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

January 5, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 1

G.V.L.L. prez hopes Pier 40 plans don’t throw any curveballs By Dennis Lynch


fter a decade of volunteer work with the Greenwich Village Little League, Michael Schneider was elected this past summer to a two-year term as its president. As anyone knows who follows local news about the waterfront, it’s sure to be an interesting time for G.V.L.L.

and its home base at Pier 40. Last month the city approved a deal under which the Hudson River Park Trust can sell some of its unused development rights from Pier 40 to developers to raise money for much-needed repairs to the pier. But the Trust will still have unused “air rights” left on G.V.L.L. continued on p. 23

West Villager’s new satellite-photo book is out of this world By L auren Berger


hat started as a passion project on Instagram for Benjamin Grant garnered more than 460,000 followers. The 27year-old Villager’s high-definition satellite photographs provide a new perspective on the human impact on landscapes

around the world. Grant’s Instagram page, in turn, led to his new, large-format 288-page hardcover book, “Overview.” Grant’s venture began in 2013 when he launched a space club at his consulting company “as an excuse to bring people together for lunch,” the artist said in a recent interview Photos continued on p. 14

PHoto by Milo Hess

A green-haired mermaid emerged from the sur f at the Polar Bear Plunge at Coney Island on New Year’s Day. See Page 4 for more photos.

Met Food, low-cost grocer, meets its end on Mulberry By Dennis Lynch

L Tobocman thumps Trump��������p. 8

ocals and elected officials put up a last-minute fight to save the Mulberry St. Met Foodmarket from closure last Thursday, but it appears it will shut its doors Sat., Jan. 7. Landlord Abington Properties is seeking “a more upscale operation” to replace it, according to Councilmember Margaret Chin, who organized the rally in front of the supermarket.

Met Food regulars said it was one of the few places in the Little Italy / Soho area where the neighborhood’s elderly and longtime rent-regulated residents could get reasonably priced groceries. Now they’ll have to trek a half mile to Whole Foods, at E. Houston St. and Bowery, and pay more for grub, or take an even-longer trip to Chinatown for similarly priced goods. Even a half-mile walk is a

non-option for many older folks in the community — particularly with groceries in each hand. More than 500 people more than 65 years old live in the 12-block radius around the market, according to census data. The seniors living in the 152 units of affordable senior housing just around the corner at the Little Italy Restoration Apartments will especially sufMarket continued on p. 6

Skenazy: Health scares are mostly crazy.........p. 11 The Free Republic of the Village turns 100������ p. 13 www.TheVillager.com

Here comes the judge: Ray Cline of the Village Reform Democratic Club called to let us know that former Village District Leader Liz Shollenberger has been appointed to a 10-year term as a city court judge in White Plains. Shollenberger has been the county’s Democratic chairperson for the past 13 years. Out of a field of roughly 30 candidates, she was tapped to be judge by the Common Council. The Council based its decision on candidates recommended to it by a bipartisan review committee that was appointed by Mayor Tom Roach. However, according to The Journal News, Mark Elliot, a member of the review panel, blasted Roach for “disregarding the committee’s views” and “appointing a machine politician,” meaning, apparently, Shollenberger. Elliot, who is also chairperson of the city’s Board of Ethics, would not say who the committee actually recommended in its report to the Common Council. Anyway, we’re sure this flap will not get to Shollenberger, who weathered the acrimonious club wars between V.R.D.C. and the Village Independent Democrats back 25 years ago. In well-known Village political lore, V.R.D.C. split off from V.I.D. due to disagreement over Mayor Ed Koch, who had gotten his start in V.I.D. but had grown too conservative for some in the progressive club. Change of Plan(ner): In a bit of a shocker, Carl Weisbrod will be stepping down next month from his dual roles as director of the Department of City Planning and chairperson of the City Planning Commission to become chairperson of the Trust for Governors Island. The closest thing we may ever see to a Robert Moses-like character in our lives — in terms of his influence and impact — Weisbrod has been involved in city affairs


Januar y 5, 2017

Photo by Bob Krasner

Two women on a bench in Tompkins Square Park soaked up some sun on Christmas Day.

for more than 35 years. He led the revitalization and sanitization of Times Square, spearheaded the post-9/11 rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, headed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2013 transition and, under de Blasio, pushed through what has been hailed as the nation’s strongest Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program. And just this past Tuesday, the City Planning Commission approved the East Midtown rezoning. Weisbrod was no slouch during his recent stint in the private sector a few years ago, either, getting the Hudson Square residential rezoning passed, among other things. Also, as a private planning consultant, working with the Hudson River Park Trust, he helped shepherd discussions by a community task force over the future of Pier 40. But it sounds like some big things await him now on Governors Island. A press release from the Mayor’s Office states, “As the new chairperson of the Trust for Governors Island, Weisbrod will be a steward of the island’s open spaces and historic assets, and foster its development into a dynamic 24 / 7 / 365 community that includes education and innovation hubs.” In his remarks, the mayor said, “This is a bittersweet moment. Carl helped to build our administration and has been part of its bedrock. His contributions have earned him a place as one of our city’s great civic leaders, and we are honored that he has agreed to take on the task of continuing Governors Island’s incredible transformation.” For his part, looking both back and ahead, Weisbrod said, “I am so proud of what we’ve achieved these past three years. From East New York to East Midtown, we are laying a foundation for truly affordable neighborhoods, world-class business districts and smart, transit-oriented growth. It has been an incredible run, and I couldn’t be more thankful to the mayor and to my talented colleagues at City Planning. I’ve spent my career fighting for New York City, and it’s fitting that my next chapter will take me to the new frontier on Governors Island. I am excited to shape it into an iconic space of which all New Yorkers can be proud.” Meanwhile, taking over at Planning will be Marisa Lago, who has deep roots in the field. She currently serves as assistant secretary for international markets and development at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Lago began her career in city government in 1983 working for Herb Sturz, the

Villager file photo

Carl Weisbrod talking zoning in 2015.

then-chairperson of the City Planning Commission. She later served as general counsel at the city’s Economic Development Corporation under Mayor David Dinkins. Lago has led New York State’s Empire State Development Corporation and served as both chief economic development officer and director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, that city’s chief planning and economic development agency. She has also worked in the private sector with Citigroup and as an attorney. Lago holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from The Cooper Union and a law degree from Harvard Law School. Fluent in Spanish, Lago, 61, was born in Brooklyn.

Well, well...whale: Joggers along the East River Park promenade might want to keep their eyes peeled — for a whale! Police and the Coast Guard reported that a humpback was spotted up at Hell Gate near Gracie Mansion on New Year’s Eve. “Even the wildlife want to ring in [New Year’s Eve],” tweeted @NYPDSpecialops. The Coast Guard cautioned mariners around Hell Gate to look the hell out for the local leviathan. TheVillager.com





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Downtown Abstract No. 1 A different take on the new NYC AIDS Memorial, at W. 12th St. and Greenwich Ave.

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A new Manhattan day care center for children ages two to five will open its door for 2017/2018 school year. The center will be offering enhanced TheVillager.com

academic programs, dance/ movement, languages, sports, and art classes. The specific disciplines will be finalized based on the enrollment and the

selection made by the parents. For information and application please contact our Main office at 212-938-1223 ext. 112 vborsen@lifeadjustmentcenter.com Januar y 5, 2017


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






photos by milo Hess

One of six waves of Polar Plungers getting ready to hit the water.

Coney Bears are bullish on 2017!


Star ting 2017 off on an ex tremely refreshing note, 3,000 hardy souls took the Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day out at Coney Island. The charit y event is sponsored by the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, the self-proclaimed oldest winter bathing association in the countr y.

GRAPHIC DESIGNER cristina alcine

Executive VP of Advertising Amanda Tarley

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Gayle greenberg JIM STEELE Julio tumbacO


Member of the New York Member of the National Press Association Newspaper Association

The Villager (USPS 578930) ISSN 00426202 is published every week by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 (212) 229-1890. Periodicals Postage paid at New York, N.Y. Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $29 ($35 elsewhere). Single copy price at office and newsstands is $1. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2016 NYC Community Media LLC.

