to anticipate how many events will be there over a year’s time, but we are committed to working with the city to ensure that any events programmed are suitable for the neighborhood, limit amplified sound and inconvenience area stakeholders as little as possible.” Anyway, onward!… Next up will be the rededication of seven of “Mosaic Man” Jim Power’s restored street lampposts on Tues., Nov. 29, at 11:30 a.m. There will be speakers, including Power and poet Bob Holman, among others. After the unveiling, the “Mosaic Man” will provide a personal guided tour of his work,

explaining the stories and design behind each pole.

Runnin’ on empty (pipeline): Village activist Jean-Louis Bourgeois called us from Standing Rock the other day to report that everyone is looking forward to the benefit concert Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt will be hosting out there on Sun., Nov. 27, for the Dakota Access Pipeline resisters. It’s free for the Standing Rock Sioux community and all “Water Protectors.” All gross proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the tribe in their efforts to halt the pipeline and prepare the camps for winter. In a statement, Browne said, “Just as we give thanks for our good fortune and the bounty of our lives as Americans, let us thank the Native people who are gathered here at Standing Rock to protect the natural world and defend our place in it.” Added Raitt, “This movement is growing by the day with solidarity actions happening around the country, yet the media isn’t covering it nearly enough. Our hope is that this concert will help bring more awareness and media attention to the issues being raised at Standing Rock, and to put pressure on the Obama administration to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline until protection of sacred sites is ensured.” One of Bourgeois’s allies added that the feds have agreed to hold talks with the Native American activists before issuing any permits, which could seriously delay the project. In some tragic news, on Tuesday it was reported a protester from New York may lose her arm after being hit with a concussion grenade. WBAI woes: So what exactly is going on with WBAI, New York’s legendary left-wing radio station? Paul DiRienzo, who has been involved with the iconic station over the years, and knows it’s byzantine politics and feuding factions, gave us the update: “I guess a formal motion is being made to begin the dissolution of the Pacifica Network and the potential spinoff of WBAI to another entity in New York,” he said. “Probably sell the signal and transfer the call letters to a local nonprofit. KPFA in Berkley will go its own way and no longer help WBAI. New bylaws will be proposed, eliminating Pacifica’s democracy experiment, allowing the handoff of the network to a small coterie who could efficiently manage the dissolution.” As for who will get WBAI’s signal, DiRienzo said, “I’ve heard that either The Nation or ‘Democracy Now!’ will get the new frequency.” So Amy Goodman would get the signal? What about Gary Null? we asked, of BAI’s two biggest stars. “That seems to be the issue,” DiRienzo said.

Local pols, advocates vow to shield immigrants By Mary Reinholz


onald Trump softened his incendiary rhetoric against undocumented immigrants during a “60 Minutes” interview on Nov. 13, saying he would focus the government’s deportation apparatus on immediately removing about 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants who have criminal records — “gang members, drug dealers” — once he takes office Jan. 20. The figure he put forth is huge, but it’s considerably smaller than the 11 million immigrants Trump claimed he would remove from the U.S. while on the campaign trail. But his words have stirred fear and loathing in immigrant communities, even though critics say Trump’s numbers are way out of whack. They describe his proposal as an authoritarian pipe dream, unworkable in a democracy. They note it’s unlikely he will snap his fingers and get agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to round up suspects in their homes or workplaces, especially in a sanctuary city like New York that prohibits local police from sharing information and acting as an arm of the federal government. “Trump says a lot of things that don’t make sense,” said Anne Pilsbury, a public-interest lawyer who directs Central American Legal Assistance, a nonprofit law service operating out of the basement of Transfiguration Roman Catholic Church on Williamsburg’s south side. She has a caseload of thousands of undocumented Latino immigrants, many of them seeking asylum after having fled violent gangs in South America. “Every immigrant who he wishes to deport is entitled to his or her day in court,” Pilsbury stressed. But the attorney also believes that Trump, who has called for defunding of sanctuary cities, will make life harder than it already is for undocumented immigrants living in the shadows here. “Things are going to get very bad for them because we will have someone in the White House who is very hostile to immigrants — he could do tremendous damage” with executive orders, she said. For example, Trump has vowed to end President Obama’s 2012 initiative Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA; that executive order allows young people who came to the U.S. before age 16 and have been living continuously in this country for five years to apply for work permits, Social Security cards and other benefits, including three years of temporary relief from deportation. Pilsbury also explained that while New York is “immigrant-friendly, benefits and resources for immigrants and whether they will continue are in the hands of Congress. And both houses are now under the control of Republicans,” she said. Rosie Mendez, the veteran New York City councilmember, whose district covers the East Village and part of the Lower

Photo by Mary Reinholz

A sign in Union Square at the star t of the massive “Not My President” protest march on Sat., Nov. 12.

East Side, acknowledged that Trump’s surprise election victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton — who won the popular vote — has left many of her constituents “numb and in fear.” She noted reports show an uptick in hate crimes nationwide after the Nov. 8 election. “So many of us are filled with anxiety, given that the winner of the Electoral College ran a campaign of intimidation which was xenophobic, sexist and racist,” she told The Villager. “Hate crimes were a problem in this country before Trump was elected. Therefore, the fear of an increase in bias-related crime and harassment is very real since the message that Trump ran on reinforces bigotry and bullying as the new normal.” Mendez, who chairs the City Council’s L.G.B.T. Caucus and is a member of its Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, pledged to continue to “enforce our laws and work on protecting those individuals that are being targeted.” On Wed., Nov. 16, Mayor Bill de Blasio, a staunch left-wing progressive who has clashed with Trump in the past, sat down with the bloviating businessman for a reported one-hour conversation at the president-elect’s 26th-floor office at Trump Tower on Fifth Ave. to express his concerns about the anxiety gripping New York’s immigrants and others. De Blasio gave few details but said the talk was respectful, substantive and “very candid.” “The ball’s in his court,” he added. Earlier, during a press conference at City Hall on Nov. 11, the mayor made it known that the city would resist any draconian effort at mass deportation of immigrants by the Trump administration. “We are not going to sacrifice a halfmillion people who live amongst us, who are part of our communities, whose

family members and loved ones happen to be people, in many cases, who are either permanent residents or citizens,” the mayor said. “We’re not going to tear families apart. So we will do everything we can to resist that.” At The Cooper Union on Mon., Nov. 21, in a stemwinder that was alternately pensive, defiant and pragmatic, de Blasio said the city would not allow Trump to create a register for Muslims, deport undocumented immigrants, or attempt to subject African-Americans to a resumption of stop-and-frisk by the New York Police Department once Trump takes office Jan. 20. He also pledged to protect women and the L.G.B.T. community. “Hillary Clinton won 1.5 million popular votes, so he doesn’t have a mandate,” de Blasio told the overflow crowd in the Great Hall. Rosemary Boeglin, a mayoral spokesperson, said the city has a number of laws in place to ensure that immigrant residents’ rights are protected and that federal requests for detention and transfer of custody of an immigrant are “carried out constitutionally.” She noted that two laws signed in 2014 by de Blasio require that the city only honor federal detainer requests for individuals in city custody if the person has been convicted of a violent or serious crime or is identified as a possible match

in the terrorist screening database. In addition, the requesting agency must provide a judicial warrant showing evidence of probable cause. Boeglin said the conviction of an immigrant must have occurred within the last five years, or must have resulted in incarceration that ended within the last five years, “and it must be for one of a defined list of violent or serious felonies or hate crimes enumerated in the laws,” she noted. Elizabeth Plum, director of special projects at the New York Immigration Coalition, at 131 W. 33rd St., said some of her colleagues once regarded Trump’s fiery bombast as just “hot air,” but then came the reports of hate crimes after his election. “There have been multiple acts of intimidation and reports of individuals — particularly Muslim women — who have been threatened,” Plum said. “The Southern Poverty Law Center has recorded 200 since Election Day. “There was a point where we wrote off Donald Trump as hot air. But at this point, who knows what he will do or say? It’s a risk having him hold one of the most powerful positions in the world. “We can’t make assumptions,” she said. “We are absolutely planning for the worst and praying for the best.”


