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YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN

Hell’s Kitchen Think Tank Coordinates Port Authority Plan BY EILEEN STUKANE Determinead to be an active and decisive voice in a matter that could literally reshape their neighborhood, dozens of Hell’s Kitchen residents and a number of deeply invested local organizations gathered to discuss a plan by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA) to expand, and possibly relocate, its bus terminal, currently located at 625 Eighth Ave. (btw. W. 40th & W. 42nd Sts.). “As we reset this entire conversation, we now go forward with what we want, what we’re concerned about, what we need, and add that into the planning of whatever happens,” said Community Board (CB4) Chair Delores Rubin, as she moderated a meeting held at Metro Baptist Church (410 W. 40th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Ave.) on the evening of Tues., Dec. 6. “We’re going to define the context of the neighborhood, speak to the priorities [and] the issues that are important to all of us — what can we incorporate into the plans that actually solves a problem, fills a gap,

Photo by Peter Michael Marino

The Lion in Winter, in West Chelsea

PORT continued on p. 4

WRAP YOURSELF IN MINK

Yes, we’re aware that winter won’t officially arrive until Dec. 21, which means this headline isn’t accurate…yet — but our respect for logic went out the window when Chelsea resident Peter Michael Marino happened upon this sight on W. 30th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves. Where did the king of the jungle find a hat that fit? How did he pay for it? Like a present under the tree whose gift tag says it’s from Santa, best not to ask the tough questions, and just enjoy what’s been put before you

‘DOB Now’ Evolving, Not Yet a Network to Find Permit Fraud

Remarkably sane film icon Mink Stole brings her solo show to The Cutting Room. See page 17.

BY EILEEN STUKANE Aware of its behind-the-times operations, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) is now transforming itself, becoming more technologically advanced and efficient with the online launch of DOB Now, a much-needed systemic overhaul of how the DOB functions. With developers pushing for permits to build, and the community pushing back to make sure construction does not overwhelm neighborhoods,

© CHELSEA NOW 2016 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

the DOB, where all those building permits are filed, serves as mission control. The DOB hopes its modernization will not only work for greater efficiency for building owners, architects and developers, but also for the public. A number of buildings in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen have been demolished because owners/ DOB continued on p. 6 VOLUME 08, ISSUE 49 | DECEMBER 08–14, 2016


Luxury, Beauty Retailers Make Up New Leases at Hudson Yards

Courtesy Related Companies

&ALALALALALA TREE LIGHTING & SINGING IN WASHINGTON SQUARE! Under the Historic Arch A community project of The Washington Square Association with the assistance from the City of New York Parks and Recreation and the Washington Square Hotel

Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 6pm Sing seasonal songs with the Rob Susman Brass Quartet, and a song leader, and help Santa with the illumination countdown, as the tree lights magically go on.

Saturday, Dec. 24 at 5pm Celebrate Christmas Eve singing carols with the Rob Susman Brass Quartet.

Song Books for Each Evening courtesy of the Washington Square Association washingtonsquarenyc.org

&REE3ONG"OOKS 2

December 08–14, 2016

The massive seven-story “Shops & Restaurants” mall is divided into “districts,” much like departments at a department store. Nieman Marcus occupies the top three floors, and dining is spread out on the top floors.

BY DENNIS LYNCH Related Companies have leased 60% of its retail and dining space at the Hudson Yards mega-development, the developer announced on Nov. 30. The latest tenants to sign leases are a mix of luxury and mid-range retail brands, including AG Jeans by Adriano Goldschmied, Aritzia, Athleta, Banana Republic, The Body Shop, Kiehl’s, Jo Malone, MAC Cosmetics, NYX, Origins, Sephora and Urban Decay. They join Neiman Marcus, H&M, Zara, Coach, and Stewart Weitzman. Webber Hudson, an executive vicepresident with Related’s mixed-use division, Related Urban, said the company’s goal is to bring in “an assortment of retailers so there is literally something for everyone in the neighborhood.” The European luxury timepiece merchant Watches of Switzerland will open its first store stateside at Hudson Yards. The 6,000 square-foot showroom will feature a number of high-end brands such as Rolex, Hublot, and Patek Philippe. Brian Duffy, chief executive of the retailer’s parent company Aurum

Holdings Ltd., said Hudson Yards is “where we belong.” “Hudson Yards is a fantastic development in a great location, and its focus on luxury retail present Watches of Switzerland with the perfect opportunity launch its first US outlet,” Duffy said, adding that it was a “landmark moment” in the company’s history. The seven-story retail and dining complex at Hudson Yards — called “The Shops & Restaurants” — is sandwiched between the 10 and 30 Hudson Yards commercial towers, and will have around 100 tenants total. Luxury retailers will occupy 20% of that space, mostly on the first floor according to Hudson. To “create a flow within the complex,” Related will place luxury brands on the first floor, contemporary brands the second floor, “large volume retailers” on the third and fourth floors, and the food, beverage, and the anchor Neiman Marcus department store on the top floors, Hudson said. HUDSON YARDS continued on p. 11 .com


OPEN ENROLLMENT* is Underway!

Time is Running Out. *NY State of Health Metal-Level Products

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You Must Act by December 15, 2016! Courtesy NYC Department of Education

Kindergarten applications can be filed online or in person at the nearest DOE Family Welcome Center.

Kindergarten Applications Now Being Accepted BY DENNIS LYNCH The Department of Education (DOE) opened its kindergarten applications on Nov. 30, and parents have until Jan. 13, 2017 to complete the simple application. Any child born in 2012 who currently lives in New York City is eligible to attend kindergarten in Sept. 2017. The online application is the simplest method, and can be found at schools. nyc.gov/applyonline. Along with English, applications are available in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Korean, Haitian Creole, Bengali, Urdu, and French. You can also apply over the phone by calling 718-935-2400, which, according to the DOE, has translations services in 200 languages. If you have any big questions or prefer a more personal interaction, parents in the Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen area can head over to the DOE Family Welcome Center (333 Seventh Ave., btw. W. 29th & W. 28th Sts., 12th Floor, Room 1211) to apply in person, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mon. through Fri. Visit schools.nyc.gov/choicesenrollment/newstudents.welcomecenters to access the full list of Family Welcome Centers. Competitive parents take note: Applications are not first-come, firstserved. The DOE treats the last application in before the deadline the same as it treats the first. The DOE’s Kindergarten Connect program allows parents to rank the schools they would like their child to go to if the school they are zoned for is full. Its always a good idea to list those schools, but parents in Chelsea .com

 CALL 

(1-888-343-3547) TTY: 1-800-421-1220

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Chelsea Now file photo by Scott Stiffler

Although W. 21st St.’s P.S. 11 is “starting to get really crowded,� applying for a 2017 kindergarten slot is “a relatively straightforward process in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen,� according to a District 2 representative.

and Hell’s Kitchen shouldn’t worry too much about not getting into their zoned school. According to District 2 Community Education Council Vice President Shino Tanikawa, the neighborhood’s school are not overcrowded like some others in the district, which covers most of Lower Manhattan. “P.S. 11 is starting to get really crowded, so we may be getting there sometime soon — but right now, it’s a relatively straightforward process in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen,� Tanikawa said.