This patriotic Polar Plunger didn’t have to worr y about anyone having the same costume as him.


The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for others errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue. Published by NYC Community Media, LLC One Metrotech North 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (718) 260-2500 • Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: www.thevillager.com E-mail: news@thevillager.com © 2016 NYC Community Media, LLC


Januar y 5, 2017

It was brutally cold — even for Wonder Woman!

The expression says it all.


Gina Quattrochi, 63, fighter for H.I.V. housing



fter fighting a two-year battle with cancer, longtime AIDS housing activist Gina Quattrochi succumbed to the disease on Dec. 13. She was 63. Quattrochi was the chief executive at Bailey House starting in 1991. At that time, Bailey House was already operating Bailey House, later named BaileyHolt House, at the west end of Christopher St., as a congregate residence for people with AIDS. During her tenure, Bailey House opened a service center in East Harlem and a second residence in East Harlem. Currently, Bailey House offers a range of services to some 1,800 clients with AIDS and other illnesses throughout the city. “Gina’s commitment and dedication to her work and her tireless advocacy leave an indelible and permanent legacy,” the Bailey House board of directors said in a statement. “Her life touched countless people, and her vision and passion left a deep impact on those who knew her.” “Gina’s prior work was as an employee-side labor lawyer,” Charles King, the chief executive at Housing Works, wrote in a remembrance of Quattrochi on the Housing Works Web site. “Fighting for the underdog was in her genes. She was most passionate about advocacy with and for homeless people living with H.I.V. and AIDS — especially young people. Like those of us who started Housing Works, she was totally committed to proving that housing is an essential H.I.V. intervention that ranks at least as highly as medical care, if not higher.” Quattrochi was among the activists appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to the task force that drafted the Plan to End AIDS, an ambitious undertaking that aims to reduce new H.I.V. infections statewide from the estimated 2,500 in 2014 to 750 a year by 2020. While the plan is supported by solid science, it has not been supported financially by the Cuomo administration. At an August 2015 meeting that was little more than a pep rally for the plan, Quattrochi was the sole advocate to question whether there would be sufficient funding for the initiative, and she estimated that it would cost up to $500 million to implement. Quattrochi lived long enough to see a longtime goal fulfilled — extending services at the city’s H.I.V. / AIDS Services Administration, or HASA, to financially qualified people with H.I.V. Prior to the implementation of HASA for All, the unit only helped house, insure and feed people who had an AIDS diagnosis. TheVillager.com

Gina Quattrochi award in 2014.



At a 2015 press conference on the steps of City Hall with City Councilmember Corey Johnson, who represents the Village and Chelsea, Quattrochi described a conversation with a friend whose son was recently diagnosed as H.I.V.-positive. He was struggling to find housing and the mother asked for advice. “I had to ask that stupid question that we have to ask every time: ‘Does he have AIDS?’” Quattrochi said. “If we are serious about ending this epidemic…we have to provide housing.” The Plan to End AIDS relies on giving anti-H.I.V. drugs to H.I.V.-negative people to keep them uninfected and treats H.I.V.-positive people with those drugs so they are no longer infectious.

At the dedication of the NYC AIDS Memorial on Dec. 1 in the West Village, Quattrochi received an honor from the city’s Department of Health. In a statement, Gay Men’s Health Crisis praised Quattrochi. “We mourn the loss of Gina Quattrochi, who was a force of nature in the fight against the epidemic, transforming the conversation about H.I.V. / AIDS and homelessness,” the statement read. “Her perseverance and innovation as the C.E.O. of Bailey House has been critical in delivering housing programs and services to those living with H.I.V. / AIDS in New York City and beyond.” Quattrochi, who lived in Harlem, is survived by her two adult children, Giovanni Quattrochi and Anna Lenes.

Januar y 5, 2017


Low-cost Met Food meets its end on Mulberry Market continued from p. 1

fer, one community activist said. “At least we still have Chinatown. That’s if you can schlep, but that’s not true for everyone,” K Webster said. “We have people in walkers coming in here, it’s no joke. For some people, if you get down the stairs you’re having a good day.” Community Board 2 Chairperson Terri Cude said the loss of Met Foodmarket and other affordable amenities will push out many elderly and longtime middle-class residents. “We’re losing affordable grocery stores and local-serving retail at a shocking pace,” Cude said, “and that is irrevocably changing our neighborhoods and pushing out the people who made them great places to live.” A steady stream of shoppers of all ages strolled in past the crowd of activists in the rain on Thursday. The market stocked food that appealed to both the younger, newer and more-wealthy residents and the older more-frugal residents, alike, according to one regular customer who has taken advantage of the place’s regular sales to stock her kitchen. The more affluent crowd might not think twice about heading up to Whole Foods, but shoppers like her have much more to lose, she said. “Anytime you’re in here, the young people are shopping at the fancy shelves and anyone over 45 is walking around with the sale paper,” Penny Jones said. “And we’ve been cooking out of the sale paper for 25 years and at the other grocery here before that.” Abington has been shopping the property around since February. Met Foodmarket most recently was paying $90,000 per month in rent, and had told the community it was in talks to stay, until a surprise announcement earlier this week. A flier advertising the space shows it broken into two stores for a total of 5,565 square feet of space at the ground floor and 4,730 square feet at the lower level. Abington did not return requests for comment regarding its plans for the space. Retail rents have soared in the Soho area over the last couple of decades and forced many businesses that catered to the local population out of the neighborhood. In many cases, restaurants, luxury retail and bars are the only businesses that can sustain themselves in the highrent environment. That works if the more-affluent people moving into the neighborhood can consistently support those businesses. But the owner of a former print shop in the neighborhood who was priced out a few years ago said that some of the newcomers might not have enough cash to pay exorbitant amounts of dough for both rent and food. “Even those who are paying top value, having affordable food is still impor-


Januar y 5, 2017

Photos by Tequila Minsky

A bilingual plea to save the Met Foodmarket at last Thursday’s rally.

The no-frills Met Foodmarket was fine by locals — the prices were right.

tant,” he said. “They’re paying a lot of money for rent. And for the rent-stabilized people, they’re usually on fixed income, so it’s important for them, too. It’s important for everybody.” “And how many boutiques and bars do you really need in an area?” he add-

ed. “I know tourism is up, but the local people have to live, as well.” Holding rallies brings attention to the disappearance of much-needed businesses. But the city’s commercial landlords are not legally obligated in any way to renew leases. There are no laws

in place that restrict how much a commercial landowner can raise rent or that obligate them to renew leases, which are the core measures in the city’s residential rent-regulation laws. Councilmembers have pushed for the Small Business Jobs Survival Act — which includes those protections for commercial businesses — in some form or another since the 1980s, but it has never made it to the floor for a full Council vote. Critics and proponents alike cite potential legal hurdles in enacting the longstymied bill. In 2015, Steven Spinola, the then-president of the Real Estate Board of New York, an industry trade association, told The Villager he did not believe the city had the legal power “to impose control on the leasing of properties.” He added that the S.B.J.S.A., if passed, would amount to an “unconstitutional taking,” by limiting landlords from maximizing profits on their property. Councilmember Chin was the primary sponsor of the S.B.J.S.A. during last year’s Council session and is a sponsor in this current session. A Chin spokesperson said she is supportive of commercial rent control and is looking at a measure to tax landlords of vacant properties more heavily than those with occupied properties — a measure modeled on Washington, D.C., law — to prevent landlords from “warehousing” a commercial space. “We think they’re waiting to get that big tenant, a chain tenant or bank, and our fear is that space might stay vacant for months while that happens,” said Paul Leonard, Chin’s chief of staff. TheVillager.com

Police Blotter

Sticking with it On Tues., Dec. 27, around 11:45 p.m., an officer observed a man disobeying a law that was written in front of his face. On the northwest corner of Washington and Leroy Sts., the man was allegedly gluing signs on a wall that said “Post No Bills.” William Acevedo, 58, was arrested for misdemeanor making graffiti. Earlier in the month, he was arrested for doing the same thing in front of 340 Bleecker St. on Dec. 12 at 3 a.m.

