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Serving Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Seaport and the Financial District VOLUME 30, NUMBER 12

JUNE 29 – JULY 12, 2017

GOING GREEN Greenmarket returns to World Trade Center after 16 years — Page 6

Photo by Tequila Minsky

GrowNYC’s Greenmarket finally returned to the World Trade Center on June 20, after a 16-year absence. Dori Levine lives nearby and dropped in to stock up on farm-fresh veggies.

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1 M E T R O T E C H • N YC 112 0 1 • C O P Y R I G H T © 2 0 17 N YC C O M M U N I T Y M E D I A , L L C


New leadership at the Alliance Downtown Alliance elects Brookfield executive to be new chairman BY COLIN MIXSON The Downtown Alliance has tapped influential Brookfield Property Group honcho Ric Clark to serve as the business improvement district’s new chairman. Clark will replace departing chairman Alan Scott, who chose not to seek reelection following the end of his term last month. Clark, who currently fills an executive role at Brookfield as senior managing partner and chairman, has served in various senior roles at the development company, which claims roughly $78 billion in assets worldwide and has owned property Downtown since the purchase of Brookfield Place (formerly the World Financial Center) and One Liberty Plaza in 1996. In his role as chairman of the Downtown business advocacy group, Clark will work with the Alliance’s board on long-term planning and budget oversight, while President Jessica Lappin will continue handling the alliance’s day-to-day operations. Clark served as CEO of Brookfield Office Properties at the time of the terrorist attacks on Sept.11, 2001, and shepherded the company through a period of uncertainty and potential ruin. Five Brookfield-owned properties comprising roughly half the company’s equity suffered substantial damage as a result of the attack, and the business had only one year to affect repairs before tenants were

Photo by Corey Hayes

Ric Clark, senior managing partner and chairman at Brookfield Property Group, has been elected as the new chairman of the Downtown Alliance.

legally permitted to break their lease agreements, Clark described in a 2014 interview with Columbia Business School.

“We had to get these buildings fixed and the tenants back in so they couldn’t break their leases, or basically the whole enterprise was at risk,� he said. Those same properties are now icons of Lower Manhattan’s renaissance. Aside from his work at Brookfield, Clark serves in leadership positions of several New York based groups, including on the executive committee of the Real Estate Board of New York and the board of directors of the 9/11 Memorial, the Real Estate Roundtable, the National Eating Disorders Association, and the Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center. Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin described Clark as a strong leader with long ties to the neighborhood. “Ric is a thoughtful and proven leader with a real passion for Lower Manhattan,� Lappin said. “His dedication to revitalizing and rebuilding the area, coupled with his optimism and vision, make him a great fit and we are thrilled to welcome him as our new chair.� The Downtown Alliance manages the DowntownLower Manhattan Business Improvement District, where it provides additional security, sanitation, and transportation services, in addition to advocacy work and research into solutions for improving commerce Downtown.

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SHARP WORDS Cops are on the hunt for the knifewielding brute who attacked a man inside the Staten Island Ferry Terminal on June 24, apparently in revenge for a perceived racial slur. The victim told police he was inside the lobby of the South Street ferry building near Whitehall Street at 5:42 am, when the assailant waltzed over and stabbed him in the arm. “You called me the N-word,” the victim recalled the slasher shouting. Police later searched the area for the stabber, but came up short, according to police.

Park Place and Murray Street at 9:44 pm, when the crook nabbed the small fortune in makeup and fled.

BAGGIN’ IT A thief stole $25,000 worth of handbags from a Green Street fashion boutique on June 16. Video surveillance at the store showed that the perp — wearing gloves and a sweatshirt — busted through a front window of the store between Spring and Prince streets at 4:19 am, and began stuffing plastic bags with 25 $1,000 handbags.

THE BADDEST KNIFEPOINT A knifeman robbed a man outside a Cedar Street pub on June 21. The victim told police he was between Greenwich Street and Trinity Place at 3 am, when the thief pulled a knife on him and took his cellphone. The crook fled east on Cedar Street heading towards the East River, and police searched the area without any luck, cops said.

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A man was arrested for allegedly kicking a police officer in the head inside the Whitehall Street Subway Station on June 21. The officer reported he was inside the state near South Street at 10:15 am, when he spotted the suspect attempting to beat the fare by using an “altered” Metrocard. When the cop went to bust the suspect, the man allegedly attacked, kicking the officer in the head and bashing his face into a handrail, according to police. But it didn’t do the suspect much good — the patrolman still managed to cuff the man, cops said.

