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VOLUME 30, NUMBER 03

FEBRUARY 09 – FEBRUARY 22, 2017

Zero vision Crossing fingers Locals: lack of signage puts kids at risk at Millennium HS

BY COLIN MIXSON Community leaders in Lower Manhattan are calling on the city to increase traffic safety around Millennium High School after a 16-year-old student was hit crossing Broad St. by a cab driver on Jan. 17. Millennium, along with four other high schools Downtown, have little or no signage alerting drivers to the presence of students on nearby streets, and locals, with the help of state Sen. Daniel Squadron, are working to arrange a tour of the area around the Locals complain that school for Department the lack of schoolof Transportation offi- crossing signs around cials to make the case Downtown high schools puts kids in danger. for additional safety measures, according to the vice chair of Community Board 1. “Apparently there are no DOT school signs around Millennium, and I’m not sure if there are around any high schools Downtown,” said Paul Hovitz, who also co-chairs CB1’s Youth and Education Committee. “There’s a tremendous amount of traffic, and you would think that part of Vision Zero should be to properly alert drivers when they’re near a school.” The 16-year-old Millennium student was crossing Broad St. near S. William St by the school’s entrance last month when she was suddenly struck by the cab driver, who spinelessly fled the scene, cops said. The injured girl was rushed to New York Downtown Hospital, where she was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to a letter sent out by Millennium High School principle Colin McEvoy. McEvoy urged parents to speak with their children in light of the accident, and press them to be more cautious, especially around S. Williams St., when crossing streets. “I respectfully remind all members of the school

City’s reforms of crossing-guard job may help solve Downtown shortage

BY DENNIS LYNCH Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed more than $25 million through 2020 to guarantee dedicated crossing guards at all school posts citywide, and some of that funding will go towards reforms that may help solve the chronic understaffing that has plagued Lower Manhattan. The reforms, including pay raises across the board and the creation of a supervisor position, could help the city fill long-empty crossingguard slots around Downtown schools. The city plans to hire 100

full-time supervisors and 200 additional part-time guards citywide, as well as establishing a “mobile replacement squad” to ensure coverage at all posts, according to the Mayor’s office. An agreement with Local 372, the union that represents crossing guards, will create a new, fulltime “level 2” supervisory guard position to oversee scheduling, log shifts, and ensure coverage at school intersections. Starting next school year the city will also bump the pay for “level 1” part-

time guards from a starting $11.50 an hour to $15 an hour, with the opportunity to go up to $18 an hour after three years employment, according to the union. Supervisors will make 10 percent more than what part-time guards make, but more importantly, they will have a full, 40-hour week, plus benefits. They take over from police officers who acted as “school crossing guard coordinators” on top of their other unicrossing guards Continued on page 5

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Trump tribulations Downtown has become a center of protests against President Trump since he was sworn in less than three weeks ago, with massive demonstrations unfolding at The Battery, Foley Square, and throughout the Financial District. For full coverage, see page 2.

signs Continued on page 15 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


No rest from the protest Downtown becomes focal point for resistance to Trump agenda Lower Manhattan has seen a wave of protests since President Trump took office, and we’re likely to see more in the future, given the neighborhood’s wealth of sites symbolizing flashpoints of the new administration’s controversial agenda. It all started with a demonstration at Foley Square on the day of his Inauguration that saw hundreds of protesters mustering there for a march past the Trump Building at 40 Wall St. and then on to the New York Stock Exchange. But Downtown boiled over a week later with a huge rally at The Battery on Jan. 29 against Trump’s draconian executive order barring refugees and visitors from seven majority-Muslim countries, drawing an estimated 10,000 demonstrators to the spot where visitors normally embark on tours to America’s great icon of immigration, the Statue of Liberty.

Three days later, Foley Square was the rallying point for another protest, where thousands marched to a nearby federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office at Federal Plaza. Tuesday saw a student walkout, with hundreds of kids from Downtown high schools gathering at Foley Square to protest Trump’s immigration policy as well as his new Secretary of Education, fellow billionaire and charter-school advocate Betsy DeVos. On the same day, protesters marched from the Chase Bank headquarters in the Financial District to the Goldman Sachs Tower in Battery Park City, denouncing Trump’s push to gut the Wall Street regulations put in place after the financial crisis. And demonstrators will return to The Battery on Sunday to continue the pushback against Trump’s immigration policy with a protest organized by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

Photos by Milo Hess

(Above) Sen. Charles Schumer blasted Trump’s anti-immigrant executive orders at the Jan. 29 rally at The Battery. (Right) The rally was held at The Battery to put the Statue of Liberty in the background of the protest, and the symbolism wasn’t lost on the demonstrators.

Protesters blast ‘Muslim ban’ at Battery BY DENNIS LYNCH and COLIN MIXSON With America’s most enduring symbol of immigration as a backdrop, more than 10,000 people crowded The Battery to protest President Trump’s controversial immigration order on Jan. 29, in one of the largest demonstrations in the country against the executive action. Many of the protesters were sporting foam Statue of Liberty hats they bought from vendors — whose usual customers are out-of-towners on their way from

The Battery to see Lady Liberty — and several signs quoted Emma Lazarus’ famous poem inscribed on the statue’s pedestal: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses … send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.” That sentiment stands in stark contrast to the executive orders Trump signed on Jan. 27, which suspended all refugee immigration for 120 days, indefinitely blocked Syrian refugees from entering the country, and banned all visitors from seven Muslim-majority

countries from entering the country — initially including even those with green-cards — for 90 days. Though the administration swiftly backpedaled on the latter provision to allow green card holders to be vetted on a case-bycase basis, and state and federal judges have since blocked enforcement of the orders, the outrage was palpable at the Battery rally. Demonstrators spilled over from the plaza outside Castle Clinton where speakers addressed the huge crowd that

stretched back into open space of the Battery Oval, and even into the flower beds and gardens that fill the the rest of the park. They chanted “no hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here!” and “no ban, no wall!” — a message many battery rally Continued on page 10

Marching for the banned in Foley Square BY ZACH WILLIAMS Thousands of protesters converged on Downtown for the second time in three days on Feb. 1 to blast President Trump’s executive orders barring refugees and visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries. Protesters rallied at Foley Square before marching to a nearby federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office at 26 Federal Plaza in the hope of convincing staff there to resist the President’s orders for the good of the nation, according to protesters. “The stability of the country is really being shaken by this man and his foolishness,” said Beth Pacheco,

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February 09 - 22, 2017

who came to the rally from Brooklyn. Protests erupted across the city last week after Trump signed the controversial orders, which he said will prevent future terrorist attacks by barring visitors from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days, and shutting out Syrian refugees indefinitely. But the list of seven predominantly-Muslim countries does not include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates — home countries of 9/11 hijackers — where Trump reportedly has business interests. foley square Continued on page 10

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Demonstrators gathered at Foley Square on Feb. 1 to protest Trump’s executive order barring refugees and many Muslim immigrants.

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February 09 - 22, 2017

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BY JANEL BL ADOW Walking home one night recently, I was reminded why I love my neighborhood. Yellow light shimmered from the old street lamps, making me feel a sense of history. It was magical and beautifully quiet … until the choppers over the Brooklyn Bridge and sirens along Pearl Street announced the arrival of El Chapo to the Manhattan Correctional Center on Park Row. TAT MASTER… The South Street Seaport Museum (SSSM) opened its latest exhibit last week: “The Original Gus Wagner: The Maritime Roots of Modern Tattoo.” The show’s curator Martina Caruso, the SSSM’s collections manager and registrar, gave Seaport Report an exclusive tour. The idea for the show came to her a year ago as she looked at Wagner’s drawings. “These drawings are jewels of visual imagery,” she said, “and shouldn’t be hidden away.” She imagined an exhibit centered on Wagner’s early years as a sailor and set about getting grants to cover reproduction of some extremely fragile paperworks in the collection of Alan Govenar and Kateta Doolin. Wagner, born in 1872 in the boat building town of Marietta on the Ohio River, was 12 when he saw his first tattooed man — “Captain Costenenus the Greek Albanian” — in a traveling show,

and he was hooked. Wagner became a traveling salesman, laborer and merchant marine sailor, calling himself “a professional globetrotter.” He learned to tattoo with handmade tools from tribesmen in Java and Borneo. By 1901 he had some 264 tattoos, and seven years later more than 800, and promoted himself as “the most artistically marked up man in America.” He spent the rest of his life traveling as a circus performer, carnival tattooed man and a tattoo artist decorating the bodies of others, including his heavily tatted wife Maude. The exhibit includes tattoo flashes — sketches of tattoo designs in canvas books — and his scrapbook, with 400 pages of press clips, postcards, drawings and photos. For the show’s opening night, the museum teamed up with Dare Devil Tattoo (141 Division St.) and auctioned off two tattoos of Wagner’s designs. “Our goal is to keep Gus’s art alive and preserve his legacy,” said Caruso, who added that just to fix the binding on his massive scrapbook will cost $18,000, “before we can open and study it.” (For more on the exhibit, see the Arts section on page 19.) “The Original Gus Wagner: The Maritime Roots of Modern Tattoo” runs Wednesday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m., through June 4, at SSSM, 12 Fulton St.