On the loose Police are seeking the public’s help in finding a suspect who escaped from Sixth Precinct police on Thurs., Dec. 29. The man was in police custody at Lenox Health Greenwich Village, at 30 Seventh Ave., around 3:32 p.m., when he escaped from an exam room. No one was injured during the incident. The suspect, Daniel Ortiz, 31, is about 5-feet-6-inches tall, weighs 130 pounds and was last seen wearing a dark-colored pea coat, brown boots and no shirt. He had leg shackles attached to one side and tucked inside his boot. He was possibly bleeding from the wrist and was walking with a noticeable limp. Ortiz was arrested for petit larceny, according to the Daily News. Police used a bloodhound to track him to a building at W. 15th St. and Seventh Ave., but he gave them the slip, the News said. 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 by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.

Pain in the glass

Courtesy N.Y.P.D.

Police say Daniel Or tiz, who was under arrest for petit larceny, escaped from Lenox Health Greenwich Village last Thursday.

Cars and shots Police said that on Tues., Jan. 3, at 4:30 a.m., two vehicles were “chasing each other with gunshots fired” at Essex and Hester Sts. Not long after, a man, 31, walked into New York Presbyterian Hospital with a gunshot wound to his shoulder. There is currently no suspect, police said.

A customer had a rowdy lunch at Bar Six Restaurant, at 502 Sixth Ave., on the afternoon of Mon., Dec. 12, police said. At 2:20 p.m. that day, a witness told police that a man became verbally combative. It then escalated and the guy punched a glass window. He fled the restaurant and was arrested on Dec. 28 following a police investigation. Danel Feder, 45, was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Knife threat A woman told police she was walking down the street in the Village early Friday morning, Dec. 30, when a man threatened her with harm, making her fear for her life. She said that at 12:35

a.m. in front of 165 W. Fourth St., the man simulated having a knife and threatened to slit her throat. Upon searching him, police said they found a small clear plastic bag of alleged marijuana. Police arrested Jalil Walker, 20, for misdemeanor menacing.

Shake it off...not An argument over milkshakes got heated at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, at 248 W. 14th St., on New Year’s Eve, police said. On Sat., Dec. 31, at 12:50 a.m., a woman was escorted out of the bar. Once on the sidewalk, she told the guy showing her out, “Let me go before I cut you,” and then displayed a gravity knife. Denise Parks, 52, was arrested for misdemeanor menacing.

C’town bank heist Police said that on Wed., Dec. 28, around 12:46 p.m., a man entered a Chase bank in Chinatown, at 180 Canal St., and passed a note to a teller demanding cash. He received $3,000 and fled. He is described as about 5-feet-10-inches tall and 180 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Crime Stoppers hotline.

Emily Siegel and Lincoln Anderson

Start Here. Go Anywhere.

Borough of Manhattan Community College TheVillager.com


Januar y 5, 2017



Januar y 5, 2017



Januar y 5, 2017


Countdown to democracy’s death; It’s so quiet

Global village By Bill Weinberg


y the time you are reading this, Congress will almost certainly have certified Donald Trump’s win in the Electoral College, and cleared the last remaining hurtle before his inauguration. And I keep asking myself... Why is everyone so quiet? I recall the powerful opening sequence of Michael Moore’s 2004 film “Fahrenheit 9/11,� which featured CSPAN footage of that similar ritual after Dubya Bush’s contested 2000 election. The viewer is supposed to be outraged as members of the Black Congressional Caucus, one after another, petition to challenge Bush’s pending inauguration as illegitimate, and no senator — not John Kerry, not Ted Kennedy — would add the needed signature. Al Gore, presiding over the Senate in one of his final acts as vice president, condescendingly interrupted and dismissed the black lawmakers. The viewer’s blood is supposed to boil at this betrayal of democracy. Now, in contrast — with the stakes im-

Photo by Q. Sakamaki

On Nov. 12, thousands of protesters marched from Union Square Park to Trump Tower to denounce the president-elect. A big protest presence is expected at the inauguration — though the writer is holding out hope that Trump actually is not inaugurated.

measurably higher — everybody seems to take it completely for granted that Congress will just rubber-stamp the Electoral College vote without any discussion. And even voices on the far political left — those who should be calling most vociferously for the inauguration to be blocked — are instead choosing to spend their energies denying Russian meddling in the election. Actually abetting Trump,

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Januar y 5, 2017



wittingly or not. I again look wistfully to news from beyond our borders for signs of potential for genuine civil resistance. I have already noted in this column the inspiring victory of how a sustained protest campaign brought about the impeachment of South Korea’s President Park Geun-Hye last month. Now a new victory is reported from Poland. Over the holidays, Poland’s increasingly authoritarian government capitulated after days of angry protests and agreed to scrap a proposed law that would have imposed harsh restrictions on the media. The announcement came after thousands marched on the presidential palace on Dec. 18, chanting “Freedom! Equality! Democracy!� Protests even penetrated the parliament chamber on Dec. 19, when opposition members of parliament blockaded the entrance, forcing MPs from the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) into another room to vote on the next year’s budget. The law, which would have placed restrictions on media access in the Polish parliament, is part of a growing centralization of power by the PiS since it came to power in October 2015. But this is not the first victory over the PiS government. In October, the party withdrew plans for a total abortion ban after huge numbers of women dressed in black protested across the country. Here in the United States, protest seems not to be about actually getting the goods, but making a symbolic statement. Of course, even if Congress failed to certify the needed 270 electoral votes, the question would get thrown to the (Republican-controlled) House of Representatives — which would likely seat Trump anyway. Still, raising the demand would give the anti-Trump resistance the moral high ground — giving the legal mechanisms their every chance to bar the seating of an open fascist as president of the United

States. And a part of me dares to believe that if thousands (proportional to population, many hundreds of thousands) took to the streets, as in Poland and South Korea...maybe we could even prevail. But we will never know. No such movement is happening. The only group even to call openly for it is the new Refuse Fascism coalition, unhappily initiated by the annoying sectarians of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). Their founding statement called for “tens of millions� to take the streets nationwide to bar Trump’s inauguration. I was tempted to go to their New Year’s Eve protest march from Columbus Circle to Trump Tower. I’m glad I didn’t. They said only some 100 people showed up, with similar or smaller numbers in San Francisco, Chicago and a handful of other cities. Instead, the planned protests are mostly focused on the inauguration itself — not trying to head it off, as the “Green Revolution� protesters tried in Iran in 2009, or as the Serbian protesters achieved in 2000, barring Slobodan Milosevic from a second term as president of Yugoslavia, forcing his resignation. At least, Trump’s presidential term will open with widespread displays of revulsion in the streets of Washington, D.C. Veteran activist and former East Village denizen John Penley informs me that he has a permit for Franklin Square at noon on Thurs., Jan. 19, the day before the inauguration. The protest will be focused on nuclear weapons — certainly an issue that demands greater attention at this moment, with arms-control treaties being abandoned and Trump openly calling for a new nuclear arms race. The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance has put out a call for Inauguration Day protests in D.C., also emphasizing issues of war and peace. An Occupy Inauguration has inevitably emerged, stressing economic grievances, and will be gathering at Anacostia Park at 10 a.m. on Fri., Jan. 20. The more anarchist-inclined DisruptJ20 will be meeting the morning of Jan. 20 at McPherson Square Park. Their action will probably be more mobile and creative — with (just being honest) greater potential for arrest. The renascent Students for a Democratic Society is calling for a national student walk-out on Inauguration Day. And on the day after the inauguration, a Women’s March on Washington will doubtless bring out many thousands, with such groups as the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International and the NAACP on board. They’ll be gathering in front of the Capitol Building at 10 a.m. Sat., Jan. 21. But all these organizations seem to take the inauguration as a fait accompli. I wonder if a President Trump won’t wake up the remnants of the American left to the true urgency of the situation. And I wish I weren’t so damn certain that I’m going to find out. TheVillager.com

