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With New Bus Terminal Fuss Unabated,

Port Authority Allocates Billions 04 Immersive Spaces Unveiled for Gilder Center 07 January 12 - 25, 2017 | Vol. 03 No. 01

Mid-Manhattan Library Slated for Makover 08

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January 12 - 25, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

Residents Speak Out on Construction As Harassment BY EILEEN STUKANE


a n hatt a n Boroug h P resident Gale Brewer is una f ra id of becom i ng a l ig htning rod in her commitment to confront proper t y ow ners who d r i ve r ent-r e g u l at e d t en a nt s from t hei r homes by conducti n g r e n o v a t i o n s w it h o ut t h e required Tenant Protection Plan in place. O n Ja n u a r y 10, B r e w e r teamed up w ith Stand for Tenant Safety (STS ), a Lower East Side-based tenants’ rights and lega l ser v ices coa l it ion, for a tow n hall meeting in a packed aud it or iu m at t he Mu n ic ip a l Building at 1 Centre Street. T he f r u st r at ion a mon g t he severa l hundred people in t he room was palpable — a frustration mostly directed at the city’s Department of Buildings for its lack of interest in changing its cu ltu re. Bra ndon K ielba sa of STS asked for examples of const r uction as ha rassment from the audience. Many of the issues expressed had been hea rd before – – a nd a r e on goi n g. A ud ie nc e me mbers spoke of gas shutof fs, front doors and windows being removed, jackhammering causi n g cr ack s i n a nd col lapse of dr y wa ll, a nd tox ic dust in t he a ir. A number of people spoke about the DOB’s self-certification process, whereby a building can acquire a permit by falsely stating a building is “unoccupied” when it is in fact occupied a nd requires a Tena nt Protection Plan. Brewer h a s s a id on se ver a l o cc a sion s she i s appa l le d by t he f requent gas shutof fs i n it iated by la ndlords who seem u nc onc e r ne d a b out c r e at i n g ha z a rdous condit ions i n people’s homes. And she has taken act ion by contact ing Con Edison, New York St ate Attor ney G ener a l E r ic S c h neider m a n, a nd t he comm issioners of t he DOB, the city’s Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and the state’s Homes and Community Renewal and the Public Service Commission. Twenty elected officials were


Brandon Kielbasa of Stand for Tenant Safety and Borough President Gale Brewer.

co-sponsors of t he tow n ha l l, a nd 10 s ent r epr e s ent at i ve s. Work i n g i n co op er at ion w it h S T S, 11 cou nci l members who wer e a mon g t he c o - sp on s or s a r e work i n g t o en act 12 ne w pro-tena nt measures into law. The bills would force the DOB to overhaul its penalty system for violations and to take on more oversight of Tena nt Protection Pla ns a nd t he issu i ng of permits. K i e l b a s a s p o k e a b o ut h o w const r uct ion is of ten used as harassment targeting rent-regulated apartments. “ T he la ndlords create a n unsafe space around you under the guise of construction work a nd say, ‘ T h is isn’t ou r fault. We’re t r y ing to do t his as fast as we can,’” he said. “A landlord w ill buy a building a nd chase out as many rent-regulated tenants as he can through lawsuits and buyouts. This is the acquisition stage of ownership. Then t hey t ra nsit ion quick ly to t he renovat ion st a ge, where t he y use construction as harassment to le a n on tena nt s who k now their rights and understand the importance of having their rentregulated apartments.” T h i s “ v iole nt a nd t or me nting” harassment, Kielbasa said, may last from three months to a

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | January 12 - 25, 2017

year, depending on the extent of construction, until the landlord moves into the marketing phase of mov i ng i n new ma rket-rate tenants. A stellar panel of activists was on hand to offer ideas and counsel to t he com mu n it y. On t he da is were Yonat a n Tadele, a n organizer for the Cooper Square Committee, Marti Weithman, a super v isi ng attor ney for M F Y L e ga l S e r v ic e s, K e r r i W h it e, d i r e c t o r o f o r g a n i z i n g , p ol i cy, a nd resea rch at t he Urba n Homesteading Assistance Board, a nd George Tza nnes, a Lower Manhattan tenant leader. Hen r y D embr ow sk i, a r e sident of Soho who sa id he was subject to harassment through long-ter m const r uct ion by his la ndlord, Ma rolda P roper t ies, recalled coming home one night i n t he we e hou r s to h i s r e sidence at 57 Spring Street, only t o f i nd t he f r ont do or of t he building locked. He could only get into his apartment by going through the basement access of the baker y next door, climbing up t he fire escape in t he back of t he bu i ld i ng, a nd enter i ng t h r ou g h one of h i s w i ndow s. T hat was on ly t he beg i n n i ng. W hat followed, he sa id, was a loss of power for 10 days a nd

t he i nst a l lat ion of pipes t hat went on all night and resulted i n t he col l aps e of a w a l l a nd holes poked in his ceiling a nd walls. Dembrowsk i’s adv ice to t he audience was simple. “Organize,” he said, warning against trying to take a landlord on a lone, si nce t here is much more power i n get t i n g people t o get he r. W he n D e m br o w s k i began speaking with his neighbors, he recalled, he was able to create a coalition of buildings in the neighborhood. Eventually, he prevailed in housing court. “Const r uct ion as ha rassment is a poison in our city and we need to group together and work together, through legislation and bills,” he said. Holly Slayton, an East Village resident, spoke of the Toledano Tenants Coalition, of which she is a member, that has organized to fight Brookhill Properties. “ T he y pushe d out my business a nd 21 of 24 busi nesses in t he neighborhood,” Slay ton said of Brookhill. “Three of the buildings have dust issues, and my doctor adv ised me a nd my daughter to wear dust masks in our own apartment.” Slayton explained that Hea lt hy Homes, pa r t of t he st at e D e p a r t me nt of He a lt h, finally came and got a lead dust sample. “DOB has a billion dollars in f i nes due to t hem,” she s a id. “They need to put liens on these bu i ld i n gs, t a ke s ome act ion. And it is up to us to speak out.” Rolando Guzman, the deputy director of communit y preservat ion at St. Nicks A llia nce, a non-profit community development organization in Brooklyn, gave a n update on t he 12-bi l l package, dubbed a “Legislative Platform to Reform DOB,” first introduced in September 2015 a nd work i n g it s way t h roug h the City Council. So far, seven of the measures have received hea r i ngs before t he Counci l’s Housing Committee. “ We a re work i n g w it h some councilmembers to have hear-