Some crook nabbed about $1,500 worth of iPhones from a Park Place phone store on June 12. An employee told police the thief waltzed into the store between West Broadway and Church Street at 2:20 pm, and ripped the latest iPhone 7s out of their display cases before fleeing.

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A thief ransacked a Broadway real estate office on June 8, making off with a $500 painting of Mike Tyson, among other things. An employee told police the suspect entered the offices between Grand and Broome streets through a second-floor window at 11:30 pm, before nabbing the pricey image of “Kid Dynamite,” along with a few thousand dollars worth of electronics and somebody’s sunglasses.

A thief stole $1,000 and an iPhone a mom left unattended in her stroller at Broadway fast food joint on June 21. The victim told police she was inside the quickie diner between Cortlandt and Liberty streets at noon, when she took her baby into the bathroom and left her valuables unguarded, much to her thief’s benefit.

LOOKING GOOD A thief stole more than $1,600 worth of makeup from a Broadway drugstore on June 17. An employee told police he spotted the suspect inside the store between

SNOT RIGHT A thief made off with more than $1,100 worth of cough medicine from a Broadway drug store on June 14. An employee told police that the suspect strolled into the pharmacy between Murray Street and Park Place at 7:30 am, and grabbed more than 50 boxes of Mucinex along with several vials of Visine, before fleeing.

WAKE UP CALL Three robbers nabbed a man’s cash and iPhone on the platform of a West Broadway subway station on June 12. The victim told police he’d fallen asleep on the 1 train platform at the station near Chambers Street at 3 am, when he awoke find the delinquent trio nabbing his bag. The man gave chase to the thieves, and a scuffle ensued when he caught up to them, but all he got for his trouble were some ripped pants, cops said. — Colin Mixson DowntownExpress.com


‘Massacre’ threat backfires Mosque’s congregation, community defiant in the face of terrorist letter BY JACKSON CHEN Worshipers and neighbors refused to be cowed after a local mosque received a chilling threat last week promising a “massacre ... on a scale never seen.” Masjid Manhattan, the mosque at 30 Cliff Street, received a letter on June 21 threatening an unprecedented terrorist attack, according to police. Police said the letter read: “We will be coming to your Mosque in August to carry out a massacre. It will be on a scale never seen.” But congregants attending midday prayers on Friday were undeterred, with hundreds of worshippers filling the mosque. Asked about the terrorist threat, attendees said they were not intimidated by the threat — or even particularly surprised. “It’s really nothing new,” said Hesham El-Meligy, a Staten Island resident who stops by Masjid Manhattan during work. “It’s not even on the radar. It’s nothing we stop our lives for.”

Other worshippers said they’ve grown used to such incidents these days. “I wasn’t too surprised, I was just like, ‘Aw man, this is happening again, but at the mosque I pray in,’ ” said Imran Arif. “Thankfully, we have other people here to look out for us.” Arif was joined by Haroon Bhatti, a co-worker at NYC Health + Hospitals, who alerted his fellow mosque-goers about the terror threat through their group chat. “We let everyone know that this threat was identified,” Bhatti said. “But the point I was trying to get across to everyone was, ‘don’t be afraid — be cautious, be aware.’ ” Bhatti said he was disappointed to see a rather a light police presence immediately after the mosque received such a disturbing threat — albeit of an attack two months away — but he was pleased with the turnout among worshippers. In fact, he said it seemed news of the threat may have actu-

Photo by Jackson Chen

The local community rallied in solidarity with the Masjid Manhattan mosque at 30 Cliff St. last week after it received a chilling terrorist threat promising a “massacre.”

ally increased attendance for Friday prayers, rather than scared people away. “I think everyone took that and instead of staying home or praying at

another mosque, they came over here, which I think is evident by the amount of people you see,” Bhatti said. MOSQUE Continued on page 17

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GOING GREEN Greenmarket returns to WTC after 16 years BY COLIN MIXSON Downtown celebrated another milestone in the revitalization of Lower Manhattan with the return of GrowNYC’s Greenmarket to the World Trade Center on June 20, which returned for the first time since the neighborhood was devastated by the attacks of 9/11.