Research shows ‘research’ grabs headlines RHYMES WITH CRAZY By Lenore Skenazy


h to be a scientist 50 or 60 years ago, warning people about the stuff they really needed to know: Stop smoking! Don’t take thalidomide if you’re pregnant! For God’s sake, ditch the Corvair unless you want to get impaled on your gearshift! Your findings would make headlines and the people reading about them would end up safer and healthier. Score. But today, the safest time in human history, a time in which Americans are living a full six years longer than even in 1990, you can’t turn on your media device without hearing about another new thing you supposedly must stop doing, eating, touching, breathing immediately — or else. Coffee! Lack of coffee! Plastic bottles, cell phones, genetically modified organisms. Nonorganic cantaloupe! My gosh, the Environmental Working Group can’t stop warning us about lipstick: “Millions of women get a little bit of toxic lead on their lips each day with every swipe of

their lipstick,” reads a press release. O.K., that sounds scary, but are they dropping dead? See earlier paragraph: We are living longer than ever today, and that doesn’t seem to be because women have stopped wearing lipstick. It is precisely that disconnect that drove Dr. Geoffrey Kabat to write his new book, “Getting Risk Right: Understanding the Science of Elusive Health Risks.” Kabat is a cancer epidemiologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. He has published 140 scientific papers on the factors that play a role in causing cancer and other diseases. And he is sick of watching the rest of us wake up and get warned that if we do “X” (it’s always changing), we will regret it till the day we die. Which will be next Thursday.

“You need to make distinctions,” the doctor said. There’s a difference between large-scale, long-term, replicated studies, and the fly-by-night “breakthroughs” that the media loves to report on. Kabat is quick to remind us of the big, proven health risks we can actually get a handle on: Don’t overdrink. Quit smoking. Lose weight and get some exercise. Go for effective screenings, have your kids vaccinated, and if somehow you can avoid poverty and depression, more power to you: Those are real risks, too. And yet, that “boring” list takes a back seat to the danger du jour: Drinking hot tea, or using nail polish. What gives? We civilians tend to think of researchers conducting experiments with only humanity’s welfare in mind. But scientists also have to make a living. That means, “They may feel the need to overstate the importance of their work in order to attract attention and obtain funding,” Kabat writes. What’s more, there is a herd mentality in science, as in any field. So if some research area becomes a hot topic, many scientists will pile on, in part because that is where the money is, and in part because if your findings go against the grain, you will be on the outs. Remember all the research in the

’90s showing that a low-fat diet is good for you? But it’s not, if you substitute sugar for fat, as many food companies proceeded to do. “The large-scale and dramatic change — sometimes referred to as the ‘SnackWell phenomenon’ — has been credited with making a substantial contribution to increasing rates of obesity,” says Kabat. And now with ever-more sensitive instruments, scientists can measure ever-smaller stuff. So when, for instance, we hear that there are trace elements of a toxin in our blood, we tend to think, “Yikes!” Not, “I wonder how important one drop in a trillion is?” (Answer: It isn’t. It’s like one drop of poison in 20 Olympic pools). The result of a flood of studies, shoddy research, scientific groupthink and the media’s mania for scaring us means that “a high percentage of [Americans] worry about risks for which there is little persuasive support,” writes Kabat. “The latter include pesticide residues on produce, food additives, genetically modified foods, stress and hormones in beef.” So how can we know what headlines to trust and which to ignore? Here is Kabat’s rule of thumb, one that I am going to adopt: “The more dramatic the result, the less likely it is to be true.”










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www.citytech.cuny.edu Januar y 5, 2017


Letters to the Editor


Holding pols accountable

VILLAGER Don’t miss a single issue!

To The Editor: New Year’s, we hear, is the time for self-improving resolutions. So I offer one for your consideration: The Villager pays a lot of attention to Downtown elected officials (present, past and want-to-be future). As it should. But it seems to me that, most of the time, the attention goes either to gossip about internal squabbles and maneuverings among them, or else to photo-op-type coverage of events where the politicians just show up and say a few encouraging words about the efforts of community members. What if The Villager looked more systematically at the electeds’ stated policies, and what they promise to do to pursue them, and how well they reach the goals they set? I’m imagining a periodic (say, quarterly) scorecard in which each local politician states his or her goals for the next period, and The Villager reports how well, or not so well, the elected did in reaching the last period’s goals. Seems that could have real value. Villager file photo by Jonathan Alpeyrie

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

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




East Side,


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



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



s Punk photog make tarter ‘History’ on Kicks with new CBGB book

(He has a of CBGB by Godlis. not to first name, but prefers use it.) art book is The limited edition ew York, East Village, thanks street 1976. A local about to hit the shelves, leaves to a very successful Kickstarter photographer apartment, campaign and Godlis’s determihis St. Mark’s with full of punks nation to produce a book bar a into walks three says, is “His- integrity. Godlis spent and the rest, as he — on the Night,� the years — 1976 to ’79 tory Is Made At monograph on p. 4 eagerly anticipated GODLIS continued and outside of images shot in

tolerance outside about peace and students sang Pages 17 to 23. P.S. 3 fifth-grade special section, See Gay Pride Inn on Monday.


the Stonewall

’s spirit U’ground Railroad ntown grafďŹ ti artist has keeps chuggingE.V.Dow






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

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

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

been in jail for 5½ years for murder, without trial



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


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

Handy Trump in

Soho slam .....p.

r.com www.TheVillage

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



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


Burlesque with a new twist...........page





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

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


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

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

BY YANNIC RACK er Athanasios “Jerryâ€? Ioanlmost a year after a nidis, 59, were also charged gas explosion rocked with criminally negligent the East Village, kill- homicide and assault in the ing two men and leveling second degree, according to three buildings, four people the Manhattan District Atwere indicted last Thursday WRUQH\¡V2IĂ€FH In addition, Andrew for manslaughter and other Trombettas, 57, was charged charges in connection with with “rentingâ€? his master the blast. plumbing license to IoanMaria Hrynenko, 56, who nidis so the latter could get owns the building at 121 work on the property apSecond Ave. where the blast proved, prosecutors said. occurred, her son Michael Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance Hrynenko, 30, contractor said last week that the defenDilber Kukic, 40, and plumbdants set up an elaborate ille-


gal gas line and hid the setup from inspectors, causing the explosion and subsequent ÀUH RQ 0DUFK   WKDW claimed the lives of Moises Locón and Nicholas Figueroa and injured and displaced dozens of others. ´7KH VHYHQDODUP ÀUH that killed two people and engulfed three buildings in March 2015 was caused by a foreseeable, preventable and completely avoidable gas explosion,� Vance said. $OO ÀYH GHIHQGDQWV SOHDGGAS HOUSE continued on p.


Surgeon general wants you — to walk!.........page 4 Hawkers market sticks in their craw........page 8

The Paper

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




The Trump Soho isn’t the only Trump-branded business seeing a post-election slump.

Hitting him where it hurts

A big fine? A big joke!

To The Editor: Re “You’re fired! Stars shun Trump Soho Hotel� (news article, Dec. 22): The boycott of all things Trump (“Not My President�) has been going on since right after the Nov. 8 election and is a long list. People from all across the U.S. have not been buying or using anything associated with the name Trump. Yes, Trump hotels and golf courses, and sales of Trump brand apparel and beverages, are all taking a hit. This will get worse and worse as more people join the boycott. I am surprised that the press or TV news stations have not run with this story yet that has been going on for almost two months. I love Robert De Niro, but he and his Greenwich Hotel did not start this. It was started by U.S. citizens against Trump.

To The Editor: Re “Rivington House buyer ripped us off big time, must pay big fine: Squadron� (news article, Dec. 29): Don’t count on any fine being paid. There is currently more than $800 million in unpaid New York City Department of Buildings Environmental Control Board fines that no one is doing anything about.

Sam Mass

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




Bryan Dunlap

Ed Jaworski E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-2292790 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.

