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Second Ave Subway’s On-Time Arrival — Finally! 08 & 09 Bergdorf Goodman Building Landmarked 02 December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017 | Vol. 02 No. 26

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Landmarking for Bergdorf Still Faces Council Hurdle BY JACKSON CHEN

O

n a day when t he L a ndmarks Preservation Commission tackled the final items in its Backlog Initiative, the agency, on December 13, declared the Bergdorf Goodman building at 754 Fifth Avenue a landmark. Completed in 1928 on the site of the former Vanderbilt Mansion between 57th and 58th Streets, the Bergdorf building has long stood as a gateway to Fifth Avenue’s gilded shopping district for pedestrians coming from the Upper East Side and Central Park. To address 95 items that had been on the LPC’s calendar since prior to 2010 — with many properties in limbo for many years more than that — the agency began its Backlog Initiative to reach final decisions on a l l of t hem. T he Bergdorf building’s landmarking efforts began in 1970 and were taken up again in the ‘80s, but the LPC was unable to reach any conclusion on several occasions.

MICHAEL SHIREY

The Bergdorf Goodman building, at 754 Fifth Avenue just below Grand Army Plaza at the southeast corner of Central Park, was designated a landmark on December 13.

In the most recent public hearings that considered Bergdorf, preservationists turned out to praise its unique characteristics, both architecturally and culturally. “It is incredibly important in that it’s a symbol of New York,” Theodore Grunewald, a longtime preservation advocate, said of the building. “It defines one whole side, the southern edge, of one of New

York City’s most significant public spaces, Grand Army Plaza.” Many supporters of the building’s preservation noted, as well, the building’s role in the neighborhood’s emergence as the center of luxury shopping in Manhattan. Known for an early 20th century modern architectural style w it h distinctive ta ll, int r icate arches above the doorways, the

LANDMARKS PRESERVATION COMMISSION

412 East 85th Street, in 2007.

building has changed very little since its construction in the ‘20s, according to A ndrea Goldw yn, the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s director of public policy. She said the only alteration made was a new doorway in the ‘80s. Most of the sand-colored building remains pristine, though signs of

 LANDMARK STATUS, continued on p.11

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December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Critics Scramble Again to Halt Tower at 88th & Third BY JACKSON CHEN

A

planned 32-story residential development near the corner of East 88th Street and Third Avenue has received a green light from the city’s Department of Buildings for its revised plans, but elected officials and a neighborhood advocacy group are not backing down. Carnegie Hill Neighbors, joined by City Councilmember Ben Kallos, Borough President Gale Brewer, and State Senator Liz Krueger, have filed a zoning challenge to the DOB’s approval of a project it had halted seven months ago. According to a DOB spokesperson, Joseph Soldevere, the agency recently approved amended plans for a 467-foot building — that reaches more than 523 feet with its bulkheads — submitted by DDG, a real estate development group based in Tribeca. T he project had been ha lted by a stop-work order on May 26, when the DOB concluded that DDG had created an unbuildable lot “for the sole purpose of evading zoning restrictions” that would have applied if the building had a frontage on East 88th Street. The stop-work order was based on a finding by George Janes, a zoning and land use consultant engaged by Carnegie Hill Neighbors, that the developer reduced the size of one of two adjacent lots it owns — the lot it wasn’t building on — from 30 feet by 22 feet to four feet by 22 feet. Carnegie Hill Neighbors — an organization dedicated to protecting the historic character of Upper East Side blocks from 86t h to 98th Streets west of Third Avenue to Central Park — alerted elected officials, including Kallos, Krueger, and Brewer, of Janes’ conclusion that the new smaller zoning lot was created solely to establish a buffer between the much larger lot on which the building was actually planned and East 88th Street, where more stringent zoning restrictions exist than on Third Avenue. The elected officials, in turn, successfully pressed the DOB to reevaluate its position on the project, which led to the May stop-work order. The DOB’s Soldevere said that

DDG

Work on a proposed 32-story residential tower on Third Avenue near East 88th Street is once again underway, despite continued opposition from neighborhood advocates and elected officials.

DDG has now revised the size of the smaller of its two lots into a “a developable, 10’ by 22’ parcel.” DDG’s new plans reduce the size of the proposed building by 1,200 square feet and include two exits on Third Avenue required by the DOB, which issued a new work permit on October 27. Though that approval enabled the stop-work order on the project to be lifted on December 21, Krueger’s office had discovered the new plans DDG filed with the DOB and alerted Carnegie Hill Neighbors, Kallos, and Brewer, and their challenge was filed within the required 45 days. As a result, their objections can still be heard. The new challenge springboards off the original argument opponents made this spring, asserting that the widening of the second lot from four to 10 feet does not change the developer’s intention to

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017

skirt zoning regulations. As with a four-foot lot, the larger revised lot should still be considered part of the adjacent lot on which building is taking place given their contiguous nature and the common ownership of both, in the view of the project’s opponents. “Widening the lot by six feet to make it a 10-foot-wide lot for the 22-foot frontage on East 88t h Street does not alter our argument,” Carnegie Hill Neighbor’s president, Lo van der Valk, said in an email. “Clearly the owners need to redesign the building in a way that creates a legitimate streetwall on 88th Street that fully satisfies zoning requirements, even if doing so will lessen the profitability of the project.” In a written statement, Brewer was adamant in characterizing the new plans as another sham on DDG’s part.

“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “This developer’s response to getting caught with its hand in the cookie jar is to just reach for the cookie again. This developer is trying to pretend this lot doesn’t have frontage on 88th Street and isn’t subject to 88th Street’s zoning rules. Nobody’s fooled, and we’re not going to let them ignore this neighborhood’s zoning and illegally build a tower halfway to the moon.” According to t he opponents’ zoning challenge, DDG’s actions wou ld c r e ate a pr e ce dent for ot her developers to ca r ve out s i m i l a r “sl i v e r lot s” t o avoid frontage on side streets that may include restrictive building regulations. However, a DDG spokesperson said there is no ma ximum height limit or minimum lot size set forth for the project located in the commercial C1-9 zone where the building will be located. The spokesperson a lso poi nted to other buildings similar in height nearby, including 201 East 86th Street at Third Avenue, a 459-foot building including its mechanical bulkheads, and 360 East 88th Street at First Avenue, which is 462 feet tall with its bulkheads. “We are pleased that the StopWork Order has been lifted following the Department of Building’s comprehensive audit,” DDG said in an email statement. “We look forward to resuming construction and meeting our planned completion goal of 2018.” According to Kallos, the timely filing of the opposition’s challenge won’t stall the construction process. He predicted that DDG will appeal their right to mount a challenge, either to the DOB commissioner or to the Board of Standards and Appeals. Kallos added the BSA typically responds within 75 days. For its part, Carnegie Hill Neighbors said the group is prepared to pursue all its administrative remedies with the DOB and the BSA, while Kallos said the matter may ultimately end up in the courts. “In all cases, I believe this ends in court,” Kallos said. “But in all cases, I believe we win because the law is very clear in this.”

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High Over East River, Among Strangers, Couple Make Vows BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC

“M

arriage” and “guerilla” don’t normally belong in the same sentence — but for two Manhattanites, swiping their MetroCards and staging an impromptu wedding on the Roosevelt Island Tramway made perfect sense, not to mention memories to last a lifetime. Jennifer Dreussi Hansen and Wesley Hansen, who live in Penn South on the West Side, recently talked about their December 2015 wedding over cheese blintzes and coffee at a local diner. “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 l itt le more f u n k y,” Jen n i fer explained with a laugh. “It was my idea: Why don’t we try to get married on the tram?” Wesley a nd his pa rents had lived on Roosevelt 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.” Jennifer fell in love w ith the tram, and their photographer,

JENNY MACFARLANE/ STYLISHHIPWEDDINGS.COM

The Most Reverend Matt Levy officiated over Wesley Hansen and Jennifer Dreussi Hansen’s wedding on board the Roosevelt Island Tram.

Jen ny MacFa rla ne, happened to be married to an officiant, the Most Reverend Matt Levy. Neither had done a tram ceremony before. “We emailed them, a nd they were like, ‘Oh, yeah, we’d love to do this,’” Jennifer said. Levy had sent the couple what he calls a “love questionnaire” to fill out before the ceremony so he could prepare what he would say as he officiated. “We didn’t want to know what he was going to say,” Jennifer said. The day of the wedding, Levy started the ceremony at the plaza below

KIMBERLY KOVACH ALLEN

The couple arrive at the Roosevelt Island Tram for their wedding.

