YOUR WEEKLY community newspaper SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN
Save Chelsea Chosen as One of ‘Six to Celebrate’ BY DENNIS LYNCH The Historic Districts Council (HDC) launched this year’s Six to Celebrate program on Wed., Feb. 15, at a celebratory gathering held at Calvary-St. George’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall in Gramercy Park — and Save Chelsea was one of the groups recognized for their steadfast preservation and awareness efforts. HDC noted that the Six to Celebrate program opens their “strategic resourc-
HE CHARTS CHANGE IN CHELSEA
Penn South Resident’s Website Documents Gentrification
SAVE CHELSEA continued on p. 2
Chelsea Takes Stock of the High Line’s Legacy BY SEAN EGAN “First of all, I think the High Line is an incredible success,” Robert Hammond began his Wed., Feb. 22 phone call with Chelsea Now. This would seem an obvious opinion for the High Line co-founder and Friends of the High Line (FHL; thehighline.org) executive director to hold — his “adaptive reuse” park draws approximately eight million annual visitors, and is projected to HIGH LINE continued on p. 5
See page 12 for 2017’s most anticipated video games.
Photo by Wyatt Frank
Below: Wyatt Frank, during a recent “gentrification walk” with Chelsea Now. Above: New developments Hudson Yards, left, and Manhattan West, right, with Penn South in the foreground.
BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Wyatt Frank, a longtime Penn South resident, can survey the playground he went to as a child, where his grandfather used to play squash, and also see glitzy new buildings with monthly rents — $27,000 — that are more than what some people make in a year. Frank recently took a “gentrification walk” with Chelsea Now after spending two and a half months researching, collating data, and creating “Chelsea Living” — a website that looks at development in the neighborhood starting with the “affordable housing havens” — Penn South, the Robert Fulton and Chelsea-Elliot Houses — of the 1960s.
© CHELSEA NOW 2017 | NYC community media, LLC, All Rights Reserved
The 21-year-old’s maternal grandparents — Emily and Newton Greenberg — had lived in Chelsea since the 1950s, he said, and moved into the co-op when it opened in 1962. His grandparents, being part of the co-op, helped to get his mom an apartment in the complex, and he grew up there with his parents, Elizabeth and Cory Frank, and his sister Sabrina. “Chelsea Living” (chelsealiving.weebly.com) was spurred by a required capstone project to earn his bachelor’s degree in American Culture at the University of Michigan. “I realized in that time that I wanted to just devote the next — this was around two and a half months — to figuring out what was happening in Chelsea in terms of housing,” Frank explained at Bean & Bean Coffee (318 Eighth Ave., at W. 26th St.) before the walk. “It seemed like such a hot topic issue right now, such a buzzword — ‘affordable housing.’ ” Frank was taken aback when he went to Michigan, and people immediately knew about his neighborFRANK continued on p. 3 Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
VOLUME 09, ISSUE 8 | February 23 - MARCH 01, 2017
Historic Districts Council to Support Save Chelsea’s Educational Outreach SAVE CHELSEA continued from p. 1
es” to local groups, thereby helping them “learn to use tools such as documentation, research, zoning, landmarking, publicity, and public outreach to advance local preservation campaigns.” HDC Executive Director Simeon Bankoff said his organization chose to help Save Chelsea because of the group’s tireless work in the area and a need to boost the preservation conversation in a rapidly changing neighborhood. “Save Chelsea has emerged as a very strong voice for the preservation of Chelsea, so we thought we could help with organization and outreach and programming,” Bankoff said. “Preserving a historic district is not just about the designation, but stewardship and remaining vigilant and helping to shape the future of your historic district.” Save Chelsea’s vigilance and effectiveness in that arena was further noted in a written statement by HDC, which praised the group’s determination to challenge “a number of deleterious projects” approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission in recent years. “Through robust public program-
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Photo by Dennis Lynch
HDC Executive Director Simeon Bankoff (back row, center) with members of Save Chelsea, which the HDC chose as one of six neighborhood preservation groups to assist with their mission this year.
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historic preservation and continuing its work to document undesignated historic buildings in Rose Hill and the Flower District, the group also hopes to lobby for further protections in the area.” HDC’s help will be crucial for the ongoing efforts of the all-volunteer group, whose co-president, Laurence Frommer, said is currently focused on education, and particularly wants to raise awareness of the historic fabric north of W. 23rd St. — an area which, he noted, many “probably don’t even realize is Chelsea.” Frommer said that Save Chelsea places a high priority on bringing attention to both the already-established historic district and landmarks, as well as unprotected buildings in the area, but 2016 was a tough year for the group, which spent much of its time and resources fighting development projects — includ-
ing one that threatens W. 29th St.’s Hopper-Gibbons House (a documented Underground Railroad site and a part of the small Lamartine Place Historic District). The HDC said that a millionaire’s plan to turn the oldest dwelling within the Chelsea Historic District into a megamansion would have won “an award for the biggest affront to historic preservation” for the year, if one existed. Frommer believes education and awareness will help save those buildings. “We’ve had a lot of buildings destroyed and [come] under attack, and I think if more people knew the history of north and south Chelsea, I would hope that would mean we would have more success,” Frommer said. “The knowledge SAVE CHELSEA continued on p. 16
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Documenting Chelsea’s Development and Demographic Shifts Through the Decades
Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
Wyatt Frank in the crosswalk, while touring a neighborhood at a crossroads.
FRANK continued from p. 1
hood, and attractions such as the High Line, he said. “I’m not that old, but I remember being younger and the neighborhood being different,” he said, noting that it wasn’t the tourist destination it is now. “And so I realized that the neighborhood had been changing — it looked more shiny now and glass-built. So I knew that, but it hadn’t hit me, I guess, the larger bigger picture of it.” Frank also interned at City Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office during the summers of 2014 and 2015, and heard constituents talking about affordable housing and development. “It means a lot to people,” he said. “I had never totally recognized the significance of the co-op until I talked to people and realized that it’s kind of different — there’s a total life outside of having the opportunity to live in a co-op.” After looking for data through websites, such as Social Explorer, Frank started to build a picture of development in Chelsea throughout different decades, and looked at demographic shifts as well. He also focused on major policies that could constrain or spark development. Time periods are broken down by section on chelsealiving.weebly.com, so one learns about the tax break 421a, Section 8 housing, and Mayor .com
Ed Koch’s housing plan of 1985 in the 1970 to 1990 part. In the 1990 to 2005 section, Frank highlights the City Council’s 1994 vacancy decontrol law, a 1996 contextual zoning proposal by Community Board 4 (CB4), Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan of 2003, and the rezoning of West Chelsea are tackled. From the part that covers 2005 to the present, the effect of the High Line on real estate prices is explored, as well as a look at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan. Frank said the website was created to educate himself on the complicated issue that is housing. “I wanted to be a resource for my neighbors, because people have a lot of things to say about housing and I learned that it’s really hard to find this information,” he said. Penn South neighbors have been providing Frank with feedback on “Chelsea Living,” with an acquaintance of his mom calling, and giving him compliments and some pointers for the site, he said. “People, I think, appreciate that there is a website where they can find information and at least use it as a starting point for conversation, to use as a reference,” Frank said. He said it was nice to find that one of the major proposals was CB4’s 1996 contextual zoning plan, which he called “totally grassroots and community driven,” and realizing that
Penn South is a large NORC (naturally occurring retirement community). The role of the community, councilmember and community board are important, and Frank said that development of a neighborhood should go through the community. “I think those primary stakeholders that are the people who live here should have the first word in how development is undertaken,” he said. Frank said that he was also struck by how expensive some of the new units were. Using information from StreetEasy.com, Frank highlighted buildings on the site, such as 505 W. 19th St., where the average monthly
rental is $17,708, and 200 11th Ave., which has an average rental of over $27,000. Frank said he plans on updating the website. He will be working on Johnson’s upcoming reelection campaign, and is also considering pursuing a law degree. “Chelsea Living” has added a new layer of perspective to where Frank grew up. “I’m really grateful that I grew up there and have the community that I do,” he said. “Penn South is really involved, I think, in voicing their opinions in local politics — I do really appreciate that as well.”