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


Grey Art Gallery

goes global........pa

ge 21

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


Evan Forsch -

To Subscribe Call 646-452-2475 or e-mail news@thevillager.com 12

Januar y 5, 2017


Now more than ever, the Republic of the Village

TALKING POINT Yet we are free who live in Washington Square, We dare to think as Uptown wouldn’t dare, Blazing our nights with arguments uproarious, What care we for a dull old world censorious, When each is sure he’ll fashion something glorious? From “The Day in Bohemia or Life Among the Artists,”

— John Reed

By Harry Pincus


any years ago, I was strolling down Bleecker St., attempting to clear my head for an all-night illustration deadline. It was too late for street traffic, yet I suddenly happened upon a commotion of lights trained upon 45 Grove St., a memorable old edifice then fronted by two ancient and denuded lampposts. Now, as if in a vision, the empty posts were topped with illuminated globes, and a beautiful woman in an early-20th-century gown was descending the building’s ancient stairs. It was Diane Keaton, as Louise Bryant, Jack Reed’s wife in “Reds,” Warren Beatty’s epic story of the revolutionary war correspondent for The Masses, and his Greenwich Village cohorts. Beatty himself watched Keaton as she was leaving what was supposed to be Eugene O’Neill’s house and simply walking down the street. Dressed improbably in a black overcoat and informed by a video monitor, the great star-director objected to something in each take, and insisted that Keaton repeat the simple act of closing the front door and walking down the stairs, over and over again. Finally, the front door of 45 Grove flew open, and an old woman in her housecoat, holding two bags full of garbage, stood stage center, glaring at the midnight assemblage. As she purposefully descended the stairs, the old lady managed to hurl every imaginable epithet, every filthy word one might ever have heard at the Hollywood director and his crew. As soon as she had loudly deposited her load, ascended the stairs and disappeared beyond the front doors, Beatty jubilantly exclaimed, “CUT! PRINT!” Although that old building on Grove St. wasn’t actually O’Neill’s lair, it is said to have provided a meeting site for TheVillager.com

Illustration by Harry Pincus

There was only one statue of George Washington on the Washington Square Arch in Januar y 1917. The statue of Washington as Commander in Chief by Hermon A . MacNeil was installed in 1916. The statue of Washington as President by A . Stirling Calder (father of Alexander) was not installed until 1918.

That soused party comes to mind every time I see the great arch. John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators. “Reds” did a great service in shining a light on the incredible group of artists, writers, poets and revolutionaries who walked these streets a century ago, who saw fun and art in rebellion, setting a template for the Greenwich Village

that lives on today. They included the likes of Emma Goldman, Bill Hayward, Eugene O’Neill, John Sloan, Marcel Duchamp, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Max Eastman and a moody blonde violinist named Gertrude Dick, who took painting classes with Sloan. Dick handed out cards that simply said, “Woe.” “Woe is me,” she would explain. Ellis Jones, editor of a humor magazine called Life, claimed that the Village of 1916 was becoming stale with poseurs and tourists, and that the rents were too high. He tried to organize a Revolution in Central Park, but it was misplaced, and attended by more police than radicals. Aside from the unspeakable labor conditions, poverty, bigotry and sexism inherent at the time, Europe was tragically engaged in the bloodbath of senseless war. Its siren call had to be opposed by the artists and writers who

lived in the Village and worked for The Masses. This was serious business for Reed, who, along with Publisher Eastman, cartoonist Art Young and several others, was brought up on federal charges under the Espionage Act, for conspiracy to obstruct military enlistment. Henry J. Glintenkamp was cited for drawing a skeleton examining a healthy young conscript beside a pile of caskets. The title was “Fit for Service.” Art Young had to defend his cartoon “Having Their Fling,” in which a capitalist, an editor, a politician and a minister are depicted in a dance of orgiastic abandon as Satan conducts an orchestra of war from a bandstand. Young also drew a military bureaucrat examining an enormous, headless brute, with the caption “Army Examiner: ‘At Last, A Perfect Soldier!’” Young napped through most of his trial. When the judge insisted upon awakening the defendant, the artist took to pad and pencil and produced a self-portrait, asleep, called “Art Young on Trial for His Life.” Sloan worked with Reed on The Masses, and painted the Village as he really saw it. Young called it the “ashcan style” and the expression came to encompass an entire school of socialrealist painters. Yet, no social realist was Duchamp, who scandalized the 1913 Armory show, where he met Sloan. Duchamp had rejected “retinal” art, and said he wanted to put art back into the mind. All of this confluence, this mixing of genius, energy and resistance, somehow came to a head on the evening of Jan. 23, 1917. Yes, 100 years ago, almost to the day. On that frigid night, Gertrude Dick, Marcel Duchamp, John Sloan and several actors from Eugene O’Neill’s nearby Provincetown Playhouse — Betty Turner, Russell Mann and Charles Ellis — managed to elude a patrolman and slip into the side door of the Washington Square Arch. The conspirators mounted the 110 spiral stairs, precisely constructed of ceramic tile by Rafael Guastavino, and emerged at the top of the arch with a supply of wine, cap pistols, balloons, Chinese lanterns and sandwiches. It wasn’t long before the warmth of the wine had worked its wonders, and the great moment had arrived. The group tied their balloons to the parapet, shot off their cap pistols, and, according to Sloan, “did sign and affix our names to a parchment, having the same duly sealed with the Great Seal of Greenwich Village.” Dick then read the declaration, said to be inspired by Duchamp, which consisted of the word “whereas” repeated like a rosary, and culminated in the declaration that “henceforth Greenwich Village would Republic continued on p. 22 Januar y 5, 2017


Villager’s satellite-photo book is out of this world Photos continued from p. 1

at The New School, on W. 12th St. While collecting satellite images, he found online to bring to his next club meeting, he became enthralled by the breathtaking, intricate landscapes developed by humans, as viewed from above. In order to share these high-quality aerial shots, he needed access to downloadable satellite photographs. He partnered with Digital Globe, a space-imagery vendor — that is, once the company determined he wasn’t doing anything illegal, since there aren’t too many brand-strategy consultants independently requesting satellite information. Once he downloaded the images, he zoomed in, stitched them together, rotated them, and made slight color adjustments. He began sharing the images on his Instagram page, “Daily Overview,” in early 2014 and continues to post one aerial view a day with a short, digestible caption. His unique posts caught the attention of an editor at Penguin Random House, who then offered Grant a book deal. Leaving his consulting job behind, Grant, a Yale graduate who studied history and art history, accepted the offer in hopes that he could change the way we see the Earth. “Overview” just hit shelves worldwide and is currently available at Grant’s favorite bookstore, Three Lives & Company. “It’s a magical little place on W. 10th St. that I love to go to peruse for new books,” Grant said. In addition to satellite photos and reading, the Christopher St. resident also enjoys biking through the Village’s quieter streets to clear his mind and explore. His enjoyment of the outdoors inspires his love for the planet. He uses the striking enhanced-photo images he creates as a means to pull people in to read his objective captions about humanity’s impact on environments around the world. “The book is unbiased,” Grant stated. He carefully selected what photographs to use in it, based on their visual allure and the story they tell. But he also used his Instagram page as a focus group, learning from the successes of each post and the feedback he received on them. While a satellite view of Central Park did make it onto a two-page spread in “Overview,” he hopes to use his drone to take his own photograph of the Great Lawn one day soon. In the future, he looks forward to visiting some of the places he has written about. For now, he’s focusing on his national book tour. “Overview” includes 225 images and is currently selling for $25 (down from $40) on Amazon.


Januar y 5, 2017

Photos courtesy Benjamin Grant

Ever y year, tulip fields in Lisse, The Netherlands, begin to bloom in March and are in peak bloom by late April. The Dutch produce a total of 4.3 billion tulip bulbs annually, of which 53 percent are grown into cut flowers.

Benjamin Grant.

Looking down on Nishinoshima, a volcanic island 584 miles south of Tok yo. Star ting in November 2013, the volcano began to erupt and continued until August 2015. Over that time, the island’s size grew from .02 square miles to .89 square miles.