c TENANTS, continued on p.9 3

With New Bus Terminal Fuss Unabated,

Port Authority Allocates Billions BY JACKSON CHEN


he Port Authority of New York and New Jersey earmarked $3.5 billion for its controversial bus terminal replacement project as its board approved a $29.5 billion 2017-2026 capital plan on January 5. The replacement project aims to expand on the capacity of the de c ades- old bus ter m i n a l on Eighth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets – – built in stages between 40 and 65 years ago –– that serves as the main gateway for interstate buses arriving in Manhattan. Provisional proposals rolled out by the Port Authority stirred up considerable controversy by suggesting the use of eminent domain — a legal mechanism by which the government can force the sale of private property needed for public projects — in carrying out a new terminal project. The early designs were eventually scrapped after an outcry from community members who claimed the Port Authority had not solicited public input or considered the neighborhood’s needs. Despite the planning process having essentially been restarted –– with no decisions yet made on size, design, or location –– the Port Authority’s board was focused on its 10-year capital plan and keen on funding what it sees as a needed revitalization project. The board’s chair, John Degnan, noted that even after allocating $3.5 billion for the project, the agency has not provided full funding for any eventual plan agreed upon. “Do I think it has enough money to finally erect a new bus terminal in the 10-year period? No,” Degnan said of the capital budget approved at the Port Authority public hearing on January 5. “But do I think if we had more money we could spend it in that 10-year period to get the bus terminal done? I don’t.”



The crush of commuters traveling through the Port Authority during a weekday morning rush hour.

L a st ye a r, a ge nc y of f ic i a l s offered a preliminar y estimate of the project’s entire cost, which they said would be in the $ 8 to $10 billion range. The hearing brought out ma ny New Jersey elected officials who called for greater funding for the project in the decade-long time horizon of the new capital plan. E ven w it hout f u l ly f u nd i n g the project in the 10-year plan, Degnan said several billion dolla rs would be needed i n coming years to get the ball rolling and put “shovels in the ground.” By the end of the 10-year capital plan, Degnan said, he hoped construction of the new bus terminal would be underway, with the subsequent capital budget funding its completion.

“I am convinced that if we spend $3.5 billion during that 10-year period, this Port Authority will find a way to finish it,” Degnan said. “It would be the height of irresponsibility not to finish a project into which we sunk that amount of money. It needs to be done right and it needs to be done.” Several working groups representing the community, meanwh i le, a re digest i ng i n for mation they have received in recent months from neighborhood residents likely to be impacted by any new bus terminal project. According to Betty Mackintosh, who leads Com mu n it y B oa rd 4’s Hell’s Kitchen/ Port Authority Working Group, that group is currently going through feedback it received during a December 6

planning meeting and distributing a follow-up survey. She said the group would summarize and review the input it has received dur ing a n upcoming meet ing. Mackintosh added they’re working on a “community vision” document that would detail the area’s needs and the potential impacts of a new bus terminal. “We want to be positive and constructive and we want to say this is our vision, our identification of what the community is striving for, and this is how the bus terminal and other related transportation issues fit in,” Mackintosh said of the vision statement the working group will prepare. Delores Rubin, CB4’s chair and part of the Hell’s Kitchen South Alliance, said the alliance is planning to meet later this week, as well, to discuss next steps. Asked about the approval of $3.5 billion in the Port Authority’s new capital plan, Rubin said the group has no official stance on that but is instead focused on the continuing discussion of overall project options. “I think that we’re not that concerned there is a number that’s placed in t hat [capita l pla n],” Rubin said. “Mainly because we know we will be part of a conversation that will take into account the concerns of our community as well as the commuters and the other community boards that surround the bus terminal but may be affected by any change.” The Por t Author it y w ill hold two public hearings on the capital plan –– one on January 31 at 5 p.m. at 4 World Trade Center in Manhattan and a second on February 7 at 5 p.m. at 2 Montgomery Street in Jersey City. The board will consider the public comments before approving a final plan on Febr ua r y 16. The capital pla n then needs approval from Governors A ndrew Cuomo and Chris Christie. n

January 12 - 25, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

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embers of the City Council are making clear they are fed up with the unprecedented impact of President-elect Donald Trump staying in his Fifth Avenue residence, with Trump Tower surrounded by armed NYPD officers and Secret Service agents, especially given the economic pitfalls nearby businesses and the city overall are confronting as a result. Since Trump’s victory on Election Day, the landscape surrounding 56th Street and Fifth Avenue has changed drastically to ensure the security of the president-elect and his family. Besides security checks at East 56th and before entering Trump Tower at 725 Fifth Avenue, vehicles are unable to travel down East 56th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues, and have only recently been granted access to the block between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. While the reopening of that block may have alleviated some issues, like commercial concerns receiving truck deliveries, local businesses say they are still suffering due to the inhospitable atmosphere created by an increased police presence and traffic restrictions. “There has to be some sort of communication [from NYPD] that has to be better than this,” said Derek Walsh, co-owner of the 56th Street pub Judge Roy Bean, during a January 10 hearing of the Coun-

cil’s Committee on Economic Development. “Just being there every day, seeing it every day, people are avoiding the area, they don’t want to go through it, the hustle and bustle.” The hearing was called by Councilmember Dan Garodnick, who chairs the committee and represents the Manhattan district that includes Trump Tower. He held the hearing not only to air grievances from local business owners but also to better understand how the NYPD is handling the security challenges. “Due to the heavy police presence… people did not feel welcome to go down the block and spend their money,” Garodnick said during the hearing. “Seniors and people with limited mobility had to avoid the area entirely as they were unable to get the curbside drop-off they needed.” Ga rodn ick’s effor ts to lea r n more about the NYPD’s approach t o h a nd l i n g s e c u r it y a r ou nd Trump Tower were often met with vague responses. Particularly on questions related to how many officers are deployed in the area and how many have been pulled off duty in the outer boroughs, N Y PD represent at ives were mostly unable to provide specific answers, either due to not knowing or, more often, because of security concerns.

