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Bully for Bulbach: Block Association Honors Outgoing Leader BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC After more than 25 years of leading the West 15th Street 100 and 200 Block Association, longtime Chelsea resident Stanley Bulbach has stepped down as its head. “I want to be a good neighbor and I want to help the block association, but it’s time for new leadership, new blood, new enthusiasm,” Bulbach told Chelsea Now by phone last week. BULBACH continued on p. 2
Pondering Pier 40’s Future BY LINCOLN ANDERSON In what is being hailed as a major victory for the community, the agreement for the St. John’s Partners project recently approved by the City Council states that no more development rights from Hudson River Park may be transferred into Community Board 2 (CB2) after this one megaproject. However, on the other hand, the agreement does allow the Hudson PIER 40 continued on p. 5
ICONS OF INNOVATION
The Museum at FIT’s “Black Fashion Designers” exhibition is on view through May 16. See page 15.
Photo by Dennis Lynch
L to R: Richard Prevost had been coming to Evergreen “from the get-go” and quickly forged friendships with its owners, including Tommy Mavrakis.
THE LAST THING 2016 TOOK At Least for Now, Evergreen is Nevermore
BY DENNIS LYNCH When the News Year’s Eve ball dropped at One Times Square over the weekend, it didn’t only ring in 2017. It rang in a new era nearby — one without a stable presence that served countless waves of tourists, locals, and celebrities over the last 24 years. By the time the clock struck midnight, the Evergreen (145 W. 47th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.) was no more. Hungry regulars, tourists, and curiosity-seekers alike packed the beloved diner when Chelsea Now paid a visit on the morning of Fri., Dec. 30 — its penultimate day in business, and one spent like any other, as the waitstaff and kitchen were busy cranking out hearty breakfasts and sandwiches. Co-owner Tommy Mavrakis said that many of the diners had probably never even been to his restaurant, but read in the city newspapers and seen reports on local news broadcasts that an iconic diner was shuttering and came for their last chance to get a meal at the well-known joint.
Photo by Dennis Lynch
EVERGREEN continued on p. 3
“This is a landmark, my friend. People arepenultimate coming andtime they The “OPEN” sign was illuminated for the don’t even on Dec. 30.know us,” he said.
© CHELSEA NOW 2017 | NYC community media, LLC, All Rights Reserved
VOLUME 09, ISSUE 1 | January 5 – 11, 2017
Dyed-in-the-Wool Community Advocate Weaves Plan to Pursue His Art BULBACH continued from p. 1
Last month, the block association honored Bulbach with a certificate of appreciation for his work and community activism. “He’s been an invaluable resource and will continue to be, though not as active as one,” Kimon Retzos, a member of the block association, said. “We’re going to do the best we can to continue his legacy.” Retzos moved to the neighborhood in 1989, and has lived on W. 15th St. btw. Sixth and Seventh Aves. since 1995. As a board member for his building, he started working with the block association in 2005, and became more active since 2011. He explained in a phone interview that Bulbach knows how to put issues in context; for example, the idea to ban cars on 14th St. during the MTA’s shutdown of the L line. “When you have that kind of historical knowledge and perspective, the block and the city knows what works going forward and everyone benefits,” Retzos said. Interestingly, it was the reconstruction of 14th St. in the early 1990s that spurred Bulbach to join the block association.
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Bulbach said that he has been creating and weaving works like “Sixth Avenue” (a prayer carpet, seen here) his whole adult life.
In late 1966, Bulbach moved from Irvington, New Jersey to the city to attend New York University, he explained. He lived in the East Village for a time before finding an apartment on W. 15th St. btw. Seventh and Eighth Aves., and moved there in February, 1969 — and still lives there today. Bulbach called Chelsea a “backwaSAME DAY SERVICE AVAILABLE
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ter at that time.” But, the neighborhood was also home to many families from the Levantine — Lebanese and Syrians — and after obtaining a bachelors degree in the history of religion, Bulbach worked on a masters and doctorate in Near Eastern studies. Bulbach cut his teeth on tenant organizing for his building, which had no hot water or heat, he said. Bea Lopez founded the block association in 1982, but he didn’t get involved then, as he was focused on the tenant association, and spending time in housing court. “It was really learning by doing,” he said of
the organizing. Soon, those skills would again come into play. Lopez retired, and then one morning in June 1990, “We all woke up to find all of the westbound 14th St. traffic dumped on narrow residential 15th Street,” Bulbach recalled. “Ultimately that led to the resurrection of the block association.” The city rerouted traffic to 15th St. while the reconstruction of 14th St. went on for years, and Bulbach and his neighbors had to contend with a subBULBACH continued on p. 11
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Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
Photo courtesy Steve Starosta
Stanley Bulbach, seated, shows the certificate given for his tenure as head of the West 15th Street 100 and 200 Block Association. Also pictured is Kimon Retzos of the block association. .com
Photos by Dennis Lynch
The Evergreen was packed with people on the morning of Dec. 30, eager to dine at the establishment for one last time.
The Evergreen Diner opened in 1992 and grew a reputation for fast, affordable, and, most importantly, good grub.
Beloved Midtown Diner Bids Adieu as New Year Begins EVERGREEN continued from p. 1
A couple sitting at the counter said it was their second time at the Evergreen. They live in New Hampshire, but come to the city once a year or so. They loved the diner their first time and were shocked to hear they wouldn’t be able to come back during next year’s trip. It was the warm atmosphere that drew them in at first, Dave Wojichowski said.