Photo by Caroline Sinno Photography

The Old Seaport Alliance’s outgoing executive director, Whitney Barret — at center, with Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin, at left, and Borough President Gale Brewer, at right, at the OSA’s fund-raising gala last April — is taking her talents to Lincoln Center.

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February 09 - 22, 2017

via The South Street Seaport Museum

(Above) Former merchant marine and tattoo artist Gus Wagner, the focus of the South Street Seaport Museum’s latest exhibit, is credited with popularizing the image of the tattooed sailor, and the art of tattooing in general, which he learned from natives in Java and Borneo. (Right) The exhibit features dozens of colorful sketches of Wagner’s tattoo designs.

SAILING INTO THE SUNSET… Whitney Barrat stepped down as executive director of the Old Seaport Alliance last week after three years at the helm of the business-community organization. She’s headed up to Lincoln Center, where she’ll help transform Avery Fisher Hall into the new David Geffen Hall. “Very excited, but I will miss the Seaport,” she told us. “I deeply appreciate the opportunity to have worked with so many in the community, and beyond, who are so passionate about the historic Seaport district.” DA BUS, DA BUS… The bright red Downtown Connection bus added a new stop right in our neighborhood. The new drop-off at South Street and Peck Slip, right in front of The Paris Cafe, 119 South St. Very convenient if you’re carrying heavy bags. The original pick up location at Water and Fulton Streets remains. This is the first new stop in seven years for the bus, and the

38th stop along the route to connect the Seaport with Battery Park. “The ongoing transformation of the Seaport District is exciting,” said Downtown Alliance president Jessica Lappin. “We hope that this additional stop will benefit our neighbors and bring greater foot traffic to the Seaport.” ALL HANDS ON DECK… The next meeting of Save Our Seaport (SOS) — the group dedicated to saving South Street’s working waterfront, ships and museum — is Wednesday, Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m., at St. Margaret’s House, 49 Fulton St., rooms 1 & 2. Want to pitch in, raise a problem, or present a solution? Then come be part of the community. DowntownExpress.com


crossing guards Continued from page 1

formed duties. Supervisors will work 10-hour days from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a two-hour lunch break, according to the Mayor’s office. The new agreement goes into effect immediately and the city has already started hiring full-time supervisors, according to Local 372 president Shaun Francois. Francois believes the prospect of upward mobility from part-time to full-time will help retain new recruits. “What’s going to happen now is twofold — they have no glass ceiling, they know they may become level two. They didn’t have that mindset before. And the raise is going to do that as well,” he said. The First Precinct will get funding for two additional part-time guards, bringing the total there to nine. The Fifth Precinct will also receive funding for two more additional guards, bringing the total there to 28. This does not create new posts in either precinct — the additional guards will help cover and fill vacancies at existing posts. Critics have blamed the position’s low pay and meager 25-hour week for hampering efforts to hire and retain Downtown crossing guards in recent years. The police department has hired guards in the past and couldn’t find enough people to fill Downtown posts in the last two school years. There are currently only two dedicated crossing guards working for the First Precinct, and the precinct has had to fill vacant positions with Traffic Enforcement Agents, according to the First Precinct. Community Board 1 Youth and Education Committee co-chair Paul Hovitz said he hoped the

File photo by Yannic Rack

Downtown’s chronic shortage of crossing guards may finally end, thanks to reforms by the city to make the job more attractive.

precinct would be able to replace all traffic agents with dedicated guards, particularly with folks from the neighborhood. He hoped that health benefits would attract more people to both part-time and full-time jobs. “For people who are fortunate enough to be assigned near where they live and don’t have to pay for travel, even a couple hours pay along with the benefits are certainly the motivating factor,” he said. “That’s a big deal.” He said Downtown’s street grid — or lack thereof — presents unique dangers for students. A taxi struck

a 16-year-old Millennium High School student last month while she was crossing Broad St. and luckily she sustained no life-threatening injuries. Crossing guards are not assigned to high schools anywhere in the city, but the incident is indicative of the dangers facing students of all ages and pedestrians in general. “CB1 is the fastest-growing residential community in New York City, in addition to having narrow streets, inordinate amounts of construction, and sidewalk sheds — all things that obviate Vision Zero for drivers,” he said. Hovitz also wondered how many part-time employees would actually have the opportunity to move up to supervisor. “That is for someone with children particularly a key factor. We know what health care costs, and chances are costs are due to skyrocket with the new [presidential] administration’s plans,” Hovitz said. Hovitz, Councilmember Margaret Chin, and others want the city to move crossing guards under the purview of the Department of Education (DOE) to allow them to work in other school safety roles in the five hours between morning and afternoon guard shifts. Francois said he eventually wants to “annualize” guards to work year-round and find a way to pay them for a full eight-hour day, but said that he was not familiar with proposals to move guards to the DOE. The funding starts at $5.4 million for fiscal year 2017 and gradually increases between a million and a half a million dollars each year until it reaches $7.2 million in 2020.

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DowntownExpress.com

February 09 - 22, 2017

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Driver who killed cyclist in BPC pleads guilty BY COLIN MIXSON The driver who struck and killed bicyclist Olga Cook in Battery Park City last June has agreed to plead guilty, according to his attorney. Defendant Samuel Silva remains adamant that he was not at fault in the collision that claimed Cook’s life, his lawyer said, but he wasn’t willing to risk the seven years in prison Judge James Burke promised if he was found guilty at trial. So Silva will plead guilty to charges related to the accident in exchange for a reduced sentence. “Sam believes this was an accident, but he couldn’t risk seven years in jail as opposed to 16 months. So, after long conversations with him and his family, he decided this was his best option,” said attorney Nicholas Ramcharitar. Silva, 26, hung a right in his truck onto Chambers Street off a southbound lane of the West Side Highway on June 11, and collided with the Upper West Side cyclist as she crossed Chambers St. heading north along the Hudson River Greenway. Instead of stopping immediately, the defendant instead sped off and parked his truck three-blocks away from the scene of the accident, where off-duty

Photo courtesy of Travis Maclean

Cyclist Olga Cook was struck and killed in BPC last June by Samuel Silva, who agreed this week to plead guilty to the hit-and-run incident.

MTA officer Otis Noboa apprehended him. Sobriety tests found that Silva had been intoxicated at the time of the accident, and while reports differ on his blood-alcohol content — Ramcharitar claims he was clocked at .032 BAC, but attorneys for Cook’s husband, Travis Maclean, stated his BAC at .062 —

both put him under the legal limit of .08 BAC. Prosecutors had originally sought the maximum seven-year sentence for Silva — regardless of his plea — leaving the defendant no choice but to take his chances in court, according to Ramcharitar. “From an attorney and client’s standpoint, when the offer was the maximum you can get, there’s no other option than to go to trial,” the attorney said. Under the current deal, Silva will serve a reduced sentence of between 16 months and four years in exchange for pleading guilty to felony charges of Leaving the Scene of an Accident and Criminally Negligent Homicide, in addition to a Driving While Impaired violation, Ramcharitar said. If given the minimum sentence, Silva, who has spent the last 8 months in jail, could be released within a year’s time, his attorney said. Maclean and his legal team were pleased that Silva copped to the most serious charge of Leaving the Scene of an Accident, and are hopeful Judge Burke will slap the defendant with the new maximum of four-years in prison at his sentencing on Feb. 22, according

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to Maclean’s attorney, Daniel Flanzig. But Maclean said he doesn’t think Sliva should have gotten a deal at all. “I think he got a better deal than he deserves,” Maclean said. “I think he realizes at this point that the evidence is against him and he would have served a full sentence if it went to trial.” A native Brazilian, Silva also faces deportation following his prison sentence, a potentially worse fate given the fact he immigrated when he was 9-years-old, according to Flanzig. “Being sent back to a country you hardly know could be worse than the jail time,” Flanzig said. The intersection of Chambers Street and the West Side Highway where Cook was struck has a long history of car accidents, with 17 collisions in the last five years resulting in serious injuries, including several involving southbound motorists turning onto the Greenway, according to the city. The city moved quickly to enhance safety at the intersection following Cook’s death, altering traffic-signal patterns, in addition to installing new bollards and repainting crosswalks. HIT-AND-RUN Continued on page 13

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February 09 - 22, 2017

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A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK

FINGER POINTING

Cops busted an alleged plank-wielding wacko suspected of attacking four men inside a Whitehall Street bodega on Jan. 30. The grocers told police they were inside the deli between Bridge and Pearl Streets at 10 a.m., when the suspect waltzed in and went to use the bathroom. When one of the deli guys told the suspect the loo was for paying customers only, the man allegedly threw a fit and knocked over a counter full of goods, before he was thrown out on his back, cops said. But it wasn’t long before the man returned and started swinging, catching two of the grocers on the chin, before they were able to restrain him, according to police. As one of the deli guys held the suspect down, he began complaining of difficulty breathing, and they allowed him to leave the store for a second time, cops said. But the deli guys hadn’t seen the last of their alleged attacker, who returned once again, this time bearing a threefoot-long plank of wood, which he wielded like a club, bashing two of the men over their back, before they were able to restrain him once again, according to police. Cops arrived soon after to bag the suspect, whom they took Beth Israel Medical Center for treatment of injuries he sustained from the deli guys, cops said. All four of the grocers, meanwhile, were taken to New York Downtown Hospital for injuries that the suspect allegedly dished out, according to police.