“What’s special about that particular farmers market is it was in existence prior to 9/11,” said real estate guru and Fidi Fan Page author Luis Vazquez. “Symbolically it is a big deal. It brings back a piece of the past.” Nearly a dozen farms participated in the Greenmarket’s return on Tuesday to its old spot at Church and Fulton

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Jinan Martiuk, who works in the area and loves the chance to shop for lunch and snacks, snaps up some pea pods.

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Ken Migliorelli of Migliorelli Farm is glad the Greenmarket has finally returned to its pre-9/11 location at the World Trade Center.

streets — in what’s now known as the Oculus Plaza. Market organizer GrowNYC has made various attempts since the terrorist attacks to reproduce the Greenmarket elsewhere in Lower Manhattan, but the other locations fell flat of the original site’s appeal, according to one farmer. “We stuck with the Greenmarket as it went to four or five different locations, but it was not feasible and I just had to stop,” said Ken Migliorelli, owner of Migliorelli Farm. But, with foot traffic coming off the PATH train, tourists, and workers, the crowd at Greenmarket’s grand return to the WTC was sizable and lively, and farmers left with empty trucks and heavy wallets, Migliorelli said. “It’s strategically located for a lot of foot traffic,” said the farmer. “We did really well, so I think it’s going to end up being a really good market.” The Downtown that Greenmarket has returned to is much different than the Lower Manhattan it served in 2001, and while the area’s transformation into a residential neighborhood means more customers, it also means Greenmarket is no longer the only grocery game in town. The market now faces competi-

e e r F

tion not only from other farmers markets, but from upscale grocery stores as well, Vazquez noted. That said, shoppers Downtown have a keen interest in sourcing their produce straight from the farm and Greenmarket has more than a fair chance to find its niche by the WTC. “People still like to get it directly from the source, so there’s definitely a lot of room for a market like that,” Vazquez said.

Photo by Tequila Minsky

GrowNYC’s World Trade Center Greenmarket now sets up under the sheltering wings of the Oculus.

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Redesign redux BPCA unveils revised plans for Wagner Park renovations BY JACKSON CHEN The Battery Park City Authority presented updated designs for the deployable flood barrier that wraps around Wagner Park and is expected to protect that part of Downtown from the next Hurricane Sandy-sized superstorm. Reps from the BPCA offered a lengthy recap and update to their plans for the flood barrier at Community Board 1’s Waterfront, Parks, and Resiliency Committee meeting on June 20. The barrier would connect to the waterfront resiliency structure protecting the Museum of Jewish Heritage to Battery Park. According to the BPCA, the 1,100-foot resiliency barrier would be deployed as a storm closed in by slotting segments of the wall onto columns along the inland edge of Wagner Park. A major part of the plan — and one that has sparked considerable controversy — involves the redesign of the Wagner Park pavilion, which is to be incorporated into the storm wall. But

reps from the firm leading the pavilion redesign, Perkins Eastman, said they’ve taken the criticism into consideration in their evolving designs. “We took the criticism of ‘we’re making too big a building,’ and we reduced its size, lowered it, to try to make it more suitable,” said Stanton Eckstut, founding principal for Perkins Eastman. “All of us want to make a more beautiful, more human-scale building. At the same time, we’re trying to balance it with getting and building good operations to fill all the different uses.” In the latest design, the new structure would increase the ground-floor restaurant space to 5,000 square feet — up from the existing 3,450 square feet — and fill in the existing archway to create a continuous flood barrier. The new design also calls for 1,200 more square feet of restaurant space on the second floor. While the pavilion will see more restaurant space, the redesign fits within the current structure’s footprint and

Battery Park City Authority

(Above) This map shows how the Wagner Park fl ood barrier would connect with other storm resiliency measures in the area. (Right) locals pushed back against the original design for the new pavilion meant to replace the existing structure.

does not change the number of public bathrooms. In the area around the pavilion, the BPCA’s updated design creates 2,800 more square feet of the park’s ornamental gardens and 5,100 more square feet of lawn space by reducing the amount of paved areas. The committee members said they

felt the BPCA and Perkins Eastman had heard their earlier feedback, but still offered points of critique. “You’re focusing on this restaurant REDESIGN Continued on page 17