“It felt welcoming. We don’t like the fancy places; we like more affordable stuff. So we walked by and said, ‘This looks like our place,’ ” he said. “And the coffee and food are good, so we came back.” Sitting next to them was a regular who knew Mavrakis and Evergreen’s staff well. Construction firm partner Richard Prevost has been working in the area since the late 1970s. He and his
crews had been coming to Evergreen “from the get-go,” for morning meetings, quick lunches, and good company. Prevost greeted almost all the staff that walked by him at the counter and asked them about their plans for the future. “It’s the personalities, and the food is always great. I’ve never had a bad meal here; never. Everybody gets along so well and you know its fast food so you’re in and you’re out, that’s what’s good for
me. And it’s just the people — this guy here,” Prevost said with a smile, pointing over the counter to Mavrakis. Mavrakis is sad to see the place go, but he and his business partners had no say in the matter. Their longtime landlords, who have owned the building since 1981, sold it for a whopping $101 million to an LLC earlier this year. The EVERGREEN continued on p. 12
Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
Activist Roskoff Lauds Cuomo’s Embrace of Clemency BY PAUL SCHINDLER Sweeping clemency action by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Fri., Dec. 30 — in which he commuted the sentences of seven felons, pardoned five others, and conditionally pardoned 101 nonviolent youthful offenders — came as welcome news to a longtime gay leader who in recent years has made rehabilitated convicts a key mission in his activism. Allen Roskoff, a Chelsea resident who has been active in LGBTQ politics since the immediate post-Stonewall years, is the founder and co-chair of Candles for Clemency, which since 2009 has pressed for commuted sentences and pardons for convicts with demonstrable records of rehabilitation. Among the group’s actions have been several large rallies near Cuomo’s Westchester County home, and Roskoff has, at times, been a harsh critic of the governor, who up until last week has issued only a handful of clemency grants. In the wake of the governor’s Dec. 30 announcement, however, Roskoff sounded a different note. “We are excited to see that these elderly individuals receiving clemency will not have to die in prison,” he said. “This is a proud moment for New York and our state’s ability to lead the nation in criminal justice reform. Our efforts show that through activism and relentless efforts, results can be achieved. Governor Cuomo’s heroic actions should serve as a model for our nation.” Roskoff took particular satisfaction in the governor’s action regarding Judith Clark, a 67-year-old lesbian who was convicted for her role as getaway driver in the 1981 Rockland County Brink’s robbery that involved the murder of two police officers. Clark was part of a group of radicals from the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army that staged the audacious daylight robbery. Roskoff’s group, which is co-chaired by Tony Hoffman, a former president of the Village Independent Democrats, has long emphasized Clark’s evident rehabilitation — she earned several degrees, taught pre-natal parenting classes for pregnant inmates, co-founded an AIDS group, and trained service dogs used by law enforcement and disabled veterans. An inmate at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, Clark, in good measure due to the efforts of Candles for Clemency, won support from a broad swath of prisoners’ advocacy groups, attorneys, and celebrities, with more than 1,000 people writing Cuomo urging clemency for her. Clark, however, was sentenced to a minimum of 75 years in prison — a longer sentence than most of those involved in the Brink’s robbery and murders — and would not have been eligible for parole until 2056. Cuomo’s action did not release her from prison, but rather commuted her sentence to a minimum of 35 years in prison, which means she will be eligible for parole this year. In his statement making the clemency announcements, the governor cited Clark’s “exceptional strides in self-development,” and said of his decision to dramatically step up in his willingness to grant relief to long-time convicts, “With these actions, we have taken one more step toward a more just, more fair, and more compassionate New York for all.” According to Candles for Clemency, the national pris-
Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
Photo by Donna Aceto
Activist Allen Roskoff at a 2014 Candles for Clemency rally near the Westchester County home of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
on population grew from around 200,000 in the early 1970s to a high point of 1.6 million in 2009, exorbitant growth fueled in good measure by the war on drugs. The roughly three percent decline in the prison population since 2009, the group asserts, is due to changing attitudes toward the crime-fighting efficacy of long prison sentences — as typified by a study from NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice it cited — as well as the work of prison reform advocates. Still, Candles for Clemency noted, there are large numbers of elderly inmates serving long sentences handed down decades ago. The group cited statistics showing that over the past 13 years, New York State’s general inmate population has declined by 23 percent, while the number of prisoners over 50 has skyrocketed by 81 percent. That, despite the fact that recidivism among elderly ex-cons is low and the cost of providing health care to senior citizens in prison is a heavy burden on the state. The New York Times, this week, published a detailed account of a visit Cuomo paid to Clark in prison early this past fall, where the only others in attendance were the Bedford Hills superintendent, the governor’s out gay chief counsel, Alphonso David, who formerly worked as an attorney at Lambda Legal, and a black Labrador that Clark had trained as a service dog. “When you meet her you get a sense of her soul,” Cuomo told the Times. “She takes full responsibility. There are no excuses. There are no justifications.” Not everyone shares the governor’s faith in Clark’s rehabilitation, of course. Rockland County Executive Ed Day, a Republican who is a former NYPD officer, in a written statement called Cuomo’s action “a vicious slap in the face to every member of law enforcement. The blood of Nyack police Sergeant Edward O’Grady, Officer Waverly ‘Chipper’ Brown, and Brink’s guard Peter Paige will be on her hands until the day she dies. Judith Clark is a domestic terrorist. Her only place in a civilized society is behind bars.” But not every local politician echoed Day’s hard line.
