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The Paper of of R Record ecc o e orr d for G Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933 So S o ho h o , Union Un U n iio ni o n Square, Squ

March 2, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 9





Near ceiling collapse forces Croman tenants to vacate on Stanton St. BY DENNIS LYNCH


he Department of Buildings ordered second-floor residents at Steve Croman’s 159 Stanton St. to immediately vacate their apartments after a ceiling partially collapsed Saturday. The partial-vacate order came just two days after a New York City Housing Court judge or-

dered the notorious landlord to replace fireproofing on the building’s third floor — work that appears to have caused the partial collapse. The incident doesn’t look good for Croman, who is facing 20 felony charges and civil charges that state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman brought against him over the STANTON continued on p. 4

Students ‘SLAM’ N.Y.U.

over trustee Paulson, demand seat on board BY AMY RUSSO


ew York University has long been seen as a haven for liberalleaning students eager to learn in the diverse cultural hub of Greenwich Village. But a look at the school’s board of trustees paints a less-than-savory picture, in the view of some.

Aside from the lengthy list of the board’s monied members, trustees John Paulson and William Berkley, in particular, have drawn scrutiny from students who believe the two men’s values are not in line with N.Y.U.’s progressive reputation. Members of the university’s Student Labor Action N.Y.U. continued on p. 8


Japanese-Americans marked the 75th anniversar y of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which led to more than 120,000 Japanese immigrants and JapaneseAmericans being held in internment camps. See Page 13.

Taking offense at a plan for Tompkins Sq. fences BY SAR AH FERGUSON


arks Department officials got an earful Monday night at a community meeting to discuss a contentious plan to lower the fences around the playgrounds in Tompkins Square Park. Dozens of parents and area residents turned out for the meeting called by City Councilmember Rosie Mendez. Most of them roundly de-

nounced the city’s scheme to replace the 7-foot-high steelbar fences surrounding the two playgrounds in the park’s southeast corner off Avenue B with new 4-foot fences. Mendez has allocated $1.4 million to renovate the two playgrounds, which are heavily utilized by area schools and daycare centers. But she said she was shocked to find out that the city had added an additional $490,000 in fund-

ing to lower the fences around the playgrounds. The plan by Parks also calls for replacing the 4-foot fences that line the interior park paths in this area with new 2-foot-6-inch-tall steel-tube fencing, similar to what is in place in Washington Square Park, and reconstructing the entry piers at the corner of Seventh St. and Avenue B. FENCES continued on p. 6

Fatal OD at exclusive Ludlow House club..........p. 9 Canada Goose activists defend protests .......... p. 13 A-list ‘puparazzi’ pix................p. 2


ANIMAL INSTINCT: The Canada Goose protesters have been branching out a bit lately. After a bull that made a break for it from a Jamaica, Queens, slaughterhouse died after being riddled with tranquilizer darts last week, the activists held a vigil outside the fateful abattoir. “Apparently the bull was shot by the N.Y.P.D. with numerous tranquilizer darts at once,” Nathan Semmel, one of the group’s members, told us. “He never made it to Animal Care and Control. It is even more tragic because Mike Stura from Skylands Animal Sanctuary was on his way to rescue him. Our collective belief is that so long as people continue to see animals as food and fashion, these incidents will continue to occur. This is even more apparent when the city allows slaughterhouses to operate without proper oversight and the N.Y.P.D. is ill-prepared to respond in a manner that gives escaped animals the best opportunity to survive.” The vigil for the bull, Semmel said, was to “honor his courageous effort to live free and shine a light on another consequence of animal exploitation.” In addition, our front-page article last week on the ongoing Canada Goose protests in Soho gave the details on a demonstrator — a 33-year-old Brooklyn man — being arrested outside the 101 Wooster St. store on Sat., Feb. 4, for disorderly conduct, but did not mention two other arrests that occurred the previous day. According to police, on Fri., Feb. 3, Robert Gilbert, 34, of Bushwick, and Angela Derosa, 38, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, were both arrested for harassment in the second degree outside the embattled outerwear outlet. City Councilmember Margaret Chin has stated that one of those two arrests was for “aggravated harassment.” However, when we asked police to confirm that, we were just told, “Harassment 2 is Penal Law 240.26 02.” Looking up the definition of that charge in the New York Penal Law, one finds that it can include physical contact with a person — striking, shoving, kicking, etc. — or the threat to do so; following a person about in public places; or conduct or


March 2, 2017


Since this week’s Scoopy’s column is about animal-rights activists’ fight to stop Canada Goose from cruelly trapping and killing coyotes just to use their fur for their pricey parkas’ hood fringe (not to mention all those ducks and goose whose feathers fill the costly coats), we figured it would be appropriate to feature some of the persecuted coyotes’ canine cousins — namely, a few of the stars of last month’s Westminster Dog Show! A s usual, The Villager’s ace “puparazzi” photographer, Milo Hess, got total backstage access, allowing him to candidly capture the celebrity pooches in relaxed moments and get shots you’ll find nowhere else.

actions that “alarm or seriously annoy” the other person and “which serve no legitimate purpose.” While we did not see any mention of “aggravated harassment” in the charge’s definition, it does sound annoying. (Chin had mentioned there having been three arrests, but we initially did not ask the police to search back quite far enough in their records — we were off by one day — which is why those two arrests were not included in last week’s article.) Anyway, as for the ongoing Soho protests, Semmel said, they are easing back — but only slightly. “Protests have been going very well,” he said. “We are still at Canada Goose but a bit less and we have expanded elsewhere. We had a very productive meeting at the First Precinct Community Council last Thursday. Approximately 25 to 30 activists attended. There was a lot of back and forth between residents, activists and the deputy inspector. It was a bit contentious at first, but by the end of the meeting there were some handshakes and we all came to an understanding. Essentially, the deputy inspector acknowledged our right to use our voices in protest; we promised we would do so without any sound devices or instruments and will discourage anyone from following or cursing at customers / passersby. If we do

this, the police agreed to give us warnings if our sound level approaches an unreasonable level. I hung around afterward and the police officers and detectives seemed very appreciative of our overture,” Semmel said. “There have been no incidents since. Hopefully that continues. We’re targeting other stores in New York City,” he added. “Right now we are outside of Paragon Sports one or two days per week, mostly educating, but some chanting, too. We have had some really nice turnouts and not a single police incident. Union Square is terrific for outreach. We are asking customers to contact management to say they will not shop at Paragon Sports if they are going to continue to sell fur. There are usually a few people at Canada Goose each day, but in terms of larger-sized protests, we have been going only about once per week right now. I think this shows the residents and Police Department that we are serious about trying to work with them, but still exercise our rights in a reasonable fashion. We are also signaling to other businesses that they are on our radar.” TheVillager.com

Hey, dude — it’s not cool to tag ‘The Cube’! It was only in November that “The Cube” returned from its latest painstaking refurbishment. (It was also spruced up back in 2005.) The public ar t work was welcomed home by a cheering throng and eagerly given a lust y whirl by local leaders and politicians. So it was sad to see Tony Rosenthal’s iconic, spinnable sculpture — real name, “The Alamo” — spor ting a smear of white graffiti earlier this week. William Kelley, the executive director of the Village Alliance business improvement district, said the bronze monolith has already been hit by graffiti “a couple of other times” since its reinstallation at A stor Place. It used to be worse, though. “Before the renovation it got tagged about once ever y other month,” Kelley said. A s for cleaning “The Cube,” luckily, it now has a special protective coating. “Usually a solvent will remove the paint without having to do additional painting,” the BID director noted. So, at least it’s easier to clean now, right? “Yes,” Kelley said, “but no less annoying!”