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City to fund Downtown traffic study BY COLIN MIXSON The city’s transit agency has finally agreed to fund a study seeking solutions for the traffic nightmare created by the Financial District’s medieval streetscape. Department of Transportation hasn’t released any information regarding the scope of the planned study, but locals are hailing the announcement nonetheless as a welcome move towards less chaotic streets. “This is only the first step, but it’s an important first step,” said Patrick Kennell, president of the Financial District Neighborhood Association and co-chair of Community Board 1’s Land Use Committee. The agency announced it was on the hunt for a contractor to assess the current streetscape design and conduct pedestrian and traffic studies within the Financial District in a letter to local elected officials dated June 8. The Financial District is located in the footprint of the original Dutch settlement of Manhattan, and the area’s 17th century roots are obvious today in the narrow, disjointed traffic grid that remains better suited for the horse and

buggy than double-decker tour busses. This issue is compounded by modern nuisances including the security zone surrounding the New York Stock Exchange, construction scaffolding, placard parking, and towering piles of garbage that add to a depressing pedestrian and traffic situation that will only get worse as the neighborhood population continues to boom. CB1 has included the Downtown traffic study in the annual budget request it sends to the city for at least two years running, according to Kennell, and the FiDi neighborhood association created a petition last year calling for a study that has since garnered more than 1,000 signatures. In February, Downtown elected officials including state Sen. Daniel Squadron, assemblymembers Yuh-Line Niou and Deborah Glick, Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilmember Margaret Chin, and Rep. Jerry Nadler threw their weight behind the effort, firing off a letter to the DOT demanding the study. CB1 is still seeking to wrangle the city’s transit agency into forking over details on plans for the study, but the

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Dowtown is the fastest-growing neighborhood in the city, but is built on a medieval street grid. Reconciling those two facts will be the goal of a new, city-funded traffi c study.

DOT hasn’t released any information beyond the bare-bones summary included in the letter to the pols. Squadron thanked the DOT for finally coming around to ponying up cash for the much-needed study. “It is critical that our street infra-

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structure meets the needs of our growing community,” Squadron said. “I thank DOT for responding to the community’s call for a pedestrian and traffic study for our neighborhood, and I look forward to seeing this project move ahead.”

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BETTER LATE THAN NEVER? Bill requiring residents on BPCA board passes — after outsiders installed

BY COLIN MIXSON Crusading state Sen. Daniel Squadron finally succeeded in swaying Albany’s Republican-dominated Senate to pass legislation requiring local representation on the Battery Park City Authority in a late-night vote June 21 — but the victory came too late to prevent Gov. Cuomo from packing the current board with an all-outsider slate. The bill only requires two of the seven seats on the BPCA’s board be filled by actual BPC residents — a far cry from the four-seat majority that locals have demanded for years — but Squadron nonetheless characterized the Senate vote as a major achievement. “This bill is a big step toward a BPCA board that reflects the value of local governance,” Squadron said. Members of the BPCA board — which oversees the 92-acre, state-owned community — are not elected but rather nominated by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. In his floor speech pushing the bill, Squadron pointed to the only community in the city with a comparable panel to highlight the unique unfairness of Battery Park City’s outsider governance. “At the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, every single member is a resident of Roosevelt Island,” Squadron

said. “It is simply not right that these appointments are considered anything other than a local voice for a local community that needs to be governed.” Legislation requiring community residents on the BPCA board, co-sponsored in the lower chamber this session by assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Yuh-Line Niou, has passed the Assembly before, but always failed to get to a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, which Squadron described less as oppositional, and more as indifferent to the plight of BPC residents. “You haven’t seen Republican opposition,” Squadron said, “you’ve seen Republican silence and unwillingness to allow a vote.” The legislation the Senate finally approved on June 21 was crafted as a compromise with Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions Committee Chairman Michael Ranzenhofer, who ultimately made the decision to bring the legislation to a vote, according to Squadron spokesman Zeeshan Ott. A prior incarnation of the bill would have required that residents of Community Board 1 — which also includes Tribeca, the Financial District, and the Seaport District — make up a majority on the BPCA board. The version that ultimately passed requires only two locals on the board, but they must actually live in BPC.

Associated Press / Mike Groll

State Sen. Daniel Squadron finally got the GOP-dominated Senate to pass a bill requiring at least two neighborhood residents on the board of the Battery Park City Authority — but not before the chamber confirmed Gov. Cuomo’s non-resident nominees to fill the three vacancies on the board, which now includes no residents.

