YOUR WEEKLY community newspaper SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN
Beloved Bar ‘Not Going Anywhere Just Yet’ BY DENNIS LYNCH The third-generation owner of Chelsea’s Peter McManus Café has assured patrons of his family’s beloved bar that the storied watering hole isn’t facing an immediate crisis. Justin McManus said that representatives of the Renatus Group, which paid $10.5 million for the property in April, have verbally agreed to a one-year extension of his bar’s lease at its 85-year home in Chelsea. “It’s been pretty amicable and it seems like we’re going to sign a oneyear extension. Obviously it doesn’t solve our long-term problems and put us at full ease, but no, we’re not going anywhere just yet,” McManus said. Some patrons organized the “Coalition to #SaveMcManus” earlier this month when reports appeared online suggesting the bar could imminently close. Just under 1,000 people have joined since. Some members suggested an effort to landmark the 115-year-old building. Renatus has left a number of apartments in the four-story building Bar continued on p. 2
Rendering a Reality
Green space advocates, at a 2011 rally. Turn to page 4 and see what their passion project, 20th Street Park, will look like.
Photo by Jenny MacFarlane/stylishhipweddings.com
L to R: Linda Hemphill, maid of honor; bridesmaids Kimberly Kovach Allen and daughter Amelia; the bride and groom, Jennifer Dreussi Hansen and Wesley Francis Hansen; Cono Trubiano, Wes’ dad; Khadeeja Hansen, sister-in-law; John Hansen, Wes’ brother and best man.
TAKING THE PLUNGE BY RIDING THE TRAM BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC “Marriage” and “guerilla” don’t normally belong in the same sentence — but for two Penn South residents, swiping their MetroCards and staging their wedding on the Roosevelt Island Tramway made perfect sense, not to mention memories to last a lifetime. Jennifer Dreussi Hansen and Wesley Hansen recently told Chelsea Now about their Dec. 22, 2015 wedding over cheese blintzes and coffee at the Rail Line Diner (400 W. 23rd St., at Ninth Ave.). “When we decided to get married, we were going to go to City Hall — and, then, I don’t know, I kind of wanted to do something a little more funky,” Jennifer explained with a laugh. “It was my idea: Why don’t we try to get married on the tram?” Wesley and his parents had lived on the island at one point, and after Jennifer moved to the city, he had taken her there. “Roosevelt Island has always been a little special to me because of the time I spent there,” Wesley said. “It’s changed quite a bit over the years…so when I was showing Jennifer around, she was curious about the places I had lived.”
© CHELSEA NOW 2016 | NYC community media, LLC, All Rights Reserved
Jennifer fell in love with tram, and their photographer, Jennifer MacFarlane, happened to be married to an officiant, the Most Reverend Matt Levy. Neither had done a tram ceremony before. “We emailed them, and they were like, ‘Oh, yeah, we’d love to do this,’ ” she said. Levy had sent the couple what he calls a “love questionnaire” to fill out before the ceremony. “We didn’t want to know what he was going to say,” she said. The day of the wedding, Levy started the ceremony at the plaza below the tram near the 59th Street Bridge. Jennifer said the ceremony was funny and heartfelt, with Wesley saying, “It was tailor-made to us.” After they got the ball rolling, the couple and their guests used their MetroCards to get on the tram. Without a permit or asking for permission, the couple hoped for the best — saying their vows while the tram went over the East River. TRAM continued on p. 12 VOLUME 08, ISSUE xx | December 22 – 28, 2016
Peter McManus Café Still Serving Pints Despite Closure Scare Bar continued from p. 1
vacant after their last tenants moved out and the owners of Chelsea Deli, nextdoor to the bar, left earlier this month (although the details of the latter’s closure are unclear). There are at least two residential rentregulated tenants left living in the building above the bar. The Renatus Group cannot legally evict them and cannot raise their rent, possibly until next fall. This summer, for the second year in a row, the city’s Rent Guidelines Board enacted a rent freeze for one-year rent renewal leases signed between Oct. 1, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2017. It enacted a maximum rent hike of 2% for two-year leases, for leases signed in the same period. The Renatus Group did not respond to requests for comment. The firm bought the corner building — which occupies two lots with a combined footprint of about 3,700 square feet — in April but have been managing the property for the last few years, McManus said. The firm plans to “redevelop the buildings to significantly improve cash flow,” according to the Real Deal. There are four addresses between the properties: 152 and 154 Seventh Ave. and
Photo by Sean Egan
The two lots at the corner of Seventh Ave. and W. 19th St. house Peter McManus Café and the now-closed Chelsea Deli.
201 and 203 W. 19th St. Zoning would allow for a mixed residential and commercial tower, such as the 14-floor glass tower built in 2008 a block away at the corner of W. 18th St. and Seventh Ave.
The Christmas Season at St. Luke’s
ALL ARE WELCOME! US IN JOIN WORSHIP & CELEBRATION
CHRISTMAS EVE | SATURDAY, DEC 24
5:00 pm — Christmas Pageant & Eucharist 9:30 pm — Prelude of Christmas Music 10:00 pm — Festive Choral Eucharist
CHRISTMAS DAY | SUNDAY, DEC 25
8:00 am — Said Eucharist 10:30 am — Choral Eucharist* *Child care available for children under age 6; all children are welcome with us in worship.
The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields | 487 Hudson Street West Village (Corner of Grove and Hudson) New York, NY 10014
www.stlukeinthefields.org | 212.924.0562
December 22 – 28, 2016
The Peter McManus Café, known for its comfortable atmosphere, colorful history, and award-winning burgers, has called the corner of Seventh Ave. and W. 19th St. home since 1933. Justin’s grandfather Peter previously owned some speakeasies and a general store in the city, and opened the joint at the end of Prohibition. Until Renatus swings the wrecking ball (if they ever do), Justin thinks the bar will remain in its home. “We’re a successful bar, and you look in this neighborhood — I’ve seen so many open up just to close six months later. So to get a stable tenant that pays rent on the first of every month, it’s a blessing. We need them, but they need people like us too,” he said. “You know, they’re not going to have us leave to have a short-term tenant come in here; we’re grandfathered into so many things that this space would practically have to get torn down anyway.” A larger than usual crowd packed Peter McManus Café on Thurs., Dec. 15, perhaps compelled to brave the frigid cold and whipping winds after rumors spread earlier in the week that the bar could be closing soon. Artists, producers, and other dance and theater industry folks packed the back dining area. One group was gathered for the annual holiday party they’ve held there each year for over a decade. Lighting designer Joe Doran was there for the festivities. He’s come countless times since the early 2000s, following productions and hard days at work. He
believes Peter McManus will go down in the history books. “This place is so important to culture and so important to artists. It’s been for years, has it not?” Doran facetiously asked his friend, Stan, sitting with him. “This is the bar that artists come to. This is the bar to be at; it’s a significant place, it is.” This isn’t the first time the bar has faced an existential crisis. McManus recalled that his father dropped out of college in the late 1970s to help his grandfather manage the bar. Surrounded by a city drowning in crime and economic instability, the bar struggled at times to stay in business. But the McManus family persevered and has seemed to find success in balancing the preservation of its rich history and staying relevant. The stuff of lore remains — the bar still has the terrazzo floors that Peter McManus himself shelled out $5,000 for in 1933 (almost $93,000 in 2016 dollars). The old wood bar and authentic Tiffany stained glass cabinets behind the bar are original, including the cabinet with the bullet hole from a slug some scalawag let off at Peter McManus in a botched robbery attempt decades ago. But a newer touch-screen jukebox has replaced its old one, the bar and kitchen started taking credit cards a decade ago, and Justin installed new flat-screen televisions. Sure, some patrons grumbled when Justin finally removed a phone Bar continued on p. 11 .com
Lucky For Us: 13th ‘Safe City’ Ceremony Honors NYPD Officers BY ZACH WILLIAMS NYPD Police Officer and 10th Precinct veteran Robert Karl knew something was wrong when a little dog passed him one day on Ninth Ave., walking close to its owner but without a leash. He recognized the pair from just moments before — but now, headed in the opposite direction, toward W. 15th St., and with an additional person. “The dog was well-behaved the whole time, and that’s the only reason I paid attention to it,” Karl said in an interview. Then, however, he noticed one man take out a baggie of cocaine. The other held some cash. Neither of them knew the blue-eyed loiterer five feet away was an undercover cop who was poised to add another arrest to his career total of 353. Similarly decisive action by Sixth Precinct Police Officer Robert Lewis earned him place alongside Karl, when both were among those receiving Officer of the Year awards from the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce (GVCCC; villagechelsea.com), whose 13th Annual Safe City Safe Streets event also recognized the work of five other officers who distinguished themselves by thwarting criminals, assisting crime victims, and serving the local community. Karl and Lewis followed different paths to their profession, but a shared instinct for action turned them into the best of New York City’s Finest. Karl came from a patrilineal line of cops, while Lewis joined the department after a friend dared him to take the entrance examination. Then three years later, in 1996, he received a phone call. A voice on the other end informed the 20-year-old college student that his name was at the top of the wait list for the police academy. “I didn’t even know I passed,” Karl said in an interview. But he followed this unexpected opportunity to the first of hundreds of arrests in the northeast Bronx. Karl meanwhile followed the footsteps of his great-grandfather — the first person in his family to wear the NYPD badge — to Chelsea, where he has spent the entirety of his career since graduating from the academy in 1999. The neighborhood at the turn of the century faced different types of crime compared to the thefts that now dominate local crime statistics. Karl recalled that prostitutes and drug dealers congregated on 11th Ave. back then. The population grew by 25% in the next decade while crime fell by about 600 incidents per year over the course of Karl’s career. .com
Photos by Zach Williams
L to R: Jennifer Goodstein (Publisher, NYC Community Media), Sgt. Thomas Wahlig (Ninth Pct.), Police Officer Michael Eschmann (13th Pct.), Police Officer Robert Karl (10th Pct.), Florence Chung (CEO of The Hetty Group), Maria Diaz (Executive Director, GVCCC), Police Officer Robert Lewis (Sixth Pct.), Police Officer Vanessa Felix-Hidalgo, Police Officer Alberto Ortiz (Midtown South), and Mathew Heggem (Board President, GVCCC).