Two thieves robbed a man at fake gunpoint on Hanover Square on Feb. 2. The victim, 19, told police he was between Pearl and Stone Streets at 1 p.m., when the suspects called out, “We are gonna need all your money.� The young man turned around to find the crooks bearing down him, one of them holding out his finger from beneath his hoodie in simulation of a firearm, cops said. Frightened, the victim handed over $60, and the thieves fled to parts unknown, according to police.

BROADWAY BEAT DOWN Cops arrested a man in connection to the robbery of a 35-year-old man that left him bloodied and bruised on Broadway on Feb. 2. The victim told police he was between 415 Broadway at 7:01 p.m., when the suspect and two accomplices sauntered up and demanded cash. “Give me your money,� one of the crooks allegedly growled. The suspect and his pals the alledgedly attacked the man, pummeling him in the face with a series of vicious blows, cops said. After roughing him up, the thugs ripped $2,700 off the victim, before fleeing, according to police.

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INSTANT REPLAY Thieves ripped off the same West Street construction site two days in a row on Jan. 24 and 25. Surveillance footage shows a delinquent duo entered the construction site from a Washington Street entrance at 9 p.m. on Jan. 24. After failing to gain entrance to a second floor office, the pair managed to bust their way into offices located on the third floor. Once inside, the crooks nabbed an iPad, laptop, and Samsung camcorder, worth a total of $3,130, before fleeing, cops said. Another pair of crooks, this time a man and a woman, looted the same West Street construction site on Jan. 25, making off with a whopping $18,900 worth of pricey electronics. The burglars looted offices on the second and third floor of the work site at 9:12 p.m., at one point cutting a hole in the dry wall of the second floor to gain access to the valuables stored there. Altogether, the crooks nabbed seven Dell laptops, an Apple iPad 4, along with another computer, cops said.

BAGGED Cops busted a man for allegedly brawling with a security guard inside a Liberty Street fashion outlet as he attempted to make off with $10,000 worth of handbags on Jan. 25. The victim told police he was working security at the retailer near West Street at 6:30 p.m., when he spotted the suspect and another man grab ten Balenciaga bags and make for the exit. When the guard confronted the men, they started swinging and a scuffle ensued that left the suspect detained, while his accomplice managed to flee, cops said.  — Colin Mixson



  

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Second timeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the charm The MTa has announced that the 1 trainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s South Ferry terminal station will be coming back into service this June. The station ďŹ rst opened in 2009, at a cost of $545 million, but was knocked out of service just three years later when it was entirely submerged under Hurricane Sandyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s storm surge in 2012. The MTa has since spent another $344 million on repairs and stormprooďŹ ng.

New pediatric services at NYU Langone at Trinity BY OLIVIA SMITH NYU Langone at Trinity has added pediatric services to its range of care for adults at NYU Langone Medical Centerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s multispecialty practice in Downtownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s historic Trinity Building to better serve a changing neighborhood. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are very excited to be able to offer both general pediatric and pediatric specialty services to lower Manhattan,â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;&#x2122; said Jay Sauls, MHA, director of NYU Langone at Trinity. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The community is growing and changing, becoming more residential, so the timing is perfect and we will be able to meet the growing need in this area.â&#x20AC;? Four pediatricians treat children from birth through adolescence, and offer routine examinations, immunizations, vision and hearing tests, and developmental screenings. David Shipman, MD; Niloufar Gidfar, MD; Colomba Marcantonio, MD; and Madhavi Kapoor, MD, all see pediatric patients full-time at NYU Langone at Trinity. Specialists at the practice include allergist Sujan Patel, MD; pediatric endocrinologist Gabrielle Grinstein, MD; and pediat-

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February 09 - 22, 2017

ric gynecologist Stefanie Cardamone, MD. Referrals are also available to a wide variety of pediatric specialists at Hassenfeld Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hospital of New York at NYU Langone. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We strive to not only treat every child, but to offer a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;medical homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; for all of our patients,â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;&#x2122; said Dr. Shipman. Pediatrics has its own 4,000-squarefoot suite on the fourth floor of the facility at 111 Broadway, with 10 exam rooms and a dedicated, child-friendly waiting area. Same- or next-day appointments are available for sick visits, and all bloodwork is done on site. Children with contagious illnesses are taken immediately into exam rooms, helping minimize the spread of germs, and physicians are on call 24 hours a day. Pediatric services are available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Physicians from the practice also see patients several Saturdays a month at NYU Langone Pediatric Associates at Irving Place. With the addition of pediatrics, the 48 physicians at NYU Langone at Trinity treat patients in more than a dozen specialties. DowntownExpress.com


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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

DowntownExpress.com

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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Eating

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.

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.

February 09 - 22, 2017

9


battery rally Continued from page 2

bore on signs and banners. Several Democratic elected officials attended the rally — including Mayor de Blasio, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and Reps. Nydia Velázquez, Joe Crowley, Carolyn Maloney, Adriano Espaillat, Hakeem Jeffries, and Jerrold Nadler — joined by other city officials and activist leaders. Schumer vowed that he would “not rest until these horrible orders are repealed,” and credited Saturday’s protests at John F. Kennedy airport with helping ease restrictions on some visa holders, which allowed dozens of people being held there to enter the country. But he warned the work was not over. “We have made progress for 42 [visa holders],” Schumer said, “but we have to make progress for thousands, and tens of thousands more, and hundreds of thousands more.” Schumer, who as Senate Minority Leader is the most powerful political opponent Trump has in Washington, received a lukewarm welcome from the crowd, in part because he has supported some of the president’s less controversial cabinet nominees. Some demonstrators chanted “oppose the nominees” following his speech. After the rally, many in the crowd marched north to the Civic Center to demonstrate in front of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office at 26 Federal Plaza.

The American Civil Liberties Union won a victory over the weekend when it challenged the executive order in a Brooklyn federal court and U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly ruled in its favor. Donnelly’s ruling stayed the executive order to block immigration officials from sending people detained in U.S. airports back to the countries they left, although it did not overrule the ban in its entirety, and some visa-holders remained detained as the Jan. 29 rally unfolded. Another federal judge later blocked the order entirely on Feb. 3. Rep. Maloney has asked a House committee to investigate “how the executive order banning and restricting immigration signed on Friday came to fruition,” according to a press release. Maloney wants to know what federal agencies the Trump administration consulted and what legal analysis the Justice Department used to justify the order, among other legal questions. The rally was so vast and so spontaneous that it literally overwhelmed The Battery, with the estimated 10,000 demonstrators overflowing from the Oval into the gardens and flower beds, trampling the plants, according to The Battery Conservancy president Warrie Price. “We had no warning to prepare,” said Price. “It came so quickly.” Normally, caretakers with The Battery Conservancy would have laid down flexipave tiles around vulnerable portions of the park, but between Trump’s executive order on Friday and the rally on Sunday, there simply wasn’t time to make prepa-

foley square Continued from page 2

Wielding signs with slogans such as “Fight ignorance not immigration,” “No ban, no wall,” “Immigrants make America great” and “This all really sucks,” demonstrators along Broadway urged motorists to honk their horns in solidarity. Cheers erupted when they did, and defiant chants answered the occasional drivers who shouted pro-Trump slogans as they drove past. Tourists peeked out from tinted tour bus windows as protesters leaned against the police barricades that separated the crowd from the agency tasked with enforcing Trump’s draconian orders. Lower East Side native Danny Ahmed said he took to the streets in part because of what he saw as a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment. For example, he recently saw a white man slam a hijab-wearing woman in the shoulder as he as walking into the Union Square subway station and she was coming out. It clearly hurt her, and it struck a nerve with Ahmed. “Why would someone do that?” he said. “Just because we’re Muslims doesn’t make us less of human beings.” That incident was a minor part of the major issue that drove Ahmed to join the protests this week, starting with a Monday rally at Tompkins Square Park. Blocking refugees and banning on people from pre-

10

February 09 - 22, 2017

Photo by Milo Hess

The Stars-and-Stripes hijab is fast becoming the fashion statement of the season at protests of Trump’s immigration policy.

