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VOLUME 30, NUMBER 01

JANUARY 12 – january 25, 2017

pirate sails! Image via Dept. of Design and Construction

This shot of the city’s reconstruction of Chambers St. that finished up in 2014 gives a hint of what residents of Warren St. will have to look forward to over the next two years — at least — starting in February.

Warren St warning! City plans 2-year rip-up

BY COLIN MIXSON The city will start ripping up Warren St. in February to make way for the replacement of the aging infrastructure below in a project that will leave locals enduring noise, dust, traffic jams, sidewalk closures and other hassles for at least the next two years. “It will be extremely difficult for the residents there,” said Bruce Ehrmann, a member of Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee. The Department of Design and Construction posted notices along the roadway between West St. and Broadway advertising the upcoming inconvenience on Dec. 27. The work will include the installation of new water mains, and the renovation of combined sewage lines below the street. New York’s first neighborhood, Downtown has some of the most ancient and break-prone water mains in the city, sonme of which are more than a century old. Warren St. itself — including the roadway’s curbs and sidewalks — will also be reconstructed, with some of its streetlights and traffic signals being replaced as well, according to the city. The Warren St. project comes amid an even larger rip up on Worth St. that’s expected to last at least until 2021, and on the heels of city work that saw Chambers St. torn up and repaved in a four-year

Fortenbaugh accuses IGY of industrial espionage in its bid to take over North Cove’s sailing school

BY COLIN MIXSON North Cove Marina manager Island Global Yachting tricked former Battery Park City sailing school operator Michael Fortenbaugh into giving IGY an all-access tour of his New Jersey sail club to help prepare its own winning bid to run new sailing programs at the marina, the salty seaman alleges. Fortenbaugh said he welcomed IGY Regional Director Simon Bryan for a visit to his Manhattan Yacht Club in New Jersey after Bryan dangled the prospect that he might be invited to take up his old post at North Cove, where he ran popular community sailing programs for two decades before IGY took over the marina in 2015

as a subcontractor for Brookfield Properties, which now holds the operating lease. But shortly after the commodore showed Bryan around, briefed him on how he runs his programs, and even allowed Bryan to take photos of his gear, IGY announced on Jan. 5 that it had cut a deal with Brookfield to operate its own sailing school at the BPC marina. “If they had said they were going to do their own sailing school, we wouldn’t have been so open,” said Fortenbaugh. After Florida-based Offshore Sailing School announced in November that it was scuttling the sailing program it had run at North Cove for the past two

Snow day!

years, Fortenbaugh — and many BPC sailing buffs — hoped this would be a chance for the beloved commodore to return to his home port to run the sailing school, an amenity which is required by the marina’s operating lease. Indeed, when Byran reached out to Fortenbaugh last October — before Offshore’s exit was even made public — the IGY exec requested the grand tour of the commodore’s New Jersey sailing school with the suggested intent of courting Fortenbaugh for a return to North Cove. “When [Bryan] came to me, he was giving us the impression he pirate sails Continued on page 10

Photo by Milo Hess

Saturday saw Lower Manhattan’s first big snow of the year, but the frigid flurry didn’t keep Downtowners indoors — or even away from the green market! For more neighborhood pics, see page 11.

warren st. Continued on page 16 1 M e t r o t e c h • N YC 112 0 1 • C o p y r i g h t © 2 0 17 N YC C o mm u n i t y M e d i a , L L C


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Short but full-bodied

New tower has fewer floors than allowed, but more units than expected BY DENNIS LYNCH Architects unveiled renderings on Jan. 6 of the slender, glass-encased, 70-story residential tower coming to 125 Greenwich St. at the corner of Thames St., just a stone’s throw from the World Trade Center complex. The tower is 15 stories lower than permitted by zoning — the architects at the firm of Rafael Vinoly traded height for a zoning variance that would allow for a larger footprint extending to the lot’s edge, creating larger floor plates on each floor. They also said that the lower height “provides a respectful adjacency to the World Trade Center complex buildings” and reduce shadows nearby. Structurally, the tower is supported by two I-beam-shaped walls, requiring for just four interior support columns. That allows for more flexible floor plans and the floorto-ceiling windows wrapping each floor. Renderings show chic, modern interiors and impressive views of Downtown and beyond. Hexagonal utility floors break up

Image via Rafael Vinoly

This swanky tower will be going up just a stone’s throw from the World Trade Center complex, but with a “respectfully” modest height, below what zoning allows.

the otherwise uniform façade in the middle of the tower, creating two volumes of condos. Amenities are located at the top of the tower and include conference rooms, fitness facilities including a squash court, a grotto, a library, a game area, and a “tech bar,” according to Raphael Vinoly. Retail space will make up the first three floors of the tower. The building will have 273 apartments, according to Bizzi + Partners Development, which is developing the site in partnership with SHVO and New Valley. That’s more than twice the 128 apartments Community Board 1 projected would be built at the site in early 2016. A half a mile away, Lightstone Group this week ditched its plan to build a mixed hotel and condo tower at 130 William St. in favor of an all-condo plan, bringing the count of residential units there up to 244 from 188, suggesting the boom of residential units in the neighborhood expected over the next year may be even bigger than estimated.

Image via Rafael Vinoly

The architects at the firm of Rafael Vinoly traded height for a zoning variance to allow for a larger groundfloor footprint extending to the lot’s edge, creating more room for retail.

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By Janel Bladow It’s the quiet month, when most of us lay low after spending too much and partying way too late. We make resolutions, thinking we’ll change our ways. Hey, if we didn’t enjoy all the eating, drinking, talking and gathering we’d be hermits ... and we certainly wouldn’t live in the most buzzed city in the world! (And its best neighborhood!) BLOCK PARTY… A couple dozen neighbors ventured out on Saturday night (Jan. 7) to come together for a little fun and reconnecting. Many of them met the first time four years ago when Hurricane Sandy rocked, socked and nearly swept away the neighborhood. Without electricity, they cleaned out their fridges, made a few dishes, and shared a candlelit evening of communal reverie. And a community group was born. Saturday, more faces and food were added to the party as the Brooklyn Bridge South Neighborhood Association reconnected neighbors. And in spite of the day-into-night snowfall, the event hosted by Lynda Davey and Alan Schiffres was voted a success. Jeremy’s Ale House donated wine, beer and sodas, while 55 Market sent over a couple of casseroles, and folks again brought a variety of dishes and desserts to the potluck. One much-discussed topic of concern was the new “Play Street” proposed for Peck Slip School. The scut-

tlebutt that the school plans to cover the historic cobblestones with mats to protect the children brought a lot of snickers and “you’ve got to be kidding me” jeers. The group’s president, Southbridge Towers resident Una Perkins, was thrilled with the turn-out and looks forward to more conversation about issues facing the neighborhood. CALLING ALL WATER BABIES… The South Street Seaport Museum (SSSM) launches its winter miniMATES sessions on Mondays (9–10 a.m.) and Thursdays (10–11 a.m.) through March 9, and its brand new Open Play Mondays (10 a.m.–1 p.m.) and Wednesdays and Thursdays (2–5 p.m.). Both programs are for tykes 18 months through 4-yearsold. MiniMATES includes story time, music, art projects and sensory play projects. The new Open Play is informal play time that allows children to enjoy the museum’s large space and fun toys whenever and as long as they like during the scheduled hours. Members are given an Open Play Club Card. But not to worry, drop-in-visit rates are also available. But this isn’t a dropoff babysitter service! Caregivers must come and stay with the children. Since the program first began, response has been great and the tots are enjoying their time at the museum,

Photo By Janel Bladow

Members of the Brooklyn Bridge South Neighborhood Association — including, left to right, hosts Lynda Davey and Alan Schiffres, treasurer Linda Roche, member Loretta White, spokesman Bryan Jung, president Una Perkins, secretary Zette Emmons, and member Vera Sung (member) — braved the snow on Saturday to meet up and reconnect.