c TRUMP TOWER, continued on p.14

January 12 - 25, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

Visitor Immersion Key to Natural History’s Gilder Center


Renderings of the Butterfly Vivarium and the Insectarium planned for the American Museum of Natural History’s new Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation.



s part of an ongoing public discussion of its major expansion, the A merican Museum of Natural History has laid out details of the modern interiors it plans within the new R ichard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. T he project, which i ncludes a major redo of t he museum’s Columbus Avenue entrance near West 79th Street, has drawn the

ire of many neighbors due to its encroachment into the surrounding Theodore Roosevelt Park. For the museum, the expansion — with a projected budget of $340 million — provides for significant additional space to display its expansive collection while alleviating visitor pedestrian flow by creating roughly 30 interior connections to other halls. “By showcasing the frontiers of research in ways that align with how people learn today, the Gilder

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | January 12 - 25, 2017

Center will empower our visitors to directly engage with 21st century science and with the larger world around them, while offering inspiring new spaces and opportunities for shared learning, discovery, and community,” Ellen Futter, the museum’s president, said in a statement released in connection with a January 11 press briefing. The Landmarks Preser vation Commission approved the project this past October, shortly after Community Board 7 offered its

majority support. The project’s naysayers, however, are calling for a smaller scale building and have also voiced wariness about whether the new space is in fact needed to advance the museum’s scientific mission. At t his week’s presentat ion, the museum unveiled new, more detailed renderings of the exhibition and programming space sl at e d for t he Gi lde r C e nt e r.

c MUSEUM, continued on p.17


Midtown’s Lending Library Due for 21st Century Overhaul



A cross-section rendering of the refurbished Mid-Manhattan Library, showing the uses for each floor and the creation of five floors of book stacks (on the left) on floors two to four.

The Mid-Manhattan Library as seen from the steps of the NYPL’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.




A close-up rendering showing the relationship of open spaces, a light-filled atrium design, and the book stacks on floors two to four.


A new public terrace planned for the roof of the Mid-Manhattan branch.


he New York Public Library’s MidManhattan branch is preparing to undergo a $200 million renovation involving roughly two years of construction that aims to yield a state-ofthe-art educational facility. The library, at the corner of 40th Street and Fifth Avenue –– diagonally across from the system’s grand main branch, now known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, one block north –– is the NYPL system’s largest circulating branch, with about two million items going out every year and roughly 1.7 million annual visits. More than four decades after its opening in the 1970s, the branch is due for much-needed interior renovations as well as upgrades in the services provided. “Having been here for some time, I rea lly understa nd the needs for a new library,” Caryl Soriano, the branch’s chief librarian, said. “We’re currently challenged by the spaces we have now. We have much more demand than we have space available.” The project calls for a revamping of the library’s interiors into a contemporary light-filled space with the second, third, and fourth floors dedicated to general collections and reading and study spaces. Below grade, the plans show a children’s library and a teens’ library, separate from each other. The library will also have an adult learning center on the fifth floor and a business library on the sixth.

The Mid-Manhattan Library’s rooftop will also be remodeled to create outdoor terraces for the public to enjoy the sights of the crowded nearby cityscape. “Us having a rooftop terrace in Midtown that’s going to be free and open to the public is another exciting adventure I look forward to,” Soriano said. “Not just for myself and the community, but for my staff who really want to provide a really rich and intensive array of programs and opportunities.” Another key feature of the project, dubbed the Long Room, will host a majority of the library’s collection in five floors of book stacks for open browsing — compacted within three of the building’s floors — and two meeting room spaces. According to the plans, the new building design will allow for 35 percent more public space and capacity for housing 400,000 books and materials. The project’s design team is being led by Elizabeth Leber from Beyer Blinder Belle, a Lower Manhattan architecture firm, and Francine Houben from Mecanoo, a Dutch architectural firm. To fund this massive project, the city is contributing more than $150 million while the remaining $50 million was secured through private funds, according to the NYPL’s vice president for the Office of Capital Planning and Construction, Risa Honig.

c LIBRARY, continued on p.9

January 12 - 25, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

c LIBRARY, from p.8 “We always felt that this building could use quite a bit of an overhaul and renovation,” Honig said. “It needed work, being the largest circulating library in our city and in our system. We felt it was time to really give it that upgrade that it so desperately needs.” To facilitate the long construction period, the Mid-Manhattan Librar y w ill be using nearby NYPL locations to continue offering its services during its downtime, according to Soriano. The majority of the library’s primary services — like circulation and computers — will be carried out at the iconic Schwarzman Building one block north. Soriano added that community programs like IDNYC, which offers free identification cards to all New Yorkers, will be temporarily moved to the Grand Central Library at 135 East 46th Street, while technology offerings will be relocated to the Science, Industry and Business Library at 188 Madison Avenue at 34th Street. The recently opened 53rd Street Library at 18 West 53rd Street will also bear some of the brunt of the Mid-Manhattan branch’s closing during the several years of construction. The NYPL is currently working on the transitional phase for the project, according to architect Leber, and expects to vacate the building by the fall in order to start construction. The refurbished Mid-Manhattan Library is expected to be open for business again in late 2019 or early 2020. n


c TENANTS, from p.3 i ngs on t he rema i n i ng f ive bi l ls, a nd we hop e t h at w it h i n t he ne x t m ont h t he y should be voted on and passed,” Guzman said. He noted t hat t he f i rst bi l l on t he l ist would require the DOB to inspect at-r isk buildings instead of allowing for self-certification, something that represents a prevalent complaint among tenants. More information on the 12-Bill Package can be found on the STS website at standfortenantsafety. com/sts-dob-platform. On the broader issue of affordable housing genera lly, L ora ine Brow n, a co-cha ir o f t h e U p p e r E a s t S i d e ’s C o m m u n i t y Board 8 Housing Committee, mentioned a groundbreaking gathering of all 12 Ma nhatt a n com mun it y boa rds, to wh ich t he public is inv ited, that w ill discuss issues to ra ise w it h developers on how to ma x imize the availability of reasonably priced per ma nent u n it s. T he gat her i ng, wh ich w ill include members of the boards’ Land Use and Housing Committees, w ill be the first time a ll 12 have come toget her w it h t he public to sha re ideas. It ta kes place on Januar y 31 at 6:30 p.m. at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center at 415 East 93rd Street. n ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | January 12 - 25, 2017