rations beyond alerting staff of the coming protest, Price said. “We had no prep for this,” she said. The Battery’s Oval, which opened last summer, was designed with large assemblies in mind, but even the massive 90,000-square-foot lawn — designed with a capacity for 5,000–7,000 people — couldn’t contain the huge crowd that surged into the park. “Ten thousand people was more than the Oval could’ve taken itself, so they filled up all the paths and onto gardens and other spaces in the park,” Price said. The demonstrators likely didn’t realize they were stepping on curated vegetation, since most of the peren-

dominantly Muslim countries run counter to American values, Ahmed said, but Trump’s divisive orders are also, ironically, bringing many New Yorkers together with the groups the President is trying to exclude. “It’s really bringing the country together, but in a way it’s also really hurting us,” Ahmed said. Protesters at Foley Square said marching in the streets is just one of several ways they are opposing Trump, including outreach to elected leaders, community meetings, social media organizing, and even a bit of child’s play. The onslaught of the Trump agenda has catalyzed cooperation among local faith communities, such as an interfaith playdate held last month at Masjid Madina, a mosque on East 10th St. A similar playdate is scheduled for March 19 at Middle Collegiate Church, and a meeting for the adults at Masjid Madina on March 7 will focus on immigration issues, according to organizer Anthony Donovan. Despite fervent opposition in New York City, polls this week suggest that Trump’s actions on refugees and immigration are supported by a plurality of Americans. About half of those polled by Reuters/ Ipsos on Jan. 31 said they supported the policy. About one third responded said the executive orders made them feel “more safe,” versus about one quarter who said the opposite.

nial plants are withered and dormant through the winter — but that’s also when the plants are at their most vulnerable, said Price. “They think everything is frozen and they can go anywhere, but they don’t understand roots and horticulture,” Price said. “It is our most fragile time.” The extent of the damage won’t be fully apparent until spring, but parts of the Oval will have to be reseeded, and it’s unclear whether sections of the park will have to be closed off to allow new seedlings to take root and grow, Price explained. But despite the damage, Price doesn’t want to dissuade New Yorkers from using The Battery — home to the country’s first immigration station, predating the one on Ellis Island — as a venue for such protests. “The Battery was definitely an appropriate site for this protest,” said Price. “It’s about everything The Battery has stood for — giving people hope, welcoming people. and helping them begin their lives — it’s in our DNA. I really believe it is a very important place, and I would hope that we can continue to have The Battery as a place of discourse.” The Battery is certain to see more demonstrations in the weeks ahead. The next one, organized by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, will gather there on Sunday at 11 a.m. to continue the pushback against Trump’s immigration policy, but Price said that the smaller crowd expected for this protest can easily be accommodated by the park.

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Demonstrators protested against Trump’s plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico as well as his ban on refugees and visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries — both of which were the subject of executive orders the President signed during his first week in office.

Ahmed said that some Muslims in his neighborhood have been told to “go back to your country,” but a group of neighbors also expressed their support for the Muslim community through a letter to his friend. Actions like that inspired Ahmed to concentrate the positive developments in a dark time for American Muslims like himself. “It brings out the best in people and it brings out the worst in people as well,” he said. DowntownExpress.com


Detour from Downtown New tech on Verrazano-Narrows Bridge could help draw trucks from Lower Manhattan By Colin Mixson New booth-less toll technology leaves Republican congressmen with no more excuses for maintaining the Verrazano Bridgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one-way toll structure, which sends cash-strapped truckers from the outer boroughs and beyond flooding into Lower Manhattan, Downtown advocates say. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been waiting 30 years for this tech to evolve,â&#x20AC;? said Sean Sweeny, executive director of the SoHo Alliance. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The time is now. Lets seize it!â&#x20AC;? The current one-way toll for Staten Island-bound traffic dates back to 1986 as a way to ease pollution caused by idling traffic tied up at the bridgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s massive toll plaza on the Staten Island side of the span. But this summer, the Verrazano is getting a cashless toll system, in which cameras record license plates as drivers zoom by, making concerns about boothinduced smog â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and thus the rationals for the one-way toll â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a thing of the past, locals argue. As it is, the Verrazanoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exorbitant

$16 toll for Staten Island- and New Jersey-bound drivers sends hordes of outer-borough and Long Island motorists â&#x20AC;&#x201D; especially trucks â&#x20AC;&#x201D; pouring over the toll-free East River bridges into Lower Manhattan, and turning crosstown thoroughfares into speedways as they head to the Holland Tunnel, which only taxes drivers heading into the city. Truckers, who are charged by the axle at toll crossings, were especially keen to avoid the Verrazanoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s high toll, although Downtown residents got a break after trucks with more than three axles were banned from the Holland Tunnel following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Canal Street in particular has earned a reputation as a hazardous speedway in the years since the Verrazano toll went one-way, according to Councilmember Margaret Chin. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is why crossing Canal Street is so dangerous,â&#x20AC;? said Chin. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have to find a way to improve congestion and traffic safety.â&#x20AC;?

File photo by Paul Martinka

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge charges a $16 one-way toll to cross from Brooklyn to Staten Island, but new technology may allow for a cheaper, twoway toll that could draw some New Jersey-bound truck traffic away from the Lower Manhattan route that clogs Downtown.

And as drivers detour around the Verrazanoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s massive toll, the state loses out on millions in revenue, according to one Downtown activist. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s incredible the amount of toll rev-

enue thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lost,â&#x20AC;? said Carl Rosenstein, a Downtowner who created a group called Trees Not Trucks to combat comverrazano Continued on page 15

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February 09 - 22, 2017

11


Hunter College on Transit Sam: He’s a jolly good fellow, no one can deny

THE NEW SOUND OF

By Colin Mixson Hunter College has selected Downtown Express columnist and legendary urban transportation expert Sam “Transit Sam” Schwartz to serve in the university’s the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute as the school’s firstever Theodore Kheel Visiting Fellow in Transportation. During the semester-long fellowship — named after the New York City transit arbitrator who famously resolved the city’s 114-day-long newspaper strike in the ’60s — Schwartz will work with students on researching innovative techniques for improving transit systems nationwide, according to Hunter College President Jennifer Raab. “Just as Ted Kheel epitomized responsible transportation solutions for the late 20th century, Sam Schwartz has built brilliantly on that vision to help create a sustainable system for navigating our city — and many other urban spaces — into the 21st century,” Raab said. Schwartz began as the city’s traffic commissioner under former Mayor Ed Koch in 1982, and later served as first deputy and chief engineer of the Department

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Dates: Thurs., Feb. 9–Wed., Feb. 15 ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES SUSPENDED THURSDAY FOR SNOW & MONDAY FOR LINCOLN’S BIRTHDAY Special ASP alert! ASP rules will be suspended Thursday, today, for snow operations. And remember, Lincoln’s Birthday will be observed Monday, which means ASP rules will be suspended. But this is one of those tricky days when, although ASP rules are suspended, all other rules remain in effect, like meter rules and general parking regulations (i.e., any sign that says, “Anytime”). Designers will take over lower Manhattan throughout the month, bringing VIPs, media vans, and intermittent closures for shows like Rag & Bone, Oscar de la Renta, and Ralph Lauren. Hot spots include: the area bounded by Clarkson and Spring Sts. and West and Greenwich Sts, Tenth Ave. between 13th and 14th, Sixth Ave. between Laight and York Sts., Bethune St. between Washington and Greenwich Sts., and Washington between Bethune and W. 12th St. This will cause delays along West St. as well as at the Holland Tunnel and in the surrounding areas. DEMO ALERT! On Saturday, pro-choice and prolife demonstrators will meet outside of Planned Parenthood (Bleecker St. at Mott St.) from 9 a.m. to noon. If you’re heading to NoHo, take the 6 train to

Bleecker St. or the B/D/F/M trains to Broadway-Lafayette. Also that day, two demos will take place at W. 4th and MacDougal Sts. in Washington Square Park: Protect Planned Parenthood, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Here to Stay—No Nos Vamos, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. On Sunday, a Jewish Rally for Refugees will gather at Battery Park from 11 a.m. to noon. At least 1,000 will go, possibly causing turbulence at the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and along West St. We all know Ford Motor Company’s iconic automobiles, but like all great innovators, it’s time to head in a new direction: mobility! With 2017 under way, I’ll be partnering up with Ford and, I hope, you. Join the conversation through Ford’s Mobilize New York Challenge — tell us how you’d get New Yorkers moving faster and more reliably. Check out the challenge (www. mobilize-ny.com) and visit the FordHub experience studio at the WTC Oculus, and get inspired and share your ideas about the future of transportation. To find out whether Thursday’s ASP suspension continues to Friday and beyond, follow me on Twitter @ GridlockSam, and subscribe to my weekly E-Newsletter at www.gridlocksam.com for details. I’ll also keep you posted on demos since these have become frequent and sometimes sudden.

sam fellowship Continued from page 12

“In a 1969 New York Magazine article, [Kheel] wrote: ‘Transportation is as much a civil rights issue as housing and education and jobs.’ Almost a half-century later, a nucleus of planners and engineers are finally reaching that conclusion,” Schwartz said. “I am hoping my fellowship can offer scholarly research that, among other things, advances his keen observation.”

area following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the construction of the Second Avenue Subway, and the planned BrooklynQueens Connector streetcar that would link outer-borough neighborhoods along the waterfront. Schwartz hopes to use the fellowship to advance Kheel’s vision of a more egalitarian transportation system, he said.

hit-and-run Continued from page 6

But Maclean is pursuing a civil suit against the city and state for not remediating unsafe conditions at the notoriously accident-prone intersection before his wife was killed, contending that both the city and state were well aware of the dangerous conditions in the years leading up to Cook’s death, and thus DowntownExpress.com

bear some resposnibility. On that, at least, Silva and Cook’s family are in agreement. “Not only has counsel for the deceased stated that things need to change at that intersection, but the city recognized that and moved to immediately change the conditions there,” said Ramcharitar. “We got this [plea] offer because it was an accident.”