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Enter through the Garden Gate on Greenwich Avenue between 6th Avenue and 10th Street, Greenwich Village November 24, 2016


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November 24, 2016

By Sar a Hendrickson


t the final stop on a speaking tour to 10 elementary schools, Principal Jacqui Getz hosted her largest audience yet last week, sharing her vision for M.S. 297, the new middle school at 75 Morton St. More than 200 parents and students from a cross section of elementary schools attended this “Meet the Principal” event on Nov. 15 at the Clinton School for Writers and Artists, at 10 E. 15th St., near Union Square. The location offered a sneak peek at what will be the temporary home for M.S. 297 for the 2017-18 school year. The Department of Education announced late last month that unforeseen construction issues would delay the opening of the 75 Morton St. building until fall 2018. “When we started removing bricks, we found problems in the steel which raised serious safety concerns,” explained Jennifer Greenblatt, the Community School District 2 family leadership coordinator. The Clinton School only recently moved to its new stateof-the-art building last year, as part of its expansion to add a high school to its long-sought middle school. Growing by one grade each year, Clinton currently has grades 6 through 10, so there is ample space for M.S. 297, which will have the seventh floor to itself. “Clinton teachers will be colleagues, with a lot of sharing of best practices,” Getz said. “But we will have our own teachers and our own school philosophy.” The seventh floor of 10 E. 15th St. includes four classrooms, an extra music/art room, an all-purpose room and easy access to the eighthfloor roof deck. “We may never leave,” Getz joked. To the many fifth graders in the audience, Getz assured, “We will hold as many of you as want to come.” Greenblatt explained that with a maximum class size of 32 students and available classrooms at Clinton, M.S. 297 could enroll nearly 200 sixth graders this fall. The huge 75 Morton St. facility was formerly occupied by a state government agency

Photo by Sara Hendrickson

Jacqui Getz, the principal of the new 75 Mor ton middle school, left, spoke to a group of parents after a “Meet the Principal” event on Nov. 15.

and is now being renovated to transform its interior into a school. It will have a capacity for 900 students, per D.O.E. guidelines. “Even if we were in the 75 Morton building,” Getz said, “it is doubtful we’d start with 300 sixth graders.” After a powerpoint slide presentation describing the M.S. 297 curriculum and electives, plus programs intended to foster socio-emotional development of the middle schoolers, Getz fielded questions. “Now, students get to ask the first questions!” she said with a big smile. “Will you specialize in one subject?” a fifth grader asked. “No,” explained Getz, “because you need to be a strong reader and writer to be a strong scientist or mathematician, right? “Will you have computers?” another asked. “Computers will be in the classrooms, so we won’t need a computer lab and we’ll work hard on our coding,” she responded. When a student asked what sports the school would have, Getz asked back, “What sports do you want?” “Basketball and fencing,” he replied. “I’ve been hearing about fencing, so I’m talking to someone next week about that and soccer, too,” said Getz encouragingly. “And don’t forget, we have a bike room and we’ll be right off the bike path,” she added. When parents had their turn, questions centered on how to educate a range of students since M.S. 297 will not

have a separate Special Progress, or SP, accelerated track, such as the Wagner and Baruch middle schools offer. “It’s similar to elementary school, with a diversity of thinkers learning together,” Getz explained. “The curriculum has many avenues and teachers know how to adapt to diverse learners. I have seen it and lived in it — it will look busy!” As principal of the Lower East Side’s P.S. 126 / Manhattan Academy of Technology, Getz was highly regarded for implementing an inquiry- and project-based curriculum and hiring teachers talented at supporting and challenging students across a spectrum of abilities. There will be Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) classrooms at M.S. 297 where a second special-education teacher will team-teach, so that the general-education curriculum can be taught to all students. Math honors will likely be offered, but without an honors track. All eighth graders will take the Regents Exams in math and science. One parent worried about not having seventh and eighth graders to “mentor” the first sixth graders. “That will be missing,” Getz acknowledged. “But it will be a wonderful, intimate environment, and there is something special about sixth graders being leaders from the get-go. They can even pick the school’s colors and mascot and paint them on the gym floor!” Some parents stayed after the Q&A to dive into details on admissions from D.O.E.

Enrollment Director Sara McPhee, with the Dec. 1 application deadline fast approaching. Zoned students are automatically admitted (unscreened) to the school, while unzoned students will be evaluated (screened) based on grades, state test scores, attendance and other criteria. Getz has been reassuring families that for the first year the screen will be “very light.” Unlike many District 2 middle schools, M.S. 297 will not consider where students rank the school on their application. The ranking system has made a complex application process even more nerve-racking for families. After submitting a Freedom of Information Law, or FOIL, request to D.O.E., the Community Education Council District 2 recently received data on admissions policies for District 2 middle schools, revealing what families long thought to be the case. Namely, East Side Middle, Salk, Lab and Clinton will not consider students who have not ranked the school as their No. 1 choice; and several other middle schools require at least a No. 1 or No. 2 ranking or assign more points for a top ranking. C.E.C. 2 is pushing D.O.E. for reforms, including publicizing school admissions policies and considering whether schools should be prohibited from seeing an applicant’s ranking of schools. Some parents thought the incubation period at Clinton was an advantage. Ned Elton, parent of a fifth grade-daughter and active member of the 75 Morton Community Alliance, shared that view. “There should be plenty of after-school programs without needing a larger critical mass of students,” he said. “Just think of all the things that will be in place when the doors open for Year Two.” With excitement spreading about M.S. 297, Elton, who lives one block outside the M.S. 297 zone, wondered if other unzoned families might worry that seats would go fast to zoned students with priority. “I have a feeling, by this time next year, a lot of families will rank 75 Morton No. 1,” he predicted.

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November 24, 2016


Trump already leaving his mark, local politicians say hate continued from p. 1

otry and pledged their united opposition to any act of violence against individuals because of their faith, gender, sexual orientation or political views. Many of them called out the president-elect for appointing Stephen Bannon, a leader of the so-called alt-right movement, who Trump has named as his chief strategist and senior counselor. “We find ourselves at a deeply challenging and demoralizing moment for our great city and country,” Congressmember Jerrold Nadler said. “The recent spate of local acts of hate and bigotry ought to alarm our New York City community. We must come together to defend the foundational principles of justice and tolerance that ground our democracy. The horrible rhetoric that emerged during the election campaign has in no small way contributed to the upswing in hate crimes that we have witnessed — and we must do all in our

‘Trump has unleashed the bottom feeders.’ Photo courtesy Brad Hoylman’s office

Brad Hoylman

power to stand united in opposing such divisive forces. This includes speaking out when hate crimes happen in our neighborhoods, or when figures like Steve Bannon are appointed to positions of power and influence in the White House.” City Comptroller Scott Stringer said, “We have many questions about where President-elect Trump may take America — and together we must stand up for what we believe in. But there’s no question that hate speech, offensive symbols and discrimination have no place in our city. We stand for modern values — not an agenda rooted in the 1950s.” In his remarks at the press conference, state Senator Hoylman added, “Since last Tuesday’s election, more than 400 incidents of hateful harassment and intimidation have occurred, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, including some in our own Greenwich Village neighborhood. In response, Presidentelect Trump must denounce and disavow the purveyors of hate speech and rescind the White House appointment of Steven Bannon, a known white nationalist.” Other Village officials speaking at the rally included Assemblymember Deborah Glick and City Councilmembers Marga-


November 24, 2016

State Senator Brad Hoylman, center, led a press conference with fellow local politicians, faith leaders and universit y presidents last Thursday to decr y the recent spate of hateful graffiti and messages around the West Village and on two of its university campuses. Hoylman and his family have been viciously targeted on Twitter by rightwingers, an elevator in his building was defaced with swastikas and, three days after the park press conference, he received a packet of anti-Semitic hate mail.

ret Chin and Corey Johnson. The pols at the rally were all Democrats and Trump and his new administration are Republican — but the concern transcends mere partisan politics. Andrew Hamilton, the new president of N.Y.U., called the perpetrators gutless. “The acts we have experienced in recent days — anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and racist — share something besides their loathsomeness and divisiveness,” he said. “They share a cowardly anonymity. That’s why today’s gathering is so important: The antidote is for people to stand together in the full light of day and publicly reject the hatred and intimidation. … Our values — diversity, inclusiveness, courage, justice — will prevail.” Similarly, Imam Khalid Latif, executive director of the Islamic Center at N.Y.U., said, “Now more than ever, it is important that we all come together. Organized evil will always triumph over disorganized righteous. Our strength lies in embracing our diversity and coming behind only those leaders who support it.” Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum leads Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the L.G.B.T. synagogue that was formerly located in Westbeth in the Village, but recently relocated to the Chelsea area.

Photo by Tequila Minsky

At Monday night’s GAG protest outside the Trump Soho Hotel, a man’s sign likened Trump adviser Stephen Bannon to Adolph Hitler’s rabidly anti-Semitic minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. GAG (Gays Against Guns) was formed after the Orlando Pulse nightclub attack earlier this year.