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January 12 - 25, 2017

Image via South Street Seaport Museum

The South Street Seaport Museum launches its winter miniMates program for tykes 18 months through 4 years old, including story time, music, art projects and sensory play projects.

according to SSSM. With this being relatively new, an average of five to six kids participate in each session, but the museum hopes to see more little ones join the fun. “Children and parents come back to the miniMATES space each week, excited to start another session,” says Elena Pepe-Salutric, the Early Childhood Coordinator and Educator. For rates and registration, visit southstreetseaportmuseum.org/education/minimates. NEXT WESTERN… The Seaport Best Western is closed indefinitely “to refurbish.” But the real story — according to the scuttlebutt — is that the hotel went into bankruptcy and closed its doors on New Year’s Day. Cipriani restaurant group looked at the location but Howard Hughes Corporation is rumored to have swooped in and snatched up the building at auction. Word is the two corporate entertainment giants may be in talks — with Cipriani taking over the lobby level for a new dining experience. We’ll keep readers posted. AFFECTING CHANGE… Our tiny neighborhood has more community organizations than M&Ms has peanuts. Save Our Seaport (SOS), one of the first to align with neighborhood preservation back in 2010, called a meeting Tuesday night (Jan. 10) at Southbridge Towers because “The City’s handover of the Seaport continues … unless we stop it.” About 15 Seaport loyalists attended to discuss old news and new — everything from the South Street Seaport Museum’s longevity to SOS member-

ship, new bylaws, and the recent posting (and prompt removal) of “Rules and Guidelines” notices around Fulton and Front Sts. In case you missed them, black placards were bolted to the black bollards blocking road traffic. The rules — to be enforced by Seaport District Management (AKA Howard Hughes Corp.) security personnel — prohibit commercial photography, obscene language, running, rollerblading, loitering in groups of three or more, soliciting money, selling stuff outside a shop (read that as: not being a preferred HHC vendor), and on. After an eagle-eyed SOS committee member called Community Board 1, the Borough President’s office, and the Economic Development Corporation … viola! The signs suddenly disappeared. That success would fire up the inner community activist of almost anyone. Now the organization hopes public input can reconvene the defunct Seaport Working Group (SWG), formed by local politicians and community leaders four years ago to focus “on the future development of the South Street Seaport, Historic District and vicinity.” “We want to put out a call to get the Seaport Working Group back to work,” Michael Kramer a member of SOS steering committee told Seaport Report. To that end, the group is launching a campaign to get residents and neighborhood supporters to send letters to their elected officials. As one attendee said: “You need more than hotels and chain stores to attract people to the neighborhood.” Check out the SOS website for details: http://saveourseaport.org/. DowntownExpress.com


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Centre stage CB1 pushes to landmark 139 Centre St. as city plans redevelopment of its twin BY DENNIS LYNCH Amid fears that yet another luxury condominium tower will replace a century-old, city-owned building just outside the Tribeca East Historic District, Community Board 1 is pushing to landmark its architectural twin. CB1 voted at its December board meeting to ask the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to consider designating the building at 139 Centre Street for preservation, citing plans by the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to sell off its identical, city-owned neighbor at 137 Centre Street for redevelopment. The board’s Landmarks Committee cited the EDC’s plan to redevelop 137 Centre St. as a reason to preserve its neighbor, and noted both “were built to standards in context with surrounding municipal and other privately owned buildings” in the neighborhood. Simeon Bankoff, Director of the

Historic Districts Council said that although he supports CB1, the reasoning for landmarking 139 Centre St. in response to potential development at 137 Centre St. was “very flawed” and “not good planning.” “Why put more regulations on a private building if you’re letting the public building go?” he asked, though he conceded that landmarking 139 Centre St. would make designating 137 Centre St. as a landmark much easier. “I think [the LPC] would be hard put to reject 137 [Centre St.] on its merits as an architecturally and historically significant building, especially if you regarded its twin at 139 to be architecturally and historically significant,” he said. “Those buildings are very much what people think of when they think of Tribeca — they are just very strong early commercial buildings, and the main reason why the Tribeca historic districts were designated was to protect those types of buildings.”

Photo by Dennis Lynch

This city-owned building at 137 Centre St. could soon be replaced with a towering condominium, so CB1 is pushing to have its architectural twin at 139 Centre St. preserved as a landmark.

The LPC said it has received CB1’s letter, but precedent suggests it won’t decide in favor of the landmarking. The commission denied a request made jointly by the Tribeca Trust, CB1,

and Councilmember Margaret Chin to calendar the Tribeca East Historic District Extension — which included Centre stage Continued on page 7

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centre stage Continued from page 6

the two buildings â&#x20AC;&#x201D; for a vote in 2014. The founder and chairwoman of the Tribeca Trust, Lynn Ellsworth, doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t agree with the community boardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more tactic, calling the push to make 139 Centre St. an individual landmark â&#x20AC;&#x153;useless,â&#x20AC;? and arguing that it should be part of an extended historic district instead. The Tribeca Trust is currently filing a lawsuit against the LPC aimed at forcing it to schedule the Tribeca East extension for a vote, which Ellsworth said was the only way forward unless Chin can â&#x20AC;&#x153;cut a dealâ&#x20AC;? politically to move the process along. Ellsworth claimed that the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation made just such a deal with the city to calendar the South Village Historic District â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which the LPC established last month â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in exchange for the GVSHPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s support of transferring air rights from Pier 40 to the St. Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Terminal site. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The city met all those conditions and calendared it at rapid speed. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s never been that fast,â&#x20AC;? Ellsworth said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People have been waiting 15 years to be calendared, and in all of two weeks it happens? Obviously it was transactional. They were not doing it based on its merits, but based on the politics of the situation â&#x20AC;&#x201D;  they wanted [GVSHP] to stand down. So canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Margaret Chin make a deal for Tribeca?â&#x20AC;? A Chin staffer said that the councilmember absolutely still supports the Tribeca East Historic District Extension, and that in a letter to EDC president Maria Torres-Springer last October, she said that its plans for the property as they stand were completely unacceptable. The EDCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s current plans involve selling off the property to a private developer, along with 70,000 square feet in air rights â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or unused buildable vertical space â&#x20AC;&#x201D; from the neighboring, landmarked Engine Company 31 firehouse where Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV) is based. In her letter, Chin pointed out that the Request for Proposals (RFP) that the EDC issued for the 137 Centre St. site in early 2015 called for a â&#x20AC;&#x153;contextual development that would enhance the surrounding communitiesâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;respond to the needs of the community,â&#x20AC;? but that â&#x20AC;&#x153;a luxury condo tower does not meet the needs, and is not within the context,â&#x20AC;? of the surrounding area. â&#x20AC;&#x153;From the beginning of our conversation on 137 Centre St., I expressed clearly my preference for deeply affordDowntownExpress.com