Welcome Center Queens (Rego Park) 1-888-343-3547

Patchogue (631) 475-7200

Bay Shore (631) 231-3696

Ridgewood (718) 896-2694

Bronx (718) 896-2531

Spring Valley (845) 356-0194

Chinatown (212) 226-6157

Staten Island (718) 420-1236

Flushing (718) 896-4511

Sunset Park (718) 633-5308

Inwood (212) 942-3111

Westbury (516) 334-6588

Jamaica (718) 906-0800

Yonkers (914) 233-5222

Applications for Pre-K will open in Jan. 2017. December 08–14, 2016

3


Insisting Input on Bus Terminal, Alliance Arises to Watch Over West Side PORT continued from p. 1

that gives us a better neighborhood,� assured Rubin. “That’s what we’re going to do here this evening.� Rev. Tiffany T. Henkel, executive director of Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries and pastor at Metro Baptist Church, announced the formation of a new coalition, tentatively named Hell’s Kitchen South Alliance. She invited all to participate in its creation. “We want to bring everyone together around a potential development, and advocate for the preservation, health, and vitality in the Hell’s Kitchen South area, but really in the West Side,� said Rev. Henkel. “We don’t know where this conversation is going to end, so we want to be prepared to be wide enough and broad enough to talk about the real concerns that are going on, to be a voice of power and strength for the West Side of Manhattan.� Co-sponsored by local elected, the evening was organized by CB4, CHEKPEDS, Clinton Housing Development Company, Housing Conservation Coordinators, the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association, Hudson Guild, Metro Baptist Church, Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries, and the West Side Neighborhood Alliance. As reported in the Nov. 17, 2016 edition of Chelsea Now (“CB4 Drills Down on Bus Terminal Expansion�), this past spring the PA announced the planned expansion of its bus terminal without seeking input from elected officials or CB4. At the time, the PA proposed using eminent domain — the process by which the government takes control of private property for pub-

Photo by Eileen Stukane

CB4 member JD Noland noted the suggestions of community residents during a brainstorming session whose categories included Small Business/Community Services, Neighborhood Preservation, Air Quality, Parks, Transportation, and Housing.

lic works — to seize blocks of buildings, which would upend lives and destroy neighborhoods. CB4 mobilized into a force that included local and state elected officials. In April, CB4 held a Town Hall meeting, attended by PA reps, at Metro Baptist Church. Following that overflow community gathering, the PA then withdrew its initially released designs and presented a new competition for architectural ideas. None of those were accepted as a back-and-forth struggle

What do you want the world to bring into 2017 ?

WRITE NOW

A PARTICIPATORY INSTALLATION

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In next week’s Dec. 15 edition, Chelsea Now will report in greater detail on the evolving ideas for defining and reshaping the West Side.

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between community leaders, elected officials, and the PA ensued. That struggle, however, has resulted in a positive outcome: The PA New York/New Jersey Working Group was formed to include PA representatives and eight members each from New York and New Jersey. Community leaders and local elected officials are among each state’s members. Now everyone is sitting at the same table, and the community will have a voice in the planning. It was time to become a think tank. Once again the Metro Baptist Church offered its venue and hundreds of residents came out in the rain. The CB4 PA Working Group laid the groundwork for the evening by hanging blank sheets of paper along the church walls, each designating a different area of concern for the community: Small Business/ Community Services, Neighborhood Preservation, Air Quality, Parks, Transportation, Housing, and Additional Areas of Concern. People were handed Post-it notes upon entering the meeting and were encouraged to jot down their ideas and/or issues and attach the Post-its to the related categories indicated on the wall hangings. A mid-meeting break allowed residents to mingle in discussion with members of CB4’s related committees at the various stations. When the gathering reconvened, Rubin and various other CB4 members took to the podium, presenting ideas that had emerged on paper.

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State Liquor Authority Hears Litany of Complaints Against Il Bastardo BY DENNIS LYNCH Around two dozen community members met on the afternoon of Wed., Dec. 7, to levy their complaints with a pair of representatives from the State Liquor Authority (SLA) investigators over the conduct of patrons, staff, and the owners of Il Bastardo (191 Seventh Ave., btw. W. 21st & W. 22nd Sts.), in a bid to convince the business to clean up its act. The Council of Chelsea Block Associations (CCBA) convened the gathering two days before the SLA will meet to discuss three incidents from earlier this year, including when patrons severely beat and stabbed a man on the corner of Seventh Ave. and W. 21st St. following an altercation after leaving Il Bastardo. Neighbors accused the owners of Il Bastardo of running a de facto bar, but masquerading as a restaurant. They shared stories of fi nding passed out patrons on their front steps, of watching seemingly underage patrons leaving the restaurant highly intoxicated, of large and loud crowds, and of fights outside the restaurant. Many said Il Bastardo’s popular weekend all-day brunches spurred the most issues.

Courtesy CCBA

Local residents are fed up with the bad behavior of Il Bastardo’s drunken patrons, and management’s lack of oversight.

“If anyone wants to see this for themselves on weekend they should come during brunch time; they can witness it themselves,” said longtime local resident Andrew, who

wished not to use his full name. Many accused management of disregarding stipulations that Il Bastardo’s general manager Sherif Ibrahim agreed to in front of Community Board 4’s

Quality of Life committee exactly a year prior to Wednesday’s gathering. Ibrahim agreed to end the all-youcan-drink promotions to curb overdrinking, but locals shared advertisements dating from 2016 for such promotions. Two Yelp reviews dating from after the agreement also cite the all-you-can-drink deal. He agreed to keep the sidewalk reasonably clear of patrons, but photos dating from 2016 show large crowds outside in front of Il Bastardo and neighboring businesses. One woman shared a photo of a group of people gathered around a man lying on the ground, who she said was knocked out cold in a fight outside the restaurant. A man who owns a business nearby said two inebriated patrons who left Il Bastardo sat down against the large glass widow in front of his store, breaking it in the process. Lauren Gill, who lives in an apartment with her family above Il Bastardo, said she often deals with blaring music coming through her floorboards, even though Ibrahim agreed to keep music BASTARDO continued on p. 11

Keeping New Yorkers in their homes prevents homelessness. Yet too many renters face eviction in housing court with no resources or tools to fight back. And they usually lose. That’s because 70% of tenants don’t have a lawyer, but 90% of landlords do. Join AARP New York in calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to support the Right to Counsel bill (Intro. 214-A), which would guarantee legal counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction in New York City Housing Court. Right to Counsel is fair and fiscally responsible. Preventing wrongful evictions can save taxpayers $320 million a year by keeping people in their homes and out of expensive homeless services.

