The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933
January 12, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 2
PeopleWay? No way! Villagers fear trafﬁcfree 14th St. scheme BY DENNIS LYNCH
embers of the public and of Community Board 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee last week discussed solutions to the expected transit nightmare that is the looming L train shutdown, particularly Transportation Alternative’s PeopleWay proposal. That
plan would shut the thoroughfare to cars and trucks to make room for protected bike lanes and increased bus service, which proponents say is the only way to handle the volume of travelers that the L train currently moves along 14th St. Many at the meeting supPEOPLEWAY continued on p. 20
Activist Roskoff dubs Cuomo ‘king of mercy’ for Clark clemency BY PAUL SCHINDLER
weeping clemency action by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Dec. 30 — in which he commuted the sentences of seven felons, pardoned five others, and conditionally pardoned 101 nonviolent youthful offenders — came as welcome
news to a longtime gay activist who in recent years has made freeing rehabilitated convicts a key mission in his activism. Allen Roskoff, who has been active in L.G.B.T.Q. politics since the immediate post-Stonewall years, is the founder and co-chairperson CUOMO continued on p. 14
PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER
A woman at Samsung 837 watching a 360-degree VR promotional movie, showing basketball players and dinosaurs in action and travel destinations. The images projected behind her were not related to what she was seeing through the goggles. See Pages 8 and 9 for ar ticle and more photos.
Building a movement vs. construction harassment BY EILEEN STUK ANE
anhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and a Lower East Side-based tenants coalition have a message for property owners who try to drive out rent-regulated tenants by doing renovations without required protections: “We’re onto you!” On Tues., Jan. 10, Brewer
teamed up with the Stand for Tenant Safety tenants’ rights / legal services coalition to cosponsor a jam-packed town hall meeting about “construction as harassment” at the Municipal Building at 1 Centre St. The frustration in the room full of a few hundred people was palpable. The discontent was mostly directed at the Department of Buildings for what
critics said was its lack of interest in changing its culture. Brandon Kielbasa of S.T.S. asked for examples of construction as harassment from the audience. Many of the issues expressed had been heard before and are ongoing. Audience members spoke of gas shutoffs, front HARASS continued on p. 23
Anti-nuke activists go ballistic over Trump ..... p. 11 Verse versus Donald: Poets strike Jan. 15 ...... p. 13 Paparazzi pup freeze frame ..p. 22
SEEMINGLY ‘FRIEND’LY PARTING: It seems like just yesterday that we were photographing Gregory Boroff and a crowd of A-listers — Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, CeeLo, state Senator Brad Hoylman and Hudson River Park Trust C.E.O. Madelyn
Januar y 12, 2017
PHOTO BY SCOOPY
Posing on the green carpet at the recent Friends of Hudson River Park Gala, from left, Matthew Broderick, Madelyn Wils, Sarah Jessica Parker and Gregor y Boroff.
Wils — on the “green carpet” at the Friends of Hudson River Park’s annual fall gala up at Chelsea Piers. We didn’t realize it back then, but, as it turned out, it was also Boroff’s last month with the Friends as its executive director. “Yes, I returned to City Harvest where I worked 17 years ago,” Boroff recently told us. “I love Friends and Hudson River Park, but I decided to return to the hunger-relief sector.” He’s now the “food-rescuing” group’s chief external relations officer. Scott Lawin, vice chairperson of Friends of Hudson River Park, said, “We were disappointed to see Gregory go, but he had an excellent opportunity to return to City Harvest that he felt he couldn’t pass up.” In the meantime, Connie Fishman, Wils’s predecessor as C.E.O and president of the Trust, is serving as the interim executive director of the Friends while they conduct a search for a permanent director later this year. “There’s been no shift in the organization’s focus or priorities, and we don’t foresee one in the future,” Lawin told us. (In case you are not a Hudson River Park junkie, the Trust is the state-city authority that operates and is building what remains to be built of the 4-mile-long waterfront park. The Friends are the Trust’s private fundraising wing. They used to be the park’s main watchdog group, and sometimes sued over park issues, winning millions for the park.) Boroff was with the Friends for about threeand-a-half years, and definitely brought a sense of excitement to the group. In 2014, he spearheaded the HRPK Experience Auction, in which people could bid to sailboat ride with Villager Brooke Shields or drive golf balls at Chelsea Piers with Momofuku’s David Chang. June 2015 saw the inaugural Hudson River Park Games, in which corporate teams and individual competitors faced off in tests of athletic skill, while raising funds for the park. He previously was vice president and director of development for amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. Lawin writes a talking point in this week’s issue of The Villager about Pier 40 and the community’s opportunity to help plan its redevelopment, which seems to be inevitable at this point. TheVillager.com
Defense rests as Etan retrial enters ďŹ nal month BY DENNIS LYNCH
he lead defense attorney for Pedro Hernandez, the man accused of kidnapping and murdering Etan Patz in 1979, hopes his clientâ€™s trial will wrap up by the end of this month. Attorney Harvey Fishbein said so early last week, before his team rested its case earlier than expected. The defense team chose not to call to the stand three witnesses who testified in Hernandezâ€™s previous court case, which ended last year in a mistrial. Two of them were jailhouse informants whose testimonies supported the defenseâ€™s argument that longtime suspect and convicted child molester Jose Antonio Ramos was responsible for the young Patzâ€™s disappearance. The other witness was a former F.B.I. agent, part of the ongoing investigation in the early 1990s into Patzâ€™s disappearance. She said that Ramos admitted to her that he could have molested Patz and sent him on an uptown subway train the day the boy went missing. The move surprised prosecutors, who had planned to ask the ex-agent about the testimony of the defenseâ€™s other two previous witnesses. Hernandez, now 55, was a grocery clerk in Patzâ€™s Soho neighborhood at the time of the childâ€™s disappearance. He confessed to police in 2012 to kid-
COURTESY MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEYâ€™S OFFICE
An Etan Patz missing poster on which Pedro Hernandez, during his original confession to police, wrote on the left side, â€œI am sorr y I choke him,â€? then signed it. The poster was entered into evidence in Hernandezâ€™s first cour t case, which ended in a mistrial.
napping and strangling the 6-year-old on a May morning before Etan could board his school bus. But the defense has argued it was a false confession, partially due to the defendantâ€™s low IQ and his mental issues â€” they say he hallucinates. Patzâ€™s parents long believed Ramos was responsible for their sonâ€™s disappearance, but changed their minds during Hernandezâ€™s fi rst trial. Ramos had a relationship with a woman, Susan Harrington, who walked the neighborhood kids, including Etan, home from the bus at the time of the boyâ€™s disappearance. â€œLast year, at the end of the fi rst trial, I made my views very clear â€” Hernandez is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt,â€? Stan Patz told The Villager this September, at the start of the new trial. â€œAfter almost 38 years, my family and I will be glad when it is over.â€? The second trial started about threeand-a-half months ago. Etan was declared dead in 2001 and a judge found Ramos legally responsible for his death in a civil case three years later. Last August, however, Judge Joan Kenney reversed the $2.7 million civil ruling. Stanley and Julia Patz had requested for the ruling against Ramos to be reversed, feeling it would help the case against Hernandez.
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PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER
Downtown Abstract No. 2 The new Oculus at the World Trade Center transpor tation hub. TheVillager.com
Januar y 12, 2017
Cuomo, fracking team up to shut Indian Point Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association News Story, First Place, 2015 Editorial Page, First Place, 2015 Editorials, First Place, 2014 News Story, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009
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Januar y 12, 2017
At a December 2015 protest action at Indian Point, activists blocked access to the power plant. Eleven people were arrested and briefly held. Later, after pleading “guilty and proud” in cour t, they were let off with time ser ved.