“As a rabbi, as a Jew, as a member of the L.G.B.T. community, as a human being, I am outraged at the signs of hatred against Jews and Muslims that have already increased since the election,” she said. “We will stand together — and create powerful spiritual communities of resistance and love. We will stand against anyone and anything that threatens the well-being of immigrants and others who are targets of the hate mongering of this elected — but not by the popular vote — Trump administration.” In the latest incident, Hoylman said he received several fliers on Saturday in the mail, sent in a Hallmark envelope “by a known anti-Semite” in Phoenix, Arizona, who previously served prison time for attacking a Planned Parenthood clinic, according to the state senator. Hoylman and his husband, filmmaker David Sigal, turned the materials over to police at the Sixth Precinct and the Police Department’s Hate Crimes Unit is investigating. “There were three fliers, all of them threatening Jews with damnation,” Hoylman told The Villager this Tuesday. Asked if he felt threatened or upset by being made a target, Hoylman shrugged: “I wear it as a badge of honor, frankly.” “It’s more representative of what this presidential campaign has unleashed,” Hoylman added. “And it makes it all the more important for President-elect Donald Trump to speak out and disavow these attacks by extremists and white nationalists. But I don’t have a lot of hope of that, considering that he’s appointed an anti-Semite like Steve Bannon as his top adviser.” In an interview last Friday, Hoylman said the swastikas that were carved into a service-elevator door at his apartment building at 30 Fifth Ave. were found on the second floor by a neighbor. Hoylman lives on a different floor. The sinister symbols have since been sanded away and painted over. However, following the state senator’s going to the media with the story, he was, in turn, targeted on social media by haters. “I had the alt-right attacking me for the last 28 hours on Twitter,” he said. “One of them suggested that my daughter should have her brains blown out. “This is why so many of us feel we’re entering a dark chapter of our nation’s history,” he continued. “Trump has unleashed the bottom feeders of our society, who now feel validated that they can wreak havoc on the rights of people they feel have taken advantage of our system for too long. “There is a palpable sense of fear. People have stopped me on the street, my friends and relatives [are all afraid]… . I don’t think it’s unfounded. We have seen who Trump has appointed, including Bannon and now Jeff Sessions, a bigot, for attorney general. Hopefully, Senator Schumer will be able to block Sessions’s appointment.” hate continued on p. 11

‘Father of LEED’ hopes to help spark building’s reuse Building continued from p. 1

Parks Department properties closed to the public. Longtime Bowery resident and coalition member K Webster plans to testify about the tremendous community support to transform the building. “Everybody around would like to see it used,” she said, “whether it’s a place for homeless people to come and get their bearings, a resiliency center or a general community center. Any use would be better than what it is now.” The one-story building sits where Stanton St. crosses the slim, seven-block long park. The Parks Department converted the structure from a community center into an operations center in the 1980s. However, the department committed to returning it to use as a community space in 1998. Advocates recently gained a valuable ally and colleague in Robert Watson, a leading environmental scientist. Watson, often called the “Father of LEED” (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for helping found the green-building certification program, became involved with the park and visits weekly to help garden. He pushed state Senator Daniel Squadron to support the project at the senator’s town hall earlier this month. Watson, like Webster and others involved in the effort, believes the Stanton St. building should be a “resiliency center” along with a year-round community center. The place could provide people with essential services in the event of a storm, he added. “I think it would be important as these major storms become more normal to have a place where people can go during times of crisis that are more or less self-sufficient,” he said. Watson said that the Red Hook Recreation Center

Villager file photo

Advocates gathered outside the Stanton St. building in S.D.R. Park this past July during one of three workshops held over the summer to brainstorm about ideas for the building’s reuse.

is a viable model to replicate. The Parks Department outfitted that center with solar panels in 2013, so that neighbors can charge their phones and computers there in the event of a major blackout. The Brooklyn center will also provide refrigeration for food, emergency medicine and basic heating and cooling. Watson said a year-round community space in the L.E.S. building would be an extension of this idea. “Public resources where people can get together and engage socially is important. It can end up being a life raft in times of disruption,” he said. “Resilience has many components. There’s an economic and so-

cial component — the ability to withstand and come back, a community ethos, a spirit is part of that.” Squadron will look into the project and will wait for Community Board 3 to weigh in before moving forward any further. If the initiative gains the board’s support, he would be happy to champion the cause, according to the spokesperson. The City Council and borough president allocated $1 million to overhaul the building’s public restrooms, which should be completed by fall 2017. Meanwhile, the Parks Department plans to continue to use the Stanton location for daily operations. “The location is essential for the efficient operation of our Manhattan parks system,” a Parks spokesperson said. “It is a fixed-post site for the cleaning crew for neighboring park properties six days a week. All borough districts pick up supplies for their daily operation from this location, which are delivered by vendors five days a week. In season, on average, we have six operational staff that work out of the building; off season two to three. “The perception that this is a storage unit is a mischaracterization,” the spokesperson said. “We have staff stationed at the site and our maintenance and operations staff goes there every day.” But Webster said that community organizations are ready to run programs at the building and that advocacy groups were even willing to help raise the funds to convert the space. What they want is a concrete guarantee that the building will be coming back into the public’s hands — which would help them raise the money, she said. Either way, the activist appears ready to get tough on pols and Parks to get things moving. “We’re not really in the mood to hear a lot of excuses about why this can’t be returned,” Webster said, “not when we’ve offered to help with the space.”

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Friday, December 2, 2016

NYU School of Law 245 Sullivan Street Furman Hall, Room 216 (Between West 3rd Street and Washington Square South)

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

November 24, 2016


Niketown beats community’s full-court press By Dennis Lynch

wrote a letter to C.B. 2, stating they, in fact, did not share a party wall. Yet, construction continued anyway. Last week, D.O.B. stamped Nike a temporary certificate of occupancy that expires in February. D.O.B. issues T.C.O.’s when the applicants have resolved all life-safety issues, but still have to tie off minor loose ends. In the case of 529 Broadway, inspectors still need to sign off on electrical and plumbing, for example, according to D.O.B.


ith an assist from City Hall, Nike opened the doors of its flagship Niketown store at 529 Broadway on Fri., Nov. 1. A crowd of excited sneakerheads and streetwear junkies who had gathered under the giant Nike “Swoosh� logo above its front door eagerly streamed into the place. Around 200 people had congregated in front of the store, spilling out into a bus lane on Broadway, before they were finally let in. Nike has since put up barricades on Spring St. to corral the crowds, but they take up half the sidewalk outside the store. Some locals who accused Nike’s landlords of skirting city zoning laws to build the megastore, called the scene on the sidewalk unacceptable and said that if the owners had followed the proper channels, they likely wouldn’t have such a disruptive crowd issue. “I think the key point is that if they had gone through the required zoning, we wouldn’t be dealing with this crisis,� outgoing Community Board 2 Chairperson Tobi Bergman said. “They would’ve been able to build retail on the first floor and the basement, in exchange for not having retail above — instead of a five-story retail store. That’s the probably outcome of

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Niketown will be using barricades to corral crowds on Spring St. waiting to get into the sneaker and spor tswear store. But there won’t be much room for pedestrians to pass by on the already chronically crowded side street.

a special-permit application.� The community board has not met to discuss the crowd issue, but fought vigorously to hold the Department of Buildings accountable for allowing what C.B. 2 called improper and ille-

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November 24, 2016



gal construction. But the department said the building is legal and the owners of 529 Broadway went through all legally required channels during permitting and construction. Bergman, neighbors and local politicians rallied outside D.O.B.’s Broadway office earlier this month, a day before Niketown’s planned Veterans Day grand opening. The next day, D.O.B. rescinded Nike’s temporary permit that would have allowed the store to open — although an agency spokesperson said that action had nothing to do with the rally. The opponents accused the city of failing to enforce certain rules during the construction of 529 Broadway and, in the words of Councilmember Margaret Chin, putting “the interests of a global corporation over the safety of pedestrians forced to navigate congested sidewalks and those looking to protect the historic character of one of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods.� They also said the site’s owners both used loopholes and broke laws to build their five-story building and avoid community review. The owners essentially tore down the entire existing building there to build their new building, but did so on a permit allowing for a major alteration instead of a full demolition. The developers technically played by the rules by leaving the bare minimum of the old structure — two “party walls� they claimed were shared with neighboring buildings — to qualify the job as an alteration instead of a demolition, and therefore avoid triggering the required community board review. The owner of one of those neighboring buildings, however,

The five-story Nike store includes a basketball court, treadmills to try out running shoes and a 350-square-foot “Made by Nike� studio where you can custom design your own shoes and have Nike employees build them on site. As for how often the store will hold events, a Nike spokesperson said they have not yet released a calendar of events. Following the megastore’s opening, Chin said, “I am incredibly disappointed by the Department of Buildings’ decision to clear the way for this out-of-scale retailer to open its doors — a decision that was made over numerous objections by my office, Borough President Brewer’s office, Community Board 2 and residents of this neighborhood. “Now that this store is open, Nike must work with the community to ensure that the sidewalk along this busy corridor remains clear,� Chin said. “The continued proliferation of largescale retail must not be allowed to destroy the historic character of this iconic neighborhood. I join my fellow elected officials and community members to continue to push D.O.B. to enforce the law and to do its job to protect the people of this city.� The local business improvement district, the Soho Broadway Initiative, did not take a position favoring either Niketown or the group of electeds and residents who came out against the apparel giant. Instead, the BID worked with Nike to create a plan to minimize sidewalk impact. The BID’s executive director said he is happy with what he has seen so far since Nike started an organized sidewalk queue. “I think what they’ve done over the last couple days, starting on Saturday, has proven to be effective — pedestrian flows were maintained, access to buildings was maintained,� Mark Dicus said. “There wasn’t a really big crowd, so the test will be when they do have a significant amount of people waiting to get in, that’ll be a test. From what I’ve seen, [the sidewalk pen] has the ability to expand and contract and if they don’t need it, they can take it entirely away so the sidewalk is completely open.�



Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell

phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.


Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-

haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.


Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at

a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.


Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.

November 24, 2016


New Kushner P.R. push Kushner continued from p. 1

real estate management company, Westminster Management — remains a lessthan-attentive landlord, in the opinion of more than a few of his tenants. Kushner owns around 50 buildings, most of them in the East Village. The new program, “Westminster Cares,” is a partnership with the Educational Alliance, the venerable Lower East Side neighborhood organization that was founded as a settlement house, and other local nonprofits. On Nov. 17, Westminster Cares held its kickoff on the rooftop of the 14th St. Y, at 344 E. 14th St., which is a part of the Educational Alliance. The slogan on the event flier was “Mingle. Give Back. Repeat.” “This new program,” the flier said, “gives you an opportunity to serve your community while getting to know your fellow Westminster neighbors.” While skeptical of Westminster’s intentions, some tenants attended the gettogether hoping to connect with Westminster management about improving the quality of life in Kushner’s buildings. What they found was an open bar, finger food and an opportunity to register to volunteer in the community — but not a forum for discussion. “I find the timing of this event suspect and its title disingenuous,” said Ted Osborne, a Westminster tenant living at 120 E. Fourth St. “I have friends in the Westminster building next door who spent an entire winter without cooking gas and many freezing nights without heat. Nobody at Westminster City Living seemed to care until tenants took them to court.” Jennifer Hengen, a longtime rent-stabilized resident of the Westminster-operated 118 E. Fourth St., suffered through substandard conditions for years. Her bathroom ceiling collapsed five times because her super kept replacing the drywall underneath a leaky pipe, rather than calling a plumber to fix it. She was among eight residents in her building awarded a rent settlement for being subjected to unsafe and unlivable conditions. “Six months later, this is complete news to everybody at Westminster,” Hengen said. “I have had to send the legal documents over to several people, and I’ve had to point out the exact paragraph and subparagraph...and they still think I’ve been squatting for six months. Rent checks are lost half the time. Lease renewals are never generated on time. At first, it felt like bureaucratic harassment, but honestly I’m starting to think it isn’t intentional. I think the place is such a chaotic circus that nothing gets done. That’s been the kind of care that they show us.” While Kushner was originally cited directly in the lawsuit and failed to show up at the initial hearing, his name was later dropped from the litigation when Westminster Management was required to pay out thousands of dollars back in April. The case was highly publicized, and drew the attention of local politicians.


November 24, 2016

“Landlords are obligated to provide a reasonable standard of living for tenants regardless of their status as rent-regulated or market-rate,” Assemblymember Deborah Glick said back in March. “Tenants deserve the best protection under the law and should not be forced to suffer under the weight of an abusive landlord.” Glick, a longtime advocate for tenants rights, has been a vocal opponent of phony renovation and construction as a harassment technique for nearly three decades. She even introduced a bill to change the definition of landlord abuse. “I fight for rent regulation and continue to fight for tenants’ rights,” she said. Perplexing several Westminster tenants, Glick attended the kickoff event. Glick said while Westminster “may not be the best people in the world,” she was there to show support for the volunteers — essential in the new political climate. “The Educational Alliance could face major, major changes,” Glick said. “Any organizations providing social or educational programming are very concerned — and should be. One thing people can do is volunteer.” Glick said she was there in solidarity with the Educational Alliance, echoing the words of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who on Nov. 10 encouraged Americans concerned about impending social cutbacks to pick a cause and support it. “Volunteering is a way to say, ‘We’re making these groups stronger.’ This is one way we’re going to have our voice heard,” she said. Volunteering and community organizing are what won the E. Fourth St. tenants their settlement earlier this year. They formed the 118 E. Fourth St. Tenant Association and created the community blog “Occupy E. 4th Street,” and — after having endured long-term harassment — were finally vindicated in court. But Hengen said Westminster’s efficiency on repairs has not changed. “I have to say, since the legal settlement they have been exuberantly friendly...just clueless,” she said. “They recognized the tenants are a community — a force — and we’re helping each other out. But if you want to see how much ‘Westminster cares,’ just check out their Yelp reviews.” A Westminster spokesperson said, “Last week’s event was an opportunity for residents to come together as a launch for Westminster Cares, a new initiative that will connect our residents to volunteer projects in the community. We’ll be rolling out a full schedule, including projects to help seniors, children and individuals with special needs in the East Village.” Asked about partnering with Westminster, an Educational Alliance spokesperson, said, “Educational Alliance has programs for all members of our Lower East Side community. We appreciate our volunteers and visitors who want to learn more about what we do and how we serve this diverse community.”

Hoping love trumps hate hate continued from p. 6

Hoylman, though, predicts Trump will at least eventually dump Bannon. “I think pressure is building,” he said. “At some point, he’s going to see Bannon as a liability.” But that doesn’t mean Trump himself will soften his hard-line policies, in Hoylman’s view. “I don’t think there’s a hidden Trump,” he assured. “There’s no ‘Trump card’ here.” So far, Trump has done little to reassure Americans that he does not support the growing hatred. He was asked in an interview with “60 Minutes” what he would tell his supporters who are harassing minorities — specifically, Latinos and Muslims, including young students. The president-elect answered that he was “so saddened to hear that,” and looking into the camera, simply said, “Stop it.” “I’m going to bring this country together,” Trump assured. Meanwhile, at N.Y.U., Muslim students are still very much on edge after a prayer room they regularly use was vandalized the day after the election with a threatening one-word message — “Trump!” — written in black magic marker. The incident happened at the N.Y.U. Tandon School of Engineering, in MetroTech in Downtown Brooklyn. Sumayya Vawda, the treasurer of the school’s Engineering Muslim Students Association, said that since the incident, a security guard now patrols 24/7 the third floor of 6 MetroTech, where the prayer room is located. The students also had a security camera installed. There is also an Islamic prayer room at the Islamic Center on the main N.Y.U. campus in the Village. Vawda goes to the Manhattan campus two days a week, to use the prayer room or see her adviser and because, she said, “I just like being in the Village. I love eating food on MacDougal.” She noted that she did observe a security guard standing outside the prayer room there last Thursday. The prayer room is a safe space for students to observe their religion, but also to socialize and hold discussions, such as about the election, she said. On a weekly basis, 150 to 200 students use the Brooklyn prayer room and 500 use the one in the Village, according to her. Vawda said it was shocking that the hateful vandalism had happened at N.Y.U. and in New York City. “We have a lot of friends from diverse communities,” she said. “It made us feel, ‘Hey, we don’t really know our peers.’ That deep-seated hatred is among us. It’s scary.” In response, the Muslim students and N.Y.U.’s Imam Latif held a vigil and speakout at the university’s Greenwich Village campus that was attended by 250 students. Also showing their solidarity were the N.Y.U. Christian chaplain and groups representing the school’s Hispanic, black and L.G.B.T. engineering students. Vawda, who lives in Queens, was born

in the States to Indian immigrant parents. She wears a hijab. “I’m a visible Muslim,” she said, “a young woman of color, hoping to enter medicine, eventually.” She said, as chilling as Trump’s rhetoric and his appointments are, she won’t be deterred. “Nothing’s going to stop me,” she said. “I’m going to make sure I can be of use to my community and other people. He’s just going to make it harder. But I’m not going to back down from the fight.” Yet, she admitted, the bigoted graffiti — though now erased — has left its mark. “It’s gonna take more than a week for this to be put to the side,” she said. “It’s gonna take awhile. Once your safe space has been violated, can you ever feel that level of comfort again?” In addition, racist post-it messages were plastered on the door of four students’ suite at N.Y.U.’s Gramercy Green student residence at E. 23rd St. and Third Ave. The Washington Square News, the university’s student newspaper, reported the story on Thurs., Nov. 17, with a photo of the sticky notes, bearing the messages “Make America White Again,” “Trump!” and “White Pride,” plus a swastika. After seeing the notes on her door last Thursday morning, sophomore Anastasiya Muravyeva posted a photo of them to a Facebook page for the dorm and also on her own Facebook page. “To whoever did this to my door today, joke or not, I am not laughing,” she wrote. “My Jewish and homosexual roommates are not laughing. Nobody is laughing.” She alerted N.Y.U. Public Safety and filed a police report, and the Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force came to speak with her about the incident. Similar messages on post-it notes were reportedly also found on other doors in the E. 23rd St. dorm, reading, “White Lives Matter Too.” In a statement, university spokesperson John Beckman called the behavior “appalling,” adding, “We have brought in the N.Y.P.D. to investigate and will assist them in any way possible with their investigation. N.Y.U. will remain focused on the safety, well-being and support of our students, and on fostering a diverse, inclusive and respectful community in which these kind of cowardly, ghastly, anonymous actions have no place.” As reported last week, swastikas were found on doors of students’ rooms at The New School’s Kerrey Hall on Nov. 12. New School President David Van Zandt condemned the divisive scrawls in a school-wide e-mail. “The New School is a diverse community comprised of a mixture of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual or gender identity and political beliefs,” he said. “This is not what we as a community stand for, nor is it something we will tolerate.”