Midtown East Development Rights Sales Levy Set at 20 Percent BY JACKSON CHEN


he Department of City Planning certified the proposed Midtown East rezoning on January 3, moving the initiative aimed at reinvigorating the area with modern office building construction into the public review phase. The first step of that review allows Community Boards 5 and 6 to weigh in with resolutions, expected in two months’ time. The Midtown East rezoning proposal is designed to attract stateof-t he-a r t office building construction by offering developers incentives to build with greater floor-to-area ratios (FARs, which compare total f loor space to the size of the land on which a building sits) than otherwise allowable so long as they secure the development rights from landmarked buildings or contribute to a public realm improvement project nearby. The rezoning would affect the area roughly from East 39th to 57th Streets, between Third and Fifth Avenues, extending east to Second Avenue between East 42nd and 43rd Streets. The proposal sets out guidelines for landmarked buildings, ba rred from ma x imizing their development potent ia l, to sell their unused development rights in order to facilitate the upkeep of their property. A portion of those sale proceeds would be earmarked for a public benefits fund controlled by the city to make quality of life improvements to nearby transit infrastructure or public open space. “ T his rezoning w ill not only facilitate development of the type of quality office towers that will attract a range of employers to East Midtow n, but it a lso w ill produce 21st century transit and pedestrian upgrades,” Carl Weisbrod, t he Cit y Pla n ning Commission’s chair, said in a press release. “The Greater East Midtow n area is the city’s premier business distr ict. It generates approximately 10 percent of the city’s entire real estate taxes so it is essential that it continues to maintain its status as a world class economic magnet.” Having completed the certifica-



The Central Synagogue on Lexington Avenue is one of the historic landmarks that will be able to sell its development rights, subject to a 20 percent city levy.


A view of Park Avenue from East 51st Street, an area due to be zoned for greater office building development.

tion of the Midtown East rezoning, Weisbrod, who has worked in public urban planning management for more than 40 years, announced he was stepping down from his dual role as head of the City Planning Department and the Planning Commission. A former Weisbrod st a f fer, Ma r isa Lago, who now works for the US Treasury Department, will take his place, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced. Prior to the certification, on

December 30, the DCP released its newest iteration of the proposal, which the community boards are now working through meticulously before they come to any votes. On January 4, a day after the certification, Community Board 6 ’s L a nd Use a nd Water f ront Committee met and held an informal discussion on the rezoning proposal. While some board members hadn’t yet been able to comb through the 78-page document, others offered initial thoughts.

CB6’s Terrence O’Neal said he remains disappointed there is not enough mention of public space in the document and still hopes to see more of a bonus offered to developers who create privately owned public spaces, or POPS. The community board’s chair, Richard Eggers, said there would be two opportunities to weigh in –– at the February and March CB6 meetings –– but that final action was expected by the second of those two. CB5 will also be considering the proposal, at its February 1 Land Use Committee meeting and in the March full board meeting, at which time a vote will be taken. The most significant bit of news in the rezoning’s most recent draft is that the levy on development rights sales for the Public Realm Improvement Fund will be 20 percent. The projects financed from that fund will be at the discretion of a nine-member Governing Group. With preliminary discussion of that levy ranging between 20 and 40 percent, owners of landmarked properties seemed pleased that the city had settled on the low end of that range. “We applaud t he cit y ta k ing necessary action to rezone this stretch of Manhattan, ensuring it remains an economic catalyst for the entire city for decades to come,” a spokesperson for St. Patrick’s Cathedral said. “During this next phase of the public review, we urge our local representatives to deliver a final plan that meets the twin objectives of promoting development and adequately funding historic preservation.” The Landmarks Preser vation Commission recently designated 12 new sites within the proposed rezoning area as landmarks, adding them to a roster that includes well-known institutions like St. Pat r ick’s on Fift h Avenue, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on Park Avenue, and the Central Synagogue on Lexington Avenue. Both CB5 and CB6 are expected to submit their final resolutions by March 13. After that, the proposal goes in front of Borough President Gale Brewer, the City Planning Commission, and finally the City Council, likely this coming summer. n

January 12 - 25, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

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ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | January 12 - 25, 2017


A Very Happy Subway Ride


Transit Museum educators Christina Cuadrado, Marie Fazio, and James Giovan, with Cuadrado’s daughter Sarah, waiting for the first Q train to travel up Second Avenue.



n New Year’s Day at 11:25 a.m., the Q train pulled into the 57th Street-Seventh Avenue stop to everyone’s excitement. Straphangers were far beyond the yellow line and pressed up against the train, constantly checking the time for it to hit 12:00. But it was no ball drop they were waiting for; instead the overjoyed crowd was about to board the Second Avenue Subway’s first public ride. W hile the inaugural ride was an honor reserved for Governor Andrew Cuomo and his guests at a New Year’s Eve cocktail party, the public’s energy the following day was unusually buoyant, given the oft-times antagonism between New Yorkers and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “It was festive, where do you get to see festive in the subway?” said Joe Caronetti, a Bronx resident and transit historian. “That in itself is a rare occasion.” Caronetti waited patiently on the platform for about an hour and a half before the subway doors finally opened at around 11:50 a.m. The subway cars immediately flooded to capacity, much like the Lexington Avenue line that the Second Avenue Subway is expected to relieve. And as the clock hit noon, residents, rail aficionados, and tourists all cheered and made other happy noises when they heard the familiar chimes of subway doors closing. “This is a 96th Street-Second Avenue bound Q Train via the Second Avenue Line,” the conductor announced to more hollering. “The next stop is Lexington Avenue-63rd Street.” Much like the protracted project itself, the first ride wasn’t absent of hiccups. Passengers laughed as the conductor said they were being held momentarily by the train’s dispatcher. “Already?” a passenger quipped. “Who called it?” After nearly a century, the Second Avenue Sub-