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In the past four years, than 75% the graduates Due to the massive reconstriction project slated for Warren Street, starting on In the pastmore four years, moreofthan Discipline, moral values, and con- Enrichment Feb. 20, Downtown Connection buses will be reroutedelec�ves: along Chambers Street. got accepted to a Specialized High School 75% of the graduates got accepted to a Specialized High School

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Mar. Mar. 14 14 9am-11am 9am-11am street lights and traffic signals. Private BY DENNIS LYNCH Since 1832, the Transfigura�on School has provided educa�onal will also relocate some The Downtown Alliance will reroute utility companies utility structures, install new gas mains, its Downtown Connection free shutexcellence to successive waves of immigrants and their children. tle bus service from Warren Street to and larger utility conduits to accommoRooted in the Chambers Catholic Street tradi�on, Transfigura�on nurtures the mind, starting Feb. 20 to date future expansion, according to a city released in December. construction projectenvironment the city advisory body and spiritavoid in aafamily-centered to develop One lane of traffic will remain open announced in late December. though�ul and responsible learners. FOR CHILDREN Warren Street and street parking The buses will travel east to Broadway alongOur Programs

least September 2019, when the Warren - 96% of 8th graders passed Regents Algebra I Family-centered environment Early Childhood Campus Lower Campus Upper Campus Street reconstruction ins due to be comPre-K 3 to Pre-K 4In the past Kindergarten to Grademore 3 Grade 4- Grade 8 four years, than pleted. Discipline, moral values, and con10 Confucius Plaza, LL 29 Mott Street 37 St. James Place The Department of Design and New York, NY 1000275% of the Newgraduates York, NY 10013got acceptNew York, NY 10038 duct development Construction will begin tearing up a Tel: 212-431-8769 Tel: 212-962-5265 tel: 212-267-9289 ed to a Specialized High School span of Warren Street from West Street Fax: 212-431-8917 Fax: 212-964-8965 Fax: 212-227-0065 to Broadway this month to completely overhaul underground and street-level utilities. It will install new water mains, rehab some sewers, rebuild the street and sidewalks themselves, and install new

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Piano Chess 2017 Open House www.Transfigura�onSchoolNYC.org Computer Coding Art @ Early Childhood D’town Connection bus route changes Feb. Feb. 14 14

Full day program from pre-K one block north on Chambers Street BORN IN to Grade 8 instead of on Warren Street near the 2014 or 2013We Provide…. Special education services north side of Rockefeller Park, before continuing on its normal U-shaped Art, music, Mandarin Academic excellence route around Downtown to the Seaport. Yoga, drum and rhythm Transfiguration School The reroute will eliminate three stops is accredited by AdvancED Choir Academic Excellence Since Dedicated experienced on and Warren Street wheremul�it intersects and is awarded the 6-week summer school program1832 Greenwich Street, Church Avenue, and lingual School Choice Leadership Award 2016 faculty Weekend sports program North End Avenue. ××××××××× The Alliance suggests that riders who Enrichment electives2015—2016 (Chinese Achievement Well-rounded curriculum normally hop off on Warren Street get dance, Ballet,Grades Piano, 3—8 Chess, 2011 National Blue NYS Test Results: off at Murray Street stops instead. Affordable tui�on Ribbon School Computer -Coding, Art) 80% passed ELA and 85% passed Math The change will be in effect until at

14

Chinese dance

will be reduced during the course of the year from project. - two-and-a-half Full day programs preSome work will take place on nights and weekends. -K to Grade 8 Many residents oppose that, includmembers of Community - ing Special educa�on services Board 1’s Tribeca Committee, who earlier this - month Art, music, Mandarin criticized the city for failing to consult them before signing a contract - Yoga, drum and rhythm for the job. The bright red Downtown - Choir Connection buses run seven days a - week 6-week summer from 10 a.m.school to 7:30 p.m., roughly every 10 minutes on weekdays and program every 15 minutes on weekends. The - Alliance Weekend sports started theprograms service in 2003 and extended the original route with a mini - Enrichment elec�ves: loop in Tribeca that included Warren St. in 2011 dance to better serve riders who used Chinese Ballet it to get to popular shopping destinaPiano Chess tions in the area including Whole Foods Computer Coding Art and Bed Bath & Beyond. The Alliance also recently added a new Seaport stop at South Street and Peck Slip. DowntownExpress.com


signs Continued from page 1

community to exercise caution when traveling to and from school, particularly on S. William St.,” McEvoy wrote in the letter sent to Millennium families. “I encourage you to have a conversation in your household about staying aware and safe while commuting.” Both CB1 and Squadron’s office have reached out to DOT to arrange a tour of Millennium, and are hoping to hear back from the city’s transit agency with a date soon, according Hovtiz and a spokesman for Squadron. The activists are hopeful that the tour will result in new signage, which seems like a commonsense solution, Hovitz said. Hovitz is also hoping to see more no-parking signs installed near the school entrance, where cars frequently park and idle illegally, making it difficult for pedestrians to see oncoming traffic, he said. “The fact that high schools don’t get crossing guards should require the transportation department to be even more cautious to have proper signage by our schools,” said the CB1 vice chair. Squadron said that the city has

a responsibility to make sure students can get to school safely. “Getting to and from school safely must be a given for students everywhere,” Squadron said. “My office will be working with CB1, DOT, Millennium, and other local schools to continue to improve street safety around our schools.” The local activists will focus on the Broad St. school where the girl was hit, but other Downtown schools — such as Richard Green High School, which shares a building with Lower Manhattan Middle and also lacks signage — will also likely be discussed, said Hovitz. “Certainly the focus is Millennium at this point. Obviously this is where we had a near-catastrophe,” Hovitz said. “At the same time, I’m asking them to review the other high schools Downtown.” The DOT said that it is willing to work with locals on the issue. “DOT is open to discussing safety concerns near Millennium High School,” said a department spokesman. “Regarding school slow zone signs, DOT will assess this location for the necessary signage upon receipt of a formal request.”

verrazano Continued from page 11

mercial trucking traffic caused by the oneway toll. “Hundreds of millions of dollars to the MTA system are gone. It’s really kind of criminal.” But the crusaders face a big roadblock: the Verrazano is the only local toll bridge that falls under federal jurisdiction, and the Republican-dominated Congress has been reluctant to back any change that would agitate conservative Staten Island voters. Republican congressman Dan Donovan, who represents voters on both sides of the bridge, vowed to oppose any measure to restore the two-way toll until he’s seen data proving that the change would decrease traffic and increase revenue, according to spokesman Patrick Ryan. Until solid evidence emerges proving the efficacy of a two-way toll, the change will be a tough sell to Staten Island voters, who form the bulk of Donovan’s constituency, according to Ryan. “I think that with any constituency, when you propose changing something that’s been in effect 30 years, all these theories come up that it’s going to be worse because of X-Y-Z,” Ryan said. “But if you can say ‘we’re going to get X amount of revenue we can use for this project, that makes it easier to discuss.” Congressman Jerrold Nadler has been a longtime supporter of the two-way toll,

but came under fire from constituents after he failed to see the change through when the House and Senate were briefly controlled by Democrats during the early years of Obama’s first term, according Rosenstein. “The Dems had a veto-proof Congress and Nadler failed to do what he had promised his constituents,” said Rosenstein. But ramming the change through Congress is more difficult than it seems, because it needs to be tacked onto more substantial transportation legislation, which didn’t materialize during the two-year window, according to Nadler’s district director Robert Gottheim. But with the new toll technology, and President Trump championing new highway infrastructure programs, Nadler sees both the will and a way to realize a two-way toll on the Verrazano, said Gottheim. “Looking forward, there’s a strong chance this can be done,” he said. Regardless of what the future holds, one question will likely forever remain unanswered — how has Staten Island managed to screw over Lower Manhattan for this long? “Why does this little backwater of New York City have such power that it can control the traffic flow in the center of the universe?” Sweeny asked. “Why are Trump supporters causing misery in Lower Manhattan. How is this allowed?”