4

the tram near the 59th Street Bridge. Jennifer said the ceremony was funny and heartfelt, with Wesley adding, “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. Wit hout a per m it or a sk i ng for any kind of okay, the couple hoped for the best — saying their vows while the tram went over the East River. 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, a nd Hershey’s K isses — a long w it h a mag net embla zoned with “Greetings from Roosevelt Island,” and handed them out to people. “S ome people got rea l ly 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 recalled. A fter wards, the couple traveled to Brooklyn to take photos in front of the Bushwick Collective, a “nonprofit outdoor street gallery,” 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 on West 23rd

Street. 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 a near car accident in Hanover. “She ran a stop sign and almost ran me over,” he said. “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. We s l e y s a i d , “ I w a s g o i n g through stuff and I found the letters a nd was wonder i ng 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 Jenn i fer moved to New York Cit y 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. “ W he n I f i r st st a r t e d c omi n g here, I had t h is v ision of

 EAST RIVER VOWS, continued on p.5

December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


 EAST RIVER VOWS, from p.4 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.” Living in Penn South, it turns out, “reminds me of Burlington — a lovely communit y, a nd people really pull together. Chelsea is awesome. We have the Hudson a nd Chelsea P iers less t ha n 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,” he said, “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. “It’s the ideal neighborhood in Manhattan,” Wesley said. “I wouldn’t want to live in any other place,” Jennifer added.

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The wedding party included Linda Hemphill, maid of honor; bridesmaids Kimberly Kovach Allen and her daughter Amelia; the bride and groom, Jennifer Dreussi Hansen and Wesley Francis Hansen; Cono Trubiano, Wes’ dad; Khadeeja Hansen, his sister-in-law; and John Hansen, Wes’ brother and best man.

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Nadler: Snap Out of Trump Funk & Fight BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

“W

e are all here today to discuss the devastating aftermath of the 2016 election,” Congressmember Jerrold Nadler told an anxious overflow crowd at New York University on the evening of December 19. “The outcome was as upsetting as it was unexpected for so many of us. But we must not be overwhelmed. We must not back down. We must not roll over and play dead. We must fight.” T h e We s t S i d e D e m o c r a t ’s remarks opened a panel discussion, “What To Expect From the Trump Administration and the New Congress,” that also included Burt Neuborne, a professor of law and civil liberties and the founding legal director of NYU’s Brenna n Center for Justice, Na ncy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, and D on n a L ieb er m a n, e xe c ut i ve director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “Donald Trump represents a clear and present danger in many, many ways,” Nadler continued. “He has given us no reasons or assurances to alleviate our grave concerns about his personal conduct, his decision-making, or his ability to lead.” In short, the congressmember said, the country has seen no sign of a movement away from “the divisive and extreme campaign prom ises” t he president-elect made. Nadler went on to list some of the most egregious pledges made by Trump: “Promises to ignore and exacerbate climate change, promises of religious tests for immigration, promises of mass deportations, promises to ‘murder,’ in terms of budgets, all of our social and housing and other programs.” Meanwhile, he said, the Republicans in Congress are threatening to privatize Medicare and cut Socia l Secur it y — a nd T r ump “seems to be going that way,” too. Nad ler de s c r ib e d t he o verall political situation facing the country — with the GOP controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, and having the ability to reshape the nation’s

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LINCOLN ANDERSON

The December 19 panel discussion included moderator Julie Kashen of Make It Work, West Side Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, NYU law professor Burt Neuborne, Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the NYCLU’s Donna Lieberman.

courts, including its highest — as bleak. And with “extremist cabinet appointments” — including Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Betsy DeVos at Education, Georgia Congressmember Tom Price at Health and Human Services, and Ben Carson at Housing and Urban Development — not to mention Breitbart. com’s Steve Bannon in a senior W hite House post, t he T r ump presidency poses serious threats to civil rights, environmental protections, and social service programs for the most vulnerable, the congressmember added. Nadler also touched on Trump’s enormous conflicts of interest. “We’ve never really seen anything like this,” he said. “The conf licts extend beyond him to his children… If he doesn’t divest the moment he becomes president, it will make him a walking constitutional violation.” A champion of civil liberties and of the Constitution for his entire political career, Nadler assured the crowd he will do his utmost to keep protecting them — and reach out to his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help. “We will need to fight very hard to protect our civilizing programs of the New Deal and the Great Society and civil rights,” Nadler soberly warned, even as he told the crowd, in a more upbeat note,

“The turnout here today, initially, is very encouraging.” Neuborne, the next speaker, offered the crowd some tough love. “It’s a fact, we have to get over t he ha nd-w r inging phase,” he said, adding it was time to stop bla ming t he FBI a nd Russia n hacking for the election outcome. Instead, he said, “We need a cold-eyed view.” The problem, Neuborne argued, is really much bigger than Trump. Namely that during the eight years of the Obama presidency, Democrats lost 1,000 seats in state legislatures around the country, giving Republicans control of both houses in twothirds of the states. “This was a slow-moving train wreck that finally hit us,” the professor said. T he key to a pol it ica l tu r naround is to organize to regain the political majority across the n at ion — me a n i n g t he whole nation — he stressed. “We cannot continue as a coastal republic — where we carry both coasts and continue to lose the middle of the country,” Neuborne sa id. “Ever yone who voted for Trump is not a racist, or an…” “Yes they are!,” a woman in the audience shouted out. “…or an enemy,” Neuborne continued. “It is not in our best interests to demonize him or ignore the fact that there are serious social

issues to deal with.” Continue to treat Middle Americans as enemies, he cautioned, and it will keep on dividing the country “and we will continue to lose.” Looking back more than half a century, Neuborne, noted, “This is not the first time that liberals have found themselves in crisis in this country. I lived through [Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph] McCarthy. It was dreadful, and people suffered… The assassination of John F. Kennedy was one of the most shocking moments in my life… the martyrdom of Martin Luther King, Jr., the murder of Rober t Kennedy… endur ing the Vietnam War, which was an unconstitutional war… Watergate, the collapse of our social contract dur ing Reaga n, a fter September 2001 the fear and essential security terror, the economic collapse in 2007… Do not succumb to the idea that this is somehow a unique moment in which we are about to lose the republic.” Each time the nation has confronted such trying times, it “came out the other end,” said Neuborne, who acknowledged that it is still undeniable that Trump is truly scary. “We have someone as president who is intellectually unmoored,

 TRUMP FUNK, continued on p.12

December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Easing Crunch, 56th Street Reopened West of Trump Tower

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Pedestrians wait on the northwest corner of 56th Street and Fifth Avenue, in front of the newly relocated police command post protecting Trump Tower across the avenue, while traffic, now resumed on the block between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, turns right onto Fifth.

BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he cit y has reopened 56t h Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, following a letter from East Side City Councilmember Dan Garodnick, who urged officials to act promptly to relieve the congestion and hardships local businesses faced due to commotion caused by President-elect Donald Trump’s Midtown residence. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on December 28 that the block west of Trump Tower would be reestablished for eastbound traffic. But once drivers hit the intersection of 56th Street and Fifth Avenue, they will have to make a right to go southbound on Fifth Avenue as East 56th Street is still closed between Fifth and Madison Avenues. In addition to the reopening, the New York Police Department has also moved its mobile command post from the southwest corner of 56th Street and Fifth Avenue to the northwest corner. That setup allows a single lane of traffic to flow through the block, but the command post and barricades prevent any parking near the intersection. “The safety of New Yorkers and of t he president-elect a re our top concern,” de Blasio said in a

press release. “The changes we are implementing will maintain that security, while allowing for more movement in the area and addressing concerns raised by surrounding businesses. We will continue to examine and carefully confront the challenges presented by this unprecedented responsibility.” The street reopening comes just over a week after the area’s councilmember sent his December 20 request to de Blasio. “I am very pleased that the de Blasio administration heeded my call to open 56th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues,” Garodnick said in a statement. “This change will normalize commercial activity on the block and ensure that small businesses on 56th Street will not become a casualty of the Trump presidency.” I n h i s let ter p en ne d t o t he mayor, Garodnick requested support to restore the block west of Trump Tower, also suggesting that if eastbound traffic on East 56th Street were infeasible, reversing the street’s direction to westbound was a viable option, too. “Either one is workable from a local business perspective,” Garodnick said. “The option which is

 56TH STREET, continued on p.12

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017

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Second Ave Subway’s On-Time Arrival — Finally! BY JACKSON CHEN

T

he Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s long-delayed Second Avenue Subway Phase 1 will be opening on time, with service starting on January 1 at noon, according to officials. A December 19 announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo said an inaugural ride will take place on December 31 with regular service launching the following day with an uptown Q train departing from the 57th Street/ Seventh Avenue station. The MTA said the line would run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the first week, w ith trains arriving every six minutes during peak hours. The Second Avenue line will start overnight service on January 9. “New Yorkers have waited nearly a century to see the promise of the Second Avenue Subway realized, and after unrelenting dedication from t housa nds of ha rdworking men and women, the wait is over and the subway will open on December 31,” Cuomo said in a press release. At a December 22 appearance with the governor, East Side Congressmember Carolyn Maloney said, “This is an achievement right up there with the construction of the pyramids as a marvel of what humankind can build. Only the pyramids don’t have this beautiful artwork that you’re going to see everywhere in this subway.” Several days earlier, Maloney weighed in on the line’s impact on the local economy and the daily commuting lives of East Siders. “No economic activ ity in the City of New York would be more important than building the Second Avenue Subway,” she said at a December 20 event. “On day one, it will move over 200,000 people, it will reduce travel times, and it will reduce overcrowding on the Lexington line. It’s a win, win, win.” The Second Avenue Subway’s first phase originates at a connection at the Lexington Avenue/ 63rd Street stop and continues north to three new stations at 72nd, 86th, and 96th Streets. The Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit advocacy group serv-

8

METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

The plattorm at the 96th Street station of the new Second Avenue Subway.

METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

The entry to the 96th Street stop on the rerouted Q train, at the northern terminus of the Second Avenue Subway’s Phase 1.

ing the tri-state area, was a leading supporter of the push for the new subway line. “ This is a critical part of the transportation system,” Pierina Sanchez, RPA’s New York director said. “Without the Second Avenue Subway… investments like the East Side Access and the extension of the 7 line wouldn’t work. It’s going to connect tens of thousands of people from the Upper East Side to jobs in Midtown.” The East Side Access project will bring Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal, as an alternative to a Penn Stations destination for commuters from Queens, Nassau, and

Suffolk Counties, putting new pressures on a n already overcrowded Lexington Avenue line. Sanchez said that in addition to taking cars off the road, the Second Avenue Subway would dramatically reduce commuting time for residents who live on or east of Second Avenue uptown. For many local businesses and restaurants on Second Avenue, the opening of the new line presents the opportunity to finally reap the benefits of their long patience in living with continuous construction that often deterred their patrons. “You come to work with jackhammers, cement trucks, mys-

ter ious ex plosions t hat sha ke your building and your dining room,” Dave Goodside, owner of the Beach Café at the corner of East 70th and Second Avenue, said. “It’s something that we’re not going to miss.” B ot h G o o dside a nd S a m my Musov ic, t he president of t he Second Avenue Merchants Association, said they faced economic hardship from dealing with construction impediments over the years. Musovic, who owns three restaurants on the avenue, said it would be “a dream come true” once the subway opens. On December 23, the Federal Transit Administration gave the MTA the go-ahead to begin a twoyear “Project Development” effort that will enable it to secure US government funding for roughly one-third of the cost of the Second Avenue Subway’s Phase 2. That next phase, not expected to be completed until the early 2020s, will bring new stations at 106th and 116th with a connection to the 4, 5, and 6 trains at the 125th Street station of the Lexington Avenue line. With the congressmember expecting the first phase completion to bring a business revival on the Upper East Side — calling the project “the economic gift that will keep on giving” — she said East Harlem would enjoy the same benefits from the new line’s second phase.

December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Feds Greenlight Funding for Second Ave Subway’s Phase 2 BY JACKSON CHEN AND PAUL SCHINDLER

E

ast Side Cong ressmember C a r ol y n M a lone y i s h a i ling federal transportation officials’ approval of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority going ahead with a two-year “Project Development” effort to enable the authority to secure US government funding for roughly onethird of the cost of the Second Avenue Subway’s Phase 2. “I am thrilled that the Federal Transit Administration has recognized that the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway from 96th to 125th Street is worthy of receiving federal funding,” Maloney said in a December 23 press release. “It will relieve congestion on the Lexington Avenue line, reduce commuting times, and make it easier for New Yorkers to travel around the city. On day one, it is estimated that over 100,000 passengers will ride Phase 2 when it is completed. This is fantastic news for the city.” O n D e cemb er 15, M a lone y, joined by Congressmember-elect Adriano Espaillat, called on the federal government to commit $2 billion in funding for the second phase. The first phase, which will bring three new stations — at 72nd, 86th, and 96th Streets — to the Upper East Side, will launch publicly on January 1, with a ceremonial opening the day before, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week. Maloney has been working to ramp up the focus on the next leg of the subway system expansion. Phase 2 would create two new stops at 106th and 116th Streets and connect the line to the existing 125th Street station for the 4, 5, and 6 trains on the Lexington Avenue line. “We now have contracts that are ready to go for the Harlem stage of the Second Avenue Subway for design and also for environmental contracts,” Maloney said at the December 15 event. “So let’s get moving. The sooner you get the money, the sooner you can spend it, the sooner you can complete it.” T he US gover nment funding

JACKSON CHEN

Congressmember Carolyn Maloney is joined by Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez and Congressmember-elect Adriano Espaillat on December 15 in calling for the federal government to step up on Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 funding.

would be included in the Federal T ra nsit Adm i n ist rat ion’s New Starts grants program. The total cost of Phase 2 is expected to be

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017

about $6 billion. Maloney and Espaillat made their call for the funding with the days dwindling until the nation

has a new president. “A s P resident Oba ma leaves t he adm i n ist rat ion… we need a last-quarter three-point shot to ensure t hat we get t he Second Avenue Subway fully, fully completed,” Espaillat said. “And we need transportation equity. Harlem and East Harlem could rea l ly benef it f rom t he ex tension of the Second Avenue Subway.” Espaillat, who will soon represent t he 13t h congressiona l district long ser ved by Charlie Rangel, said his new constituents deser ve t he sa me t ra nspor t at ion i mprovement s t hat w i l l soon be ava i lable f rom 96th Street down. “I will go to Washington to be a fighter for East Harlem, for Harlem, to ensure that people no longer have to walk 15, 20 minutes to get to the subway,” Espaillat said. State Assemblymember Robert Rodriguez also lent his voice in support of federal funding for a project benefiting his East Harlem constituents. “We have the highest concentration of public housing, residents that need to go to work, residents that need to have access,” Rodriguez said. “Eighty percent of the residents of our district rely on mass t ra nsit to go to doctor’s appointments, to go to work, and to deal with day-to-day life activities.” New York State has earmarked $8.3 billion in funding over the next five years for the MTA, alongside the city’s commitment of $2.5 billion for the same timeframe. In the capital plan approved by the MTA earlier this year, $1 billion was slated for the Second Avenue Subway’s second phase. Maloney said she hopes to see the same magnitude of economic benefits Phase 1 is expected to deliver — roughly 16,000 jobs, $842 million in wages, and $2.87 billion in overall economic activity, in her estimate — carried over to East Harlem. “ We’re rea l ly deter m i ned to bring the same benefits to the Harlem residents that the East Side residents have in economic development, in jobs, and in quality of life,” Maloney said.

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P.S. 191 Principal Teases New Look at Riverside Center BY JACKSON CHEN

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s P.S. 191 prepa res for its move into a new school building at Riverside Center, the school’s principal, Lauren Keville, offered a sneak preview of what the learning spaces and curriculum would look like during a December 15 meeting of Community Board 7’s Youth, Education, and Libraries Committee. The relocation of P.S. 191, currently at 210 West 61st Street, was an important piece of the District 3 rezoning that redrew lines for 11 schools in the district’s southern portion. The school is moving a couple of blocks to the west to Riverside Center between 60th and 61st Streets at West End Avenue in time for next September’s opening of the 2017-2018 school year. T he r e l o c at i on h a s l a r ge l y received support from the local com mun it y as t he school has worked to improve its reputat ion as one prev iously — a nd incorrectly, according to many — labeled “persistently dangerous” by the state. The move into the Riverside Center building provides the school with a concrete physical element to its fresh start. Under the leadership of Keville, who took over in 2014, the school had its “persistently dangerous” label removed and is likely to have its name changed as well as part of its makeover. The new school building at Riverside Center will provide a gymnasium, a gymnatorium, performing arts spaces, a fully stocked modern library, a “maker space,” and more, Keville said. The principal explained that the spaces will be conducive to the school’s mission of promoting education through “project-based learning.” Keville said the school’s focus will be on programs that encourage hands-on experiential learning and not “chalk and talk.” “It engrosses them in learning in a way that really brings them alive and really sparks their interest,” Keville said of that approach. To promote engaged learning, t he pr incipa l sa id, t he school would launch a maker initiative that will allow students to focus on collaboratively inventing things

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DATTNER ARCHITECTS

A rendering of the courtyard at Riverside Center’s new P.S. 191 building.

to solve problems. Andrew Chu, P.S. 191’s School Leadership Team’s co-chair, and Charles Taylor, the school’s Parent Teacher Association’s co-president, visited other schools that had integrated a maker program into their curriculum. “The reason why I’m so interested in this is it’s really about inspiring a love of learning... seeing an idea you have actualized in the physical world,” Chu said. “I can see a scenario where those types of spaces become almost as indispensable as libraries. It’s basically a resource and place

where kids can let their imaginations go wild.” As for the school’s curriculum, Keville said administrators are looking to be the first in District 3 to offer Mandarin as early as preK, depending on the funding the school receives. The principal has enlisted the help of several specialized programs to boost the learning potential of the students, with Columbia University’s Teachers College Read i ng a nd Wr it i ng P roject, the TERC (Technical Education Research Centers) Math Investigations program out of Cambridge,

DATTNER ARCHITECTS

A rendering of the gym at the new P.S. 191 building at Riverside Center.

Massachusetts, and partnerships with nearby cultural institutions, including Lincoln Center Education, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. “Basically what we’re doing here is we are cultivating lifelong learners that want to take their education to the next level and want to be active members of society,” Keville said of the curriculum. T he pr i nc ip a l s a id t he K- 8 school would have two sections per grade, except for its kindergarten and third grade levels that would have three sections. One of the third grade sections will be a new offering of a Gifted and Talented program. Keville added that the five-story school building would be separated much the way the current P.S. 191 building is, with the top floors occupied by the middle school, elementary grades in the middle, and kindergarten and pre-K in the lower and ground floors. Keville said she hopes to maintain current class sizes of between 23 and 28 students. “We want more and more people to come see us so you can see the great things happening here,” Keville said. “And with the rezoning, it’s really important to me and to our school community that you feel excited sending your children to school here and we’re excited about welcoming new families in.”

