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

June 8, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 23





Roll away the dew: Dead fans party like it’s 1967 in Tompkins BY BOB KR ASNER


ie-dye shirt? Check. Dancing sandals? Check. Stash? Check. Hula hoop? Why not? Time to head over to Tompkins Square Park, where a legendary moment in time is about to be celebrated. Fifty years ago to the day

— June 1, 1967 — the Grateful Dead began its relationship with New York City by playing their first show in the borough, a free concert in the very spot where the Dead tribute band Ice Petal Flowers set up speakers and hung tapestries on the fence. DEAD continued on p. 4

God-dome, it! Work on Tammany totally disruptive: Neighbors BY MARY REINHOLZ


ard hats tasked with gutting the interior of Tammany Hall, once headquarters of a corrupt Democratic Party machine in the last century, aim to transform the iconic four-story neo-Georgian colonial into a six-story commercial complex topped by a

glass-and-steel dome. The building’s landmarked exterior will be restored. But the construction site, with its trucks and dumpsters, has disrupted the neighborhood around Union Square East, putting a crimp on pedestrians attempting to navigate a narrowed traffic lane on E. 17th St. near Park Ave. South, TAMMANY continued on p. 10


This Grateful Dead fan was all ears at the tribute concer t for the classic jam band in Tompkins Square Park Thursday.

Croman to serve 1 year on mortgage, tax fraud BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


otorious landlord Steven Croman will serve one year in Rikers and pay a $5 million tax settlement after pleading guilty in court Tuesday morning to grand larceny, falsifying business records and criminal tax fraud. While the conviction comes as welcome news to many Croman renters, tenants who charge they have

suffered harassment under him for years said the penalty is hardly enough. Croman entered the guilty plea before State Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser. The landlord — who owns more than 140 buildings in Manhattan — fraudulently obtained several multimillion-dollar refinancing loans between 2012 and 2014, and committed tax fraud in 2011 by failing to withhold appro-

priate New York State payroll tax from certain Croman Real Estate employee paychecks. Rarely, if ever, has a landlord been sentenced to serve jail time for engaging in these practices. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Office prosecuted the case. In a statement, Schneiderman said, “Steven Croman is a CROMAN continued on p. 6

Special sauce: Why Third Ave. McD’s closed ....p. 2 Angry Buddhist omms on Trump and ‘Flies’.... p. 13 Eboni is Sliwa’s new Kuby........p. 3


Ave. and Sixth St., Broadway near Astor Place and the busiest McDonald’s in the country — 42nd St. in Times Square. He can afford it and surely will write it off. My understanding is that he owns a dozen more McDonald’s and other fastfood places.” Reflecting on all the empty storefronts dotting the neighborhood, the merchant said, “The high rents, Amazon and other Internet commerce and the fact that big-time landlords would rather use an empty store as a tax write-off unless they get a monster rent are all contributing reasons why the commercial rent bubble will hopefully burst soon.”

HAMBURGLED: Not even McDonald’s can make it down here anymore. The franchise at 27 Third Ave. between St. Mark’s Place and Stuyvesant St. closed last week. A well-placed East Village source — a merchant who spoke on condition of anonymity — gave us the scoop. “I told you recently that the McDonald’s was struggling at these inflated rents,” he said. “Well, they closed two days ago and would rather continue paying rent till their lease ends and not default than stay open! Their lease ends this Dec. 31. It’s too early to say, but McDonald’s never defaults or violates a lease — stops paying rent before the lease expires without the landlord’s written consent. So, it appears that they will pay rent till the end of the year rather than keep losing money at that location. The owner’s name is Jim Lewis,” our source continued dishing. “He owns multiple McDonald’s, including the one at First

ART OUTRAGE: Artists and their supporters are upset, to put it mildly, that the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibition abruptly got bumped by a generic street fair on Sat., June 3. Villager reader George Jochnowitz told us the scene was, well, messier than a Jackson Pollock painting. “I ran into an exhibitor earlier today, and he was horrified that he was informed at the last minute not to show up,” he told us. “I have loved the art exhibit ever since I moved to the neighborhood in 1951. How can it be that there is no coordination between street fair organizers and art exhibit organizers?” Basically, the exhibition’s first three-day weekend, which included Memorial Day that Monday, happened. But the Saturday of the second weekend got scrapped like a ruined canvas. In short, Jochnowitz said, “They stole one of the five days.” Plus, the second Sunday was kind of rainy. Another reader, Charlene

Please Join Us for the 24th Annual Meeting of the Village Alliance Tuesday, June 20th 5:00 - 7:00 PM NY Studio School 8 West 8th Street (Btw 5th/6th Aves.)


A busload of musicians and dancers from Long Island arrived on Sullivan St. this past weekend, in what was once the hear t of a thriving Por tuguese community, for an Iberian cultural and culinar y extravaganza. The Por tuguese presence there star ted around World War II. The festival, which features delicious traditional grub, garb and dancing, is now in its third year. It previously occurred in Soho Square — now redubbed Spring Street Park — which is undergoing a major renovation spearheaded by the Hudson Square Connection Business Improvement District.

Lichtenstein, wrote us, “Can you please advise me as to who to contact regarding the cancellation of the Washington Square art show today for a sausage-andtube-sock street fair? My friend who has exhibited every year since the 1960s received a call last night telling him that the show was canceled today because the city double-booked. Wouldn’t the art show have priority since this date has been on the schedule for decades? Very sad about this and want to register a complaint.” Well, try the city’s Street Activity Permit Office; they oversee street fairs. Lichtenstein noted that artists who exhibited at the show had paid for their spaces for June 3. “They lost not only their money they paid but the opportunity to show their work today,” she said. “They reserved the space first and have been holding their show on this particular weekend for decades. How did this happen?”

LAST MASS: The final Mass at St. Veronica’s Church, on Christopher St., between Greenwich and Washington Sts., has been pushed back to Sun., July 23, at noon. An earlier June date was scratched because it was the same day as the Pride March. According to an invite circulating, present and former parishioners, longtime and new local residents — basically, everyone — is welcome

to attend the last Mass at this historic Catholic church, which first opened its doors in 1886. We asked Joseph Zwilling, the New York Archdiocese spokesperson, what’s in store for the building. “St. Veronica’s parish merged with Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard parish about 10 years ago,” he said, referring, of course, to the church at 328 W. 14th St., near “Meatpacking.” “The parish kept both sites open for Masses and sacraments. The pastor of the parish, Father Rubio, has determined that St. Veronica’s Church was no longer needed for Masses and sacraments on a regular basis. There are no plans at this time for the building. It remains the property of the parish, which will have to come to some determination about its future.”

ASTOR NEWS: Since readers keep asking, here’s another update on Jerry Delakas, the beloved Astor Place news vendor. We went by Delakas’s newsstand the other day and we found him inside with the kiosk’s door open but the front gate down. He said, yes, he had taken a break, a much-needed recharge, but is now building his strength back up and hopes to have the place running full bore again soon. No doubt, years of fighting the city to keep the kiosk open took a toll.

RSVP Required 212.777.2173 info@villagealliance.org


June 8, 2017


I’m ďŹ red; Who cares why? Kuby as Eboni enters BY MARY REINHOLZ


umulus Media, the debt-ridden corporate giant that owns 77 WABC talk radio in Manhattan, announced Tuesday that it has chosen FOX News channel contributor Eboni K. Williams to replace legendary criminal-defense attorney Ron Kuby as a co-host with Curtis Sliwa on a new show that airs weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. “The Curtis and Eboni Show� debuted Monday. It takes over from “Curtis & Kuby,� which had a three-and-ahalf-year run. Kuby was abruptly fired about two weeks ago. Williams, a lawyer who remains a co-host of FOX News channel’s “The Fox News Specialists,� is apparently the first African-American to act as a WABC host. She will also contribute to 77 WABC Radio’s social-media channels, as well as produce an exclusive weekly podcast that will be published on wabcradio.com, according to a statement by Lisa Dollinger, a Cumulus spokesperson. Dollinger declined to explain why Kuby was terminated. “He’s no longer with the company, but I cannot give details,� she told The Villager. “It’s company policy not to comment on employee matters.� Craig Schwalb, program director at

Cur tis Sliwa and his new WABC Radio co-host, Eboni Williams, who, like Ron Kuby, has a legal background.