That second change may have had more to do with lobbying from CB1 chairman Anthony Notaro, according to the chairwoman of CB1’s Battery Park City Committee, who said Notaro requested that Squadron remove lan-

guage about CB1 and require members dwelling specifically within BPC. “The bill was amended due to heavy lobbying by Anthony Notaro ... to limit BPCA BILL Continued on page 18

Guv packs BPCA board with non-residents BY COLIN MIXSON Gov. Cuomo has once again ignored the pleas of Battery Park City residents and appointed three outsiders to fill vacancies on the neighborhood’s ruling council. There are now no residents on the board of the Battery Park City Authority, despite repeated calls by residents, elected officials, and local civic leaders to expand local representation. On June 20, the state Senate voted to confirm Cuomo’s three nominees to the authority’s board, which has been without local representation since BPC resident Martha Gallo stepped

10

June 29 – July 12, 2017

down from the board in April. Only one of the governor’s nominees has even the slightest connection to BPC — Catherine McVay Hughes, a longtime Fidi resident and former chairwoman if Community Board 1. The other two new board members live far out on Long Island. State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who sponsored a bill to require local representation on the BPCA board, spoke out against the dearth of resident voices on the panel prior to the confirmation vote last week. “Unfortunately the Battery Park City Authority [board], with its seven members,

has and will have after this appointment, zero residents of Battery Park City on it,” Squadron told the Senate on Tuesday. “It is a basic principal that on local governances you have a local voice and in Battery Park City that is sorely lacking.” Squadron did, however, speak in favor of Hughes. “Catherine McVay Hughes, while not a BPC resident, is a longtime Lower Manhattan leader,” Squadron said. “Her judgment and commitment to the community and energy will all be a great addition to the BPCA board.” Many Battery Park City

Former Community Board 1 chairwoman Catherine McVay Hughes, who lives in Fidi, is the only one on the BPCA board now with any connection to the neighborhood it controls.

residents — even among Hughes’s former colleagues on CB1 — were unhappy with Squadron’s vocal support of Hughes, whose strong ties with the community do not, in their eyes, make up for the fact she lives outside their neighborhood. “We were disappointed by the recent appointments, not because of the people who were chosen, they may be fine candidates, but by the fact that again no BPC residents were selected was disturbing,” said Anthony Notaro. Cuomo’s other appoinPACKED Continued on page 18

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ADVERTORIAL

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

DowntownExpress.com

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

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 29 – July 12, 2017

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June 29 – July 12, 2017

BY LENORE SKENAZY What if you could rent a place to store a giant pile of your stuff in New York City for free? The bad news is you can. If you own a car, you can park it on the street in many neighborhoods without paying a cent. All you have to do is move it once or twice a week. Of course, that seems totally normal — but maybe it shouldn’t. As Paul Steely White, executive director of the non-profit Transportation Alternatives points out, streets are actually public space. We think they’re a place for cars to drive and sit (mostly sit), because that is what we’ve gotten used to. His goal is to get us all to think differently. To that end, his group sponsored a night at the Museum of the City of New York last week called “Streetopia.” Hundreds of people visited three floors of exhibits, all showcasing ways to reclaim the city from automobile dominance, like Barcelona’s “Superblocks.” Choked by traffic, that Spanish city is creating small neighborhoods of about three square blocks and allowing cars to drive only around the perimeter. The chunk of blocks becomes a community — kids can play in the streets again, bicyclists don’t fear cars — while the amount of air and noise pollution plummets. Another exhibit featured the winners of a contest for how to deal with transit on 14th Street when the L train goes out of service for a year. One idea: Get cars off the block and have buses run every minute. But the starkest, most perspectivechanging exhibit was simply time-lapse footage of a corner of E. 22nd Street where a Citi Bike rack sits across from some on-street parking. Over the course of a single day you see people swarming the bike rack, taking bikes out, bring-