Photo via Candles for Clemency
Judith Clark, at the time of her prosecution in the Brink’s robbery and murder case.
Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, an out gay Democrat who represents Rockland County and other parts of the Lower Hudson Valley, issued a statement saying, “I want to commend Governor Cuomo for commuting the sentence of Judith Clark, a living example of the rehabilitative potential of our criminal justice system. Clark has served over 30 years in prison, repeatedly demonstrated remorse for her participation in the Brink’s robbery, and endeavored to better herself by earning college degrees and leading educational and health initiatives to benefit her fellow inmates, prison staff, and prison administration. Our prisons should focus on effective methods for rehabilitation and reentry, which includes permitting parole for low-risk, elderly offenders who have materially demonstrated their reformation. Judith Clark deserved to spend many years in prison for her role as an accessory to the terrible crime that resulted in the death of two police officers and a security guard, but after nearly 35 years she has been punished and no longer poses a threat to our communities.” .com
‘Up In the Air’: How Big Will Rebuilt Pier 40 Be? PIER 40 continued from p. 1
River Park Trust, the park’s governing state/city authority, to use the currently unused so-called “air rights” of Pier 40 on the actual W. Houston St. pier itself. The massive former shipping pier boasts significant air rights, and there is already disagreement brewing between the Trust and the community over whether the authority should use all of those on the pier — or just a portion of them. To that end, Terri Cude, the new chairperson of CB2, said the challenge on Pier 40 will be to strike a balance between “the needs of the park and protecting the community from overdevelopment.” Meanwhile, the planned 1.7-millionsquare-foot St. John’s development will have 1,600 apartments and stretch for three blocks along West and Washington Sts. opposite Pier 40 at W. Houston St. A key part of the project is that its developers have agreed to buy 200,000 square feet of unused air rights from the park’s sprawling 15-acre pier for $100 million. After these development rights are transferred to the St. John’s project, however, Pier 40 will still have an additional 380,000 square feet of unused air rights left. As for the currently “used” air rights on the pier, its existing threestory “donut”-shaped pier-shed structure encloses roughly 760,000 square feet of space. Local youth sports leagues plan to work with the Trust, CB2 and local politicians on a plan for the pier’s future design that would fully or partially open up its eastern and western sides, while pushing the pier’s commercial structures to its northern and southern edges. This would actually increase the amount of field space on the pier. The Trust wants to develop commercial office space on the pier, but that would need an amendment in Albany, since the Hudson River Park Act does not currently allow office use at Pier 40. Asked if there are any preliminary design plans for Pier 40 right now, a Trust spokesperson said, “No plans at the moment, but if there were an increase in area for ball fields, some of the [existing] buildings would have to be re-massed.” Whether that means the new structures would be taller — and how much taller — isn’t immediately known, at least not publicly. Theoretically, more floors just could be added within roughly the space of the existing envelope since the current pier shed has very high ceilings. Air-rights transfers from the 4-milelong West Side waterfront park up to .com
Image courtesy Office of Assemblymember Deborah Glick
Back in Sept. 2012, when the Hudson River Park Trust was exploring building luxury residential housing and a hotel on Pier 40, a staffer in Assemblymember Deborah Glick’s Office created this computer illustration, giving a rough sense of how Pier 40 could look with 15-story towers added along its northern edge.
one block inland were unheard of until 2013, when a surprise amendment to the Park Act at the very end of the Albany legislative session abruptly flipped the landscape. However, some people scoff at the very notion that piers should have any air rights at all. Indeed, one skeptical local politician has been heard to utter this in private. Be that as it may, under current city zoning regulations, commercial piers — as opposed to recreational piers — do have development rights. Under the Park Act, Pier 40 is designated for a mix of recreational and commercial uses; it currently sports heavily used ball fields and a commercial parking operation. The final agreement for the St. John’s project, which was brokered by Councilmember Corey Johnson in early December, states that the park’s unused development rights can only be transferred into the adjacent community board district. So, any air rights from Pier 40 can only be transferred into CB2, whose waterfront boundary stretches between W. 14th and Canal Sts. As for the southern third of the park, in Tribeca, it has no commercial piers, so there will be no air-rights transfers into Community Board 1. Meanwhile, there are commercial piers in the park’s Chelsea/Clinton section — such as Chelsea Piers — so Community Board 4
Courtesy The Villager
A consultant’s 2012 rendering, showing rudimentary massing studies for how Pier 40 could have been redeveloped with residential housing, a hotel and sports fields. The housing, about 15 stories tall (equal in height to the nearby Morton Square residential development), is depicted in yellow, the hotel (just east of a raised soccer field) in dark magenta, and the sports fields and open space in green. Spaces for the Trust’s operations and offices are in dark purple and medium purple, respectively. Parking is gray, retail is red and where an indoor field might have gone is shown in blue. This plan never got off the drawing board due to lack of local political support. Now, four-and-half years later, the Trust is hoping to be allowed to build commercial office space on the pier, but would need a legislative amendment in Albany to do so.
(CB4) will no doubt see its share of park air-rights transfers in the future. Madelyn Wils, the Trust’s president and CEO, at times over the past sum-
mer said that the entire park currently has roughly 1.6 million square feet of PIER 40 continued on p. 13 Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
Nadler Tells Town Hall to Fight the Trump Funk
Courtesy The Villager
From left, roundtable moderator Julie Kashen, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, NYU Law professor Burt Neuborne, Nancy Northup and the ACLU’s Donna Lieberman.