December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


 LANDMARK STATUS, from p.2

LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT

LANDMARKS PRESERVATION COMMISSION

412 East 85th Street, as seen in 1932.

age are apparent with the black stone stains near the Bergdorf-Goodman logo above the store’s refurbished main entrance. Grunewald said he was encouraged that the agency voted unanimously to designate Bergdorf, but he expressed concern about the possibility the City Council might overturn that decision. Members of the Council have not spoken out on the issue, but Grunewald said the opposition could put pressure on them. In recent public hearings, the building’s ow ner, 754 Fifth Avenue Associates, L.P., and representatives of Bergdorf Goodman expressed their disapproval of landmarking. The final Backlog Initiative meeting also landmarked 412 East 85th Street, a pre-Civil War wood-frame farmhouse, as it is one of the few remaining examples of buildings from the earliest era of development on the Upper East Side. The commissioners decided to de-calendar several interior conference rooms, a lecture hall, and the elevator lobby of 809 United Nations Plaza. The LPC typically only considers interior landmarking for locations generally accessible to the public, and in removing these sites, at least for now, the commission noted the tight security in the area that limits access to them. “In Manhattan, you have incredibly elaborate architectural masterpieces as well as various buildings that represent cultural and social history of New York and also several incredibly great religious properties,” LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan in discussing the designations made on December 13. In total, the LPC designated 10 new landmarks that day, bringing the total number of new sites landmarked over the 18-month life of the Backlog Initiative to 27 citywide. “This has really been a mammoth undertaking but I believe it is really well worth it,” Srinivasan said. “I’m very pleased that over 27 properties that we’ve designated, they represented all five boroughs.” ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017

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 TRUMP FUNK, from p.6 utterly narcissistic, and terribly authoritarian,” he said, “and that should make us nervous, but it should not drive us into panic.” In offering a policy prescription, Neuborne said, “First, remember, ‘It’s the economy stupid’” — a winning approach for Democrats dating back to the New Deal. Like Nadler, he was gladdened by the big turnout. “This is a galvanizing force to many of us. And my hope is it is the beginning of the organization of a very, very powerful political movement,” Neuborne said, as the crowd cheered. Pro-choice advocate Northrup emphasized that the threat to abortion rights is not just now starting with Trump’s election. Since 2010, 800 state laws have been passed restricting access to abortion, she noted. “So we and our colleagues at the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have gone to court again and again,” she said. “So we’re used to this fight.” The defunding of Planned Parenthood, by cutting off its Medicaid funding, Northrup warned, is “one of most devastating things t h at w i l l b e c om i n g… a lon g attempt that will probably succeed.” The effect on low-income women, she said, will be devastating, with an estimated $500 million in annual payments for non-abortion services — including STD testing, Pap smears, and cont racept ives — at r isk, a nd impacting men as well as women. “And we will probably see Congress pass a ban on abortion after 20 weeks,” she added. “This is a f lat-up violation of Roe v. Wade, wh ich says abor t ion must be

 56TH STREET, from p.7 not is a four-year street closure where deliver y trucks literally need to back down the street.” In the weeks following Trump’s victor y, the closed streets and increased congestion negatively impacted businesses in close proximity to Trump Tower, Garodnick said. The councilmember toured the block with Small Business Ser v ices Commissioner Greg g Bishop on December 15 and said they saw enduring obstacles hobbling its small businesses. Some

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available until viability… which is well after 20 weeks.” Though it’s extremely rare for women to get abortions after 20 weeks, Northrup said, the right to that recourse is significant when needed. There will definitely be lawsuits filed over both abortion access and Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood services, she said. As for the possible repeal of Roe v. Wade, Nadler noted that a second new conservative Supreme Court justice — beyond the late Antonin Scalia’s replacement — would be needed, but he also pointed out that pro-choice justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, A nthony Kennedy, and Stephen Breyer are the three oldest on the bench. T he N YCLU’s Lieber ma n, i n f ier y rema rks, wa r ned t hat a Trump presidency will obviously be a trying time for civil liberties. “He is su r rou nd i ng h i msel f with people whose records on civil rights and human rights are a civil rights nightmare,” she said. “Ever ybody who is not a white ma le cit i zen has reason to be

afraid. Journalists and protesters have reason to be afraid.” Civil libertarians, Lieberman said, must be ready to stand up “against the hate” and in support of blacks, Latinos, Muslims, immigrants, women, and the LGBTQ community. In addition to protecting specific rights such as those of immigrants or of gay and lesbian couples to marry, she added, there is an overall need to “protect dissent.” “This guy wants to strip anybody who burns the f lag of citizenship — brilliant,” she scoffed incredulously. Lieberman said public schools also must be protected and all citizens shielded against a “surveillance society,” which she warned will only get worse under Trump. And to preserve abortion rights here, she decla red t hat Roe v. Wade must be “fucking codified in New York State!” During a question and answer session moderated by Julie Kashen, co-executive director of Make It Work, an advocacy group for working families, Nadler said the

nation won’t know exactly what the Trump administration plans until at least late January. “A re t hey rea l ly goi ng to do these deportations? ” he asked. “If they do, we’ll have to fight like cats and dogs.” Turning to structural issues in the nation’s politics, Nadler said, “We gotta do something about the Electoral College. It’s a relic of the 18th century.” When he then noted that enacting that change would require the support of twothirds of the House and Senate and three-quarters of the state legislatures, the room erupted in laughter at the futility of the idea. Neuborne suggested that the Democratic Party borrow from the British playbook, where the opposition party creates a “shadow cabinet” to stake out a clear set of alternative positions to the governing party’s. This idea won knowing applause. But, in reiterat ing his point that the economy really is the key issue facing both parties, Neuborne argued the big question is not whether jobs are headed offshore but whether in the longer run “mechanization and robotization” will take away people’s work. A nd the professor addressed what perhaps was t he big gest elephant in the room that night, when he said, “We ran, I think, t he wor st pol it ic a l c a mpa i g n of my lifetime. The Democratic campaign was: ‘You can’t possibly elect this man.’ Then you’re trapped on his terms.” In a final sign of just how exasperated many in the crowd continued to feel at the end of a long discussion on important policy issues, one woman cried out, “Hillary won!”

storeow ners repor ted difficulties like inability to get deliveries from trucks as well as decreased patronage due to restrictions on foot traffic in the neighborhood, the councilmember noted in his letter. “Since Election Day, the closed and barricaded street looked and felt like a war zone, and it was directly affecting the bottom line of the hardworking business owners on the block,” he said. According to Garodnick, Judge Roy Bean, a pub at 38 West 56th Street, reported a 30 percent sales

decline during the holidays, when it’s usually serving many tourists. With the block once again open to t ra ffic, businesses on 56t h St reet ca n now accom modate their delivery trucks. “This development sends a message to all New Yorkers and visitors that 56th Street is open for business,” Garodnick said. The changes were done in concert with the NYPD, the Department of Small Business Services, the Department of Transportation, and the Secret Service, and followed an evacuation of Trump

Tower’s lobby the day before at around 4:30 p.m. due to a suspicious package later found to be a bag filled with toys. “Protecting the president-elect while minimizing the impact to nearby businesses has required constant dialogue from everyone involved,” said N Y PD Commissioner James O’Neill. “We welcome the re-opening of 56th Street to increase pedestrian and vehicular movements in the area while still maintaining the security of the next president of the United States.”

LINCOLN ANDERSON

Congressmember Jerrold Nadler addresses an overflow crowd at NYU on December 19.

December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Spirited Hearing on Enforcing New Home-Sharing Law BY JACKSON CHEN

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irbnb hosts as well as groups opposed to the home-sharing company’s activities in New York came out in droves to a December 19 hearing held by the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement that took up the question of how a new state law prohibiting the advertising of short-term rentals of homes should be enforced. In October, Governor Andrew Cuomo sig ned i nto law a bi l l, sponsored by Upper West Side Assemblymember Linda Rosentha l, that imposes fines up to $7,500 for landlords and tenants who rent out entire apartments, while they are vacant or tenants are absent, for less than 30 days. T he new law immediately sparked a lawsuit from Airbnb, but the company withdrew its suit once it was assured that enforcement efforts would target hosts who operate illegal hotels — both landlords and individual tenants — and not the company hosting the listings website. Now, ever yone’s attent ion is focused on how the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (MOSE) aims to put the new restrictions into practice. A major concern is whether the city will focus on abusive landlords who warehouse vacant apartments to list on the website or will also go after individual tenants who choose, essentially, to sublet their units for shorter periods of time than allowed by law. For many hosts using the Airbnb platform, the new law and its fines could become a threat to income they have become accustomed to making by renting out their homes. Jeani Roth, an Upper East Sider who’s been hosting for two years through Airbnb, said she was able to overcome financial hardships stemming from health problems by renting out her apartment. With the new law threatening to slap her with fines if those rentals are for less than 30 days, Roth pleaded with MOSE to target the bad actors, not hosts of single apartments seeking extra money to get by. “W hile the intent of this law may have been a good one, enforcement of the law on hosts like myself would be crippling,”

JACKSON CHEN

JACKSON CHEN

Jeani Roth, an Upper East Side resident who has rented out her apartment using Airbnb, urged citiy enforcement officials to target large commercial interests renting out large numbers of units rather than individual tenants using short-term sublets to get by financially.