able housing on this site,â&#x20AC;? Chin wrote to Torres-Springer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;At a time when affordable housing creation is a paramount goal of our City, I cannot support the use of this public asset for anything other than the creation of middle and low-income housing.â&#x20AC;? The EDC will need Chinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s support when the Council votes and proposed sale, since the Council tends to follow the vote of the member whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s district the sale is in. An EDC representative said the proposal was not final or approved and that it would continue to work with the community and elected officials to craft a proposal â&#x20AC;&#x153;that responds to neighborhood needs and meets the original goals of the RFP, including generating revenue to support Downtown Community Television Centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s programming and endowment, providing necessary neighborhood amenities, and ensuring a financially feasible development.â&#x20AC;? The EDC made no mention of two other â&#x20AC;&#x153;original goalsâ&#x20AC;? of the 2015 RFP â&#x20AC;&#x201D; namely the provision of Pre-K seats and ensuring that any residential proposal be mixed-use and mixedincome. Though Chinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s letter pointed out that Downtown doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need any more Pre-K seat, She stressed that â&#x20AC;&#x153;deeply affordable housingâ&#x20AC;? was more vital than ever in an area that has seen almost exclusively high-end residential development in recent years. The Tribeca Trust wants the city to convert 137 Centre St. as-is entirely to affordable housing. A consultant hired by the historic preservation group said the building could accommodate up to 66 units. For his part, Bankoff said there was â&#x20AC;&#x153;no reason why [137 Centre St.] could not be preserved and convertedâ&#x20AC;? for affordable housing. The building at 137 Centre St., which currently houses offices for several city agencies, was designed and built by the firm Schwartz and Gross along with 139 Centre St. in exactly the same style in 1911. The LPC has landmarked around a dozen of the firmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s buildings around the city, mostly in on the Upper West Side and in Harlem. Ellsworth said that the Tribeca Trust has had to revise its historic district extension maps multiple times to account for buildings that they wanted to protect being knocked down and replaced. Without action, there may not be much left to protect, she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;On every corner weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve moved the border because of demolitions, its going to be gone if they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do something,â&#x20AC;? Ellsworth said.

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Junk imitates art Artists turn offbeat Soho electronics store into interactive art project BY DENNIS LYNCH An artist has channeled her love for a legendary Soho electronics “junk” store into a two-month-long, constantly evolving art show at nearby gallery space Recess Activities. Motoko Fukuyama has tasked more than a dozen fellow artists with a mission: go to Argo Electronics on Canal St. with $100, pick out whatever you can buy for that price, and turn it into any sort of art piece you want. For the title of the project, Fukuyama adopted Argo Electronics’ slogan from their wacky commercials on YouTube: “You Never Know What Idea You Might Have” — and is filming the entire process for a documentary of the same name. “I basically took it literally, you know — ‘let’s go to Argo Electronics, and you never know what idea you might have,’” Fukuyama said. “I think that place is really inspiring, I think you go there and there’s all kinds of possibilities — could be about the history, materials, everything has such potential.” Artists have two days to work on their pieces at the Recess gallery space. Visitors are welcome to come watch them work and watch Fukuyama film them, so long as they’re okay with being in Fukuyama’s film. “If there’s something interesting that comes out of the interaction I would definitely like to use that as part of the film,” she said. When we stopped by Recess on Jan.

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Musician Aki Onda, center, picks out materials for his opening night improvised performance at Argo Electronics on Jan. 5, while Motoko Fukuyama, at right, films the process for her art project called “You Never Know What Idea You Might Have” — which is also the store’s slogan.

7, mixed-media artist Ryan Foerster was standing over a large table of finished and half-finished sculptures surrounded by Argo-sourced junk and photos Foerster took at the store. He’s incorporating the photos into his piece, which Fukuyama encouraged. She purposely gave the artists almost no rules or guide-

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Argo Electronics, a legendary Canal St. purveyor of electrical odd and ends, boasts so may eclectic offerings that they literally spill out onto the sidewalk.

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January 12 - 25, 2017

lines, noting that another artist was planning to incorporate some poetry inspired by Argo into her work. Foerster had a relatively straightforward method for deciding what to take back to Recess: “the most f****ed-up s*** you can find there,” he said. “I like the aesthetics of the entire store, so much s*** to look at.” Musician Aki Onda was the first artist to dive into the bins at Argo, on the project’s opening night, Jan.5. Surrounded by onlookers, Argo’s owner, and Fukuyama with her camera, the rubber-gloved musician pulled out old broken telephones, tape players, speakers, and other colorful trinkets he found in the depths of the store. Back at Recess, he improvised an elaborate instrument — he wired speakers to harness their vibrations to create physical noisemakers, and laid out everything he found in a pleasingly organized, chromatic arrangement on the table. Fukuyama first discovered Argo Electronics after going to a since-closed sister store in the Bronx to repair her Panasonic camera in the early 2000s.

The repairman forgot a screw, so owner Zdislav David Lasevski, showed up at her door himself to pick up the camera to add the screw. She kept coming back and got to know Lasevski. In 2012, he let her shoot a horror movie at an empty grocery store he owned upstate that he was using to store merchandise from his recently closed Brooklyn Army Terminal location. Lasevski is reason alone to stop by Argo. The Polish-born Israeli orphan was a sailor in his younger days, but when his boat landed in New Jersey and he fixed his eyes on New York City for the first time, he grabbed his suitcase and jumped ship. He became a technician in factory, working on machine tools. One fateful day in the late 1970s, Lasevski went to Argo for a component he needed to repair and resell some calculators. He was haggling with the owner over the price when the exasperated owner told him he could have the whole place for $4,000. Lasevski took art junk Continued on page 10

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TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones

Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell

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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.