way would finally be delivering New Yorkers along the Upper East Side. After many starts and stops caused by everything from the Great Depression to repeated failures of funding, work on the Second Avenue Subway restarted in 2007 when federal dollars were finally secured. A decade into construction, the MTA was able to meet its end-ofthe-year deadline to complete Phase 1 of the major transit project that brought three new stations at 72nd, 86th, and 96th Streets. Though a federal commitment to funding Phase II, which will add stations at 106th and 116th Streets and a connection to the Lexington Avenue line at 125th Street, has been secured, that extension could be a decade away. “It’s a really special occasion because this has been a line that’s been an idea in New York City for close to a century,” said James Giovan, an educator at the New York Transit Museum. “And only today have we finally finished, so it’s a really big achievement for everyone in New York City.” Giovan, like many other eager commuters, was skeptical of a timely completion until the last few months, when the MTA worked at an accelerated pace to meet a January 1 opening. Rewarded for their patience, many Upper East Siders are now able to reap the benefits of a new subway line much closer to their homes. “I think the subway is incredibly important to the life of the city,” Walter Sedovic, an architect,


Transit historian Joe Caronetti.

said. “It’ll be interesting to see what positive changes take place as a result.” Sedovic added that Phase 1 was worth the wait considering the development that would benefit the surrounding area. But most residents, even Upper West Siders Christian Cordova and Ruth DiRoma, were just pleased that the Second Avenue Subway would reduce the stress that straphangers on the Lexington Avenue line have long endured. As the first train arrived at the new 96th Street station, commuters rushed off to take in the modern design of the column-free platform and an airport-like PA system that announced, “the next departing train will be in two minutes.” While many stuck around to enjoy the station’s artwork, Juan Amador, the operator of the first train, ended his 5 a.m. shift by taking photos with the young railway fans wanting to capture the moment of history. With the widespread smiles and selfie after selfie, it seemed New Yorkers had all but forgotten how long it took for this project’s first phase to be completed –– at least for the day. “The city is growing and getting more and more populated and it’s something they definitely need,” Caronetti said. “Even though this is just a fraction of what they intended to build, it’s a start.” n


Passengers exiting the 96th Street Station at Second Avenue after the inaugural public ride on the new line.

January 12 - 25, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

Seniors Demand Second Ave Select Bus Service at East 72nd BY JACKSON CHEN


pper East Side residents are pressing t he Met ropolita n Transportation Authority to upgrade the M15’s East 72nd Street local stops into Select Bus Service for the area’s senior citizen population. With the Second Avenue Subway finally online, the MTA will restore the avenue’s bus stops out of commission due to the new line’s construction, in coming weeks. During a January 4 Community Board 8 Transportation Committee meeting, a discussion about the restoration quickly made clear that local residents’ chief complaint is the lack of Select Bus Service (SBS) at East 72nd Street’s stops on both First and Second Avenues. The 72nd Street stops were once served by the now-retired limitedstop buses that offered expedited trips along the route by skipping some local stops. According to the East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association’s vice president, Liz Patrick, the M15’s limited-stop service was converted into SBS in 2010, but the 72nd Street stops were left as local bus stops only. At the time, residents chalked up the change to expected obstructions from the impending construction of the Second Avenue Subway’s 72nd Street stop. When discussion of restoring bus stops went before the public this past October, residents near East 72nd Street realized their stop would still have no access to SBS buses. Instead, commuters would have to walk to stops at either East 68th Street or East 79th. “The local bus seems to come every 25 minutes and generally people will be standing there and watch at least four Select buses go by, oftentimes not full,” Patrick said. “So the people who largely rely on the bus... feel like they’ve been left behind, that there really isn’t any convenient or reliable bus service right now.” For the area’s large senior population, particularly those using walkers or wheelchairs, a fourto-seven-block walk to the nearest SBS stop can be a significant burden, Valerie Mason, the neighborhood association’s president, said. To get the attention of CB8,

elected officials, and the MTA, the association gathered nearly 3,000 signatures calling for SBS at East 72nd Street. But the MTA is holding to its argument that the numbers aren’t t here to just i f y addi ng a stop and slowing down the M15’s SBS buses. “Fewer stops is a key component of Select Bus Service in order to increase bus speeds along busy cor r idors,” M TA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz said in an email, adding that the local bus still serves the stop. “It remains our position that adding an SBS stop at 72nd Street will slow trips for all customers riding through this segment of the M15 SBS route.” According to the MTA, ridership numbers at the 72nd Street stops suggest demand for SBS buses is less than a third of what is seen in terms of boarding and disembarking at a typical stop where such service exists. Mason, however, argued that the numbers the MTA is looking at may be the result of a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Those burned by often waiting too long for a bus, she suggested, may no longer use the stop. With the East 72nd Street subway station now in operation, she said, the corner has become a major transportation hub and SBS buses there would provide obvious and critical connections in the MTA’s overall network. As an alternative, CB8 Transportation Committee’s co-chair Chuck Warren said, the committee also suggested that the agency look at increasing local bus service for six months as a trial to alleviate concerns of local residents. Even on that score, the MTA said that ridership would not justify the expanded service. “People feel they got a double whammy,” Warren said. “There’s no SBS, then you have local service that doesn’t run enough. You got to offer some relief here. In the end, I don’t think it’s a sustainable position to say we’re not going to do SBS, and we’re not going to increase local service, either.” With bus stops going back into service along Second Avenue, the East 72nd Street Neighborhood Association is stepping up pressure

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | January 12 - 25, 2017


An M15 local bus on Second Avenue at East 71st Street.

on local elected officials to sound their horns on the issue of SBS service. City Councilmember Ben Kallos, State Senator Liz Krueger, and Assemblymembers Rebecca Seawright and Dan Quart jointly sent a letter to the MTA requesting that it consider an SBS stop at East 72nd Street, but have yet to receive any response.