BY PAUL DERIENZO
overnor Andrew Cuomo used his annual State of the State message to confi rm reports that New York had reached an agreement to decommission the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan on the Hudson about 35 miles north of the city. The agreement was worked out between State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, several other state agencies and the environmental watchdog group Riverkeeper. The two operating reactors at Indian Point are owned by New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. Under the deal, Unit 2 will close on April 30, 2020, and Unit 3 by April 30, 2021. Entergy had originally asked for a 20-year license extension, the license for both plants having expired. According to Cuomo, hydropower from Quebec will eventually replace the electricity generated by Indian Point. Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay was delighted. “This agreement provides what we’ve been fighting for for decades — a definite early closing date for Indian Point, which is our biggest existential threat in the region,” Gallay said. “It’s a win for the safety of our communities, a win for the Hudson River and all the rich variety of life within it, and a win for a clean, sustainable energy future.” Riverkeeper board member Hamilton Fish said, “Governor Cuomo promised to close Indian Point and he fl at-out delivered.” The agreement forbids any extension of the 2021 deadline, “except due to a sudden and unexpected energy emergency.” “Riverkeeper will play a major role in assuring the details of the agreement are strictly complied with,” Gallay added. Entergy spokesperson Jerry Nappi said in a press release that declining gas pric-
Protesters prayed for the shutdown of the Indian Point nuclear plant in December 2015.
es — due primarily to supply from the Marcellus Shale formation — have made nuclear power less profitable. The Marcellus Shale lies beneath Pennsylvania and Upstate New York where the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has tapped once-inaccessible reservoirs of natural gas. Two years ago New York became the second state after Vermont to ban fracking. As part of the deal, Entergy will take an “impairment charge” of $2.4 billion that is basically a write-off. They’ll also get about $180 million to retain and relocate some of Indian Point’s 1,000 fulltime employees. Westchester County officials say they weren’t consulted. The town of Buchanan could lose $4 million it gets from the plant, and the local school district might raise property taxes. Customers reportedly would see an increase of about $3 a month in electric bills. At Indian Point, the highly radioactive spent fuel stored in concrete-lined pools
lay relatively unprotected outside the reactor containment buildings. Exposure to nuclear waste could be fatal or have long-term health consequences. Under the deal, Entergy agreed to move the waste from the pools to “dry casks,” in preparation for eventual shipment to a waste dump. Indian Point has been storing waste since the 1970s. The agreement to close Indian Point includes the withdrawal of state challenges to the relicensing of the nuclear plant. Entergy says that, despite its plans to close the plant, it will ask for a new license to operate until 2025, in case regulators need the reactors to “insure reliability” of the electric grid. Entergy will allow state inspectors access to the plant and will increase its monitoring of crucial “core baffle former” bolts which were found to be heavily corroded last year. The company will also provide $15 million to clean up the Hudson River near Indian Point. TheVillager.com
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Januar y 12, 2017
escaped. According to PIX, the diminutive Ortiz has a violent history, with 16 arrests, including for assault, burglary and weapon possession.
called to the tony waterfront abode at 2 a.m. after a woman, 51, was attacked by her 35-year-old boyfriend. He reportedly hit her on the left arm, “causing bruising, swelling and pain.” Phillipe HoerleGuggenheim was charged with misdemeanor assault. According to the New York Post, Guggenheim is a Chelsea gallery owner who claims to be related to the famed Guggenheim Museum clan. The tab said Guggenheim became enraged at his “cougar” partner because he blamed her for his getting a ticket for driving through a red light. Guggenheim reportedly owns the three-year-old HG Contemporary Gallery. The Post said his girlfriend is a socialite who in 2013 was spotted dining in the Village with Princesses Madeleine and Victoria of Sweden. She declined emergency medical treatment after the Jan. 8 incident.
U.A.E. burglary Up in smoke
A United Arab Emirates diplomat was reportedly awakened by a burglar in his Waverly Place residence around 6 a.m. on Mon., Jan. 9. Police said the intruder walked through the home’s front door, but when the resident, 38, woke up and confronted him, he fled empty-handed. Daily newspapers ID’d the diplo as Consul General Majid Al-Suwaidi, “an expert in international negotiations.” The suspect is said to be about 5 feet 7 inches tall and wearing glasses and a hooded sweatshirt. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted on the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers. com, or by texting to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.
Police said that on Thurs., Jan. 5, around 2:20 a.m., they pulled over a driver who didn’t signal while turning at MacDougal and W. Fourth Sts. When police stopped him, the driver allegedly had a lit marijuana joint. During a search, police found he was also in possession of a gravity knife. Israel Estrada, 37, was arrested for felony criminal weapon possession.
7-Eleven 911 COURTESY N.Y.P.D.
A police sketch of the burglar who allegedly entered the U. A .E. consul general’s home on Waverly Place.
tion. He had initially been arrested on a petit larceny charge. When he gave cops the slip, he had one leg shackle on, but when he was found, it was gone. According to PIX 11, Ortiz stole 22 wallets worth $900 from Macy’s. When he was busted for that crime, he complained his arm and wrist were injured, and was taken to the W. 12th St. standalone emergency department, where he
Penn’ed in On Sat., Jan. 7, police reported that a homeless man, Daniel Ortiz, 31, who escaped from police custody at Lenox Health Greenwich Village on Dec. 29 was subsequently arrested at Penn Sta-
Jefferson Market Library &
Jefferson Market Garden present
Cocktails in the Library
According to police, around 5:50 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 8, a man entered the 7-Eleven at 813 Broadway, near E. 12th St., and immediately became aggressive toward store employees. He refused numerous orders to leave the place by two employees, a 21-year-old man and a 34year-old woman. They told cops the disruptive man then went behind the counter to fight with the male employee. William Windley, 37, was arrested for harassment, a violation.
An argument between an alleged relative of museum founder Solomon Guggenheim and his girlfriend reportedly led to a physical altercation inside an apartment at 398 West St., at W. 10th St., on Sun., Jan. 8. Cops said they were
It’s all in the Villager
www.jeffersonmarketgarden.org www.nypl.org/about/locations/jefferson-market 6
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The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933
June 16, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 24
Critics blast landmark bill as ‘anti-preservation’; Say ‘loophole’ offers little hope BY YANNIC R ACK
contentious bill that will put deadlines on the city’s preservation agency to designate landmarks within two years was passed by the City Council last week. There was heavy opposition from preservationists and even initial disapproval from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission itself — but the measure might be moot due
to a loophole, according to its chief critics. The legislation, Intro 775A, mandates that L.P.C. vote within one year to designate proposed individual landmarks, and take no longer than two years to vote on proposed historic districts — limits that the bill’s opponents charge could lead to the loss of countless potential landmarks. LANDMARKS continued on p. 12
Hoylman pushes Albany to pass child sex-abuse reform, but Senate stalls BY MICHAEL OSSORGUINE
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A clothing boutique was robbed of $2,390 worth of purses on Tues., Jan 3, at 10:20 a.m., police said. The superintendent of 750 Greenwich St., where the Ivy Kirzhner clothing boutique is located, swiped three of the swanky satchels from the basement, cops said. The act was reportedly caught on camera. John McAleenan, 52, was charged with felony grand larceny. The bags are still missing.
Not a pretty picture
Catacombs A Magical Midwinter Eve Friday, January 20th 6-8pm Refreshments · Conversation · Music $25 Ticket at the Door
he Omnibus Child Victims Act, or Senate Bill S6367, is the latest effort from state Democrats to reform the statute of limitations on victims of child sexual abuse. The bill, though still in committee, has momentum in the Senate as victims are stepping forward
and Senate Democrats are arguing against entrenched opposition. State Senator Brad Hoylman introduced the Senate version of the bill with several co-sponsors, including Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Democratic Conference. ABUSE continued on p. 14
PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
Thousands of points of light: Monday night’s vigil stretched along Christopher St. from Waverly Place to Seventh Ave. South.
‘We shall overcome’: Vigils draw thousands to Village BY PAUL SCHINDLER
n two vigils in the West Village on Sunday evening, one crowd numbering in the thousands, another in the hundreds voiced shock, grief, and anger over the murder of 50 patrons of an Orlando, Florida, gay bar in the early morning hours of the same day. Speaker after speaker emphasized that the violence cannot be isolated from a climate of anti-L.G.B.T. hatred that continues to persist across the nation, but also pledged to continue building community to respond to hostility and bigotry where it exists.
At the same time, both crowds rejected the notion that hate is an appropriate response to the violence and speciﬁcally called out efforts to pit the L.G.B.T. community against the Muslim community over a tragedy in which the shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, is reported to have phoned 911 just prior to the massacre and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation New York, took the lead in organizing a rally outside the Stonewall Inn that drew several thousand people. “We come together because this is a community that will
never be silent again,” he said. “I ask every person to think of someone you knew who was killed because of anti-L.G.B.T. hatred. Think of a time when you felt unsafe in your own community. And I want every single one of you to think not of what anyone else, not of what I, but of what you can do to change that.” Kidd said the L.G.B.T. community should draw strength from the 49 patrons of the Pulse nightclub who were killed. “We must go forward in love,” he said. Mirna Haidar, a representaVIGILS continued on p. 5
Graffiti artist tags Haring group in lawsuit ...... p. 16 Remembering Ramrod rampage of 1980.........p. 21 Here comes the sun energy...p. 18
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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.
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.
Januar y 12, 2017
Samsung’s virtual-reality hub is palpably fun;
PHOTOS BY BOB KRASNER
A woman wearing a vir tual-realit y viewer at Samsung 837 has fun zooming through outer space while dodging meteors.