77 WABC talk radio, also declined to comment “at this time.� Kuby, who said he was paid $300,000 year for co-hosting with Sliwa on WABC, announced his termination on Facebook on May 23, noting he had been told in a brief meeting with Schwalb and a company financial officer that he was being dismissed because of budgetary reasons. He said he

learned that Williams would replace him over this past weekend. Williams wasn’t shy about introducing herself to a new audience with this tweet noted in The New York Post: “Thrilled to announce my new radio show on @77WABCradio [...] Check out our premiere today: Terror, Bill Maher, Hamptons vasectomies, etc.� Sliwa, who is now in his 22nd year

with WABC, told this reporter via email that he would call to discuss Kuby’s successor on Monday, but did not do so by press time. Ellis Henican, who filled in for Kuby shortly after the attorney was fired, said the matter never came up on the air “because Curtis’s mother died around the same time� and a lot of listeners offered condolences. Henican — a columnist and political analyst — also said he had every reason to believe that Kuby’s explanation of a budget cut was “plausible.� He had no reason to doubt that, noting also that Kuby had already given the company notice that he intended to leave at year’s end. Efforts were unavailing to reach Cumulus C.E.O. Mary G. Berner, who was named to replace a company founder after Cumulus stock prices plummeted in 2015, according to The New York Times. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper reported in January that Cumulus owed $2.4 billion in debt and was considering bankruptcy proceedings. “There’s no business model that will allow [Cumulus] to pay off that debt,� Kuby said in a telephone interview with this reporter. “They bought hundreds of radio stations and paid premium dollar when they bought them. I doubt that WABC continued on p. 19

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Roll away! Deadheads party like ’67 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









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

JUMP continued from p. 1

There used to be a real bandshell here, erected only a year before the Dead occupied it. Although it was demolished in 1991, the spot is still a locus for musicians, fans and events for all kinds of people. Today it’s a mix of the expected — colorful characters from back in the day — to young adults who were infants when Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia died in 1995. It’s tempting to say that understanding the music of the Grateful Dead is like that famous quote about jazz: “If you gotta ask, you’ll never know.” But it’s music that makes unlikely fans, like the guy in the Johnny Thunders T-shirt. Passersby stopped out of curiosity and stuck around because, well, the band was really good. Even Matt Lilly, the official DJ for the NYC Grateful Dead Family (the event’s organizers), was “pleasantly surprised” by the caliber of the music of the band, who weren’t just slavishly imitating the original, but adding something of their own to the mix. When asked why he was in a Grateful Dead tribute band, guitarist “Grateful Dave” Fuller had stop to think for a moment. “No one has ever asked me that,” he said. “I guess it’s because it’s just fun as hell” For many, the eternal appeal of the Dead is unfathomable. But to the faithful, it’s a no-brainer (go ahead, insert Deadhead joke here). Although Lilly is now a diehard fan, it wasn’t always that way. “I grew up hating them,” he confessed. “I spent a lot of time listening to punk and metal. But I’ve been listening to the Dead secretly for years.” Taking a minute away from choosing between-set tunes from his collection of official and unofficial live LP’s (yes, he was spinning vinyl), he pulled out the album cover and let us know what was playing. “It’s “Alligator” from the Shrine Auditorium, 11/10/67,” he said. “It’s 11 minutes and one second long.” The celebration, about four hours long,


Hoops to groove on and Dead tunes in Tompkins.

was a perfect day for Susie Farmer, a cofounder of the NYCGD Family, who has been a fan since she was 12. Surrounded by good people, good vibes and great music, it was hard not to enjoy. Dave, a chef from Greenpoint, felt the band and the park was a recipe for pure grooviness. “You lean back on the tree and close your eyes,” he said. “You know it’s not the Dead,

but you feel the energy and the reverence. And you feel life — and love.” Ice Petal Flowers will be doing their thing again at Lovecraft , 50 Avenue B, on Sun., June 4. For more ore information, visit www.icepetalflowersband.com/ . Keep on truckin’ with the NYC Grateful Dead Family at www.facebook.com/nycgratefuldeadfamily/ .

The Villager (USPS 578930) ISSN 0042-6202 Copyright © 2017 by the NYC Community Media LLC is published weekly by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. 52 times a year. Business and Editorial Offices: One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. Accounting and Circulation Offices: NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. Call 718-260-2500 to subscribe. Periodicals postage prices is paid at New York, N.Y. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Villager, One Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $29 ($35 elsewhere). Single copy price at office and newsstands is $1. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2017 NYC Community Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR

The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for others errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue. Published by NYC Community Media, LLC One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (718) 260-2500 • Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: www.thevillager.com E-mail: news@thevillager.com © 2017 NYC Community Media, LLC


June 8, 2017

Grateful Dave Fuller, with his inspiration.

Lori boogieing to the music with her 5-year-old daughter, Zariah Maya Sappphire. TheVillager.com

POLICE BLOTTER Self-inicted shot According to police, a man was found in front of 32 Washington Square West, near the park’s southwest corner, early last Friday morning with a gunshot wound to the leg. The shooting occurred on June 2 at 4:30 a.m. The injured man was taken to Bellevue Hospital. The wound was non-life-threatening. Upon further investigation, it was revealed the shot was self-inflicted. Jermain Hatchett, 38, was arrested for felony reckless endangerment.

Pieces pipe Police said a man who was asked multiple times to leave Pieces, a gay bar at 8 Christopher St., on Thurs., June 1, turned violent around 12:45 a.m. When the guy was escorted out by a male bouncer, 29, he reportedly picked up a metal pipe and started swinging it at him. Kyle Rampersad, 21, was arrested for attempted felony menacing.

Unhealthy violation According to police, a woman said her ex-boyfriend harassed her outside her workplace, the New York Health &

Racquet Club, at 24 E. 13th St., on Sun., Dec. 18, 2016, at 2 p.m. The 32-year-old woman said she felt threatened and unsafe at her job. She has had prior altercations with the individual, who was violating an order of protection. Thomas W. Edgecombe, 42, was arrested Mon., May 29, for misdemeanor criminal contempt.

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Sweating it Some lifting went on at Planet Fitness on Tues., May 9, at 7:15 p.m. It wasn’t of weights, though, but of the contents of a gymgoer’s locker. According to police, a 42-year-old jock left his belongings in a locker at the fitness club, at 22 E. 14th St., and when he returned his lock was clipped and his stuff — worth a total of $251 — was missing. Hercy Ramos, 26, was busted Wed., May 31, for felony grand larceny.

Missing from Mott Police are asking for the public’s help in locating Guo Jiang, a missing 63-yearold Asian man, who lives at 160 Mott St., Apt. 4C. Jiang was last seen on May 19 at noon while leaving his home.