Police Officer Robert Karl, of the 10th Precinct.
Karl also changed in the middle of all of that. He became a plainclothes officer in the anti-crime unit. He pretended to party at local clubs while keeping an eye for the pickpockets and bag-snatchers who preyed on unsuspecting revelers. This shift from uniformed patrol also reflected a larger shift in the depart-
Police Officer Robert Lewis, of the Sixth Precinct.
ment’s strategy to combat crime. The “Broken Windows” approach of policing depends on preventing low-level crimes like petty theft as a means to preventing more serious crimes such as rape and murder. The enemies of law enforcement were evolving at the same time, accord-
ing to NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, a former TV journalist who was the keynote speaker on Dec. 15. Terrorism emerged as a threat as the murder rate dropped in the past two Safe City continued on p. 11 December 22 – 28, 2016
Hard-Won 20th Street Micro-Park to Feature Planting
Utility Structure & Storage Box
Temporary Public Art Pedestal
Shaded Seating Area 2-5 Play
Stage/ Mural / Temporary Public Art Display Area
5-12 Play Multi-use Synthetic Turf Area
Plaza gathering space
Planting New sidewalk
Gentle water play & water sound feature
STREET PARK | Schematic Design
A detailed diagram mapping out the features of the forthcoming park.
WEST 20TH STREET Renderings courtesy NYC Parks Department
BY SEAN EGAN New renderings pinpointing the location of play equipment, a water feature, seating, and vegetation for 20th Street Park were unveiled by the New York City Parks Department at the Dec. 8 Community Board 4 Waterfront, Parks and Environment (WPE) Committee. The well-received designs mark another significant leap forward for the forthcoming “micropark,” which began its life as a community idea to transform a former Department of Sanitation site (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.) into a green space, eventually securing over $5 million in funding from the Parks Department and City Councilmember Corey Johnson. Matt Weiss, a co-founder of Friends of 20th Street Park (which began its grassroots effort in 2010), was very pleased with the new renderings, and appreciated that Parks had taken community feedback into consideration with their design, which he believes appeals to “a diverse set of users.” “We think the [Parks] Department has done a terrific job with this design for a number of reasons,” said Weiss in a phone interview after the meeting. “We think it’s innovaN and it really reflects the tive, it’s thoughtful, character of Chelsea.” 20’ The0’park 10’ will feature a central seating area surrounding a plot 23 of synthetic turf (as well
Worship at Chelsea’s Famous Christmas Church 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
An aerial rendering of the park, highlighting the shade-providing trees and syntheticturf centerpiece.
The park will feature two sets of play equipment: one for kids ages 5-12, one for ages 2-5, as well as a water feature. In the foreground, the synthetic turf area.
December 22 – 28, 2016
Public Art, Play Areas, Soothing Sounds as numerous other benches around the block-sized park that form “quiet little nooks for reading”). There will be two play areas: one for kids ages 5-12, one for ages 2-5. While the 2-5 year old play area will be undergoing some tweaking following feedback from the WPE, Weiss described the playgrounds as “like a ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ jungle play” that features slides and climbing, that will spark imagination and creativity in a way he thinks is “very Chelsea.” There will also be a gentle, low-level water feature for play and to “create background noise, ambient noise, to really remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of the street.” There will also be a stage area for performances and meetings, though Weiss notes that it could come in handy for “children who like to jump on low structures, and pretend that the world is their stage.” In addition, as a unique feature, the park will have a designated area for public art, whose exhibitions will be changed on a rotating basis, featuring work from local artists. The Parks Department also intends on beautifying the surrounding sidewalk/street area of the park; they have committed to using
Friends of 20th Street Park, at a 2011 rally in front of the future micro-park.
recyclable material and examining water reuse options, and planting many new (and some mature) trees. “They were able to do all this in a quarter of an acre, which is pretty remarkable, and without it feeling overcrowded — it actually has great flow,” said Weiss, noting that the design “balances all of the interests of aesthetics, functionality and security.” While Weiss admits that there are still some debates to be had — including over fence height and some of the specifics
Courtesy Friends of 20th Street Park
regarding the playgrounds — the WPE Committee seemed generally pleased with the designs/renderings of the little “urban oasis.” They certainly aren’t the only ones, however. “I’m thrilled with the design. It’s going to have something for everyone, from great play spaces for kids to relaxing seating areas for adults. I can tell already that this is going to be a neighborhood destination for Chelsea families,” wrote Councilmember Johnson, who contributed additional money
to the future park after the project won funds though his district’s 2014 Participatory Budgeting process. “The Parks Department has done an extraordinary job incorporating ideas from the community and turning them into what will be a beautiful park. This really shows what’s possible when community and government work together to achieve big goals.” Currently, the 20th Street Park is on track to be completed by 2019. For more info, visit 20thstreetpark.org.