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Stanton St. ceiling nearly collapses Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association News Story, First Place, 2015 Editorial Page, First Place, 2015 Editorials, First Place, 2014 News Story, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009










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March 2, 2017

STANTON continued from p. 1

summer for fraud and for aggressively pushing tenants out of rent-stabilized apartments in his buildings, among other alleged criminal activity related to his real estate business. D.O.B. said the 159 Stanton ceiling was “dislodged and in danger of collapse,” and that the condition caused by “construction activity” in vacant apartments above. Tenants in two second-floor apartments had to leave, including a father and his 12-year-old son. Croman’s company, 9300 Realty, will have to repair the damages before tenants can move back into their apartments. One of those residents forced to vacate showed The Villager around the apartment they hastily left Saturday morning. She called D.O.B. for an inspection last week after noticing plaster falling from her ceiling. There was visible erosion along the ceiling near a water pipe and the ceiling sagged considerably along one wall in one tenant’s apartment. The tenant had to cover all their belongings with plastic sheets and shack up with a friend. Part of the living-room ceiling previously collapsed on the tenant last summer. That incident, compounded with other safety violations and Croman’s alleged strong-arm tactics, prompted tenants to band together to bring a Housing Court suit against him in December. They’ve formed the 159 Stanton St. Tenants Association to take on the issues together. The court action sought corrections to numerous issues at 159 Stanton St., but problems continue, according to the tenant, who wished to go unnamed. “I was in shock this morning, I was really sort of stunned, and we were prepared — the whole reason we have this [Housing Court] action is because we thought something like this would happen,” she said. “When my ceiling fell on me, I wanted to know what I can do to prevent this from happening again.” The lawyer handling the Housing Court case on behalf of the 159 Stanton Street Tenants Association also filed a separate court action seeking to correct the collapsing ceiling. Croman will have to answer to the action by March 16. The next court date for the wider case against Croman for his alleged behavior at 159 Stanton St. is April 4. Tenant attorney Sherief Gaber with the Urban Justice Center said the nonprofit agency had taken similar actions against Croman in the past and is optimistic about the case for the evacuated tenants. “Our office had represented tenants who were displaced by Steve Croman in similar circumstances, in which fireproofing had been ripped out by contractors and tenants were vacated,” Gaber said. “So, it’s something that we’ve seen before and we believe we will get the tenants back into their homes in a safe environment as soon


Above and below, photos of the ceiling at 159 Stanton St. that was deemed “dislodged and in danger of collapse” by the Depar tment of Buildings, leading to an emergenc y vacate order.

as possible.” The front door of 159 Stanton St. is plastered with D.O.B. violations and stopwork orders. Croman has also posted work permits for other properties just inside the hallway. One tenant believes Croman was trying to pull a fast one on residents and hoping they didn’t check the addresses on the permits. “He’s hoping we’re not literate,” the tenant said. Meanwhile, Croman’s spokesperson claimed that tenants blocked access to the building, “in and out of court,” to allow for repairs, contending that they would allow access if they were “genuinely motivated” to get repairs done. He also claimed that tenants had asked for a astronomical $300,000-per-unit buyout, although the tenant association denies that. “We tenants as a group made no solicitation of a buyout, and are unaware of any such attempt,” the association said in a statement. “So this allegation is a red herring meant to distract from the real issue of disregard for human safety in 9300 Realty buildings, including fire hazards

and physical dangers like collapsing ceilings. Court-ordered repairs were made to these apartments in January and February, and we tenants welcomed them. Now we look forward to more repairs ordered by D.O.B. being made, so that we can return to our homes, and can live in a safe, secure and structurally sound building.” Half-a-dozen local politicians at the city and state level wrote a joint letter to Croman early last week demanding he address numerous issues at 159 Stanton St., including “makeshift staircases made from plywood; broken windows; water leaks throughout the building; multiple breakins due to lack of basic security measures; hazardous construction; and a general lack of repairs.” Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, one of the letter’s signatories, called Croman’s behavior “unacceptable and infuriating” on Monday, and vowed to “continue to push for repairs and tenants’ safety.” Croman owns roughly 145 commercial and residential properties throughout Manhattan, many of them in the East Village. He is known to pursue tenant buyouts and reportedly pushed his employees to obtain them, allegedly offering up to $10,000 bonuses for each buyout they secured. Both commercial and residential tenants claim Croman would just happen to “lose” their rent payments and then sue them over it or try to evict them, in hopes they would give up and move out. Some of his commercial tenants accuse him of cutting off their utilities. As previously reported in The Villager, one commercial tenant, the operator of Caffe Vivaldi on Jones St., said Croman consistently tried to charge the business rent for inaccessible space. TheVillager.com


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Taking offense at plan for Tompkins Sq. fences FENCES continued from p. 1

The fence redo is part of the city’s new Parks Without Borders initiative to make parks more “open and accessible” by lowering or removing tall fences and shrubbery, expanding entrances, and adding lighting to improve sightlines. Officials say the new design philosophy aims to reduce crime and other “negative behavior” by increasing access and visibility to “underutilized spaces,” while enabling police to more easily surveil the parks. Mayor Bill de Blasio has dedicated $50 million to the program citywide — with most of the funds going to eight “showcase parks” that will be rehabbed in accordance with the design principles. Among them is historic Seward Park on the Lower East Side, which is slated for $6.4 million in improvements. But Mendez and other local officials are up in arms about the Tompkins plan, fearing shorter fences around the Aveune B playgrounds could make it easier for kids to climb out — while also making them vulnerable to threats from vagrants and drug users who might enter after hours and leave behind used needles. In an Oct. 6 letter to Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Mendez urged him to reconsider the playground fence heights in light of reports of increased


Bill Castro, the Parks Depar tment’s Manhattan borough commissioner, outlined the Parks Without Borders concept as City Councilmember Rosie Mendez listened at Monday’s meeting on the city’s plan to lower Tompkins Square Park’s playground fences.

violence among park denizens. “For the last year and a half, there has been a higher incidence of vagrants in the park who are highly intoxicated with alcohol and drugs,” Mendez wrote. “We have reports from constituents and the Ninth Precinct stating that vagrants are increasingly violent and have attacked park visitors. On a daily basis, one may

find drug paraphernalia and needles lying around.” In December, Community Board 3 passed a resolution that “strongly opposed” the new playground fences. The new Ninth Precinct commander, Captain Vincent Greany, has also said he thinks it would be better to address the issues of homelessness and substance abuse in

Tompkins first, before tackling the park fencing. Mendez also said there was no need to improve access to Tompkins Square, which is already heavily used by diverse elements of the community. “Let’s remember that the fences are there given the historical context of this park, which was in fact redesigned by the police and city after the infamous riots of 1988,” she noted. At Monday’s meeting, William Castro, the Manhattan borough commissioner for Parks, sought to tamp down this minirevolt against the new fence plan. “This is what democracy is all about,” he remarked, saying the city was still open to community input. “I’ve had experience with a variety of heights of fences,” added Castro, who has served at Parks for more than 40 years. “The problems you are raising, of kids climbing out of the playgrounds — it doesn’t really occur.” Castro said the lower fences would actually improve safety in the park. “The visibility is a real important issue,” he said. “It dramatically increases our ability to look into the parks and playgrounds. That allows police and PEP [Parks Enforcement Patrol] officers and parents to look into the parks. “I used to run the PEP program in FENCES continued on p. 20


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Members of Beit Simchat Torah at a Friday suppor t vigil, left, greeted a woman outside the Islamic Center on Washington Square South.

L.G.B.T. Jews show support for Muslims BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y


uring the presidential inauguration, while some politicians and clergy rallied and performed civil disobedience at Trump Tower in Midtown, Beit Simchat Torah’s Jewish-Muslim outreach initiative, House of Peace, gathered to greet worshippers at the N.Y.U. Islamic Center, at 268 Thompson St., just south of Washington Square Park. Harold Levine, co-chairperson of House of Peace explained, “This is a response to the alarming rise of anti-Muslim sentiment seemingly provoked by statements during the campaigns.” On Friday afternoons, Muslims gather for Junnah, a big prayer service — the most heavily attended during the week — that includes the weekly sermon. This is why Beith Simchat Torah, an L.G.B.T. congregation located on W. 30th St., chose Fridays for these vigils of positivity. The Islamic Center serves hundreds of Muslims — N.Y.U. students, faculty and employees, as well as visiting Muslims or those living in the neighborhood. The House of Peace action — welcoming worshippers as they arrive and staying to greet them they as they leave — has taken place several times starting the Friday after the election. “Going forward, we will continue TheVillager.com

this weekly,” Levin said. “The reaction has been overwhelming. We get hugs, handshakes and thank yous. The worshippers photograph us and want to be photographed with us.” Personal stories are shared between the congregants of the two religious institutions and it’s been a chance for members of the Jewish congregants to learn more about the Muslim community in New York City. “Most importantly, it’s made everyone who participated feel they’re doing something positive in a difficult time,” the Beit Simchat Torah Web site notes. Levine elaborated that educational activities for members about Islam are in the works, as well as developing other ideas for outreach. Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum writes on the shul’s Web site: “We need to deepen our engagement with, and knowledge of, our Muslim neighbors here in NYC. We know that one of the fi rst targets of institutional and individualized hate already in NYC and elsewhere is the Muslim community. We must study Islam and become better educated so we can engage in sophisticated discussions.” Last month, the congregation also joined in a larger prayer service at Foley Square to protest Donald Trump’s travel ban. As nearly 80 Muslims prayed, other religious groups and friends encircled them in solidarity.