BY BOB KR ASNER
utside Samsung’s new flagship location is a relic of the past, a sign that reads “Super City Wholesale Meat.” But inside Samsung 837 they’re not selling anything that will upset your vegan techie friends. In fact, aside from decent coffee and some very large donuts, you can’t buy much of anything in the 55,000-square-foot space. Apparently, the powers that be figure that you’re probably going to buy the merchandise elsewhere anyway, so why bother selling it here ? So don’t call the three-level space at 837 Washington St. a store — it’s being billed as a “cultural hub.” While the one-year-old flagship has been the scene of free concerts (Gwen Stefani), listening parties (John Legend) and interactive art exhibits, the place is basically one big advertisement, sort of like an interactive billboard. From the massive viewing screen (made up of 96 55-inch screens) to the virtual-reality goggles, most of the content is all about Samsung. All of its SAMSUNG continued on p. 9
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A DJ — apparently not a hologram — in a glass booth keeps it real with cool tunes. TheVillager.com
Virtually all free except for coffee and donuts SAMSUNG continued from p. 8
latest toys are there to play with, and there is even a team on hand to provide tech support for your devices. Aside from the Smorgasburg snacks, the only souvenirs one can leave with are digital. There’s a 360-degree photo booth, with rag & bone-dressed employees standing by ready to send your super-selfie to you via e-mail. Exhibits change regularly. At the moment, you can also be captured photographically by a Galaxy S7 on your way through a tunnel designed by photographer Carlos Serrao. Titled “Hu: The Spectrum of Being,” the combination of multiple flashes and time exposures creates a unique image each time someone walks through the darkened runway. That result, too, is transmitted to you electronically. If you’re in the neighborhood with the family, it’s a cool place to bring the kids — or your parents. Nine-year-old Kai, who came down from Chelsea with his mom and dad, proclaimed
his VR experience to be “really awesome!” Having just traveled around the world and sat face to face with a dinosaur while sitting in an easy chair, he said, “It felt like it was real.” Daniel, his dad, 38, had experienced VR before, but said, “This was much more intense.” Time will tell if Samsung’s nonstore will force nearby Apple to rethink how it does business. But in the meantime, it’s one establishment in the Meatpacking District where your wallet is safe. Before it was redeveloped with the new building Samsung now occupies, the property was owned by James Ortenzio and was home to a series of lowslung refrigerated meat lockers built in the 1930s. Ortenzio, nicknamed Mr. Meat, was formerly president of a meat distribution company, and also chairperson of both the Hudson River Park Trust and the Manhattan Republican Party. He considered redeveloping the Washington St. site into a movie theater before ultimately selling the building in 2008 for $40 million.
People can wear goggles and headphones and see 360-degree news stories provided by The New York Times. TheVillager.com
A man wearing VR gear is using a wand to move objects around in his scenario. Januar y 12, 2017
Hoylman will try to get Albany back on track BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL
ed., Jan. 4, was the first day of the new legislative session at the state capitol. Just after 7 a.m. that morning, state Senator Brad Hoylman settled into a seat on the Amtrak train to Albany. Hoylman, 51, was elected to the state Senate in 2012 after serving as chairperson of Community Board 2 and as Greenwich Village’s Democratic district leader. In between reading and staring at the passing scenery, Hoylman shared his thoughts with The Villager about local and national politics during the tumultuous past year and the coming year. “I think the biggest failure off the state Legislature has been its inability to address, in a comprehensive fashion, ethics reform,” he said. “In particular, the state Senate. The attempts by Democrats to ban limited-liability companies’ contributions to lower campaign limits, to limit outside income and institute campaign finance reform have been thwarted by the Senate Republican leadership. “This is all a function of the way the Senate is run as a centrally one-party rule, with power emanating solely from the leader,” he noted. “Members can’t move legislation to the floor for consideration even though a supermajority of senators support bills.”
In particular, Hoylman was frustrated that a bill he sponsored last session, the Child Victims Act, lacked just a single vote necessary to bring it to the floor for consideration and a vote. The C.V.A. would eliminate the time limits that currently allow child sexual predators to evade responsibility for their actions. This session, Hoylman has renewed hope for the C.V.A., especially since Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he will make passage of the act one of his legislative priorities. Albany is renowned for its dysfunction based on the “three men in a room” control of both houses. Legislation lives or dies depending on the nod of the governor and the Senate and Assembly leaders. “Even though Dean Skelos [the former majority leader of the state Senate] is gone, things seem the same,” Hoylman lamented. “What got Skelos and Shelly Silver [the former Assembly majority leader] in trouble, in addition to their own failings, was the opportunity for legislators to serve private clients. You can’t represent your constituents and private clients at the same time.” Private clients remain secret because of attorney-client privilege and thus potential conflicts of interest with legislators escape scrutiny. Hoylman momentarily paused to take in the view outside the train window before addressing the elephant in the room
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Januar y 12, 2017
PHOTO BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL
Is the countr y going off the rails? At least, state Senator Brad Hoylman will do his best to get Albany moving in the right direction.
— or, rather, train. “It’s going to be our responsibility, as legislators, to continue to make the case to protect New York from the excesses of the Trump administration,” he said, “whether it’s protecting immigrants, women’s reproductive health, L.G.B.T. rights, the Affordable Care Act, the environment and guarding against climate change.” To that end, Hoylman believes the way forward is to create a buffer between Washington and New York. “We’re going to have to figure out ways to ‘Trump-proof’ the state,” he said. “I’ve introduced a bill called the Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act — a.k.a. the TRUMP Act. It would require presidential candidates who want to qualify for the ballot to release at least five years of federal income tax returns.” During this previous election season, Trump refused to release his tax returns, claiming they were under audit, despite the fact there is no law against releasing tax returns under audit. “We all have to be activated and think of ways to push back,” Hoylman continued. “There are tens of thousands of constituents who could lose their healthcare in the next 30 days. What is New York going to do about that?” Hoylman has local concerns first and foremost in mind for his home district, which includes Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen and the Upper West Side. “As a diverse community of L.G.B.T. people, we have to prepare ourselves for what’s been unleashed nationally,” he said. “I think the president-elect has sent a message that it’s O.K. to hate your fellow Americans.” Hoylman was himself a victim of possible hate crimes when, just a week after the election, a neighbor of his discovered swastikas carved into a service elevator door in their building. Hoylman also
subsequently received a packet of antiSemitic fliers in the mail. The senator outlined priorities for his district, including ensuring that the state budget protects the most vulnerable, including seniors and homeless youth. “I’m very concerned that federal dollars for health care and services are going to be cut. We still have numerous public health problems like HIV and AIDS that depend on federal dollars.” Then there’s City Hall. Hoylman is close to the city’s legislative team in Albany, and Mayor Bill de Blasio was one of the first to contact Hoylman after the bias incidents. Still, the senator deplores the fact that for every dollar the city sends to Albany, it gets less than 50 cents back. “At times, it makes you think New York City needs to secede from the rest of the state,” he noted. “The city has a lot to offer the state, in terms of leveraging our industries, our knowledge base and Wall St. “We still don’t have transgender full equality in New York State. Tenants are still vulnerable. Tenant harassment has been extremely evident in the last few years,” he said. As the train reached Albany’s outskirts, Hoylman reflected on Barack Obama’s legacy. “He’s the greatest president of my lifetime and the most significant historic figure,” the senator declared. “His administration did the most for L.G.B.T. rights. He restored to the presidency creativity, intelligence and virtue.” “I believe in the cycles of history,” Hoylman said as the train slowed and he packed papers into a folder. “We as New Yorkers have confronted hostile federal administrations in the past: Nixon, Reagan, George W. Bush. “We need to protect groups of New Yorkers,” he said, “even though we live in the capital of progressive action, the last frontier of the civil rights movement.” TheVillager.com
No nukes! No Trump! Tweetin’ Don triggers D.C. protest BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
former East Village activist who is going ballistic over Donald Trump’s tweets about starting an arms race with Russia is co-organizing a “Homes Not Bombs” anti-nuclear protest and concert in Washington, D.C., around the upcoming inauguration. John Penley, who now lives in North Carolina, and Bruce Wright, a Floridabased activist and minister, are teaming up to put on the all-day affair on Thurs., Jan. 19, at Franklin Square, in downtown D.C. It’s just a few blocks away from both Pennsylvania Ave., which the postinaugural presidential procession will roll down on Jan. 20, and its destination, the White House. It was that tweet by Trump and his comments right before Christmas about launching a nuclear-arms race — “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them” — that spurred Penley and Wright to organize the protest. They have been granted a permit for the small park for Jan. 19, and are also hoping to get one to allow overnight camping out on the spot for four nights. “We all will be as close as we can get to protest the actual inauguration, but will be back in the park after,” said Penley, a former longtime Alphabet City resident. “People are planning to sleep in the park with or without a permit. There are many homeless people that sleep there on a regular basis. D.C. has a homeless rate double the national average because of a shortage of affordable housing, like New York City. “We’re very concerned,” Wright said of Trump’s saber rattling. “This is almost akin to wanting to ignite another Cold War. Trump continues to talk about nuclear proliferation.” The pair had earlier sought a permit for nearby McPherson Square. However, DisruptJ20 — a group of hardcore anarchist protesters — is planning to gather there. The anarchists are vowing to physically disrupt the presidential procession, and
confidently say that they only need a small group of people to pull it off. But Penley and Wright don’t want their protest mixed up with the tactics of the anarchists. “We’re committed to nonviolence. We’re a peaceful group,” Wright said. “This is probably going to be the largest inauguration protest in many, many years. It’s definitely akin to the Nixon era in terms of the numbers that’ll show. As far as we’re concerned, Trump is dangerous and he’s the closest thing we have had to a fascist running this country.” The Jan. 19 event, featuring a full lineup of speakers and live music, will run from noon to 8 p.m. Speakers will include Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate; Medea Benjamin of Code Pink; Colonel Ann Wright; radical attorney Stanley Cohen; Margaret Flowers; Paul De Rienzo; Frank Morales; Cheri Honkala; Kevin Zeese; Vermin Supreme; Penley, Wright and others. Performing musicians will include Rebel Diaz, Room Full of Strangers, Lauren DiGioia and more. Protesting against nukes is not new to Penley. In 1990, he was arrested for blocking the road at the Savannah River nuclear weapons plant at Aiken, South Carolina. He wound up serving prison time for his anti-nuclear activism. “That’s been my issue,” he said. “This only makes it more imperative that something needed to be done at the inauguration. I mean, he’s doing this s— on Twitter. He’s conducting foreign policy on Twitter. Foreign governments are looking at his Twitter feed and trying to figure out what’s going on.” Penley ultimately sees dollar signs behind Trump’s hawkishness on arms of mass destruction. “It’s all about the money, my friend,” he said. “The Savannah nuke plant — which I went to jail for protesting — is the largest employer in South Carolina. These plants are run under contracts for the government. It’s all about money.” Speaking of money, Penley said, beyond the danger a nuclear-arms race would pose, neither the U.S. nor Russia
PHOTO COURTESY JOHN PENLEY
John Penley being arrested in 1990 for blocking the road at the Savannah River nuclear weapons plant at Aiken, South Carolina.