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February 09 - 22, 2017

15


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February 09 - 22, 2017

BY LENORE SKENAZY It seems like arguing — screaming, shouting or at the very least, extreme eye-rolling — is right up there with eating breakfast these days. Wake up, brush your teeth, glance at the latest news and … explode! Jeanne Johnson was sick of it. Johnson is a mom of two in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and a local activist. A few years back, she got the city to make its crosswalks more obvious to encourage kids to walk — and cars to stop. Last week she wanted to encourage something else to stop: The demonization of everyone who voted for someone other than the someone you voted for. So to a local social hall she invited Guy Benson, a conservative author, Julie Roginsky, a Democratic strategist, and Kennedy, the mordantly hilarious libertarian who has an eponymous show on Fox Business. In fact, all three are on Fox all the time, often sparring, but also always happy to see each other. That’s what Johnson wanted her fellow citizens to witness with their own eyes: You can disagree with someone’s politics — even vehemently — and not despise them as humans. As crazy as that sounds. Kennedy moderated the chat by asking the kind of questions that can stop a, “You crazy s---head” in mid-air. For instance, she wondered, was there ever a time when either of her guests realized the other side was not evil incarnate? Roginsky recalled a time back in college when she and her fellow feminists took a bus to a Rhode Island abortion clinic, where nuns and priests were protesting outside. As Roginsky and her retinue shouted, “Keep your rosaries off our ovaries!” she looked at the clergy, fervently praying, and suddenly it hit her: These folks weren’t

there to be judgmental jerks. They had come because they truly believe that a fetus is a life that must be saved. For them, blocking the clinic was no different from grabbing the gun from some nut holding a hostage. To this day, Roginsky remains adamantly prochoice, but instead of seeing pro-life supporters as bad people, she seems them as people she disagrees with. For his part, Benson flashed back on 2009, when Obama was sworn into office on a Democratic wave that gave them control of the White House and both houses of Congress. Conservatives were beside themselves: Here was a President who would pass every piece of liberal legislation this side of Sweden. The Republicans were on the outs, perhaps never to rise again. So, Benson said, smirk-free, he truly empathizes with what Democrats are feeling now. He obviously doesn’t share their dismay (although he didn’t sound very happy about Trump). But he gave a knowing nod to the people who, well, that’s just the thing. The room was filled with ardent Democrats and Republicans, and probably some Libertarians besides just Kennedy. And you couldn’t tell who was who. For Johnson, that was the point. “Those [feuding] people ended up having to sit at the same tables together,” she said. She’d deliberately chosen round tables, so everyone would be looking at everyone else, and purple table cloths. Not red. Not blue. Purple. The cookies for the event were iced in purple frosting, “Together.” Cookies are

always an ice breaker. And so was this event. Up on stage, Roginsky and Benson were discussing free speech. They’d just gotten word about the unrest — riots? — at the University of California, Berkeley, where masked agitators had caused $100,000 in damage as they protested a speech to be given by the right-wing agitator Milo Yiannopoulos. Roginsky was appalled. She is hardly a fan of Yiannopoulos, but free speech wins, she said: “Always.” For his part, Benson was ready with some good advice for the Democrats. “If everything is an outrage, nothing is.” In other words, if the left rejects absolutely everyone and everything Trump proposes, their message will get tuned out. Pick your battles, he advised, to get more traction. How did the two opposites manage to stay friends through this election and post-election season? The same way they handle the Twitter taunts the come their way. The trick is to “listen generously,” said Benson. Don’t assume the person who didn’t vote your way chose the other candidate out of bigotry, stupidity, or calumny. Assume they had their varied reasons, just like you had yours. Give folks the benefit of the doubt. By the end of the night, said Johnson, she thought she saw that happening. “I know how contentious things were, or are, in our community — horrible. Just like we’re seeing on the national stage.” But afterward the event, the audience hung around for almost an hour, talking, laughing, and eating those cookies. “Let’s do this again!” they said. That’s an idea no one could argue with. Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker, author of the book and blog Free-Range Kids, and a contributor at Reason.com.

Posted To Driver who killed cyclist last June pleads guilty (Feb. 2) I saw this accident, it was horrible. The driver then sped off and I — and others — gave chase on foot knowing he couldn’t get far in that part of BPC. I think of that poor woman every time I cross Chambers. If you saw

what I saw, you’d know that this man is getting off easy. N de Seve

Vindicated: Gateway’s Plaskin cleared in tenant lawsuit (Jan. 19) On behalf of the Executive Board Members of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association board, as its President, I

can tell you that, for the last ten years, we have fought relentlessly to improve the quality of life for all Gateway residents. I have no idea what your few deluded negative-minded readers who commented in this article are talking about. In part, THANKS TO OUR ADVOCACY tenants are now in the posted Continued on page 18

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D’towners should get the health care they deserve BY CHIEF RICHARD ALLES In the decade and a half since the September 11th attacks, lower Manhattan has not only been restored, it has become even more dynamic than before. This is due in no small part to those who showed the dedication and commitment to remain living and working in the community in the very difficult days and months following 9/11. Sadly, though, many people were rewarded for that brave decision with serious – and costly - health problems. Claims by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator that residents, workers and volunteers were in no danger of breathing in toxins from Ground Zero have now been proven false. Medical experts and the federal government have determined that anyone who lived or worked south of Houston Street, including parts of Brooklyn, during the nine months following 9/11 are 20-25% more at risk for a number of illnesses, including 70 types of cancer. I spent 37 years with the FDNY and the last 9 of those years traveling back and forth between New York and Washington, D.C. advocating for those whose lives have or will be impacted by health complications as a result of 9/11. We should all tip our hats to Downtown’s three members of Congress, Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez, as well as to Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who fought on our behalf. As a response to the crisis, Congress passed and fully funded the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and

Letters

To the Editor, Today, some of our worst fears are fast becoming reality. In his first days in office, President Trump has signed orders attacking women’s rights and environmental protections, and is now moving to restrict entry to the United States from majority Muslim countries and ban Syrian refugees. He also is swiftly acting to expand the Mexican border wall and target sanctuary cities like New York City. The Workmen’s Circle was founded by immigrants who arrived in the early 1900’s in a United States that was not always welcoming to them. They had to fight for fair paying jobs, safe working conditions, decent housing, education, and adequate healthcare, and the Workmen’s Circle responded by organizing activist communities to successfully work for a better world for all. Many of these same rights are now under attack, and we again pledge to organize and empower communities to fight back. In New York City, we joined a Vigil with the New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), one of a number of rallies

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AP / Tom Williams

FDNY Chief Richard Alles, at center, shakes hands with comedian Jon Stewart, at right, at a 2015 rally outside the Capitol pushing for the renewal of the Zadroga Act.

Compensation Act to alleviate health costs and provide free medical treatment for those sickened by the attacks. For those who live or work south of Houston Street and are experiencing symptoms of one of the 70 possible 9/11-related illnesses, you may be eligible for critical medical treatment and even financial compensation. As a crucial part of the Zadroga Act, Congress created the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which set aside $7.3 billion for those who are sick. For the VCF, the compensation line is south of Canal Street

across the country. The presence of so many New Yorkers from diverse communities sent a strong message of support for Muslim and immigrant rights. The landscape ahead will be one of rollbacks to civil liberties and human rights. Here in New York, we can continue to show the country — and world — that we will stand strong against such hate and intolerance. Ann Toback Executive Director The Workmen’s Circle To the Editor: There is more to a recent Metropolitan Transportation Authority announcement that the anticipated repairs to the 1 train’s South Ferry Station will be completed in time to support reopening in June 2017. Washington, DC, paid twiceover with tax dollars under grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration for building the new South Ferry Terminal subway station. Although the original station suffered minimal structural damage as a result of

while for the WTC Health Program, the line extends up to Houston Street. For those with cancer, compensation levels range from $100,000-$250,000. Here’s why this is important. Among people who lived and/or worked south of Houston Street from September 11, 2001 - May 31, 2002, there have already been over 37,000 diagnoses, with many thousands more expected, from a list of 70 known cancers, pulmonary diseases and other illnesses as a result of exposure to toxins from the World Trade Center. Again, eligibility extends to anyone who is sick and lived or worked south of Houston Street during that time, regardless of whether you actually went to Ground Zero. The air wasn’t just toxic at the site itself. Knowing your eligibility is a critical first step. Even family members of a victim who becomes ill and or may have since died are eligible to apply for compensation. Those of us who were exposed knew the air wasn’t healthy but 9/11 was a national emergency. Our unity showed the terrorists that they could not take our city down. Our members of Congress took action to make sure citizens of downtown get the care they deserve. Acting now is in the best interests of your family. If you require help with the VCF process, please reach out for assistance without delay. Chief Richard Alles served in the FDNY for 37 years. He is now an advocate for downtown residents and workers impacted by 9/11. He can be reached at FDChiefAlles911@gmail.com.