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Nonprofit City Contractors Step Up, Push For Better Funding BY JACKSON CHEN Nonprofit contractors doing business with New York City and their key ally in the City Council, Helen Rosenthal, have renewed the push for more funding after their request for dollars to cover the costs of things like rising rent, equipment purchases, and capital repairs were excluded from the 2017-2018 fiscal budget. This time, they’ve doubled down on their initial demand and are requesting an additional $50 million for nonprofits in the city’s budget. The nonprofit community first made its budget concerns vocal during a May rally outside City Hall, urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to up their funding. At that time, Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side, was joined by several of her fellow councilmembers in requesting a 2.5% increase, or $25 million, in the city’s budget to cover “other than personnel services” costs, or OTPS, borne by nonprofits with city contracts. While staff salaries take up a majority of such organizations’ expenses, everything else — like rents, supplies, and technology expenses — is categorized as OTPS. “We’re trying to strategically get a jumpstart on what’s going on,” Rosenthal said, reflecting the disappointment with the budget adopted this past summer as well as apprehension about the political upheaval in Washington. “Before we were saying let’s do a 2.5 percent increase on the OTPS, but now we’re saying let’s make it a five percent increase. Thinking ahead with the additional work they’ll more likely be asked to do with larger cuts in federal funding, we need to shore up the nonprofits.” While unsuccessful in the 2017-2018 budget adopted on July 1, the nonprofit community continues to press its case, holding another OTPS rally on Dec. 1 to reignite focus on the issue with the
Courtesy Human Services Council
Foreground, L to R: Assemblymember Brian Kavanaugh, Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and the Human Services Council’s Allison Sesso at City Hall on Dec. 1.
hope of influencing the mayor’s preliminary budget, due to be released in January. “We fund [nonprofits] at 80 cents on a dollar, so they go out to private philanthropy where private investors want to spend money on new technology or a project,” Rosenthal said. “Instead, the philanthropy is having to pay for toilet paper, increased costs of food, increased costs of rents, and it shouldn’t be that way.” At the Dec. 1 rally, Rosenthal and nonprofit leaders were joined on City Hall’s steps by City Comptroller Scott Stringer and East Side State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh. “Nonprofit human service organizations are the backbone of our city’s social safety net,” Stringer wrote in an email message. “They provide essential, often lifesaving services, to our city’s
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December 22 – 28, 2016
most vulnerable residents. These organizations are working on behalf of city government, and frankly, they’ve been doing it with inadequate funding for many years.” The comptroller added, “And when OTPS is underfunded, these organizations are forced to make devastating decisions. Like choosing between buying supplies for their youth program, or paying that month’s utility bill — it’s just not right.” Allison Sesso, the executive director of the Human Services Council, an umbrella organization that represents nonprofits, said the groups have been struggling for years and the latest budget exclusion was frustrating. “We were asking for it to be in last year’s budget, which would’ve meant we got a 2.5 percent increase,” Sesso said. “Since they didn’t include that in the budget, we’ve increased the ask because we know inflation continues to erode our costs, so now we’re saying, ‘Let’s add for the two years together.’ ” Even with that, Sesso stressed that the 5% wasn’t even close to addressing the underfunding of nonprofits through city contracts, nor does it fix the competitive procurement process in which the organizations vie for contracts. “We’re not actually at this moment asking for the perfect process,” Sesso said. “We’re saying we’re at a breaking point, and we’re asking for a relatively small adjustment to address this broken system.” According to Urban Pathways, a
homeless and housing nonprofit with locations throughout the city, the problem facing nonprofit service providers is based on the law of supply and demand. The organization’s chief operating officer, Ronald Rosado Abad, said that with operating expenses rising each year, fixed levels of funding in city contracts squeeze their ability to provide the services needed. “All the not-for-profits have this challenge of managing the budgets within these constraints, but the demand for our services continues to increase,” Abad said. “The demand is increasing but the supply is not.” Urban Pathways’ director of policy, Nicole Bramstedt, said that stretching the organization’s budget leaves it in a difficult bind when approaching private donors. Nonprofits typically rely on some level of private funding, but oftentimes donors are looking to support programs that can show results in the community — not the far less appealing categories of rent, supplies, and equipment. Abad said even the 5% increase is barely a sliver of the city’s more than $80 billion budget. The minor bump in funding, he said, would leave nonprofit city contractors in much better shape. The mayor and his office haven’t completely turned a blind eye to the nonprofits’ situation. In September, de Blasio launched the Nonprofit Resiliency Committee, meant to promote collaboration between city agencies and nonprofits. According to Jessica Ramos, a spokesperson for de Blasio, the committee would explore issues of “organizational infrastructure, including OTPS, collaborative service design, and streamlining administrative processes.” In an email message, Ramos added, “The Nonprofit Resiliency Committee coordinates with mayoral offices to address priorities of the sector and identify solutions. The Committee has been productive in identifying priorities and is developing work plans to create and implement solutions.” According to Sesso, however, the mayor’s office has yet to offer any commitments regarding the request for $50 million in OTPS funding the organizations are seeking. “On one hand, we want to recognize they put this group together,” Sesso said of the mayor’s new committee. “On the other hand, that’s all well and good, but we also need to see this investment and we want to make a case for why it’s important to have this investment.” .com
Ruminations on Nominations: Trump’s Cabinet of Deplorables BY MAX BURBANK Do we really need to “wait and see” what Donald Trump will be like in office? Not unless we assume he’s been punking us all along. Despite having time to visit with Kanye, fix his desperate ego jones every day or so with a quick Nuremberg-style “thank you” rally, and get all swoony over the near-certainty that Putin will invite him to the Senior Prom, Trump felt he had to cancel a press conference addressing his conflict of interest plan on account of how super-busy he is with the transition. So let’s look at that. It seems like the people a president-elect nominates for his cabinet could be a pretty good indication of how he might govern. Steven Mnuchin, Treasury: This former Goldman Sachs partner is the kind of prehistoric, monster-size big fish you find when you “Drain The Swamp.” Just speaking to guys like this made Clinton “unfit” to be president! Trump’s top fundraiser, Mnuchin personally contributed $430,000 to Trump and the RNC’s joint fundraising account. “Bribe” is a nasty word. “Purchase” might be better. Linda McMahon, Small Business Administration: Because what says “small business” like being CEO of the WWE? Sure, she’s a chick and that’s bad, but she ran a business based on passionately
insisting something totally fake is real. What could be better preparation? It’s like Trump school. Or, you know, Trump University. Wilbur Ross, Commerce: Billionaire investor, banker, rumored to be the “Grand Swipe” of Kappa Beta Phi — a Wall Street secret society of the sort that calls their leader “Grand Swipe.” And no, for the record, I did not make that up. Scott Pruitt, EPA: Knows a lot about the Environmental Protection Agency ’cause he’s SUING IT! A climate change denier, he once wrote of global warming, “The debate is far from settled” — presumably because he does not know what the words “debate” and “settled” mean. Trump chose Pruitt for EPA when he found out he could not name Cruella de Vil for Secretary of Puppies. .com
Ben Carson, Housing and Urban Development: A former presidential candidate Trump once implied was a child molester, Carson turned down Health and Education, saying he “had no government experience.” But he’s a perfect choice for HUD, though, ’cause he’s like…urban, right? And presumably, at some point, he lived in a house. James Mattis, Defense: Hasn’t been
Andrew Puzder, Labor: This fast food CEO hates labor protections and the minimum wage, loves automation for it’s back-sass-free non-uppityness, and is very close to being named “A. Putz.” Nominated by Trump when he found out he could not nominate King Joffrey to be Secretary of Ned Stark. Elaine Chao, Transportation: Sure she’s married to Mitch “Yertle the
Perry, who once called Trump “a cancer on conservatism,” enthusiastically embraced his appointment, presumably because he’s strongly pro-cancer. Betsy DeVos, Education: Your kid’s English teacher probably has a master’s degree. Many high school principals have a PhD, and most states require one for Superintendent of Schools. Betsy DeVos holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, never went to public school, doesn’t send her kids to public school, and has never taught anything because she’s a full-time lobbyist and fundraiser. File this one under #DrainTheSwamp or #FindTheBiggestLeeches. Rex Tillerson, State: What you find squirming around the rim of the plughole once the swamp is entirely drained. Chairman and Chief Executive of ExxonMobil, a company with billions of dollars in oil contracts with Russia, which can only go forward if we lift sanctions against them — so no problems there. He received the Russian Order of Friendship directly from Putin, a medal denoting that he and Tillerson are “just friends,” so Trump doesn’t need to be “jealous” but shouldn’t totally “rule out” some sort of “three-way thing” involving “shirtless stallion riding.” Michael Flynn, National
Image by Herb Rich
out of the military long enough to be legally eligible, but so what? Trump has a boner for generals left over from his days in a fancy schmancy military prep school. Also, Mattis’ nickname is “Mad Dog.” There’s probably a lot more to know about him, but that was more than enough for Trump. Jeff Sessions, Attorney General: If the middle name “Beauregard” doesn’t immediately suggest southern-fried racism, he once said he thought the KKK was “okay, until I found out they smoked pot.” In 1986 the senate found him too racist to be a federal judge — but Trump claims to be the least racist person you’ve ever met, so people he nominates can’t be racists. It’s just logic.