can afford one. It’s possible Trump’s initial tweet was in response to remarks in a speech by Vladimir Putin a few hours earlier, in which the Russian leader had promised to upgrade his country’s nuclear capabilities. “Russia has over 1 million citizens with H.I.V. because of heroin use, and the U.S.A. has a national problem with heroin OD’s,” Penley said. “So why spend billions on a new nuclear arms race? Nei-
ther Trump nor Putin are saying anything about this healthcare emergency, which both countries have.” Mick McIuan, of Room Full of Strangers, said he’s glad his band is going to be part of the day of protest. “I’m certainly dead set against nuclear proliferation,” he said. “I grew up with it in the ’80s. At this point, I think any nuclear proliferation is war profiteering. I think we’re going backwards.”
Arch ’nt yah glad to be reading your community newspaper?
s s i m t n o D g’e issue! a sin l Room Full of Strangers will be playing at the anti-nuclear protest. TheVillager.com
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Pier 40 plans LETTERS TO THE EDITOR TALKING POINT BY SCOTT L AWIN
ate last year, the City Council approved the Hudson River Park Special District, which will allow the Hudson River Park Trust to sell some of Pier 40’s air rights for $100 million to the developers of a planned project on the site of the St. John’s Terminal. Critically, this exchange will allow the Trust to repair the currently deteriorating piles that hold up Pier 40, and save the pier and its ball fields, which are used by so many in the community. But fortifying the infrastructure of Pier 40 is just the first big step in a larger effort to ensure the pier not only serves the community, but provides a steady funding stream for its own long-term survival, as well as to help support the overall care of the entire park — just as was envisioned when the park was founded in 1998. The Hudson River Park Act decreed that the park’s commercial piers should serve as the primary economic engines for the operations of the public park. Except for Pier 40, the other commercial piers are all located north of our neighborhood — for example, Chelsea Piers and Circle Line. Villagers and Tribecans are fortunate to enjoy many of the park’s recreational piers right in our backyard, but we need to recognize our responsibility to the park and for Pier 40 to pull its weight in terms of future revenue. Therefore, this next phase in Pier 40’s evolution presents us, its neighbors, its Little League and soccer players — the parents who’ve raised children on a steady diet of weeknight games and practices and weekend tournaments on the Hudson — with a golden opportunity to help shape the future of the pier — and the park itself. It’s a role that will impact future generations of park users, young and old. In past years, myriad plans and uses for Pier 40 have been proposed. We’ve heard about stadiums, aquariums, museums, Cirque du Soleil, robotic parking, big-box stores, luxury residential towers and more. Many agreed that those uses didn’t make sense for Pier 40 or the neighborhood. Now, however, we have the opportunity to talk about what does make sense and help shape the future of the pier. What sort of projects would be the most beneficial, but have the least impact on the neighborhood? What type of development would be most compatible with the ball fields? Should all the pier sheds remain, or should the structures be realigned? How can we create more open space for the community but still generate enough revenue for the park? These are challenging questions. But as the park’s primary users — its neighbors and biggest supporters — we should be the ones to help drive the conversation. We have an opportunity, right now, to work with local sports leagues, Community Board 2, our local politicians and the Trust to craft a blueprint for Pier 40 that makes sense for all of us. Given all the failed proposals over the last 15 years, we need to ensure that the next one is successful. My colleagues at Friends of Hudson River Park and I hope you’ll join the discussion to make sure it reflects the needs of the broader community, and of the park we love so much. A strong and sustainable Pier 40 means a strong and sustainable Hudson River Park. That’s a legacy we can all be proud of shaping. Lawin is vice chairperson, Friends of Hudson River Park
Januar y 12, 2017
Albany, please help us! To The Editor: Re “Met Food, low-cost grocer, meets its end on Mulberry” (news article, Dec. 29): If the members of the City Council are unable to pass a law protecting our neighborhood stores, can we ask the state legislators to help us? New York State, as well as New York City, needs commercial rent control, or else there will no longer be shoemakers, tailors, groceries, delis, etc. left in our state. The hunger for more profits by real estate firms and landlords is excessive. Apparently, we’re in an era of unaffordability, with ineffective politicians who masquerade as our advocates but work against us. Margaret Chin and Christine Quinn spent years manipulating our neighborhoods to bring us luxury housing in place of our hospital (St. Vincent’s) and also New York University’s oversized “N.Y.U. 2031”project, which gave our public lands away. It’s time for change and certainly more than time for a commercial rent-control law.
cal politicians to secure the deal, but overlooks the contributions of Village Community Boathouse, the last remaining boathouse on Pier 40 that offers free physical access to the water. Village Community Boathouse occupies a spot on the south side of Pier 40 where we build and row traditional wooden boats, and put thousands of local residents, high school students and international visitors on the water every year. In addition, we run rowing and boatbuilding programs, providing educational opportunities to New York City high school and college groups. V.C.B. offers free public rowing and a literal connection to the waterways that make up most of Hudson River Park. Therefore, we urge C.B. 2, the Trust, Pier 40 stakeholders and elected officials to work with the community to preserve free public rowing from the south side of Pier 40, whatever the plan for the development of the pier. Sally Curtis Curtis is president, Village Community Boathouse
Keep on crying, lefties! To The Editor: Re “Countdown to democracy’s death; It’s so quiet” (Global Village, by Bill Weinberg, Jan. 5): I see you are still publishing Bill Whine-berg’s work. Hahaha. What is it with the lefties who cannot reconcile themselves to the next president of the U.S.A.? I laugh each and every day that Donald is the president-elect, and two weeks hence he will take office. Whine can whine all he wants — too bad. Bert Zackim
Stumped by Trump, marching To The Editor: Re “Do not go gentle!… Poets strike against Trump on Jan. 15” (talking point, by Alan Kaufman, Jan. 6, thevillager.com): It feels like all the progress we have made on women’s rights is about to be washed away — as if no progress has ever been made at all. It makes the established norm seemingly only an illusion. The insulting election outcome in November still remains mindboggling to me. The Women’s March on Jan. 21 in Washington is a national movement for women, men and children who stand for human rights, civil liberties, diversity and compassion for shared humanity.
Causing a row at Pier 40
To The Editor: Re “ ‘Up in the air’: How big will rebuilt Pier 40 be?” (news article, Dec. 29): Village Community Boathouse applauds the success of Tobi Bergman and the Community Board 2 working group in winning City Council approval for the St. John’s project. The article mentions local youth sports leagues working with the Hudson River Park Trust and lo-
E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to email@example.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.
Is Governor Cuomo trying to channel both Trump and Bernie? TheVillager.com
Do not go gentle!… Poets strike against Trump Jan. 15
with roses, our breasts sequined with diamonds our loins hot with dragons, our hands and feet pierced with beauty
BY AL AN K AUFMAN
Let us come to their dusty squares and drinking holes with canticles of magnificent defeat
Rage, rage against the dying of the light — and the coming of the Trump… .