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Members of the N.Y.U. activist group SL AM and others briefly occupied the lobby of N.Y.U. Bobst Librar y on Washington Square South last Wednesday. They demanded to meet with the universit y’s president, Andrew Hamilton, about their objection to John Paulson, a member of Donald Trump’s economic advisor y team, being on the school’s board of trustees and also about the idea of having student members on the board.

Students ‘SLAM’ N.Y.U. over trustee Paulson N.Y.U. continued from p. 1

Movement, or SLAM, occupied the lobby of the N.Y.U. Bobst Library last Wednesday afternoon Feb. 2 for a sitin to protest Paulson’s position on the board and its refusal to accept any student members. Students fi rst gathered in Schwartz Plaza adjacent to the library, then entered the monolithic, Philip Johnson-designed edifice, unfurling painted protest banners near the administrative elevator and chanting for Paulson’s removal. Hedge-fund manager Paulson raked in billions after betting on the housing market crash and has served on President Donald Trump’s economic policy team, causing outrage among students who feel the liberal image of their university has been tainted. Stephanie Rountree, a protester and fi rst-year student in N.Y.U.’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, said that those who “felt that they were at a very liberal and welcoming school… needed to be aware that these forces are sort of pushing us in the wrong direction, and that our best interests are not at heart. And in order for them to be truly at heart, we need to make sure that we’re on the board making the decisions.” Rountree has not been satisfied with the board of trustees’ roster or its reasons for denying students membership. “A lot of the arguments that the board has made,” Rountree noted,


March 2, 2017

“especially by our president, Andy Hamilton, is that students could not be objective in making decisions for the school, which we fi nd hard to believe, given that our chairman of the board, William Berkley, made his fortune off of predatory student loans, which are often directed at N.Y.U. students.” Berkley once served as lead director on the board of directors at the First Marblehead Corporation, a studentloan group that was subpoenaed for investigation by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2007 during his tenure as New York’s attorney general. First Marblehead was one of dozens of companies probed back then to determine whether their marketing tactics were deceptive toward students. “A lot of the values that are reflected in the decisions that the board makes...are inherently problematic, to say the least,” remarked protestor Kendra Pratt, a junior a Gallatin. Pratt believes the board needs major change. “They’re affi liated with racist, homophobic agendas sometimes,” she said, adding, “The people that do represent this institution at the highest level are tied to such specific fi nancial agendas — specific, corrupted fi nancial agendas. I think that it’s backward that our university has perpetuated the investments that it has and the policies. So that’s why I’m here.” Pratt noted a lack of transparency on the board of trustees — such as its failure to state information on its

meeting locations and the list of attendees. Students believe the board meets about three times per year, but this estimate is unconfi rmed because of a lack of public information. N.Y.U.’s Student Senate can communicate requests to the administration, which should, in turn, deliver these to the trustees. Yet no direct link exists between students and the board. While SLAM members and other protesters insisted on a public meeting with university President Hamilton, the library lobby occupation ended roughly an hour and a half after it began once Marc Wais, N.Y.U.’s senior vice president for student affairs, arrived to negotiate with SLAM on their demands. Wais denied the group a public forum with Hamilton. Instead, SLAM was offered a private meeting between five of its delegates and Hamilton in the next two weeks, and the activist group was also welcomed to the university’s upcoming town hall meeting. After word from Wais, SLAM member Katie Shane promptly addressed the protesters. “They’re going to wish they’d just let us do what we wanted to do because now we’re just going to do it by force,” she warned. Also following the sit-in, Drew Weber, a SLAM member who helped to organize the protest, vowed the group would keep pressing its point. “We plan on making sure that the upcoming town hall at our university has the voices and our concerns front

and center,” he said. “And we’re going to make sure that we don’t let the university off the hook in addressing this issue that’s proven important to a significant number of students at this university.” University spokesperson John Beckman issued a statement to The Villager in response to the protesters’ demands. “N.Y.U.’s position on the appointment of a student board member,” Beckman said, “is that it is both in line with peer institutions — roughly 80 percent of private universities don’t have a student board members — and with the position of the Association of Governing Boards, which recommends against student board members. “The N.Y.U. board believes it is essential that its members bring a broad, wide-ranging and holistic perspective to their work, and appointing members to serve specifically as representatives of particular stakeholder groups is at odds with that principle. That position notwithstanding, student concerns such as these are important to the university and board, and we look forward to the upcoming occasions to exchange points of view.” In addition to the makeup of its board of trustees, N.Y.U. has also come under fi re for its investments. In 2014, reports released by the university revealed a $139 million investment in fossil fuels.


Police Blotter Ludlow House OD

arrested last month. The suspect and the woman had a dispute inside 520 LaGuardia Place on Thurs., Oct. 15, 2015, according to police. The suspect, John Doe, 37, had socked the victim, 32, on various dates, police said. There were conflicting reports on whether John Doe had turned himself in to police or had been turned in by someone else. He was arrested Mon., Feb. 20, for misdemeanor assault.

A 31-year-old man was found dead inside a third-floor bathroom at Ludlow House — the new members-only Lower East Side club — on Fri., Feb. 24, at 11:10 p.m., and a drug overdose is suspected. Police responding to a 911 call found the man unconscious and unresponsive. EMS medics could not revive him and pronounced him dead at the scene. According to the New York Post, police sources said the man was found in a bathroom stall, curled up in a “fetal position,� with a needle in his hand. DNAinfo reported the victim as William Bernhardt, 31, an East Village resident. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death. The investigation is ongoing. Located near Rivington St., in a former gold-leaf factory and funeral home, Ludlow House opened last year, another branch of the exclusive Soho House chain. A British concept, with locations worldwide, Soho House also sports a club in the Meatpacking District. Membership is geared toward those in the arts, fashion, advertising and media.

Police said a man, 52, was on the subway platform at Eighth Ave. and W. 14th St. Mon., Feb. 20, at 5:25 p.m., when a younger man approached him, hit him in the face and swiped his cell phone. The suspect reportedly told the victim, “I have two knives on me. Don’t make me take it out.� The robber tried to flee the station, but was caught by police on the subway platform. While being collared, he allegedly resisted and injured the arresting officer, as well as took his mace. Kasean Session, 21, was arrested for felony robbery.

Repeat puncher

Office burglary

A man wanted for allegedly assaulting a woman two years ago was finally

Several laptops were stolen from an office at 841 Broadway last year on Fri.,

Aug. 19. Police said a window was found open, unlocked and not damaged. While there was no video evidence, a tip eventually led to the suspect. Tyrone McRae, 27, was arrested Thurs., Feb. 23, for felony burglary.

Phone felon Courtesy N.Y.P.D.

Police released this cell-phone photo that was snapped of the alleged forcible-touching suspect.

Two-time toucher Police are looking for a man wanted in two forcible touching incidents involving the same victim. A 30-year-old woman told police that on Mon., Feb. 6, at 8:20 a.m., at the Fulton St. station, on a flight of stairs leading to the street, an unidentified man approached her and grabbed her buttocks, then fled toward Broadway. Police said that the next day at 8:25 a.m., aboard a Manhattan-bound Z train

en route to the Canal St. station, the same man approached the victim and ground his groin against her buttocks. The suspect fled the train at Canal St. The victim remained onboard. The suspect is described as 25 years old, 6 feet tall and weighing 220 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.