Turtle” McConnell, but she’s also qualified, educated, female, and Asian. What gives? Trump just got “One of These Things is Not Like the Others” stuck in his head. Rick Perry, Energy: The last two Secretaries of Energy have been the head of the department of physics at MIT and a Nobel Prize winner. Perry holds a BA in Animal Science from Texas A&M. Last time he ran for president, he wanted to eliminate the agency he’s now nominated to run, but couldn’t remember its name. In the plus column, he came in second-to-last on “Dancing with the Stars,” a performance almost good enough to make up for his having been Governor of Texas.
Security Adviser: Nazi, cyborg, frequent UFO abductee, current owner of the Spear of Destiny, married to a brace of Latvian sister-wives all under the age of 12: These are the kind of fake news items Flynn indiscriminately wolfs down like a starving mongrel eating its own vomit. Bonus points! NSA is by appointment, so does not need congressional approval. Stephen K. Bannon, Senior Counselor, Chief Strategist: This Decepticon transforms at will from a bloated alcoholic anti-Semite into a high-tech white supremacist bullhorn. Also the main reason you don’t need to “wait and see” anything about a Trump presidency unless you are currently blind. December 22 – 28, 2016
POLICE BLOTTER HATE CRIMES: UPDATE Yasmin Seweid, the 18-year-old Muslim teen who claimed to be the victim of a bias attack earlier this month, has been arrested for fabricating that story. When Chelsea Now initially reported on the incident, it was believed that three drunken men harassed her on a 6 train by calling her a â€œterrorist,â€? shouting the name of President-elect Donald Trump, and attempting to pull off her hijab. The NYPD were informed of the incident and began a search for suspects; shortly thereafter Seweid was reported missing. After a few days, the truth came out: She had run off to her sisterâ€™s residence, and had lied about the hate incident in order to avoid getting in trouble with her family for missing curfew on the night in question. Seweid was arrested on charges related to the hoax.
TIMES SQUARE STABBING Madame Tussauds Wax Museum (234 W. 42nd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) was the site of a violent stabbing incident in the early morning hours of Sun., Dec. 18, which left two victims injured. At around 2:15am, the pair got into an argument with their attacker during a drug deal, after he thought they were making advances on his girlfriend (also present). The assailant, 23-year-old Pedro Nieves Diaz, pulled a knife out during the fight, and stabbed one man in the chest and the other in the arm. Diaz was arrested
on Monday night, on charges including attempted murder; his girlfriend, 19-year-old Ashley Arcuri, was arrested on drug possession charges. The two victims were hospitalized, but are now in stable condition.
PETIT LARCENY: Perfume genius Authorities might want to literally follow their noses to catch this criminal, as they presumably have a Pigpen-esque cloud of perfume wafting off of their person. Thatâ€™s because, on Sun., Dec. 11, the unknown suspect strolled into a Duane Reade (131 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 16th & W. 17th Sts.) at about 9:25am and lifted $670 dollars worth of fragrances. It is unknown whether the incident â€” where 14 units of scents from various brands, including Gucci, Polo, Marc Jacobs, Versace, and Dolce and Gabbana were taken â€” was captured on security video or not.
PETIT LARCENY: Dirty deed, clean laundry Apparently one crook didnâ€™t realize they should be taking people to the cleaners, not taking stuff from the cleaners. On Wed., Dec. 14, the unknown female perp entered All Purpose Laundromat (204 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 20th & W. 21st Sts.) a little before 3pm, and, for reasons unknown, took a whole bag of laundry and left the premises. The crime was reported by the
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48-year-old employee who was separating laundry at the location, but briefly turned her back to her work at the time of the theft. Though the value of the clothing is unknown, the bag contained approximately 26 articles of clothing, including leggings, tops, jeans, socks, and undergarments.
IDENTITY THEFT: Fios fraud Gone are the halcyon days where stealing cable simply meant surreptitiously tapping into your neighborâ€™s line â€” apparently it now requires some serious digital fraud. As reported to police on Fri., Dec. 16, a 28-year-old W. 42nd St. resident was surprised to learn that someone had opened up a Verizon account in his name, in order to enjoy Internet service and cable TV. The unsuspecting stooge only recently found out about the identity theft when agencies started getting in contact with him to collect payment for the illgotten services. The victim of the incident claims he has no idea who the perp could possibly.
LOST PROPERTY, UNCLASSIFIED: Bag grab On Sat., Dec. 17 a 20-year-old visitor from London left a party at Black Bar (85 10th Ave.) empty handed Police Blotter continued on p. 21
58251NYPD CNG #3 4.313â€? x 5.6875 PIN No. X773.40 - Bloomfield to West 14 St. â€“ Upland Park Construction 12.2.2016 Description: The Hudson River Park Trust ("HRPT") is seeking proposals from qualified site contracting firms (â€œBiddersâ€?) p 4 within the Hudson River Park, extending from Bloomfield to West 14 Street interested in performing site construction HUDSON RIVER PARK TRUST Contract ID# D034634 Category: 03
along the Hudson River on Manhattanâ€™s west side. Typical construction operations would include but not be limited to: Protection of existing structures, utilities, and features to remain; Maintenance of existing construction fencing and gates, and other temporary protection measures to facilitate project mobilization and access; Excavation, earthwork, and grading; Field survey and layout; Site/soil preparation and the furnishing and installation of soil mixes; Furnishing and installation of all new trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, ground cover, bulbs and annuals; Site irrigation supply and installation including piping, fittings, sleeves, valves and valve boxes, swing joints, sprinkler heads, drip line and emitters, quick coupler valves, filters, etc; Maintenance of all landscape materials until Substantial Completion acceptance by Owner; and Guarantee of installed plant materials for one-year after final acceptance; Testing and adjusting of irrigation equipment and distribution system; Demonstration and training for the Ownerâ€™s personnel; Natural stone stand-alone element(s); Setting mortars, grouting/pointing mortars, and related setting accessories; Sealant application at joints within stonework; Cast-in-place and pre-cast concrete; Site utility systems (including site electrical, and irrigation work); Pavement systems (incl. pre-cast concrete unit paving, granite unit block paving, asphalt paving); Site finishing; Site improvements and appurtenances; Removal of temporary protections and controls; and other finish work as may be required. Price for bid documents $200.00 per set. All payments must be made by check, and must be payable to the Hudson River Park Trust and must include the contractorâ€™s Federal Identification Number. Document availability date Friday December 23, 2016. Documents including required submission materials for this solicitation may be obtained by the following means: Mail: Mail your requests and a check to the Hudson River Park Trust â€“ Project Management Office, 353 West Street, Pier 40 â€“ 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10014. In Person: Directly from the Hudson River Park Trust located at Pier 40. Hours 9:00 a.m. â€“ 5:00 p.m., Monday â€“ Friday, except holidays. Overnight delivery via Fed Ex is available by providing your account information. Criteria for determining the lowest qualified bidder will include but is not limited to an analysis of: 1. Bidderâ€™s site construction experience (minimum 10 years) on similar projects, including the name, location, and construction cost of the projects (include projects within the NYC metropolitan area); 2. Bidderâ€™s complete team (prime contractor or joint venture partners and/or sub-contractors) that it would commit to the project, including an analysis of the percentage of subcontracting; 3. Any NYS DOL, OSHA, ACOE, or NYS DEC violations issued to Bidder or any of its principals in the last five years; 4. Bidderâ€™s proposed land surveyor, site electrician, site plumber, stone materials installer, landscape materials installer, irrigation system installer, and other specialty contractors required by the contract; 5. Qualifications of the personnel to be utilized for this project; 6. Detailed financial statements of Bidder or, in the case of a joint venture, the detailed financial statements of the joint venture partners or principals; 7. Any debarments, litigation, and/or bankruptcy filings by Bidder or its principals in the last five years; 8. Completed and certified â€œVendexâ€? and New York State Vendor Responsibility questionnaires completed within the last three years; and9. Bidderâ€™s EEO policy statement and DBE Utilization Plan. Submissions will be evaluated to assess the proposerâ€™s responsibility, project specific and general site construction, stone installation, landscape, and irrigation construction experience, project management personnel, percentage of subcontracting, and financial stability. Any resulting contracts will include provisions mandating compliance with Executive Order 11246 and the policies of the Secretary of Labor including 41 CFR 60, and 29 CFR 1625-1627. The Trust and the FHWA have the authority and the responsibility to ensure compliance with Title 23 USC Section 140, the Rehabilitation Act 1973, as amended (29 USC 794), and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and related regulations including CFR Parts 21, 26, and 27; and 23 CFR Parts 200, 230, and 633 and the regulations promulgated there under. HRPT is an equal opportunity contracting agency. DBE Sub-Contracting Goal: 14%
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December 22 â€“ 28, 2016
Proposal Due: 01/24/2017, 1:00 p.m. Contract Term: Not Applicable Contact: Lupe Frattini ! "! ' .0. %/+(-PP # % ,++,/ )4,2*11,32/+ )4,2*11,3232$
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TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones
Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell
phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.
Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-
haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.
Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and
chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at
a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.
Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.
December 22 – 28, 2016
In celebration of more than 31 years of service comes God's Love We Deliver Cookbook: Nourishing Stories and Recipes from Notable Friends, packed with family recipes and personal anecdotes from 75 supporters of God’s Love We Deliver. Contributors to the organization’s first-ever cookbook include Isabella Rossellini, Ina Garten, Danny Meyer, Michael Kors, Mario Batali, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci and many, many others. All proceeds from this initiative go directly to support the mission of God's Love We Deliver.
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December 22 – 28, 2016
Safe City continued from p. 3
decades. The September bombing on W. 23rd St. showed that the threat continues to evolve, with lone attackers inspired by ISIS having replaced organized terrorist cells run by Al-Qaeda. The department established dedicated units to guarding high-risk targets throughout the city. But despite the additional resources, a safe city still depends on the help of civilians, like the food cart vendor who alerted police years ago to a bomb in Times Square. Complicated threats as dangerous as terrorism and as prosaic as petty larceny require street savvy, according to Miller. “Like politics, I think all terrorism is local,” he said. He added that events like Safe City Safe Streets strengthen the relationship between cops and the community — even at a time when that relationship has come under greater scrutiny because of police killings of unarmed civilians in New York City and across the country. However, vigilant cops like Karl and Lewis remain the top weapons against crime, even in an era of super-trained bomb-sniffing dogs, shot-spotting technology, and stat-crunching computers, according to Miller. Lewis brought that shared instinct
Photo by Leigh Beckett
L to R: Police Officer Alberto Ortiz, of Midtown South, and his son, Police Officer Justin Ortiz, of the 46th Precinct.
for action from the streets of the Bronx when he transferred to the Sixth Precinct earlier this year. Crime rates have fallen dramatically in the West Village and Greenwich Village in the past decade. Incidents of rape fell by half in the last year alone. But Police Officer Robert Lewis remained on patrol even when he was off the clock on a September afternoon this year. He had just left the stationhouse when he saw three men beating a fourth man at the corner of W. 10th and Bleecker Sts. Instinct took over, he said in an
interview. He grabbed the wrist of one assailant with his left hand and the wrist of another with his right, and began leading them back towards the nearby police station. “They were calling me ‘Mister, Mister, Mister’ ” Lewis said. “They didn’t know what was going on until we got into the precinct.” The victim got his iPhone back, but the third perpetrator got away — for the time being, according to Lewis. Experience taught him that NYPD will revoke his borrowed time soon enough.
“We know who he is and the detectives will be apprehending him soon,” Lewis said. Serving the Gramercy/Chelsea area, Police Officer Michael Eschmann was recognized for the “tireless work ethic” that has resulted in approximately 600 career arrests (including 34 in 2016). Officer Eschmann joined the NYPD in March 2000, and was assigned to the 13th Precinct. Since then, he has worked several units: Conditions, Crime, and, most recently, the Cabinet Unit. One of Eschmann’s most notable arrests took place earlier this year, year when he followed a male acting suspiciously into a building, observed him check numerous doors and eventually made the arrest for burglary after the perpetrator entered an office and attempted to remove property. Also honored at the ceremony was Police Officer Alberto Ortiz, who has worked in Midtown South ever since he joined the department 22 years ago. His commanding officer noted in his nomination for Officer of the Year that Ortiz has been a constant at a precinct that has had to evolve with the changing needs of the West Side. His experience came in handy during recent shooting and terrorism-related incidents in the area, “to which he served a pivotal role in the overall outcome of the situation.”
Bar continued from p. 2
book stand that was bottlenecking traffic near its famous phone booths, but that didn’t stop them from coming. Some folks do come for the history, but it seems most come because its just a great place to have a beer or a burger (or both) with friends. The place is home for all sorts. Working class firefighters, policemen, and laborers have called it home for decades. Older artists, including the rent-regulated tenants upstairs, still hang out there beside the younger, more affluent crowd that has moved into the neighborhood. For some, it’s the alpha — the birthplace of countless friendships, comedy sketches, dance and theater productions, and maybe even a novel or two. For others, the omega. Justin recalled a pair of former regulars, a priest and a rabbi, who one day got into a heated argument, tossed beer at each other, stormed out and never came back. He remembers one old-timer who peacefully slumped over and breathed his last breath sitting on a barstool one evening about 25 years ago. Justin was a pallbearer at his funeral. Somehow it’s made it onto countless lists across the Internet as a must-see .com
A crowd packed Peter McManus Café on the chilly night of Dec. 15. Some said they heard the bar was possibly in danger of closing.
Third-generation owner Justin McManus serves up a well-poured Guinness over the original bar his grandfather installed at the watering hole in 1933.
all the bars in the neighborhood, why Peter McManus? “You have a regular spot, they know you and you know them, and there’s a rapport — the beers are cheap and the people [staff] are amazing,” Isabella Hreljanovic said. They all hugged and chatted up the holiday party crowd, Justin, and the staff on the way out. Justin said the thought of packing up all the well-worn tables and memora-
bilia at the bar and opening somewhere new is a “worst-case scenario,” but if Peter McManus had to go anywhere, there’s no question Chelsea is the first place he’d look, he said. “Oh absolutely, we’ve been in Chelsea for 85 years,” he said. “Since we haven’t moved in so long, it kind of makes you a little nervous about it. You do lose some of that history, as much as you hate to say it.”
Photos by Dennis Lynch
bar in New York, but remained a lowkey haunt for celebrities since its inception, who’ve told Justin it’s one of the only “normal” bars they can go and be respected by their fellow patrons. A group of young women — also part of the local dance and theater scene — sat at a corner table in the back of the room with a pitcher of beer, two plates of wings, two orders of mozzarella sticks, and an order of tater tots. Out of
December 22 – 28, 2016
They Did It Tramway: Penn South Couple’s U Tram continued from p. 1
More than 35 people — tourists and commuters — were on the tram with them during the nuptials. To keep everyone on a positive note, Wesley said, the couple had prepared bags filled with candy — Nerds, Smarties, and Hershey’s Kisses — along with a magnet emblazoned with “Greetings from Roosevelt Island,” and handed them out to people. “Some people got really big smiles and everything,” he said. “One woman told me, she was like, ‘This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in New York,’ ” Jennifer said. Afterwards, the couple took photos in front of the Bushwick Collective, a “nonprofit outdoor street gallery” in Brooklyn, according to its Facebook page. The Hansens have three cats — Banana, Female, and Kevin — and made sure to take some pictures in front of cat artwork. They then had dinner at El Quijote, a Spanish restaurant at 226 W. 23rd St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Wesley and Jennifer’s romance began when they met in 1993 in Hanover, New Hampshire. “I just saw him come through the door,” she said with a laugh. “I didn’t think that he would speak to me, and he just kind of sauntered over and slid into the booth next to me.” At the time, Wesley was working for Big Apple Circus, and was on tour. “That’s when we first met,” he said. “We spent time together, but I was only in town for a week. It was just a few days, but we made a big impression, obviously.” Over the years, they kept having what Jennifer called “weird chance encounters,” including the time there was almost a car accident. “She ran a stop sign and almost ran me over,” he said.