Let us deliver in their mangers of pollution and penitentiaries,
On Sun., Jan. 15, I will lead, with Michael Rothenberg of One Hundred Thousand Poets For Change, a nationwide strike of citizen-poets: Poets Against Trump. From New York to Los Angeles and New Orleans to Austin, poets will assemble at their respective city halls and other locations to voice their opposition and commitment to struggle. In Manhattan, we will gather on the steps of City Hall at exactly 1 p.m. Not only are all poets welcome to read but visual artists can bring works of protest art. Any caring citizen with something to declare in the space of a short poem can have his or her say, too. Then, on Sat., Jan. 21, a Million Women’s March will rally in Washington, D.C., to voice a courageous mass opposition to the Trump presidency. There will also be women’s marches in New York City, San Francisco and other cities. Meanwhile, in New York, Maria de Losangeles, an undocumented immigrant artist, has spearheaded We Make America, a tremendous new progressive effort comprised of chiefly women artists and veteran activists. Also in New York, Theresa Byrnes, the performance artist, has organized nights of exhibition and symposia at her E. Ninth St. East Village gallery to launch a new artistic front against Trump. “Let Us” is my anthemic tribute to the love and dream that inspires such efforts: a paean to the poets, artists and bus riders who comprise a new civil rights movement in which we must all represent with the power of our art and the dedication of our ideals. It is a call to be a force not only for compassionate change but fiery revolt against the coming oppression. ******** LET US For the Poets of January 15 and the Women of January 21 By Alan Kaufman
shopping malls and tenements the hard, beautiful birth of the heart Let us bring renewal Let us declare the death of despondency and tyrants For I have seen our campfi res beside the roads like fallen, still-burning miraculous stars I have seen our bus voyaging to innocence I have seen us tossed this century like a bone after ninety years of science and war, reason and corporation art and Auschwitz I have seen my vocation descend like a pen to a page that can never be fi lled with enough truth IMAGE COURTESY ALAN KAUFMAN
Alan Kaufman, center, holding “Poetr y Is Free!” sign, at the San Francisco Poets Strike in 1993. Reading, at right, is John Ross, who was the leading American journalist covering Subcommander Marcos in Chiapas at that time. At far left is Neelu Cherkovski, the great writer Charles Bukowski’s best friend and biographer. Police had shut down a poetr y reading at The Blue Monkey Cafe for lack of an enter tainment permit. Kaufman subsequently called a strike of 10 poets on the steps of San Francisco’s Cit y Hall. “The police came in riot gear,” Kaufman recalled. “But so did camera teams from all the major net works. It was an election year and no one wanted to see cops dragging poets off the steps of Cit y Hall. We ended up getting the permit law revoked.” The event was repor ted in the national media, including Time magazine.
take ourselves aboard a bus
Let us take to them the carnival of our mad and scattered lives
and travel to the dispossessed and let us praise their dreamless eyes and hardened smiles with rogue words of truth
Let us bring them the mountain, let us give them the vision of an open window, an unlocked door, a bed to sleep in, a plate of food
in the killing fields of their hopes the slum wards and ragged towns and stolen farms
Let us give them the keys to the house of our love Let us bare our throats tattooed
I have crossed a continent of despair and I swear to you, Poets, I live for greater than myself You, street-Latin Elizabethan hustlers, I tell you time has come to deal death’s passionate kiss to kings Time has come to bare our asses in Paradise Time has come to write the Constitution with our poetry and flesh Time has come to costume up for Liberty and ride with words like steel-tipped whips into the soul of America and rage there and sing till the mouth of every starving child is fed
Januar y 12, 2017
Activist dubs Cuomo ‘king of mercy’ for Clark clemency CUOMO continued from p. 1
of Candles for Clemency, which since 2009 has pressed for commuted sentences and pardons for convicts with demonstrable records of rehabilitation. Among the group’s actions have been several large rallies near Cuomo’s Westchester County home. Roskoff has, at times, been a harsh critic of the governor, who up until last week has issued only a handful of clemency grants. In the wake of the governor’s Dec. 30 announcement, however, Roskoff sounded a different note. “We are excited to see that these elderly individuals receiving clemency will not have to die in prison,” the activist said. “This is a proud moment for New York and our state’s ability to lead the nation in criminaljustice reform. Our efforts show that through activism and relentless efforts, results can be achieved. Governor Cuomo’s heroic actions should serve as a model for our nation.” Roskoff, a former longtime Villager who moved to Chelsea about five years ago, is president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, an L.G.B.T.Q. group. He took particular satisfaction in the governor’s action regarding Judith Clark, a 67-yearold lesbian who was convicted for her role as a getaway driver in the 1981 Rockland County Brink’s robbery that involved the murder of two police officers. Clark was part of a group of radicals from the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army that staged the audacious daylight robbery. Roskoff’s organization, which is co-chaired by Tony Hoffman, a former president of the Village Independent Democrats, has long emphasized Clark’s evident rehabilitation — she earned several degrees, taught prenatal parenting classes for pregnant inmates, co-founded an AIDS group, and trained service dogs used by law enforcement and disabled veterans. An inmate at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, Clark, in good measure due to the efforts of Candles for Clemency, won support from a broad swath of prisoners’ advocacy groups, attorneys and celebrities, with more than 1,000 people writing Cuomo urging clemency for her. Clark, however, was sentenced to a minimum of 75 years in prison — a longer sentence than most of those involved in the Brink’s robbery and murders — and would not have been eligible for parole until 2056. Cuomo’s action did not release her from prison but rather commuted her sentence to a minimum of 35 years in prison, which means she will be eligible for parole this year. In his statement making the clem-
Januar y 12, 2017
COURTESY OF CANDLES FOR CLEMENCY
Judith Clark, then a member of the radical Weather Underground and Black Liberation Army, at the time of her prosecution in the Brink’s robber y and murder case.
ency announcements, the governor cited Clark’s “exceptional strides in self-development.” Of his decision to dramatically increase his willingness to grant relief to longtime convicts, Cuomo said, “With these actions, we have taken one more step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York for all.” According to Candles for Clemency, the national prison population grew from around 200,000 in the early 1970s to a high point of 1.6 million in 2009, that exorbitant growth fueled in good measure by the war on drugs. The roughly 3 percent decline in the prison population since 2009, the group asserts, is due to changing attitudes toward the crime-fighting efficacy of long prison sentences — as typified by a study from N.Y.U.’s Brennan Center for Justice it cited —
as well as the work of prison reform advocates. Still, Candles for Clemency noted, there are large numbers of elderly inmates serving long sentences handed down decades ago. The group cited statistics showing that over the past 13 years, New York State’s general inmate population has declined by 23 percent, while the number of prisoners above age 50 has skyrocketed by 81 percent. That, despite the fact that recidivism among elderly ex-cons is low and the cost of providing healthcare to senior citizens in prison is a heavy burden on the state. The New York Times, this week, published a detailed account of a visit Cuomo paid to Clark in prison early this past fall, where the only others in attendance were the Bedford Hills superintendent, the governor’s open-
PHOTO BY DONNA ACETO
Activist Allen Roskoff at a 2014 Candles for Clemenc y rally near the Westchester Count y home of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
ly gay chief counsel, Alphonso David, who formerly worked as an attorney at Lambda Legal, and a black Labrador that Clark had trained as a service dog. “When you meet her you get a sense of her soul,” Cuomo told the Times. “She takes full responsibility. There are no excuses. There are no justifications.” Roskoff recalled a conversation he and the governor had about Clark during a private meeting last summer at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where both men were delegates (though in support of different candidates). Roskoff urged Cuomo to visit Clark, and when the governor said he would, Roskoff asked, “Can I hold you to it?” Cuomo responded, “Yes,” and Roskoff said, “Then we have to hug.” After they did so, Roskoff added, “You grant Judith clemency and you will be known nationally as the king of mercy.” Not everyone shares the governor’s faith in Clark’s rehabilitation, of course. Rockland County Executive Ed Day, a Republican who is a former New York Police Department officer, in a written statement called Cuomo’s action “a vicious slap in the face to every member of law enforcement. The blood of Nyack police Sergeant Edward O’Grady, Officer Waverly ‘Chipper’ Brown and Brink’s guard Peter Paige will be on her hands until the day she dies. Judith Clark is a domestic terrorist. Her only place in a civilized society is behind bars.” But not every local politician echoed Day’s hard line. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, an openly gay Democrat who represents Rockland County and other parts of the Lower Hudson Valley, issued a statement saying, “I want to commend Governor Cuomo for commuting the sentence of Judith Clark, a living example of the rehabilitative potential of our criminal justice system. Clark has served over 30 years in prison,” Maloney said, “repeatedly demonstrated remorse for her participation in the Brink’s robbery, and endeavored to better herself by earning college degrees and leading educational and health initiatives to benefit her fellow inmates, prison staff and prison administration. “Our prisons should focus on effective methods for rehabilitation and re-entry, which includes permitting parole for low-risk, elderly offenders who have materially demonstrated their reformation. Judith Clark deserved to spend many years in prison for her role as an accessory to the terrible crime that resulted in the death of two police officers and a security guard. But after nearly 35 years she has been punished and no longer poses a threat to our communities.” TheVillager.com
Resistance is fertile Artists activate in the Age of Trump
PHOTO BY STEPHEN ANTHONY ELKINS
PHOTO BY STEPHEN ANTHONY ELKINS
Pey ton Berr y’s “Incurable Activism” has t wo women differing on how much is enough in the effor t to improve Black Lives.