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

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

Reading

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

January 12 - 25, 2017

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pirate sails Continued from page 1

wanted to talk to us about the possibility of our coming back to North Cove,” Fortenbaugh said. “His exact words were, ‘You look like you have a really nice setup, I suppose you wouldn’t be interested in coming back to North Cove?’” Following his overture about moving back across the Hudson, IGY’s regional director questioned Fortenbaugh for more than an hour, asking him about his operation and his experience at North Cove, before requesting a tour of Manhattan Yacht Club, during which time he took numerous photos of the club, Fortenbaugh said. During the tour, Bryan specifically asked to be shown certain well-known amenities that formerly served North Cove when Fortenbaugh was there, including a floating clubhouse, called The Classroom, and the club’s yact, Arabella. In retrospect, Fortenbaugh said he can only conclude that Bryan’s suggestion of a return to North Cove was a false pretext to cover a mission of industrial espionage, he said. “He was very well briefed. He knew about our floating clubhouse we used to have at North Cove, he asked to see our Arabella. So, he had been briefed by somebody,” said Fortenbaugh. “In the end, Brookfield never gave us any offer, and they’re creating their own sailing school in-house, so there’s no other way to look at it than he was coming over to see how we do it.” Fortenbaugh said he was flabbergasted when Brookflield announced at a Community Board 1 meeting last week that it would handle the sailing-school

art junk Continued from page 8

him up on the offer, and 20 years later he bought the whole building. Canal St. was “all army surplus and electronic stores” when he bought Argo, Lasevski recalls, but now the eclectic shop one of the last store of its kind there. It doesn’t make much money, but Lasevski said he can’t let go. “When I was on the ship, another seaman was a momma’s boy and he met a bad girl out on the shore and brought her back on the ship and they let her stay on for our trips, and she was fooling around with everyone. We’d say ‘your wife is with the captain,’ ‘your wife is with this person or that person,’ and he’d just put his hands to his side and say ‘what can I do? I love her,’” Lasevski said. “It’s the same thing with me and the store. I could do anything I want, anything else, but I love it.”

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program at North Cove in-house. He called the decision “a farce” and blasted IGY for its lack of experience running a boating academy. “IGY is a mega-yacht company,” Fortenbaugh said. “They have no experience running a sailing school.” A spokesman for Brookfield said that IGY did assist the company in interviewing prospective sailing-school operators, but didn’t address Fortenbaugh’s accusations of trickery and illicit reconnaissance, saying only that it believed the decision to keep the sailing school in-house was best for the community. “Collectively, we evaluated ten potential operators, including the Manhattan Yacht Club,” said Brookfield spokesman Andrew Brent. “Ultimately, Brookfield decided that a single organization running the marina and sailing school would make for the most successful, streamlined, economically sound, and community-responsive program possible.” Ironically, that’s exactly what North Cove enjoyed for a decade with Fortenbaugh — until his unceremonious ouster two years ago. Fortenbaugh operated the sailing school at North Cove since the mid1990s, and he took over management of the entire marina as well in 2005, after he answered a call from the Battery Park City Authority for plans to revitalize the marina in the wake of 9/11. But the BPCA declined to renew his lease at the end of 2014 — much to the consternation of the commodore’s devoted fans — and handed the marina contract to Brookfield Properties, which runs the nearby high-end shopping center Brookfield Place. Brookfield then promptly sub-con-

Property taxes and other expenses are taking their toll on his business though. Online shopping and the advent of the all-in-one entertainment devices like the iPad have killed demand for radio tuners, amplifiers, and turntables, he said. Lasevski says he has no immediate plans to sell off the building and retire to Florida with the profits, but you can never know how much time is left to visit Argo — a trip that Fukuyama called a necessity for anyone who comes to Recess to see her project. Fukuyama will screen “You Never Know What Idea You Might Have,” at the closing reception on March 2 from 6–8 p.m. at Recess Activities (41 Grand St. between Thompson and W. Broadway). All the artists’ pieces will be on display at the closing reception. Check out Recess’s website, www.recessart.org, for dates of musical performances that are part of the project.

File photo by Milo Hess

Michael Fortenbaugh (inset) ran the sailing school at North Cove Marina for 20 years until he was ousted at the end of 2014 when the BPCA handed the marina contract to Brookfield properties, which promptly outsourced the work to IGY, whose chairman is one of the largest contributors to Gov. Cuomo, who appoints the BPCA’s board.

tracted the management of the marina out to Island Global Yachting — whose chairman, Andrew Farkas, is one of the largest contributors to Gov. Cuomo, who appoints the BPCA’s board. It was IGY that outsourced the required sailing program to Florida-based Offshore Sailing School, which bailed on the job after two years. In another whiff of irony, Brookfield’s statement announcing its decision to have IGY operate the new sailing school pointed to Bryan’s close working relationship with Offshore while it operated at North Cove, suggesting that he’d learned enough from observing that operation to run his own program. “IGY Regional Director Simon

Bryan has been intimately involved with the sailing school for the past two years and will remain so going forward,” a statement from Brookfield read. Despite Fortebaugh’s criticisms, Brookfield won cautious support for its decision from some members of CB1’s Battery Park City Committee with promises to work with community members and seek input from BPC residents on running the program, according to committee member and CB1 chairman Anthony Notaro. “The fact that Brookfield and IGY are willing to work with us, I think we can work through some of these issues,” said Notaro. “I think it’s a reasonable alternative.”

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Aki Onda’s finished piece is visual and aural, comprised of ambient improvised noise and curious artifacts he dug out of Argo Electronics’ bins.

DowntownExpress.com


Downtown snow day First winter storm of 2017 dumps the white stuff

(Clockwise from right) Temperatures dropped into the low 20s on Jan. 7 and Manhattan saw 5.1 inches of snow in an allday flurry that resulted in a near white-out of the view across the Hudson from Tribeca. The mayor warned cars to stay off the roads, but that didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t deter this Downtowner from plying the slush on his bike. And the winter storm provided free refrigeration for the local farmers market.

Photos by Milo Hess

COMING2 FIFTH IN AVENUE, SEPTEMBER OF 2017 NEW YORK NY 10011

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 DowntownExpress.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 January 12 - 25, 2017

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kNIFE RIdER A knife-wielding reprobate beat and slashed a man on a northbound 3 train near the Park Place Subway Station on Jan. 8. The victim, 26, told police that he boarded the train at Wall St. at 9:15 p.m., then took a seat and nodded off. But the man was in for rude awakening at the hands of the blade-toting wacko, who singled out the sleepy straphanger and demanded his seat after the doors opened at the station near Broadway, cops said. “Give me that seat mother f-----, a-----,” the delinquent barked. When the victim refused, the nut job attacked, cracking him once with the butt of the knife handle, before slashing him on the head, cops said. The miscreant slugged his victim a few more times before the hapless commuter tucked his tail between his legs and headed for a safer car on the train, according to police. At 72nd St., the victim departed and sought help, and the knife-wielding creep fled for parts unknown, cops said.

YOU’RE FIREd! Cops are hunting a worker who allegedly ripped off a Greenwich St. department store to the tune of $1,036 beginning Dec. 28. A manager told police that the suspect worked at the store between Murray St. and Park Pl., where she made a habit of making fraudulent charges on the register and pocketing the cash. The wicked worker’s crime spree only lasted for two days before her managers caught on, and now cops are out looking to book her, according to police.

MEdIvAC A shoplifter pulled a knife on employees of a Broadway drug store after he was caught pilfering pills on Jan. 1. Employees told police that the crook was inside the pharmacy between Murray St. and Park Pl. at 11:42 p.m., when he was spotted pulling medicine off the counter and stuffing the meds into his jacket. When workers confronted him, the crook turned to violence and pulled a knife, which convinced employees to let him slip out with his ill-gotten goods, cops said. No injuries occurred, according to police.