“ We a re not daunted by t he turndown that we received last week at the meeting,” Mason said of the posture of the MTA’s representatives on January 4. “Because we feel confident that everybody wants this and it really is important to a large population of the Upper East Side, which is t he senior community.” n

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c TRUMP TOWER, from p.6 As if reading from a script, NYPD Deputy Chief James Kehoe, the executive officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan South, responded to many of Garodnick’s questions by saying the department is in “continuous dialogue” with its “federal law enforcement partners.” “While out of security concerns we cannot provide specific deployment figures,” Kehoe said in his testimony, “officers and tactical teams have been deployed to security posts and screening checkpoints, and civilian traffic enforcement agents have been posted to manage

traffic disrupted by security operations and an increased pedestrian flow.” The NYPD was able to share specifics regarding the estimated bill for protecting Trump since Election Day. According to the department’s deputy commissioner of management and budget, Vincent Grippo, the cost of security amounts to roughly $500,000 each day — a number arrived at by adding up the cost, including overtime, of having a certain amount of officers on the scene. The total, between Election Day and Inauguration Day, Grippo estimated, would come to $34.7 million.

Councilmembers at the hearing voiced frustration that the city must pick up this tab and have officers pulled from other boroughs, including some high-crime areas, to be thrown into Midtown. “It’s not fair because every president has always moved into the White House,” said Queens Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, even as she noted her borough was the president-elect’s birthplace. “If it was any other president that was my candidate, I would feel the same exact way because it’s an inconvenience to the people of the City of New York. My tax money is going to be paying for his security, and I

resent that since he has a lot more money than I do.” Grippo said he agreed with councilmembers that Trump’s residence in a Midtown high-rise presents an “unprecedented” situation, which is why the NYPD continues to advocate for federal reimbursement on the nearly $35 million bill. So far, though, Congress has earmarked only $7 million for city reimbursement. As for the impact on local businesses, Tom Cusick, the president of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, said informal conversations with owners lead him to believe that sales losses to date might be as high as $40 million. Cusick suggested replacing the NYPD’s cement barriers that currently surround Trump Tower with less-intrusive bollards, temporarily creating a taxi stand at 58th Street for shoppers to be dropped off, and moving the media stakeout area to improve pedestrian flow. Clea rly unsatisfied w ith the responses he was getting from NYPD officials, Garodnick suggested the department look into creating a Trump Tower unit, with a dedicated force of police officers assigned to the area, instead of pulling officers from outer boroughs, much like the Times Square Unit that monitors that heavilytrafficked area. The councilmember said he would continue to push for concrete answers on how the police department plans to staff its security presence at Trump Tower and what plans it has to mitigate negative impacts on local businesses. “What we need to do here is follow up, get answers about what they’re planning to do,” Garodnick said of the NYPD. “And ensure in the interim that business interests… and the interest of New Yorkers are being considered because all of this affects every New Yorker.” n



January 12 - 25, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

Police Blotter Midtown North Precinct 306 West 54th Street 212-767-8400

Midtown South Precinct 357 West 35th Street 212-239-9811

17th Precinct 167 East 51st Street 212-826-3211

BANK ROBBERY: LATEX LOOTER (Midtown South Precinct)


A male suspect donning latex gloves attempted to rob a Chase Bank at 2 Park Avenue, between East 32nd and 33rd Streets, on January 3 at around 2:30 p.m., police said. The man approached a 47-yearold female teller, demanding money through a note, but the teller walked away and the suspect left the bank empty-handed, according to police. The NYPD released photos of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a black male, slightly bearded, approximately 5’6”, 155 pounds, 40 years old, and last seen wearing a black hooded jacket, gray sweatpants, black and white sneakers, and latex gloves.

On January 3, police arrested Terrell Dupree, a 38-year-old Bronx man, and charged him with murder and criminal possession of a loaded firearm, after connecting him with a dead man found with a gunshot wound to his chest in December. The victim, Terrance Walker, a 27-yearold man, was found dead at the corner of West 40th Street and Sixth Avenue on December 17 at around 2:15 a.m.


19th Precinct 153 East 67th Street 212-452-0600

20th Precinct 120 West 82nd Street 212-580-6411

Visit ManhattanExpressNews.nyc for full area precinct listing.

Police are looking for a man who freaked out subway riders on December 31 at around 1:15 a.m. by carrying an ice pick. According to police, a 29-year-old female victim noticed the man smoking a cigarette by the turnstiles when she entered the Lexington Avenue59th Street station. Police said the woman then noticed the man, who was wearing a red Christmas tree skirt, holding an ice pick in his left hand. The two both boarded a southbound N train on different cars, but the suspect later entered the same car as the victim and menaced her, according to police. The woman left at the Times Square-42nd Street station, but the man stayed on the train, police said. Police released a photo of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a black male, 5’3”, 145 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair, and a medium complexion, and last seen wearing black shoes and a red Christmas tree skirt.

ASSAULT: AMBUSHER ARRESTED (Midtown North Precinct) A 20-year-old Washington Heights man was arrested and charged with attempted murder, assault, and criminal possession of a weapon after an incident on December 18 where a 23-year-old man was stabbed in the head after being approached from behind, police said. Police arrested Steven Tlapanco in connection with the incident that occurred at around 1:45 a.m. when the victim walking around the corner of East 46th Street and Madison Avenue. The victim was treated at Bellevue Hospital and released.

BANK ROBBERY: HOLIDAY HEIST (Midtown South Precinct) Police are looking for a man who robbed the Capital One Bank at 470 Park Avenue South, between East 31st and 32nd Streets, on December 27 at around 4:15 p.m. According to police, the suspect approached the teller and passed a note demanding money. Police said the teller complied and gave him an undetermined amount of cash, after which the suspect fled south on Park Avenue South. Police released photos of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a black male, between 50 and 60 years old, approximately 6’, with a slim build, and last seen wearing a black baseball cap, a gray hooded coat, light colored pants, and brown shoes.