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON “We 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 Mon., Dec. 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.” The West Side Democrat’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 Brennan Center for Justice, Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Donna Lieberman, executive 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 promises” the president-elect made.
Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
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 Social Security — and Trump “seems to be going that way,” too. Nadler described the overall 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 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 White House post, the Trump 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 conflicts 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 the hand-wringing phase,” he said, adding it was time to stop blaming the FBI and Russian hacking for the election outcome. Instead, he said, “We need a coldeyed 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 two-thirds of the states. “This was a slow-moving train wreck that finally hit us,” the professor said.
The key to a political turnaround is to organize to regain the political majority across the nation — meaning the 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 said. “Everyone 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 Robert Kennedy… enduring the Vietnam War, which was an unconstitutional war… Watergate, the collapse of our TOWN HALL continued on p. 7 .com
Courtesy The Villager
Congressmember Jerrold Nadler addresses an overflow crowd at NYU on Dec. 19.
TOWN HALL continued from p. 6
social contract during Reagan, after 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, 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 .com
funding, Northrup warned, is “one of most devastating things that will be coming… a long attempt that will probably succeed.” The effect on lowincome women, she said, will be devastating, with an estimated $500 million in annual payments for non-abortion services — including STD testing, Pap smears, and contraceptives — at risk, and 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 flat-up violation of Roe v. Wade, which says abortion must be 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 Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, and Stephen Breyer are the three oldest on the bench. The NYCLU’s Lieberman, in fiery remarks, warned that a Trump presidency will obviously be a trying time for civil liberties. “He is surrounding himself with people whose records on civil rights and human rights are a civil rights nightmare,” she said. “Everybody who is not a white male citizen 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 flag 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 declared that Roe v. Wade must be “f--king codified in New York State!” During a question and answer session moderated by Julie Kashen, coexecutive 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. “Are they really going 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 two-thirds 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 reiterating 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. And the professor addressed what perhaps was the biggest elephant in the room that night, when he said, “We ran, I think, the worst political campaign 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!”
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POLICE BLOTTER hand and then intentionally placed it on his genitals unprovoked. The victim, who is from upstate New York, reported the incident to police on Sat., Dec. 24.
PETIT LARCENY: New Year’s sleaze Image courtesy NYPD
Two of the suspects in the Dec. 31 jewelry robbery. Here, one of the suspects looked directly into a security camera, providing a clear, closeup look at his face.
JEWELRY HEIST On New Year’s Eve, as a million were gathered to watch the ball drop in Times Square, a group of men made off with millions of dollars worth of jewelry from a local jeweler just blocks away. The three suspects broke into the offices of Gregg Ruth (70 W. 36th St., btw. Sixth & Fifth Aves.), which is known for its rare pieces involving pink and yellow diamonds, just as it was getting to be midnight on Sat., Dec. 31 — likely a strategy to delay response time to their crime. They fled down the staircase of the high-rise building the offices were located in, with about $6 million worth of products in tow. Police are asking for any tips or info regarding the heist; one of the suspects was caught clearly on security footage.
FORCIBLE TOUCHING: Club creep A man exited the Highline Ballroom (431 W. 16th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.) bathroom at around 8:45pm on Wed., Dec. 21, at which point an unknown male perp grabbed his
On Sat., Dec. 31, one woman found herself spending her night waiting futilely for a drop-off rather than the ball drop. After arriving at her destination on 10th Ave. (btw. W. 23rd & W. 24th St.) at 7pm, a woman realized that she left her cell phone in the back seat of the cab she took. She contacted the driver shortly thereafter about the situation, and he replied that he’d drop the cell phone off for her at W. 124th St. and St. Nicholas Ave. The woman waited at that location for about two and a half hours without the driver showing up, before giving up and alerting authorities to the situation. The iPhone is valued at $600.
GRAND LARCENY: Midnight marauders at Marquee Guests at Marquee (289 10th Ave., btw. W. 26th & W. 27th Sts.) were repeatedly plagued by a pair of pickpockets on the evening of Thurs., Dec. 29. In the first incident, which occurred around 11:30pm, a 24-yearold California woman was dancing in front of the DJ booth when she noticed that the pocketbook on her shoulder had been opened, and her $500 phone had been removed from it. Over the course of the next couple of hours, similar situations would play out around the club. A little past midnight, another 24-year-old woman was informed by
a friend that the $400 phone she was storing in her purse had been lifted. At the same time, a 23-year-old Brooklyn woman had come down from the balcony to linger round the DJ booth; when she left to buy a drink five minutes later, she discovered her pocketbook was unzipped, and her $400 iPhone 6 and passport were gone. At 1am, a 21-yearold woman felt a tug on her pocketbook and thought nothing of it, until again, when buying a drink five minutes later, she discovered her wallet — containing numerous credit cards and $380 cash — was missing. After this, a 25-year-old was hanging around the DJ booth, and (you guessed it) noticed her $400 phone and credit cards were missing from her pocketbook. Finally, at 1:45am, a man at the club felt a hand in his jacket pocket, but pulled it out before it could remove any property. After this run-in, it seems catching the perps became easy, as before the night was out authorities were able to identify and arrest the culprits in the spat of a thefts: a 19-year-old Queens woman and a 21-year-old Queens man.