Protect New Yorkers from Illegal Evictions .com

Call Mayor de Blasio at 1-844-655-7468 and urge him to support the Right to Council bill now! facebook.com/AARPNY @AARPNY aarp.org/NY

Paid for by AARP

December 08–14, 2016

5


Hope For Improvement: The NYC Dept. DOB continued from p. 1

developers wrongfully filed for demolitions that never should have been allowed, but were. Over the years, as the DOB approved a number of applications based upon false information provided by developers, it became clear the DOB’s system was overdue for an upgrade. After all, paperwork was being handled old-school — on paper. Phase by phase, DOB Now is being rolled out during this last half of 2016 and through 2017. The entire department will use electronic interactions for building applications, reviews, permits, appointments, payments, schedules, and more. When complete, there will be public portals in each of the four online divisions of DOB Now: Build, Inspections, Safety, and Licensing. By the time all changes take effect, those in the building industry as well as resident New Yorkers should have an easier time investigating permits and gaining awareness of ongoing work in buildings of interest. “The industry will conduct transacPhoto by Sean Egan

DOB continued on p. 7

Obscured by scaffolding and a tree, 821 Ninth Ave. is rebuilt following an illegal demolition.

Celebrate the Season at Chelsea’s Famous Christmas Church Handel’s Messiah Community Sing Along Thursday, December 22 7pm Refreshments

APPLY AND ENROLL FOR SPRING 2017 DURING EXPRESS DECISION WEEK December 5 to 10, 2016

Join us on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. for:

Undergraduate Open House Pharm.D. Information Session and Wet Lab Tour B.S. in Nursing Information Session and Sim Lab Tour

RSVP at liu.edu/Brooklyn/yes or 718.488.1011 6

December 08–14, 2016

Christmas Eve Services Saturday, December 24 5:30pm Children and Family Service 10:00pm Carols 10:30pm Mass of the Angels

Christmas Day Service Sunday, December 25 10:00am

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church 346 W. 20th St. (btwn 8th & 9th Aves.) 212.929.2390 | stpeterschelsea.org

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of Buildings Upgrades Its Technology transparency about building data. So for example, if you were to see that there was a piece of information about a building on its property profile that’s incorrect, you could call in and complain and disagree. This is a landmark building or it isn’t a landmark building. That kind of transparency and that feedback loop will allow us to ensure the right actions are being taken at a site.�

DOB continued from p. 6

tions in this system, but information [about] the transactions will be available through a public portal — that isn’t available yet — but it’s where you will be able to see information on all these transactions that will be happening in DOB Now,� said DOB Deputy Commissioner of Strategic Planning and Policy, Archana Jayaram. “We’re excited to hear that there’s some modernization to the process, and that the DOB is creating ways to capture all this data — but really the focus on DOB Now is to streamline the process for those who have to engage with building or engage with getting permits or getting information for building safety and inspecting. It’s great, but some of the bigger problems that we have are not addressed in DOB Now,� said Community Board 4 (CB4) Chair Delores Rubin. The pertinent question on her mind, and the minds of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen residents, is whether the DOB will be able to catch those falsified applications. Too many buildings are being lost. Responding to a question about whether

WILL THE WRONGFUL DEMOLITON OF BUILDINGS STOP?

Photo by Sean Egan

The site where 500 W. 28th St. once stood, after being demolished by Related Companies — and six affordable apartments along with it.

the DOB Now system will help to red-flag falsified permits, Deputy Commissioner Jayaram said, “I think the first piece here is that there will be a lot of transpar-

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ent information about what permits are active on a site. That will be the first step; to understand what has been authorized by the building. There will be greater

In a recent CB4 Hell’s Kitchen Land Use Committee meeting, John Waldman, DOB’s Community Affairs Liaison, was asked about whether DOB Now would help to prevent the loss of neighborhood buildings, and acknowledged that there have been “real gaps in the system.� He explained that plan examiners are now being trained to identify special districts in the community where demolition is not allowed. During her interview with Chelsea Now, this approach was more fully DOB continued on p. 15

CHELSEA COMMUNITY CHURCH 42nd Annual

Candlelight Carol Service Choir & Congregational Singing A Reading of “A Visit From St. Nicholas� by Broadway Actor Arbender Robinson Larry J. Long, Choir Director Christopher Houlihan, Organist Harp and Flute

Sunday, December 18, 6 pm

     

Chelsea Community Church is a nondenominational lay-led church meeting every Sunday at noon at historic St. Peter’s Chelsea

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346 W. 20th Street

An offering will be accepted

December 08–14, 2016

7


POLICE BLOTTER

Courtesy NYPD

A sketch of the suspect in the Dec. 5 assault of a Muslim woman. He is described as between 25 and 35 years old, 5’9”–6’, and 150–180 lbs. He was last seen wearing a dark jacket and a black knit hat.

HATE CRIMES CONTINUE TO RISE The NYPD has seen an uptick in hate-related incidents in the weeks following the presidential election. This past week saw another handful of such incidents in the area. On Thurs., Dec. 1, a trio of men harassed a Muslim woman. At around 10pm, the 18-year-old victim boarded the 6 train at the 23rd St. station, when the men — who reportedly appeared intoxicated — began shouting at her, calling her a “terrorist” and invoking the name of President-elect Donald Trump. This went on for a number of stops, and the situation escalated when the men attempted to grab the hijab off of her head. The woman was able to get off at the 42nd St./Grand Central station, unharmed. In another incident, pro-Trump graffiti was discovered in a phone booth on the northwest corner of W. 53rd St and Ninth Ave. The graffiti, which reads “Praise Trump”

CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawed-off shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.

8

December 08–14, 2016

with a swastika next to it, was discovered on the afternoon of Sun., Dec. 4. A separate incident occurred around 6am on Mon., Dec. 5, at the 42nd St./Grand Central subway station, when a 45-year-old Muslim woman — a transit worker — was pushed down a set of stairs. Reportedly, the man who pushed her was taunting her on the 7 train with Islamophobic comments (again, using the accusation of “terrorist”), and when she got off at the station and tried to run from him, the man followed her, shoved her down the stairs, and fled. Police are currently asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating the suspect, and have released a sketch (pictured, left) to aid in the search. Anyone with potential information about the suspects, and/or the incidents, is asked to call NYPD Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (1-800-577-8477), or text CRIMES, then enter TIP577, or visit nypdcrimestoppers.com.

LEAVING THE SCENE OF PERSONAL INJURY: Drag him On Fri., Dec. 2, around 1:50am, a 29-year-old man hailed a cab outside the Gilded Lily (408 W. 15th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), and it stopped to pick him up — though as he opened the door, it began to pull away, dragging him approximately 25 feet down the street before he got free. The cab then left the scene, leaving the injured would-be fare behind. While the victim refused medical attention, a 31-year-old resident of the neighborhood witnessed the incident and was able to cor-

THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Brendan Timoney. Call 212-477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212-477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212-477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30pm, at the 13th Precinct.

roborate his story to the authorities, and video evidence is also available across from the location.