A film about the Black Lives Matter movement gets mixed reviews before the screening even star ts, in A storia-based play wright Esther Ko’s “ With Allies Like This...”
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
seven solo performances based on their experiences before and after the presidential election. At the helm is Miami-born, Astoria-based musical theater bookwriter Rebecca Aparicio, who is no stranger to the task of bringing disparate voices into harmony. The bluegrass band she formed with her husband, Alabama native and guitarist/vocalist Stephen Anthony Elkins, gigs weekly at Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails (367 Third Ave., btw. E. 26th & 27th Sts.). “Our banjo player is from Poland,” said Aparicio of Wild Magnolia, “and our mandolin player is a Dominican from the Bronx. We have a Cuban girl, me, on the washboard, and a Japanese fiddle player.” The band is not the only collaborative project with her husband. They created “Pedro Pan,” a bilingual children’s musical based on the struggles of children sent, alone, to the US as
ivisive and downright ugly from the first primary to the final tally, last year’s presidential election had supersized portions of the key ingredients one would expect to find in a meaty theatrical drama: conflict, contrast, and the quest for power. With these elements still very much in play after November 8, the flabbergasted duo behind feminist theater company The Dirty Blondes had no question as to how they would answer the president-elect: cancel the production booked for January, and heed the call of an ominous new muse. “We were planning to produce a show about Britney Spears,” said artistic director Ashley Jacobson, “but we decided to put all our resources toward supporting a political project.” Embarking on that course correction didn’t take long: “I think we made the determination on November 10,” Jacobson recalled. TheVillager.com
“We had just cast the show and were going into rehearsals. I was in a little bit of a stupor after the election; surprised and scared and crying, ‘I can’t get my sh**t together for a show about Britney Spears!’ So I talked with [executive director] Elizabeth [Sarkady], and we said, ‘Let’s do something else.’ ’’ With 52 percent of white women having voted for Trump (a demographic both Blondes fit snugly into), “that was a reminder to look at the conversations we were participating in, and whether or not we were leading or listening. So we want to take a step back creatively, and support a space for particularly threatened and marginalized artists to speak.” Playing the East Village’s Kraine Theater through January 15, “The Resister Project” came together over the past several weeks, as its 49 participants spent much of the holiday season creating nine new plays and
a means of escaping 1960s Cuba (the show was a critical and audience favorite at the 2015 New York Intentional Fringe Festival). As to how she became a producer on “The Resister Project,” Aparicio noted a call to action made on Facebook right after the election. “I had this idea that anybody who wanted to write or perform could have [a platform for] a cathartic reaction,” Aparicio recalled, “and I wanted it to happen before the inauguration.” “So many took to it [social media] to vent,” Jacobson said. “This show came together because of that. At least it reminds us that there is some good in having such a large community at your fingertips.” “I think it’s only going to become stronger and continue to be a force in how people get connected, artisRESISTANCE continued on p. 17 Januar y 12, 2017
All dolled up for Operation Orange Don Start learning Russian, Amerika! BY MA X BURBANK
n Friday, January 20, our long national plummet down the rabbit hole comes to an end, and all signs point to a very hard landing in Wonderland. Congress and the president-elect have promised to “hit the ground running” — but that rarely happens when your chute fails to open on the way down. That’s a crap metaphor, I know. Alice wasn’t skydiving; but if she had been? And she represented the American Experiment as we have known it? And her parachute was the transition? Well, the American Experiment would be boned, my friends, ’cause that is one tangled-ass chute that wouldn’t stop a four-pound paratrooper kitten from splattering like a watermelon at a Gallagher concert. See what happened there? My out of control metaphor just killed a kitten! And Gallagher! Jesus wept — do you even know who that is!? It’s possible I haven’t slept since November 8. The point is, we’re entering uncharted territory. There’s no historical precedent, and any pundit who tells you they know where we are headed probably told you a Trump victory was a demographic impossibility. I know I
did. So let me tell you where we’re headed. I’ll give you three hints: It’s very cold a lot of the time, the national dish is a bowl of borscht with a side of misery, and it’s Russia. We all know that Trump literally has a shirtless equestrian Putin poster over his bed which he stares at dreamily while writing “Mrs. Donald Putin” all over his notebooks. He could care less that all of our national intelligence organizations now agree Putin personally ordered a cyberattack on the election designed to undermine faith in the democratic process and discredit Clinton. Trump insists the Russians didn’t do it, because Julian Assange told Sean Hannity they didn’t. So, a professional Russian conduit told Trump’s Minister of Propaganda that Kremlin house organ WikiLeaks did not get their info from Russia. Listen, when a sewage pipe tells you the stuff flowing through it isn’t crap? Don’t believe it. Trump doesn’t; not really. But he actively wants you to believe 17 US Intelligence agencies aren’t credible, and an albino fugitive sex offender he once called a spy and accused of espionage is. Why would he want that? What’s the endgame here? Stick with me. That bastion of liberal hysteria, The
Wall Street Journal, reports that when Trump isn’t busy midnight tweet-slapping celebrities, he’s working on a plan to “pare back” and “reorganize” the nation’s top spy agencies. Once he gets rid of staff currently keeping tabs on Russia, what caliber of people will he replace them with? Who can say? But Trump’s chief advisor on the project is Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a gentleman who believes Hillary Clinton ran a child sex trafficking ring out of a pizza place called Comet Ping Pong. Trump is also calling for all Obama appointees, including ambassadors and leadership positions at the NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) to clear out their desks by Inauguration Day. It’s typical to ask for letters of resignation — but also to leave staffers in place until replacements have been appointed and confirmed so someone can be, oh, I don’t know, RUNNING agencies necessary to our national security? This process can take months, years — sometimes, entire presidential terms. And then there’s Rex Tillerson: Presumptive Secretary of State, former ExxonMobil CEO and, wait for it, recipient of the Russian Order of Friendship, a medal
AP PHOTO/PAVEL GOLOVKIN
physically pinned to his chest by Vladimir Putin. See, the Russians were super grateful to Tillerson for brokering a massive oil deal, but then these pesky sanctions put the kibosh on that over some petty nonsense about annexing Crimea. Of course, it might be possible to lift those sanctions if you were pals with the Secretary of State. Why would a president-elect, regardless of their political beliefs, flack relentlessly for Putin, take Russia and Assange at their word while denigrating and hamstringing US Intelligence, appoint Putin’s bestie Secretary of Sate, and leave our international, security, and nuclear agencies without leadership for an indeterminate amount of time? It’s like his game plan is to empower the Russians and weaken us. Why? Simple: Operation Red Dawn. Operation Orange Dawn? Operation Orange Don. There we go. That’s the ticket. I know it sounds crazy, it makes no political sense, but it doesn’t have to. It’s not political. It’s just business. It’s the art of the deal, the yugest, most beautiful deal in history. See, American banks stopped bankrolling Trump quite some time ago, due probably to his constitutional aversion to paying his bills. Somehow he’s managed to stay in the game. How? He went to a loan shark. Here’s how Donald Trump Jr. put it as far back aas 2008 (as quoted in notorious superma supermarket tabloid The Washington Post, citing cli clickbait trade publication eTurboNews): “Russians “R make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from R Russia.” H Here’s the thing about loan sh sharks: When they call their m marker in, you can’t refuse aand sue them. They tend to rough you up a little, maybe b break your leg, maybe murder eeveryone in your family while yyou watch. It’s kind of a whimb based business practice. As of p press time, it turns out there m might be a little blackmail invvolved as well. Nice presidency yyou’ve got there, Mr. Trump. IIt would be a shame if surveilllance video documenting your eenthusiasm for the works of R. K Kelly ever came out. Operation Orange Don isn’t aas exciting as the movie “Red D Dawn.” It’s not an invasion, p per se. It’s more like “Amerika ka,” a little-remembered 1987 AB ABC miniseries, where we gra gradually became part of the gre greater Soviet Union by way of bei being a client state. It was slow, bo boring, and the production value ues sucked, which is probably a re really good description of the next ffour to eight years — if we’re super lucky.
A popular matr yoshka “nesting” doll depicts Russia successfully devouring the US presidenc y.