CANdY CRUSH Cops busted two men after they

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allegedly left each other bloodied and bruised inside a Fulton St. candy store on Jan. 2. The mutual assailants, a customer and an employee, were arguing inside the shop between William and Nassau Sts. at 4:30 a.m., when things escalated and weapons were drawn, according to police. The patron, wielding a knife, slashed and stabbed the employee, cops said. The worker, meanwhile, took up a metal bar, which he used to thrash his belligerent customer, according to police. Following the fracas, both men were booked on felony assault charges, cops said.

CAUTIONARY TALE Cops busted a man and woman for allegedly beating each other aboard a train at a Broadway subway station on Jan. 4. The pair were riding the rails near the station at John St. at 5:10 p.m., when they began whacking away at one another, the man wielding a mirror and the woman swinging a “Caution Sign,” according to police. Both were arrested on felony assault charges following the brawl, and the woman had to get four stitches as a result of the blows she received from the glass mirror, cops said.

HANdBAg HERO Cops busted an alleged purse-snatcher after a hero bystander sprang into action on Beaver St. on Jan. 9. The victim told police that she was near Broadway at 1:40 p.m., when the suspect ambushed her from behind and grabbed her bag according to police. The woman, however, wasn’t giving up her valuables without a fight and held onto the bag as the suspect knocked her to the ground and dragged her for about 10 feet, cops said. Before the miscreant could make good on his escape, a good Samaritan sprang into action and restrained the suspect long enough for police to arrive and slap the cuffs on, cops said.

CHERRY PICkEd Some crook drove off with a rented cherry picker from a Greenwich St. construction site on Dec. 15. An employee told police that the truck was left locked and secured at the site at 9 a.m. that day, but the rented $16,000 vehicle was later discovered stolen. — Colin Mixson DowntownExpress.com


DowntownExpress.com

January 12 - 25, 2017

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E D ITO R IAL

Subtext: A dictionary of Subway terms By LENORE SKENAY Publisher

Jennifer Goodstein Editor

Bill Egbert REPORTERs

Colin Mixon Dennis Lynch Arts Editor

Scott Stiffler Advertising

Amanda Tarley Account Executives

Gayle Greenburg Jim Steele Julio Tumbaco Art Director

Michael Shirey Graphic Designer

Cristina Alcine Photographers

Milo Hess Jefferson Siegel Publisher EMERITUS

John W. Sutter

Published by

NYC Community Media, LLC ONE METROTECH CENTER New york, NY 11201 Phone: (212) 229-1890 Fax: (212) 229-2790 www.downtownexpress.com news@downtownexpress.com Downtown Express is published every week by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech Center North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11201 (212) 229-1890. The entire contents of the newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2016 Community Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR 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 other errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.

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

© 2016 Community Media, LLC

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To celebrate the opening of the Second Avenue Subway, we have commissioned the first New York Guide to Subway Jargon. Here it is — after 98 years in the making! Sick passenger (noun): Patently lame excuse for lateness. “I meant to call you on your birthday, but there was a sick passenger on the train ahead of us.” Zizmor (noun): A blemish or disfigurement that causes the stomach to lurch. “When I finally pulled the leech off my nose it left an oozing Zizmor.” Hand shame (verb): To accidentally grab the pole where someone else is already grabbing it. Kinky pinky (verb): To deliberately grab the pole where someone else is already grabbing it. Hangry birds (noun, plural): Hunger pangs activated by the smell of someone else’s fried chicken. See also: “Colonel Knowledge” (knowing that someone on the train is carrying KFC, but not being visually able to locate the source). Grampification (noun): The shock one feels upon being offered a seat by someone you thought was your age. (Fem: Grammafication) Doork (noun): Dork who blocks the door without realizing it. Joork (noun): Jerk who knows he’s blocking the door but keeps standing there, watching people maneuver around him. Bunwich (noun): The very tight space between two other commuters. Snudge (noun): A real nudge pretending to be inadvertent.

Train traffic ahead (noun): Colloquial for, “Brace yourself for bad news.” E.g., “The boss called a special meeting for 3 o’clock today. Could be train traffic ahead.” Nod squad (noun, plural): Two or more passengers napping on the same bench. Warm shoulder (noun): The shoulder a stranger has fallen asleep on. Sniff & run (noun): An extremely under-populated car surrounded by extremely overcrowded cars. Grudge budge (noun): The grimace made by a person who must move over an inch to make room for you. Grudge buddies (noun, plural): The bonding emotion felt by former grudge budger and grudgee when they have to make room for someone else. BBB (adj.): Short for “Baby Bump Blindness.” Failing to notice an 8-months-pregnant woman standing in front of you while you sit playing Candy Crush. Blobstacle (noun): Escalator rider who stands on the left side, not moving. ROTFL (noun): Anything “Rolling on the Floor Loudly,” e.g., an empty Snapple bottle. Point and shoo (verb): To indicate a wet or sticky spot on the seat before someone sits down. New natives (noun, plural): People who got on just one stop before you,

but act as if they own the seat. L-and-back (noun): A hipster. Literally, someone who takes the L back and forth to their coding job. Tooth squad (noun, plural): Individuals dedicated to blacking out the teeth of smiling news teams on subway ads. Bubbleheads (noun, plural): Individuals who add word and thought bubbles to posters, usually referencing the president, police, or private parts. NJ devils (noun, plural): Young people from New Jersey who drink in Greenwich Village then add devil horns to PATH train posters before vomiting and heading home. Box shock (adj.): To be suddenly awakened by a boom box and someone’s sneakers swinging near your nose. Family dollar (verb): To give a single dollar to a subway performer or performers on behalf of all the members of your family. Post-a-boo (verb): To sneak a peek at your neighbor’s Post. Peek-a-News (verb): To sneak a peek at your neighbor’s Daily News. A.M. mayhem (noun): Being offered an A.M. New York by three or more people on your way into the train. Suspicious package (noun): Male standing too close. Second Ave. (verb): To take longer than anyone thought possible. “I ordered my burger at 4 and they Second Avenued it at 11!” Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker, founder of the book and blog FreeRange Kids, and a contributor at Reason.com.

Posted To [Editor’s note: Due to the striking similarity in sentiment and style between “JJ’s” comments and a certain Presidentelect’s tweets, we can only conclude that the soon-to-be Leader of the Free World is an avid reader of Downtown Express. Hello, Mr. Trump!]

Road work: CB1 working group to mull closure of Edgar St. for new Trinity Place School (Dec.19) a very bad idea, poorly thought out and simplistic JJ

Big sale at Brookfield Place: Developer putting 49-percent stake on block for $2.45B (Dec. 16) Brookfield — hope they get out of the marina business, they have no clue how to run North Cove marina JJ

Wagner wrangling: CB1 committee pushes back on proposals for BPC’s backyard (Dec. 19) This is worthless if the rest of lower Manhattan doesn’t have barriers .