9/11, compared to both the Rector and Cortland Street stations, Uncle Sam still provided $545 million in 9/11 emergency recovery funding for a new station at South Ferry. As part of its own 20-Year Capital Needs Assessment Plan and long term New York City Transit station stateof-good-repair program, the MTA had always intended to upgrade this station using its own or federal USDOT FTA annual formula funding. This was necessary as the original South Ferry station built in 1905 could only accommodate five cars versus the standard ten at all other stations. In 2012, Super Storm Sandy severely damaged the new station. As a result, USDOT FTA paid a second time for the same station. The MTA received $344 million under the Super Storm Sandy Disaster Relief Act for reconstruction of the same South Ferry station. The federal funds were supplemented by millions more in MTA insurance proceeds. Why will it take almost five years to complete this project? Remember the neighboring Fulton Street Transit Center project? The original start date was 2003 with a comple-

tion date of 2007. At $1.4 billion, the final cost ended up $650 million higher than the original $750 million budget. The USDOT FTA first provided $847 million in Lower Manhattan 9/11 emergency recovery funding. This was supplemented by $423 million in American Recovery Reinvestment funding to assist in covering cost overruns. Sixteen years after 9/11, the Cortland Street WTC NYC Transit 1-train subway station is still almost two years away from returning to service. If there are no new delays, perhaps the station will reopen by December 2018. The PANYNJ & MTA fought for years over budget, funding sources, scope and schedule. Construction for the MTA portion of the project began last year. This station was totally destroyed as a result of 9/11 suffering far more damage than others. Why will it take the MTA 17 years to rebuild this station? Taxpayers and commuters deserve better. Larry Penner Great Neck, New York (Penner worked for the U.S. Dept. of Transportation for 31 years) February 09 - 22, 2017

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posted Continued from page 16

process of getting brand-new windows, already-installed brand-new heaters, and brand-new hallways, + new TV cable service, not to mention the new roofs, new intercoms, new fire alarms systems, new electrical system, and so much more. We have advocated for rent stabilization renewals, energy conservation, emergency preparedness, Pet population protections, you name it. The ownership of Gateway has been responsive to us and they’ve endeavored to invest in the building and improve it in a myriad of ways. What in the world do these critics want from us? Hello: We are VOLUNTEERS. What are THEY doing to enhance the community, other than complaining? It’s ludicrous to think we spend hundreds of hours and a few disgruntled

tenants say we do nothing. I invite THEM to volunteer an hour of their time to help. We welcome anyone who would like to step up. As for our “parties,” these are public events that have bolstered our leverage and influence in the community by connecting closely with our elected representatives — Senator Chuck Schumer, Congressman Jerry Nadler, Senator Daniel Squadron, Borough President Gail Brewer, Council Member Margaret Chin, Comptroller Scott Stringer, former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, among others, have cared enough to support us. We’re a community–tenants, elected officials, a fantastic BPCA leadership, and ownership–and we strive to strike a balance and do a fantastic job in uniting us all together. Glenn Plaskin The

Gateway

Plaza

Tenants

Association is to be commended for the implementation of the Rent Stabilization Agreement and for its subsequent renewals. Many of us covered under it would not be able to stay here if not for the agreement. However, I take offense at Mr. Plaskin calling those of us who disagree with him and the GPTA as deluded-we may disagree in our opinions but we are certainly not deluded. As far as the ownership of Gatewaythey make no improvements for the benefit of their tenants-they make improvements based on political/media pressure and the desire for higher rents from the free-market apartments. As far as Gateway being responsivethe problem with the windows has been going on since the 1980’s-including a rent strike back then-only now are putting in new windows. That is not being responsive. New heating units-they are no bet-

ter than the old ones-two civil engineers have told me that they are inadequate for the two bedroom apartments because they do not throw enough hear/ air conditioning across the living room/ dining room area (they don’t) Plus,I have not seen any change in my electrical bills. New windows-look great, don’t work so great. You can feel cold air coming in and hear the wind. There is no insulation on the windows that open/close and according to a Gateway rep and the lead installer that is the way they are and nothing will be done by management.An expert that I consulted said that they should have been insulated. Again, I have seen no change in my electric bills. Gateway has a history of shoddy work and cheap replacements-nothing has changed over the years. Randy Bragg

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February 09 - 22, 2017

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The Lasting Impressions of a Marked Up Man Exhibit pays tribute to tattoo master Gus Wagner BY PUMA PERL From the act itself to the passing down of techniques and tools, tattooing is an intimate endeavor — so it is fitting that the South Street Seaport Museum’s new exhibition should bear such distinct marks of artistry, legacy, and collaboration. “The Original Gus Wagner: The Maritime Roots of the Modern Tattoo” is a fascinating look at tattoo history through the study of a unique, exuberant artist: Augustus “Gus” Wagner (1872-1941). During his time as a young merchant seaman, Wagner claimed to have been trained in the use of hand-made tools by tribesmen in Java and Borneo, and later studied under practitioners in Australia and London. By 1908, he was billing himself as “the most artistically marked up man in America,” with over 800 tattoos. Throughout his career, he continued to use his hand-held instruments, despite the emergence of electric tattooing machines. His work as a traveling tattooist, tattooed man, and circus performer spanned over 40 years. Along with other wandering artists, Wagner brought the art of the tattoo inland from coastal ports, making it part of small town American culture. Included in the exhibition are videos, tattooing tools, flashes, and pages from Wagner’s scrapbook, providing an education in hand tattoo techniques and a closer look into Wagner’s life. Wagner met his wife, Maud, an aerialist and contortionist, at the 1904 Louisiana World’s Fair. He offered her a tattooing lesson in return for a date. Under his tutelage, she became the first wellknown female tattooist. Their daughter, Lovetta, began tattooing at the age of nine; unlike her mother, whose body was covered by Wagner’s work, she had no tattoos of her own. The Alan Govenar and Kaleta Doolin Tattoo Collection at the South Street Seaport Museum has a winding road that began when Alan Govenar was a 21-year-old studying American Folklore at Ohio State University. Seeking a subject for a fieldwork assignment, he came across a sign reading “As Ancient as Time, As Modern as Tomorrow — Tattooing by the Teacher of the Art Since 1928.” The tattooist turned out to be Old School artist and circus performer Leonard L. “Stoney” St. Clair (1912-1980). Govenar became a frequent visitor to the shop, and his lifelong fascination with tattooing began. Today, Govenar’s body of work on the topic includes the book “Stoney Knows How: Life As a Sideshow Tattoo Artist” and its awardwinning documentary film adaptation, and three books with the legendary Don Ed Hardy, whose tattoo designs DowntownExpress.com

Photo by Puma Perl

Michelle Myles of Daredevil Tattoo inked a dragon head on Texan Michael Wyatt, at the Gus Wagner exhibition’s opening night reception.

Courtesy South Street Seaport Museum

Tattooing Tools, ca. 1900-1940 (metal, wood, bone, plastic, textile, paper).

became the basis for a popular fashion line. “It was very important to me to bring this [exhibition] to the Seaport Museum,” said writer, filmmaker, photographer and folklorist Govenar. “Not

only for the sake of tattoo history, but to support the Museum.” WAGNER Continued on page 21

February 09 - 22, 2017

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The Long Way to Liking a Love Song A serious look at ‘Funny Valentine’ BY JIM MELLOAN Eighty years ago this April the Rodgers and Hart musical “Babes in Arms” opened on Broadway. The show contained a number of songs still wellknown today, including “Where or When,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” and that quintessential Valentine’s Day song, “My Funny Valentine,” which has since been performed by more than 600 artists. My sister Molly says there’s a joke: “How many New York cabaret singers does it take to sing ‘My Funny Valentine’?” “Apparently all of them.” What a funny old song it is. Far from gushing with ardor, it seems more an ode to the necessity of compromise in matters of the heart. The male object of the female singer’s affections is “funny” and “comic,” whose “looks are laughable, unphotographable.” Yet she begs him to stay. Personally, I’ve always hated it. The words seem condescending to me, and paired with music that’s cloying in its sentimentality. It’s like an artfully constructed, saccharine confection dedicated to expressing the sentiment “You’ll do.” I did a little crowdsourcing via Facebook to see how my friends feel about the song. Many love it, but a few had misgivings similar to my own. One friend loved the music but found the words “strange.” Another thought it “creepy.” Another said it was “unusual in that it’s honest, which gives unexpected force to the sentiment.” “Babes in Arms” was the original kidsputting-on-a-show musical. In this case it was kids from Long Island who a sheriff threatens to send to a work farm because their parents are all off on tour trying to

stage a vaudeville revival. He gives them a two-week reprieve to put on the show. The musical was heavily revised for the 1939 Busby Berkeley film starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, losing most of the original songs, including “My Funny Valentine,” two black teenagers, and a Communist. The song is actually sung to a character named Valentine. My old improv comrade Marty Barrett, who did the show in high school, said learning that fact was “like finding out that ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ first appeared as a jingle for a used-car dealer named Leon ‘Merry’ Christmas.” But it appears that the song came before the musical’s book, and Rodgers and Hart decided to name the character Valentine to hang the show around the song. Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart met each other in 1919 while both were attending Columbia University. By the late ’20s they had become one of the most popular and prolific songwriting duos on Broadway. They wrote more than 500 songs together. While Rodgers, the composer, was a hardworking man of predictable habits, lyricist Hart was often depressed, and an alcoholic. Four-foot-ten, by most accounts he was an extremely closeted homosexual. In an interview to publicize “Babes in Arms,” he said “Love life? I have none… Who would want me?” Hart eventually became too erratic for Rodgers, who enlisted Oscar Hammerstein as a collaborator for “Oklahoma!” After a booze-soaked sojourn in Mexico, Hart returned to write lyrics for one new song for a revival of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” He wasn’t there for opening night, having commenced

his last bender, and died a few days later, of pneumonia, in 1943. Rodgers continued long thereafter in a successful partnership with Hammerstein. While the song was a minor hit for a few artists in the ’40s, it became an iconic classic in the ’50s. The Gerry Mulligan Quartet, which trumpeter Chet Baker joined in 1952, started doing the song in that year as an instrumental, and Baker was fascinated by it. He sang it on his first vocal album “Chet Baker Sings” in 1954. Baker, like Hart, was a troubled soul, addicted to heroin for years. He alone is said to have done more than 100 recorded performances of the song. Sinatra also did his version in 1954, and Ella Fitzgerald did hers on a double album called “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers and Hart Song Book” in 1956. Elvis Costello put out his version on the B-side of the “Oliver’s Army” single in 1979, letting it be known that he wasn’t just another punk. By far the most popular version on YouTube, with more than 41 million views, is by a woman named Alice Fredenham, who performed it on the first week of auditions for the 2013 season of “Britain’s Got Talent.”