Photo by Kimberly Kovach Allen
Get me to the tram on time: Jennifer Dreussi uses her MetroCard to start life with Wesley Francis Hansen, who has already paid his fare.
“I did not run the stop sign,” she countered. “It’s a point of contention,” he said. Jennifer said she was ready to scream after she got out of her car, but then they recognized each other and spent the rest of the day together. The pair got together for good in 2008. Wesley had moved to Penn South at the tail end of 2007, and as he was unpacking he found some letters from Jennifer. “I had sent him some letters that he — I never got a response from, but he’d kept them,” she said. Wesley said, “I was going through stuff and I found the letters and was wondering what Jennifer had been up to because she had been in my thoughts. And so I started looking for her on the Internet. And then I found a Suzanne Vega fan site…and I had remembered she was a big Suzanne Vega fan.” They were long distance for a bit, and spent stretches of time visiting one another before Jennifer moved to New York City about two years ago. The couple got engaged at the end of 2011, on New Year’s Eve. Both feel lucky to live in Penn South
Passersby look on in approval, after the wedding ceremony.
December 22 – 28, 2016
Jennifer and Wesley outside their Penn South home, on their wedding day: Dec. 22, 2015. .com
Unconventional Nuptials Were Up in the Air
Unless otherwise noted, all page 12 and 13 photos by Jenny MacFarlane/stylishhipweddings.com
A post-wedding photo shoot at Bushwick Collective favored cat-themed murals, of which there are many.
and Chelsea. “When I first started coming here, I had this vision of this crazy city,” said Jennifer, a Texan who moved to Burlington, Vermont in the mid-1990s, and began making forays to Manhattan during her courtship period. “I thought that it was going to be much different than what it is; that it would be anonymous.” Life in Penn South, it turns out, “reminds me of Burlington — a lovely community, and people really pull together. Chelsea is awesome. We have the Hudson and Chelsea Piers less than a five-minute walk, and historic buildings on every street that we love to look at and read about.” Wesley concurred, “There’s a stronger sense of community in this co-op than I’ve experienced in any apartment setting anywhere, whether it’s in Brooklyn or Queens or Uptown.” Wesley, who was born in New Jersey, said that his mom encouraged him to get on the list for Penn South, and he waited about five years for an apartment. Chelsea businesses played a prominent role in their wedding: Wesley bought Jennifer’s engagement ring at Macy’s, they got their rings at Pippin Vintage Jewelry (112 W. 17th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.), and had their reception at a local restaurant. “It’s the ideal neighborhood in Manhattan,” Wesley said. “I wouldn’t want to live in any other place,” Jennifer added. .com
The Most Reverend Matt Levy, center, officiated.
Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
Nearly a year later, the happy couple showed Chelsea Now their wedding album, and a sample of the treats given to unsuspecting tram riders. December 22 – 28, 2016
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Letters to the Editor We’re allowing horrors to happen Re: Lots of Land: Hotelier’s Purchase Includes W. 23rd St. Church (news, Nov. 22, 2016): To The Editor: So sad — first, the horrors of closing St. Vincent’s Hospital, thus no hospital on the West Side of Manhattan, from 59th St. to Battery Park City. Many, many communities were, and continue to be, impacted by the closing. Now, the St. Vincent de Paul Church on W. 23rd St. So much history. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the French author, had a funeral service held at St. Vincent de Paul. Edith Piaf, the French singer, had one of her weddings there, with Marlene Dietrich as her matron of honor. French President Charles de Gaulle was present at the Memorial to French and American Veterans in the church in memory of the members of the Lafayette Squadron and other Americans who had died fighting for France. The funeral of Louis Keller, the publisher of the New York Social Register, etc. And now, [it could be] a hotel. Such a shame — what is happening, and being allowed to happen. Catherine M. Perebinossoff
Penn South’s SukeniCk praises our sister publication To The Editor: Oops…watch out… . The Villager is in danger of becoming the Village Voice (early on when the Voice’s investigative reporting excelled), what, with articles revealing Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s seamy side as a landlord of several East Village buildings; tenants without cooking gas for many months, thanks to another prize landlord in the East Village, and news about Indian Point and an editorial about Rivington House. Keep up the good work! Gloria Sukenick
Penner’s plan for Port Authority RE: “Insisting Input on Bus Terminal, Alliance Arises to Watch Over West Side” (news, Dec. 8, 2016) To The Editor: Everyone should agree that the existing Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) 42nd St. bus terminal facility is antiquated lacking sufficient capacity to deal with current and future needs. My 31 years of experience in the transportation field tells me that the PANYNJ will need a minimum of $10 billion to build a new facility at the same or new location. Amtrak is looking for $24 billion to fund the “Gateway” project for construction of a new tunnel providing additional access to Penn Station for Amtrak and NJ Transit, and $1.8 billion to extend PATH from Penn Station Newark to Newark Airport. Based upon past history, it is doubtful either agency will ever find these dollars. A better solution is to extend the MTA NYC Transit .com
Photo by Peter Michael Marino
Reader Michael Rahav cleared up our question as to how this lion arrived on his W. 30th St. perch.
No. 7 subway extension from the Hudson Yards station on to NJ Transit’s Secaucus Junction station by Exit 15X on the NJ Turnpike. Build a new bus terminal at Secaucus. This could divert thousands of riders from both the 42nd St. Bus Terminal and Penn Station. Ask the MTA, NYC, New York State, New Jersey, NJ Transit, PANYNJ and US Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration to provide financial contributions for fully funding this project. Riders and taxpayers from both states would benefit. Imagine providing a direct connection linking New Jersey, Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal and Queens under a one-seat ride. This could assist thousands of reverse commuters to employment centers, along with sporting events such as NY Giants and NJ Jets games, and concerts at the Meadowlands (via Secaucus Junction station), NY Mets games and concerts at Citi Field, the US Open, Arthur Ash stadium along with Flushing Meadow Park and Queens Zoo. Thousands of New Jersey residents would have easier access to Manhattan’s East Side. Metro North commuters via Grand Central Terminal (along with LIRR riders, when East Side access to Grand Central is completed in 2023) would have a new option to New Jersey. This could afford PANYNJ the ability to renovate the existing 42nd St. bus terminal within the existing footprint in phases, without the need of significant adjacent private property condemnation. Amtrak could shut down one Hudson River tunnel from New Jersey to Penn Station at a time for critical repairs. Both could remain in transit service with necessary work accomplished at far less cost. Larry Penner Larry Penner is a transportation historian and advocate who previously worked 31 years for the
US Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office.