Photo by Elizabeth Frank
Wyatt Frank with his grandmother, Emily Greenberg, and his sister, Sabrina Frank, at his grandparents’ apartment in Penn South. Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
The Seven-Year Ditch: Hudson River Tunnel Project Eyes 2019 Start BY DENNIS LYNCH Construction on a portion of the Hudson River Tunnel project at 12th Ave. and W. 30th St. will last seven years, a New Jersey Transit (NJT) official said on Tues., Feb. 21, during the monthly meeting of Community Board 4’s Chelsea Land Use Committee (CLU). The project should last from about 2019 to 2026, “depending on funding,” NJT Chief Planner Jeremy Colangelo-Bryan said in his presentation. Construction could impact the bike lane and pedestrian walkway in Hudson River Park as well as traffic along W. 30th St., Colangelo-Bryan said. Contractors will have to dig up parts of W. 30th St. and will use the “cut-and-cover” method, where a trench is cut and then covered with a roof, to return the street to partial, or full, functionality. Colangelo-Bryan said he’s “pushing our engineers to commit to having a lane available at all times; whether or not that happens, I can’t say yet,” and later added, “The point is once the decking happens, it essentially returns function to its prior state for whatever period of time its on there.” Colangelo-Bryan repeatedly stressed that the project was in its earliest stages and many decisions had yet to be made that could impact the final design. The completion of the joint NJT-Federal Railroad Administration environmental impact statement (EIS) would help solidify the project and answer outstanding questions. The EIS is conducted “earlier than 30 percent” into the project to keep options open, but it also means “that you don’t have as much information developed as you might want in terms of final designs and more fleshed out concepts,” Colangelo-Bryan said.
Photos by Dennis Lynch
New Jersey Transit Chief Planner Jeremy Colangelo-Bryan explains a preliminary plan for work on the Hudson River Tunnel project that will impact the area around 12th Ave. and W. 30th St.
The project will require a two-story ventilation shaft on the lot stretching along 12th Ave., from W. 29th to 30th Sts. That could obscure some views of the Hudson from a section of the High Line that crosses directly through the lot from the southeast to the northwest. CLU members noted that the owner, the Georgetown Company, had planned to build a tower there anyway. Georgetown bought the property in 2002 and signed a $96.6 million easement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2010 to use the land for the project. The CLU supports the project, but will still write a letter to NJT and other agencies involved to express concerns about the loss of views from the High Line, potential traffic issues, the project’s impact on a private project to build an emergency medical services facility on the south side of the construction area, accommodat-
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Members of CB4 raised concerns about the project, including the impact on traffic and views from the High Line.
ing buses that frequently park in the area, and impacts on the pedestrian and bike paths, CLU Co-Chair Betty Mackintosh said. Luckily for all Manhattanites, the tunnel-boring machines will only bore from the New Jersey shore to Manhattan, and will spit all the sludgy silt and dirt back toward the Garden State. That means contractors won’t have to bringing in a ton of trucks to the city to haul the stuff out. The Hudson Tunnel Project consists of the new tunnel and a total rehab of the existing Northeast Corridor North River Tunnel. The Northeast Corridor refers to the mostly Amtrak-owned line in the northeast of the country. A number of local commuter rails use the rail line as well — NJT uses the North River Tunnel for commuter rail service. The new tunnel will allow work-
ers to repair the North River Tunnel without impacting service. Funding for the “environmental planning work and preliminary engineering” for the project will cost $8.6 million alone and is paid by Amtrak, the Port Authority, and NJT. Both Colangelo-Bryan and Amtrak infrastructure planning manager for the Northeast Corridor Petra Messick stressed that the existing tunnel was structurally safe and the only danger was of unreliability. “The damage was really due to the interaction of the salts with the electrical systems of the tunnel and the concrete liner, and the danger there is really the unreliability of operations,” Messick said, adding that the systems are designed to be fail-safe. The draft EIS should be published “hopefully in June,” Colangelo-Bryan noted. .com
Co-Founder’s Candid Comments Create Controversy, Criticism for High Line HIGH LINE continued from p. 1
produce nearly $1 billion in city tax revenue over the next two decades. Last week, however, Hammond made headlines after participating in a wide-ranging interview with the website CityLab.com, discussing the effects the “linear park” has had on Chelsea. “We were from the community. We wanted to do it for the neighborhood,” Hammond was quoted as saying. “Ultimately, we failed.” While these critical comments were just small part of a larger piece profiling FHL and taking stock of the High Line, they still struck a chord with the public and press — sparking a flurry of activity in online comment sections and op-eds in publications including the New York Post. Critics cited the rapid gentrification of the area and dwindling mom-and-pop businesses as effects of the High Line’s success, as well as the stat that about two-thirds of its patrons are tourists rather than New York natives. Chelsea Now took this opportunity to reach out to Hammond and a number of community stakeholders to reflect on the legacy of the High Line so far, the good and the bad. For his part, Hammond emphasized to Chelsea Now his comments were “taken completely out of context,” and referred only to their initial outreach to NYCHA during its planning stages (beginning in 1999) — and still, his team had many community input sessions at the time. Indeed, the bulk of the CityLab piece catalogs efforts FHL have made post-opening to reach out to the public (including NYCHA’s nearby Fulton and Chelsea-Elliot Houses) to make the park more of a welcoming community space. It also highlighted Hammond’s efforts with the recently established High Line Network, through which he shares his knowledge with the developers of similar parks in different cities around the country. “It’s about ‘What can we do, collectively, to keep getting better?’ ” Hammond elaborated. “The neighborhood has always been changing. It’s changed many times in the 17 years that I’ve been working here, and I think we have to respond to those challenges — and those challenges change. The challenges in 1999 were very different from the challenges we have now.” “When we realized less people from NYCHA were coming we did a survey to find out why and see what we could do,” he continued. “That’s when we .com
started our teen program, and started changing our adult programs, and over the years I think we’ve done better and better [at] doing more outreach.” In conversation, he highlighted their continued NYCHA surveys, their teen employment program (which has facilitated various teen nights and employed over 100 area youths since its inception), and the launch of the Neighbor’s Council to “foster open dialogue,” with 17 community members including reps from the aforementioned NYCHA complexes, Hudson Guild, assorted residents, and Community Board 4 (CB4). While these efforts are certainly notable, as CB4 Chair Delores Rubin told Chelsea Now, “A lot of it’s reactionary. In terms of the planning, you know, the damage is already done in terms of planning.” “My feeling was always, why are we talking about a park; why not affordable housing?” Miguel Acevedo, president of the Fulton Houses Tenants’ Association, articulated to Chelsea Now, succinctly articulating many locals’ thoughts on the area. He also noted that for a while, locals didn’t recognize the park as being for them, due to its lack of equipment or room for play. Still, he’s seen firsthand FHL’s outreach, as they regularly attend his tenant meetings. “The Friends of the High Line made their very best effort, knowing the mistakes they made in not working directly with the community prior to the park being installed. Now they’ve been working closely, especially with an eye on trying to put [on] programming that makes sense.” Particular successes Hammond and Acevedo cite include their Latin dance night series (an original Fulton idea) and their teen employment program. “They’ve been very receptive on that,” Acevedo said, noting a number of Fulton youths had participated in the program. Still, “It’s never been a permanent program; it’s been something where they go in, they learn, they get out, and they become seasonal,” he explained. “Seasonal’s okay, but once the season’s over then that’s it — the job is eliminated. You have a permanent park up there, so why not create real, permanent jobs for members of the community?” he asked. Hammond noted that to address this, FHL has recently started retaining seven teenaged staffers for year-long positions. Another of Acevedo’s major concerns are the mom-and-pops being
Photo by Jenny Rubin
From the Sept. 2014 opening of the third, and final, section of the High Line.
edged out due to rising area rents — a large-scale problem that Hammond admits he is unsure of how FHL could directly tackle. “One of the things that they can do is maybe create a small business for one of the families that live in the development or live in Chelsea itself to be on the High Line,” Acevedo suggested, as a way of combating the prescient issue. “I appreciate the effort that Friends of HIGH LINE continued on p. 20
Photo by Anita Ng/Courtesy Friends of the High Line
A teen working at the High Line as part of their employment program — which over 100 teens have participated in.