With reporting by Sarah Ferguson




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Dancing with the stars: Students have a ball(room); By Bob Kr asner


allroom dance is not easy to learn and it’s not easy to teach, so one has to admire both students and teachers of the art. When one walks into the weekly class at the Cooke Center Academy, at 60 MacDougal St., and sees teenagers with special needs dancing the Viennese waltz to a recording of “My Favorite Things,� admiration goes to a whole other level. The school, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating students with “diverse developmental disabilities and backgrounds,� offers yoga, music and creative arts, but did not offer the dance class a couple of years ago. Laurel Rubin, a parent with two kids who attend Cooke, had been taking ballroom dance lessons with Alexey Gavrilov, who happened to mention that he had been teaching a special-needs teen in Seattle. Rubin proposed the idea of a weekly class to the South Village academy, and it wasn’t long before Gavrilov and his wife, Aki Kudo, had a bunch of high schoolers with significant intellectual disabilities learning to dance the salsa, merengue, cha-cha and tango. “It’s a great social opportunity,� said Mary Clancy, Cooke’s division

Photos by Bob Krasner

Alexey Gavrilov gives a pointer to an eager young dancer at the Cooke Center.

head. “Parents overwhelmingly love the program.� “It’s a confidence builder,� added Rubin. “The kids just want to be treated like regular people, and Alexey and Aki are great role models. And they really enjoy teaching.�

The pair, who have taught the Argentine tango to the blind and choreographed for dancers in wheelchairs, love what they do and are enthusiastic about the challenge. “There can be difficulty in communication,� Gavrilov acknowledged.

“We have had to learn how to communicate in a different way.� Concessions are sometimes necessary. For example, in lieu of doing the requested hip-hop, they sometimes end the class with some freestyle dance. Students I spoke with were unanimously positive, mentioning that, although it can be “tricky,� they love the class and even practice at home. Gavrilov and Kudo, who are looking to expand the program to other schools, note that there is more going on in the class than “just dancing to the music.� “It’s also about socialization skills,� Gavrilov said. “Ballroom dance creates a special bond between the individuals.� “People don’t realize that children with special needs are capable of so much — they don’t know how much they can do,� Kudo added. “The kids surprise us all the time. They put their heart and soul into it.� For more information about the Cooke Center Academy and Gavrilov and Kudo, see and



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November 24, 2016

‘These kids really put their heart and their soul into it’

Instructor Aki Kudo happily looks on as t wo students connect during ballroom dancing, which also helps the teens build social skills.

Students go for a spin in the ballroom dancing class at the Cooke Center Academy on MacDougal St.

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November 24, 2016


Letters to the Editor


Theater of the absurd

VILLAGER Don’t miss a single issue!

To The Editor: Well, the zombie apocalypse of the brain dead came off very successfully for Count Trumpula, who proclaimed to his ghoulish followers that Halloween was for amateurs. Now, as he fills his “House of Horrors,� we are experiencing Trump anxiety disorder. So, I suggest a satirical truth force in every city. For although sometimes hate trumps love, it never trumps truth in the long run. Gandhi put his faith in his truth force with his civil disobedience. There is an old Chinese curse disguised as a blessing: “May you live in interesting times.�

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$1.00 June 23, 2016 • 25 Volume 86 • Number




Get over it! To The Editor: Re “Future shock: Stories about the new Trump era� (talking point, by Tim Gay, Nov. 17): Good grief! Is it possible to tone this stuff down a bit. You sound like a whiney sore loser. It is 1,451 more days until the next presidential election. I am not sure I can last.

Well, you got your wish

East Side,





and “Soing lead plaintiff Drea de pranos� actress dozen civil suit in round three Matteo, fi led a Court led a tenants have fi Manhattan Supreme that blames nearly $19 million last Tuesday for the city and the city and Con Edison lawsuit against the of the fi - not cracking down on others in the wake 121 that killed illegal gas hook-up at ery gas explosion led to the that three Ave. leveled Second two men and fi re on East Village blast and subsequent buildings in the 30 continued on p. last March. LAWSUIT and A roster of current



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February 18, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 7

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

Railof the Underground editor of the Lives Howard Gay, the New York City: Sidney Standard road in National Anti-Slavery Gay, Louis Napoleon and of Louis Howard weekly newspaper, Record of Fugitives.â€? man of color and the Napoleon, a free the reunion was Anhundreds of Attending ndwho conducted through gela Terrell, great-great-gra on Napoleon fugitives from slavery BYfreedom LINCOLN in ANDERSON daughter of Louis  VWDEEHG DQRWKHU JUDIĂ€WL New York City to side. her mother’s writer, Christopher and Jusko, 21, Canada and elsewhere. at in 1800 Q(DVW9LOODJHJUDIĂ€the Napoleon, born with an 8-inch The June 14 reunion ti artist with an X, kitchen knife Burger, arrested who signed in the stairway of a squatter forhis name home of Otis Kidwell killing instrumental of anevertheless rival tag- was building at 272 E. Seventh great-great-granddaughter JHUPRUHWKDQĂ€YH\ by Don HDUVDJR St. outside p. 6 on Pastoressa’s continued secGay, was organized RAILROADRQGĂ RRU still of hasn’t had a trial “Secret DSDUWPHQW 6ODVKHG and Papson, co-author remains locked up on Rikers in the neck and stabbed in the Island to this day. back, Jusko staggered down According to police, around the stairs and out of the build5:30 a.m. on Mon., Oct. 25, ARTIST continued on 2010, Jairo Pastoressa, then

been in jail for 5½ years for murder, without trial



week wo events last to the hearkened back York days when New the Underwas a station on and a center ground Railroad movement of the abolitionist Civil War. that led up to the was a One of those events Village Greenwich reunion in of Sydney of the descendants


rollback ..... p. 14 must back a rent Editorial: R.G.B. sary .......p. 36 l rocks 40th anniver La Plaza Cultura

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Soho slam .....p. www.TheVillage

It’s a closed book: St. Mark’s Bookshop is going out of business



current talks with investors will result in a eloved literary haven store emerging new bookfrom the ashSt. Mark’s Bookstore es of St. Mark’s, albeit, with KDV HQWHUHG WKH Ă€QDO a new name, new operators stage of its terminal mon- and none of the debt. ey woes, and the proverbial “We’re basically going out book will soon close on Man- of business at this point,â€? hattan’s oldest independent said Contant. “There may be bookshop. a continuation of a bookstore But owner Bob Contant is still clinging to hope that ST. MARK’S continued on


Burlesque with a new





January 14, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 2

Squadron slam s Senate for refusing to consider the Elevator Safety Act


Athanasios Ioannidis, center, and Andrew Trombettas, while being walked into right, try to hide their faces their arraignment last Thursday. Trombettas “renting� his plumber’s is accused of license to twice rigging illegal gas-siphoningIoannidis, an unlicensed plumber who is accused of systems at 121 Second Ave.