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June 8, 2017


Croman to serve 1 year on mortgage, tax fraud ularly lucrative at more than $23 million, according to Chaffee. Asked her thoughts about Croman’s plea, the tenant activist told The Villager, “A year in jail is better than the eight months that the newspapers have previously reported. But, even so, we do not feel that the punishment adequately fits

CROMAN continued from p. 1

fraudster and a criminal who engaged in a deliberate and illegal scheme to fraudulently obtain bank loans. He went to outrageous lengths to boost his bottom line — including falsely listing rent-stabilized units at market rates when his efforts to displace those renters had failed. Now Mr. Croman faces a year in Rikers and a $5 million settlement — and unscrupulous landlords are on notice that we’ll pursue them to the fullest extent of the law.” Croman will be sentenced Sept. 19. Neighborhoods where Croman owns buildings include the East Village and West Village, Lower East Side, Nolita, Hell’s Kitchen and East Harlem, among others. For more than two decades, tenant coalitions have organized to defend themselves against his tactics. In recent years, ex-cop, Anthony Falconite — who Croman reportedly dubbed his “secret weapon” — allegedly harassed and intimidated the landlord’s rent-regulated tenants by entering their apartments illegally, photographing their mail and property and repeatedly threatening tenants with eviction. Two years ago, Schneiderman slapped Croman with a cease-anddesist order, telling him Falconite had to stop the behavior or the landlord would face fines. In just one local example of alleged harassment by Croman, three years ago, tenants at 309 E. Eighth St. charged he was using disruptive construction renovations to try to force them out of their rent-regulated apartments. Leading up to Tuesday’s guilty plea, a year-long investigation by the Attorney General’s Office found that Croman purchased buildings with rent-stabilized units and, immediately after purchase, began the process of displacing rentstabilized tenants while simultaneously attempting to refinance the initial mortgage. Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “We have zero tolerance for those who seek to use harassment and intimidation to chase tenants out of their homes. The Tenant Protection Unit [of the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal] was created to crack down on these unscrupulous practices and this prosecution sends a clear message that New York stands united and the full force of the law will be used to ensure the rights of renters are respected and protected.” RuthAnne Visnauskas, commissioner of H.C.R., said, “Under Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Schneiderman, we will continue to bring more resources to bear to protect more than 2 million rentregulated New Yorkers. The governor’s Tenant Protection Unit and our partners in law enforcement will vigorously investigate an owner’s questionable business practices that put profits over the safety and security of their tenants. When this


June 8, 2017

‘We hope his real estate license is revoked.’ Cynthia Chaffee


On May 23, Steve Croman, left, leaving Manhattan Supreme Cour t with his law yer, Benjamin Brafman, just weeks before Croman would take a plea deal, agreeing to a one-year jail sentence.

happens, tenants suffer; they lose their homes and they lose their communities. I congratulate the A.G. and the governor’s Tenant Protection Unit for another job well done in holding an owner liable for his criminal actions.” “Attempting to displace families from their homes is criminal and deplorable, and should be punished to the full extent of the law,” added Maria Torres-Springer, commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. “Seeing one of the city’s most notorious landlords receive jail time as a direct result of his actions sends a powerful message to those who would prey on vulnerable tenants.” Croman admitted to submitting false documents to banks, including rent rolls that falsely reflected market-rate rents for units that were actually occupied by rent-stabilized tenants. He also inflated the amount of rent charged for certain commercial spaces in his buildings in an effort to show greater rental income. Croman falsified these rent rolls in order to inflate his buildings’ annual rental income, upon which his refinancing terms are partially based. All told, over a three-year period, Croman received more than $45 million in loans under these false pretenses.

Croman also intentionally failed to withhold New York State payroll taxes from bonus payments made to a former Croman Real Estate property manager, who was paid bonuses to get rent-stabilized and rent-controlled tenants out of Croman apartment buildings. A.G. Schneideman also has a separate civil lawsuit against Croman for allegedly engaging in harassment of rent-regulated tenants and other illegal, fraudulent and deceptive conduct in connection with his real-estate business. That case is ongoing. Cynthia Chaffee and her husband, Peter, live in an apartment in a Croman building on E. 18th St., where she keeps voluminous files on what she says are the landlords’ misdoings. Chaffee said the number of buildings Croman owns is really closer to 185, since many are listed under LLC’s and, thus, harder to identify. According to data compiled by Chaffee on the stopcromancoalition.org Web site, Croman owns 47 buildings in the East Village, containing a total of 617 units; 12 buildings each in the Lower East Side, Kips Bay and East Harlem; and 11 buildings apiece in the West Village and Hell’s Kitchen. The gross annual income of Croman’s East Village portfolio is partic-

the crime. Some of his tenants have been without heat or gas longer than his sentence. “Croman will pay a fine of $5 million. However,” she noted, “he duped and bilked the banks of $45 million, giving him a net gain of $40 million. Some people would do that every day of the week. “The judge did stipulate that if Croman got into any more trouble — even a jaywalking ticket — between now and sentencing day, Sept. 19, she would withdraw the plea deal and could significantly increase the sentence. The Stop Croman Coalition is hoping that he gets a jaywalking ticket.” Although Croman still faces a civil case, it won’t result in any more years being added to his one-year sentence, Chaffee noted. “No, he’s facing no more time,” she said. “The criminal case is over. The civil case will not result in criminal charges. It will be for harassment, Falconite, deprivation of services, etc. We’re hoping that he get his real estate license revoked and the buildings put into receivership.” Councilmember Corey Johnson, whose district includes the Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, said his office regularly gets complaints about Croman, and that he was heartened by the guilty plea. “I want to commend Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and his team for their successful pursuit of Steven Croman, one of the most notorious, unscrupulous, abusive landlords in New York City,” Johnson said in a statement. “Nearly every week, my office receives calls from this man’s tenants throughout my district. Many of them are elderly, disabled and living on fixed incomes. Steven Croman targeted them with illegal tactics, and now he will pay the price. I hope landCROMAN continued on p. 8 TheVillager.com

E. 5th St. playground is teachers’ parking lot BY FR ANK MASTROPOLO


here is no shortage of pricey gyms and health clubs in the East Village, where you can pay up to $100 a month to work out on high-tech equipment. But what if you’d like a neighborhood playground that’s free — where you can play handball or softball or run track? They’re not as easy to find. There is a playground that is part of the Manhattan School for Career Development, at 113 E. Fourth St., between First and Second Aves. The L-shaped site runs through the block to E. Fifth St. There are two basketball hoops here and no shortage of space; the basketball court at Madison Square Garden would fit comfortably. Students shoot hoops and hang out for a few hours on school days. But don’t think about honing your basketball skills here any other time. Most of the “playground” is not for play at all. It is used as a parking lot by the school’s teachers and paraprofessionals and remains locked at all times to the community. This policy is in contrast to many school playgrounds operated by the Parks Department. For example, McKinley Park, at nearby P.S. 63 on E. Third St., is open to the public year-round except when school is in session. It seems an odd choice for the Depart-

ment of Education to deny neighborhood kids and adults a place to play and exercise. D.O.E. did not respond to requests for comment. Stuart Zamsky, a longtime East Village resident, said that in the 1990s, the community was welcome to use the E. Fourth St. playground. “It was unorganized,” said Zamsky, an officer in the E. Fifth St. Block Association. “It would be a group of kids or a dad and a son or a couple of buddies, just throwing a ball around or doing pitching practice or batting practice or semi-organized games, pickup games. “It usually was younger people, as opposed to college kids. And super-local,” Zamsky recalled, “a disparate group — Indians, blacks, whites, neighborhood ne’er-do-wells, the whole gamut.” There was no public clamor when the school locked the playground’s gates. “I think we voiced a little protest. The school had it closed,” Zamsky said. “It’s up to the school, it’s their park. So there really is no talking to anyone. Having it closed is within their rights — that became clear as we tried to keep it open.” But the community, Zamsky said, bears some blame. “It was insane dog walkers,” he said. “Someone would be on the phone and aimlessly wandering as their dog was on the opposite corner of the park, crapping