Gets a little chippy A bargoer was not happy when asked to leave Gonzales y Gonzales restaurant, at 192 Mercer St., on Sat., Feb. 25. After being told multiple times to go, the suspect was approached by security, and promptly shoved the security man. After a search by responding police, he was found to be in possession of an alleged drug. Robinson Manrique, 37, was charged with felony criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Tabia Robinson and Lincoln Anderson

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If you would like to exhibit or be a sponsor call Ralph D’Onofrio at 718-260-2510 or email rdonofrio@cnglocal.com TheVillager.com

March 2, 2017


Hurry and pass anti-harass bills, activists urge BY JOAQUIN COTLER


hursday morning, more than 100 people rallied on City Hall’s steps calling for the City Council to pass a package of bills intended to curb “construction-as-harassment.” Their chants couldn’t have been more clear: “What do we want! Our bills passed! When do we want it? Now!” Tenant groups from around the city assembled to vocalize their support for the Stand for Tenant Safety, or S.T.S., bills, a collection of 12 regulations designed to help tenants protect themselves against “bad-acting” landlords. But while seven of the bills have been already come before the Housing Committee, the City Council hasn’t brought them to the full floor of the Council for a vote. “For the other five that haven’t had a hearing, we need to push,” Councilmember Margaret Chin told the crowd. “There are a lot of bills on the agenda for the Housing Committee, but that’s why we need everyone to work with us to ask our colleagues to move it quickly.” Chin, who represents Lower Manhattan, is among 11 councilmembers currently sponsoring tenant-safety bills. She’s a co-sponsor of Intro 918, which, if passed, would strengthen restrictions on construction and ratchet up building inspection. The bill’s other sponsor is Brooklyn’s Carlos Menchaca. Speaking


Margaret Chin, front row right, and Helen Rosenthal, to the left of her, were among the councilmembers at a City Hall rally last week calling for speedy passage of the S.T.S. package of anti-harassment bills. At left is Rolando Guzmán of Brooklyn’s St. Nick’s Alliance.


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March 2, 2017

at the rally, he condemned “disruptive rehabilitation of vacant apartments” and other strategies some landlords use to intimidate tenants. “We need to do whatever we can to help end fear in our country,” Menchaca said. “Passage of these bills will go a long way toward doing that.” His 38th Council District covers several neighborhoods in central and southwest Brooklyn, including part of Gowanus, seeing widespread construction. “The need for passage of these bills in our community is crystal clear,” said Dave Powell, a community organizer from the Fifth Avenue Committee in Park Slope, just east of Gowanus. “It’s particularly urgent if we’re considering the rezoning of the Gowanus neighborhood. A lot of the displacement came right after the 2003 rezoning. We’re losing so much of our community. There’s an urgency and a fury to the landlords’ harassment and we can’t wait literally another year.” Idelys Savinon, a tenant at 342 Bergen St. in Gowanus, said she has experienced harassment since a new landlord, Inc. Realty, recently took over her building. “All my neighbors got forced out,” she said. “Now there’s construction, the apartment downstairs has no walls, and my hallway is a disaster.” She said despite it being winter, she hasn’t had heat and hot water for a month and a half. “I would like a nice, hot shower. You know...basic living conditions. I’m taking them to court myself Monday, because they think they’re above the law — which

they’re not.” “We’ve been to these hearings and events with tenants from 342 Bergen St., and we’ve done the same with tenants from dozens of other buildings,” Powell said. “Today’s event was really a call to the City Council and particularly the chairperson of the Housing and Buildings Committee, Councilman Jumaane Williams, and Speaker Melissa MarkViverito to show them that there is an urgent need to pass these bills now.” In her State of the City speech just a few days before, Mark-Viverito addressed the issue head-on. “Tenant harassment is far too rampant — but because it can be hard to prove in court, far too often it goes unchecked,” she said. “Even when a tenant does beat the odds and win, they typically get nothing. We’re going to change that. Going forward, the Council will pass legislation so that when a landlord threatens a tenant, the burden will be on the landlord to prove it wasn’t harassment.” She continued by saying that the City Council “will soon take a close look at how some landlords — unscrupulous landlords — may use construction work to push tenants out from their homes.” According to Brandon Kielbasa, a community organizer for Cooper Square Committee in the East Village, having the Council speaker’s support is very important. Even so, he feels the process is being held up unnecessarily. “Every week that we go without these Stand for Tenant Safety bills as laws, more tenants are harassed and more essential, affordable rent-regulated housing is lost,” Kielbasa stressed. “We need these laws yesterday. Our communities are being torn apart by construction-asharassment.” Kielbasa and the other organizers urge Councilmember Williams to schedule hearings for the remaining five bills in April, in hopes of bringing the full Stand for Tenant Safety legislative package to a vote. He pointed to the highly publicized case of 159 Stanton St. on the Lower East Side as an example of what can happen if the City Council continues to wait. Saturday, the Department of Buildings issued a vacate order for the second floor of the building, owned by notorious landlord Steve Croman, as the crumbling ceiling was beginning to give way. Croman currently already has 20 felony charges pending against him, and the building’s walls are wallpapered with violation notices that remain unaddressed. Current residents of 159 Stanton St. have been in and out of court, with little to show for it. However, the S.T.S. bills would make it so landlords like Croman have to cough up their outstanding fines — or risk losing their buildings. “Right now D.O.B. issues lots of violations and they turn into fines,” Kielbasa said. “The city doesn’t force people to pay them. The passing of these laws couldn’t be any more urgent. We need to put an end to this type of illegal harassment.” TheVillager.com


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.

Daydreaming 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.

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.

March 2, 2017


News, arts, politics, police, opinion and more... It’s all in the Villager

The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

June 16, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 24





Critics blast landmark bill as ‘anti-preservation’; Say ‘loophole’ offers little hope BY YANNIC R ACK


contentious bill that will put deadlines on the city’s preservation agency to designate landmarks within two years was passed by the City Council last week. There was heavy opposition from preservationists and even initial disapproval from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission itself — but the measure might be moot due

to a loophole, according to its chief critics. The legislation, Intro 775A, mandates that L.P.C. vote within one year to designate proposed individual landmarks, and take no longer than two years to vote on proposed historic districts — limits that the bill’s opponents charge could lead to the loss of countless potential landmarks. LANDMARKS continued on p. 12

Hoylman pushes Albany to pass child sex-abuse reform, but Senate stalls BY MICHAEL OSSORGUINE


he Omnibus Child Victims Act, or Senate Bill S6367, is the latest effort from state Democrats to reform the statute of limitations on victims of child sexual abuse. The bill, though still in committee, has momentum in the Senate as victims are stepping forward

and Senate Democrats are arguing against entrenched opposition. State Senator Brad Hoylman introduced the Senate version of the bill with several co-sponsors, including Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Democratic Conference.


Thousands of points of light: Monday night’s vigil stretched along Christopher St. from Waverly Place to Seventh Ave. South.

‘We shall overcome’: Vigils draw thousands to Village BY PAUL SCHINDLER


ABUSE continued on p. 14

n two vigils in the West Village on Sunday evening, one crowd numbering in the thousands, another in the hundreds voiced shock, grief, and anger over the murder of 50 patrons of an Orlando, Florida, gay bar in the early morning hours of the same day. Speaker after speaker emphasized that the violence cannot be isolated from a climate of anti-L.G.B.T. hatred that continues to persist across the nation, but also pledged to continue building community to respond to hostility and bigotry where it exists.

At the same time, both crowds rejected the notion that hate is an appropriate response to the violence and speciďŹ cally called out efforts to pit the L.G.B.T. community against the Muslim community over a tragedy in which the shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, is reported to have phoned 911 just prior to the massacre and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation New York, took the lead in organizing a rally outside the Stonewall Inn that drew several thousand people. “We come together because this is a community that will

never be silent again,� he said. “I ask every person to think of someone you knew who was killed because of anti-L.G.B.T. hatred. Think of a time when you felt unsafe in your own community. And I want every single one of you to think not of what anyone else, not of what I, but of what you can do to change that.� Kidd said the L.G.B.T. community should draw strength from the 49 patrons of the Pulse nightclub who were killed. “We must go forward in love,� he said. Mirna Haidar, a representaVIGILS continued on p. 5

Graffiti artist tags Haring group in lawsuit ...... p. 16 Remembering Ramrod rampage of 1980.........p. 21 Here comes the sun energy...p. 18

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Cut cruelty out of fashion To The Editor: Re “Fur fight: Activists vow to cook Canada’s Goose� (news article, Feb. 23): Good article! Using fur for fashion is completely unnecessary! Steel-jaw leg-hold traps are bitterly painful, bone-breaking devices that are banned in many states in this country; but not in Canada. These poor coyote will sometimes suffer for two days in pain, dehydrated and hungry, while they await their captor for a terrifying and stressful end to their lives! And for what? So a piece of their skin can be sewn to a coat when warmth can be achieved in so many other cruelty-free methods! And the “value� of geese in industry is in their feathers. They are painfully held down and stripped of their feathers six times in their lives, allowing six weeks for new feathers to grow between stripping. At the conclusion, they are sold for meat or forcefed to become foie gras, a delicacy born of one of the most cruel practices of the food industry. Canada Goose cannot possibly use only feathers stripped from geese after they have been killed for the meat industry because there is no “value� in stripping them once. People must be informed that they are directly supporting animal suffering and cruelty when buying clothing that contains fur or down feathers. Wake up people! Emerge from your ignorance and stop hurting animals and start advocating for them! As for the Soho protesters, we direct nothing at children. I guarantee that 1,000 percent! Children do not make the cruel decisions. Kids might be on the sidewalk at the time but we are not targeting them!