An aerial shot of Burning Man. The weeklong, annual event in Nevada’s Black Rock Deser t draws more than 65,000 par ticipants, and is described as an experiment in community, ar t, self-expression and radical self-reliance. TheVillager.com

‘Art Startup’ alpha effort ponders community partnership Theater for the New City forum gauges goals and concerns BY TRAV S.D.


he Johnson Theater, the largest of Theater for the New City’s four theater spaces, was at capacity on the night of Tues., Dec. 27, for the first in a series of free neighborhood gatherings called “Art Startup.” The initiative is being presented by Theater for the New City (TNC) as a response to “CreateNYC” — the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs’ recently launched “cultural plan for all New Yorkers,” which means to establish a “roadmap for the future of NYC arts and culture” by July 2017. For “Art Startup,” TNC made available a diverse panel of over a dozen arts professionals affiliated with the company, including actors, playwrights, choreographers, visual artists, teaching artists, and directors. Crystal Field, co-founder and artistic director of TNC, launched the meeting by announcing its purpose: to hear from members of the community, particularly from TNC’s “non-artist” neighbors on the Lower East Side, about the sort of art they would like to see in the future, and the particular barriers there might be to creating it. She expressed a particular fear that New York’s status as a sanctuary city might put arts funding at risk, given the results of the recent presidential election. The panelists were then introduced, and the floor was opened up for questions and comments from the audience. While the announced mission of the forum was for “the community to speak to artists,” based on those who spoke, the turnout seemed to consist mostly of fellow artists and arts administrators, although there were a few TNC fans and audience members who spoke about how important their productions have been to them, and some parents whose children had benefitted from arts education. Concerns expressed by attendees were wideranging. Representatives of a “not strictly legal” underground concert space in Greenpoint/Williamsburg expressed concerns about the physical welfare of artists in the wake of the recent Oakland fire, which took place in a similar venue. A man affiliated with the Chinatown-based Asian American Arts Centre mentioned their involvement in the Cultural Equity Group, an effort to bring greater fairness to the distribution of cultural resources in New York City. High among his concerns he said was the fact that, “We can’t pass our work on to the next generation, because we can’t afford to pay people [to be junior staffers].” Yazmin Colon of Educated Little Monsters in Bushwick spoke of gentrification, saying, “It’s inevitable, but the character that comes with it is not.” She said there was a tendency for newer residents to “disrespect the art that was already there and displace it,” and there is a need “to create new systems” to address that. A man who identified himself as a TV professional who’d been involved with the Kitchen, The Wooster Group, and the Collective for Living Cinema, spoke of the availability of space in outer boroughs and at houses of worship, and suggested TheVillager.com

Illustration by Ilana Hessing

TNC’s Johnson Theater was filled to capacity for the Dec. 27 debut of its “Ar t Star tup” initiative.

the challenges of iconoclastic location may be offset by vigorous promotion. Another speaker mentioned that the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has announced a renovation plan for Tompkins Square Park, and that he is working on a proposal for a children’s outdoor theater for the playground on the park’s southeast corner. Several of those who spoke expressed their fervent wishes for the return of CHARAS/El Bohio, the art space that was long located in the former P.S. 64, but was displaced in December 2001 after then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani sold the premises to a private developer. Providentially, Chino Garcia, one of the founders of CHARAS, was on hand to offer an update, saying that developer Gregg Singer (who bought the building) has been unable to raise funds to convert the building, and that there is a movement back on to revive CHARAS. “We’re not just an artistic community but also a political community,” said panelist Vinie Burrows. “The price of rent is a political issue,” she stressed, asking, “What are the ways we can come together, and what leaders do we need to put pressure on to make these changes?” Panelist Carolyn Ratcliffe mentioned her involvement with the Arts & Cultural Affairs Subcommittee of Community Board 3 and encouraged attendance at STARTUP continued on p. 16

Photo by Trav S.D.

Theater for the New Cit y teaching ar tist Brandon Mellette. Januar y 5, 2017


Here, there be, peripherally, dragons The mythical creatures sorta figure into two shows BY SCOTT STIFFLER


hey’re not just blowing smoke — although it’s a major flight of fancy to say those giant green things that breathe fire and wreak havoc are major components of two productions that recently showed up on our radar. Closer examination of their skin and bones, however, revealed that beyond the intriguing titular medieval creatures, there was something worth questing for — all the way to the box office. It may have happened mere decades ago, but the backstory behind “Dragon Slayer The Musical” plays out like a myth set in a long-gone world. As a kid growing up in Passaic, brave little Tony Scialli’s character-building adventures began with frequent solo bus trips that took him deep into the heart of a magical kingdom known as New York City. There, still reeling from the buzz of nickel rides on the Staten Island Ferry, pilgrimages to Central Park, and sugar-packed liquid confidence from the Times Square Orange Julius, Scialli would wait in line for a standing-room only seat to any (pre-“Lion King” era) Broadway show he could get his paws on. Back in New Jersey, the budding book and lyrics writer would visit the public library, plunk down the circulation fee (the same amount as his ferry ride cost), and take home original cast recordings from shows that were beyond the reach of his excursions into Manhattan. Flash-forward to 2017, and a nickel doesn’t buy much anymore. The time Scialli spent immersing himself in the world of musical theater, however, is about to pay dividends. Presented as

Photo by Martin Argyroglo

Headbangers stranded in a wintr y forest make with the low-tech whimsy, in “La Mélancolie des Dragons.”

part of the New York Theatre Festival’s Winterfest, “Dragon Slayer” is as much of a hybrid as the scaly, flying creature of legend — an alternately fizzy and sobering look at what drives us to go on journeys, and what price we’re willing to pay to claim the ultimate prize. Set in a dingy Times Square diner, aspiring writer Lenny is penning a tune-filled show (“Dragon Slayer”) in an attempt to fulfill his grandfather’s insistence that he’s destined for Broadway greatness. His laserlike focus causes him to push away Lenore, a waitress at the diner and a talented dancer with dreams of her own (whose sassy “I Love a Jerk” song is a highlight). Callous Lenny suffers a crisis of confidence similar to the knight in his musical, who can’t face another dragon once the magician who gave him his powers is revealed as a fraud. Zany, high-stakes chaos ensues in the second act, as

damsels and villains from this fiction begin to appear in the real world, just as Lenny’s big break is finally in sight. Directed by Andrea Andresakis with musical direction by Kenneth McQueen III, the literary and musical theater references peppered throughout “Dragon Slayer” give it a fun sense of self-awareness that eludes its main character for much, though, thankfully, not all of his hero’s journey. Mon. & Wed., Jan. 9 & 11 at 9pm; Sat., Jan. 14 at 3:30pm. At Hudson Guild Theatre (459 W. 26th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.). For tickets ($18), visit brownpapertickets.com/ event/2717927. Festival info at newyorktheatrefestival.com and show info at dragonslayerthemusical.com. Making its New York debut under the auspices of The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival and host venue The Kitchen, French artist and experimental

STARTUP continued from p. 15

their next meeting, which will be at Theater for the New City (155 First Ave., btw. E. Ninth & E. 10th Sts.) on Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m. Field concluded the meeting by remarking, “This is meeting number one. It is ‘A,’ not ‘Z.’ It didn’t have to be perfect. But I think this was a big success.” Then the two-hour forum adjourned for a free post-session repast proved by local businesses Iggy’s Pizzeria, McSorley’s Old Ale House, Moishe’s Bake Shop, Gena’s Grill, Haveli Banjara Indian Restaurant, La Palapa, China Star, Veselka, Paquito’s, Rai Rai Ken and Pinks. The date of the next “Art Startup” will be posted on TNC’s website: theaterforthenewcity.net.