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it up. “It’s a school. Kids go play there. If they come in there Monday and there’s dog s--- all over the place, there’s no way to justify that. The school custodian has to clean it up or the kids have to clean it up.” “That entire playground is school property,” Councilmember Rosie Mendez said. “There are some playgrounds that are jointly operated between Parks and a school. This is not one of those. “You need someone to open it, someone to close it, someone to clean it,” Mendez explained. “And in a lot of my playgrounds and some of my parks, there are a lot of needles being left there. So, if children are going to be going into that playground, you have to ensure it’s clean.” Mendez maintained that tight education budgets make keeping playgrounds open hard for schools. “If you need to have extra custodial staff cleaning the outside of the school, so that school children can utilize that playground, it impacts your budget,” she said. “If you have people spending too much time in the playground to get it cleaned before the school opens up, are the classrooms going to be adequately cleaned, or do you have to hire additional staff? “Unfortunately,” Mendez said, “the city is not providing enough to the school’s

budget to do everything that they need to do.” Added state Senator Brad Hoylman, “Clearly, in a neighborhood that’s as park-starved as the East Village, we want to make sure we maximize the public space available to the community. “If it’s a good idea, then we should examine the possibility of opening the space for the public,” Hoylman said. “There may be costs. There might be considerations for the school on safety and security. But the Department of Education and Parks Department will help guide us.” Borough President Gale Brewer suggested that Parks might provide a solution. “Whenever it’s practical, we should find ways for school playgrounds and other open spaces to be enjoyed by the public outside of school hours,” Brewer said. “The question is whether the Parks Department can take over responsibility for the park outside school hours without pulling resources away from its existing commitments. I’ll be reaching out to the school, D.O.E. and Parks to see if we can make it work at the playground on Fifth St.” “I’d be very eager to hear how the community board feels on this issue,” Hoylman said, adding he supports Brewer’s efforts to convene a meeting on the issue.

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June 8, 2017


Croman Rikers bound


C ynthia Chaffee and her husband, Peter, in 2014 inside their E. 18th St. apar tment, where she stores her voluminous files on what she says are the misdoings of her landlord, Steven Croman, and all his properties. The couple have driven around Manhattan in their car and taken photos of ever y single Croman-owned building that they can identif y. CROMAN continued from p. 6

lords across New York City hear Attorney General Schneiderman’s message loud and clear: If you violate the law and harass your tenants, you will face justice.” Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou said Croman has also been a scourge to tenants in her Lower Manhattan district, which includes Chinatown. “Harassing families and trying to drive them out of their homes is never acceptable, and today’s guilty plea by landlord Steve Croman shows that protecting tenants is a top priority in New York State,” Niou said. “Tenants in my district have long complained about Croman’s harassment practices — from lack of basic repairs and collapsing rooftops to mismanagement of rent payments. Steve Croman’s guilty plea demonstrates the extent to which he went to falsify housing records, and I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for his actions against this unscrupulous landlord. I look forward to working with advocates, tenants and colleagues as we continue to fight for tenant protections in our city and state.” State Senator Brad Hoylman hailed the guilty plea of, as he put it, “The Bernie Madoff of Landlords.” “Steve Croman is a con man who abused the trust of scores of my constituents, who just wanted a safe and secure place for themselves and their families to call home,” Hoylman said. “This is a huge win for tenants and should serve as a warning for slumlords that if you harm our constituents, Attorney General Eric


June 8, 2017

Schneiderman will seek you out and prosecute.” In addition, Hoylman has called for an immediate stay on all Cromaninitiated tenant cases pending review of whether relevant cases can be consolidated into a single class-action case, in light of the ongoing civil complaints fi led by the attorney general. In related news, last week, Schneiderman formally introduced new legislation — the Tenant Protection Act of 2017 — that would make it easier to convict landlords of harassing rentregulated tenants. Current state law demands prosecutors reach “an inexplicably high bar,” according to Schneiderman, to criminally charge landlords with that crime. So, it’s not surprising that in the past 20 years, not one landlord has been convicted of criminally harassing a rent-regulated tenant. Instead, prosecutors have only been able to bring criminal charges against landlords for other crimes — such as fraudulently refi nancing loans and committing tax fraud, to which Croman pled guilty on Tuesday. Schneiderman said his legislation would “set a more reasonable standard” that removes the need to prove physical injury to a tenant, and would open the door to harassment prosecutions “arising out of more commonplace and insidious tactics,” such as turning off heat and hot water, exposing young children to lead dust, and making rent-stabilized buildings deliberately uninhabitable for current tenants. Schneiderman’s legislation is sponsored by State Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblymember Joe Lentol. TheVillager.com


Poet Ilsa Gilber t, one of the senior ar tists profiled in â&#x20AC;&#x153; Winter at Westbeth,â&#x20AC;? at The Caring Communit y, on Washington Square Nor th, the day after she and Mimi Stern-Wolfe fielded questions at a Long Island screening of the documentar y.

Creativity sustains seniors at Westbeth artists housing BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y


his isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Croatia,â&#x20AC;? Ilsa Gilbert said, jokingly. The evening before, the film â&#x20AC;&#x153;Winter at Westbeth,â&#x20AC;? in which she features prominently, screened in Great Neck, Long Island, but it has also done so in Croatia. The documentary, by Australian filmmaker Rohan Spong, mainly focuses on three residents of Westbeth, the renowned artists housing complex, at Westbeth and Bethune Sts. The other two subjects are experimental filmmaker Edith Stephen and dancer Dudley Williams. Williams died before the film debuted last November at the DOC NYC festival. As well as Croatia, Gilbert ticked off its other screenings, including Hawaii, Australia and â&#x20AC;&#x153;all around New Zealand.â&#x20AC;? She and composer Mimi Stern-Wolfe did a post-screening event in MassachuTheVillager.com

setts for the film earlier this year. Thursday, the two went to Great Neck, where the film showed as part of Bow Tie Cinemasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Gold Coast Series.â&#x20AC;? They fielded rapid-fire questions â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x153;There were a lot!â&#x20AC;? Gilbert noted â&#x20AC;&#x201D; afterward. Questions included: â&#x20AC;&#x153;How old is the youngest person at Westbeth?â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have babies,â&#x20AC;? Gilbert chuckled. And the one she liked the most: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do you have a lot of parties?â&#x20AC;? The answer: Yes! Gilbert has lived at Westbeth for 15 years and recently celebrated her 84th birthday. Known as â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Poet of Bleecker Street,â&#x20AC;? she is the founder and director of the PEN Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Literary Workshop. Her poetry has formed librettos for numerous operas and song cycles, notably performed by Stern-Wolfe. Stern-Wolfe is featured in Spongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s previous documentary, â&#x20AC;&#x153;All The Way Through Evening.â&#x20AC;?

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June 8, 2017


Tammany work terribly disruptive: Neighbors TAMMANY continued from p. 1

according to locals. Block residents said the entrance to Tammany’s former auditorium, at 100 E. 17th St., which is destined for demolition, has been blocked off by construction workers for CNY contractor. The company’s flaggers reroute foot traffic to the other side of the street. “There’s no walkway,” explained Karen Marshall, a photographer who has lived at nearby 112 E. 17th St. for 23 years amid a row of brownstones extending to Irving Place. Marshall also lamented the forced departure in early 2016 of the Union Square Theatre, a former Tammany tenant that produced the Tony-award-winning comedy “39 Steps.” The theater had occupied space at 100 E. 17th St., as did New York Film Academy. Both were given notices to vacate the premises by Tammany’s owner, Margaret Cotter, president of Liberty Theatres, LLC, to make way for the multimillion-dollar redevelopment. Cotter’s company, which owns the Orpheum Theatre in the East Village and the Minetta Lane Theatre in the West Village, is a subsidiary of Reading International Inc., her family-owned Los Angeles-based movie house and live-theater chain. Efforts to reach her for comment were fruitless.

“It’s totally sad about the [Union Square] theater,” Marshall said, adding she also missed Trevi Deli, one of four commercial tenants around the corner on Park Ave. South that were also forced out. Marshall’s husband, Don, a media consultant, groused about the congestion, with trucks rumbling in and out of the site and construction noise. But he pronounced CNY’s construction team at Tammany “very professional.” “They’re here at 7 in the morning and they’re gone by 3:30 in the afternoon,” he said. Other neighbors were less sanguine. “Has the construction affected my life? What a stupid question! Of course it has with all the noise and the inconvenience,” snapped an elderly woman who lives in one of the brownstones. “But that’s New York for you.” Noah Osnos, a longtime owner of the E. 17th St. brownstones and an area resident for years, recently relocated to Wyoming. One of his building managers, who asked not to be identified, said, “Lots of tenants are very upset about the construction and some have received concessions on their rent.” He noted that Tammany Hall’s owners had e-mailed his office well before the construction began “about six months ago” and its contractors had also checked the integrity of Osnos’ nearby buildings.