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â€˜Gansevoort Rowâ€™ On Hold as Judge Stays Project Pending Ruling BY DENNIS LYNCH On Thurs., Feb. 9, aÂ state judge ordered that a developer hold off on work on a large-scale project in the southern end of the Gansevoort Market Historic District until the conclusion of a preservation groupâ€™s lawsuit against both the developer and the cityâ€™s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for approving the project. Aurora Capital Associates and William Gottlieb Real Estate want to demolish the one- and two-story buildings from 60-68 and 70-74 Gansevoort St. to build multistory commercial buildings that they have dubbed â€œGansevoort Row.â€? They also plan to renovate 50 GansevoortÂ St. at the corner of Greenwich St., but that project is not included in the suit. Now that will all have to wait until at least after the next hearing on March 8, when lawyers from both sides will argue their cases and present expert witnesses. The judge may make a decision in the weeks after that hearing, although the suit could drag on longer. The preservation group Save Gansevoort is behind the suit and wants the judge to â€œannul, vacate and reverseâ€? LPCâ€™s June 2016 decision that gave the developers the green light.
Courtesy The Villager
An earlier design for the â€œGansevoort Rowâ€? project, left, and the latest version, right. The revisions were in response to critiques from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which has approved the new design.
The groupâ€™s legal petition argued that allowing the project to go forward would destroy the Meatpacking Districtâ€™s historic character and resign it â€œto the status of a neighborhood that includes a hodgepodge of buildings of different scale.â€? Michael Hiller, Save Gansevoortâ€™s attorney, said he has three prominent witnesses, including Jay Shockley, who in 2003 wrote the roughly 140-page Gansevoort Market Historic District report for LPC.
The report forms the basis for the areaâ€™s landmarking and meticulously breaks down the history and significance of each building in the district. The buildings in question date from and just after 1938 â€œduring the last major phase of development of the district,â€? when a bank foreclosed on 60-74 Gansevoort St., according to Schockleyâ€™s report. Back then, the new owners essentially chopped off the top floors of the ten-
ement buildings there and converted the remaining one- and two-story buildings for wholesale, market, and depot space. The current developers argue that their proposed buildings restore that pre1938 multistory character to the block. LPC signed off on the design for an 82-foot-tall building and a 62-foot-tall building at the sites. GANSEVOORT ROW continued on p. 18
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Green Lights for Bus Terminal Planning Process, Funding BY JACKSON CHEN The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s (PANYNJ) board approved its 10-year capital plan of $32.2 billion on Thurs., Feb. 16. The 2017-2026 plan included a $3.5 billion allocation for the tumultuous bus terminal project in Manhattan. The PANYNJ’s bus terminal (on Eighth Ave., btw. W. 40th & 42nd Sts.) has been in desperate need of a renovation as it’s frequently beyond capacity during peak hours. But the original planning process was reset following community upheaval due to the lack of public input and the threat of eminent domain, the process by which governments can overtake private property for public projects. The project has since restarted its planning after the overwhelming opposition from residents and elected officials. But as the capital plan was due, the agency earmarked the $3.5 billion for the bus terminal in its capital plan during the initial presentation on Jan. 5, and approved the numbers a month later. “There’s no question that the region’s transportation needs are growing at a far greater rate than the resources that are available to address them,” the PANYNJ board’s chair John Degnan said in a press release. “For that reason, this board has spent tireless hours coming to a consensus on how our resources will be spent to benefit the region and the customers we serve.” Degnan said that their plan invests in the most critical components but provides enough flexibility to accommodate for changes in the future. He previously said that the $3.5 billion wasn’t enough to finish the project, but would hopefully kickstart the bus terminal’s completion by the next 10-year capital plan. That same day, the board also approved the start of the bus terminal’s planning process. With the upvote, the agency was authorized to hire environmental and technical consultants that are necessary for the review processes on the federal, state, and local levels. At the same
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Photo by Michael Shirey
Weekday morning rush hours see a crush of commuters traveling through the Port Authority.
time, PANYNJ would also be looking for interim solutions to relieve the current burdens. According to the agency, they’d be looking into potential intermediate bus storage facilities that might help stem its passenger overcapacity. “Meeting the needs of the growing number of the region’s bus commuters is an essential component of the Port Authority’s transportation mission,” Pat Foye, the agency’s executive director, said in a statement. “And this project will be done while fully respecting and minimizing the impacts on Manhattan’s West Side after and considering the input of residents there in a formal environmental process.” Community Board 4 (CB4) and a group tentatively named the Hell’s Kitchen South Community Coalition have been keeping their eyes on the project’s movement. Delores Rubin, CB4’s chair, previously told our sister publication Manhattan Express, “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 and may be affected by any change.”
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POLICE BLOTTER AGGRAVATED HARASSMENT: Illicit listing In the latest instance in these pages of personal information used for online scams, a W. 19th St. resident discovered that someone had been using her email address for a Craigslist advertisement — which, seeing as it’s Craigslist, unsurprisingly offered sexual favors in its copy. As the 26-year-old victim reported to police on Thurs., Feb. 16, she’d never had an account with the site before, and clearly didn’t post the ad. While she was able to manage to delete the posting, it wasn’t before a number of skeevy solicitors contacted her in response to the explicit listing, causing annoyance and alarm. It is presently unclear who posted the ad, and why they did so.
PETIT LARCENY: Java jacked As the jingle goes: “The best part of waking up is, erm... petty theft and destruction of property.” That parodic melody must have been what the staff of Gristedes (307 W. 26th St., at W. 24th St.) were singing anyway, after noticing, upon opening the store on Wed., Feb. 15 at 7am, that someone had pried their coffee machine open with a screwdriver, messing up the device to take a relatively paltry $10 from the vending portion of the machine (and presumably, some joe for the road). While staff are confident the perp took
that small sum while the location was open for business the night before, there did not seem to be video evidence of the incident available.
CRIMINAL MISCHIEF: Rock and roll away It’s pretty clear that these unruly hooligans don’t live in glass houses — but they probably should have known that throwing stones is frowned upon in polite society regardless of your housing situation. According to a 55-year-old Staten Island driver, while sitting in his car (a 2014 GM carryall) at the northeast corner of 11th Ave. and W. 26th St. around 7:30pm on Sat., Feb. 18, a group of eight or nine males started throwing rocks at his vehicle for reasons unknown. This caused a window to break, and resulted in over $1,000 worth of damages to the vehicle. Understandably, the man didn’t stick around to try to talk it out with the attackers. No one was arrested in connection to the incident.