Sorry for rufing feathers The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

January 14, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 2




Squadron slams Senate for refusing to consider the Elevator Safety Act BY YANNIC RACK


enants and politicians joined in calling on state legislators to       prove regulation and licens   %        &'     crushed to death in an elevator on New Year’s Eve. ( )* 

     * +  !,!* ( / 

 /    0 ,! When the elevator got   ) Brown reportedly helped oth       ELEVATOR continued on p. 10

Composting comes to Spring St., twice a week BY TEQUILA MINSKY AND LINCOLN ANDERSON


he term “scrappy New Yorkers� is taking on added meaning at a spot on the Lower West Side where local resi                        


grounds.       gram to encourage residents to separate out their organic                 at Spring St. and Sixth Ave.         !!   "#$-


A photo of David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust period amid votive candles and flowers at the memorial in front of his Soho building.

Fans bid Bowie farewell, good luck amid the stars BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

COMPOST continued on p. 12

Grey Art Gallery goes global........page 21

Eddie Sullivan

Down and Hollywood uff To The Editor: Thank you, Lincoln Anderson at The Villager, for being diligent, impartial and honest in your coverage of not only the Anti-Fur March but your consideration of the activists. Your complete assessment of what we’re trying to accomplish with this campaign is crucial for public awareness. Take note, Rachel Syme and The New Yorker! Elizabeth Argibay


Andrew Kaplan


Goose more effective. We regret getting off on the wrong foot with them. But we stand by our activity at Canada Goose. Our objective reality is that human beings cannot survive the next few generations unless we drastically change the relationship we have with other species. It is a critical matter of life or death. We cannot keep exploiting, subjugating, exterminating and consuming animals. These unsustainable mega-corporations are on the wrong side of history. They do not represent an ethical and sustainable future. But we are listening. Last weekend, we held our fi rst silent vigil as a direct response to complaints by residents and threats by the New York Police Department. We have all vowed to continue to be responsive to residents and to become more creative in getting our message through. We have one interest — to shut down Canada Goose by persuading people not to buy its products.


lison Dalton was walking down La (     1        0%* 2  3     

     42    53 (26    

      * 2 !78,  4)        6 The superstar singer died

early Sunday in London at age 97    !   with liver cancer. Along with      :  had lived at the Soho address  !777 Asked what Bowie meant     0  '7  4)     was going through.â&#x20AC;? (              ed cards with â&#x20AC;&#x153;Aladdin Saneâ&#x20AC;?         (   40% ;%6  %      < Stardust and the Thin White

0           4     %     6         4; %    %  =                 :      >  % 6 (      came to pay their respects         &';(* 2      +  ever-changing stage perso %     BOWIE continued on p. 6

Ex-chef dies in skateboard accident...........page 8 Are kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; playdates really for parents?......page 14

To The Editor: Re â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fur fight: Activists vow to cook Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gooseâ&#x20AC;? (news article, Feb. 23): Thank you, Lincoln Anderson, for a very informative and well-researched article on this subject. The Villager should be proud to have someone with this kind of quality journalistic style and integrity. The activists have heard the residents and we even think that complying as much as we can with their wishes will make our actions resisting Canada

Check out the videos To The Editor: Re â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fur fight: Activists vow to cook Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gooseâ&#x20AC;? (news article, Feb. 23): Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been involved in the Canada Goose protests since the Soho store opened in November. Your article does contain brief arguments by those who favor not using coyotes and geese in coats, but you devote a long section â&#x20AC;&#x201D; three paragraphs â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to a statement by Canada Goose denigrating PETA and making false claims about the â&#x20AC;&#x153;humaneâ&#x20AC;? treatment of animals by Canada Goose. If one just goes to â&#x20AC;&#x153;Stop Canada Goose Nowâ&#x20AC;? on LETTERS continued on p. 22



To subscribe, call 646-452-2475 or email: news@thevillager.com


March 2, 2017


Call of the wild: Why we protest Canada Goose



ince the day Canada Goose opened its Wooster St. store three months ago, a growing number of animal activists continue to protest this new outlet’s existence. Like many protesters, we are labeled and stereotyped. We are told to “get a job,” “get a life” and to “find something better to do.” But who are we really? We are dedicated city workers, doctors and health professionals, lawyers, educators, social workers, artists, inventors, business owners, students, retirees, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers…human beings. Not one of us has ever received a dime for these protests. Ever. What once started with a syncopated rhythm of whistles, drums and cowbells has been reduced to sustained chants. The reason: a police crackdown due to growing tension between protesters and residents who have the misfortune of living in the immediate vicinity of the Canada Goose store. Although the prevailing sentiment, according to published reports, is that residents and activists alike are appalled by the barbaric methods used by Canada Goose — trapping, incapacitating, skinning and slaughtering coyotes to make fur-trim collars, and torturing geese for down feathers — the noise is simply too much for the residents to bear. A second grievance: protesters aggressively chastising customers or passersby wearing fur. We write here on behalf of the activists to tell the residents: We hear you and we respect you. But we hope that Canada Goose’s appalling acts provide a basis to work together to reach a diplomatic solution. We already stopped using instruments and learned to monitor ourselves not to use profanity — even when provoked. We never initiate a physical altercation and not once has a protester been arrested for such. Nevertheless, we are seeing increased police presence and random enforcement of noise statutes and disorderly-conduct laws. The reason we are told: pressure from the community. We are now warned that summonses will be issued for simply chanting. That is chilling. We are living in a time when the threat of being silenced is real. New Yorkers, particularly within this Downtown Manhattan district, fear the threat to First Amendment rights as much as anyone. It is also for that reason that we believe there must be common ground. So, to the residents of Wooster St.: TheVillager.com

Please consider your role in silencing not only us but the voices of those for whom we speak. So long as oppression and the subjective enforcement of the law exist, so too shall resistance. There is a likelihood that if this is not applicable to you now, it may someday find you or come knocking at your children’s doorstep. How will you respond? Will you still be able to respond? Will you or someone before you have forfeited that right in the name of comfort? It is inevitable that the day will come when someone near and dear to you will need help from their fellow human beings. With absolute certainty, we assure you that the compassionate men and women speaking on behalf of these beings will be there to aid you in any way possible. When you call the police rather than peacefully engage us, please be mindful of your actions, for they may directly result in our inability to someday speak on your behalf. Two weeks ago, a large number of us attended the Community Board 2 monthly full-board meeting and made a polite but passionate overture to the board and residents in attendance. We asked to begin a much-needed conversation between the activists, residents and

New York Police Department in order to work toward a reasonable and democratic solution. Activism is a hallmark of New York City. In describing its district, the C.B. 2 Web page lists activism

Raising voices for the animals’ unheard cries. at the very top. (“The district is defined by its history of political activism…. .”) To summons or arrest peaceful protesters for simply using our voices not only runs afoul of the First Amendment but it is completely contrary to the spirit of the history of which the district prides itself. Let there be no doubt that we believe residents have a right to feel comfortable in their homes. But we, too, have a constitutional right to be free of unreasonable police intrusion as we continue our necessary activism.