But the manager added he was not informed about the crane getting up close to a brownstone on 104 E. 17th St. earlier last month, which he called “outrageous.” The crane was hoisting material to a

‘I don’t see records of anyone complaining to 311.’

hard hat standing on the residence’s roof right next to Tammany Hall, which is now being marketed as 44 Union Square. Ken Colao, president of the CNY Group, the construction management company overseeing the Tammany makeover, denied that the crane operation endangered the brownstone, insisting that a photo by The Villager “depicts protection material being lifted onto the adjoining property roof. This material will protect our neighbor’s roof, details of which have been fully disclosed and agreed to by both properties’ owners.” Department of Buildings spokesper-

son Andrew Rudansky said he checked on 100 E. 17th St. and found Tammany’s owners “have proper permits to operate the crane. I don’t see any records of anyone complaining to 311 or the department about this.” Matthew Gross, a spokesperson for Reading International, Tammany Hall’s corporate parent, similarly said the company was applying safety standards “which exceed city requirements.” He said a “landmark protection plan was in place,” referring to Tammany’s facade, designated a landmark in 2013 by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Gross also claimed staff were engaged in “open dialogue with our neighbors.” But several tenants and managers of the aforementioned brownstones said they knew little about the intentions of Tammany’s owners or how long the construction would last. In response, Colao of CNY said that work on Tammany is expected to continue for two years. He predicted that the property, when ready for occupancy, “will be an iconic home to strong commercial tenants.” He added, “We would welcome an opportunity to discuss the plans with the community and will await their request.” Reading plans to add 23,000 square feet to the former Union Square Theatre, expanding it to a total of $73,322 square feet, according to The Real Deal.


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June 8, 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.

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.

June 8, 2017


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR A terrorist is a terrorist

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To The Editor: Re “What we honor: It should never be terrorists” (talking point, by Cormac Flynn, June 1): Is there a difference between Oscar Lopez Rivera and the Osama bin Ladens of this world? Why would the organizers of the fun Puerto Rican Day Parade want to associate with this dark shadow? Allen Goldmeier

Get ready for fascism To The Editor: Re “Mussolini in Lower Manhattan” (talking point, by Bill Weinberg, May 17, thevillager.com): Thank you, Bill Weinberg, for the timely and bracing reminder that fascism is again on the march. The battle has come to us and it is in our streets and at our doors. We should be ready, but most of all we should be cleareyed and clearheaded in the face of the enemy’s cynical deceptions and insincere appeals. Cormac Flynn

Trump lied to vets To The Editor: Trump lied about his support for veterans to get votes. Trump’s budget proposal calls for a 3.7 percent increase in total funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs. It calls for $29 billion over the next decade for expansion of the Choice program, which would allow veterans to seek outside medical care from private doctors. It would pay for it, in part, by cutting some disability benefits for elderly veterans. Major veterans’ groups oppose the cuts. The American Legion says the funding trade-off is “stealth privatization.” Trump also wants to slash annual Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) increases for veterans. Note that he wants to cut benefits for disabled elderly veterans. John Penley

A bite of history To The Editor: Congratulations to Katz’s Delicatessen on its 129th anniversary! Eating at Katz’s is a religious experience

for those who enjoy great deli. Forget the fancy tablecloths, waiters and sparkling bottled water in other restaurants. Go to the Lower East Side of our ancestors to enjoy authentic New York food eaten by generations of Big Apple residents. Your bubbee would be proud. Take a day free from worrying about cholesterol and your weight to enjoy life! The restaurant is a trip down memory lane, with photographs of celebrities from different eras. Look closely at the back of some chairs. Perhaps a former president or two or some other famous individual used the same seat. For decades, every winning politician has made a campaign stop at Katz’s! Katz’s portions and quality continue to make it one of the best buys in New York today. Anyone still hungry after dining there must have a tapeworm! Larry Penner

Eat environmentally To The Editor: Are you, too, fighting mad about Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord? Then let’s fight back three times a day by adopting an eco-friendly plant-based diet. A 2010 United Nations report blames animal agriculture for 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, 38 percent of land use, and 70 percent of global freshwater consumption. Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by fossil-fuel combustion to operate farm machinery, trucks, factory farms and slaughterhouses. The more-damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively. In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar and other pollution-free energy sources. Nico Young E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 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.



June 8, 2017


‘Kill the pig!’ to ‘Blockhead’ — hate is hate ANGRY BUDDHIST

“Obomba” and Hillary took two Middle Eastern wars — Iraq and Afghanistan — and turned them into seven by adding Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and Syria. He expanded the military and dedicated a trillion dollars for upgrades to the nuclear arsenal. He and Clinton expanded and exported fracking and did nothing while militarized cops busted the heads of the water protectors out at Standing Rock. Most ominously, the constitutional lawyer put the surveillance state on steroids, decimating the Fourth Amendment while wielding executive order to eliminate habeas corpus, the bedrock of liberty. He suppressed the First Amendment by prosecuting journalists



ill the pig! Cut its throat! Bash her in! Drink its blood.” That was the chilling chant in William Golding’s 1954 novel “Lord of the Flies,” a cautionary tale about the dark side of human nature, the barbarity that underlies even the most civilized human beings. A planeload of young English school boys turn savage on a deserted island in the Pacific, indulge in pagan ritual and viciously murder the outsiders in their lot. This parable came to mind when I viewed the disturbing photo published in The Villager, taken in Tompkins Square Park, of a smiling mother, affirming and assisting her young multiracial child in the mock murder by crucifi xion of the effigy of the president of the United States (“Hammer time! Trump ‘Nail-a-thon’ was peaceful and cathartic,” talking point, by Sandra Koponen, May 10). The lurid photo was submitted with pride by the selfproclaimed “artist” Sandra Koponen, who takes responsibility for the Trump crucifi xion party that I wrote of recently (“St. Mark’s is truly dead as Trump gets pounded,” talking point, by Carl Rosenstein, April 20). I am grateful for Ms. K for providing these images because Villager Editor Lincoln Anderson had doubted the veracity of my story because it was so horrid. But who needs fiction in these “Through the Looking-Glass” times? Orwell in “1984” wrote, “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength,” and now add, “Murder is Cathartic.” Ms. K writes that her street performance was “peaceful and cathartic.” That’s how the “merry” Brownshirts felt after hammering a few thousand Jewish storefronts on Kristallnacht, and how Ku Klux Klansmen feel after they’ve burnt a few crosses — “peaceful and cathartic.” Hate is hate; there is no masking it with qualifications that K’s collectively infected mock assassination was multiethnic and metrosexual. Imagine if a gang of white guys in Texas did the same with a totem of our last messiah, oops, I mean president. Rachel Maddow would be snorting and turning handstands while Chuck “Wall Street” Schumer would take his hands out of your pockets for five minutes to push up his glasses and hold a press conference. K suggests I meditate on her message, and though I generally meditate


How far is Kathy Griffin’s “Beheaded Trump,” above, from Sandra Koponen’s “Trump Blockhead,” below?

With encouragement from her mom, a little girl pounded a nail into the “skull” of the “Trump Blockhead” in Tompkins Square Park back in April. The Angr y Buddhist feels the East Village per formance-ar t piece was “tapping into” dangerous par ts of the human psyche.

to free my mind of all of this noise, I have come up with an answer to the source of her sexist rage. All true art is born out of the deepest realms of one’s psyche. K’s vile and vicious Nail-a-thon can be attributed to a deep disturbance in hers, as is all violence, real or symbolic. Rather than face our defects revealed by the shadow, we project them onto others — for instance onto our political enemies Consciously, she might hate the cheating man or her sleazy landlord or maybe it was that college professor who denigrated her year-end art project. We do know for certain she “hates” Donald Trump. But the all-wise Angry Buddhist surmises this wrath is most likely a suppressed subconscious rage against Barack Obama. Obama? Yes Obama.