ing them back. For a while, almost all the bikes are gone, then the rack fills up again, then off they go. And across the street, taking up twice as much space as the rack, are two cars, are just sitting there, parked all day. You start to realize how much space we have simply ceded to cars, and what a waste that is. “Parking is a finite public resource,” says White. That space that we think of as the-place-cars-have-a-right-to-sitall-day could be used differently. It could be used to expand the sidewalk, or make a bike lane. It could be given over to buses. It could become space for businesses to open up cafes or kiosks — and pay taxes on the land. Or it could be planted with grass and turned into a playground. We think of it as “parking” only because we believe that cars have the right to it. But in fact, the majority of New Yorkers don’t own cars. Why must we sacrifice public land to this minority for free — especially since studies have shown that 90 percent of people who drive to their Manhattan jobs could get there by public transit? “For too long, the vast majority of New York City’s public space has been dedicated to the convenience of drivers and the storage of cars. The small spaces carved out for pedestrians — crosswalks, sidewalks — leave the public at the mercy of drivers,” says White. I was talking to a car-owning friend about this, and he said that free parking is no different from free education. Some people don’t own cars, some

people don’t have kids. Our taxes pay for schools and on-the-street parking anyway. But streets are not like schools. Schools are a public good that ultimately benefit all of society. Streets are public land that we are giving away for private use. Would we let a private citizen build a house in Central Park? Of course not, because we recognize the park as something that belongs to all of us. It is time to think of our streets that way. So then: How do we wrest them back from the car owners? Some alternatives that have been tried elsewhere are working. London charges a giant premium to drive into its business district, and as a result, traffic (and parking) congestion are down — but commerce is not. Each summer, Paris turns some of its roadways into “beaches,” complete with sand and palm trees. Somehow the Citroëns survive. Los Angeles raised its parking meter fees with the predictable result of cars parking for less time. That means cars are circling for less time, too. And drivers are more likely to simply pay for garage parking in the first place, rather than circle for a cheap spot on the street. Here in New York, one simple idea is to start charging for all street parking, and give the money to the MTA. The majority of New Yorkers would cheer. “Streets can be designed for either cars or people, but not both at once,” White said. It is time to stop giving away New York City’s precious public land. Lenore Skenazy is founder of FreeRange Kids, a contributor to Reason. com, and author of “Has the World Gone Skenazy?”

Letters To the Editor, There is more to this week’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority announcement that the repairs to South Ferry Station adjacent to the Whitehall Street Staten Island Ferry Terminal have been completed early enough to reopen this week. Washington paid twice with your tax dollars under grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration (USDOT FTA)

to build the new South Ferry 1-train station. Although the original South Ferry Station suffered only minor structural damage as a result of 9/11, Uncle Sam still provided $545 million in 9/11 emergency recovery funding to build a new station at an adjacent site. As part of the MTA’s 20-year Capital Needs Assessment Plan, they had always intended to upgrade this station. This was necessary as the original station built in 1905 could

only accommodate five cars on its platform, versus the standard 10 at all other stations. Due to major damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, USDOT FTA provided another $344 million to rebuild the station. This time, the Superstorm Sandy Disaster Relief Act was the source of funding. This time, the federal funds were also suppleLETTERS Continued on page 17

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REDESIGN Continued from page 8

Déjà vu

a lot … but the issue really is this flood protection from Pier A plaza and how it goes out from there,” said committee member Laura Starr, suggesting they put the restaurant redesign on the backburner. “Until you solve for that, you don’t have a solution that’s protecting Battery Park City, and you don’t have a solution that’s protecting the other parts of this area.” Committee member Bob Townley also pointed out that the BPCA should contact the Hudson River Park for a particular vulnerability he observed during Sandy. While the authority noted Stuyvesant High School as a vulnerable point, Townley said the waterfront along Hudson River Park from Harrison to Chambers streets was an entry point for a lot of water during the 2012 superstorm, causing flooding further south. The BPCA reps said the designs are not final and still open to changes.

MOSQUE Continued from page 5

As worshippers showed up in force to fulfill their religious duty, several non-Mulsims also gathered in front of the mosque to express their solidarity in the face of the threats. “I don’t think we know really one way or another if the threat is real,” said Kate Alexander, the policy director for Peace Action, whose New York offices are just around the corner on Fulton Street. “Regardless, these are our neighbors, family members, and co-workers. We’re here for them.” Chuck Edwards, a Village resident and founding member of Just Good Neighbors, arranged for members of his

LETTERS Continued from page 16

mented by millions more in insurance payouts to the MTA for the storm damage. Why did it take almost five years to complete this project? Remember the Fulton Street Transit Center project? The original start date was 2003 with a completion date of 2007. At $1.4 billion, the final cost ended up $650 million higher than the original budget of $750 million. The USDOT FTA first provided $847 million in 9/11 recovery funding for the Fulton hub. This was supplemented by $423 million in American Recovery Reinvestment Act funding to assist in covering cost overruns. Sixteen years after 9/11, the Cortland Street-WTC 1-train subway station is still two years away from DowntownExpress.com