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ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | January 12 - 25, 2017





As Heard Recently on the Second Avenue Subway PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN jgoodstein@cnglocal.com

EDITOR IN-CHIEF PAUL SCHINDLER editor@manhttanexpressnews.nyc



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


Manhattan Express, the newspaper for Midtown and the Upper East and Upper West Sides, is published by NYC Community Media, LLC. Send all inquiries to: Manhattan Express, One Metrotech Center North, Suite 1001, Brooklyn 11201 or call 718-260-4586. Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this paper, in part or whole, can be reproduced or redistributed. All contents © 2016 Manhattan Express. Manhattan Express is a registered trademark of NYC Community Media, LLC. Jennifer Goodstein, C.E.O. | Fax: 212-229-2790 Subscriptions: 26 issues, $49.00 ©2016 Manhattan Express, All rights reserved. NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC | ONE METROTECH NORTH, SUITE 1001 | BROOKLYN, NY 11201 | 212-229-1890



o celebrate t he 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 mea nt to ca ll you on your birthday, but there was a sick passenger on the train ahead of us.”

and grudgee when they must ma ke room for someone else.

Bunwich (noun): The very tight space between two other commuters.

BBB ( adj.) : Shor t for “Baby Bu mp Bl i ndness.” To not notice an eight-months pregnant woma n hold i ng onto t he st r ap i n f ront of you while you sit playing Candy Crush.

Snudge (noun): A real nudge pretending to be inadvertent. T ra in t ra f f ic a head (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.”

B l o b s t a c l e (noun): Escalator rider who stands on the left side, not moving.

Joork (noun): Jerk who knows he’s blocking the

NJ devils (noun, plural): Young people from New Jersey who drink in Greenw ich Village then add dev il hor ns to PATH train posters before vom it i n g a nd heading home.

Post-a-boo (verb): To sneak a peek at your neighbor’s Post.

Kinky pinky (verb): To deliberately grab t he pole where someone else is already grabbing it.

Grampification (noun): The shock one feels upon being offered a seat by someone you thought was your age. (Fem: Grammafication)

Bubbleheads (noun, plural): Individuals who add word and thought bubbles to posters, usually referencing the president-elect, police, or private parts.

Family dollar (verb): To give a single dollar to a subway performer or performers on behalf of all the members of your family.

Hand shame (verb): To accidentally 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” (knowi ng t hat someone on t he t ra in is ca r r y ing KFC, but not being visually able to locate the source).

teams on subway ads.

Box shock (adj.): To be suddenly awakened by a boom box and someone’s sne a ker s ne a r your nose.

Zizmor (noun): A blemish or disf igu rement that causes the stomach to lurch. “When I finally pulled the leech off my nose, it left an oozing Zizmor.”

Doork (noun): Dork who blocks the door without realizing it.


door but keeps standing there, watching people maneuver around him.

Nod squad (noun, plural): Two or more passengers napping on the same bench.

RO TFL ( nou n ) : A nything “Rolling on the Floor Loudly,” e.g., an empty Snapple bottle.

Warm shoulder (noun) : The shoulder a stranger has fallen asleep on.

Point and shoo (verb): To indicate a wet or sticky spot on the seat before someone sits down.

Sniff & run (noun): An extremely under-populated car surrounded by ex t remely overcrowded cars.

New nat ive s ( nou n, plural): People who got on just one stop before you, but act as if they own the seat.

Gr udge budge ( nou n ) : T he g r i mace made by a person who must move over an inch to make room for you.

L-and-back (noun): A hipster. Literally, someone who t a kes t he L back and forth to their coding job.

Grudge buddies ( n o u n , p l u r a l ) : T he bonding emotion felt by former grudge budger

Tooth squad ( noun, plural): Individuals dedicated to blacking out the teeth of smiling news

Peek-a-News (verb): To sneak a peek at your neighbor’s Daily News. A . M . m ayhe m (noun): Being offered an A.M. New York by three or more people on your way into the train. Suspicious packa ge (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 the author and founder of the book and blog “FreeRange Kids” and a contributor at Reason.com. n

January 12 - 25, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


c MUSEUM, from p.7 The project’s design team prev iewed the 21,000 squa re-foot Collections Core that will span five f loors and display close to four million specimens from the museum’s holdings. The Gilder Center’s first f loor will house its new Insectarium featuring live insects, collections examining various specimens, and the tools that scientists use to study entomology. One flight up from the Insectarium, visitors can experience the year-round Butterfly Vivarium, with live butterflies in different environments, such as meadows and ponds. Nearby, the museum will create the “Invisible Worlds� immersive theater offering exposure to everyday things that cannot be experienced by human senses without the help of modern scientific tools. The museum has retained two scenography design firms, Tamschick Media+ Space based i n Berl i n and Boris Micka Associates from Seville, Spain, to design the theater space. “One of the unique things about t his building is t hat it’s not a single purpose building,� Jeanne Gang, the architect leading the project, said. “It’s really bringing together all these different parts of the museum’s mission like education, science goings-on, and collections.� As the museum serves a large youth population, the Gilder Center will also include six classrooms for pre-K to fourth grade kids, three new classrooms for students in grades five to eight, a high school learning area, and a teacher professional development zone. “We really see the Gilder Cen-

ter as an opportunity not only for young people to see science and to read about science, but to do science,� said Lisa Gugenheim, the museum’s senior vice president for institutional advancement, strategic pla nning, a nd education. “For the first time, we’re going to have spaces that are meant to support learning across their life span.� The museum will also be opening up its fourth f loor research library for public access and creating an adult learning zone. The Gilder Center will also launch a new research facility, the Architecture of Life, which will be home to Dr. Cheryl Hayashi and her studies in spider silks. T he museum’s present at ion detailed the 80 percent of the new Gilder Center space above ground that will be dedicated to either exhibition or educational purposes. Of the remaining 20 percent, 10 percent is for non-public science areas, five percent for visitor amenities like retail and dining, and the remaining five percent as backof-the-house operations, according to the museum. While the project is still going through the draft environmental impact statement process with the Department of Parks and Recreation regarding its impact on Theodore Roosevelt Park, the fundraising is zeroing in on its target, with more than $277 million of the $340 million price tag identified. The parks department’s draft environmental impact statement is due this coming spring, with local residents at that point having t he oppor tunit y to submit testimony during a public hearing or in writing. n

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ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | January 12 - 25, 2017