‘Gas House Gang’ indicted in deadly 2nd Ave. explosion



lmost a year after a gas explosion rocked the East Village, killing two men and leveling three buildings, four people were indicted last Thursday for manslaughter and other charges in connection with the blast. Maria Hrynenko, 56, who owns the building at 121 Second Ave. where the blast occurred, her son Michael Hrynenko, 30, contractor Dilber Kukic, 40, and plumb-

er Athanasios “Jerryâ€? Ioan- gal gas line and hid the setup nidis, 59, were also charged from inspectors, causing the with criminally negligent explosion and subsequent homicide and assault in the Ă€UH RQ 0DUFK   WKDW second degree, according to claimed the lives of Moises the Manhattan District At- LocĂłn and Nicholas Figueroa WRUQH\¡V2IĂ€FH and injured and displaced In addition, Andrew dozens of others. Trombettas, 57, was charged ´7KH VHYHQDODUP Ă€UH with “rentingâ€? his master that killed plumbing license to Ioan- engulfed two people and three buildings in nidis so the latter could get March 2015 work on the property ap- foreseeable, was caused by a preventable and proved, prosecutors said. completely avoidable gas exManhattan D.A. Cy Vance plosion,â€? Vance said. said last week that the defen$OO Ă€YH GHIHQGDQWV SOHDGdants set up an elaborate illeGAS HOUSE continued on p.


Village, Lower East Side, and Noho, Since 1933

We have lost a giant


Composting com Spring St., twic es to e a week



Fans bid Bo wie good luck am farewell, id the stars


Grey Art Gallery

Bill Weinberg


RACK DQDVSLULQJUDSSHU IURPWKH %URQ[ZD enants and politicians W\DW% VKHDGLQJWRDSDUjoined in URRPH6W calling state legislator on ZDVIDWDOO\LQMXUHG ZKHQKH LQDQDFs to FLGHQW MXVW SDVV D ELOO WKDW EHIRUH PLGQLJKW prove regulation ZRXOG LP- RQ'HF  LQJ IRU HOHYDWRUand licensWhen the elevator got ZRUNHUV VWXFNEHWZ DIWHU D \HDUR HHQà RRUV+HZHWW OG PDQ ZDV Brown crushed to reportedly death in an eleva- HUV JHW RXW EXW helped othtor on New ZDV SLQQHG Year’s Eve. 6WHSKHQ +HZHWW%URZQ ELEVATOR


To The Editor: Re “Lesser-evilism is just bad� (letter, by John David Baldwin, Nov. 10): Nope. Jill Stein explicitly supports an Assad victory. See . And what kind of “peaceful settlement� can there be with a regime that is exterminating its own people? Finally, Mr. Baldwin appears not to understand the difference between casting a tactical vote and selling your soul. Now we will all have to pay for this self-indulgent purer-than-thou nonsense.

Surgeon general wants you — to walk! 4 Hawkers market sticks in their The Paper of Record for 8 Soho, Union Greenwich Village, East Square,



ge 21

BOWIE continued on p. 6 Ex-chef dies in skateboard accident...........p Are kids’ playd age 8 ates really for parents? 14 www.TheVill

Penny Arcade

Richard West

Monica Lee

sue 2nd Ave. tenants lord city, Con Ed, land for ’15 gas explosion

who knew her. We have lost a fearless warrioress, a giant of humanity when we most need her spirit, commitment, humility and activism.

To The Editor: Re “R.I.P., Carmen� (Scoopy’s Notebook, Nov. 17): My deepest condolences to Carmen’s family, and to all

Courtesy Chris Mustello

Disabled veteran Chris Mustello standing in front of his MOVE Systems car t in Tribeca.

In a new groove with MOVE To The Editor: Re “Something smells rotten about new food-cart bill� (talking point, by Robert Lederman, Nov. 10): Mr. Lederman’s op-ed column ignores the on-theground reality for people like myself — food vendors. Recently, I was fortunate enough to trade in my food cart for a new MOVE Systems cart. I sell hot dogs at Greenwich St. in Tribeca and have been a vendor for 49 years operating with my own permit. Having a MOVE Systems cart is an extraordinary opportunity for me. With the clean-energy system on the new cart, I am no longer breathing fumes all day and neither are my customers or people walking down the street. Working with MOVE has provided me with resources that have opened up entrepreneurial possibilities that were not possible with my previous cart. I also know that MOVE Systems is my partner and I can rely on them to support me. So far, my customers like what they see and are excited about the evolution of my business. I hope more vendors will benefit from MOVE carts like I have. Chris Mustello Letters continued on p. 21

Evan Forsch

To Subscribe Call 646-452-2475 or e-mail


November 24, 2016

Electors must dump Donald Trump or we’re doomed

global village

By Bill Weinberg


he clock is ticking. We have until Dec. 19 to act. And the future of the country — indeed, the world — depends on it. That’s the day the Electoral College votes and makes Donald Trump’s status as president-elect official. The electors have a duty to refuse to seat Trump — quite simply, on the grounds that he is a dangerous fascist, and it is unacceptable for a fascist to become the president of the United States. I hope, after the appointment of white nationalist mouthpiece Steve Bannon as his top counselor, that it is not necessary to make the case that Trump is an actual fascist. We have had many utterly monstrous presidents — Dubya and Poppy Bush, Reagan, Nixon. None of them were fascists. They did not openly play to racist hate, and they did not display Trump’s dictatorial ambitions. Now we are looking at the Real McCoy. It’s ironic that the Electoral College — the institution that got us into this mess, by giving undue weight to “red state” voters — now holds the only hope of getting us out. The framers put the Electoral College in the Constitution precisely to serve as a break on the assumption of power by a demagogue. If there has ever been a time for it to serve that function, it is now. A petition calling for the electors to respect the popular vote and seat Hillary Clinton has won more than 4.5 million signatures. It’s a faint glimmer of hope — but not an impossibility: Trump’s electors could refuse to vote for him, effectively nullifying the election. The fact that Clinton won the popular vote gives the idea a moral and political credence. Yes, a general revolt of the Electoral College is unprecedented in American history — but so is the election of an actual fascist as president. And there have been decisive outbursts before in our history of sensible Republicans so aghast at their party’s candidate that they defect to the Democrats. Famously, the “Mugwumps” — turncoat Republicans — helped get Democrat Grover Cleveland elected in 1884, when the G.O.P.’s James Blaine was deemed too aggressively imperialist and beholden to industrial interests. Neo-Mugwumpery certainly helped elect Barack Obama in 2008, after eight years of Mad Cowboy Disease. This time, the choice is far more stark, and the stakes far higher. The survival of our democracy could be at stake, and enough electors may realize this. The electors in 21 states are free to vote for a candidate other than the one they are pledged for. Even in the remaining states,

Photo by Milo Hess

A poster at the Sat., Nov. 12, “Not My President” protest march in Manhattan.

the penalty for failing to do so is only a fine — and the vote is still counted. Out of those 21 states, Clinton lost 16 — worth 166 electoral votes. In these states, it is perfectly legal for electors to switch their vote. Clinton is slated to receive 232 votes to Trump’s 306. A total of 270 are needed to win. So if 38 Republican electors can be swayed to respect the popular vote, Clinton will be seated as president. If only 37 are swayed, the vote would be thrown to the House of Representatives. The lawmakers could elect Trump — but maybe they wouldn’t. Even a dangerous reactionary like his running mate Mike Pence or House Speaker Paul Ryan would be less dangerous than Trump. These men lack both Trump’s charismatic appeal and dictatorial ambition, and therefore fall short of actual fascism. And the beauty of this idea is that it conforms to the “original intent” of the framers — that concept so fetishized by the political right. Alexander Hamilton in “The Federalist Papers” boasted of the safeguard against chaos provided by the Electoral College: “[T]he...election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station... It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the important an agen- the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual secu-

‘This is a long shot. It’s a Hail Mary.’ Bret Chiafalo

rity against this mischief.” Hamilton added that the Electoral College “affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” And some Republican electors have shown signs of wavering. Over the summer, there was a spate of news stories about electors admitting they weren’t sure they could cast a vote for Trump. The Politico Web site in August reported: “Even

red-state Republicans in the Electoral College are uncomfortable with the man they’ll have to support.” We must urgently appeal to their conscience. Two Democratic electors have issued a call for their Republican colleagues to refuse to seat Trump. P. Bret Chiafalo of Washington State and Michael Baca of Colorado are appealing to “Moral Electors,” in an effort to persuade 37 Republicans to dump Trump. Chiafalo told Politico six days after the election: “This is a long shot. It’s a Hail Mary. However, I do see situations...when we’ve already had two or three Republican electors state publicly they didn’t want to vote for Trump. How many of them have real issues with Trump in private?” Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote has now widened to 1.5 million, making her margin bigger than those for John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. And this margin would certainly have been bigger still if not for the Republicanbacked “voter suppression” laws enacted since 2010 in several states. “When we look back, we will find that voter suppression figured prominently in the story surrounding the 2016 presidential election,” Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told McClatchy news service. The Electoral College is an elitist institution that should be abolished. But it needs to do what it was designed to do, just one time before we abolish it. The electors must rise to the occasion and correct this fatal mistake of Trump’s victory. Despite its perfect constitutionality, this does of course hold the risk of further escalation and even civil war. But Trump being seated as president holds greater risk of these things — as well as that of a dangerous dictatorship being consolidated. Remember: With Republican control of both houses of Congress and the swing seat vacant on the Supreme Court, he will have all three branches of government under his control. For the first time since the adoption of the Constitution in 1788, the system of “checks and balances” crafted by the framers will have failed. And the fundamental freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights will be under grave threat. There is no risk-free way out of this pickle. Nullification of the election is the less risky option. And while the odds of it working may be vanishingly slim, I contend that advocating it is nonetheless tactically critical. We will be denying Trump’s presidency legitimacy from jump street — just as the Republicans effectively did to Obama, with their racist “birther” nonsense. Only we, in contrast, will be doing it for legitimate reasons — fundamental democratic and anti-fascist principles. This will better position us to do what we are going to have to do if Trump takes office: Build an uncompromising, prodemocratic civil-resistance movement to oppose his fascist agenda every step of the way. November 24, 2016