The tidal surge will find another entrance and creep back down to BPC and the park anyway. This “idea” must’ve been drawn out in crayons JJ

Drain the Trump: Virtual flood swamps the Trump Building to protest president-elect’s cabinet picks (Dec. 29) Sierra Club = self-hating frauds JJ posted Continued on page 16

DowntownExpress.com


E D ITO R IAL

All Dolled Up For Operation Orange Don Start learning Russian, Amerika! BY MA X BURBANk On Friday, January 20, our long national plummet down the rabbit hole comes to an end, and all signs point to a very hard landing in Wonderland. Congress and the president-elect have promised to “hit the ground running” — but that rarely happens when your chute fails to open on the way down. That’s a crap metaphor, I know. Alice wasn’t skydiving; but if she had been? And she represented the American Experiment as we have known it? And her parachute was the transition? Well, the American Experiment would be boned, my friends, ’cause that is one tangled-ass chute that wouldn’t stop a four-pound paratrooper kitten from splattering like a watermelon at a Gallagher concert. See what happened there? My out of control metaphor just killed a kitten! And Gallagher! Jesus wept — do you even know who that is!? It’s possible I haven’t slept since November 8. The point is, we’re entering uncharted territory. There’s no historical precedent, and any pundit who tells you they know where we are headed probably told you a Trump victory was a demographic impossibility. I know I did. So let me tell you where we’re headed. I’ll give you three hints: It’s very cold a lot of the time, the national dish is a bowl of borscht with a side of misery, and it’s Russia. We all know that Trump literally has a shirtless equestrian Putin poster over his bed which he stares at dreamily while writing “Mrs. Donald Putin” all over his notebooks.

He could care less that all of our national intelligence organizations now agree Putin personally ordered a cyberattack on the election designed to undermine faith in the democratic process and discredit Clinton. Trump insists the Russians didn’t do it, because Julian Assange told Sean Hannity they didn’t. So, a professional Russian conduit told Trump’s Minister of Propaganda that Kremlin house organ WikiLeaks did not get their info from Russia. Listen, when a sewage pipe tells you the stuff flowing through it isn’t crap? Don’t believe it. Trump doesn’t; not really. But he actively wants you to believe 17 US Intelligence agencies aren’t credible, and an albino fugitive sex offender he once called a spy and accused of espionage is. Why would he want that? What’s the endgame here? Stick with me. That bastion of liberal hysteria, The Wall Street Journal, reports that when Trump isn’t busy midnight tweet-slapping celebrities, he’s working on a plan to “pare back” and “reorganize” the nation’s top spy agencies. Once he gets rid of staff currently keeping tabs on Russia, what caliber of people will he replace them with? Who can say? But Trump’s chief advisor on the project is Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a gentleman who believes Hillary Clinton ran a child sex trafficking ring out of a pizza place called Comet Ping Pong. Trump is also calling for all Obama appointees, including ambassadors and leadership positions at the NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) to clear out their

AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

A popular matryoshka “nesting” doll depicts Russia successfully devouring the US presidency.

DowntownExpress.com

desks by Inauguration Day. It’s typical to ask for letters of resignation — but also to leave staffers in place until replacements have been appointed and confirmed so someone can be, oh, I don’t know, RUNNING agencies necessary to our national security? This process can take months, years — sometimes, entire presidential terms. And then there’s Rex Tillerson: Presumptive Secretary of State, former ExxonMobil CEO and, wait for it, recipient of the Russian Order of Friendship, a medal physically pinned to his chest by Vladimir Putin. See, the Russians were super grateful to Tillerson for brokering a massive oil deal, but then these pesky sanctions put the kibosh on that over some petty nonsense about annexing Crimea. Of course, it might be possible to lift those sanctions if you were pals with the Secretary of State. Why would a president-elect, regardless of their political beliefs, flack relentlessly for Putin, take Russia and Assange at their word while denigrating and hamstringing US Intelligence, appoint Putin’s bestie Secretary of Sate, and leave our international, security, and nuclear agencies without leadership for an indeterminate amount of time? It’s like his game plan is to empower the Russians and weaken us. Why? Simple: Operation Red Dawn. Operation Orange Dawn? Operation Orange Don. There we go. That’s the ticket. I know it sounds crazy, it makes no political sense, but it doesn’t have to. It’s not political. It’s just business. It’s the art of the deal, the yugest, most beautiful deal in history. See, American banks stopped bankrolling Trump quite some time ago, due probably to his constitutional aversion to paying his bills. Somehow he’s managed to stay in the game. How? He went to a loan shark. Here’s how Donald Trump Jr. put it as far back as 2008 (as quoted in notorious supermarket tabloid The Washington Post, citing clickbait trade publication eTurboNews): “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” Here’s the thing about loan sharks: When they call their marker in, you can’t refuse and sue them. They tend to rough you up a little, maybe break your leg, maybe murder everyone in your family while you watch. It’s kind of a whim-based business practice. As of press time, it turns out there might be a little blackmail involved as well. Nice presidency you’ve got there, Mr. Trump. It would be a shame if surveillance video documenting your enthusiasm for the works of R. Kelly ever came out. Operation Orange Don isn’t as exciting as the movie “Red Dawn.” It’s not an invasion, per se. It’s more like “Amerika,” a little-remembered 1987 ABC miniseries, where we gradually became part of the greater Soviet Union by way of being a client state. It was slow, boring, and the production values sucked, which is probably a really good description of the next four to eight years — if we’re super lucky. January 12 - 25, 2017

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Dates: Thurs., Jan. 12–Wed., Jan. 28

ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES ARE SUSPENDED MONDAY FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY

Image via Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou’s office

A brand Niou day Newly minted Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou solemnly took her oath of office in Albany on Jan. 4, officially becoming the first Asian American to represent the 65th District, which includes Chinatown, in the Assembly. Niou cruised to victory in November in the race for the seat once held by disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, having defeated incumbent Alice Cancel and four other challengers in the September Democratic primary.

posted Continued from page 14

Enough with the anti-Trump garbage. Those obsessed with Trump are acting like narcissistic spoiled brats. He won. Let him govern. Then, if needed, the results of his policies can be criticized (or praised). Jan David

AWOL-KWARD! Former CB1 chair’s absenteeism could lead to removal from board (Jan. 2) “her hands-on style of governing” You’re being kind. How about “control freak”? “If this was anyone else, they’d be removed.” – Clearly, CB1 current leaders are playing favoritism here. Avila gets dropped, but their little Cathy doesn’t? And why not report the real reason why she suddenly resigned and has disappeared! Lots of the board members know it. Why not the public? CB1er

MTA to extend M1 bus 16

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route south to Worth St. (Oct. 25) Return of M1 to South Ferry. It deserved to be extended to South Ferry. M1 was discontinued to South Ferry due to MTA service cut in 2010. Return M1 to South Ferry make sense.. let extended M1 back to South Ferry. Why was it cut back in 2010? Don’t know. sunny The only thing is that LIMITEDSTOP SERVICE should be eliminated on the M1 while the M2 LIMITED needs to beef up service where a bus arrives every 6 minutes at Peaks and 8 minutes at Off Peak Hours. Fredrick Wells However, maybe the M1 should revert to South Ferry during rush hours. Moreover, these downtown crosstown busses should get changes such as the M21, M22, so on etc., yet TBH the M1 should be extended to City Hall to supplement the M103. In conclusion, there should be a combination of the M10/20 and even the future m5/55 Zeide Ankrah