CRIMINAL MISCHIEF: Scooter smash Often it’s those riding on two wheels that have to avoid getting hit by motorists — but last week, one scooter rider turned the tables on an unsuspecting driver. On Thurs., Dec. 26, a 54-yearold New Jersey man was cruising down W. 22nd St. at around 4:30pm, when an unknown perp threw his scooter at the front of his car, causing a dent to the front left fender. The perp then fled the scene. The victim was not injured, and reported that he did not know who the individual was, what he looked like, or why he threw the scooter. Perhaps it was a visceral reaction to his 2009 Nissan Cube, the most goofy and hateable of all automobiles.
PETIT LARCENY: Tabled tablet taken On Fri., Dec. 30, a 53-year-old New Jersey man was sleeping, as one does, at a McDonald’s (335 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 26th & W. 27th Sts.) at around 6:30am, and left his $100 Android Insignia tablet on the table beside him. He was notified by a 41-year-old witness, upon waking up, that an individual had removed the tablet while he was dozing. Authorities were alerted, and the person in question .com
was apprehended and arrested. Upon further inspection, the 33-year-old man was found to have two marijuana pipes with residue on his person which, yeah, pretty much checks out for the time and location of the crime.
THE 10th PRECINCT: Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-7418226. Crime Prevention: 212741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7pm, at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced.
THE 13th PRECINCT: Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Brendan Timoney. Call 212-477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212-477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30pm, at the 13th Precinct.
MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT: Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Inspector: Russel J. Green. Call 212-2399811. Community Affairs: 212239-9846. Crime Prevention: 212239-9846. Domestic Violence: 212-239-9863. Youth Officer: 212239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-239-9836. Detective Squad: 212-239-9856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7pm, at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & W. 35th St.). Visit midtownsouthcc.org.
Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
WeddingPrideDirectory CELEBRATING GAY AND LESBIAN MARRIAGE
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Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
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Photo courtesy the artist
“I’m unusual in the field because I prize the natural colors of the wool,” said Bulbach, shown here holding handspun wool. BULBACH continued from p. 2
stantial uptick of traffic, which brought air pollution and noise. “The heavy traffic was shaking all the street and our building and our gas pipes,” he said. “Our main complaint was a stupid traffic plan was forced on a residential community.” Bulbach said the current proposal to ban cars on 14th St. is something “the block association vigorously opposes.” “We want to know why we’re not at the table discussing these plans. We should be part of the planning process,” he said. “We know what the liabilities are — why aren’t they talking to us? Our streets are already wildly overcrowded. We know it’s going to put more traffic on 15th Street.” The block association is told studies are being conducted, but Bulbach says that by the time they’re completed, “it will be a fait accompli, and a repeat of 1990.” The block association has tackled other issues as well throughout the years under Bulbach’s leadership — weighing in on the number of entrances and exits while the city renovated the 14th St./ Eighth Ave. train station, opposition to automatic after-hours variances, and pushing to restore crosswalk markings at major intersections to increase pedestrian safety, to name a few. “We’d finish one battle and a new one would arise,” Bulbach said. Sometime around 2001, the block association expanded to W. 15th St., btw. Sixth and Eighth Aves., and since then, it has been actively working with .com
Bill Borock, and the Council of Chelsea Block Associations (CCBA), he said. Borock, the president of CCBA, told Chelsea Now that Bulbach will be missed at meetings. Bulbach has represented the block association for many years, attending almost every monthly meeting, Borock said. “He was very determined in his work related to the community,” Borock said in a phone interview. It will be hard to replace Bulbach, who has been involved with a myriad of issues, including the push to plan infrastructure concurrent with new development, Borock said. “He was giving up something of his self to do all this community work,” Borock said. “On one level, I’ll miss his participation, but on another level, I’m glad for him that he’ll have more time to pursue his artistic endeavors.” Bulbach said he turns 70 in April, and would like to focus more on his artwork. The medium he works in is traditional Near Eastern flat woven carpet, and he creates flying, prayer, and bed carpets. After earning his doctorate in Near Eastern studies, Bulbach traveled through Morocco and fell in love with the art form. The flat woven carpet “speaks to me. It draws upon all my training in science, tech, philosophy, religion [and] writing,” he said. Bulbach works with special US sheep breeders to obtain his wool. He then processes the wool — cleans, cards and spins it. He said he prizes the traditional dye palette, using vegetable dyes for his designs.
Photo courtesy the artist
Bulbach says New York is heavily referenced in some pieces, such as “Gotham” (a flying carpet, seen here).