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Discovering Sanctity BY STEVE ERICKSON


xpatriates can act strange, pa r t icu la rly i f t hey d id n’t leave their home country out of necessity but because they were disgusted by its culture. Eugène Green, an American director who lives and works in France, is a case in point. He now refers to the US as “la barbarie,” and don’t get him started on the subject of Quentin Tarantino films. In the ultimate un-American gesture, he cast himself as an Iraqi refugee in his previous film, “La Sapienza.” Green is attracted to architecture and baroque music – – two pieces of which are heard in his latest film, “Son of Joseph.” In a lot of ways, he’s become more archetypally French –– drawn to classical music and ‘60s art films –– than young French people. You can exit his films without hearing a note of pop music or seeing the diverse France that’s given birth to a far-right backlash. But I don’t think that’s worth criticizing: it’s obvious that Green’s films are extremely subjective fantasies. He’s not filming the real Paris, but one that exists only in his head. It probably existed there long before he moved to Paris. Vincent ( Victor Ezenfis) is a bored teenager who lives w it h his single mother, Marie (Natacha Régnier). W hile they don’t spend all their time fighting, their relationship seems difficult. He resents the fact that he grew up fatherless; she resents the fact that Vincent’s biological father asked her to abort him and then aba ndoned her when she sa id no. Vincent gets involved in the literary world, attending a party held by publisher Oscar (Mathieu Amalric, looking older than he ever has before). Oscar’s brother Joseph (Fabrizio Rongione) shows up and bickers with his sibling, but he impresses Vincent, who befriends Joseph. Soon, Joseph



Victor Ezenfis, Natacha Régnier, and Fabrizio Rongione in Eugène Green’s “Son of Joseph.”

begins spending time with Marie, and the Old Testament references strewn throughout the film come around to the New Testament. Gr e en’s d i r e ct ion of act or s draws heavily on Robert Bresson, who referred to his performers as “models” and tried to use their gestures rather than the qualities typically seen as expressive acting. At the beginning of “Son of Joseph,” opera plays over a scene showing the legs of people walking down a staircase. At various points in this film, Green fragments his actors’ bodies the way Bresson did, often leaving their heads out of the frame to concentrate on their hands and legs. However, he departs from his master in other ways. His “direction” of natural settings is closer to the realism of Éric Rohmer. He has a true sensitivity to color, evident in a scene where Vincent, Marie, and Joseph all wear blue clothes against the backdrop of a sky and sea roughly the same shade. At first, Green’s sense of whimsy feels rather curdled, and his sense of humor misses the mark more

often than not. His film is divided into sections, based on Bible passages. The first one, “The Sacrifice of Abraham,” opens with two men trying to kill a rat. While they don’t succeed – – and the end credits let us know that no animals were harmed in the making of “Son of Joseph” –– it opens the film up on a decidedly pissy note. Green’s satire of the publishing world continues in this fashion, with a ditzy reporter who wants to interview Proust at a party thrown by Oscar and idiotic gossip about “catamites.” Fabr i zio Rongione gives t he film’s best performance –– better than Amalric, who stays hidden behind stubble and his character’s perpetual hangover –– and plays its most appealing character. Green’s tone is uneven, but it gradually grows kinder as he (metaphorically) races through t he Bible towa rd t he bi r t h of Jesus. While Bresson seems to have begun as a devout Catholic and ended up an atheist, it’s not uncommon for French filmmakers to take religious metaphors and use them without any true

SON OF JOSEPH Directed by Eugène Green Kino Lorber In French with English subtitles Opens Jan. 13 Film Society of Lincoln Center Elinor Bunin Munroe Theater 144 W. 65th St. filmlinc.org

belief: take Bruno Dumont’s “The Life of Jesus” or the early films of Philippe Garrel. I suppose it’s not surprising that there would be a conservative streak –– temperamentally, if not politically –– in Green’s work, given his obsession with the past. Still, it’s a little disappointing how quickly Vincent, Joseph, and Marie turn into a cozy nuclear family. W hile I could point out other f laws in “Son of Joseph,” the film won me over in the end. At the risk of sounding like Dr. Phil, it’s a lesson in becoming a better person. n

January 12 - 25, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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FIT Spotlights Iconic Black Fashion Designers BY NAEISHA ROSE


elebrating 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 w ith a focus on the worldw ide 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. O ne of t he c u r at or s at t he December exhibition opening was Elizabeth Way, an 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 before coming to FIT three years ago to combine the two passions she 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 histor y. 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



Composite view of a two-piece evening dress (1973-1974) by Stephen Burrows, whom Edward Wilkerson, whose work is also represented in the exhibition, cites as a major influence.

grandmother, Lowe built a business in Montgomer y, 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-centur y dressmaking tradition and became a modern fashion designer.” Way said of Lowe. Some of the other well-known de s i g n s on d i s pl ay a r e T i n a 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 “Ca r pool

Karaoke” segment. The exhibition’s eight themes are Black Models, 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.

c FIT, continued on p.23

BLACK FASHION DESIGNERS The Museum at FIT Seventh Ave. at W. 27th St. Through May 16 Tue.-Fri, noon-8 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. More info at fitnyc.edu/museum Or call 212-217-7999

January 12 - 25, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc



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

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


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

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | January 12 - 25, 2017

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.



January 12 - 25, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

c FIT, from p.20 “She’s my mentor… a nd 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 DK N Y and becoming a photographer and veteran designer in his own right, it was shopping w ith his mother that introduced him to fashion. “I was seven, and the fabric, the texture, and the color were aspirational,” Wilkerson explained. “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.” He cited Stephen Burrows, Willi Smith, James Daugherty, and Jeffrey Banks as some of the black designers who 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 a lways 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. “ T he r e i s a de c or at or f r om A ntwerp, Gert Voorjans, whom I’ve been dying to meet,” he said. “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.” Wilkerson added, “Why was I scared to contact him? You can’t be scared, you can’t be timid, you have to go for it.” Social media, he said, “constantly keeps me motivated… and inspired.” Wilkerson took pride in seeing his work at the exhibit and being one of the speakers at the opening. “ 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,” he said. “If a designer wants to be cool they take something from streetwear, urban clothes, the hip-hop movement, and African-inspired culture. Where else are they going to reference something cool, truly cool, and truly original?” n




A 1958 wedding dress designed by Ann Lowe.

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CD Greene’s Swarovski crystal mini dress for Tina Turner.



ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | January 12 - 25, 2017

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January 12 - 25, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

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