ASSAULT: Beef found at McDonald’s While everyone knows fast food is bad for you, it’s rarely as viscerally dangerous as it was on the morning of Sat., Dec. 3. A 27-year-old Bronx man was walking down the street past a McDonald’s (330 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 26th & W.27th Sts.) at about 5am, when a stranger hanging around outside the restaurant struck him in the face a number of times, causing pain and swelling to the victim’s right eye. Authorities responded quickly, and the 20-yearold Brooklyn man was arrested — and also was found to be in possession of a small quantity of marijuana, surprising no one who has ever visited a McDonald’s at 5am.

ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF VEHICLE ID: Cracked car caught Shortly after 3am on Sun., Dec. 4, at the northwest corner of Ninth Ave. and W. 23rd St., an officer observed a man driving a 2007 Dodge Charger with a cracked windshield. Upon investigating the situation, the officer discovered that the man, who was displaying Virginia license plates, had his driving privileges revoked in New York State. In addition, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on his dashboard had been removed. “I bought it like that,” the driver explained to the officer. The office, however, did not

THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7pm, at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced.

buy this excuse, and the 29-year-old Brooklyn man was arrested.

HARASSMENT: Taxi tussle Usually when a cabbie gets stiffed it’s only their wallet that takes a hit — though a little after 8am on Fri., Dec. 2, one such situation escalated into an actual physical altercation. While nearing his destination at the northeast corner of W. 15th St. and Eighth Ave., the driver’s passenger refused to pay his bill. Instead of taking it lying down, however, the 30-year-old Brooklynite driver locked the car door and insisted the fare pay up. “Let me out the car,” he protested, though the driver did not relent —until he hit the cabbie in the face, and made his escape. Thankfully, the driver didn’t sustain any noticeable physical injuries, and declined medical attention.

CRIMINAL TRESSPASS: Track trespassers On Sat., Dec. 3, at about 3:20am, an officer observed a quartet of unruly youths hanging out on the tracks in a gated railroad yard on W. 38th St. (btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). As there were signs clearly posted warning against trespassing, and the group didn’t have permission or authority to be there, all four were arrested: two women (19 and 20), and two men (20 and 22).

—SEAN EGAN

MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Inspector: Russel J. Green. Call 212-239-9811. Community Affairs: 212-239-9846. Crime Prevention: 212-239-9846. Domestic Violence: 212-239-9863. Youth Officer: 212-239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-2399836. Detective Squad: 212-2399856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7pm, at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & W. 35th St.). Visit midtownsouthcc.org.

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ADVERTORIAL

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

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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.

Daydreaming 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.

Eating 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.

Reading 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.

December 08–14, 2016

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Courtesy Watches of Switzerland

Watches of Switzerland will take its big leap across the pond with its 6,000 squarefoot luxury timepiece showroom at Hudson Yards.

HUDSON YARDS continued from p. 2

“The design and layout of the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards pays homage to the great old emporiums and how those department stores were laid out,” he added. Related said more than a dozen “specialty restaurants and food concepts” will open there, and chefs Thomas Keller, Costas Spiliadis, and José Andrés have already planned restaurants. First level retail rents are going for between $400-$750 per square-foot, and upper level rents in the $200-persquare-foot range, according to Related. The shopping center will also feature a five-story open atrium and a massive glass wall that will reflect the city

BASTARDO continued from p. 5

to levels low enough not to be heard outside. She recalled less-than-desirable encounters with patrons when she and her family leave their apartment on the weekends. “What do I say to my son when I’m walking into my building and there’s a girl spread eagle on the sidewalk trying to open a bottle of champagne and he’s asking me ‘Mom, what is she doing?’” Gill asked. An SLA investigator in attendance, Bart Jaworski, admitted that he did not expect such a large group of complainants, and urged locals to document their experiences going forward with Il Bastardo in as specific detail as possible. He then gathered specific testimonies from those who could provide exact dates for them. General anecdotes usually do not pass muster with the judge who reviews SLA cases, he said. .com

skyline. It will open in the fall of 2018 along with the public square and garden directly outside the complex, according to Related. Hudson Yards is also attracting commercial tenants from other parts of the city, particularly around Midtown. Just over a third of all the office space (in terms of square-footage) at Hudson Yards is currently or will soon be occupied by companies once located in Midtown East, according to the New York Post. Elsewhere in Hudson Yards, there are a total of 4,000 residences, 14 acres of public space, an Equinox luxury hotel, and a 750-seat public school. There is already a 7,000-person waiting list for residential spaces, according to Related.

He and representatives with the nearby 10th Precinct (230 W. 230 W. 20th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) reiterated that it can take many months or years to shut down a restaurant, and told community members to be vigilant moving forward. CCBA president Bill Borock said that learning exactly how to properly levy complaints with the SLA was a step in the right direction, and said he’d share that information with all nearby block associations. “You can’t just have a complaint and think that the place is going to be closed down or have their liquor license taken away,” Borock said. “What’s important is they brought statement forms and a bunch of people actually did give statements that can be used in the future, This is an ongoing process, and it becomes like building blocks — you put one on top of the other.” December 08–14, 2016

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With Sorrow, Anger, But Also Upbeat De BY NATHAN RILEY Sunny skies at the Thurs., Dec. 1 opening of the NYC AIDS Memorial Park in the West Village put the 18-foot steel canopy design on display like a bride or groom shown off at their best. Located in the new St. Vincent’s Triangle Park that once housed utility equipment for the adjacent former hospital, the Memorial achieves with grace what its neighbor across at W. 12th St. — originally designed for the National Maritime Union and now

Keith Fox, the CEO of Phaidon Publishers who five years ago assumed responsibility for bringing the project to fruition, called it “the most beautiful and the most significant AIDS memorial” in the United States. Fox, two urban planners, Chris Tepper and Paul Kelterborn, and government relations specialist Ethan Geto won warm shoutouts for their dogged efforts to realize their vision in a patch of urban redevelopment for which there were many competing ideas. The four deflected the praise, stressing the LGBT commu-

A reminder of the days when the fight against AIDS got started.

housing Lenox Hill Greenwich Village — accomplishes with volume. A squat white building with no rectangular windows, only several bands of circular portholes, the Lenox Hill building delivers emergency medical services that are the last echo of what St. Vincent’s long provided to the neighborhood. Architecturally, it bears the same resemblance to the Memorial that a battleship has to a yacht — imposing where the smaller craft is elegant. The porthole motif of that building is picked up in the circular black marble water fountain that is the Memorial’s centerpiece. The water element is amplified in ever-widening circles on the gray granite floor inscribed with a text installation — made up of 10,000 words from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” — designed by New York artist Jenny Holzer. The spiraling text reaches out toward the larger park, where chairs and tables foster passive recreation. With sharp baselines setting its boundaries, the Memorial has an apex with rounded shapes, topping the airy steel canopy composed of triangles. The Memorial is a landmark sculpture that in years to come will define the public perception of arriving in the heart of the West Village.