The venomous anger at Trump by die-hard liberals is an expression of pent-up frustration toward Obama for his massive betrayal of the enthusiastic millions who genuflected before his mellow baritone and swept him into office on a tidal wave of “Hope and Change.” He promised to relieve us of eight years of Bush, war and economic collapse. But instead he and the corrupt swine in the Democratic Party delivered eight more years of crony capitalism, militarism and globalism. The first week in office, he moved into the Right Wing of the White House. Instead of promised single-payer healthcare, we ended up with the archconservative Heritage Foundation Affordable Care Act, with no public option.

The Democratic primary was hacked.

under the Espionage Act. Obama bailed out and protected Wall Street while 10 million American families lost their homes. Not one banker was even indicted. He pushed the job-killing and labor-crushing Trans Pacific Partnership until his last breath in office. You cannot serve two masters and Obama chose Wall Street over Main Street. The first thing he did when he came back from kite surfi ng with billionaire Richard Branson, was take $400,000 for a speech from Cantor Fitzgerald — and that’s just the beginning. Obama’s liberal base, however, never fell out of his messianic aura and slipped into a deep coma for eight years. Instead of focusing the blame on Obama — the neo-liberal architect of the decline of our standard of living and diminished liberties — they have orally fi xated upon Trump, who is merely a symptom of the Democrats’ corruption. There was a cure to this disease, but Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee stole the primary from Bernie Sanders. That was the only election that was hacked. I suggest Ms. Koponen create new effigies representing the corporatist sellouts of the Democratic Party, especially those from our New York delegation, Schumer, Gillibrand, Nadler, Maloney and Velazquez. Then in midsummer, as the Druids did with their wicker man, light them afire, not as a symbol of violence, but one of transformation and resurrection with the hope for true justice and peace in a real democracy. Ommmmmmmm. June 8, 2017



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Masaryk gates a disgrace



asaryk Towers is named for Jan Masaryk, a political figure who during World War II and the lead-up to it, fought against Nazi occupation of his native Czechoslovakia, and then resisted inevitable efforts to make it a communist state. An unabashed progressive socialist, Masaryk rejected both Nazi occupation and fascism, while also seeing the flaws of communist rule, including its restriction of civil liberties. It’s sad to see the Masaryk Towers board fail to live up to its namesake, doing its best to create a closed-off and isolated community, where decisions are made undemocratically. While consultation with residents before such a drastic move had been promised for years, only 24 hours advance notice was given. As Masaryk becomes gated off to the rest of the larger community, I’d imagine Jan Masaryk would find today’s incident to be a smaller occupation in its own right. This is about a board making decisions for the rest of the community members, to further segregate its residents from their neighbors, while giving the community little time to voice concerns.

The sentiment to close the Lower East Side Mitchell Lama complex’s gates is understandable, at first glance. Masaryk’s board says there have been liability issues with people tripping and falling on the complex’s grounds. Yet they fail to provide a single name, incident or date. At the heart of the issue, this seems to be modern-day segregation. The need for more privacy and some security is understandable, but the beauty of many of these complexes is that they bring the community together, to enjoy a shared space. Neighboring residents now can no longer access that space freely or conveniently get to where they need to go. Before the closure, those who worship had easy access to Bialystoker Synagogue and St. Mary’s Church, just south of the gates. Nonprofits providing crucial services, like Grand Street Settlement and United Jewish Council, stand just behind the gates, as well. So do a playground and the Abrons Arts Center. It might seem, at first, it’s not such an imposition to walk an extra four blocks. But what if one is disabled or elderly? The gate closure will be a slippery slope. Developers five or 10 years down the road will point to the gated Masaryk. They will look to it and feel that continued economic segregation will simply be the logical next step. This is the first step toward the privatization of our city. I hope Masaryk’s board reconsiders.

De Blasio Affordable Housing Myth #2 Mayor Bill de Blasio wants affordable housing and income equality for all New Yorkers. (Note: as long as it doesn’t affect his bank account)

The Facts: • Mayor de Blasio freezes the rents of stabilized apartment owners, but Landlord de Blasio has continued to raise rents… of his tenants in two homes he owns in Park Slope to cover his expenses. (Source: PoliticoNY, 4/17/17) • de Blasio is a hypocrite – rent hikes for his tenants, but he denies the largest providers of affordable housing the revenue they need to repair, improve and maintain apartments for their tenants.

De Blasio’s Housing Policies: Politics & Hypocrisy Next Week: de Blasio Myth #3 14

June 8, 2017


Courtesy Cinelicious Pics

Prototype for the “Clockwork” droogs? An artfully framed gay boy gang zips down and charges up for confrontation.

The bloom is back on ‘Roses’ Restored ‘Parade’ reclaims rightful place in queer cinema pantheon BY SCOTT STIFFLER From protester/police clashes in the streets to hipster-packed groping sessions in darkened apartments to bitter rivalries that topple the power structure of a “gay boys bar,” simmering unrest is the spark that ignites explosive acts of lust and violence in writer and director Toshio Matsumoto’s gorgeous, gripping, sexually assertive feature film debut. Subtitled in the original 1969 English language version press kit as “Aesthetics of cruelty and perversion” — a description that’s both accurate and understated — “Funeral Parade of Roses” is set in and around the off-grid pleasure dome Genet, where intoxicating hostesses (womanly ways, male plumbing) mix and mingle with Tokyo businessmen and American soldiers just back from Vietnam. “Mamma” TheVillager.com

Leda presides, but rising star Eddie is a threat to her professional and romantic relationship with bar manager Gonda. Up to his neck in intrigue from the accounting burdens of narcotics brokering and secret, limb-twisting liaisons with Eddie, Gonda’s discovery of a telling photo from the forbidden couple’s dark past sets in motion a final reel whose blood, betrayal, death, and destruction do graphic justice to the Greek tragedy upon which the plot is not-so-loosely based. Rarely seen on North American screens since its brief and limited initial release — and, as result, largely absent from the roll call of watershed LGBTQ cinema — “Funeral Parade of Roses” is given richly deserved new life in the form of a 4K digital restoration that will screen locally at, appropriately, the Quad Cinema (hav-

ing reopened in April after a two-year renovation process of its own; slightly less time than it took to secure, scrub, and prep the film). Aspiring to a state of cosmetic perfection befitting its alluringly feminine gay boy protagonist, Hollywood-based distribution company Cinelicious Pics embarked on the restoration of “Parade” by sending its director of acquisitions, Ei Toshinari, overseas to consult with Hirofumi Sakamoto, of the Postwar Japan Moving Image Archive (PJMIA). Sakamoto acted as an intermediary for director Matsumoto — who, despite declining health, gave extensive notes throughout the process, and passed away just a few weeks ago. PJMIA authorized the release of the film’s original 35mm camera negative and sound ele-

ments (stored at Tokyo’s National Film Center, within the National Museum of Modern Art) for scanning by Japanese post-production facility IMAGICA, which then sent the files to Cinelicious’ team for digital restoration. Stripped of dirt, debris, scratches, and splices while leaving the natural grain untouched “as much as possible,” the restored film’s crisp palette justifies a boast in the press material that puts Tatsuo Suzuki’s “breathtaking” black and white cinematography in league with the erotic messaging and artful framing of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The visual aesthetic of “Parade” certainly captivates — but so too will its emotional impact, sure to stun those unprepared for the nonROSES continued on p. 16 June 8, 2017