FEEDBACK FROM FACEBOOK Re: “The Lion in Winter, in West Chelsea” (front page photo, Dec, 8, 2016) All these six building on W. 30th St., decorated for Xmas by the buildings’ super, Wilson Tenepaguay, look so stunningly beautiful! Merry Christmas! Michael Rahav Re: “Forum Shops Strategies for Saving Small Businesses (web posting, Oct. 26, 2016): Stopping the closing of long-established businesses must be the top priority. The saving of jobs and passing of legislation to stabilize the backbone of our economy and end the crisis faced by our businesses must be addressed now. If any lawmakers gives excuses to not at least hold an honest debate to quickly find the best solution to stop the closings, and instead recommends worthless programs or initiatives that keep the status quo, then they are working for REBNY and not for the will of the people or small businesses. Steve Null E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to Scott@ChelseaNow.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to Chelsea Now, Letters to the Editor, NYC Community Media, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. Chelsea Now reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Chelsea Now does not publish anonymous letters. December 22 – 28, 2016
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December 22 – 28, 2016
Stories Sung From The Subterranean Realm The dynamic cacophony of restless New Yorkers, rendered a cappella BY DAVID KENNERLEY “In Transit” bills itself as “Broadway’s first a cappella musical,” destined to “make history.” Indeed, under the guidance of director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall, the skillful cast delivers terrific renditions of jazzy pop tunes and power ballads with nary a woodwind, string, or drum. Instead, the ensemble, alternately led by beatbox masters Steven “HeaveN” Cantor and Chesney Snow (the role is so taxing they alternate shows), provides the musical accompaniment along with the singing. Not to mention all manner of wild, percussive beats and sound effects; every sound is produced by a human voice. And what better setting to showcase this art form than the New York subway system, where the polyrhythms of the city and its restless denizens often converge to create a glorious symphony? In this subterranean realm, a steady stream of yearning, alienated humanity is bent on getting from point A to point B. But what about the journey? For skeptics wondering whether a Broadway tuner can float without the aid of an orchestra, “In Transit” firmly whisks any doubts aside. Deke Sharon (“Pitch Perfect”) is the vocal arranger. It may also be the first musical in which the book, music, and lyrics together are credited to four creators: Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Oscar winner for “Frozen”), James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan, and Sara Wordsworth. Yet this too-many-cooks approach may explain the disjointed book and awkward tone. Is this a savvy, gritty, slice-of-life urban drama or a frothy, Disneyesque comic fairy tale? Is it a love letter to New Yorkers or an infomercial for the MTA? Like those frantic subway riders in transit, it’s neither here nor there. One moment, the sassy token booth clerk (or whatever they call them nowadays) inexplicably struts down a runway wearing a gown made of yellow MetroCards, and the audience squeals with delight. Later, a sketchy guy urinates on the subway platform, and the audience squirms. “In Transit” attempts to quash stereo.com
Photo by Joan Marcus
The company of “In Transit.”
types, but there’s just no avoiding them in such multi-character endeavors (a cast of 11 plays more than 40 roles, if you count train announcers). First we meet Jane (a highly appealing Margo Seibert), an aspiring actress hoping for her big break, marking time as an office temp. Then there’s the good-looking former Wall Street whiz (James Snyder) now down on his luck, who becomes smitten with Jane. There’s also Ali (Erin Mackey), reeling from her breakup with Dave (David Abeles), who has since moved on. Then there’s the stylish gay couple, recently engaged and working on communication issues. Trent (an exceptional Justin Guarini, of “American Idol” fame) is still closeted with respect to his family, while his partner, Steven (Telly Leung, from “Glee”), threatens to call off the wedding if he won’t come out to his Christian-right mom. Trent refers to Steven as his roommate. The show dutifully checks off the all-too-familiar tropes of underground travel in New York: sardine-packed Photo by Joan Marcus
L to R: Justin Guarini and Telly Leung, as a recently engaged gay couple.
In Transit continued on p. 19 December 22 – 28, 2016
We Need a Little New Year’s NOW Entertaining notions for the first day of 2017 BY SCOTT STIFFLER Only the invention of a time machine at some point before that big ball drops in Times Square could save 2016 from being a fever dream disaster for everyone from staunch opponents of populist politicians to David Bowie fans. So, barring the rewriting of history (which we won’t realize has happened, if it happens), the only viable choice is to start next year off on the right foot. Here are three promising 01/01/2017 events that will stack the deck in your favor. Our president-elect may have the vocabulary of an average tween or a gifted toddler, but it’s the command of language deployed by others that always seems to get under his skin — and it doesn’t take much. A few wellcomposed words can conjure images and convey ideas that have the power to change minds, spark movements, and humble the mighty. With that in mind, the end of a widely panned 2016 and the looming spectre of uncharted waters ahead makes this 11-hour event all the more urgent. “An avenging engine of resistance and eager vehicle of the nascent year” is what The Poetry Project describes as the enduring aesthetic of its 43rd Annual New Year’s Marathon Reading — an “untamed gathering of the heart’s secret, wild nobility” featuring 150 new and emerging poets, performance artists, dancers, and musicians. Among the participants: 75 Dollar Bill, Ariel Goldberg, Che Gossett, Cheryl Clarke, Chia-Lun Chang, Edwin Torres, Holly Melgard, Justin Vivian Bond, Nina Puro, Penny Arcade, Rachel Trachtenburg, Reno, Steve Cannon, Steven Taylor & Douglas Dunn, Tammy Faye Starlight, Ted Dodson, The Double Yews, Thurston Moore, Unusual Squirrel, Wo Chan, Yvonne Rainer, and Anne Waldman (who founded the Marathon and will be feted at an April 27 gala). Part of the Project’s ongoing celebration of having hit the half-century mark, this installment of the Marathon has the additional distinction of serving as a benefit for, and launch of, a campaign to fund an expanded web presence and the live streaming of events throughout the coming year. “From the beginning, The Poetry Project has been the premier venue for poets in New York — a vital hub of fresh, innovative work,” said Executive
December 22 – 28, 2016
Photo by Jody Somers
Zalmen Mlotek will conduct “Light Up The Night,” presented by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Courtesy Merchant’s House Museum
Come calling at Merchant’s House Museum, for an afternoon of 19th century New Year’s customs.
Director Stacy Szymaszek. “Now we want to take the Project global and create a virtual community of poets and audiences who share our passion for bold new work.” Sun., Jan. 1, 3pm–2am, in the sanctuary of St. Mark’s Church (131 E. 10th St., at Second Ave.). Wheelchair accessible with assistance and advance notice. For tickets ($20 in advance), the full Marathon lineup and info on ongoing events, visit poetryproject.org or call 212-574-0910. At the door, admission
is $25; $20 for students/seniors/Project members. If the lack of civility in what passes for public discourse has knocked the wind out of you over the past year, spend the first day of 2017 by immersing yourself in the refreshingly polite customs of very old school New York City. Taking place inside Manhattan’s most stunning example of mid-19th century architecture, furnishings, clothing, and everyday wares, “Come Calling on New Year’s Day” invites you to knock on the door of Merchant’s House
Museum and be welcomed inside, in a recreation of how friends and family would arrive at the Tredwell home, come Jan. 1, for a spirited celebration. There will be period-appropriate punch and confectionary, and tours of the house — which is decked out, through Jan. 9, as part of the “Christmas Comes to Old New York” exhibit that links the holiday traditions of the Tredwells to our own (tabletop Christmas trees, for example). By the time those decorations come down, winter will have become the guest who just won’t leave. To that end, a new exhibit opens on Jan. 19. “How the Tredwells Bundled Up” presents a treasure trove of rarely seen objects used during the chilly months. Nineteenth century inside temps were a far cry from our standard of 68 degrees; ink froze in wells, wash bowl water iced over, and people generally did whatever they could to keep warm — which is where foot stoves, quilts, and hand-knit joint warmers came into play. Tickets to the Sun., Jan. 1, 2–5pm “Come Calling” event are $20, $10 for Museum members. Merchant’s House Museum is located at 29 E. Fourth St. (btw. Bowery & Lafayette). Regular New Year’s continued on p. 19 .com
In Transit continued from p. 17
cars, unexplained delays, nasty smells, homeless people, garbled PA announcements, Dr. Zizmor posters, manspreading, and so on. It helps that the production is staged in the relatively small, proscenium-free Circle in the Square Theatre, increasing the intimacy that matches the a cappella sensibility. Donyale Werle’s set is a dead ringer for an MTA subway station and features an ingenious conveyor belt running down the length of the stage, replicating the forward motion of a subway train. The wispy story threads don’t carry much weight, and you can see major plot resolutions from several train stops away. The “together but alone” theme is driven home with a sledgehammer, while the message of learning to be “happy in the moment” is nothing we haven’t heard before. Despite the bumps, “In Transit” is a fun ride if you focus on the wonders of the a cappella sound effects, music, and lyrics. Jane’s song about temping until landing a plum acting gig is particularly catchy: “I do what I don’t really do, so I can do what I do,” she croons, with a dash of self-deprecation. Also a hoot is the number “Four Days Home,” sung while Trent and Steven are
Photo by Joan Marcus
Margo Seibert, center, in Broadway’s first a cappella musical, “In Transit.”
visiting Trent’s hometown, deep in the red state of Texas. “We’re in separate rooms. The frustration starts to pile up. All our porn is on the cloud and it won’t
come through on dial-up!” At the Circle in the Square Theatre (235 W. 50th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Runtime: 1hr., 40 mins.,
no intermission. Tickets: $89–$159. Performance times vary; visit intransitbroadway.com for tickets and more info.