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December 08–14, 2016

nity’s enthusiasm as critical in winning the support of elected officials who helped fund the $6.5 million project. Solidarity in the continued fight against the HIV epidemic was the consistent theme of the morning dedication, which was co-hosted by the NYC AIDS Memorial Foundation and the End AIDS NY 2020 Coalition, uniting more than 50 advocacy and service organizations with the city and state health departments. Memorial co-founder Kelterborn, the planner who has typically been the silent partner in the project, spoke at the ceremony, offering an intimate explanation for his and Tepper’s motivation. Both gay men, who never knew a time without AIDS, were struck by the disconnect between their lives and generation and that of older gay men who lived through the plague that cost us more than 100,000 New Yorkers. They conceived of the memorial as a physical reminder to the young of what came before them, as well as a refuge for those who recall the pain they lived through. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who at one point paused to collect himself as he evoked the suffering and death of friends, was one of many speakers who trumpeted

The Memorial, facing Greenwich Ave.

Dr. Mary Bassett, the city health commissioner.

the decline in new HIV infections. The 2,493 new cases identified in 2015, they emphasized, represent the lowest level on record. At the same time, the mayor warned against complacency, noting that 10% of the nearly 1.2 million Americans with living with HIV are in New York City. “This Memorial will stand for a long

time to keep our memories fresh,” de Blasio said. Well over a thousand people gathered for the ceremony, and — as they inspected the new memorial, whose construction barriers had just come down overnight — many, like the mayor, remembered friends they lost, but also the steeliness of activists who rushed forward during the worst days of the 1980s. There was also a mood of celebration, as speaker after speaker emphasized the city and state’s commitment to end the epidemic over the next four years. The mood shifted frequently, as well, to outrage, with jeers at every mention of President-elect Donald Trump. Remarks by City Comptroller Scott Stringer — who while Manhattan borough president provided the project with its first $1 million in funding, enhancing its credibility — drew the most enthusiastic reaction from the .com


etermination, AIDS Memorial Dedicated

Walt Whitman’s words inscribed in the gray granite floor of the Memorial.

Photos by Donna Aceto

crowd. The memorial, he said, “recognizes the sacrifice of those who came before us,” in whose passing “a part of our city was lost.” Rousing the crowd by insisting New Yorkers must not “normalize” Trump and accept bigotry, he said, “We must continue to fight. We are not going to let him take us back” to days of panicked homophobia. Charles King, the CEO of Housing Works, which co-hosted the ceremony, emphasized that the Memorial honors activism. Those who took on AIDS in the 1980s, he said, not only supported their friends who were sick, but also bent the arc of scientific progress on the virus; they “accelerated discovery.” City Council Speaker Melissa MarkViverito had kind words for her predecessor, Christine Quinn, whose district included the new park, and who, along with her successor there, Councilmember Corey Johnson, contributed $2.5 million to the project. .com

Johnson told the crowd the Memorial has particular significance for him, who at 22 in 2004 learned he was infected with the virus. “I wouldn’t be alive were it not for the activists who pushed the scientists to find the drugs that make the virus undetectable,” he said with considerable emotion. In an impassioned poem, Timothy DuWhite, emphasizing that everyone defines their own subjective truth, told his tale of being infected by an ex-lover, whom he still loves, and his struggle to come to terms with the reality of his serostatus while completing college. Kamilah Aisha Moon, also a poet, gave the dedication, including words drawn from Whitman, while Broadway star Billy Porter, who won the Tony for his role in “Kinky Boots,” was the program’s energetic host. The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus performed a medley of songs.

The center base of the Memorial, which is a fountain. December 08–14, 2016

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DOB continued from p. 7

described by Deputy Commissioner Jayaram as “developing tools for the operational units to use to identify and protect the special districts. We’ve invested heavily in our analytics team and that group is creating maps that will be used by the staff that do the approval of these permits. That is the sort of interim solution to address this issue.” At the meeting, JD Noland, chair of the CB4 Committee pointed out the demolition of 821 Ninth Ave. as a particular loss to the community. When buildings are wrongly torn down, affordable housing units are lost. Earlier this year, Related Companies demolished 500 W. 28th St. and six affordable apartments were lost. Even though the building was in the Special West Chelsea District and subject to its zoning regulations, a demolition permit was granted before the DOB recognized its error. When Noland asked what happens to those who have wrongfully demolished a building, Waldman’s response was, “We don’t do retroactive enforcement.” He added, “If it doesn’t comply with the law, then of course we’re going to stop the job, make them [developers] take corrective action before they proceed.” CB4 Committee member James

Wallace commented, “If that is the policy then that just incentivizes developers to act as fast as possible before anyone notices.” The lack of punitive action against developers is worrisome to the community. Tom Cayler, a member of West Side Neighborhood Alliance, reminded, “On DOB applications it says that if you file a false document, it’s a misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine or imprisonment. So if [developers] file false documents so they can demolish a building, then why aren’t they being found guilty of false filing and punished for it? The community is required to catch this stuff, but there are no consequences whatsoever.” Cayler commented that the DOB’s online system changes and increased access to information won’t be meaningful unless there are also changes in how the DOB responds to falsification of documents. The city, however, seems to be weakening rather than strengthening consequences. The NYC Dept. of Finance offered a three-month Amnesty Program from Sept. 12 to Dec. 12, 2016, when outstanding violations of the Environmental Control Board, issued by the DOB or other city agencies such as the NYC Dept. of Sanitation, Transportation, Fire, Landmarks, and Parks could be reduced and resolved.

Image via NYC DOB

The Department of Buildings’ logo for the “Build” portal of its DOB Now online network.

MOVING ALONG At present, the divisions of DOB Now furthest along online are: DOB Inspections, DOB Build sections for Plumbing and Sprinklers, and the DOB Safety section for Facades. Deputy Commissioner Jayaram explains that in the up-and-running Facades section of DOB Safety, for example, “If you’re a tenant in your building and you’re worried about the façade, you can type in the address in this portal, click on ‘safety,’ and see the fi lings that have been completed, in a lot more detail than you’ve ever been able to see in BIS [DOB’s Building Information Search].” BIS can be found online at a810-bisweb.nyc.gov. When DOB

Now reaches completion, however, the department’s BIS site will become an archival resource. Members of the community who have come to rely on BIS for checking falsified permits and other issues related to construction and demolition will have new paths to access current information through those DOB Now public portals. Information on current building activity is also available online in the Housing and Development section of NYC Open Data (nycopendata. socrata.com). The site is designed in spreadsheet format, however, which can be more challenging to navigate. “This investment in the department’s technology is an incredible opportunity for the agency, as well as the public, to have greater access to a lot more information that affects all of our daily lives,” said Deputy Commissioner Jayaram. “Additionally, it gives us tools…enforcement strategies around planning the future and managing our work load and managing our customer service in a much more meaningful way. This technology really positions us, [and] lets us meet the future in a much more successful way than if we didn’t have this great investment.” Visit DOB Now at https://a810-dobnow.nyc.gov/publish/#/.