These are the best of times after the worst of times for traffic Downtown. Though last month was a challenge for commuters, January and February are the lightest months of the year. Barring snow, major crashes, or tunnel closures, the difference should be noticeable. But going from an average 5 mph to 8 mph won’t get your heart racing. You will be able to race through the toll plaza of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, though, now that those dropdown “arms” are gone and construction is wrapping up, with the plaza mostly dismantled. Reducing delays at the BBT will mean more traffic on West St. Another reason to support the MOVE NY Plan. Our crazy toll structure sends tens of thousands of cars and trucks through Lower Manhattan unnecessarily from Brooklyn to New Jersey. Go to iheartmoveny.org for more details. Lower Manhattanites can also benefit by the new Second Avenue Subway.  Catch the Q train at Canal St. or 14th St. (late night service at Prince and 8th St.NYU) and zip to 63rd, 72nd, 86th and 96th St. stations along Second Ave.

warren st. Continued from page 1

reconstruction that dragged on for nearly a year longer than originally planned. Locals are expecting the construction to be a massive source of frustration over the coming years, according to one longtime Tribeca resident. “It makes walking around as a pedestrian extremely difficult,” said Karen Stamm. “It’s really a huge burden for everybody.” Members of CB1’s Tribeca Committee were riled after being informed by a city rep on Wednesday that a contractor had already been signed up before consulting the board, despite requests following the Worth St. rip up for CB1 to be involved before the planning process is complete. “[The contractor] bids on the contract to finish it as quickly as possible to make the most money he can,” said board member Marc Ameruso, speaking to rep from the city’s Department of Design and Construction. “If he can do it in two-and-half years and he has

At the Brooklyn Bridge, along the main bridge the Brooklyn-bound left lane will close 6 a.m.–3 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and the Manhattan-bound right lane on the main bridge will close 10 a.m.–2 p.m. E trains will run along the F line from midnight Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. There will be no L trains running between 14th St-Union Sq. and 8th Ave. from 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly. Crosstown travelers can take the M14 bus instead. Remember that Monday is a Summons Alert Day! Most schools and offices will enjoy yet another threeday weekend, making it an especially quiet one for traffic. But don’t forget, MLK Day is another one of those tricky holidays when alternate-side-parking rules will be suspended, but all other rules (except maybe parking by schools) remain in effect. This confuses people every year, making MLK Day big for summonses — a Transit Sam SAD day. Solution: for the year-round rundown on ASP dates, SAD days, and other important traffic info, get your free 2017 Gridlock Sam Parking Calendar as a download or in print for just a shipping and handling fee ($4 for 1 calendar; $5 for 5; $6 for 10) at www.gridlocksam. com. Alternatively, send a check to Gridlock Sam, 322 Eighth Ave., Fifth Floor, New York, NY 10001.

to work on nights and weekends, then screw the public! The fact that the public is not involved until that decision is a fait accompli is what the problem is ... we should be involved before that so the contractor knows that nights and weekends are not acceptable.” The one-way street’s single traffic lane will remain open to motorists, but drivers should expect to see parking along the four affected blocks to be axed to accommodate work, and keep an eye out for new “No Parking” signs posted along the route. Stops for the M9 and M5 buses, as well as express bus service may need to be relocated temporarily. Locals and drivers should expect to see work between 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday–Friday, along with occasional weekend and overnight work. Nearby residents may also experience interruptions to their water service, with advisories posted 72 hours before service shutdowns, and garbage collection will also be affected, according to the city. DowntownExpress.com


Resistance is Fertile Artists activate in the Age of Trump

Photo by Stephen Anthony Elkins

Photo by Stephen Anthony Elkins

Peyton Berry’s “Incurable Activism” has two women differing on how much is enough in the effort to improve Black Lives.

A film about the Black Lives Matter movement gets mixed reviews before the screening even starts, in Astoria-based playwright Esther Ko’s “With Allies Like This...”

BY SCOTT STIFFLER Divisive and downright ugly from the first primary to the final tally, last year’s presidential election had supersized portions of the key ingredients one would expect to find in a meaty theatrical drama: conflict, contrast, and the quest for power. With these elements still very much in play after November 8, the flabbergasted duo behind feminist theater company The Dirty Blondes had no question as to how they would answer the president-elect: cancel the production booked for January, and heed the call of an ominous new muse. “We were planning to produce a show about Britney Spears,” said artistic director Ashley Jacobson, “but we decided to put all our resources toward supporting a political project.” Embarking on that course correction didn’t take long: “I think

ticipants spent much of the holiday season creating nine new plays and seven solo performances based on their experiences before and after the presidential election. At the helm is Miami-born, Astoria-based musical theater bookwriter Rebecca Aparicio, who is no stranger to the task of bringing disparate voices into harmony. The bluegrass band she formed with her husband, Alabama native and guitarist/vocalist Stephen Anthony Elkins, gigs weekly at Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails (367 Third Ave., btw. E. 26th & 27th Sts.). “Our banjo player is from Poland,” said Aparicio of Wild Magnolia, “and our mandolin player is a Dominican from the Bronx. We have a Cuban girl, me, on the washboard, and a Japanese fiddle player.” The band is not the only collaborative project with her husband. They created “Pedro Pan,” a bilingual children’s

DowntownExpress.com

we made the determination on November 10,” Jacobson recalled. “We had just cast the show and were going into rehearsals. I was in a little bit of a stupor after the election; surprised and scared and crying, ‘I can’t get my sh**t together for a show about Britney Spears!’ So I talked with [executive director] Elizabeth [Sarkady], and we said, ‘Let’s do something else.’ ’’ With 52 percent of white women having voted for Trump (a demographic both Blondes fit snugly into), “that was a reminder to look at the conversations we were participating in, and whether or not we were leading or listening. So we want to take a step back creatively, and support a space for particularly threatened and marginalized artists to speak.” Playing the East Village’s Kraine Theater through January 15, “The Resister Project” came together over the past several weeks, as its 49 par-

musical based on the struggles of children sent, alone, to the US as a means of escaping 1960s Cuba (the show was a critical and audience favorite at the 2015 New York Intentional Fringe Festival). As to how she became a producer on “The Resister Project,” Aparicio noted a call to action made on Facebook right after the election. “I had this idea that anybody who wanted to write or perform could have [a platform for] a cathartic reaction,” Aparicio recalled, “and I wanted it to happen before the inauguration.” “So many took to it [social media] to vent,” Jacobson said. “This show came together because of that. At least it reminds us that there is some good in having such a large community at your fingertips.” “I think it’s only going to become Resistance continued on p. 20 January 12 - 25, 2017

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Here, There Be (Peripherally) Dragons Shows the mythical creatures sorta figure into 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 paying dividends. Presented as part of the New York Theatre Festival’s Winterfest, “Dragon Slayer” is as much of a hybrid as the titular flying, fire-breathing creature of legend — an alternately fizzy and frank 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 snarky “I Love a Jerk” song is one of the show’s highlights). Callous Lenny suffers a crisis of confidence similar to the knight in his musical, who can’t face another dragon

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January 12 - 25, 2017

Photo by Martin Argyroglo

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

once the magician who gave him his powers is revealed as a fraud. Zany, lifealtering chaos ensues in the second act, as damsels and villains from this fantasy 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. Sat., Jan. 14 & 21 at 3:30pm. At Hudson Guild Theatre (459 W. 26th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.). For tickets ($18) and show info, visit 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 wonder that you just can’t get from thrill rides and midway concessions. Further

Photo by Russ Rowland Photography

The cast of “Dragon Slayer The Musical” straddles the worlds of pure imagination and harsh reality.