PETIT LARCENY: Cast your bag to the wind Even in these troubled times, you really can’t prepare for the entropy and chaos life throws at you — at least, that’s the lesson a 29-year-old man learned on Sat., Feb. 18. He was reportedly walking near the northeast corner of W. 38th St. and Ninth Ave. at 10pm, when, all of a
sudden, a strange 20-something woman grabbed his bag, threw it over the edge of a nearby bridge for indiscernible reasons, and then made a getaway. According to the perplexed victim, the bag contained a number of shirts and hats, as well as three different containers of medication; the woman was not apprehended.
PETIT LARCENY: Pin(t)head Usually the brain freeze happens after eating the ice cream — but this unsubtle thief seemed to have gotten a head start when trying to give authorities the slip.
At about 12:25pm on Sun., Feb. 19, an employee of CVS (272 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 23rd & 24th Sts.) was making the rounds at the store, and noticed a man try to surreptitiously exit the building with some merch without paying. Honestly, though, it seems kind of hard to casually stroll out of a store with 12 pints of ice cream (valued at $75) on your person and not have people take notice, regardless of whether you paid or not. The cold, calculated criminal was apprehended by the witness and arrested.
THE 10th PRECINCT:
MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT:
Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-7418226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7pm, at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced.
Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Inspector: Russel J. Green. Call 212-2399811. Community Affairs: 212239-9846. Crime Prevention: 212239-9846. Domestic Violence: 212-239-9863. Youth Officer: 212239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-239-9836. Detective Squad: 212-239-9856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7pm, at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & W. 35th St.). Visit midtownsouthcc.org.
THE 13th PRECINCT: Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Brendan Timoney. Call 212-477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212-477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30pm, at the 13th Precinct.
CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawed-off shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.
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Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones
Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell
phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.
Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-
haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.
Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and
chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at
a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.
Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.
Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
Chelsea Then and Chelsea Now BY MANUEL MARTIN Sixty years ago I was a 13-year-old growing up in Chelsea! Sixty, yikes! Herman is pouring me a cup of coffee at the Chelsea Square Restaurant (on W. 23rd St. and Ninth Ave.), as I look out the window and see a new Chelsea. Life was simpler and more innocent in the 1950s. The new technology, TV, was still in its nascent stage — which was a huge leap from the “talking furniture” known as radios. Teenagers, who were developing a subculture that adults looked upon with suspicion and dread, had their own wardrobe, music, and language. For males, jeans or black chinos with a black leather jacket were de rigueur. White Converse sneakers (“limousines for the feet”) or red Keds were worn with white socks. The popular hairstyle was the “DA” or “duck’s ass,” combed straight back on the sides with the all-important, selfdefining “bop” in front. The bop was formed by taking the middle three fingers of one’s hand and drawing out a lock of hair so it hung proudly and prominently on the forehead. It was a look that implied departure from the orderliness that adults valued so much and wanted to inculcate in us. Ask someone what a bop was; if they don’t know, they didn’t grow up in NYC. Oh, one more thing — the shirt and jacket collar was worn up for “coolness!” Teens were defining themselves on their own terms and their new music was called “rock and roll.” It defined their values and experiences. That became the teen brand that meant springing to action, as in, “Let’s rock and roll!” The first rock and roll song that sold a million records was Bill Haley and His Comets’ “Rock Around The Clock” in 1954. Many of Chelsea’s apartments did not have living rooms. A large kitchen served as the multi-purpose room with the needed bedrooms, which were modest in size. Jimmy the “Ice Man” would carry a large block of ice on his shoulder up flights of stairs and deliver it to each resident’s icebox. Each floor had a dumbwaiter, which sounded an alarm each evening for people to discard garbage bags. Large doors were opened on each floor and the bags were tossed onto the landing. Then it went to the floor below.
Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
The RKO 23rd Street Theatre (1938-1960), on the corner of Eighth Ave.
Every Saturday morning there was violin music played in the back alley of the building. Residents would open windows from as high as five stories and drop wrapped coins to the violinist. There was a Morse code of sorts that women used on the heating pipe. Two bangs invited the upstairs neighbor for coffee. One bang meant “I’ll be there!” The rooftops were known as “Tar Beach,” where residents sunned themselves on blankets during the summertime. There were popular landmark sites right on 23rd St., from where I sit now all the way to Fifth Ave. There were a number of popular places that Chelseaites frequented on 23rd St. between Seventh and Eighth Aves. Everyone’s favorites on that single block are long gone, but will be re-visited with this imaginary excursion back to the mid-1950s. On the corner of 23rd St. and Eighth Ave. proudly stood the RKO movie theatre. The RKO had been a grand opera house in its day, becoming a popular movie theatre in 1938. It had a huge, impressive carpeted lobby with a broad winding staircase to the balcony. Every Saturday matinee began at 3 p.m. and showed two full-length movies, three cartoons and the Movietone News, which was a review of main world events. There was always a long line of kids along Eighth Ave. from 23rd to 24th Sts. waiting to pay admission. The cost
was 30 cents for minors and 65 for adults. I was tall for my age so the lady selling tickets never believed me. I couldn’t wait to be 13 years old! Kids sat in the right-hand section of the theater as a stern older “matron” dressed in white patrolled the aisle with a flashlight in hand. Smokers sat in the last four rows of the immense center section. Buttered popcorn was 15 cents, and a candy bar was six cents. Moviegoers could spend the entire afternoon at the movies — and some did. The RKO closed and was demolished in June 1960. Directly across the street from the RKO on Eighth Ave. was Lamston’s “five and dime.” Lamston’s was huge and could be entered from Eighth Ave. or the 23rd St. side. It was a budget store that was like a large upscale Dollar Store of today, but had a very long soda fountain on the Eighth Ave. side. A milkshake was 20 cents, a sundae 25, and a banana split was 30. The most popular beverage was the reigning egg cream! It cost seven cents and had no egg or cream in it. Lamston’s sold basic supplies for the home at low prices. There was a large bowling alley directly above it. If you exited Lamston’s on the 23rd St. side and went east near the Seventh Ave. corner, there was the McBurney YMCA. The building is still there and one part is a large multi-floored gym and above it are
million dollar condos. “The Y” as it was called, moved to 23rd St. in 1904 from a prior location in Manhattan It was named in honor of Robert Ross McBurney, head of the city-wide McBurney YMCA in the late 19th century. The Y was a great facility for people of all ages interested mainly in fitness and recreational activities. It had a basketball court, weight-lifting room and a popular “youth department” for pre-teens and teens, with an after-school program (which also ran Saturdays). It was like a second home for kids. At about the age of 11, I recall sitting with a few other kids in the gym watching the New York Knicks’ seven-foot center Ray Felix dunk two basketballs at the same time! I spent my early years there, and it was time well spent. The McBurney Y inspired the Village People to sing their popular song “YMCA.” It is now located on 14th St. Across 23rd St. from the YMCA was the popular Horn & Hardart Automat. In its heyday there were 21 automats throughout NYC, which served food and drinks through vending machines. Each automat was huge! As you walked in, before you was a large booth with someone who gave nickels in exchange for whatever amount of money the moneychanger was given, and it was done instantly. The walls of the automat had hundreds of windows with a sign above them labeling the kind of food in that section. Foods were always fresh and just prepared. Three nickels bought a variety of delicious offerings. There were dozens of tables where complete strangers sat together and engaged in conversation at times. I often opened the glass windows with baked macaroni or strawberry shortcake, each costing three nickels. Moments after food was removed, it was replaced again. One person observed that automats served the first “fast food” when food was fast, and food was food. The last automat was on 42nd St. and shut it doors in 1991. There were many Chelsea landmarks — too many to include in a retrospective, but these were standouts, and all on 23rd St. between Seventh and Eighth Aves. To be sure, some readers will recall them fondly, along with their own special memories of these long-gone, but not forgotten, places. .com
Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
On the Shelves or On the Horizon 2017’s most anticipated video games PREY
Via Square Enix
The narratively complex cult title “Nier” gets a sequel in “Automata,” hitting shelves in March.