“The artwork I do is very time consuming,” he explained. “I strive to complete two pieces a year.” The genesis of his work was his studies and travels, and it has blossomed under the influence of Chelsea and the city. Pieces — such as “Sixth Avenue,” a prayer carpet that evokes the street with long gray lines punctuated with dots of green, red and white; and “Gotham,” a flying carpet resplendent with reds and yellow highlights — heavily reference New York City, Bulbach said. This past summer, from July 14 to Sept. 9, Bulbach’s work was shown
at the Guild Gallery II at the Fulton Center. Jim Furlong, director of arts for Hudson Guild, said Bulbach had approached him, and “when I saw his work in person, I thought it would be a good fit for us.” Furlong said in a phone interview that the response to the exhibition was overall positive. “It was great to have a local artist with a such a high level of skill sharing his work with our community,” he said. For more information about Bulbach’s art, visit bulbach.com. Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
EVERGREEN continued from p. 3
owners notified them they would not renew the lease in September and confirmed so in December. “I guess you’d like to walk out of the place on your terms, but sometimes that’s not the case. Construction is happening all around Manhattan — it’s not easy you know. Its been a pleasure,” Mavrakis said, noting that he and his partners are looking for a new home in the neighborhood and would hopefully hire back some of their 20 employees who don’t find other work in the meantime. Either way, he lamented, it will be hard to capture the magic again. “Its been a lot of fun; you can’t replace this,” he said. “The atmosphere this place had from the beginning — there will never be another Evergreen.” The neighborhood was much different when they first opened their doors in 1992. The city was just starting its campaign to transform Times Square from ground zero for depravity and crime into the (relatively) safe destination it is now. Evergreen’s proprietors got in the neighborhood at a good time and took advantage. They served affordable food hot, quickly, and with a smile, and its reputation grew among blue collar and white collar folks alike. They had solid diner coffee, breakfast, and lunch — perfect for the tired tourist ready to embark on their metropolitan expedition or in need of a recharge. Word spread to television stars and news anchors working at Fox next door, and at NBC a few blocks away at 30 Rock. They signed autographs to hang on Evergreen’s walls, solidifying its iconic status.
Photo by Dennis Lynch
Not-so-happy New Year: Despite its impending closure, the Evergreen’s staff was bright, cheery, and festive.
Now folks like Prevost will have to find an alternative. Prevost had cleared his plate of a classic diner breakfast — two eggs, bacon, well-done home fries, and white toast — like it was his last meal in or out of Evergreen, and declared he was headed back to work at the NBC studios at Rockefeller Center. A representative of the LLC that owns the 12,000square-foot lot had no comment on the plans for the property, although a lawyer told the Wall Street Journal that it was slated for development. The lot’s
zoning allows for a tower, and benefits from bonuses that allow a developer to build higher if they incorporate affordable housing or a public plaza into their design. A smaller lot similarly zoned at W. 45th St. allowed developers to build the 53-story Hyatt hotel, completed in 2009. As for Prevost, life without regular meals at the Evergreen will put a stop to his own potential for expansion. “I’m gonna go on a diet,” he declared. “Look what they’ve done to me!”
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Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
PIER 40 continued from p. 5
unused air rights available for purchase. (At the time, that included the 200,000 square feet slated for the St. Johnâ€™s project, which had yet to be approved.) Based on that figure, then, the CB4 park section likely has about 1 million square feet of unused air rights available for purchase and transfer along that part of the waterfront. CB2 Chairperson Cude said the board is gearing up to tackle the Pier 40 redesign â€” including the question of how its air rights will be used. â€œA CB2 working group on Pier 40 redevelopment is currently in formation,â€? she told our sister publication, The Villager. â€œIt will collect input and build consensus on the needs of the park and protecting the community from overdevelopment. Until that public process takes place, CB2 does not have a position on what may or may not be appropriate on the pier.â€? Asked who will chair the working group, Cude said she is planning to appoint Tobi Bergman, who chaired CB2 for the past two years. Bergman is one of the local youth sports advocates most associated with trying to ensure the pierâ€™s survival as a youth sports mecca into the future. Asked for comment, Bergman said, â€œAll concerned parties, including the community, will have to be involved in the discussions about the pier. At least now, the Trust can start fixing the piles.â€? The $100 million that the St. Johnâ€™s Partners development team will pay the Trust for the 200,000 square feet of air rights will go toward Pier 40â€™s most pressing maintenance issue â€” the repair
of all 3,500 of Pier 40â€™s corroded steel support piles. The work will begin in the spring. Under the air-rights legislation passed in 2013, the proceeds from the sale of any air rights from Pier 40 must go back into the W. Houston St. pierâ€™s repair and maintenance. Asked how much it will cost to repair all 3,500 piles, the Trust spokesperson said $104 million, based on an estimate in a 2015 report on the pier by Halcrow engineers (now known as CH2M). In addition to the $100 million from the airrights sale, as part of the final St. Johnâ€™s deal, the city agreed to kick in $14 million for Pier 40, which should cover the pile repairs. Meanwhile, during the recent ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) public review for the St. Johnâ€™s project, Trust CEO Wils fought strenuously, though ultimately unsuccessfully, for the Trust to be allowed to transfer the rest of Pier 40â€™s unused air rights into CB2. Not surprisingly, she is now eager to max out the use of the remaining air rights on Pier 40 itself for commercial use, since the Trust canâ€™t sell them outside of the park. Asked for comment, the Trust spokesperson said, â€œMadelyn has said publicly several times that the Trust hopes to use all of Pier 40â€™s remaining development rights on the pier itself for a potential commercial project. This would require two changes to the Hudson River Park Act through the state Legislature. The Trust would then work with local electeds and the community on a redevelopment plan for the pier.â€? Asked if the Trust would heed the communityâ€™s wishes and consider not using all the remaining air rights, the spokesperson indicated that the authority feels itâ€™s important to squeeze revenue out of the pier. That said, he added the
Courtesy The Villager
A typical scene at Pier 40 in Hudson River Park includes droves of young athletes and parents streaming to and from the pierâ€™s artificial-turf sports fields. The trapeze seen at the top of the photo has relocated to Williamsburg. The Hudson River Park Trust and local youth sports leagues will be looking at ideas for removing all or parts of the pier shed on the east (above) and west sides of the pier, and re-massing the pierâ€™s commercial space on its northern and southern edges. If that is done, then in the future, the above view might show the pierâ€™s playing fields with the Hudson River and sky visible in the background.
project will be â€œless intensive,â€? apparently referring to how heavily the pier is used commercially. â€œIn accordance with the Hudson River Park Act, Pier 40 is intended as a significant revenue generator for the entire park, so our intention is to use all of Pier 40â€™s remaining development rights,â€? he said. â€œAs weâ€™re now limited to where we can transfer them inland, we intend
to pursue a development on the pier that uses the remaining development rights and that is compatible with ball field use, which will remain and likely be improved. Keep in mind, the funding secured earlier this month already gives any eventual development on the pier a leg up, removing a large financial burden and allowing for a less-intensive project.â€?