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Gizmos and Games as Gifts for Geeks Suitable tech for stuffing those stockings BY CHARLES BATTERSBY Geeks can be a fickle lot, especially when trying to buy gifts for them. New, paradigm-shifting tech sometimes arrives with little fanfare. Early adopters of new gadgets are often filled with buyer’s remorse when their new toy turns out to be a dud. We tried out a few of the gizmos and games that are available this season, and came up with these prime candidates for stuffing nerdy stockings.

AIR HOG CONNECT MISSION DRONE airhogs.com/connectmissiondrone Remote controlled drones are becoming more affordable each year. However, everyone secretly wishes that their toy was really a combat drone flying over a city being invaded by aliens. The Mission Drone combines a real drone with an “augg mented reality”” video game that lets Image via Square Enix players fly theirr drone around a virThe he “20 “2 20 Year Celebration” edition of “Rise of the Tomb Raider” includes the base game as well as all DLC. tual city full off adventures. The drone iss controlled with a phone or tablet, t, and the mobile device simultaneously release of some of the best games yet neously runs a rele game that uses es its camera for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. doob3d.com to track the drone “Uncharted 4” was the swan song for rone as it flies “Un Your cosplayer friend who likes over a special mat on the PlayStation’s biggest franchise, while dressing up as a superhero at Comic P lay floor. The screen of War 4” revamped a classic Con already has thousands of photos creen ““Gears Ge on the phone then Xbox n X bo franchise for a new generation. on their Instagram account, and their displays a city fu full This ull T Th is year is also the 20th anniver- refrigerator is covered in printouts. of alien invaders, sary of the venerable “Tomb Raider” But what they really want is a tiny der ers,, tiny marines, an and franchise, and “Rise of the Tomb 3D figure of themselves in costume. nd fran civilians in need of Raider” is an excellent way for new The company DOOB will do a full d of Rai rescue. Players can players to jump in, or for lapsed fans body scan right in their store, then n play walk around to gget re-acquainted with Lara Croft. print out a color resin statue up to Image via Air Hog the room, It was w released on Xbox in time for 14 inches tall. The printing is done With this Air Hog drone, users conseeing their the 2015 holidays, and for PC a few at a factory in Brooklyn, and takes a trol the physical drone while playcity from any ing an augmented reality game. months later, but only just made its couple of weeks — but the scanning mon ture, because the Air Hog debu angle as the debut on the PlayStation 4. is done right in the store, and we is also a battery hog, and drone f lies There has been a stream of downfound no wait time at all when visitT needs to be recharged after about load through it. loadable content (DLC) over the ing their Soho location, one of two in The Mission Drone can also be 10-15 minutes of play. last year, and a new set of DLC New York City. used as a regular drone, without the just arrived for all platforms to celDOOB can create figures in a varimat and game. The game can likeebrate the 20th anniversary of “Tomb ety of sizes, the smallest of which wise be played without needing the Rader.” With a year’s worth of DLC, is 4 inches and costs $95. They can drone; a virtual craft appears in the tombraider.com/en-us plus the excellent base game, this is a print up to 14 inches tall, and can do game, and is controlled much like its For the gamer who doesn’t want great choice to join any new console real counterpart. This is a handy fea- augmented reality, 2016 saw the under the tree. GIFTS continued on p. 18

DOOB 3D PRINTING

RISE OF THE TOMB RAIDER: 20 YEAR CELEBRATION

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.com


The Mink Who Stole Christmas Back Cult comedian’s dark streak helps make the season bright BY SCOTT STIFFLER When the world seems cold and cruel, and absent the kind of seasonal spirit that motivates you to throw back the covers and forge ahead instead of curling up and calling in sick, there’s one surefire way to give gloom the heave-ho, ho, ho: Knock back a cocktail, wrap yourself in Mink, and laugh it off. “I want Christmas to be a secular holiday. I want everybody to have access to it, because everybody lives with it; the decorations, the cards, the parties,” said Mink Stole, whose appearance in every John Waters film since 1966 makes for a clip reel that includes pleasuring Divine with rosary beads, waving a “No Grinding” sign at dancing teenagers, and being phone pranked into unleashing a tirade of expletives on Kathleen Turner. In real life, however, when discussing the holidays, this cult comedy icon is not prone to salty language…right? “Love it or dread it, dammit, ya gotta deal with it,” insisted the Baltimore native, whose comforting and joyous use of that swear word also gets star billing in the title of her upcoming solo show, “Mink Stole: It’s Merry Christmas, Dammit!” First performed in Manhattan two years ago, and consumed with gin-soaked delight by a certain representative from this very publication, it’s a tart, consistently engaging, occasionally introspective collection of unconventional songs, vivid recollections (a downscale winter in Provincetown with Waters, Divine, and friends), and origin stories that rebuke the party line so many of us grew up with. “Christmas was a holiday that the early Christians stole from the Romans,” said the Catholic-raised Stole. “It was not originally about Christ at all. Early Christians just co-opted it.” Likewise, the record is set straight, or at least bent towards justice, in her roster of secular musical numbers — which includes a “Twelve Days of Christmas” rendition that turns that soul-crushing endurance challenge into an uplifting (albeit mandatory) exercise in audience participation. “I’m also singing ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ in French,” promised Stole, “which is a really different story. It has noting to do with the Christ Child. I’ll be doing standards and originals. I try to cover all the moods of the holiday.” In deference to the current mood of the country, this year’s show will veer considerably from the 2014 model, as Stole was quick to point out in our post-election phone interview — mutually, if naively, scheduled with the notion of adding a female president to our list of topics. Instead, the call had Stole recalling her dayafter reaction to Trump’s victory. “I spent Wednesday in a virtual fetal position,” she recalled. “I was physically numb. I felt like I felt when my sister was killed in a plane crash. I’m devastated. I mean, I am sad; truly grieving — and I tell you what’s making me madder than anything: It’s that we who voted for Hillary are being called on to put aside our

Photo by Jose A. Guzman

Cane and able: Mink Stole, who means to claim Christmas for us all, comes to town Dec. 10, holiday show in tow. MINK continued on p. 21 .com

December 08–14, 2016

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GIFTS continued from p. 16

multiple people together in a single sculpture. The larger the sculpture, the higher the price, and there is an additional fee for bulky outfits and props, like a cosplayer’s gigantic Buster Sword or plasma rifle. DOOB is also a great gift for pet lovers or newlyweds, and they have special Christmas items, such as tree ornaments with a tiny figure inside.