BY CHARLES BATTERSBY In the film industry, January is used as a dumping ground for movies too embarrassing to be released alongside year-end Oscar bait. However, the video game industry often saves some of its most promising titles for the new year, to avoid competing with blockbusters during the holiday rush — and so, 2017 is off to a great start with a roster of new intellectual properties, and long-delayed sequels that reinvent classic franchises. Here are a few games already on shelves, and some of the most intriguing games on the horizon.
soundtrack. The long-awaited sequel — “Nier: Automata” — arrives soon. Many members of the original design team returned for the sequel, and an impressive demo is currently available to download for free. The combat is fun and challenging, but the real draw
is its world and characters. This is a game for people looking for an action game that isn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd of cliché fantasy and generic sci-fi settings. “Nier” is coming to PlayStation 4 on March 7, with a possible PC release later this year.
A game that spent even longer in development limbo is the reboot of “Prey.” The first “Prey” game came out in 2006, and there was an attempt at a sequel several years later, but the new “Prey” game has little in common with its ancestor, being more of a “re-imagining” of the franchise. The protagonist, Morgan Yu, is trapped on a space station that is overrun with aliens. Although the “kill aliens” theme is rather common in video games, “Prey” is made by Arkane Studios, the same team that created the acclaimed “Dishonored” series. Yu doesn’t just blast aliens with a laser gun; this game allows players to use a wide variety of alien superpowers, including the ability to shapeshift into a coffee mug. “Prey,” brings its unique brand of sci-fi adventure to PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on May 5.
FOR HONOR Another big game that hit shelves early in the year is “For Honor,” a VIDEO GAMES continued on p. 13
NIER: AUTOMATA The first “Nier” game had a multilayered story that required players to go through it several times in order to fully understand the plot. It had moderate success when it launched in 2010, but it developed a cult following due to its dark story, unconventional characters, and wonderful
Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
Via Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks
Arkane Studios gets to take space thriller “Prey” out for a reboot, coming in May.
Launch medieval attacks with a nuance .com
new title from BioWare, the creators of some of the best stories in the game industry, like the “Dragon Age” series, “Baulder’s Gate,” and “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.” It arrives on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on March 21.
“Andromeda,” the delayed fourth installment of the “Mass Effect” franchise, is the first to take place in the new, titular galaxy.
VIDEO GAMES continued from p. 12
MASS EFFECT: ANDROMEDA
new franchise where players take control of medieval knights, vikings, and samurai, then battle online using a complex hand-to-hand combat system. “For Honor” has the ruthless combat of a competitive shooter like “Call of Duty,” but the fighting is much more refined than blasting away with a gun. Projectile attacks are extremely rare, and this forces combatants to square off face-to-face in honorable combat with swords, axes and shields. It’s easy to block a clumsy attack, so players can’t rely on brute force. To win a fight, they have to use finesse to get around an enemy’s guard, and this requires quick reflexes along with the ability to spot patterns in their fighting style. It’s a brutal new take on the familiar online killing formula, and something that hardcore competitive gamers will enjoy. “For Honor” is out now on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
This made our list of the most anticipated games of 2016, but it was delayed until this year, now arriving with a hard launch date in March. It began development in 2012, right after the last “Mass Effect” game was released — so fans have been champing at the bit for five years. The “Mass Effect” series had a trilogy of epic space adventures on the last generation of game consoles, but the new game, “Andromeda,” has a different protagonist, and takes place in another galaxy (hence “Andromeda” as the subtitle). This makes it a perfect choice for people who who have heard of the series, but don’t want to catch up by playing through the original trilogy. For many people, all they need to know about this game is that it is the
Another sequel with a ludicrously long development period is the third “Syberia.” This series of puzzle-based adventure games began 15 years ago. A sequel showed up a mere two years later, but the third game wasn’t announced until 2009. After the developer missed its 2016 launch date, the game industry was surprised this month when it was announced that “Syberia 3” will arrive in April. Aside from the excellent writing, the series uses a steampunk aesthetic (before steampunk was all the rage), along with a quest to find a prehistoric “lost world,” where mammoths still walk the land. The new game features the return of series protagonist Kate Walker, along with designer Benoit Sokal and the composer of the second game Inon Zur. It also has “Snow Ostriches!” It hits PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on April 25.
of an action game where the zombies sometimes shoot back! The new game takes the series back to its roots, making the player an underdog who must scrounge for ammo and healing items, especially on the cruel “Madhouse” difficulty level. “Resident Evil 7” also has a more engaging story than most zombie games. Rather than controlling a tough soldier or police officer, players become an ordinary married couple trying to escape the clutches of a family of mutated swamp dwellers. It is a great game for newbies to try out the franchise, and a reason to return to it for older fans who dropped out of the series after the last installment. It is out now for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with more downloadable content coming this year.
RESIDENT EVIL 7: BIOHAZARD Many fans of this venerable zombie series were disappointed with “Resident Evil 6.” It was less of a zombie horror game, and more
Return back to zombie-battling basics with “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.”
ed combat system, in “For Honor.” .com
“Syberia 3” is the latest in a series of well-written, steampunk-styled narratives from designer Benoit Sokal. Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
Just Do Art Courtesy Jacob J. Goldberg Photography
At Metropolitan Playhouse through March 12, the timely subject matter of 1862’s “Leah, the Forsaken” includes religious profiling and closed borders.
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
bution to “Patterns.” A dream was the inspiration for the atmospheric paintings taken from Harnick’s “Under the Sea” series, in which she explores time, place, and memory. In the west gallery, “Reflections” presents the layered, colorful oil paintings of Joan Mellon — and along the On the Wall space immediately outside the gallery, the linear assemblage of Elizabeth Jacobson’s “Sticks and Stones” installation merges recyclable plastic containers with cement, wood, and stone to invoke primitive totems as a source, and symbol, of strength in the face of harsh words employed as hateful deeds. Opening reception Thurs., March 2, 6–8pm. Then, on view through March 23 at Carter Burden Gallery (548 W. 28th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves., Suite #534). Hours: Tues.–Fri., 11am–5pm and Sat., 11am–6pm. Visit carterburdengallery.org or call 212-564-8405.