State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, lead sponsor of a new state law that targets those advertising illegal short-term apartment rentals on sites like Airbnb.

Roth said. “Thousands of dollars in fines should not be directed at someone like me, but rather the illegal hotels for commercial operators with many listings.” Doz ens of ot her host s f rom Ma n hatt a n, Brook ly n, a nd Queens attended the hearing to tell their stories about how renting out their homes helped them stay financially afloat. For Yulia McClamrock, a parttime photographer on the Upper West Side, the extra money from hosting her one-bedroom apartment a llowed her to retur n to school and continue her career. “While the intent of this law is ver y positive, we should think about hosts like me,” McClamrock said. “If not for Airbnb, I wouldn’t be able to live in Manhattan... I just ask you to take the many, many stories into consideration before you slash us a nd don’t give us a chance to share on this amazing platform.”

While hosts related their pers o n a l a n e c d ot e s, opp o s it i o n g r oup s a n d e l e c t e d o f f i c i a l s emphasized the greater good of a law they say will help restore the city’s affordable housing stock and its residents’ quality of life. “Illegal hotels represent a pernicious threat to New York’s tenants a nd to our a ffordable housing stock,” Assemblymember Rosenthal said. “Their proliferation hastens the pace of gentrification and leads to higher housing prices for all New Yorkers. It diminishes our stock of affordable housing as well as the quality of life for tenants who are forced to share their building with a rotating cast of strangers occupying apartments meant for New Yorkers.” She added that if the city is to preser ve a n adequate stock of affordable housing, MOSE needs to crack dow n on com mercia l operators “who are collectively warehousing thousands of units of housing that can and should be made available to permanent New

JACKSON CHEN

City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, in testimony at the hearing, emphasized the responsibilities Airbnb has in helping curb illegal listings.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017

Yorkers and their families.” C it y C ou nc i l memb er Helen Rosenthal focused her remarks on the responsibility Airbnb has to adequately police its own website, whether or not the new law specifically holds it legally responsible for the actions of those listing there. “If Airbnb complied with the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, its site would not allow anyone to post an illegal rental,” the councilmember said in her testimony. “So here we are, left holding the bag with an arm and a leg tied behind our backs, trying to enforce New York State law, a law which helps preserve affordable housing.” While they may be on opposite sides regarding the letter of the new law, both hosts and opposition groups seem to agree that its enforcement should zero in on those who skirt the housing laws for profit by listing multiple units or creating setups similar to illegal hotels. The Airbnb hosts insisted they should not be grouped in with such commercial operators and be subject to heavy fines. Elected officials, as well, emphasized the need for MOSE to focus on those who warehouse empty apartments or list multiple apartments. C ou nc i l m e m b e r R o s e nt h a l urged the city to launch an education campaign of advertisements, public service announcements, and comments in news stories to explain exactly what is legal or illegal when it comes to listing a home on Airbnb. “We don’t want individual tenants to unknowingly engage in illegal acts that could result in a fine by the city and an eviction by their landlord,” she said. First offenses for listing entire apartments on sites like Airbnb for rentals of less than 30 days will result in fines of $1,000, risi n g to $ 5,0 0 0 for t he s e cond offense, and $7,500 for third and all subsequent times. “Now that the bill has finally become law despite threats of legal action, MOSE has the ability to wield tremendous power to curtail the lawbreaking of Airbnb and similar brazen illegal hotel operators,” Assemblymember Rosenthal said.

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Express Yourselves A Year of Helicoptering America’s Youth

PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN jgoodstein@cnglocal.com

BY LENORE SKENAZY

EDITOR IN-CHIEF PAUL SCHINDLER editor@manhttanexpressnews.nyc

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS JACKSON CHEN LINCOLN ANDERSON SCOTT STIFFLER COLIN MIXSON YANNIC RACK ALEX ELLEFSON JANE ARGODALE JEFFERSON SIEGEL LENORE SKENAZY

ART DIRECTOR MICHAEL SHIREY

ADVERTISING AMANDA TARLEY ads@manhattanexpressnews.nyc 718-260-8340

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES GAYLE GREENBERG ANDREW MARK JIM STEELE JULIO TUMBACO

Manhattan Express, the newspaper for Midtown and the Upper East and Upper West Sides, is published by NYC Community Media, LLC. Send all inquiries to: Manhattan Express, One Metrotech Center North, Suite 1001, Brooklyn 11201 or call 718-260-4586. Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this paper, in part or whole, can be reproduced or redistributed. All contents © 2016 Manhattan Express. Manhattan Express is a registered trademark of NYC Community Media, LLC. Jennifer Goodstein, C.E.O. | Fax: 212-229-2790

I

t was the year of Pokémon Panic — any toy that gets kids outside must be stopped! — and the year a Florida school canceled its “Powder Puff” all-girl football game, suggesting the girls bob for apples instead. It was the year that we saw the first academic study of bouncy house temperatures — “something that no one had really examined in the published literature,” according to one of the researchers. Imagine that. But in all, it was a particularly great year for busybodies. A video of a man screaming at a woman who popped into the gas station while her kid waited in the car went viral — who could resist mom-shaming like that? — as did a video of parents getting their food at a buffet while their baby wa ited at the table. W hy, that child could have vaporized while they got their spareribs! Cops asked one mom to leave a football game because onlookers thought her baby looked cold, while another mom’s kids were ordered to undergo a physical because she let them wait in the minivan while she got a Starbucks — an errand that took three whole minutes. And my friend Julie Gunlock, a writer in DC, got chewed out by an FBI agent for running in to get a rotisserie chicken while her boys — nine, seven, and five — waited in the car. She certainly is Public Enemy #1. And then there were these stories:

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1. The pol ice ch ief of New Albany, Ohio, helpfully revealed the age that kids are old enough to start going outside on their own: 16. “I think that’s the threshold where you see children getting a little bit more freedom.” 2. L ocal television news in Fargo, North Dakota, reported that a mom “felt scared” at the grocery because she kept running into the same couple in several aisles, “And when I went to the checkout they were right there.” Yep. 3. Kids at the Learning Coll a b or at ive, a pre-school i n a

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disadvantaged neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina, were not allowed to play on their new swings because the grass and dirt underneath are “too dangerous.” First the school must raise $1,100 to replace the grass with six-inchdeep mulch. 4. The Beaver ton, Oregon, library will not allow children under 10 on the premises unless “within sightlines of parents” at all times. If an “adult-responsible caregiver cannot be located within five minutes, library staff will call the Beaverton Police Department.” 5. A 14 -yea r- old Iow a g irl, “Nancy Doe,” took two racy pictures of herself — one in a sports bra and boy shorts, one braless, but w ith her hair covering her breasts — and texted them to a boy. A few weeks later, she was accused of sexual exploitation of a minor: herself. 6. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised all women who are not on birth control not to drink any alcohol until they reach menopause. Explained Princeton sociologist Elizabeth Mitchell Armstrong: “The idea is that any woman of reproductive age should be treated as potentially pregnant at all times.” 7. Rhode Island legislators introduced a bill that would ban recess if temperatures drop below 32 degrees. 8. A dying, wheelchair-bound sex offender with Alzheimer’s must move out of the Boynton Beach, Florida, hospice he is in because it is too close to a pre-school. 9. Nine hundred middle school students in Gra nd Isla nd, Nebraska, were evacuated when a staff member noticed an unfamiliar box in the band room. The st ate’s bomb squad was summoned to open it and discovered it held what some would indeed consider a threat to the community’s well-being: An accordion.

10. And just three weeks ago a L ong Isla nd mom a nd dad shopping for Christmas lights at a Valley Stream Home Depot let their four-year-old nap in the car. W hen they came out about 20 minutes later, they found firemen had smashed open the back passenger w indow to extricate the (perfectly fine, if startled) boy after someone had called 911 to report an “unconscious child.” A waiting ambulance then sped the tot and his mom to Cohen’s Children’s Hospital in Queens, while the dad was throw n in jail for five hours. That night when they all finally got home after 10, the doorbell rang at about midnight: Someone from child protective ser v ices was t here to i nspect their home. Now the dad is awaiti n g t r i a l on c h a r ge s of c h i ld endangerment. His court date is Valentine’s Day. Nice. May your new year be saner and sweeter! Lenore Skenazy is the author and founder of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids” and a contributor at Reason.com.

LOCAL POLICE CONTACTS Midtown North Precinct 306 West 54th Street 212-767-8400 Midtown South Precinct 357 West 35th Street 212-239-9811 17th Precinct 167 East 51st Street 212-826-3211 19th Precinct 153 East 67th Street 212-452-0600 20th Precinct 120 West 82nd Street 212-580-6411 Visit ManhattanExpressNews.nyc for full area precinct listing.