We implore residents to consider who, unfortunately, has no entrance point into this conversation and is, therefore, left out: the suffering animals. But contrary to popular belief, animals most definitely do have a voice. And so we — who defend them — also raise our voices in an effort to amplify their unheard cries. We do not gather on Wooster St. to make enemies of the community, to wake your young children and pets, or to take away from your peace for three hours during daylight time on weekends. We show up to defend innocent canines and geese because they have the right to exist free from torture. We lend our collective voice in the hope of translating their cries for help; they are sentient beings who feel pain just as all of our children and pets do. We truly wish the focus of residents was on shutting down Canada Goose. To silence the effect rather than the cause is a travesty. Let us remember, it is solely the vile ethics of the Canada Goose corporation that brought about our presence. Semmel and Anguiano write on behalf of the protesters of Canada Goose


Japanese-Americans and suppor ters marked the 75th anniversar y of the signing of Executive Order 9066 in Februar y 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The order cleared the way for more than 120,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans to be held in internment camps during World War II. Smaller numbers of people of German, Italian and European Jewish ancestr y were also forced to stay in the camps for various lengths of time. The protesters held a silent march, which passed by Trump Tower, and a candle lighting at the Japanese American United Church, at Seventh Ave. and W. 25th St., in homage to the victims of F.D.R.’s order. Several individuals who endured the forced internment — who held “Concentration Camp Sur vivor” signs and signs with the names of the camps where they were held — and victims’ family members par ticipated. Also, this year, other groups, including Muslims, joined, saying Donald Trump’s executive orders threaten the human rights of many ethnic groups and peoples. March 2, 2017


Push to lift commercial tax for local businesses BY JACKSON CHEN


ity Councilmembers across Manhattan are calling for reform of a decades-old, burdensome commercial rent tax that they say is pushing many local businesses into extinction. The commercial rent tax was created in 1963 as a revenue generator for the city, and charges businesses paying more than $250,000 in annual rent a 3.9 percent levy. In the 1990s, the C.R.T. was restricted to Manhattan businesses below 96th St., which was followed by another amendment that exempted part of Lower Manhattan after 9/11. Calling the tax â&#x20AC;&#x153;out of whack and antiquated,â&#x20AC;? Councilmember Dan Garodnick led a rally on Feb. 13 to build support for a package of bills that were introduced to reform the C.R.T. The councilmember, who chairs the Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Economic Development Committee, said the tax currently unduly penalizes many small businesses, including restaurants, hardware stores and boutiques. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You ever wonder why weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re being overrun by banks and chain drug stores in Manhattan?â&#x20AC;? Garodnick said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Well, this tax on commercial rent is one of your prime culprits.â&#x20AC;? The first bill, sponsored by Garodnick and Helen Rosenthal, would double the threshold to pay the C.R.T. to $500,000. Garodnick said they looked at a variety

of possible minimum rent levels before settling on $500,000, a figure that would exempt up to 4,000 local businesses currently hit with the fee. The C.R.T., Garodnick said, currently generates around $780 million annually for the city, and earlier estimates by the Council showed the proposed change would cost the city $55 million of that. Two others in the series of bills, sponsored by Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmember Corey Johnson, would specifically provide exemptions from the C.R.T. for affordable supermarkets, as well as billboards that advertise theatrical works, regardless of the rent they pay. Rosenthal is joined by Councilmember Margaret Chin in backing another bill that would require the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Department of Finance to conduct annual reports on what amount businesses are paying the C.R.T. Rosenthal said she is acutely aware of the C.R.T.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s impact on businesses in her Upper West Side district. She emphasized that those small enterprises provide jobs to workers who come from all over the city. Johnson said the loss of local businesses has a quality-of-life ripple effect throughout communities. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you live in a neighborhood and the locksmith closes, or the affordable supermarket closes, or the shoe-repair store

closes, or the bodega closes, or the local pharmacy closes, that affects your quality of life in your neighborhood,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It just doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make any sense that for a small portion of the city we have this tax.â&#x20AC;? Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, whose members include restaurants, bars, lounges and hotels, said the package of bills doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t completely fix the problem, but is a step in the right direction. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is very depressing when every day it seems like you open a newspaper, listen to the radio, and one of our beloved local businesses has shut down,â&#x20AC;? Rigie said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have this incredible bill that will help 4,000 businesses right here in Manhattan get some desperate financial relief.â&#x20AC;? When asked about the mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and his fellow councilmembersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; views on the proposed measures, Garodnick said there was some openness and that he believes that support for reforming the C.R.T. will build. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We should do away with it entirely,â&#x20AC;? Garodnick said of the tax. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re taking steps today to start that process, trying to deliver some level of immediate fairness to these small businesses for the sake of the businesses themselves, the communities theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re serving, and the people from all around the city who work in them.â&#x20AC;?

Meanwhile, advocates for the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, said the package of tax-relief bills is just an insufficient band-aid for a much larger problem. The S.B.J.S.A. would provide for mediation, followed by arbitration, when tenants and landlords canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t agree on lease-renewal terms. But, year after year, the City Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leadership â&#x20AC;&#x201D; cowed by the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s powerful real estate lobby â&#x20AC;&#x201D; has blocked the bill from ever coming up for a vote. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What good is a tax cut if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a lease?â&#x20AC;? scoffed Kirsten Theodos of Take Back NYC, a leader in the push for the S.B.J.S.A. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think they are disingenuously selling this to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;save affordable grocery storesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; when they know full well that the Associated market at Stuy Town â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the same owner as the Associated that closed in Corey Johnsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s district on W. 14th St. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; is being denied a lease renewal. They were denied a lease renewal in December â&#x20AC;&#x201D; so how would this new tax cut help them? The answer is it wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t save them or any other business that shutters from insane rent hikes or being denied a lease renewal. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sad when our electeds go on record acknowledging a mom-and-pop crisis,â&#x20AC;? Theodos said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;then push legislation that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even address the crux of the problem â&#x20AC;&#x201D; high rents and no right to a lease renewal.â&#x20AC;?

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March 2, 2017

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From rehab to Rockwood, rocker ‘Reckless’ no more Addiction, recovery inform singer/songwriter’s solo debut BY SEAN EGAN


t 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, acoustic-based 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 in order to move past it.”



Matt Butler, at a live per formance.

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 im-

pressionistic.” 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 8, 15 & 22 at 8pm. No cover, 21+. For artist info, visit mattbutlerofficial.com. Follow at facebook.com/MattButlerMusic or on Twitter @mattbutlerband. March 2, 2017




THE CHELSEA SYMPHONY Audiences the world over can see members of The Chelsea Symphony on the Amazon Prime series “Mozart in the Jungle” — but for residents of the group’s namesake neighborhood, a threedimensional, no-streaming-subscriptionnecessary experience is as easy as stepping through the doors of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Paul. These upcoming March concerts are the latest in the Symphony’s 2016/2017 “Flight Paths” season, devoted to the music of composers who have been inspired by, or have immigrated to, the United States of America. On both nights, the program includes Antonín Dvoák’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, “From the New World,” and the world premiere of Danny Gray’s “Summer Mountains” (the winning piece of the TCS Third Annual Composition Competition). Two additional world premieres are performed one night only: On Friday, Sarah Haines, viola, is featured in Michael Boyman’s “Concerto for Viola and Orchestra” — and on Saturday, two tangos by Astor Piazzolla for viola and orchestra feature new arrangements by Adios Nonino. Chelsea Symphony co-founder Miguel Campos Neto returns to conduct both concerts. The orchestra returns to St. Paul’s on April 21 and 22, then concludes its season on June 3 and 4, at W. 37th St.’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music. Fri., March 10 at 8:30pm and Sat., March 11 at 7:30pm. At St. Paul’s (315 W. 22nd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.; stpaulny.org). General admission tickets at the door are $20 general. For $25 unassigned seats in the reserved section, visit thechelseasymphony.eventbrite. com. Artist info at chelseasymphony.org. Twitter: @chelseasymphony.


Sarah Haines is featured in Michael Boyman’s “Concer to for Viola and Orchestra,” on the first night of The Chelsea Symphony’s March 10-11 concer ts.

of the year’s Top 10 Books by none other than that “real news” outlet, the New York Times. Vuong’s upcoming appearance at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) will include a reading from his “Night Sky” poetry collection, as well as the signing of his books. Also at FIT: Through March 5, “New Views 2017” is their third annual large-scale faculty exhibition featuring work from over 70 faculty members across the 17 programs that comprise their School of Art and Design. For details on this free exhibit, visit fitnyc.edu. The Ocean Vuong reading and book signing is free. Tues., March 7, 5pm at FIT’s Haft Auditorium, Marvin Feldman Center (Seventh Ave., at W. 27th St.). Artist info at oceanvuong.com.

Chelsea’s LGBT synagogue fi lls their new Wine Family Sanctuary with music that gives voice to their mission as an incubator of progressive religious thought, with particular focus on advancing social justice initiatives not just here at home, but throughout the world. The program features the music of Scherzinger, Leclair, Messiaen, and Shostakovich. Also, folk tunes from The Danish String Quartet’s “Wood Works” 2014 CD will be performed by Sebu Sirinian, violin; Lisa Tipton, violin; Robert Zubrycki, violin; Adria Benjamin, viola; Lois Martin, viola; Tomoko Fujita, cello; and Adrienne Kim, piano. Mon., March 6, 7–8:30pm at CBST (130 W. 30th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). Contributions will support CBST’s social justice initiatives, and are tax deductible. Seats begin at $18. For reservations, visit cbst.org and click on the “Upcoming Events” icon on the left side of their home page.