Yuuge wins for medical marijuana at the polls Paul DeRienzo


eferendums in a half-dozen states crisscrossing the United States legalized or provided medical marijuana exceptions to criminal law for millions on Election Day. Four new states legalized it; California passed Proposition 64 legalizing pot for adult use, joining Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine. Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alaska and the District of Columbia have already passed legalization measures. About 20 percent of Americans now live in states with legal pot. Arizona was the only state to reject legalization during this election. Voters in Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas also liberalized pot laws and joined about 25 states, including New York, that have legislation allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis for a variety of medical problems. Montana passed a referendum eliminating some restrictions on its existing medical marijuana law. Despite these victories, Dennis Peron, who wrote the original Proposition 215 establishing California’s medical marijuana law in 1995, is a strong opponent of legalization. According to Peron, “recreational use” of marijuana creates a false division among pot users. Peron claims that any marijuana use is basically medical.

“Any government involvement is bad,” he said. “The government f---- it up. We rely on the government too much. Prop 215 had no government, no bureaucracy. Prop 64 is only about money and power.” Peron said that Proposition 64 will “ruin marijuana” by establishing taxes and bureaucracy, bringing the government — especially police — into California’s freewheeling marijuana community. California voters approved Proposition 64, “The Adult Use of Marijuana Act,” allowing anyone over age 21 to possess and grow marijuana. The law provides for taxation and for local communities to opt out of hosting marijuana dispensaries, if they choose. Prop 64 also creates a state certification for “organic” pot; allows localities to use their names as appellations, so we’ll be seeing pot named after famous growing locales, such as Humboldt County; and allows delivery services to bring marijuana to your door. California’s immense population should give a boost to federal marijuana initiatives, sending 53 representatives from a legalization state to Congress. Massachusetts and Maine became the first Eastern states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. The measure is expected to put some pressure on New York with the Bay State border just an hour from Albany.

Rensselaer County Sheriff Pat Russo said he would increase patrols where the county line runs along the Massachusetts border. He told the Albany Times Union that his main concern is how the drug would be dispensed and to whom. The Massachusetts ballot measure does not prohibit sale to out-of-state residents. “Somebody who is holding 10 ounces, who is growing six plants, it becomes a potential for them to sell it,” Russo said. However, it’s expected to take some time before fractious state officials in Boston finalize an implementation plan. The biggest win of the night was a medical marijuana referendum in Florida that garnered 71 percent of the vote even as Hillary Clinton went down to defeat. It was the second try — state law requires a 60 percent vote to pass a referendum and the last attempt fell a few percentage points short. The victory makes the Sunshine State the first to legalize medical marijuana in the Deep South and came despite more than $5.5 million donated by Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson to defeat the measure. Adelson is the 12th-richest man in America and was an early supporter of the candidacy of President-elect Donald Trump. In conservative dyed-in-the-red North Dakota, a medical marijuana referendum won with 64 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, New York State, which instituted a limited medical marijuana

program called the “Compassionate Care Act” in 2014, has recently expanded locations that can dispense cannabis. Earlier this month, PharmaCannis Inc., which operates three dispensary locations Upstate, opened a storefront in the Hunts Point neighborhood in the South Bronx. Rafael Salamanca, Jr., a Bronx city councilmember, said the opening was a “good thing to celebrate” by bringing “medicine” that would benefit the community. New York does not allow medical marijuana to be smoked, but it can be made into a variety of tinctures, sprays and edible forms. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he intends to announce several new policies, including authorizing delivery services that would provide marijuana to patients too ill to travel, and enabling nurse practitioners to certify patients as medically qualified for the drug. The state would also broaden the scope of illnesses for prescribing marijuana by including post-traumatic stress. New York also plans to double the number pot dispensaries to 40; up until now, five companies have been operating 20 dispensaries. However, marijuana and health activists have been calling for more local, neighborhood-operated dispensaries to help diversify the clientele and bring down the steep price of legal medical marijuana.

d a l g h a y t n Arch ’ r u o y g n i to be read per? a p s w e n y communit Don’t miss a single issue! ! r e g la il V e h T o t e ib r c s b Su Call 646-452-2475


Turn on the gas, turkey! Tuesday morning, Nina D’Alessandro and about a dozen other members of the Toledano Tenant Coalition waved frozen turkey dinners outside 325 E. 12th St., where residents have been without cooking gas for more than six months. On the same day, eight residents filed a lawsuit against their landlord, Raphael Toledano, to force him to provide gas so they can cook at home.

Sarah Ferguson 16

November 24, 2016

Rev. Jen goes trolling — for fun! Flicks, friends, and a focus on the positive



f you’ve been following my column, you know that, in the past year and a half, my boyfriend Joe got cancer and I lost my job and my apartment of 21 years (which also served as the Troll Museum). Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I am writing this shortly after being released from a psych ward! But, despite this terrible shitshow we call 2016, there are still things to look forward to (namely, 2016 ending). Hence, I will focus on the positive, starting with my trip to the nuthouse.

THE NUTHOUSE In 2007, I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, and PTSD. There are days when it takes courage just to walk from my bed to the kitchen sink. This year, I also developed major depression, the kind where you tell the bartender, “I’ll have whatever Dylan Thomas had.” I promised Joe that I would get better. For richer and poorer, in sickness and in health becomes real when one of you has cancer and the other is mentally ill. “Amor omnia vincit” — love conquers all; and love was the catalyst for getting help. There are two major obstacles regarding mental health care. The first is the stigma. If you have a broken leg, people visit you in the hospital and bring you flowers. If your mind is broken, no one visits and no one brings you shit. The second is lack of beds. I went to three states over the course of a month, looking for care and couldn’t get it. Once back in NYC, a friend (George) took me to Beth Israel’s emergency room. A kindly nurse gave

me scrubs, took my vitals, and sent me to a facility where I didn’t see the sun for five days. Immediately upon my “imprisonment,” breakfast was announced. I waited in the cafeteria line until a man put eggs on my tray along with Rice Krispies. I thought about how my Chihuahua, JJ, is afraid of Rice Krispies because they snap, crackle and pop. I missed JJ and wished I could cuddle with her. Finding an empty spot, I sat down. A boy I’ll call “Benny” sat across from me. “Hi. I’m Benny,” he said. “What’s your name?” “Jen.” Soon, everyone introduced themselves. “So, what did you do to end up here?” Benny asked. “Nervous breakdown, I replied. “What did you do to get in here?” “Let’s see. I’ve been an alcoholic since I was 10. Joined the army and drove a tank in Iraq. Too much death, and when I got back my girlfriend died. So I started doing heroin.” Little, red pinpoint dots connected by tracks covered his arms. Maybe I’d never win the Pulitzer for being a great war correspondent. Maybe I’d just keep writing books about sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll — but I felt, at that moment, like I was a war correspondent and that I was staring at a battlefield, written all over his arms. Soon, everyone shared their stories and we all became inseparable. We played Bingo, did art therapy and even stole the nurse’s remote so we could REV. JEN continued on p. 18


Good hair day: Rev. Jen prepares to attend the premiere of “Trolls.”

November 24, 2016


REV. JEN continued from p. 17

watch horror movies. When I was discharged, I cried my eyes out and gave Benny a picture I’d done in art therapy of a cobra, a creature that sheds its skin and grows new skin, as we all needed to do. On it, I wrote, “Thank you for making what I thought would be the worst experience of my life one of the best.”


Speaking of horror movies, I made one. As this newspaper was going to press, it was having its premiere; 7 p.m., Nov. 22, at Lucky 13 (644 Sackett St., Brooklyn.). The film is about crazed werewolf bitches who fly to Earth from the plant Uranus to attack a bevy of douchebags. Everyone from art snobs to Goldman Sachs employees are shown no mercy in this bloody masterpiece! The film took longer than “Jaws” to make, and we didn’t even have a mechanical shark! It almost never made after the original director, Courtney Fathom Sell, dropped out. Luckily, my Goddaughter, Dylan Mars Greenberg, stepped in and co-directed along with me. It stars Janeane Garofalo, Rachel Trachtenberg, Faceboy, Robert Prichard, Dave Hill, and about a hundred other great art stars.