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.” 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. DowntownExpress.com


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, Breaking into the Industry, Street Influence, DowntownExpress.com

Photos 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.

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 taillength 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.” 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. FASHION DESIGNERS continued on p. 21 January 12 - 25, 2017

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Resistance continued from p. 17

stronger and continue to be a force in how people get connected, artistically,” Aparicio said of electronic outreach, adding that after the production closes on January 15, “We plan on building a website and uploading the plays that were chosen and not chosen. The idea is that someone in another state can produce their own ‘Resister,’ and we can keep this project alive beyond our work.” First things first, though. Last weekend’s launch of “The Resister Project” included Nelson DiazMarcano’s “Abbie Jones & That Jorge Kid,” in which a woman is torn between loyalty to her white supremacist brother and her Mexican boyfriend. Cat Crowley’s “Nasty Bitch Radio” is set in a feminist underground broadcasting studio — ground zero, the playwright noted, for a revolutionist response to “Trump’s dystopian America, where women are classified on a scale of 1-10.” Solo performers Julia BarclayMorton and Hayden Kristal  were also on the bill — and at the Jan. 7 show, ReEmergent Theater company (a community in collaboration with those emerging from prison) moderated a talkback session following a monologue by member Juan Carlos Hincapie, who was released after serving 25 years for a crime he did not commit. Among this weekend’s Thurs.– Sun. performances will be Ricky W hitcomb’s “What’s On Your Mind,” which follows Facebook users from the time Clinton won Iowa to November’s very bitter end — posting, commenting, and doing plenty of unfriending. In Ashley Lauren Rogers’ “Fight or Flight,” Bear Spiegel serve as the lone cast member. “I’m not saying I stabbed

you because we disagree politically,” says the non-binary Skye while tracing the roots of Thanksgiving Day toxicity with dad. “I stabbed you because the first thing that happened when I got in from New York, after a five-hour bus ride, the first thing you did was start chanting ‘Trump, Trump, Trump.’ ” After the Jan. 12 show, representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will lead the talkback. On Fri. and Sun., the evening’s playwrights and actors will engage with the audience — and on Sat., members of Smoke and Mirrors Collaborative will talk about their online and theater work addressing issues including HIV, national security, immigration, and the role of technology in forming human relationships. Hopefully, these talkback sessions will keep us all from taking a page from Skye’s playbook, instead embracing The Dirty Blondes’ mission to help artists and audiences “participate in a dialogue that bears on their experience and pushes the conversation further.” It’s a goal of civil but unapologetic activism that Aparicio hopes will become the real takeaway from “Resister,” which she noted has evolved from a shared sense of frustration on social media to “a community that extended beyond anyone’s circle of friends, uniting individuals who felt that they had no voice in the postTrump world.” “The Resister Project” plays Thurs., Jan. 12 through Sun., Jan. 15, all shows 7pm, at The Kraine Theater (85 E. Fourth St., btw. Second Ave. & Bowery). For tickets ($15), visit horsetrade.info. Proceeds go to the American Civil Liberties Union. For artist info, visit thedirtyblondes.org.

Theater for the New City • 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net

Count On It

“Political Economy and the Mind/Body Problem”

Showing: January 11 - 14 at 8:00 PM January 15 at 3:00 PM Part 1 -”Do what you really want to do - oh really?” Part 2 - “It shouldn’t be hard it should be easy” Part 3 - “The guy alone in the room with all the newspapers” Part 4 - “The accident that is ready to happen - now it has”

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The Thunderbird

American Indian Dancers “Traditional music, dances and stories of The Native Peoples of North America”

Showing: January 27, 28, 29 and February 3, 4, 5 Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM ~and~ Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 PM

January 12 - 25, 2017

Verses at Work

“An exhilarating show in the vein of Hip-Hop Theater”

Showing: January 19th - February 5 2016 Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM Sundays 3:00PM

And A ’60s Child Shall Lead Them

Photo by Susan Weiman

Set the right tone for our Trump times, at this Cornelia Street Café Inauguration Day event.

The people who were little more than children during the Age of Aquarius have grown up to become the adults in the room, and they’ve formed their own response to Trump. “What Were the ’60s REALLY Like?” is an evening of spoken word and performance. Never one to sit out a chance to stand up, K (the performance persona of Manhattanborn writer Kathryn Adisman) saw the writing on the wall at 4 a.m. on Wed., Nov. 9. That’s when she sent an email to book a decidedly alternative Inauguration Day event. This collective response to the new president, K assured, will celebrate “the children of the ’60s who are still here. It’s a way of tuning into an alternate channel via oral history. But rather than following the herd of protesters,  what we are doing is affirming another America that is still alive in us!” As of press time, the performers include Anoek; Madeline Artenberg; Steve Dalachinsky; David Elsasser; Dorothy Friedman;

Davidson Garrett; Phillip Giambri; Bob Heman; Ptr Kozlowski; Tsaurah Litzky; Eve Packer; Mireya Perez; Su Polo; Bob Quatrone; Susan Weiman; and Richard West. Also on board is Ron Kolm (a founding member of NYC lit scene collective the Unbearables, and contributing editor of Sensitive Skin magazine). Kolm will likely elaborate on what he told us: “Just as the cultural revolution of the ’60s came about in reaction to the conservative ’50s, Trump is like a throwback to the ’50s — which is giving rise to a new,  Faux ’60s. In other words, the election of Donald Trump is a necessary step toward change.” Proof positive that where there’s hip, there’s hope. “What Were the ’60s REALLY Like?” plays on Fri., Jan. 20, 6pm at Cornelia Street Café (29 Cornelia St., btw. Bleecker & W. Fourth Sts.). For tickets ($10 gets you in and 1 drink), visit corneliastreetcafe.com.

—Scott Stiffler

DowntownExpress.com


Photo by Naeisha Rose Photo 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. 19

“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 Africaninspired culture. Where else 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. DowntownExpress.com

Photo courtesy The Museum at FIT

Red faux fur vest with buckle, displayed with gold lame jumpsuit (Xuly.Bët,  Womenswear, Fall 2016).

Photo courtesy The Museum at FIT

Photo by Naeisha Rose

Leather jacket, hand-painted by graffiti artist Gregory Siff (Pyer Moss,  Menswear, Spring 2016).

Tina Turner’s Swarovski crystal minidress by CD Greene, seen here, is among the well-known designs. January 12 - 25, 2017

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January 12 - 25, 2017

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