All over again The South Ferry 1-train station reopened this week — again! The original station, dating back to 1905, closed in 2003 for a redesign so that it could accommodate more than five subway cars on its platform. Six years and $545 million later, the station reopened in 2009 — only to shutter again three years later after it was inundated during Hurricane Sandy. After four more years of work and and another $350 million, the South Ferry station finally reopened on Tuesday.

group to hold up signs with messages of peace and acceptance and greet worshippers with the traditional Muslim greeting “As-Salaam-Alaikum.” Just a day after the letter arrived threatening Masjid Manhattan — which the New York Post reports was mailed from London — the Islamic Cultural Center of New York on the Upper East Side received a bomb threat letter from England, according to police. There have been no arrests in connection with either threat, according to police, but NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating both incidents. The trans-Atlantic threats come on the heels of a deadly attack on a

London mosque on June 19, in which a man drove a van into a crowd of Muslim worshipers gathered outside, allegedly in retaliation for a recent string of Islamist terror attacks in that city. Local elected officials issued a joint statement on June 22 condemning the terrorist threat and blaming the coarsening of political discourse. “Threatening a massacre at a house of worship is fundamentally an attack on the values and core principles of our nation, our city, and our borough,” read the statement signed by state Sen. Daniel Squadron, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblymember Yuh-

Line Niou, and Councilmember Margaret Chin. “A political climate that fosters hatred and fear continues to have very real consequences in our neighborhoods.” But neighbors of the mosque said the letter would not create much fear in their neighborhood. Ziggy Szymcyzk, the owner of the next-door bar The Iron Horse NYC, offered his solidarity with the mosque and the imams he interacts with daily. “We’re in Downtown Manhattan, one of the safest areas,” Szyczyk said. “What am I going to do, shut my place down, build a wall? I can’t do that. Those are my neighbors. I’m here with them.”

returning to service. If there are no new delays, perhaps the station will reopen by December 2018. The Port Authority and MTA fought for years over the budget, funding sources, scope and schedule. Construction for the MTA portion of the project began last year. This station was totally destroyed in the 9/11 attacks, suffering far more damage than others. Why will it take the MTA 17 years to rebuild it? Taxpayers and commuters deserve better. The original start date for construction of the new WTC PATH station at the Oculus was 2003, with a completion date of 2009 at a cost of $2 billion. The Port Authority subsequently signed a construction agreement with the USDOT FTA. This made up to $2.2 billion in federal funding available for

the new PATH Terminal. The grant agreement between the Port Authority and USDOT FTA was awarded in December 2003. It included a commitment for a start of construction in the beginning of 2006 with completion on or before June 2011. Fast forward 13 years, and most construction on the Oculus hub was completed in 2016, many years beyond the original promised date. At $4 billion, the cost was double the original $2-billion budget. Both the project delays and major cost overruns are nothing to be proud of. Opening of the corridor linking the E train to the oculus sixteen years after 9/11 was not a cause for celebration. The ceiling still leaks after any heavy rain. It is a sad commentary on the mismanagement of taxpayers funds used

for a major transportation project. Now there is talk of extending the 1 train from the Rector Street station Downtown to Red Hook in Brooklyn for $3.5 billion. This would require a tunnel and three new stations. This subway extension would be to support a new proposed Red Hook economic development project similar in size and scope to Battery City Park. Was this $3.5-billion figure worked out on the back of a napkin? There isn’t even a planning and feasibility study yet, let alone any environmental documents or preliminary design and engineering, followed by final design and engineering efforts. All of the above is necessary to validate any basic estimates for construction costs. Larry Penner Transportation historian June 29 – July 12, 2017