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And a ’60s child shall lead them
PHOTO BY SUSAN WEIMAN
Set the right tone for our Trump times, at this Cornelia Street Café Inauguration Day event.
he people who were little more than children during the Age of Aquarius have grown up to become the adults in the room, and they’ve formed their own response to Trump. “What Were the ’60s REALLY Like?” is an evening of spoken word and performance. Never one to sit out a chance to stand up, K (the performance persona of Manhattan-born writer Kathryn Adisman) saw the writing on the wall at 4 a.m. on Wed., Nov. 9. That’s when she sent an email to book a decidedly alternative Inauguration Day event. This collective response to the new president, K assured, will celebrate “the children of the ’60s who are still here. It’s a way of tuning into an alternate channel via oral history. But rather than following the herd of protesters, what we are doing is affirming another America that is still alive in us!” As of press time, the performers include Anoek; Madeline Artenberg; Steve Dalachinsky; David Elsasser; Dorothy Friedman; Davidson Garrett; Phillip Giambri; Bob Heman; Ptr Kozlowski; Tsaurah Litzky; Eve Packer; Mireya Perez; TheVillager.com
Su Polo; Bob Quatrone; Susan Weiman; and Richard West. Also on board is Ron Kolm (a founding member of NYC lit scene collective the Unbearables, and contributing editor of Sensitive Skin magazine). Kolm will likely elaborate on what he told us: “Just as the cultural revolution of the ’60s came about in reaction to the conservative ’50s, Trump is like a throwback to the ’50s — which is giving rise to a new, Faux ’60s. In other words, the election of Donald Trump is a necessary step toward change.” Proof positive that where there’s hip, there’s hope. “What Were the ’60s REALLY Like?” plays on Fri., Jan. 20, 6pm at Cornelia Street Café (29 Cornelia St., btw. Bleecker & W. Fourth Sts.). For tickets ($10 gets you in and 1 drink), visit corneliastreetcafe.com.
RESISTANCE continued from p. 15
tically,” Aparicio said of electronic outreach, adding that after the production closes on January 15, “We plan on building a website and uploading the plays that were chosen and not chosen. The idea is that someone in another state can produce their own ‘Resister,’ and we can keep this project alive beyond our work.” First things first, though. Last weekend’s launch of “The Resister Project” included Nelson DiazMarcano’s “Abbie Jones & That Jorge Kid,” in which a woman is torn between loyalty to her white supremacist brother and her Mexican boyfriend. Cat Crowley’s “Nasty Bitch Radio” is set in a feminist underground broadcasting studio — ground zero, the playwright noted, for a revolutionist response to “Trump’s dystopian America, where women are classified on a scale of 1-10.” Solo performers Julia BarclayMorton and Hayden Kristal were also on the bill — and at the Jan. 7 show, ReEmergent Theater company (a community in collaboration with those emerging from prison) moderated a talkback session following a monologue by member Juan Carlos Hincapie, who was released after serving 25 years for a crime he did not commit. Among this weekend’s Thurs.– Sun. performances will be Ricky W hitcomb’s “W hat’s On Your Mind,” which follows Facebook users from the time Clinton won Iowa to November’s very bitter end — posting, commenting, and doing plenty of unfriending. In Ashley Lauren Rogers’ “Fight or Flight,” Bear Spiegel serve as the lone cast member. “I’m not saying I stabbed you because we disagree politically,”
“The Resister Project” plays Thurs., Jan. 12 through Sun., Jan. 15, all shows 7pm, at The Kraine Theater (85 E. Fourth St., btw. Second Ave. & Bowery). For tickets ($15), visit horsetrade.info. Proceeds go to the American Civil Liberties Union. For artist info, visit thedirtyblondes.org.
Theater for the New City • 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net
Count On It
Verses at Work
“Political Economy and the
American Indian Dancers
“An exhilarating show in the
“Traditional music, dances and stories of The Native Peoples of North America”
vein of Hip-Hop Theater”
Showing: January 11 - 14 at 8:00 PM January 15 at 3:00 PM Part 1 -”Do what you really want to do - oh really?” Part 2 - “It shouldn’t be hard it should be easy”
says the non-binary Skye while tracing the roots of Thanksgiving Day toxicity with dad. “I stabbed you because the first thing that happened when I got in from New York, after a five-hour bus ride, the first thing you did was start chanting ‘Trump, Trump, Trump.’ ” After the Jan. 12 show, representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will lead the talkback. On Fri. and Sun., the evening’s playwrights and actors will engage with the audience — and on Sat., members of Smoke and Mirrors Collaborative will talk about their online and theater work addressing issues including HIV, national security, immigration, and the role of technology in forming human relationships. Hopefully, these talkback sessions will keep us all from taking a page from Skye’s playbook, instead embracing The Dirty Blondes’ mission to help artists and audiences “participate in a dialogue that bears on their experience and pushes the conversation further.” It’s a goal of civil but unapologetic activism that Aparicio hopes will become the real takeaway from “Resister,” which she noted has evolved from a shared sense of frustration on social media to “a community that extended beyond anyone’s circle of friends, uniting individuals who felt that they had no voice in the postTrump world.”
Part 3 - “The guy alone in the room with all the newspapers” Part 4 - “The accident that is ready to happen - now it has”
Showing: January 27, 28, 29 and February 3, 4, 5 Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM ~and~ Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 PM
Showing: January 19th - February 5 2016 Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM Sundays 3:00PM Januar y 12, 2017
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PeopleWay? No way! Villagers fear ‘trafﬁc-free’ plan PEOPLEWAY continued from p. 1
ported parts of the plan, particularly increased bus service akin to the Select Bus Service that would have alldoor boarding and sidewalk ticket purchasing to expedite boarding. The city will completely shut down the L train on 14th St. for at least 18 months at the start of 2019 to repair damage in the Canarsie Tunnel that was caused by Hurricane Sandy. Taking the tunnel offl ine for repairs will leave 225,000 passengers who take the train on weekdays from Brooklyn to Manhattan, as well as 50,000 passengers who use it exclusively in Manhattan every day for crosstown service, without a subway train, according to figures from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Many still wanted more data on the types of vehicles now on 14th St. so that they could determine which should and should not be banned. Utility vehicles, delivery trucks and emergency vehicles would have to be able to move efficiently across 14th St., “because there’s still gas lines on 14th St. no matter what they do,” as one public member put it. Officials from the M.T.A. and the Department of Transportation were noticeably absent from the meeting, just as they’ve been at other commu-
COURTESY TRANSPORTATION ALTERNATIVES
Paul Steely White, executive director of Transpor tation Alternatives, advocating for his group’s PeopleWay plan for 14th St. during the coming L train shutdown in Manhattan. So far, though, the cit y has not been ver y for thcoming in responding to the proposal.
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Januar y 12, 2017
nity meetings regarding TransAlt’s plan. The two agencies are studying the feasibility of shutting down traffic on 14th St. after local politicians, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, urged them to do so. Some at the meeting said that a decision can’t be made without some more comprehensive information to answer questions about the current motor and pedestrian traffic on 14th St. For example, where are drivers coming from? What do they use 14th St. for? And what causes the most congestion along 14th St.? Some predict that the M.T.A. and D.O.T. study will fi nd the PeopleWay proposal unfeasible — mainly because the agencies weren’t interested in the plan from the start. “There needs to be more of a response [to the PeopleWay plan] from the city,” said Eric Coler, a member of the C.B. 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee. “The M.T.A. and D.O.T. are probably just going to put a plan together while we discuss this.” While people at the meeting were generally supportive of a shutdown plan for the major crosstown boulevard in some form, others in the neighborhood already made it clear to elected officials that they are not in support at all. People living on crosstown streets just north and south of 14th St. have been particularly vocal about their concerns that the PeopleWay plan does not take into account
the flood of vehicles that they fear will pour onto neighboring streets. Around 70 people gathered at a W. 12th St. Block Association in November to discuss the PeopleWay plan with elected officials. Many slammed the scheme, including Carol Greitzer, a former city councilmember and current co-chairperson of the block association. Greitzer said that the streets are busy enough and can’t handle the mass of crosstown traffic that would spill over from 14th St. Stores on 14th St. also would be hurt if deliveries were limited, and elderly 14th St. residents could suffer, too, if they were unable to catch a cab home, she said. And there are other confl icts only residents would know about, she noted. For example, Greitzer called 12th St. an “unofficial” ambulance route. The huge number of trucks that would spill onto the street would effectively end its use by ambulances, she predicted. “If people had a way to eliminate traffic in all of Manhattan, I would be all for that,” Greitzer said. “But I don’t want them to just take it off 14th St. and dump it onto 12th St. and the other streets. You can’t just ban cars without having some solution to these problems.”