ROSES continued from p. 15

linear narrative’s flurry of intense sexual encounters, traumatic memories, art gallery visitations, “gay boy” lifestyle contemplations, gang violence, flashes of potent imagery, and popping word balloons. All of these elements build upon 1932born Matsumoto’s previous work as a post-war essayist and theoretician seeking to absorb journalistic and experimental techniques into his own work. “Parade” not only achieves this, but also breaks new ground for the filmmaker, in a manner both mischievously selfaware and culturally candid (such as a recurring glimpse of the titular floral element clenched between a standing male’s exquisite ass — a cheeky reference to, among other things, “rosebud,” although not the kind you know from “Citizen Kane”). David Marriott, a co-supervisor of the restoration project and VP of acquisitions and distribution at Cinelicious, noted in a recent interview with this publication that Matsumoto’s interest in “exploring the tension between documentary and avantgarde” were “dual concerns evidenced in early shorts,” including 1961’s “Nishijin.” Elements of reality-based investigation are seen throughout “Parade,” Marriott said, particularly in “Suzuki’s cinematography and, for example, during the interview segments, many of which were real documentary interviews with people in and around the Tokyo underground scene, and during the exterior city scenes, most of which were were shot on location in heavily trafficked areas.” A pair of Matsumoto’s avant-garde short films are even given screen time in “Parade” — 1969’s “Ecstasis” unspools during a party scene, and shots from 1968’s “For My Crushed Right Eye” are, Marriott noted, “recycled into the narrative. The drugfueled apartment dance scenes also echo similar sequences in ‘Crushed Right Eye,’ both in framing and lighting.” Marriott hailed the film’s melting pot of influences as “everything but the kitchen sink filmmaking, in the best possible way,” noting that alongside an evolved take on the director’s use of documentary and avant-garde is an exploration of “new stylistic techniques which seem to have grown organically from his earlier work, including the film’s construction/deconstruction of linear time and the varied film-within-a-film meta dimensions.” Matsumoto’s use of sped-up motion has been cited as the source of that technique in 1971’s “A Clockwork Orange” (in particular, the scene where Eddie’s trio boasts of their appeal to men as a prelude to battling it out with a biological girl gang). One might also be tempted to trace Malcolm McDowell’s droog drag to


June 8, 2017

Courtesy Cinelicious Pics

Pîtâ, Peter, Pîtâ! A then-unknown club dancer’s star turn gives “Funeral Parade of Roses” its enduring queer appeal.

Courtesy Cinelicious Pics

Smoke ’em if you got forgot ’em? A cigarette burn eradicates the face of an absent father.

Eddie’s pronounced eyelashes and effective use of black mascara. Such linkage long ago embedded itself in cinematic lore — but Marriott recalled the effort to verify “is something we spent many months trying to track down,” and concluded that although still “anecdotal at this point, it’s become de facto authoritative. The way the droogs in ‘Clockwork Orange’ are framed and move, you can see a clear influence.” No matter. Whether or not others have been inspired to admirable imitation or outright thievery takes nothing away from

the experience of virgin eyes watching this “Parade” pass by for the first time. Its black and white film stock and distinct 1960s fashion statements notwithstanding, the defiant confidence and erotic potency of its lead character makes the film seem utterly contemporary, even progressive. Plucked from Tokyo’s nightlife scene — where the androgynous pixie’s Peter Panlike dance moves and manner of dress earned the fluid monikers “Peter” and “Pîtâ” — 1952-born Shinnosuke Ikehata’s Eddie shares memorably smoldering love

scenes with 1927-born Yoshio Tsuchiya’s Gonda. Already an established actor who appeared in Akira Kurosawa’s seminal 1954 film “Seven Samurai” (talk about flicks people pilfered from!), Tsuchiya was notably paired with another formidable screen presence one year before “Parade,” in the 1968 Godzilla flick “Destroy All Monsters.” Ikehata, who, Marriott said, has long been “a huge celebrity in Japan” and enjoys contemporary notoriety as “a talking head on a lot of TV programs,” also claims a place in the Kurosawa canon, having played the jester Kyoami in 1985’s “Ran.” As for “Parade,” Marriott predicted its “incredibly subversive and transgressive” core will play “almost as well, if not better, today than I imagine it did at the time.” No matter which way you swing or how hard you land, this is one time when a trip to the cinema is a safe bet for those seeking reasonably priced, mind-expanding thrills that are anything but cheap. Opens Fri., June 9 at Quad Cinema (34 W. 13th St., btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.). Screenings: 1:45pm, 4:15pm, 6:45pm & 9:10pm. Runtime: 105 minutes. Black and white. Japanese with English subtitles. Cinelicious will release “Funeral Parade of Roses” on Blu-ray in the late fall, with bonus content including a commentary track and remasterings of seven avant-garde shorts by Matsumoto. Visit quadcinema.com & cineliciouspics.com. TheVillager.com

Howling in Kips Bay ‘Live From Spaceship: Your Mind’ turns 10 BY JIM MELLOAN Back in the mid-aughts, New York’s Art Star scene of quirky Downtown performance artists had its own version of a supergroup. The New York Howl brought just about everything you could want to the party — a real rock & roll group with driving beats; danceable, tuneful, bizarre, and fun. Fronted by Andrew Katz, a tall Detroit native with a Mick Jagger mouth, and with soulful songs by Katz and playful, catchy songs by longtime busker and scenester Brer Brian (a Binghamton, NY native), the group rocked thenkey club venues such as Bowery Poetry Club and Mo Pitkin’s, toured locally, and had a couple of tours of England. On their second English tour, every stop attracted more than 2,000 people. Leaping around the stage and into the audience, native New Yorker Stefan Zeniuk brought a maniacal energy to the group (his saxophone often literally spouting fire), and Adam Amram supplied the energetic rhythm. Adam comes from New York arts scene royalty. His father David is a well-known composer who scored the original version of “The Manchurian Candidate,” one of his sisters is a singer-songwriter, and the other is a writer, performance artist, and actress. The New York Howl put out a wellreceived CD in 2006 called “People Will Come to See Us Ride.” Brer lived with his wife in New Jersey, but I often let him crash on one of my couches (I had two!) at my 400-squarefoot studio apartment at E. 30th St. and Second Ave. We had similar tastes in music, and spent a lot of time listening to my new and burgeoning iTunes collection and exploring the nascent YouTube. In the apartment, I had an inexpensive but versatile and decentsounding Yamaha keyboard, an old 8-track cassette recorder suitable for mixing, and an iMac equipped with Audacity, the free editing software — everything the band needed for its second, DIY album. In the first part of 2007, while I was working at Inc., busy overseeing the expansion of the magazine’s venerable Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies to the Inc. 5000, the band spent a lot of time in my apartment recording a large part of its second album, consisting of what Brer calls “B-sides.” Some of the tracks were TheVillager.com

Photo by Jim Melloan

Brer Brian, in 2007, as The New York Howl recorded an album in the Kips Bay apartment of Jim Melloan.

recorded on the road live, and some at another guy’s flat in England; the rest were done at my place. They “released” the second album “Live From Spaceship: Your Mind,” a decade ago this week (or depending on where you look, maybe it was in early May.) “Spaceship: Your Mind,” I’m proud to say, was essentially my apartment. Brer recently told me, “It was very comfortable. We had a whole lot of space and time to do whatever we wanted.” After a brief intro called “The First Day I Met You,” the album kicks off with “Good Thing,” which is all Brer. It’s a bouncy hoedown of a song, with Brer on guitar and multiple vocal overdubs. It’s a good thing, says the song, that white people can’t dance, or drive, or see. As to why that’s a good thing, the reasons are somewhat garbled in the lyrics, but the track is just too much of a good time to worry about that. “Let’s Make Love” is a mournful/joyful European-sounding waltz by Andrew, with Brer on harmonies and Stefan on sax. “Baby Baby Baby” is an improvisational-sounding track by Brer and Andrew, and “Train Dispatcher,” with its sweet harmonies, sees the upside of the situation known to all New York subway riders of being held by a train dispatcher. It’s a collaboration between Brer and Stefan.