December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


Express Yourselves

10 Resolutions Caregivers Should Make for 2017 BY RIMAS JASIN AND JUDY ZANGWILL

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very year, millions of people vow to eat healthier, exercise more, and stress less. But, too often caregivers who care for a loved one skip the New Year’s resolution and continue to forgo taking care of themselves. This year, let’s change that. Caregivers: let’s vow to take care of ourselves too. In Manhattan alone there are an estimated 30,000 residents living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Nearly 60 percent of their caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high; about 40 percent suffer from depression. One in five caregivers cut back on their own doctor visits because of their care responsibilities. And, among caregivers, 74 percent report they are “somewhat” to “very” concerned about maintaining their own health since becoming a caregiver. But a sick or stressed caregiver does no one any good. Here are 10 practical resolutions

caregivers can make in 2017 to ensure they won’t burn out and their loved one will be able to count on them all year long.

a support group, or seek out other caregivers. Finding others to share the experience with can make all the difference.

8. Resolve to do one thing for yourself or your loved one that you’ve been putting off. This will provide a gratifying sense of accomplishment.

1. Resolve to do one fun activity each week with your loved one. Caregiving is often filled with stressful tasks that can put a strain on the relationship with your loved one. Take some time to enjoy your time together.

5. Resolve to prioritize personal hobbies and interests. Caregivers have the right to enjoy themselves apart from their loved ones. It is important that even after caregivers begin caring for their loved ones, they maintain parts of their lives that are independent of that role.

9. Resolve to sleep more, when possible. Caregivers who are well rested are better able to care for their loved one.

2. Resolve to stop feeling guilty about doing things for yourself. Caregivers need to take care of themselves in order to ensure that they can provide the best quality care for their loved one. 3. Resolve to learn more about your loved one’s disease. This will make it easier to plan for the long term, as well as help you to understand what your loved one is going through. 4. Resolve to break the silence. Join

6. Resolve to express yourself. It is understandable — and expected, quite frankly — for caregivers to get frustrated, disappointed, and even depressed at times. When those feelings arise, let others know. 7. Resolve to listen to yourself. Caregivers deserve to take care of their own bodies and minds. When you’re healthy, you’re able to focus better on your loved one’s needs.

10. Resolve to ask for help. There are organizations all across Manhattan that exist to serve caregivers. Many times, all you need to do is ask. Rimas Jasin is executive director of Presbyterian Senior Services (2095 Broadway at W. 73rd St.; pssusa.org). Judy Zangwill is executive director of Sunnyside Community Services (43-31 39th St., Queens; scsny.org). The two groups provide comprehensive caregiver support programs in all five boroughs, including support groups, longterm financial planning, and respite care.

Police Blotter ASSAULT: SUDDEN STABBING (Midtown North Precinct) A man was stabbed on December 18 at around 1:45 a.m. at the southeast corner of East 46th Street and Madison Avenue, police said. A suspect approached a 23-year-old victim from behind, stabbed him in the head with a knife, and then fled, according to police. EMS took the victim to Bellevue Hospital, where he was treated and released, police said. Police released photos and a video of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as an Hispanic male, 5’10”, last seen wearing a black skull cap, black sweat pants, black sneakers, and a black Nike hooded sweatshirt with “Jordan” on the sleeve.

HOMICIDE: GOATEED GUNMAN (Midtown South Precinct) A 27-year-old man was found dead with a gunshot wound to his chest on December 17 at the corner of West 40th Street and Sixth Avenue, police said. Officers responded to the call at around 2:30 a.m. and found Terrance Walker unconscious and unresponsive at the location. EMS responded and pronounced him dead on the scene, police said. The investigation is ongoing and police are

looking for a man who they believe may be connected. Police released a photo and video of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews. nyc), whom they describe as a black male, 6’ to 6’2”, in his 20s or 30s, with a goatee, and last seen wearing a heavy black coat, a black cap, black pants, and black shoes.

ASSAULT: SUBWAY SLASHER (23rd Precinct) Police are looking for two men who were involved in a bloody attack on December 1 at around 9:45 p.m. at the northbound 6 platform of the 110th Street station. Police said two men approached two male victims, a 35-year-old and a 59-year-old, and a physical altercation ensued. One of the victims was left with cuts to his left ear, left eye, nose, and head, while the other victim received a cut near his right eye, police said. While the suspects fled, the victims were taken to Metropolitan Hospital in stable condition. Police released photos of the suspects (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as black or Hispanic males, both approximately 18 to 20 years old, with one wearing a maroon jacket, black sneakers, and black pants, and the other wearing a gray sweater, black pants, black shoes, and a black cap.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017

ROBBERY: NYCHA IMPOSTERS (23rd Precinct) Two men posing as New York City Housing Authority employees robbed an East Harlem man in his apartment building near East 112th Street and Madison Avenue, police said. According to police, the robbery occurred on December 7 at around noon when the two suspects dressed in work clothes and safety vests knocked on the 56-year-old victim’s door and identified themselves as NYCHA employees. Once the resident opened the door, the suspects forced their way inside, brandished a gun, and struck the victim in the head, police said. The suspects then restrained the resident and demanded cash, before making off with $500 and two cell phones, according to police. The victim was transported to Harlem Hospital and was treated for his cut near his left eye. Police released photos of the suspects (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a black man, 6’1” and 290 pounds, and an Hispanic man, 6’2” and 140 pounds.

FORCIBLE TOUCHING: 6 TRAIN SLEAZEBAG (Midtown South Precinct) Police are looking for a man wanted for groping a 20-year-old female’s breasts and hips

while on a southbound 6 train on November 30 at around 8 a.m. Police said the train was near the Grand Central–42nd Street station when the suspect groped the victim, who later got off the train at the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall stop. The suspect, however, stayed on the train, police said. Police released a photo of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as an Hispanic male, between 25 and 30 years old, and wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and a green jacket.

COLLISION: LAID TO REST (Midtown North Precinct) A cyclist was struck and killed by a cement truck at the intersection of West 55th Street and 12th Avenue on December 15 at around 7 a.m., police said. According to police, the 56-year-old cement truck driver, traveling westbound on West 55th Street, was making a right turn onto 12th Avenue when he struck a cyclist going westbound on the street and approaching the avenue. Police found the man with severe trauma to his head and body, and he was pronounced dead on the scene by EMS. The truck driver stayed on the scene and NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad is investigating the incident, police said. The victim’s name was withheld pending family notification.

15


Representing Is Important; Content Counts, Too The late bisexual Belgian filmmaker gazed into the void left by her mother’s death and couldn’t go on living. None of this is stated explicitly in her documentary “No Home Movie,” which chronicles her mother’s last few years, but the film finds eloquent visual metaphors for grief and emotional darkness.

BY STEVE ERICKSON

“M

oonlight” director Barry Jenkins has said that if people don’t have images of themselves, they’ll start to feel like they don’t exist. Jenkins’ film has given an unprecedented amount of visibility to gay African-American men — at least in cinema. (TV shows like “The Wire” and “Empire” have beaten him to the punch.) This visibility is undeniably positive, but where do we go from here? 2016 was a terrific year for films by women and people of color. Can we work from this outstanding moment toward an American film culture that has room for blockbusters, a genuinely diverse independent sector, and regular releases of subtitled films from around the world? If Hollywood opens up to the point of hiring women and people of color to do nothing but direct superhero films and “Star Wars” sequels, it may be a pyrrhic victory. Of course, employing a more diverse set of f ilmma kers is a worthy goal in and of itself, but it won’t automatically lead to a more subversive group of films. Does anyone remember the controversy over Kathryn Bigelow’s “Z ero Da rk T hi r t y ? ” Did a nyone see “Fifty Shades of Grey,” erotica made by and for women that managed to be more sexist than most softcore porn aimed at dudebros? W hen Pauline Kael sang the praises of “trash” over Oscar-bait in 1969, I doubt she could have imagined a future in which most Hollywood genre films cost $150 to $200 million and need to gross $500 million worldwide to break even while the independently made “Spotlight” wins the Best Picture Oscar. Hollywood can’t be bothered to make realistic films about gay life, but the “X-Men” series has staged an elaborate allegory about the struggle for LGBT rights. Do people still have images of themselves if their on-screen alter egos’ skin is blue and they have superpowers? My lists of 2016’s best, the runners-up, the undeservedly ignored, and the worst follow:

16

A24

Alex Hibbert and Mahershala Ali in Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight,” based on a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

1.“Toni Erdmann” (Maren Ade) Reviewed in this issue on page 20. 2. “Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins) The pitfalls of American masculinity, summed up in three precise sections: fear of difference, a tendency to resort to violence (especially when faced with gayness),

and emotional repression coupled with swaggering machismo. Given the drug-war timing, Jenkins’ subject matter screams “realism,” but his direction is dreamlike and trippy. 3. “No Home Movie” (Chantal Akerman)

4. “‘T il Mad ness Do Us Part” (Wang Bing) A four-hour Chinese documentary about a mental hospital for the involuntarily committed is lucky to get a week-long run in New York, as Wang’s film did. Recalling the spirit of Frederick Wiseman, it goes for intensity over pretty pictures and gives a vivid X-ray of the repressive nature of contemporary Chinese society, where mental patients are fed drugs and given nothing to do all day. 5. “R i g ht No w, Wr o n g Then” (Hong Sang-soo) With a consistency that would impress the R amones, Korea n d i rector Hong has made h is u mpteent h va r iat ion on h is favorite subjects — soju liquor, f i l m m a ker s, you n g women — told i n a n elaborately play f u l na r rat ive. Hong’s f ilms sometimes resemble Woody A llen’s, filtered through the French New Wave, but they’re not mere male fantasies: the guy usually don’t get the girl. 6. “Certain Women” (Kelly Reichardt) Evoking writers like Raymond Car ver and A lice Munro (while actually adapting Maile Meloy), Reichardt’s trio of interlocking stor ies set i n Mont a n a e voke the mysteries of human behavior w ith a respect for our species’ foibles. The film peaks in its final third, a tale of obsession between Lily Gladstone and Kristen Stewart that can be read as erotic, friendly, needy, or just plain weird. 7. “Elle” (Paul Verhoeven) Just as America elected a sexual

GRASSHOPPER FILM

Kim Min-hee and Jung Jae-young in Hong Sang-soo’s “Right Now, Wrong Then.”