FILM: “THE HUMAN SURGE” Passing its baton from the flooded streets of Buenos Aires to the grasslands of Mozambique to a swimming hole in the Philippines, “The Human Surge” has the back of its restless cast — at least in the literal sense. Argentinian writer/ director Eduardo Williams makes his stubbornly opaque, wonderfully meandering feature film debut by spending an inordinate amount of time tracking a


March 2, 2017



Find out what it took to take that painting from the first brush stroke to the gallery wall, when you take a self-guided walking tour of work spaces between the Westbeth Artists and West Chelsea Arts buildings. Generally open by appointment only, this two-day event invites you into over 30 studios for a glimpse of the creative process — which varies as widely as the multitude of styles and media you’ll be exposed to. Whether you’re a serious collector or simply curious, this unusual chance to peek behind the curtain is also a rare opportunity to purchase work directly from the creator (at a fraction of the asking price you’ll fi nd at the galleries). Free. Noon–6pm on Sat., March 4 and Sun., March 5. The self-guided tour starts at the West Chelsea Arts building (508-526 W. 26th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.), where you can pickup tour maps and information on participating artists. For more info, visit highlineopenstudios.org.

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah’s March 6 concer t helps fund their social justice initiatives.

JUST DO ART continued on p. 17

POET OCEAN VUONG: BOOK SIGNING & READING While one resident of NYC was out on the campaign trail selling the notion of closed borders, another was spending 2016 as a best-selling author. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, poet and essayist Ocean Vuong immigrated to America at the age of two as a child refugee. Released last year by Copper Canyon Press, his “Night Sky with Exit Wounds” was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, a winner of the 2016 Whiting Award, and — after thorough vetting — was declared one

global gaggle of mostly young men from behind as they wander sidewalks, stairs, dark interiors, and dense vegetation in search of a connection — at least in the literal sense. Whether waterlogged, stolen, hexed, or just plain lacking a decent signal, the access provided by one’s cell phone is every bit as elusive as the promise of something beyond subsistence-level existence. “This film comes from my need to avoid the restraining world of dull jobs,” said Williams in film’s press material. “It comes from my need to move towards curiosity and the discovery of other realities and fantasies.” That’s about as solid a lead as you’ll get from this narratively stingy cinematic walkabout, which is best enjoyed as a cumulative experience to be soaked in and savored, rather than questioned for answers. Not rated. 97 minutes. In Spanish, Cebuano, and Portuguese with English subtitles. Begins March 3 at Metrograph (7 Ludlow St., btw. Canal & Hester Sts.). Call 212-660-0312 or visit metrograph.com.



Disconnected youths are knee deep in the search for a decent signal: Eduardo Williams’ “The Human Surge” opens March 3 at Metrograph.

JUST DO ART continued from p. 16

277 DANCE PROJECT PRESENTS “CARDBOARD STAGE” Limbs crane skyward and cut through the air as if under the purposeful direction of robotic arms — but the sculpted muscles, intimate tableaus, and expressive movements also declare there’s humanity at work here. Inspired by NYC urban life, 277 Dance Project’s “Cardboard Stage” is an evening-length work of dance and fi lm. Founder, artistic director and co-choreographer Nicole Philippidis oversees a cast of six as they embark on a tense negotiation for individual identity and meaning while navigating the dark, isolated corners and cold, industrial planes of a “dystopian-like” mechanized society. John Philippidis, co-founder of the indie folk band Burlap to Cashmere, contributes original music whose earthen acoustic elements counterbalance the otherwise industrial aesthetic. Wed., March 8 through Fri., March 10, 7:30pm, at The Underground Theater at Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand St., btw. Pitt & Willett Sts.). For tickets ($20), visit 277danceproject. brownpapertickets.com or purchase at the door. Artist info at 277danceproject.com. Instagram: @277danceproject. Facebook: facebook. com/277danceproject.

numbers. The Chorale takes that concept and really runs with it for their “Seeing Double Seeing Double” concert. More than 60 singers (twice the Chorale’s usual number) will give voice to this program of music for double choir, curated to maximize the reverberant acoustics of Judson Memorial Church’s Meeting Room. In addition to a pair of psalm settings by Mendelssohn and a composition by Chorale artistic director Colin Britt that incorporates the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, the fivedozen-strong contingent will be broken into two a capella choirs, for Frank Martin’s rarely performed “Mass for Double Choir.” Sun., March 5, 5pm at Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Sq. South, at Thompson St.). Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door (students, $10 in advance, $15 at the door). For reservations and info, visit westvillagechorale.org.


The West Village Chorale doubles its numbers for their March 5 winter concer t.


Maria Fragoudaki’s studio, seen here, is among those on the self-guided High Line Open Studio event, March 4-5.

THE WEST VILLAGE CHORALE If you’ve ever gone all-in and done the full-throated audience participation thing as part of the West Village Chorale’s annual December “Messiah Sing,” you know firsthand there’s nothing quite like the glorious, thunderous sound that comes from strength in TheVillager.com


“Cardboard Stage,” March 8-10, finds 277 Dance Project in a dystopian societ y, prepared to take a stand.

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For more news and events happening now visit TheVillager.com 18

March 2, 2017


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WHY PAYCALLMORE? NOW PUBLIC NOTICE The Board of Trustees of Harlem Hebrew Language Academy Charter School will meet on Wednesday, March 8th at 630 PM at 147 Saint Nicholas Avenue. The meeting is open to the public. Vil: 03/02/2017



March 2, 2017


High anxiety over plan to lower p’ground fences FENCES continued from p. 6

Tompkins, so I’m very familiar with the issues of criminal activity and people who try to hide,” Castro added. In the opening presentation, architect Leslie Peoples showed images of the Avenue B playground redesigns, which will feature bright yellow and blue play equipment, some of it accessible to disabled children, as well as a new swing set and spray showers for the tot-size play area. The new fences would align with the height of the park’s existing 4-foot perimeter fence. Peoples also showed images of other playgrounds — like those in Madison Square Park and Hester Street Playground in Sara Roosevelt Park — which she said already function well with shorter fences. Reducing fence heights, she explained, is a way to provide “eyes on the park” from both police and passersby. “It’s a natural form of surveillance. You don’t have to have this big wall in front of you,” she said, popping up a shot of the existing Avenue B playgrounds, which are currently surrounded by multiple fences, including the somewhat medieval-looking 7-foot steel fencing that encloses the play areas. (At the initial scoping meeting for the playground redesign in November 2015, one parent reportedly said it felt a bit like a “penitentiary.”) But such design ideals are at odds with how most parents feel, Mendez said. “This neighborhood is home to people who come here to get trashed,” remarked a mother of two toddlers who said she regularly uses the Tompkins playgrounds. “If the gate in the playground on Avenue A isn’t locked, they will break bottles and pee in the sandbox and other careless things. “A 4-foot fence does very little to discourage that type of behavior,” she added. Castro pledged that the gates to the playgrounds would be locked each night, and that Parks crews would clean the spaces before reopening them to the public at 7 a.m. “The police have increased patrols already to deal with a variety of issues,” he said. But the renovation budget does not include more money for maintenance or a full-time park administrator to keep an eye on things, like other parks have — plus the Tompkins maintenance budget is “already in place,” a spokesperson said. Frank Gardner, a local dad and psychologist, asked whether the city had any data to prove whether environmental design can actually reduce crime. “Frankly, I don’t believe it,” he said. Gardner said lower fences and better visibility would only be effective in reducing “planned criminal behavior, not impulsive criminal behavior.” “And that’s the problem we have in the park —people with drug and alco-


March 2, 2017


The playground on Tompkins Square Park’s Avenue B side bet ween E. Seventh and Eighth Sts. It has a 7-foot fence enclosing the play area, which is surrounded by a 4-foot perimeter fence. The proposed new design would lower the inside fence to 4 feet.