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Courtesy The Villager
An aerial view of what Pier 40 looks like now, ringed by its three-story â€œdonutâ€?shaped shed, sporting parked cars on the rooftop level. There is also parking on the first floor and a bit on the second floor. In addition to its sprawling courtyard sports field, the pier also has a smaller field on the southeast corner of its rooftop. .com
Januar y 5 â€“ 11, 2017
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Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
Icons of Innovation FIT spotlights Black Fashion Designers
BY NAEISHA ROSE Celebrating style mavens of African descent and their contributions to fashion from the 1950s to the present, “Black Fashion Designers” is a notable first for The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). In the past, FIT has presented work on individual black designers — but never before with a focus on the worldwide impact of these underrepresented trendsetting icons. Curators, fashion designers, and model Veronica Webb provide commentary that adds to the cell phone tour and multimedia exhibition of 75 pieces from 60 fashion designers. One of the curators at the Dec. 6 opening was Elizabeth Way, a NYU alum who studied apparel design and history, and worked as an assistant costume designer at the University of Delaware’s Professional Theatre Training Program (an MFA in acting) before coming to FIT three years ago to combine the two passions she had studied at grad school. “I was trying to find an outlet for those interests, and it wasn’t until I got into fashion curation that it really came together for me,” said Way. “To me, curation is really about getting to dig into these people’s histories and how it really affects a wider cultural movement. Fashion is such an amazing lens to look at society, culture, people and art, and so many different aspects of history — so it’s a fun way to approach all of those subjects, so that is why curation really appeals to me.” In helping to curate the exhibition (along with Ariele Elia, assistant curator of Costume and Textiles), Way had the opportunity to showcase one of her favorite designers. “Someone who is really special to me is Ann Lowe,” noted Way, who wrote her masters thesis on the designer. “Her grandmother was an extremely skilled dressmaker that taught her everything she knew, but her grandmother was also a slave on a plantation in Alabama.” Along with her mother and her grandmother, Ann built a business in Montgomery, Alabama, Way noted. Quickly, Lowe moved her business to Tampa, Florida and then to New York City — where her work was sold in stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, and worn by famous women. “She took that 19th-century dressmaking tradition and became a modern fashion designer.” Way said of Lowe. Some of the other well-known designs on display are Tina Turner’s Swarovski crystal mini dress by CD Greene and Michelle Obama’s red-and-white floral print dress by Laura Smalls, which was seen on “The Late Late Show” in host James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” segment. The exhibition’s eight themes are Black Models, .com
Courtesy The Museum at FIT
Composite view of a two-piece evening dress (1973-1974) by Stephen Burrows, an influence on Edward Wilkerson, whose work is also represented in the exhibition.
Breaking into the Industry, Street Influence, Menswear, Rise of the Black Designer, African Influence, Activism, and Eveningwear. One of the most celebrated eveningwear designers at the premiere was Edward Wilkerson, a fashion director at Lafayette 148 who also has ensembles that are at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. “My style is a combination of two things,” said Wilkerson. “Masculine and feminine, the yin and the yang. I like to mix the floaty chiffon with a classic tail-
length jacket. It’s very soft and hard for me.” To hone his trademark style, Wilkerson spent 15 years working under Donna Karan. “She’s my mentor... and she basically gave me the opportunity to become who I am and to pursue my dreams,” said Wilkerson. “You always need those people in your life that propel you to the next level; she pushed me.” FASHION DESIGNERS continued on p. 16 Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
Photo by Naeisha Rose Courtesy The Museum at FIT
A wedding dress by Ann Lowe, designed in 1968.
Ariele Elia, assistant curator of Costume and Textiles, organized the exhibition along with curatorial assistant Elizabeth Way (above).
FASHION DESIGNERS continued from p. 15
Before working at DKNY and becoming a photographer and veteran designer in his own right, it was shopping with his mother that introduced him to fashion. “I was seven; and the fabric, the texture, and the color were aspirational,” said Wilkerson. “If you remember Bendel’s, it was an environment like no other, they created a designer’s world within its own world. It was a very special element from when I was a child,” added Wilkerson, who cited Stephen Burrows, Willi Smith, James Daughtery, and Jeffrey Banks as some of the black designers that have inspired him. “Stephen Burrows was probably the most out there, and I look at Jeffrey Banks because his clothes are so tailored,” said Wilkerson. As a designer who is always looking forward to what fashion can be, Wilkerson is not afraid to use social media for research on what is going on in the industry, in addition to collaborating and meeting with other designers. “There is a decorator from Antwerp, Gert Voorjans, who I’ve been dying to meet. I found him on Instagram, told him how much I loved his work and he told me he will let me know when he is back in town. That to me is the power of social media, and that is the power of getting where you want to be.” “Why was I scared to contact him? You can’t be scared, you can’t be timid you have to go for it,” said Wilkerson, who noted that social media “constantly keeps me motivated... and inspired.” Wilkerson also took pride in seeing his work at the exhibit and being one of the speakers at the event. “This event is great, because to my knowledge it is the first of its kind and it is long overdue as far as I’m concerned. If a designer wants to be cool they take something from streetwear, urban clothes, the hip-hop movement, and African-inspired culture. Where else
Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
Courtesy The Museum at FIT
Red faux fur vest with buckle, displayed with gold lame jumpsuit (Xuly.Bët, Womenswear, Fall 2016).