 CONTENT COUNTS, continued on p.21

December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc




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17


Things to Celebrate from 2016 BY DAVID NOH

A

nd so, 2016 ends with both a bang (of the most unsettling proportion with the incoming POTUS’ myriad threats) and a whimper (all of us, in reaction), yet Manhattanites who have been out on the town this year had plenty to treasure in live performances that blessed this city. Here are the top 10 on stage and in cabarets: “The Band’s Visit” When I heard that my favorite modern musical composer, David Yazbek, was working on a musical version of this winsome 2007 Israeli film, I got excited for, like Yazbek, I am enraptured by Middle Eastern music, and couldn’t wait to see what he’d come up with. He surpassed all expectations with this sublimely funny and true study of a culture clash between Egyptians and Jews in a miserable nowhere little burg. The theme is really loneliness and the search for love and, as drolly book-w r itten by Ita ma r Moses, br illia nt ly directed by Dav id C romer, sp e ct ac u l a rl y designed by Scott Pask, and acted by a cast you just love, each and every one of them, the adorable sad sacks, it is stirringly original, relatable, universal, and blahbla h-bla h ( as one of Ya zbek’s ultra-terrific, at times hysterically jaded lyrics would have it). There is real romance on the st a ge of t he At la nt ic T heater (through Jan. 8, 336 W. 20th St.; atlantictheater.org), as well as bitingly hilarious satire, and this is embodied in the New York theater’s new star of the year, Katrina Lenk. World-weary does not even begin to describe this gorgeous Israeli desert rose, adrift in a dusty Nowheresville. She lifts the production into a stratosphere of refined intelligence and sensuality. “Sweet Charity” I was never a huge fan of this Bob Fosse/ Neil Simon Broadway reduction of Fellini’s “Nights of Cabiria,” which always struck me as misogynistic and condescending to the “lower orders” of taxi dancers and the like. How wonderful it is to report

18

that Leigh Silverman’s reduction of the reduction works like a minimalist charm, creating a tiny, sleazy, claustrophobic world for its ever-innocent dumb-as-dirt heroine to go searching for love in all the wrong places. A stripped-down, all-girl band serves up the Cy Coleman-Dorothy Fields songs with amazing brio, Joshua Bergasse’s choreography really cooks in its way, divorced, as it is, from all that famed Fosse-glossy, and Clint Ramos’ costumes are genius, from the “hippie-wear” of the “Rhythm of Life” (I craved every single outfit) to the very weird but very right micromini dress Charity (Sutton Foster) wears much of the time. Matching the bold fearlessness of this costume choice is the performance of Foster, her best, most emotionally deep one yet. The show is also a terrific workout for her rarely seen comic chops and, in triumphantly underlining Charity’s basic doofusness, like in the slapstick closet seduction scene, she evoked the very best of comediennes like Carol Burnett, Madeline Kahn, and Ruth Buzzi. While the very intimate Signature Theater space lends itself beautifully to Silverman’s contracted vision (Foster was often a mere five feet away from me), it also has the disadvantage of a distinctly limited number of seats (hard-to-get tickets are now going for $500). This means, especially after Ben Brantley’s asinine “meh” review in the Times, which may have killed any possibility of a Broadway transfer, that much of the world will never see Foster make this role her own. What a shame, for, in this much darker and deeper “Charity,” the devastating ending of it is simply riveting, with its heroine, alone in the dark and spotlit, staring at the possible nothingness before her and repeating the words, “You should see yourself.” “The End of Summer” S.N. Behrman was one of the most graceful and literate of American playwrights with a huge reputation in his day that has, sadly, not continued in our time. Why? He is simply too sophisticated, subtle, and — horror of horrors! — unironically romantic to fit today’s bang ‘em over your head obvious-

ness and anti-intellectualism. His specialty was that trickiest of genres: the drawing room comedy with an important statement to make beneath the filigreed, witty dialogue and posh setting. Metropolitan Playhouse did him proud with its revival of one of his best, a 1936 vehicle written for the incomparable light comedienne Ina Claire. The cast — especially Kelly Cooper, who had the charisma and suaveness of no less than Cary Grant (with something deeper about the gray matter) as a maybe-charlatan doctor bent on controlling his patients — was a top-to-bottom delight. Alexander Harrington’s direction was spot-on and rife with delicious details, like the unerringly curated 1936 songs playing as you entered the theater, setting the mood perfectly. “The Crucible” I confess I trudged toward this show with a heavy heart, not really in the mood for Arthur Miller’s shrieking, religiously duplicitous brats or the direction of whitehot Ivo van Hoeve, who absolutely ruined “The Little Foxes” and “View from the Bridge” for me. What a pleasant surprise, then, to rediscover this warhorse, brilliantly rethought and updated, transformed into thrillingly bravura theater, with its final, harrowing scene between the tortured central Puritan couple — Ben Whishaw (miraculously surprising here) and Sophie Okonedo (perhaps the greatest actress around today), achieving not only real, heartbreaking tragic depth, but the ever-elusive quality of redeeming, authentic spirituality to absolutely illuminate Miller’s words. “Su nday in the Pa rk w ith George” at Encores! T his benef it per for ma nce of Sondheim’s artiest show, among other things, made me finally get Jake Gyllenhaal, whom I’d always regarded as a pretty boy, blessed with more looks than talent. He came through for the first time for me with the Encores!’s “Little Shop of Horrors” — I thought, showing previously unexpected farcical chops — but as George Seurat he

really blew me away with a totally unexpected, quite fine singing voice and a performance of startling sensitivity and force, every bit the equal — and a lot more vulnerably human — than Mandy Patinkin, who originated the role. A nnaleigh Ashford played Dot, Seurat’s muse, and, while she couldn’t quite erase the memory of Bernadette Peters at her most entrancing (who could?), she was, nevertheless, quite delectable, bringing her own solid voice and original comic timing to the part.

STEPHANIE BERGER

Annaleigh Ashford and Jake Gyllenhaal in the Encores! production of “Sunday in the Park with George.”

Christine Ebersole at the Cafe Carlyle I don’t think there’s a singer on this planet I’d rather hear. Her range — Broadway musical, operetta, country, pop, soul — is unlimited, and it all came together marvelously at her engagement, “After the Ball,” devoted to the experience of being an empty-nester parent. It was pure musical heaven, this magical meeting of the very best vocalist with the very best material to be found. The fact that she’s a great, ageless beauty doesn’t hurt, either, as there were visual, as well as aural, moments of splendor, like the way she sinuously, sensuously reclined her body during a spellbinding medley of Jerome Kern’s “Yesterdays” and Jerome Moross and John La Touche’s “Lazy Afternoon.” Ebersole and her collaborators have an uncanny knack for perfect medleys, and the one which she dedicated to her three adopted

 CELEBRATE, continued on p.23

December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017

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19


False Faces for a Global Economy

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Peter Simonischek and Sandra HĂźller in Maren Adeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Toni Erdmann.â&#x20AC;?