hol problems and mental illness,” he said. “Whether there is better visibility, I think, is irrelevant.” Indeed, one father said he had been attacked by a mentally ill person while leaving the Avenue A park with his 4-year-old two years ago. “It was scary, and it happened outside the playground, and was right on the curb,” said Jake Wolff. “That fence sort of makes us feel safe and protected, and if something, God forbid, were to happen to someone inside the playground… .” Others took issue with the notion that lower fences would be adequate to keep their children contained. “Kids do jump the fence if you’re in a lower-fenced area — my grandson does,” said Cyndi Kerr, who also raised two children here in the 1980s. “I personally feel a sense of security when I take my grandson to the park.” Lower fences, Kerr said, would just encourage teenagers and drunk college kids to hop the fences at night and damage the new play equipment. “They would go in and destroy it, vandalize it,” she said. “Why can’t you spend the same money repairing things that are worn-out and broken? It doesn’t make any sense,” Kerr added. Castro responded that the park renovation and Parks Without Borders funds were capital funding and could not be used for expenses like repairs. But he did not know whether the fund-

ing could be reallocated for other capital projects. Susan Stetzer, the district manager of C.B. 3, said she was speaking out personally as a “second-generation playground user,” having raised her own children, who grew up playing in what used to be termed “Impetigo Playground” on Avenue A. Stetzer questioned why the city was pursuing a top-down design strategy that was at odds with what the community wanted. “We know our community,” she said. “Community-based planning — it works well for us now. We don’t need to change it.” That view was echoed by K Webster, president of the Sara Roosevelt Park Coalition. “It’s a lot of money for a non-win,” she said. “Why do it? There’s a reality on the ground that goes beyond design ideals.” Webster noted that the playground fence at Sara Roosevelt is also fairly low. But that only works, she said, because the Parks station is adjacent, so staffers can keep an eye on things. Nevertheless, Webster said she and other volunteers struggle to keep the play areas clean. “The issue is maintenance,” she said. “We have to remove needles and human feces and trash and homeless luggage on a regular basis.” Indeed, for many parents, design aesthetics are beside the point. “You’ve said the higher fences are

like cages,” remarked one mother, who described herself as a lifelong East Village resident. “Well, we want to go into our cage and feel safe. We don’t want to look out — because lots of times there are things going on that we don’t want our children to see. Fixing something that isn’t broken is kind of a waste.” Former C.B. 3 Chairperson Anne Johnson, who led the board during the Tompkins Square riot years, was even more strident. “I want to know,” she said, “why you are pursuing this grandiose gentrifying scheme to lower the fences for all the new people who are coming in here to these fancy apartments, and not the people who are from the community and who know the deal? “I want you to listen to us and not shove down our throats what we don’t want,” Johnson added. Castro bit back at the notion that the fence plan was a done deal. “We’re here to listen to everybody,” he insisted. “It’s not just going to end tonight.” While Parks Commissioner Silver has been committed to implementing the PWoB design principles in all new parks renovations, Castro said he would take the community’s feedback into consideration. “I’m going to think about all this and talk to the commissioner the next day and then call you,” he told Mendez, adding, “I’m happy to come back.” TheVillager.com


March 2, 2017


Letters to The Editor Facebook, it will take only two minutes to see photographic evidence of how these animals are actually treated.

The traffic continues to cause severe air pollution, noise pollution and congestion on Canal and Broome Sts. and other streets in Soho. I hope the governor and our representatives hear our frustration

Larry Trepel

Susan Fortgang

A.B., be my guru

Who’s in control?

To The Editor: Re “Nadler and Schumer, a pair of highway robbers” (The Angry Buddhist, by Carl Rosenstein, Feb. 23): Thank you, Angry Buddhist, for informing us with such honesty about what goes on in our city. Anger can be a great tool to move things when used properly. It’s nice to hear your voice again, a voice that belongs to a different era of writing and journalism. I am listening!

To The Editor: Re “Nadler and Schumer, a pair of highway robbers” (The Angry Buddhist, by Carl Rosenstein, Feb. 23): I’ve worked on Broome St. near Broadway for 30 years and never in the past was I interrupted to take notice of the traffic around there. Now it feels like crossing Highway 1 in the Keys (never a break in traffic, one continuous line of cars) just to get to the hardware store across the street. I’ve been around the city and have seen traffic. Even with all the construction on Houston St. and Second Ave., they managed to keep order and didn’t let it get out of control. Pedestrians experience more order walking through Times Square than Broome and Broadway. Tell Congressmember Jerry Nadler to use his power of control to bring some order where it’s needed.

LETTERS continued from p. 12

Laurence Porter

Verraz very awful To The Editor: Re “Nadler and Schumer, a pair of highway robbers” (The Angry Buddhist, by Carl Rosenstein, Feb. 23): I have lived on Greene St. near the corner of Canal St. for 45 years. I have long supported the efforts by our community to get rid of the oneway toll on the Verrazano Bridge. Thank you, Carl, for reviewing the awful history of this situation. Many of us thought that when Schumer defeated D’Amato we would see a change. Did not happen. I would also like to see a two-way toll on the Holland Tunnel — easily doable on the Jersey side with EZPass and modern technology. The amount of revenue being lost is significant as cars and trucks currently go to Jersey go for free.

Steve Ruona E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@ thevillager.com or fax to 212-2292790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 MetroTech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.

Sound off! Write a letter to the editor news@thevillager.com


March 2, 2017


S.T. affordable apt lottery BY DENNIS LYNCH


he second-ever Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village housing lottery is open through March 10. Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how to throw your hat in for an (relatively) affordable apartment in arguably one of the most sylvan neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan. The lottery is completely random, so someone who turns in her application on March 10 at 11:59 p.m. has the same chance of being chosen as the very fi rst person to apply. The application is free to fi ll out, although management charges a $50-to- $75 nonrefundable credit check fee â&#x20AC;&#x153;as units become available and StuyTown contacts an applicant to verify eligibility,â&#x20AC;? according to the managementâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Web site. Head to www.stuytownlottery. com/application to start electronically. You can also download a paper application via that Web page, which you can only mail in, or request the application via snail mail. To request an application, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village Wait List, Peter Stuyvesant Station, P.O. Box 1182, New York, NY 10009 But before you do, there are a few easy-to-answer qualifying criteria you should know. Are you looking for a one- or twobedroom home? If your answer is yes, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s good, because those are the only apartments available through the lottery. Do you have a minimum pretax household income of $84,150 or a maximum pre-tax household income of $149,490? If so, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in good shape, because you have to be within that band to qualify. Are you looking for an apartment alone or with a maximum of three other people? Good, because four people is the maximum number of residents that can get a single apartment through the lottery. You only send in one application per household, not one for each prospective household resident. You can have a maximum of two people living in a one-bedroom and four people living in a two-bedroom and rent doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t change with the number of people living in the apartment â&#x20AC;&#x201D; monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,805 per month and $3,366 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. Apartments are available in both Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. Apartments in the latter are slightly larger. The income qualifications are on a scale and increase with the number of people who will live in an apartment and the number of bedrooms in the apartment. For example, a single person lookTheVillager.com

ing for a one-bedroom needs to make between $84,150 and $104,775 before taxes to qualify, but the upper income limit is increased to $119,625 if another person applies with him to live there. There are other qualification requirements too, including credit history. There is no income recertification once you sign a lease, so you can continue to live in your apartment even if you end up getting a juicy raise or two that pushes you above the upper income limit. Remember to include bonuses and overtime pay in your income estimate. Once StuyTown contacts you to verify your lottery eligibility, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need your most-recent pay stubs, tax return and a document listing your assets. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a cap on assets: If your householdâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s combined assets â&#x20AC;&#x201D; excluding some savings and retirement accounts â&#x20AC;&#x201D; exceed $250,000, you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t qualify for the lottery. New York City residents are given preference in the lottery, although living within city limits is not a requirement to qualify. Built in 1947, Stuyvesant TownPeter Cooper Village is the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest apartment complex. It houses 30,000 people in 11,200 units in 110 apartment buildings. MetLife owned it for years until 2006 when it sold the property for $5.4 billion to Tishman Speyer and BlackRock. Then the recession hit and the new owners relinquished the complex to their creditors, CWCapital, four years later after defaulting on a $16 million payment. CWCapital, in turn, sold it to Blackstone and Ivanhoe Cambridge in 2015 for roughly the same price Tishman Speyer and Blackrock bought it for almost a decade earlier. Stuy Town reps couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t say how many apartments were up for grabs in the lottery, only that they come out of a pool of 5,000 that Blackstone and Ivanhoe Cambridge agreed to keep below market rate for 20 years when they purchased the property in 2015. If you arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a lucky lottery winner, you and all other applicants will be put on a waiting list for future vacancies. As of Feb. 27, market-rate, one-bedroom apartments at Stuy Town rented for between $3,384 and $3,702, while two-bedroom apartments were available for between $3,972 and $5,819. Rates are dependent on location and the interior â&#x20AC;&#x153;fi nishâ&#x20AC;? of the apartment. You can see market-rate apartments at www.stuytown.com.

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March 2, 2017


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March 02, 2017