“TROLLS” (THE MOVIE) As founder of the famed Troll Museum, I was offended that DreamWorks didn’t invite me to the premiere. Being avant-garde means you do everything first and make no money. However, my friend, Chris Prynoski, whose animated feature “Nerdland” premieres soon, went to the LA premiere of “Trolls” and sent me some swag, including a Troll wig and Troll sunglasses, which my pal, John, wore. In these ridiculous getups, we marched to the movie theater carrying a hand-painted sign featuring a Troll where individuals could poke their heads through it and pose as a Troll. We didn’t get in free, but we got the “child discount.” Appropriate, because we laughed and cried like children. Though not half as awesome as the Troll Museum was, “Trolls” is still a fun flick. The best part: When went out into the lobby, a little girl pointed at me and said,


This publication’s music columnist, Jim Melloan (left), is one of the many art stars in the cast of Rev. Jen’s latest cinematic triumph: “Werewolf Bitches from Outer Space.”

“Look! It’s Poppy!” Poppy is the heroine Troll in the film who eventually saves all the Trolls from being eaten by monsters. Best. Compliment. Ever. So when, pondering what exactly tied all of the above together, I thought of Poppy being serenaded by her Troll paramour to the song “True Colors,” whose lyrics include “It’s hard to take courage. In a world full of people, you can lose sight of it all.” Not a dry eye in the house. The world had made me crazy. But despite my fears, I got help. When it seemed like my movie would never get done, I managed to finish it. Maybe I am like Poppy. Maybe we should all strive to be like the Trolls — who, despite their diminutive size, conquer hate with love. If the news, politics, and hate are making you crazy, remember love really does conquer all.

A passerby tries having Troll hair, as Rev. Jen makes her way to a screening of the film whose titular creatures were a museum before they were a movie.


November 24, 2016

Buhmann on Art Richard Long at Judd Foundation


Richard Long’s “Fall at Spring” (terracotta, 172.5 x 418.6 in.).



orn in 1945 in Bristol, England, Richard Long is best known for radical works that transform natural materials and landscapes into sculptures. One of his great admirers was Donald Judd. In fact, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Judd wrote extensively on the British sculptor, once proclaiming him to be “the best artist in Europe.” In his texts, Judd described Long’s process, but also stressed how challenging it was for Long to show his work in New York. Hence, it seems fitting that, more than 20 years after Judd’s passing, Long has been invited to create a new, temporary installation in Judd’s restored former home and studio in Soho. In fact, two large-scale works, created through the use of a terracotta slip, will extend the entire length the foundation’s building (nearly 60 feet). This installation will directly relate to Long’s wellknown work “Sea Lava Circles,” which he made from volcanic rock that he’d collected in Iceland. It was Judd who had acquired this work in 1988 and who permanently installed it at The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. In Soho, Judd had always envisioned the ground floor of his space to be used for exhibition purposes. Though it has featured his works, as well as examples by many others, it has never served as a venue for Long’s work before. Curated by Judd’s son, Flavin Judd, this installation changes this, and subsequently marks one chapter in a series of projects that aim to highlight and contextualize the interrelated aspects of Judd’s oeuvre. Through Dec. 17, at Judd Foundation (101 Spring St., btw. Broadway & Mercer St.). The ground floor that houses the installation is free and open to the public Thurs., Fri. & Sat., 1–5:30pm. Call 212-219-2747 or visit


Richard Long’s “Friendships” (2016, terracotta, 184.5 x 268 in.).

November 24, 2016


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November 24, 2016

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Letters to The Editor Letters continued from p. 14

but as a playground for silver-spoon carpetbaggers.

We’ve been co-opted

To The Editor: Re “There’s a reason they call it Hell Square� (Clayton, by Clayton Patterson, Nov. 17): The Lower East Side used to be about working-class families. The area has been co-opted by external economic forces and no longer functions as a neighborhood,

Chris Rael

Nico Young

Art against fascism

populist culture from the fascist elites. Ron Kolm

To The Editor:

Re “We need Outlaw Art now more than ever� (news article, Nov. 17): Alan Kaufman has been consistent all the way down this rocky road we call American culture and politics. “The Outlaw Bible of American Art� is the fourth book he’s edited in the series of Outlaw books, starting with “The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry.� He gives a voice to the dispossessed and the marginalized, and by so doing, he starts and then continues the process of taking back our

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November 24, 2016



November 24, 2016

Sweet! Healthier desserts on E. 7th By Tina Benitez-Eves


rowing up as a young girl in Oradea, a small town in Transylvania, Ioana Holt was often tasked with mixing ingredients for cakes, breads and other sweet things that she would bake with her grandmother. Cozonac, a traditional Romanian sweet bread similar to Italian panettone, was one of the first baked goods Holt recalls making. She would knead the dough for hours. Starting from age 5, Holt was exposed to her grandmother’s homegrown recipes, including a chocolate cake made with both whipped and sour cream. Holt took her grandmother’s nontraditional route, learning chocolate-making in Austria, then starting her own made-to-order baking business. Holt came to New York in 2012. Earlier this year, she opened Rose & Basil, a chocolate shop and bakery at 104 E. Seventh St. “I think one of the reasons why it’s so important for me — food and making things for someone — is because I associate it a lot with my childhood and my parents,” Holt told The Villager. “I always associated food with family and home, and comfort and love.” Her early memories of cooking and food are also associated with her parents, who divorced when she was 5. She vividly recalls their last Christmas together — a momentary kiss between her parents, as her mother prepared a festive fruit salad with nuts and honey. While working on her international baccalaureate, Holt worked at a bakery in Austria, where she honed her chocolate-making skills. Testing all pastries, she finished her time in Austria with a degree, a deeper understanding of chocolate — and a few extra pounds due to the sugar-laden treats. “It was a shock to my system,” she said. Holt loved dessert — and admits that she would eat it all day if she could — but wanted to make it healthier. “I said I can do this and not have it make me feel guilty or like I have to run for two hours,” she said. After attending New York University for a few years, Holt left school and started Rose & Basil as an online business in 2015. A few months later, she reconnected with former N.Y.U. classmate William Wang, gifting him with a few of her gluten-free, vegan truffles during a brunch. He then sampled her breakfast jars — filled with seeds, nuts, pudding, chocolate and fruit — and before long, she had proposed opening a bakery with him. The two are officially co-founders of Rose & Basil. Heavily influenced by Asian and Western cuisine, Wang shared her passion for good food. “It was magic,” he said.

Photos by Tina Benitez-Eves

William Wang and Ioana Holt, the co-founders of Rose & Basil.

Not too sweet...but totally satisf ying: Matcha-and-chocolate cakes at Rose & Basil.

Wang, who came to the U.S. at 14, gets the gluten-free, vegan approach. “I believe that people need to be aware of what they consume and why some things might be harmful,” he said. “Many gluten-free, vegan places offer somewhat disappointing food, in terms of taste.” Pastries are sweet at Rose & Basil, but there’s no sugar added. Holt understands why sugar is used in baking, but does not use it as a preservative in her chocolates, cakes and other baked goods. “It’s a great way to preserve,” she

said, citing the longer shelf life of jams, marmalades, cakes and other sugarlaced sweets. At Rose & Basil, things aren’t on the shelves for long; cakes are refreshed in the shop every two days. Holt takes great care in using nonGMO, organic ingredients. She constantly educates customers, through Facebook and Instagram, about the ingredients — such as non-lactose milk from goats and sheep and natural stevia — used in the shop’s baked goods, chocolates and other treats, like rose rugelach, vegan cannoli, Romanian cheese rolls, carrot and matcha cakes. She added that good food depends on the chef’s education and effort. “No one makes anything from scratch,” she explained, of how most other bakeries operate. “A lot is made in bulk and made to last longer. So you have added sugar and preservatives.” Rose & Basil’s menu is seasonal, shifting every four months, since Holt is all about using the freshest ingredients. The shop is also expanding — to the rear. They hope to have the 350square-foot back garden, where roses and basil currently grow, open by Dec. 15 for private events — everything from prix-fixe dinners and cocktail hours to surprise engagements, small wedding receptions, baby and bridal showers, anniversaries, birthdays, small rehearsal dinners, holiday-themed dinners and weekly “secret” dinners. “Good food is usually associated with the idea of ‘Oh, I’m so full’ or ‘This is my cheat day,’ ” Holt said. “Why does it have to be? Food should always be great.” November 24, 2016


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

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

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


November 24, 2016

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The Villager  

November 24, 2016

The Villager  

November 24, 2016