Courtesy The Museum at FIT
Leather jacket, hand-painted by graffiti artist Gregory Siff (Pyer Moss, Menswear, Spring 2016).
are they going to reference something cool, truly cool and truly original?” Admission to “Black Fashion Designers” is free. On view through May 16 at The Museum at FIT (Seventh Ave. at W. 27th St.). Hours: Tues.–Fri., 12–8pm.; Sat., 10am–5pm. Call 212-217-7999 or visit fitnyc.edu/museum.
Photo by Naeisha Rose
Tina Turner’s Swarovski crystal minidress by CD Greene, seen here, is among the well-known designs. .com
Shock and Awe NYTW delivers a masterpiece
BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE The 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 .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 – 11, 2017
Januar y 5 â€“ 11, 2017
Here, There Be, Peripherally, Dragons The mythical creatures sorta figure into two shows BY SCOTT STIFFLER They’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 sugarpacked 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 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 tunefilled show (“Dragon Slayer”) in an attempt to fulfill his grandfather’s insistence that he’s destined for Broadway greatness. His laser-like 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 .com
Photo by Martin Argyroglo
Headbangers stranded in a wintry forest make with the low-tech whimsy, in “La Mélancolie des Dragons.”
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 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
Russ Rowland Photography
The cast of “Dragon Slayer The Musical” straddles the worlds of pure imagination and harsh reality.
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. Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
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Making a Difference Through the Arts
Courtesy NYC Department of Education
BY NYC SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR CARMEN FARIÑA The arts can have an incredible impact on our kids’ lives, which is why when I became chancellor, one of my goals was to ensure that every child in our city, regardless of their zip code or home language, would have the opportunity to learn about and pursue the arts in a meaningful way. As a matter of fact, we recently released our Annual Arts Report, which shows the incredible progress we’ve made in providing dance, music, theater, and visual arts teachers and programs across our city’s schools. Having access to a quality arts education and a committed arts teacher is critical to our students’ success, which is why I am excited to announce that we have the most licensed arts teachers in 11 years, and have substantially increased arts programming for English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities. Instrumental to this effort is the Arts Matter program, an initiative that partners nearby schools — mostly located in high-needs communities — to share one or two full-time arts teachers. This program provides ongoing professional development and one-on-one discipline-specific mentoring by experienced teachers, as well as arts materials. This initiative stems from the administration’s additional $23 million annual investment in arts education. As a result, New York City now has a record number of full-time certified arts .com
teachers, a total of 2,757 in all pre-K through 12 schools. Moreover, spending in the arts increased to $399 million in the 2015-16 school year from $367 million in the year prior. Investments in the arts will improve academic outcomes for tens of thousands of our students. Also, the arts play a pivotal role in deepening the understanding and appreciation of other cultures and customs. As the world becomes more connected, a great education has to prepare students to think outside of the box — and the arts are an essential ingredient. High-quality arts education teaches our students important skills,and aligns with what they are learning in other classrooms. For example, performing a monologue can be the perfect exercise to help a student learning English to understand the complexities of language and communication and build poise and self-confidence. A great music program can encourage students to come to school, develop lifelong passions and hobbies, or simply encourage students to make new friends. I am proud to see our city making great strides in expanding access to the arts as part of our commitment to equity and excellence for all students. These investments will continue to provide hands-on learning that will teach our kids camaraderie, how to revise, edit, rehearse, and think critically — all skills that will help them thrive in school and in life.
In celebration of more than 31 years of service comes God's Love We Deliver Cookbook: Nourishing Stories and Recipes from Notable Friends, packed with family recipes and personal anecdotes from 75 supporters of God’s Love We Deliver. Contributors to the organization’s first-ever cookbook include Isabella Rossellini, Ina Garten, Danny Meyer, Michael Kors, Mario Batali, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci and many, many others. All proceeds from this initiative go directly to support the mission of God's Love We Deliver.
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Januar y 5 â€“ 11, 2017
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BY LENORE SKENAZY Oh 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, cellphones, genetically modified organisms! Non-organic 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. Okay, 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 the 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 told me in a phone interview. There’s a difference between large-scale, long-term, replicated studies, and the flyby-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? “There is a crisis in the field of biomedicine,” he writes, the crisis of “hypercompetitiveness.” We civilians tend to think of researchers sitting in their labs, conducting experiments with only humanity’s welfare in mind. But the truth is, 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. And increasingly, they are publishing results that cannot be replicated, either because the studies they did were too small to really measure a phenomenon, or were simply shoddy. 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,” said Kabat. Another problem plaguing modern science — or those of us trying to make sense of it — is the fact that 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.” Holy modified mangoes! Those aren’t about to kill us? See above again: Longest lifespans in history. 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.” Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker who authored the book, and founded the blog, Free-Range Kids (freerangekids.com).
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Januar y 5 – 11, 2017
TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones
Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell
Januar y 5 – 11, 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.