MARCH ART AT CARTER BURDEN GALLERY
In keeping with its mission to recognize both the relevance and ongoing creative evolution of artists 60 years of age and over, a March 2 opening reception at Carter Burden Gallery invites you to interact with those whose work can be seen for the next three weeks in their W. 28th St. space. In the east gallery, “Changing Patterns” showcases art by Olivia Beens, Claire Boren, and Sylvia Harnick. Gilded and brightly gazed faces that speak to the themes of identity, feminism, and spirituality are hallmarks of Beens’ ceramic sculptures. Abstract mixed media is the chosen mode of expression for Boren, who drew upon her childhood during World War II, the Holocaust, and disturbing current events for her contri-
Closed borders? Religious profiling? Forced deportation? Yes, it certainly does sound like…1862? Yes. First produced in that year and last seen on the American stage in 1966, “Leah, the Forsaken” is 19th-century playwright, critic, and theatrical impresario Augustin Daly’s drama about Jewish refugees. When Leah breaks the law by exiting Hungary to pass the night in an Austrian town, she falls for Rudolph, a Christian citizen, but is forced into exile when an obsessed persecutor convinces her love that she has betrayed him. A potent reminder of how fearing the “other” can allow a mob mentality to flourish, this production by the revivalminded Metropolitan Playhouse also strives to empha-
size the play’s “nuanced affirmation of each individual’s potential for goodness, once freed from the burdens of ideology and custom.” Through March 12, Thurs.–Sat. at 7pm, Sun. at 3pm; at 220 E. Fourth St. (btw. Aves. A & B). Visit metropolitanplayhouse.org for tickets, which range from $10–$30. Meanwhile, a few blocks west — but still in the East Village — the Kraine Theater (85 E. Fourth St., btw. Second Ave. & Bowery) is the setting for Horse Trade Theater Group’s Frigid Festival presentation of “The Refugee Plays.” Set in the present day, five short works by Charles Gershman, Penny Jackson, Callie Kimball, Carlos Castro, and Sean E. Cunningham address the concerns of refugees from Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Central South America. Fri., Feb. 24 at 6:50pm, Thurs., March 2 at 8:50pm and Sun., March 5 at 5:10pm. Tickets are $18. Visit horsetrade.info for reservations. Also of note, March 3–5’s The International Human Rights Art Festival at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie St., btw. Delancey & Rivington Sts.) presents work from dozens of artists — including “Draw the Circle,” in which solo performer Mashuq Deen depicts the challenges of an immigrant family as a child transitions from one gender to another (Sat., March 4, 7pm). For the schedule and tickets, visit dixonplace.org ($20 per day for 12–6pm events; evening events are $15 in advance, $30 at the door).
St. Lucian Sculptor’s NYC Debut On View In Chelsea BY ALEXANDRA SIMON An internationally exhibited St. Lucian sculptor has brought his art to New York City for the first time. On view at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel through March 4, “Journey” showcases Jallim Eudovic’s interpretation of uncovering mankind — an exploration, he noted, of what is often hidden from the public eye. Appearing as part of the gallery’s Winter Salon group show, the wooden tile piece “Journey” features the exposure of a different color on a solid background and, the artist explained, best describes the message he is trying to get across. “Your skin is who you truly are and I really wanted to do something I can relate it to,” Eudovic said. “Everything we own is giftwrapped and the skin on it — you have to pull back, and it’s a trick
Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
Photo by Daniel Marcion
Jallim Eudovic’s “Journey.”
I wanted to correlate to conjure these feelings. Our skin very much like when a snake changes its skin to become something else.” Eudovic comes from a family of artists, and through the years dabbling in multiple types of art helped him find his desire for sculpting, specifically incorporating humans into his works.
“I started off doing modern art, free-flowing forms, and it evolved into a more figurative [form] as I grew up,” he recalled. “Now I focus more on the human forms, the geometric forms, evolution, people, and human life.” To stay inspired in his creativity and motivated to create new works, Eudovic said he explores a variety of other art forms. “I’ve always been quite interested in creative writing, poetry, music, drawing, and painting,” he said. “But I gravitated to sculpting — it was in my immediate environment and that is what completes me.” Through March 4 at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel (532 W. 25th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: 12:30-5:30pm, Tues.-Fri. Visit 532gallery.com or call 917701-3338.
Courtesy Carter Burden Gallery
Olivia Beens’ ceramic work “Hecate’s Daughters at Women’s March” is on view at Carter Burden Gallery through March 23 as part of “Changing Patterns.”
From Rehab to Rockwood, Rocker ‘Reckless’ No More Addiction, recovery inform singer/songwriter’s solo debut BY SEAN EGAN At 30, Matt Butler can finally look back with clarity at his time on a destructive path taken by many a musician given to the excesses of the rock and roll lifestyle. Four years after spending his salad days as a Lower East Side rocker in the throes of addiction, Butler has emerged stronger, with a set of songs that grapples with his past and tracks his redemption. “I’ve been writing songs and performing in bands my whole life for the most part, since I was a teenager — and I simultaneously struggled with drugs and alcohol from about the same age, and these were two very concurrent themes in my life,” Butler explained on the phone from his home in Chelsea. “The album was sort of like the after effect of, the result of, a lot of work that I had done processing my experiences of what I had been doing for the past few years of my life when I wrote it, and what my life was like at that moment — living and breathing and surrounded by these really, really intense stories. And most of that album is, for the most part, autobiographical.” The album in question is Butler’s solo debut, “Reckless Son.” Direct in its message and brimming with pathos, the LP toes the line between rock and roll and folk-tinged, acousticbased singer/songwriter material. In its plainspoken, poetic vignettes, it most vividly calls to mind Bruce Springsteen (“a big hero of mine,” Butler noted), as Butler tracks the precipitous lows of addiction, as well as his climb back to sobriety. Released in late 2016, the record and accompanying performances have garnered enough goodwill to land Butler a March residency at the East Village’s Rockwood Music Hall. It’s a long way to come for Butler, who, prior to releasing the record, was working as a copywriter after a string of post-rehab odd jobs, and struggling to decide whether to even pick music back up again. “I was at a crossroads of my life,” he said. “I think if I was going to write or do anything creative, it’s just a thing that I had to do .com
Photo by Michael Shirey
Matt Butler, at a live performance.
in order to move past it.” Move past it he did, writing catchy and candid tales with himself at the center, full of friends and flames experiencing the manic highs and consequences of substance abuse, a coke dealer with a “Jameson grin,” and plenty of religious and familial imagery. “It was so interesting, the experience of trying to mine [that] for sort of an authentic truth,” the singer commented. “I mean, I was like drunk for 10 years straight, man. So much of it is just impressionistic.” Still,
these aren’t, nor did Butler ever intend the album to be, a series of “drunkalogues.” “It just took a lot of work, a lot of recovery work to get the perspectives that I needed in order to [get through] some of the inauthenticity and some of the self-pity that I had felt, and a lot of the anger,” Butler said of his creative process, and drudging up his darker days for his art. “I needed to get through those things in order to write the album that I felt sort of embodied the true
spirit of what I wanted to say, which had much more to do with gratitude and humility.” That sense of gratitude stems from the support system Butler discovered after reaching out for help with his addiction. By the time he checked into a Caron Treatment Center in April 2013 (caron.org), his father was fully convinced he’d get a call announcing his son’s death, Butler revealed. Over time, through those he encountered during recovery, and healing his relationship with his family (who “never left,” Butler gratefully recalled), he was able to conquer his demons. “Every time I took a little baby step forward, there was somebody right behind me ready to catch me if I fell,” Butler said. At this point, sobriety has done much to help shore his music career. His extended Caron family still supports him, and he noted that the publishing deal that led to “Reckless Son” sprung from a serendipitous gig played at the Freedom Institute — his outpatient rehab facility at the time. But, that’s kind of how things have worked for Butler; wherever he goes, people react to his music’s openness. “It’s really, really validating as an artist, as well, to be able to play music that people respond to so tangibly. There’s a lot of laughing and crying at a lot of these shows,” Butler noted. “You release your song and then it’s up to everyone else to have their experience with it. You want to honor that every time you perform it” — something he hopes to do at his upcoming Rockwood gigs. “This is just this other extension of this second life that I’m having,” Butler summarized. “It really feels that way — like AD and BC. It’s just a whole new life as a musician, and this is just kind of the next phase of it.” Matt Butler plays at Rockwood Music Hall (196 Allen St., btw. E. Houston & Stanton Sts.) on Wed., March 1, 8, 15 & 22 at 8pm. No cover, 21+. For artist info, visit mattbutlerofficial.com, or follow at facebook.com/MattButlerMusic or on Twitter @mattbutlerband. Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
Photo by Dennis Lynch
Photo by Dennis Lynch
Save Chelsea members Pamela Wolff and Bill Borock are hoping that HDC assistance will help their group raise awareness about preservation issues in the neighborhood.