Januar y 5, 2017


L to R: Actress and TNC board member Vinie Burrows, choreographer Rober t Gonzales Jr., and visual ar tist/ curator Carolyn Ratcliffe.

theater director Philippe Quesne’s visually stunning “La Mélancolie des Dragons” wears its whimsy as a badge of honor. Stranding a group of longhaired heavy metal enthusiasts in a dark, wintry forest (beautifully realized for the stage), the dudes emerge from their wheezing hatchback determined to make the best of their downtime. With the help of a friendly stranger, they build a low-tech amusement park through a series of gently humorous scenes, whose use of giant inflatable sculptures and fan-blown snow cultivates a sense of enigmatic wonder that you just can’t get from thrill rides and midway concessions. Further heightening the experience is the soundtrack, which changes with each performance but stays true to the gang’s headbanging roots (turns out, the music of Iron Maiden, Scorpions, and AC/DC, when played on a solo woodwind instrument, is surprisingly poignant). As for the show’s winged component: “We see dragons, those fantastic and monstrous creatures that have accompanied man in all his adventures through history,” the press campaign assures us. “And finally, we see that what connects melancholy to dragons is creation itself, as the dragon is what emerges from the creator’s spirit.” Tues., Jan. 10 through Sat., Jan. 14, 8pm, at The Kitchen (512 W. 19th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Runtime: 1 hour, 20 minutes; performed in English. For tickets ($25), visit thekitchen.org. Access the full Under the Radar Festival schedule at publictheater.org. TheVillager.com

Shock and awe NYTW delivers a masterpiece



he undercurrents of passion, menace, and virtually unrelieved tension that pulse through Sam Gold’s masterful staging of “Othello,” now at New York Theatre Workshop, make this one of the most exciting productions of this play I have seen — and I’ve seen 11 over several decades. Set in a contemporary military encampment, the theater has been turned into a rough-hewn plywood arena with the audience sitting on surprisingly comfortable bleachers looking down on the play from three sides. This design by Andrew Lieberman adds levels of palpable claustrophobia to the brewing tragedy as the play unfolds. Lighting designer Jane Cox has eschewed traditional theatrical techniques and relied on flashlights, LED panels, overhead fluorescents, and portable camping lights to create hard-edged, stark, and often-unflattering effects. The innovation and power of this strippeddown design alone would be reason enough to celebrate the creativity of this production. Fortunately, though, there is so much more. Director Gold starts by trusting the script; the careful reading of the play, respectful of Shakespeare’s balancing of poetry and brutality, is extraordinary. There isn’t a moment that feels unexplored or ill-defined. The clarity and specificity of each of the characters propel the story with edge-of-the-seat urgency. The tragedy unfolds as Iago, passed over for a promotion by Othello, seeks revenge upon the Moor by convincing him that his wife, Desdemona, has been unfaithful to him with Othello’s chosen lieutenant, Cassio. Iago knows how to play each person in his game perfectly to achieve his selfish ends, only to betray them as he moves to his next objective. (Any similarities to a 2016 presidentelect in a play written in 1603 are coincidental, but speak to the consistency throughout time of the powerful human lust to accumulate power.) With each action Iago takes, there is a looming sense of inevitability and a growing sense of horror as the audience sees what the characters do not. To see TheVillager.com

Photo by Chad Batka

David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig in the New York Theatre Workshop production of Shakespeare’s “Othello.”

Shakespeare’s intent so beautifully realized is thrilling. There are moments in this production that are intensely visceral, and, at the performance I saw, shocked gasps among the audience were common. Gold has an amazing cast to work with, too. Both Daniel Craig as Iago and David Oyelowo as Othello are movie stars who prove themselves to be exceptional classical actors. Oyelowo’s nuanced portrayal of a man besotted with his wife to the point of distraction and then roused to destruction when his jealousy is played upon strikes a perfect balance. Oyelowo plays the Moor with an African accent, which enhances the exoticism Shakespeare wrote into the part and adds scope and theatricality to both Othello’s rage and his collapse when he realizes what he’s done. Craig, known primarily as James Bond in films, oozes his way into the hearts and minds of those around him. Even dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, he manages a suave mien and irresistible charm in a portrayal of psychosis and amorality that

is consistently chilling. As with his fellow cast members, Craig’s facility and precision with the language are remarkable. The rest of Gold’s company is every bit the match for these two stars. Matthew Maher, a credulous nobleman who is the first of Iago’s emotional conquests, goes beyond a stock Shakespearean type to deliver a character whose selfishness and lack of morality are the dark side of Andrew Aguecheek from “Twelfth Night.” As Cassio, Finn Wittrock, a star in his own right, has a subtlety and openness that are compelling. He conveys Cassio’s characteristic goodness and honor — making him the diametric opposite of Iago — with directness and simplicity that fuel the dramatic tension between the characters. Rachel Brosnahan as Desdemona manages to be fully believable in her time; a completely contemporary woman who knows her mind, as opposed to a girl swept up in romance. Her portrayal gives the role a freshness and scope not often seen. Marsha Stephanie Blake as Emilia, Iago’s wife and Desdemona’s

companion and defender, is a sassy spitfire with a depth of honor that drives her to expose Iago’s plot even at the cost of her own life. There were screams in the audience when Iago shoots her. Those screams pretty much say it all. In the intimate setting — with an audience likely numbering less than 300 — the visceral punch of this story makes this “Othello” both immediate and gripping. It is a classic revenge tragedy from the early 17th century to be sure, but it’s also a cautionary tale for our time — both exciting and terrifying. Three hrs., 10 mins., with intermission. Through Jan. 18; Tues.–Wed., Sun. at 7pm; Thurs.–Sat. at 8pm.; Sat. at 2pm. At New York Theatre Workshop (nytw.org; 79 E. Fourth St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). Regular $125 tickets sold out; $25 lottery tickets daily at TodayTix app. A limited number of tickets are available to the Benefit Performance on Thurs., Jan. 12, 6:30pm and to members of the Workshop’s patron program, the Society of Repeat Defenders. Januar y 5, 2017


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TO: Unknown Distributees Attorney General of the State of New York Isabel Peters, a/k/a Isabella Peters Dolores Matthews David “Doe� Robert “Doe� To Isabel Peters, a/k/a Isabella Peters, Dolores Matthews, David “Doe� and Robert “Doe�, being the alleged siblings of Bessie Mullings, a/k/a Bessie C. Mullings, whose whereabouts are unknown, if living, and if they died subsequent to the decedent herein, to their executors, administrators, legatees, devisees, assignees and successors in interest whose names and places of residence are unknown; and to the heirs at law, next of kin and distributees of Bessie Mullings, a/k/a Bessie C. Mullings, the decedent herein, if living and if any of them be dead, to their heirs at law, next of kin, distributees, legatees, executors, administrators, assignees and successors in interest whose names and places of residence are unknown and cannot, after diligent inquiry, be ascertained by the petitioner herein; being the persons interested as creditors, legatees, devisees, beneficiaries, distributees, or otherwise in the estate of Bessie Mullings, a/k/a Bessie C. Mullings, deceased, who at the time of her death was resident of 66 Saint Nicholas Place, New York, New York 10032. A petition having been duly filed by the Public Administrator of the County of New York, who maintains an office at 31 Chambers Street, Room 311, New York, New York 10007. YOU ARE HEREBY CITED TO SHOW CAUSE before the New York County Surrogate’s Court at 31 Chambers Street, New York, New York, on January 31, 2017 at 9:30 A.M. in Room 503, why the following relief stated in the account of proceedings, a copy of the summary statement thereof being attached hereto, of the Public Administrator of the County of New York as administrator of the goods, chattels and credits of said deceased, should not be granted: (i) that her account be judicially settled; (ii) that the Surrogate approve the reasonable amount of compensation as reported in Schedules C and C-1 of the account of proceedings to the attorney for the petitioner for legal services rendered to the petitioner herein; (iii) that a hearing be held to determine the identity of the distributees at which time proof pursuant to SCPA Section 2225 may be presented, or in the alternative, that the balance of the funds due to the decedent’s distributees be deposited with the Commissioner of Finance of the City of New York for the benefit of the decedent’s unknown distributees; (iv) that the persons above mentioned and all necessary and proper persons be cited to show causes why such relief should not be granted; (v) that an order be granted pursuant to SCPA Section 307 where required or directed; and (vi) for such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper. Dated, Attested and Sealed. December 8th, 2016, (Seal) Hon. Nora S. Anderson, Surrogate. Diana Sanabria, Chief Clerk. Schram Graber & Opell P.C. Counsel to the Public Administrator, New York County 11 Park Place, Suite 615 New York, NY 10007 (212) 896-3310 Note: This citation is served upon you as required by law. You are not required to appear. If you fail to appear it will be assumed that you do not object to the relief requested. You have the right to have an attorney-at-law appear for you and you or your attorney may request a copy of the full account from the petitioner or petitioner’s attorney. Vil: 12/15 – 01/05/2017


Januar y 5, 2017


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Januar y 5, 2017



Januar y 5, 2017


Photo by Tequila Minsky

Oh well, so mulch for all that...