“It’s Raining in England” is a plaintive, minimalist, hypnotic track by Andrew recorded in England, and the album ends with “Oh My My My,” a masterful droning work by Brer that sounds like something out of Appalachia by way of Nepal, with Lewis Carrollesque nonsense lyrics. Around this time, Art Star scene veterans Master Lee and Rick Patrick started a monthly series of events at the Himalayan Asia-focused Rubin Museum of Art on W. 17th St. called “Talkingstick,” in which museum staff traded reflective riffs with performers on items in the museum’s collection. At one of the fi rst “Talkingstick” events, Brer and Andrew led a group of people doing this chant parading around the Rubin. Those were glorious times. The band never sold many copies of “Live From Spaceship: Your Mind.” They didn’t make many copies of the physical CD; those they did make they mostly gave away free at shows. The album is available, free to stream or $5 to download, at brer.bandcamp. com/album/live-from-spaceship-yourmind. They did make a fair amount of progress on recording a “real” second album, but Andrew began to drift away. He eventually decided it was best to relocate to Nashville, where

he remains today, heading up a band called Clear Plastic Masks. Their latest album, “Nazi Hologram,” was released late last year. Many of Brer’s share of the songs recorded for the next Howl album wound up on his next solo album, “Ghettastrophe,” also available at Bandcamp. He has continued to put out albums via Bandcamp; there are now a total of 13 available at his site there. Brer and Stefan head up a fun-times descendant of The New York Howl called The New York Fowl Harmonic. In January 2016, they released an album called “Rubber Poultry” on Bandcamp. The tossing around of a rubber chicken is essential to their live performances. Stefan also heads up a Latin-flavored instrumental band called Gato Loco, and has performed with various lineups several times on “Saturday Night Live.” From 2011 to 2014 Adam teamed up with Japanese singer-guitarist Ken Minami in Ken South Rock, a Tokyomeets-Brooklyn high-energy outfit that played both sides of the world. Last year he joined a 10-year-old New York-based major label band called Psychic Ills, and they have done multiple tours of Europe and South America in support of their latest album. The good, howling times continue to roll. June 8, 2017



June 8, 2017


Eboni new Kuby on WABC WABC continued from p. 3

theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re saving much money by hiring Eboni. But maybe they think sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll bring her Fox advertisers and audiences with her, which would result in a revenue increase. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Curtis always brings in advertising. He courts advertisers. I was never really good at that,â&#x20AC;? Kuby added. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I always thought I would get whacked if things got tight. The point is, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m fired. Who the crap cares what the reason is? I wish everybody well who I worked with.â&#x20AC;? Kuby sounded unusually cheerful for a man out of a gig paying six figures a year.

He noted that he had previously given WABC notice that he planned to leave at the end of the year to practice law full time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I would have preferred to stayâ&#x20AC;? until late September, he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But I have a fallback position as a reasonably good criminal-defense and civil-rights lawyer. And I get a fully paid summer vacation.â&#x20AC;? Both Kuby and Sliwa formerly lived in the East Village. Kuby is also well known in the Downtown Manhattan area for representing clients ranging from the Hells Angels bike gang at their E. Third St. clubhouse to Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market in the recent incident where a black deliveryman was given a noose at the Bleecker St. store.

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Hardcore scene is still rocking and rolling; CLAYTON BY CL AY TON PATTERSON


n the early ’80s the Lower East Side hardcore music scene started off mostly on the streets and in the squats. It was a rough-and-tumble beginning. Many of the kids were runaways or were surviving a troubled home or group home life. The hardcore scene had a seriously tough and violent side. On the other hand, there was a much-needed camaraderie, a brotherhood based on loyalty and commitment to each others’ survival. And, of course, there were the offshoot troubling situations where everything came apart and friends became enemies. Tattoos were a major part of the movement. The main artists were Darren Rosa in Washington Heights, Michael “Michelangelo” Perfetto in Brooklyn and Elio Espana from Jersey, who would come to the city and tattoo in places like Vinneie Stigma’s apartment in Little Italy. I was introduced to the scene at the Pyramid Club by Ray Beez. Ray was a facilitator. A glue that kept the scene positive. He helped many runaways and people in need. Ray’s motto was, “Never forget the struggle. Never forget the streets.” I owe Ray a major thank you for opening the door for me — R.I.P., Love and Respect. Fast-forward to today. Joseph “Cuz Joe” Cammarata is the Ray Beez of today. Joseph does an extraordinary job leading the effort, with his Black and Blue Productions, to energize the scene and to bring the yearly massive Black and Blue Bowl to Webster Hall. One of the elements that attracts me to the scene is the connection to the working class. So many of the music’s followers are laborers — construction workers, truck drivers, pizza delivery guys — plus blue-collar professional types — electricians, plumbers, ironworkers, tattoo artists. Add in a sprinkle of other professionals, like dentists, teachers and doctors. Then add in gangbangers, thugs and tough guys and you have a broad overview of what makes up the scene. Yes, there is a very strong macho side, but there have always been woman connected to the movement. And because of the nature of the movement, it now has a multigenerational following. The kids grew up and now have families, and the families come to the show. This year, because of home obligations, I could only stay for the early part of the show. In this piece, I am covering the women, the next gen-


June 8, 2017


Hardcore fans holler the lyric s into the singer’s microphone at the Black ’N’ Blue Bowl.

eration and the family part. I’m also including the week that started off Tuesday with the “Cuz Joe Black ’N’ Blue Takeover” show on East Village Radio, featuring Drew Stone’s “New York Hardcore Chronicles” movie, which premiered that Thursday at the S.V.A. Theater on E. 23rd St., followed Sunday by the Black ’N’ Blue Bowl at Webster Hall. My hardcore memories and what I have documented of that scene is, for me, one of the most prized parts of my archives.

Young hardcore heads enjoy the sonic assault — but safely, with earphones to dampen the deafening decibel levels.

A hardcore fan thrash dances it all out.


â&#x20AC;&#x2122;80s kids have kids


All in the family: From left, Kaleb Sweeney Stone, his dad, filmmaker Drew Stone, William Ratboones, Furlong and Stella B. Zotiss.

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B]S\bS`( 5Og1Wbg<Sea\gQ>`WRSBWf% June 8, 2017


Volume 1 | Issue 1

The Pulse of

Lenox Health Greenwich Village

Five steps to a healthy heart What can you do to keep your heart healthy? Prevention is key. 1. Eat healthy fats, not trans fats. Trans fats clog your arteries by raising bad cholesterol levels and lowering good ones. Cutting these fats from your diet will improve blood flow and lower your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. 2. Practice good dental hygiene. Bacteria in the mouth that cause gum disease can travel through the bloodstream, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. 3. Get plenty of rest. People who sleep fewer than six hours per night are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people who get seven or eight hours. 4. Don’t smoke. Avoid secondhand smoke whenever possible. 5. Keep moving. Exercise is good for the heart and keeps the blood flowing. If you work behind a desk, make it a priority to get up and move throughout the day.

What are the signs of a heart attack? – Lightheadedness or feeling weak – Shortness of breath – Pain or discomfort in the chest, arm or shoulder, back, neck or jaw

Did you know…

Laughter has a similar effect on the heart as aspirin – both can prevent narrowing of the arteries. But the benefits of laughter are not as long-lasting, so make sure to laugh often! Did you know…

Lenox Health Greenwich Village offers advanced cardiac MRI as well as cardiac CT for routine, structural and dynamic evaluation of the heart.

– Nausea or vomiting – Unexplained and severe fatigue – A cold sweat

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Look to Lenox Health Greenwich Village’s Imaging Center to meet the cardiac care needs of the entire Greenwich Village community; including the early detection and prevention of heart disease and the alleviation of the stress and fear associated with acute chest pain. Visit us at Northwell.edu/LHGV or call (646) 350-0365.


June 8, 2017


Profile for Schneps Media

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June 8, 2017

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