Januar y 12, 2017
At last! A dictionary of subway vernacular
RHYMES WITH CRAZY BY LENORE SKENAZY To celebrate the opening of the Second Ave. subway, we have commissioned the first New York Guide to Subway Jargon. Here it is — after 98 years in the making! Sick passenger (noun): Patently lame excuse for lateness. “I meant to call you on your birthday, but there was a sick passenger on the train ahead of us.” Zizmor (noun): A blemish or disfigurement that causes the stomach to lurch. “When I finally pulled the leech off my nose it left an oozing Zizmor.” Hand shame (verb): To accidentally grab the pole where someone else is already grabbing it. Kinky pinky (verb): To deliberately grab the pole where someone else is already grabbing it. Hangry birds (noun, plural): Hunger pangs activated by the smell of someone else’s fried chicken. See also: “Colonel Knowledge” (knowing that someone on the train is carrying KFC, but not being visually able to locate the source). Grampification (noun): The shock one feels upon being offered a seat by someone you thought was your age. (Fem: Grammafication)
der a stranger has fallen asleep on. Sniff & run (noun): An extremely under-populated car surrounded by extremely overcrowded cars. Grudge budge (noun): The grimace made by a person who must move over an inch to make room for you. Grudge buddies (noun, plural): The bonding emotion felt by former grudge budger and grudgee when they must make room for someone else. BBB (adj.): Short for “Baby Bump Blindness.” To not notice an 8-months pregnant woman holding onto the strap in front of you while you sit playing Candy Crush. Blobstacle (noun): Escalator rider who stands on the left side, not moving. ROTFL (noun): Anything “Rolling on the Floor Loudly,” e.g., an empty Snapple bottle. Point and shoo (verb): To indicate a wet or sticky spot on the seat before someone sits down. New natives (noun, plural): People who got on just one stop before you, but act as if they own the seat. L-and-back (noun): A hipster. Literally, someone who takes the L back and forth to their coding job. Tooth squad (noun, plural): Individuals dedicated to blacking out the teeth of smiling news teams on
subway ads. Bubbleheads (noun, plural): Individuals who add word and thought bubbles to posters, usually referencing the president, police or private parts. NJ devils (noun, plural): Young people from New Jersey who drink in Greenwich Village then add devil horns to PATH train posters before vomiting and heading home. Box shock (adj.): To be suddenly awakened by a boom box and someone’s sneakers near your nose. Family dollar (verb): To give a single dollar to a subway performer or performers on behalf of all the members of your family. Post-a-boo (verb): To sneak a peek at your neighbor’s Post. Peek-a-News (verb): To sneak a peek at your neighbor’s Daily News. A.M. mayhem (noun): Being offered an amNew York by three or more people as you enter the train. Suspicious package (noun): Male standing too close. Second Ave. (verb): To take longer than anyone thought possible. “I ordered my burger at 4 and they Second Avenued it at 11!” Skenazy is a keynote speaker, founder of the book and blog “FreeRange Kids,” and a contributor at Reason.com
Doork (noun): Dork who blocks the door without realizing it. Joork (noun): Jerk who knows he’s blocking the door but keeps standing there, watching people maneuver around him. Bunwich (noun): The very tight space between two other commuters. Snudge (noun): A real nudge pretending to be inadvertent. Train traffic ahead (noun): Colloquial for, “Brace yourself for bad news.” E.g., “The boss called a special meeting for 3 o’clock today. Could be train traffic ahead.” Nod squad (noun, plural): Two or more passengers napping on the same bench. Warm shoulder (noun): The shoul-
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PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY
One of the hardworking “Paparazzi Dogs” on the pedestrian island at Sixth and Greenwich Aves. during last Saturday’s snowstorm. The pack of “paps” was created by Australian artists Gillie and Marc Art. The work, currently on world tour, is a comment on celebrity photographers’ pack nature. It’s here for 11 months.
Building a movement vs. construction harassment HARASS continued from p. 1
doors and windows being removed, jackhammering causing cracks in and the collapse of drywall, and toxic dust in the air. A number of people mentioned D.O.B.’s self-certification process and how it can be abused by unscrupulous landlords. Through self-certification, a building can acquire a permit based on a false statement that it is “unoccupied” when it is indeed “occupied” and requires a Tenant Protection Plan, or T.P.P. As reported last year in Chelsea Now, a sister paper of The Villager, Brewer said she was appalled by the frequent gas shutoffs initiated by landlords who seemed to have no concern about creating hazardous conditions in people’s homes. The B.P. took action by contacting Con Edison, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the commissioners of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, D.O.B., Homes and Community Renewal, and the New York Public Service Commission. Twenty elected officials were also co-sponsors of the town hall. Ten others sent representatives. Working in cooperation with S.T.S., 11 councilmembers who were among the town hall co-sponsors are involved in shepherding a package of 12 tenant-protection bills into law. These bills would force D.O.B. to overhaul its penalty system for violations, and to take on more oversight of T.P.P.’s and the issuing of permits. Kielbasa spoke about construction as harassment being used mainly against rent-regulated tenants. “The landlords create an unsafe space around you under the guise of construction work and say, ‘This isn’t our fault. We’re trying to do this as fast as we can,’” he said. “A landlord will buy a building and chase out as many rent-regulated tenants as he can through lawsuits and buyouts. This is the acquisition stage of ownership,” he said. “Then they transition quickly to the renovation stage, where they use construction as harassment to lean on tenants who know their rights and understand the importance of having their rent-regulated apartments.” Kielbasa further explained that this “violent and tormenting” form of harassment may last from three months to a year, depending on the extent of construction, until the landlord moves into the marketing phase of moving in new market-rate tenants. A panel of activists was ready to offer ideas and counsel to the community. They included Yonatan Tadele, an organizer for the Cooper Square Committee; Marti Weithman, a supervising attorney for MFY Legal Services, Inc.; Kerri White, director of organizing, policy and research at Urban Homesteading Assistance Board; and George Tzannes, a Lower East Side / East Village tenant leader. Henry Dembrowski, a Soho resident who was subject to long-term construction as harassment by his landlord, Marolda Properties, recalled coming home early one morning to 57 Spring St., only to find the building’s front door locked. He could only get into his apartment through the basement access of the bakery next door, climbing up the fire escape in the back of the building, and entering through one of his windows. That was just the beginning. What followed was a loss of power for 10 days, the installation of pipes that went on all night and collapsed a wall, and holes poked in his ceiling and walls. Dembrowski’s advice was simple: “Organize,” he said, and warned against trying to take on the landlord alone, because there is much more power in a group. When Dembrowski began speaking with his neighbors, he was able to create a coalition of buildings in the neighborhood. Eventually, he prevailed in H.P.D. court. “Construction as harassment is a poison in our city TheVillager.com
PHOTOS BY JORDAN RATHKOPF
Rolando Guzman — with Borough President Gale Brewer to the left of him — explaining the 12bill package of legislation intended to correct and reform D.O.B. procedures.
and we need to group together and work together, through legislation and bills,” he said. Holly Slayton, an East Villager, spoke about the Toledano Tenants Coalition — of which she is a member — that has organized to fight Toledano’s Brookhill Properties. “They pushed out my business and 21 of 24 businesses in the neighborhood,” Slayton said of Brookhill. “Three of the buildings have dust issues, and my doctor advised me and my daughter to wear dust masks in our own apartment.” She explained that Healthy Homes, part of the state Department of Health, finally came and took a lead dust sample. “D.O.B. has a billion dollars in fines due to them,” Slayton said. “They need to put liens on these buildings; take some action. And it is up to us to speak out.” She encouraged everyone to sign contact information cards so they could be part of ongoing activism. Rolando Guzman, deputy director of community preservation at St. Nicks Alliance in Brooklyn, gave an update on the 12-bill package — which he dubbed a “Legislative Platform to Reform D.O.B.” — currently working its way through the City Council. He noted that the first bill on the list would require D.O.B. to inspect at-risk buildings instead of allowing for self-certification, which is a prevalent complaint among tenants. More information on the 12-bill package can be found on the S.T.S. Web site: standfortenantsafety.com/stsdob-platform. Guzman explained that the 12 bills were introduced to the City Council in September 2015. The bills first go to the Council’s Housing Committee where they are given hearings. If approved at the committee level, the bills go to the full Council for a vote. If the Council gives the go-ahead, the bills go to the Mayor’s Office to be signed into law. So far, seven of the bills have had hearings at the committee level. “We are working with some councilmembers to have hearings on the remaining five bills,” Guzman said, “and we hope that within the next month they should be voted on and passed.” Loraine Brown, co-chairperson of Community Board 8’s Housing Committee, told this reporter of a historic gathering of all 12 Manhattan community boards, to which the public is invited. “We’re convening all Manhattan community boards, the Land Use and Housing Committee members, to meet and discuss the affordable housing program,” Brown said. “We want to come together to create guidelines that we can all use, and to develop the ‘ask’ — what
Maur y Sherman, from Hell’s Kitchen, asked, “ Where is the bad landlord school that they all go to?”
we ask of developers in terms of permanent affordable housing versus temporary, and keeping the 421a units in our borough.” The gathering will be Tues., Jan. 31, 6:30 p.m. at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center, at 415 E. 93rd St.
Januar y 12, 2017
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Januar y 12, 2017