BY STEVE ERICKSON

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aren Adeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Toni Erdmannâ&#x20AC;? is cinema, the real thing. A 162-minute German comedy might sound like a barrel of oxymorons to some spectators. However, Ade brings both visual and verbal wit to bear on a number of essentially serious subjects: the business community, what richer countries are doing to poorer ones, the legacy of the counterculture, father/ daughter relationships. Although made with German money a nd a la rgely G er ma n cast, most of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Toni Erdmannâ&#x20AC;? is set in Bucharest. While it offers a few glimpses of Romanian poverty, particularly in a cutting, unsubtitled scene where a character searches for a toilet in the countryside, it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wallow in grime. In fact, its look, which focuses on pristine, glossy white settings, conveys a lot about what it means to be an upper middle class European right now. Dirt has been gentrified away, but it obviously exists; in fact, it may be making a comeback in a few years. The future of its prosperous characters probably lies in Asia. One question raised by â&#x20AC;&#x153;Toni Erdmannâ&#x20AC;? is how Ines Conradi (Sandra HĂźller) and Germans like her wound up in Bucharest in the first place. She praises the generation of Romanians who grew up alongside her for their â&#x20AC;&#x153;internationalâ&#x20AC;? values, but a Romanian

TONI ERDMANN Directed by Maren Ade Sony Pictures Classics In English and German with English subtitles Lincoln Plaza Cinema 1886 Broadway at W. 62nd St. lincolnplazacinema.com Film Forum 209 W. Houston St. ďŹ lmforum.org

colleague suggests that this isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always such a positive quality. Her job will lead to Romanians losing theirs. Ines has just enough of a conscience to be bothered by this, but not enough to do anything about it for most of the film. As Ade describes Ines in her filmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s press kit, she is â&#x20AC;&#x153;the daughter who chose a life very far removed from the ideals her father instilled in her as a child when she decided to go into a conservative, performance-oriented field that embodies the very values he used to despise.â&#x20AC;? Winfried (Peter Simonischek) is a music teacher in Germany. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a prankster; in the filmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s opening scene, he tries to convince the mailman that the package heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s carrying is either a bomb or outrageous pornography. His work seems to be drying up, and his

 FALSE FACES, continued on p.23

December 29, 2016 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; January 11, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


 CONTENT COUNTS, from p.21

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Isabelle Huppert in Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle.”

predator-in-chief, Verhoeven and (most crucially) Isabelle Huppert offered up a brutal, misanthropic, and darkly funny kick to the balls of rape culture. Without Huppert, this film might have seemed like a fantasy of female invulnerability; with her performance (the best turn by an actress I saw this year), its rape survivor escapes the usual clichés about v ictimi zation or female strength while also refusing the mantle of nobility. 8. “Things to Come” (Mia Hansen-Løve) Isabelle Huppert served up her other great performance of the year in Hansen-Løve’s much gentler showcase for her talents. This is the kind of film about the dilemmas of being a single middle-aged woman that doesn’t get made in Hollywood, and Huppert excels in its dramatic but relatively subdued ups and downs. 9. “I Am Not Your Negro” (Raoul Peck) Based on gay African-American author James Baldwin’s words, b ot h p u b l i s h e d a n d u n p u b lished, Haitian director Peck’s film amounts to an anguished, extremely powerful history of America from the ‘50s to the present, as we see Baldwin struggling to find reasons to remain optimistic as the country goes on killing black men. Peck’s montage of movie scenes, photos, TV footage, and newly shot images is potent, but the film’s real force comes from Baldwin’s words.

10. “The Mer ma id” ( Stephen Chow) T he b e st “Hol l y wo o d”-st yle entertainment of the year actually came from China. Veteran Hong Kong-based actor/ director’s worldwide success — which barely got released in the US — created a raucous comedy about a community of mermaids in danger of being destroyed. For the most part, this is an extremely silly, enjoyable ride, but Chow isn’t afraid to get ugly and violent when he needs to. R u n n e r s - u p: “10 Clo ve r f ield L a ne” ( Da n T rachtenberg ), “13th” (Ava DuVernay), “Arrival” (Denis Villeneuve), “The Handm a i d e n” ( P a r k C h a n - w o o k ) , “Litt le Men” ( Ira Sachs ), “ T he L obster” ( Yorgos L a nt h i mos ), “Neither Heaven Nor Earth’ (Clément Cogitore), “Notfilm” (Ross Lipman), “Per vert Park” (Frida and Lasse Barkors), “ The Witness” (James Solomon). Undistributed films that deserved a shot at American theaters : “Dead Slow Ahead” (Mauro Herce), “Like Cattle Towards Glow” (Dennis Cooper and Zac Farley), “Malgré la nuit” (Philippe Grandrieux), “El Movimiento” (Benjamin Naishtat), “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea” (Dash Shaw). Bottom 5: “Author: The JT Leroy Story” (Jeff Feuerzeig), “Captain Fantastic” (Matt Ross), “The Club” and “Jackie” (Pablo Larrain), “Nocturnal Animals” (Tom Ford).

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017

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December 29, 2016 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; January 11, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


 CELEBRATE, from p.18 children, consisting of “Wait Til You See Her” with an utterly shattering “Little Green,” Joni Mitchell’s aria about the child she gave up for adoption (and later found), was the evening’s emotional highlight.

JOAN MARCUS

Chris Sullivan in the New York Theatre Workshop production of “Hadestown.”

CHRISTINEEBERSOLE.COM

Christine Ebersole.

Norbert Leo Butz at 54 Below On the male side of things cabaret, this show was based on Greek goddesses who resembled the women in this wondrously chameleonic star’s life, and, like Ebersole’s engagement, it was educational, besides being a powerful lot of smokin’ music. Butts’ sheer joy in performing is always tonic — he’s a show-off, all right, but like Cagney, the exuberance is fully earned with the protean talent so evident at all times. Backed by the best band to

 FALSE FACES, from p.20 mother is dying. His daughter Ines works as a successful consultant in Bucharest. Disguised as “Toni Erdmann,” he shows up there unannounced, claiming to be a consultant as well and actually gets a freelance job from a bigwig in the company Ines works for. Disappointed by the way she fits so complacently into the business world, he tries to shake her life up, but she just views him as an aging hippie with no ambition. Still, their paths continue to cross during the month he spends in Bucharest. The film’s title comes from the late comic Andy Kaufman’s boorish

be found anywhere, this was a gleeful, raunchy, down to earth, and in-yourface helluva good time, enlivened by raucous covers of pop songs done so originally and so well that, with the right marketing, one could almost see Butts deserting Broadway, getting into recording, and playing stadiums around the world. His rendition of “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” mined genuine and devastating dramatic gold from that maudlin chestnut. And I never thought I would want to hear “Come on Eileen” ever again, but as pogo-performed by the electrifyingly energetic Butts, I can now see myself screaming for it the next time I catch him.

highly appropriate, graciously intimate space, and don’t think I could have had a better therapist. Factor in the wonderful Lizz Winstead to comment humorously and, more importantly, angrily about everything going down now, and you had an evening that was not only funny, stirringly musical, of course, but also deeply healing. It was one of those rare New York nights when everyone really did feel like family.

to the trends of their youth. John Taylor still has those razor cheekbones, girls, and Simon Le Bon’s amazingly healthy voice is, if anything, even stronger and better today. He was a marvelously suave and witty host to the evening, as well, properly awed by the greats who have preceded the lily white likes of him & Co. on that hallowed stage, and I suddenly wondered why he was never cast as a singing James Bond.

Ani DiFranco at New York Society for Ethical Culture I caught this tireless activist/ singer/ songwriter a few very sad days after Election Night, at this

Duran Duran at the Apollo The 1980s pop power band returned to Gotham, and put on a brilliant show that also proved that cute can, indeed, age very well. With a full-scale and quite lavish staging, they performed all the songs that provided the soundtrack to the careless, partying salad days of so many. Nice to observe that they all looked in fine fettle and — thank God — still hip, with no embarrassing clinging

“Hadestown” Composer Anaïs Mitchell and director Rachel Chavkin collaborated on this ultra-vivid and soulful retelling of the Orpheus myth at the New York Theatre Workshop. Thrillingly musical, visually splendiferous, and performed by a beautiful cast, with standouts being the rapturously funky Amber Gray and uber-bear Chris Sullivan, the sexiest guy seen onstage this year.

alter ego Tony Clifton, who drank, smoke, and womanized his way to total obnoxiousness. Winfried’s love for disguises and makeup is signaled from the very early scenes, where he dons corpsepaint to play piano at a children’s party. It’s still a surprise when he approaches Ines and two of her friends as they’re waiting for a table wearing an ugly — and obvious — long brown wig and uglier false teeth. Later in the film, he adopts yet another disguise: a seven-foot-tall Yeti suit. These doublings are matched by the changes in Ines’ personality depending on whom she’s around. With her boss, she’s incredibly uptight, to the point of being overtly

hostile; she tells him, “I’m not a feminist or I wouldn’t tolerate you.” With her father, she seems like the voice of reason. Hüller does a terrific job of calibrating the precise amount of tension in her face needed for these scenes. However, when she’s with her co-worker boyfriend, with whom she plays odd sexual games, or other friends, she relaxes and shows a playful side that reveals that she is her father’s daughter after all. She may not put on any disguises, but she shifts personae depending which one will benefit her. “Toni Erdmann” suggests that one has to be capable of such shape-shifting in order to succeed in today’s business world. The antics of Winfried are a

mere parody of that. One hundred si xty-two minutes of German yuppies dealing with their eccentric parents may sound like a slog, but the first time I looked at my watch, 100 minutes had passed. For all its thematic virtues, “Toni Erdmann” is also one of the year’s most entertaining films. Many films that run half its length are much harder to sit through. On the festival circuit, it’s also reached a surprisingly wide consensus about its quality. Sony Pictures Classics has positioned it as its holiday subtitled crossover hit for winter 2016/ 2017. I hope its faith in the film’s ability to attract American spectators is warranted.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | December 29, 2016 – January 11, 2017

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December 29, 2016 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; January 11, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

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