AERA

Image via DOOB

aeraforhome.com From evergreen trees to spices, the holidays have their own special smells. The Aera can fill a home with that distinct scent, without needing to bring in a tree or cook a feast. It’s a smart device that discreetly puffs out a variety of fragrances, and can be programmed with an app to activate on a schedule. The Aera recently launched with a selection of six fragrances “inspired by dreams” — but there are two new ones created specifically for the holidays. Our experimentation with the Aera showed that it can easily fill a New York City apartment with its fragrance, and even the lowest set-

Keep your dwelling smelling fresh with the app-activated Aera.

ting will keep most rooms smelling fresh. The cartridges last for up to 60 days, and our heavy usage during testing only diminished the trial cartridges slightly. The Aera comes with one fragrance cartridge, and others must be purchased separately at $47 each.

with meditation. The headband reads brainwaves to measure how calm or focused users are during a meditation session, and sends this information via Bluetooth to the mobile device. The app then provides verbal guidance on how to meditate, as well as feedback during and after each session. Users close their eyes during the experience, so it uses audio feedback in the form of nature sounds. When the user’s mind is restless, the simulated weather become more intense; branches rustle, wind howls, and waves crash. When the user is in a very calm state, they’ll hear birds chirping in the background. The Muse app uses a system of points, badges and objectives, encouraging users to practice multiple times a week. It is similar to the way the addictive Fitbit works for exercise enthusiasts. Users earn points for being in a calm state while meditating, and can “level up” like playing a game. At first this seems counterintuitive to the notion of calm and peaceful meditation, but the badges and scores are only revealed at the end of the session, so users (or rath-

MUSE BRAIN-SENSING HEADBAND choosemuse.com Muse is a gadget and app that helps

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Image via Muse

A man demonstrates how to meditate using the Muse headband and associated app.

er, players) won’t be distracted by their score while meditating. The Muse headband is our favorite gadget from this roundup, but also the priciest, at $249. Yet, that’s a small price to pay for oneness with the universe.

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Old Pros Shine in Stellar Holiday Showcase

‘Morbid’ is alive with wisdom, humor, chops BY TRAV S.D. Don’t get the wrong impression from the title of the new holiday-themed cabaret show at Pangea: The overall takeaway from the charming “Tis the Season to be Morbid” — starring Austin Pendleton and Barbara Bleier — is warmth and affection, not darkness. The premise is that the pair are playing “Austin” and “Barbara,” a couple of exes, so most of the selections in their set are about relationships that didn’t work out. The situation is fictional, it turns out — a thematic justification to hang the songs on, like so many Christmas tree ornaments; but there is still a strong undergirding of real-life past history in the show. Pendleton is, of course, a well-known character actor with prominent credits in film, television, and the stage. He is also an in-demand stage director; he’s the former artistic director of the late, lamented Circle Rep, and a longtime teacher of acting at HB Studio. The latter affiliation is the cradle, if you will, of Pendleton’s association with longtime cabaret performer Bleier, who was one of his pupils. So, too, is the show’s director and vocal coach, Barbara Maier Gustern, who has a funny cameo turn in the show. In other words, Gustern has been Pendleton’s singing teacher, Pendleton is Gustern’s acting teacher, and they’ve both taught Bleier — and they’ve done several critically acclaimed cabaret shows together in the past (including last summer’s “Late Nights in Smoky Bars”). Consequently, the performers have the kind of rapport and intimacy with each other that wouldn’t be out of place at a family gathering in someone’s living room. And just as when you find exes in the same space at a Christmas party, there are jibes and quips (plenty of them self-deprecating) but in the final analysis (and this show has some literal, Freudian, analysis), it’s still a festive occasion. Those familiar with Pendleton’s sometimes mincing screen characters will be amused to know that in this show he channels the machismo of Elvis and Richard Beymer (“West Side Story”) by singing “Blue Christmas” and “Maria.” He also renders the show-stopping Lerner/Lane classic “How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Love You When You Know I’ve Been a Liar All My Life?” from the 1951 musical film “Royal Wedding.” .com

Photo by Jackie Rudin

Barbara Bleier and Austin Pendleton assume the guise of exes, for a holiday-themed cabaret romp.

Apart from the familiar “Jingle Bell Rock,” most of the holiday songs in the set have an ironic, funny, or dark twist, such as “All Those Christmas Cliches” (Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty), “I Don’t Remember Christmas” (Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire), “My Simple Christmas Wish” (David Freidman), and “Hard Candy Christmas” (Carol Hall). Gustern contributes a naughty rendition of “Santa Baby,” a song made famous by Eartha Kitt. The balance of the set is made up of relationship songs of regret and reminiscence, such as Sondheim’s “Our Time,” from the ill-fated “Merrily We Roll Along,” and “Old Friend” by Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford. In Shakespearean terms, this show is “King Lear” or “The Winter’s Tale.” The theme is maturity, and unapologetic, vulnerable maturity is what is bravely offered by these show business veterans. Memories fail, voices crack, and legs give out — but hearts still beat, and fists are still shaken in defiance of the fates. These are master performers full of wisdom, experience, humor, and chops. Far from morbid in the medical sense, they’re full of piss, vinegar, and maybe even a little jalapeño pepper. If you’re older, go and relate. If you’re young, go and learn at their feet. Mon., Dec. 12 and Thurs., Jan. 5, 7pm, at Pangea (178 Second Ave., btw. E. 11th & E. 12th Sts.). Tickets are

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MINK continued from p. 17

differences and unite with ‘the powers that be.’ I can remember when Obama was elected. None of that came from the Republicans. But at the same time, I am a Democrat, and Democrats are kinder, gentler people, generally. I don’t want to be a hater.” So far, Stole hasn’t had the opportunity to see if her face can execute a 180 degree turn of the cheek: “No one has admitted it [voting for Trump] to me, and I think that’s sad, too; that people are ashamed of it. Maybe they just fear my wrath.” Still, Stole noted that the chilly scene of winter set for January 20, 2017 “adds another element to my ‘Merry Christmas, Dammit!’ title. It’s an element I wasn’t expecting, but it makes sense. We have to fight the negativity, to keep our sense of humor. So I have updated it [the show]. I probably will not be telling my sad stories; that my father died on Christmas. I think I’m not going to go there this year.” Given the weight of the holiday since the loss of a parent as an adolescent, “The most I ever hoped for from Christmas is a nice day. I feel like if Christmas has been pleasant, that’s a win.” This year, “there will probably be 35 to 40 people” celebrating on December 25. “It’s a big group; brothers and sisters, their kids and their kids — and we get along pretty well,” which is a far cry from her early days as a member of the John Waters “Dreamlander” ensemble. “For years,” recalled Stole, “I was this huge embarrassment. Basically, my mother would try her damnedest to keep anything I did away from anyone she knew, especially her [second] husband, which is ludicrous, because he didn’t care. By the time [1988’s] ‘Hairspray’ came around, many of my mother’s friends told me they liked what I was doing, and she’s actually an extra in the movie, so things did change.” The American landscape has changed as well, having managed to make peace with the brand of depravity that Waters and Stole once trafficked in. Earlier this year, a scrubbed up version of 1970’s Waters-directed “Multiple Maniacs” played the IFC Center (Sixth Ave. & W. Third St.) for several weeks. “I love the restoration,” said Stole. “For me, ‘Multiple Maniacs’ is like watching home movies. So many people who are in the movie are no longer alive, that it’s bittersweet. There were things I had completely forgotten, like when Divine takes a sledgehammer to a car; I love that…and I am still amazed when the stuff we did when we were practically children has any relevance now.” .com