The segment pulls out all the tropes that makes this show so successful: the shy, unknown singer who belts out the song in a master performance and wows the judges. In this rendition, all hint of the condescension in the lyrics is gone; instead the emphasis is all on the passionate plea that her Valentine will “stay.” Fredenham was eliminated on a subsequent semi-final, had a brief appearance on “The Voice UK,” put out a video of “My Funny Valentine,” and is still apparently a struggling less-thansuccessful singer. For my money the most impressive performance is by Chaka Khan, whose lushly orchestrated, vocally acrobatic yet soulful version is on the soundtrack for the 1995 film “Waiting to Exhale.” So have I gained a new appreciation for the song? Yeah. When I was a kid, my taste in comic books was strongly pro-DC, antiMarvel. I liked the forthright goodness of Superman and Batman, and the conflicted personal lives and moral ambiguities in Spider-Man and the Hulk literally made me queasy. I’m older now. I get it.

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February 09 - 22, 2017

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WAGNER Continued from page 19

Seaport Museum Executive Director Captain Jonathan Boulware added, “Remarkably, four years after Hurricane Sandy, we’re still recovering. It’s also worth noting that we hadn’t yet fully recovered from the prior two blows: 9/11 and the recession of 2008. So, all things considered, we’re doing quite well! There’s much to be done to bring us fully back on line as the cultural anchor to the South Street Seaport Historic District, the birthplace of New York City. Exhibitions like this one are just right for us as we move ahead.” The Jan. 28 opening reception included a live demonstration, utilizing Wagner’s original tattoo design, by Daredevil Tattoo artists Brad Fink and Michelle Myles (141 Division St. in Chinatown; daredeviltattoo.com). Michael Wyatt had flown in from Dallas to attend the opening and to be tattooed by Myles, choosing a dragon head as his image. Wyatt became acquainted with Govenar at his coffee-roasting studio, Full City Rooster. Last July, he presented a studio event, “American Tattoo: As Ancient as Time, As Modern as Tomorrow,” with Govenar as special guest speaker (the event title is the same as Govenar’s 1996 ArtBox, which contained a 48-page book, 15 postcards, and three temporary tattoos). Unlike the heavily inked Wyatt, Colin Graham, a Mariner at the Seaport Museum, was a tattoo virgin. “I don’t think most people get their first tattoo at a museum’s opening exhibition,” he said. “I was a little anxious doing it in open view of a bunch of people, but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to get tattooed by a first-class artist, and to choose

Courtesy South Street Seaport Museum

Pages from “Souvenirs of the Travels and Experiences of the Original Gus Wagner, Globe Trotter & Tattoo Artist” scrapbook, ca. 1897-1941 (leather, paper, photographic print, ink, thread).

an image from Gus Wagner’s collection. Brad joked with me while I was getting the piece done that I was going to probably feel a little lopsided and want to get one on my other arm. I do see some truth to the thought that once you have one, you’ll want another; the mental hurdle of getting your first is much bigger than for your second... I couldn’t be happier with how it came out. Brad Fink did a fantastic job, and I couldn’t imagine a better first tattoo.”

On view through June 4 at the South Street Seaport Museum (12 Fulton St., btw. South & Water Sts.). Museum hours: Wed.–Sun., 11am–5pm. The exhibition is free with Museum admission: $12 for adults; $8 for seniors (65+), $6 for ages 6–17. Tickets can be purchased in person at 12 Fulton St. or online at southstreetseaportmuseum.org. For info about Govenar’s work, visit docarts.com/about_us.html.

Paid for by Social Service Employees Union, Local 371. Anthony Wells-President

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February 09 - 22, 2017

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February 09 - 22, 2017

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Just Do Art BY SCOT T STIFFLER

SHOW UP: A SPONTANEOUS COMEDY ABOUT YOU Last seen by this publication in the basement performance space of Triple Crown Ale House — where his chipper but talent-challenged character Lance soldiered through a one-man show to which a bevy of invited megastars failed to attend — comedy coach (and skilled practitioner) Peter Michael Marino moves one block away and two floors up for his latest endeavor. The PIT Loft is the place to be, as Marino manages to “Show Up” without ever phoning it in. That’s mighty impressive for a guy who recently outed himself as suffering from the sort of social anxiety that makes it far more tempting to stay at home watching documentaries about space aliens rather than taking the stage, looking people in the eye, and engaging them in rapid-fire conversation. So goes the deceptively simple device that fuels this often silly, occasionally searing, ultimately affectionate send-up of solo theater performances, interpersonal communication, and the bendable nature of truth. At last week’s show, after the abovementioned schmoozing — during which the audience provided a laundry list of highly personal details — Marino used those quirks to improvise the epic saga of Otto, a Russian/Mexican lad with a crippling sugar addiction, a scandal-plagued sibling, dreams of big city glory, and a knack for creating fantastic, Wonka-like sweets from household throwaways. All the while, beneath Otto’s sweet but dim monkey mind façade, Marino was in chess master mode: absorbing the many plot points he’d just commissioned, then orchestrating those wildly disparate moving parts toward a logical end (using traits of order and empathy, he noted, that come with his social anxiety). Adding to the absurdity was a second wave of audience participation: random sound cues, and rearranged set pieces every time Otto stopped the action to hydrate. Unlike that hackneyed device familiar to anyone who’s ever suffered through a less-thanstellar solo show, Marino made each sip of water seem like a breath of fresh air. “Show Up” plays Thurs., February 9, 16, & 23 at 8pm, and Sun., Feb. 12 at 5pm. At The PIT Loft (154 W. 29th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). For tickets ($15), visit thepit-nyc.com. Aritst info at petermmarino.com. DowntownExpress.com

Photo by Alicia Levy

Peter Michael Marino’s “Show Up” recruits the entire audience for the plot of his improvised one-man show.

HI-FI | WI-FI | SCI-FI Pity the poor futurist who lives to see his fantastic visions come to pass. More often than not, the sweet distinction of being ahead of the curve comes with a bitter, unpredictable, “Twilight Zone”-like twist. Such ironies, both cool and cruel, bounce off every image and object as you walk through the satisfyingly interactive, genuinely immersive experience that brings finely calibrated, cutting-edge tech to the decades-old, forward-looking work of playwright Robert Patrick. An all-too-rare success story within the realm of multi-media endeavors that bite off more than they can chew only to serve little worth digesting, “Hi-Fi | Wi-Fi | SciFi: Predictions Past Present and Future” is a multi-room presentation of La MaMa’s CultureHub art and technology center. Hub artistic director Billy Clark co-directs alongside Peabody award-winning artist Jason Trucco, with live performances beamed in from Seoul, as guided by Korean director Park II Kyu. Together with a nimble and intense five-member cast appearing live and in the electronic ether, this communal experience (which includes a communion of sorts) is worth the trip — but those perfectly synchronized speakers and screens within the 360-degree setting aren’t the only selling point.

Photo by Minji Lee

Playwright Robert Patrick’s decades-old, disturbingly predictive work gets the multi-media, post-“Matrix” treatment. L to R: Valois Mikens and Agosto Machado.

Beyond the impressive physical presentation are those sparse, cerebral, and, it turns out, disturbingly predictive scenarios of the playwright. From 1968’s time delay courtship kerfuffle “Camera Obscura” to 1981’s “All in The Mind” (which handily beats “The Matrix” when it comes to critiquing the hive mind mentality), to a new world premiere and an endearing stab

at crooning from a surprise guest, this triple “Fi” is one blast from the past you’ll be chewing on long into the future — if there is such a thing. Through Feb. 19: Thurs., Fri., Sat. at 8pm, Sun. at 3pm; at The Downstairs at La MaMa (66 E. Fourth St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). For tickets ($25, $20 for students/seniors), visit lamama.org or call 212-352-3101. February 09 - 22, 2017

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