Historic Districts Council Executive Director Simeon Bankoff addresses a crowd of excited preservation advocates at the HDCâ€™s Six to Celebrate event on Feb. 15.
SAVE CHELSEA continued from p. 2
is not out there in many cases. Theyâ€™ll [HDC] help with the map, and a booklet, and weâ€™re putting together a panel. We really have an education goal right now. Weâ€™re hoping that HDC and Six to Celebrate will help with that.â€? Chelsea is home to three New York City historic districts â€” the Chelsea Historic district (along with an extension), the Lamartine Place Historic
District, and the West Chelsea Historic District. The Chelsea Historic District was the first the city established, in 1970. The extension came in 1981. The LPC designated the West Chelsea district in 2008 and the Lamartine Place district the following year. The Chelsea neighborhood, along with Hellâ€™s Kitchen, is home to around two dozen individual landmarks. In addition to Save Chelsea, this yearâ€™s 2017 Six to Celebrate honorees
are The Corona-East Elmhurst Historic Preservation Society, The Hart Island Project, The Mott Haven Historic Districts Association, The West Harlem Community Preservation Organization, and The Prospect Lefferts Gardens Heritage Council/Parkside Avenue Block Association/Concerned Citizens for Community Based Planning. The recently launched Six to Celebrate smartphone app includes guide books, information on individual historic,
architectural and cultural sites in each district, and a district map. To download it for Apple or Android, search â€œSix to Celebrateâ€? or â€œ6ToCelebrateâ€? on each platformâ€™s app client. Also visit the Historic Districts Council at hdc. org, 6tocelebrate.org, and facebook. com/HDCNYC. For Save Chelsea, visit savechelseany.org â€” where you will find info on their â€œRetracing Black Historyâ€? walking tour of Chelsea and the Tenderloin (Sun., Feb. 26, 12â€“2 p.m.).
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Since 1832, the Transﬁgura�on School has provided educa�onal excellence to successive waves of immigrants and their children. Rooted in the Catholic tradi�on, Transﬁgura�on nurtures the mind, body and spirit in a family-centered environment to develop though�ul and responsible learners. Our Programs
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- Full day programs from pre -K to Grade 8 - Special educa�on services
- Art, music, Mandarin Courtesy The Villager Dedicated and experienced mul�A classic Meatpacking District scene on the south side of Gansevoort St. lingual faculty Yoga, drumwith andnew rhythm that developers are hoping to radically- transform construction and the addition of stories.
Grade 3-8 NYSAchievement Test Results: - Choir Well-rounded curriculum 2015—2016 80% passed ELA and 85% passed Math Grades 3—8 NYS Test Results: summer GANSEVOORT ROW continued from p. 6 - 6-week cial intersection of school Gansevoort and Little Aﬀordable tui�on 96% of 8th graders passed Regents Algebra 1 - 80% passed ELA and 85% passed Math
W. 12th Sts. and Ninth Ave. program
Hiller called the developers’ argument Zack Winestine, a leading member of Family-centered environment sports programs “laughable.” He noted that while the - Weekend Save Gansevoort, said he feels LPC has In the past four years, more than 75% of the graduates Meatpacking area experienced four peri- become “increasingly loose and sloppy” In the past four years, more than Discipline, moral values, and con- Enrichment elec�ves: ods of change over a 175-year period, the in implementing the standards in its got accepted Specialized School 75% of to theagraduates gotHigh acceptduct development “snapshot” of history that LPC intended Chinese historic dance district designation Ballet reports. He ed to a Specialized High School to preserve with its 2003 designation was worried that the Gansevoort St. develop-
- 96% of 8th graders passed Regents Algebra I
2017 Open House “the period of rapid market industrializawww.Transﬁgura�onSchoolNYC.org tion in the first half of the 20th century,” @ Early not the tenement period before that. relevance of the tenement buildChildhood ings“The Feb. Feb. 14 14 was that they were replaced and ret-
ment plan would pave the way for more Computer Coding Art projects like it in the historic district. He wants to set the opposite precedent with Academic Excellence a win in court. Dedicated and experienced “Our hope is that, if we win, it will multi-lingual faculty rofitted as market buildings rather than send a very strong signal,” he said. “The 9am-11am 9am-11am Well-rounded curriculum demolished,” Hiller explained. fact that there’s this degree of opposiMar. Mar. 14 14 Shockley noted in his designa- tion and that we’ve been able to mount Affordable tuition 9am-11am 9am-11am tion report that the building at 60-68 a serious legal case will hopefully send a Family-centered environment Since 1832, theGansevoort Transﬁgura�on has provided St., whichSchool “has significant messageeduca�onal to Landmarks that they need to Discipline, moral values, fabric reflecting its 1940 alteration, con- and be more careful about making decisions excellence to successive waves of immigrants their children. and conduct development tributes to the historically-mixed architec- that can’t be justified under the designaRooted in the tural Catholic tradi�on, Transﬁgura�on nurtures the mind, character and varied uses — includ- tion report.” functionsenvironment — of the The development project isn’t popubody and spiritinginmarket-related a family-centered to develop Gansevoort Market Historic District… lar with local politicians or Community though�ul and[and] responsible learners. further contributes to the visual Board 2. The community board unaniOur Programs Full day program from pre-K cohesion of the district through its brick mously voted down an earlier, more to Grade 8 and stone facade and metal canopy.” drastic planpre in 2015. - Full dayredevelopment programs from Special education services He deemed 70-74 Gansevoort St. as -K toCongressmember Jerrold Nadler, State We Provide…. Grade 8 not being architecturally significant. Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Art, music, Mandarin Academic excellence services However, Hiller said that does not pre- - Special Deboraheduca�on Glick, Borough President Gale Yoga, drum and rhythm Transﬁguration School clude that structure from being histori- Brewer and Councilmember Corey is accredited by AdvancED Choir - Art, music, Mandarin Academic Excellence Since Dedicated and experienced mul�cally significant. Johnson have all opposed the developand is awarded the 6-week summer school program1832 LPC approved the Aurora and William ment. lingual - Yoga, drum and rhythm School Choice Leadership Award 2016 faculty Weekend sports program Gottlieb projects at each address with an The development team behind the 8-to-2 vote. The commission appeared to project is also behind the troubled 9-19 Choir Enrichment electives2015—2016 (Chinese Achievement ××××××××× Well-rounded curriculum disagree somewhat with Hiller’s assessNinth Ave. project less than a block away dance, Ballet,Grades Piano, 3—8 Chess, 2011 National Blue NYS Test Results: summer school ment. In a document following its approv- - 6-week from Gansevoort St. That project was Aﬀordable tui�on Ribbon School Computer -Coding, Art) 80% passed ELA and 85% passed Math al, the commission noted that, “while the program marred by the death of a construction low-scale ofenvironment this portion of the block is worker in 2015 when a trench caved in, - 96% of 8th graders passed Regents Algebra I Family-centered Early Childhood Campus Lower Campus Upper Campus reflective of the third phase of district - Weekend as well as sports issues programs with the Department Pre-K 3 to Pre-K 4In the past Kindergarten to Grademore 3 Grade 4- Grade 8 four years, than development, this block contains build- of Buildings, which said the new buildDiscipline, moral values, and con- Enrichment elec�ves: 10 Confucius Plaza, LL 29 Mott Street 37 St. James Place ings which do not contribute to the char- ing was too big and, as a result, may not New York, NY 1000275% of the Newgraduates York, NY 10013got acceptNew York, NY 10038 duct development acter of the historic district, specifically Chinese receive adance certificate ofBallet occupancy. Tel: 212-431-8769 Tel: 212-962-5265 tel: 212-267-9289 ed to a Specialized High School the building at 70-74 Gansevoort Street.” Fax: 212-431-8917 Fax: 212-964-8965 Fax: 212-227-0065 Piano Chess The commission also noted that the disThe next hearing on the Gansevoort Coding trict already has some buildings at the scale Computer Row project will be atArt Manhattan State of the proposed new buildings, and that to Supreme Court (60 Centre St., btw. minimize visual impact, the project’s taller Worth & Pearl Sts., Room 345) on Wed., buildings were located away from the cru- March 8, at 2:15 p.m.