New Year’s continued from p. 18
hours: Fri.–Mon., 12–5pm; Thurs., 12–8pm. Regular admission is $13, $8 for students/seniors. Visit merchantshouse.org or call 212-777-1089. Hot on the heels of their comedic crash course in language and culture (Dec. 25’s “Kids & Yiddish” sketch and song revue), The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) returns to the Museum of Jewish Heritage with “Light Up The Night.” Backed by a 16-piece orchestra, this high-spirited end product of meticulous research and loving restoration celebrates music from the Golden Age of Yiddish Theater. Ellstein, Goldfaden, Olshanetsky, Rumshinsky, and Secunda are among the featured composers you either already know or will appreciate upon discovery. Zalmen Mlotek conducts this theatrical concert, which also functions as a reunion: Much of the cast is comprised of performers from NYTF’s 2015-16 production of “The Golden Bride,” a 1923 operetta that inspired a new wave of NYTF programming dedicated to presenting concerts of Yiddish Theater masterpieces. “Light Up The Night” marks the premiere effort of this global .com
Photo by Ted Roeder
Jim Behrle, in Gumby costume, with Poetry Project Marathon Reading founder Anne Waldman.
initiative — all the more reason to go, and know that you where there when it all began! Sun., Jan. 1, at 2pm. In Yiddish with projected supertitles. In Edmond J. Safra Hall, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (mjhnyc.org; 36 Battery Pl., at West St. & First Pl.). Tickets are $30, $20 for Museum or NYTF members. To order, call 212-213-2120 x230 (group sales, x204) or visit nytf.org.
Extra! Extra! Local News Read all about it!
December 22 – 28, 2016
December 22 â€“ 28, 2016
POLICE BLOTTER Police Blotter continued from p. 8
— after bringing oodles of pricey goodies with him. The man reported that he left his bag in the private area designated for guests to drop off belongings at about 11pm, but couldn’t find it when he returned to retrieve it two hours later. The bag (valued at $150) contained a $250 wallet, a $250 camera, $180 headphones, $200 cash, and, most significantly, a $2,450 necklace.
ASSAULT: ‘Knife’ fight No knife was involved, but a fight at CK 14, the Crooked Knife (232 W. 14th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) left a man with a small cut on his lips and nose. Police said that on Dec. 9 at 3am, a man and a woman got into an argument with another man while he was ordering drinks at the bar. The first man then punched the victim in the face. The woman and man, 39 and 28, respectively, were arrested for misdemeanor assault.
ROBBERY: Losing streak Police are looking for 38-year-old Alex Garcia for his connection to a string of mostly failed bank robbery attempts on Thurs., Dec. 1 and Mon., Dec.
5. According to police, the suspect’s first robbery, on Dec. 1 at around noon at the Apple Bank at 371 Seventh Ave. (btw W. 30th & 31st Sts.), allowed him to make off with an undetermined amount of cash after passing the teller a note demanding money. However, the following five incidents on Dec. 5, three in Midtown and two on the Upper East Side, proved unsuccessful, as the tellers refused to hand over any money, police said. Police released photos of the suspect, whom they describe as an Hispanic male, approximately 5’7”, 160 pounds, bald, and with hazel eyes.
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.
ASSAULT: Feisty fare A taxi driver got into an argument with a fare that did not end well at Greene and W. Houston Sts., police said. On Wed., Dec. 7, at 12:40 am, the passenger howled at the hack, yelling that he was going the wrong way. The rider then cuffed the cabbie in the face. The 36-year-old was arrested for misdemeanor assault. — BY JACKSON CHEN, SEAN EGAN, EMILY SIEGEL
MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT: Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Inspector: Russel J. Green. Call 212-2399811. Community Affairs: 212-239-9846. Crime Prevention: 212-239-9846. Domestic Violence: 212239-9863. Youth Officer: 212-239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-239-9836. Detective Squad: 212239-9856. 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.
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.
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December 22 – 28, 2016
December 22 â€“ 28, 2016
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To Live, or Die Trying BY LENORE SKENAZY A few years ago, a firefighter in Sacramento, Mike DeBartoli, noticed his hands cramping up. He figured it was a symptom of the job. But when the cramps got worse, he went to his doctor and heard the three letters no one wants to hear: ALS. DeBartoli has Lou Gehrig’s disease, a disease that robs the body of its ability to function that is always fatal. Unless… . DeBartoli heard that there were some new drugs in the pipeline that could possibly slow his disease. He volunteered — begged — to be one of the guinea pigs in a clinical trial, but was turned down, in one case because he was taking other medicines for blood pressure and depression, and in another case because he was, ironically, too sick. When drug companies are testing their new treatments, their candidate profiles are so specific that most people who have the disease don’t actually qualify. In fact, only 3% of people desperate to get into clinical trials ever do. Which brings us to our topic today: The Right to Try. The right to try is a law that allows people who are terminally ill to try a drug that is promising but has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Patients who face imminent death ought to have the option to be able to try these new drugs, even if we don’t know they’re going to work, or what the side effects will be, [or] the exact dosage,” says Christina Sandefur, executive vice president of the Goldwater Institute, a libertarian and conservative think tank which uses the court system to advocate for individual rights, and is supportive of the Rights initiative. This sounds like it would be a popular law, and in many states it is: In the last three years, 32 states have passed The Right to Try, usually with enthusiastic bipartisan support. California passed it last year, unanimously. But in New York, a Right
to Try bill proposed by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and State Senator Kemp Hannon, did not get out of committee. Let’s see what that means for the people of New York. When a person is terminally ill, the clock is ticking. Yes, they can apply to the FDA for a compassionate exemption, but this is so complicated and so few make it through, it is like applying to be an astronaut. For starters, there is a daunting amount of paperwork that must be filed by the patient’s doctor and it takes about 100 hours to gather all the information and fill out all the forms — in other words, more than two weeks of a doctor’s time must be devoted to one patient. Then the request has to go through a lengthy approval process, when every hour is critical. “There have been examples of patients that are trying to get these exceptions and sometimes they’re finally granted, but too late,” says Sandefur. “Too late” is the nice way of saying the patient is underground. The reason the FDA makes access to these unproven drugs so difficult can probably be traced to the agency’s found-
ing. It began in 1902 after a diphtheria drug proved ineffective. Well, actually, it proved worse than that. It was fatal. Clearly America needed someone to certify the safety of our drug supply, and thus the FDA was born. Then, in the 1960s, a drug widely prescribed to pregnant women in Europe was blocked by an FDA doctor here, Frances Oldham Kelsey, who’d heard of its side effects. The drug was thalidomide, which caused serious birth defects, and thanks to Kelsey many American children were spared its devastation. It is wonderful that the FDA was on the ball. But that episode of well-warranted precaution seems to have led to an agency so ultra-cautious that today it is preventing people from taking experimental drugs that may kill them — even though they’re going to die anyway. The potentially dangerous drugs are also their only potential lifesavers. The way the Right to Try is written, the only people who’d be allowed to take as-yetunapproved drugs are those with no other hope. The drug would have to have passed at least the first stage of testing at the FDA. But then, instead of a patient starting the bureaucratic nightmare of applying to the FDA for a rare compassionate exemption (the FDA grants about 1,000 a year — even as more than 500,000 people die of cancer), all it would take is the doctor, patient, and drug company agreeing to start the regimen. The FDA would not have veto power. DeBartoli, the fireman with ALS, put it this way in an interview with the Goldwater Institute: “I don’t know who the FDA thinks they are protecting.” The drugs in the pipeline might not save DeBartoli, but he deserves the right to try — not just the right to die. Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker who authored the book, and founded the blog, Free-Range Kids (freerangekids. com).
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December 22 – 28, 2016
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December 22 – 28, 2016
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