Photo by Lawrence Irvine

A restored version of John Waters’ “Multiple Maniacs” (1970) enjoyed a long run earlier this year, at IFC Center. L to R: Mink Stole, as Mink, and Divine, as Lady Divine.

Indeed, “cinematic atrocity” acts such as Divine’s straight-from-the-source, real-time ingestion of dog poo (the final scene of 1972’s “Pink Flamingos”) may no longer offend in an era when far greater transgressions await on YouTube — but the old gang’s celebration of recreational pleasures and uncompromising individuality in the face of repression is just as relevant today, and will perhap be even more so over the next four years… which begs the question: Isn’t it time for Stole to pen her memoirs so struggling artists and budding activists can benefit from the wisdom of this swear-spouting, card-carrying Democrat? “Writing is the hardest thing in the world to do,” said Stole, who didn’t necessarily rule out an autobiography. “When I imagine writing a book, I imagine walking around my house with a joint in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, while some amanuensis is writing down everything I say.”Spring for the VIP tickets to Stole’s show, and you can quiz her on this matter, or any other, during the meet-and-greet. Just be sure to wish her a merry you-know-what, instead of a happy…well, you know. “I really hate that phrase, ‘Happy Holidays,’ ” said Stole. “I want to be wished well for every holiday: Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s. I think ‘Happy Holidays’ is just a cheap shortcut. So Merry Christmas — and if you celebrate another religion, that’s an extra.” “Mink Stole: It’s Merry Christmas, Dammit!” is performed on Sat., Dec.

10, 7pm at The Cutting Room (44 E. 32nd St., btw. Lexington & Park Aves.). For tickets ($25 plus $20 food/drink minimum; $50 VIP option includes preferred seating, backstage

meet and greet), visit spincyclenyc. com or call 212-352-3101. Artist info (including how to order her debut CD, “Do Re Mink”) at minkstole. com.

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Rhymes With Crazy

Food Trends I Almost Missed BY LENORE SKENAZY Okay, I did it. I actually gave my head a pitying shake when a friend told me she had just discovered a fantastic restaurant in Jackson Heights that sells the giant Indian crepes called dosas. “It’s so great!” she said. “It’s called — ” “Dosa Delight,” I interrupted, as condescending as if she’d just discovered a great fast food restaurant called “McDonald’s.” But food pride goeth before a food fall. Just a day later I found myself speaking with Katie Sutton, of the food trendwatching company (yes, there are such things) Food and Drink Resources. I’d read some of its predictions — egg pizza from Georgia (the country), Japanese cuisine by way of Peru, and even fried Brussels sprouts — in an industry newsletter called Restaurant Hospitality. Could these eats truly be coming our way? Turns out they’re already here — and I’m one of the last to know. But possibly, so are you. For instance, Katie said, both coasts are currently obsessed by poke, and it isn’t a virtual reality game on your phone. It’s a Hawaiian dish consisting of cubes of raw fish marinated in sauce and served in a bowl, sometimes with rice. There are already several poke (poh-kay) shops in our city, some so popular that long lines form at lunchtime. Having once been absolutely positive that sushi was going to prove a flash in the pan (or, more accurately, a flash in the plate, since it’s raw), I feel reluctant to predict a quick demise for this new fad. But really, how many Hawaiian creations have made it to the big time and stayed there? Besides Obama, I mean. For now, though, poke is so ubiquitous that New York eateries are already cross-pollinating it with other popular foods, leading to items like the poke burrito. Meantime, the “phorrito” is another rising star. That’s a burrito filled with Vietnamese pho, a soup of braised meat, herbs, and noodles. All of which leads me

to my Food Theory No. 1: Wrap a tortilla around anything that’s already delicious and it will be a hit. Theory No. 2 is: The gloppier the better — which is why we’re talking about eating a wrap filled with soup. But you can also see this trend with egg sandwiches. Katie pointed to a West Coast restaurant called Eggslut, famous for the runniest eggs around. Another big trend she’s seeing is fruit soups. “It’s like taking a smoothie and dumping it into a bowl and putting chunks of fruit into it,” she said. So here’s my Food Theory No. 3: Anything chunked and put into a bowl is going to be a hit. One particular ingredient finding its way into these soups is dragon fruit, which I’ve seen at Asian fruit stands for years, but have always been too unnerved to try. They’re pink and green and look straight out of Dr. Seuss. But to catch up with the trends, I finally got two in Flushing, sliced

them open and…total shock! One was white inside with poppyseed-like seeds, but the other was ruby red, same seeds. So gorgeous! And so incredibly bland! Yecch. They tasted like giant kiwis, minus the flavor. And the fact that they cost about $5 apiece just makes me wonder how popular this fruit can ever be. But I’m the gal who bet against sushi, so let’s move on. Another counterintuitive trend is dark food on dark plates. After what feels like a century of ever-lighter cuisine, Katie says the trend has gone 180. Charring, once known as “overdone,” “burnt,” or “ruined” in my family, is now one of the two hippest methods for preparing vegetables (the other is deep frying). Katie says she has started charring her salad greens on the grill, which I could understand if they got kind of pleasantly caramelized. But I tried charred broccoli recently, and simply cannot understand why my own, equally unhip method of broccoli prep — steaming till it is bendably soft and slightly gray — lost out. Douse really soft broccoli in melted butter and I say yum. Of course, I say that when you douse almost anything in melted butter (I’m convinced that’s why lobster made it big: The shameless butter-dipping it made chic). And speaking of dipping, the last food trend we’ve got time for today is deconstructed ramen called tsukemen. The noodles are separate from the broth. You dip them in and slurp them down. Slurping, glopping, chunking and wrapping are clearly the order of the day, so here’s Food Theory No. 4: Any obscure cuisine that we haven’t discovered yet will burst onto the scene in 2018. And in 2019, it will be wrapped in a tortilla. Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker who authored the book, and founded the blog, Free-Range Kids (freerangekids. com).

YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN .com

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Chelsea Now  

December 8, 2016

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