A shes to ashes and mulch to mulch... . These trees’ shor t lives ended when they were chopped down to be sold for Christmas (at astronomical prices, especially in Downtown Manhattan). Now trees, like these in Washington Square Park, are being readied for chipping at MulchFest 2017, with the chips —not surprisingly — used for mulch. The “treec ycling” happens Sat., Jan. 7, and Sun., Jan. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to Washington Square, other chipping locations include Tompkins Square Park and Stuy vesant Town. Trees can also be dropped off on E. 14th St. at Union Square South.

Thank God for Republic of the Village republic continued from p. 13

be a free and independent republic.” Some say that the entire incident merely resulted in the permanent lock on the side door of the Washington Square Arch. I beg to differ. That soused party comes to mind every time I see the great arch. I think of them whenever a kid with a guitar case asks me for directions to the park I recall that party 100 years ago when I think of my old friend Phil Ochs, who wanted me to call him “John Train.” These days, the Smithsonian Institute sells CDs of Phil’s protest songs, and PBS calls him an American Master. Imagine seeing an exhibit at the Smithsonian, and he was your friend, and he still owes you two bucks!


Januar y 5, 2017

I remember the Republic when I think of Ted Joans, who came to the Village in the late ’40s, roomed with Charlie Parker at 3 Barrow St., and started a business called “Rent a Beatnik” for suburban “squares” who wanted to have a party. Ted had dinner with Bird and James Dean at Bianchi and Margherita, around the corner on Fourth St., and told me he didn’t care what James Dean was like. “He came here to see what we were like!” Ted scrawled “Bird Lives” all over the Village when his friend died. He wanted to build a statue of Charlie Parker, 10 stories tall, straddling the Sheridan Square subway entrance, blowing that genius sax. I remember the Republic of Greenwich Village as all of the greed around us tries to push us out of our

homes, and out of our minds. As a new president of the United States is about to stand before the world and take an oath. I am so very privileged to have lived for these many years in the Republic of Greenwich Village. No malignant glass tower can really change us. No dictator can ever fool us. When there is injustice, we oppose it. When there is ignorance, we resist it. When there is art, we will receive it from the heavens as E.E. Cummings’ human antennae. The centennial of the Republic of Greenwich Village is an important event to recognize. I might just stay home on the night of Trump’s inaugural, but on the evening of Jan. 23, 2017, I will walk over to the great Washington Square Arch, and place a candle in memory of our founders. So that our Republic shall endure. TheVillager.com

Prez hopes pier plans don’t throw a curveball G.V.L.L. continued from p. 1

Pier 40 — about 380,000 square feet, in fact — which it will only be allowed to use on the pier, under the deal. So, that likely will mean a redevelopment of the pier itself. Given that reality, Schneider said he would be “foolish” not to have concerns that Pier 40 could change dramatically and to the detriment of the youth sports leagues who use it, although for now he’s confident that won’t happen. “There’s nothing I have heard that has caused me to have concern,” he said. “If you listen to the Hudson River Park Trust, its president Madelyn Wils and the people on Community Board 2, they don’t seem concerned and they’re all friends of mine who would be very honest with me. I’m always concerned about anything that isn’t written in stone and is subject to potential change. I don’t have reason to be concerned. But I just don’t believe we should declare victory, just count ourselves happy and go from there.” There’s been some talk about possibly building up on the pier — on its southern and northern edges. A major concern of the leagues is that the ball fields would be moved skyward onto the rooftop of a building. (Some previous plans for the pier, in fact, called for this, though ultimately didn’t pan out.) The fields are now in the central courtyard, encircled by a pier shed that at least partially protects them — and the players — from the harsh winds whipping from the river. Schneider called the idea of elevating the fields “not functional” because they would then be exposed to the winds. “Anyone who knows baseball knows that fly balls get up there,” he said. “And when you get the wind coming off the Hudson, it’s cold, really cold — that’s very disconcerting. If they were to open it up, that would be worse.” The league president wouldn’t be surprised if the Pier 40 project eventually changes, however, considering the amount of money involved and the sheer scope of the work needed at the pier. He’s just hoping the local family sports mecca doesn’t change too much. “We’re going to see some changes, little things will happen,” he said. “I understand their intention is to keep the field level as it is currently. If they honor that and other things change, I’ll shake their hands and thank them sincerely.” The immediate work at Pier 40 will focus on repairing the 3,500 steel piles that support it in the river. That requires sending divers down underneath the pier and possibly opening up its middle to give them better access to the center piles. Schneider initially heard that interruptions in the leagues’ play would be mitigated, as workers would work their way around the field by section — doing first one side of the pier and then the other. But now he’s heard G.V.L.L. and other leagues may actually lose field time, so he’s been looking for new places to play. TheVillager.com

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Ready to take his swings: New G.V.L .L . President Michael Schneider in front of a photo of one of his idols, Sandy Koufax, the legendar y lefty. Schneider’s e-mail address has “koufax” in it and his poodle is named Koufax, too.

“We have talked about approaching someone if that’s necessary,” he said. “Governors Island has a number of baseball fields and if they are going to close Pier 40 down for a while, we could catch the ferry running up the Hudson River. It might be something we could pull off. Would it be inconvenient? Yes, of course, but it’s something we could do if we could get field space out there.” From his understanding, the Governors Island fields are underused. At the least, he knows no Little League organizations in Lower Manhattan use them. “We could always see if Randall’s Island could give us more space. They’re good to us,” he added. “Murry Bergtraum Field used to give us a lot more space than they do now, so we’ll see. It’s very difficult to plan when there’s such a limited amount of field space in the city.” So far there are no plans to upgrade the Pier 40 fields as they are now, Schneider said, which is not necessarily bad. “We’re not asking for more,” he said. “We’re just asking for not less. If all this never came up and we didn’t need to fix the piles, we’d be fine. I haven’t heard of a single upgrade to the fields, other than the fact that they’re not going to collapse — I would consider that a strong upgrade. And, logically, if they have to open up the field to get divers down under the pier, I would assume we could get new turf on the field to replace what they destroy.” One improvement that Schneider would be happy to see? Dugouts for the southwest and northeast fields to protect the small kids who play there from rogue foul balls and other game hazards. Speaking of safety, Schneider said he re-

ally wished that the St. John’s Partners developers who bought 200,000 square feet of air rights from Pier 40 had agreed

to build a pedestrian bridge across West St. within a block of the pier, which would make getting to the ball fields much less harrowing for small kids and families. The developers said the bridge simply is too costly. But an additional crosswalk will be added spanning the highway. The G.V.L.L. leader has got a few other plans for the league itself, as well. Starting next year, the Little League won’t separate teams into two groups based on skill level. All players in each age group will be able to play against their peers, which is what the national Little League organization encourages. Kids who join travel teams, starting as early as age 9, will stay with their teams throughout their time with the travel program going forward, as well. Other than that, it’s still baseball, Schneider said. “We won’t change from three strikes, four balls and nine kids in the field,” he said. “It’s hit, catch and throw that’s how things should stay.” The Little League is an all-volunteer organization with about 30 volunteers, not including coaches. Schneider called those volunteers the outfit’s backbone. “I just can’t say enough about them,” he said. “If putting 800 kids through baseball in this concrete jungle isn’t gratifying, I don’t know what is.” To get involved with G.V.L.L., you can reach Schneider directly at koufax77292@gmail.com.


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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


Januar y 5, 2017

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


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

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


Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

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

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


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


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The Villager  

January 5, 2017

The Villager  

January 5, 2017