FOR CHILDREN BORN IN 2014 or 2013
Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
HIGH LINE continued from p. 5
the High Line does for the community,” he went on. “But you can always do more.” “We have great communication with the High Line,” said Rubin echoing Acevedo, noting that FHL keeps CB4 abreast of all of their projects and programming, and has tried to work to address community needs. “I could probably only imagine they were probably overwhelmed by their success, but they’re doing a great job now at continuing their outreach to the community.” In contrast to Acevedo and Rubin, Andy Humm, president of the adjacentLondon Terrace Tenants Association (btw. W. 23rd & 24th Sts. and Ninth & 10th Aves.) has not been on the receiving end of FHL outreach — and he did not mince words when discussing the High Line. Positing that its presence accelerated gentrification along with the proliferation of chain stores that rob the neighborhood of its character, Humm quipped, “I call it ‘The Beast That Ate Chelsea.’ ” Shortly after its arrival, he recalled, the High Line “became cool, it became chic, and it just utterly transformed Chelsea. And I don’t know if that kind of overdevelopment
Photo by Daniel Kwak
Fall 2016, crowds on the High Line.
we’ve been subjected to here in Chelsea would have happened on this scale without the High Line.” Noting that Giuliani-era rezoning efforts contributed to gentrification as well, Rubin pointed to the importance of taking “a look in a more comprehensive way of all of these things together… The neighborhood can point to the High Line as one specific thing that’s making these changes, but,” she said, “If we look at a lot of the properties that have come up in the past decade around High Line, we have a
higher price demographic that is moving in because we have luxury buildings that are coming up around that area. Then you add to that, to the west, the development that is beginning, and that will be coming online as Hudson Yards” — developments, both she and Hammond noted, are out of the High Line’s control. Humm, however, decidedly points at the High Line for one issue: the excessive traffic, of both the foot and motor varieties, that cropped up near London Terrace. Previously, he said, “Nobody
walked down this block because there was nothing beyond 10th Avenue.” Now, the congestion is a major issue for the area — sometimes exacerbated, he noted, by broken elevators. Rubin has noticed this as well, and stated, “It does create conflict in an area that was already a little bit more neighborhood-y, that now is feeling what Midtown feels,” though she asserts that CB4 tries to work with the Dep[artmetn of Transportation when specific instances of this issue are brought up at meetings. Hammond, while emphasizing that they work to be good neighbors in terms of the upkeep of the areas around entrances commented, “I don’t know how we could address that, but we’re open to suggestions on that,” encouraging residents to email FHL. “A lot of these things are happening in a cumulative way, and I wouldn’t point the finger only to the High Line,” said Rubin, who believes, despite being a “victim of its success,” that the High Line does contribute much to the area in terms of culture, educational resources and beauty. “Sometimes we get too much credit and too much blame for the changes in the neighborhood,” Hammond agreed, while reiterating his pride in the park. “It’s far exceeded all our expectations — but we always want to do more.”
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Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
Rhymes with Crazy THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
The Ugly Truth of Sudden Onset Unattractiveness
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BY LENORE SKENAZY When you go to the periodontist for oral surgery and all you’re worried about is the potential pain, you may forget to ask whether you will spend the next couple of weeks looking like a chipmunk beaten up by a gang of biker squirrels. Or at least I forgot to ask. So now when I look in the mirror, I see a face with golf ball bulges turning purple, lips stretched wide like taffy, and a jaw the shape of a juice box. On the subway, I wrap my scarf as high as I can and try to ignore the fact that now when I breathe, I fog up my glasses. When I dared to venture out to the bakery (perhaps the source of this whole problem), I ran into an acquaintance and had to act like I wasn’t melting from shame (and the boiling scarf). “It’s, uh, great to see you too! Bye!” Even at home I am surprised to feel sickeningly self-conscious around those nearest and dearest. Surely, beauty is not purplish-skin deep? Or is it? Being suddenly disfigured, even temporarily, made me wonder how other people — the gashed, pocked and bloated — face the world. So I asked around. My Upper East Side friend Mandy recalled the time she went to a fancy restaurant for lunch and ate something that made her feel like her throat was closing up. “Then I looked at my arm and there were all these blotches on it and I was starting to panic,” she said. “So I staggered across the street and bought a big bottle of Benadryl, and the pharmacist told me to take a double dose right now, and I was like, ‘Okay.’ ” The problem was that night she was meeting a new guy. They had tickets to “An American in Paris.” So she ran home, changed into clothes that covered as much of her as pos-
sible, and met her date at the theater. The show, as far as she can recall, was delightful. “But I fell asleep and the guy kept elbowing me gently to wake me up, till my head lolled back on the seat again.” Each time she fell back asleep, she snored. “And every time I would wake up I was furiously itching myself all over.” It may not come as a huge surprise that they did not go out again. But for Mandy, at least, the sudden onset unattractiveness was short-lived. Marisa Christina Steffers, a grant writer in Manhattan, went through chemo 12 years ago, just a year after her husband died. Their son was in second grade. Today she is the proud mom of a college freshman — but the permanent loss of her eyelashes and eyebrows still smarts. “I get called ‘sir’ a lot, then they look and go, ‘Oh, sorry.’ ” What surprised Marisa most was how hard it has been to adjust. “I can be as vain as the next person, right?” Of course, right! It’s not just you, Marisa! It’s all of us. When entrepreneur Kathryn Booth Trainor picked up MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant illness, the disease manifested itself in black holes on her face the diameter of a pencil eraser. As she noted matter-of-factly, even when psychological researchers show very young kids pictures of people with some kind of physical imperfection, the kids attribute that they’re stupid, lazy, dishonest, evil — things that are all truly NOT indicated by how somebody looks. We are a culture hardwired, it seems, to distrust the imperfect, no matter how dumb and cruel that is. Genevieve Gearity fainted at the Herald Square subway station last August, breaking all her front teeth. “Luckily for all the other passengers, I was off the train before it happened.” Yes, she’s a comedian — for real. But going out in public wasn’t funny. That first week, “Even with the check-out person at Duane Reade, I was talking with as little space between my lips as possible, trying to hide these jagged teeth.” Gone was the perk that non-celebrities and the non-disfigured take for granted: the ability to be invisible. Genevieve stopped going out, “until I woke up one day and realized: I don’t see people anymore!”
She decided to bite the bullet (as well as she could) and go back onstage. “After six months of hiding from the public, I told the audience that I had broken all of my front teeth. Then I immediately covered my mouth.” THAT got their attention. So she told them, “That’s a fun trick you can use on first dates. Mention you have a terribly unattractive physical impediment, and then hide it. You will hold their attention the rest of the night.” And then, if they can see beyond whatever it is, you’ve got a winner. Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker who authored the book, and founded the blog, Free-Range Kids (freerangekids.com).
YOUR WEEKLY community newspaper serving CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN
Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017
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Februar y 23 - March 01, 2017