17


A midsummer day’s dream Thurs., June 29–Wed., June 5

ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES SUSPENDED TUESDAY FOR FOURTH OF JULY Happy Independence Day! An estimated one-million people will assemble along the East River on Tuesday to watch fi reworks. To accommodate the crowds, the city will be closing the FDR Drive. That means the West Side Highway will experience delays as drivers avoid the east side. On Thursday, U2 will perform at MetLife Stadium at 7 p.m., Lincoln Tunnel jams will send traffic down to the Holland. Tuesday, the Fourth, is a major legal holiday — not only are alternate side parking rules suspended, so are parking meter and stopping and standing regulations, except where there are signs like, “No Standing Anytime,� where regulations are in effect 24/7. The 41st Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Celebration from 9:25 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday

will close the FDR Drive from midtown to the Brooklyn Bridge from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m. Wednesday. Also avoid streets like East Houston, Grand, Pearl, and South, which have ramps reserved for pedestrians to access the FDR. First Avenue will also close from Midtown to 20th Street. This means drivers below 20th will experience significant delays along First Avenue and on Avenues A, B, and C. Once the fireworks start, drivers slow down and even stop on the bridges. So expect backups into Manhattan on the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges; best bet for drivers is the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Better yet, take transit. Also Tuesday, the 4th of July Block Party will close Cliff Street between John and Fulton streets from noon to 6 p.m. Around the corner, CB1’s Great July 4th Fair will close Fulton Street between Water and Gold streets from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

BPCA BILL Continued from page 10

it to BPC residents,� said Ninfa Segarra. Notaro pointed out that the neighborhood, which is built entirely on reclaimed, state-owned land, has

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Locals were treated to authentic Swedish folk dances around a genuine maypole at the Swedish Midsummer Festival on Friday.

BY COLIN MIXSON How Swede it is! Battery Park City went Scandinavian last week with the annual Swedish Midsummer Festival on June 23. The festival took over Wagner Park and Pier A for three hours on Friday. Kids and adults celebrated Swedish culture with traditional games, folk and maypole dances — the Swedish kind, not the seedy kind — and music

an unusual system of ground-leases and quasi-taxes that outsiders may nor fully understand. “Battery Park City has a unique tax structure and land lease, so we feel that having local residents, not necessarily CB1 residents, serve on the board is the best way of handling representation,� Notaro said. Squadron’s legislation passed the Senate just one day after his colleagues confirmed Cuomo’s nomi-

PACKED Continued from page 10

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18

June 29 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; July 12, 2017

tees include Shelter Island resident Louis Bevilacqua, an attorney with a practice in the East Village, and Long Island resident George Tsunis, a well-heeled political donor famous for fumbling his nomination as ambassador to Norway under the Obama administration, when repeatedly referring to the king of Norway as president. Presaging his appointment to the BPCA board, Tsunis also had no ties to the Scandinavian country. Squadron also came under fire from locals for failing to pass his

courtesy of Paul Dahlin and fiddlers with the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. Fine Swedish cuisine was on offer from vendors including Nordic Preserves, SmĂśrgĂĽs Chef/CrĂŞpes du Nord and, naturally, Red Rooster. The annual Nordic festival is presented by Battery Park City Parks, and co-hosted by the Consul General of Sweden in New York, Leif Pagrotsky.

nations of three new members to fill vacancies on the board â&#x20AC;&#x201D; including the seat held until April by Martha Gallo, who was the only BPC resident on the neighborhoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s governing panel. None of the new board members live in Battery Park City. So even if Cuomo does agree to sign the bill into law, it wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have any immediate effect, until such time as any sitting board members quit or their terms expire.

legislation requiring BPC residents be appointed to the board before the current appointments were ratified, and the chairwoman on CB1â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Battery Park City Committee Ninfa Segarra fired off scathing emails to other board members criticizing the senator. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is only one way to describe Squadronâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s behavior â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a betrayal of the BPC community,â&#x20AC;? Segarra said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;By his action he has totally prevented any representation.â&#x20AC;? Squadronâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s spokesman pushed back, saying that he had been pushing to pass his legislation since last year, and has consistently argued

for his senate colleagues to reject non-resident BPCA board nominees. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Daniel authored this bill with Assemblymember Glick last year, and has pushed for quick passage since day one, despite a Republicancontrolled Senate in which bipartisanship is rarer than the Governor nominating a Battery Park City resident to the BPCA Board,â&#x20AC;? said spokesman Zeeshan Ott. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In addition, Daniel has regularly urged resident appointments and tried to block non-residents, including two this past week. Any suggestions to the contrary are absurd and inconsistent with reality.â&#x20AC;? DowntownExpress.com


Tales of Struggle Told in American Immigrant Yiddish NYTF’s ‘Golden Land’ is mindful of what made us great

Photos by Lou Montesano

The cast, during a recent rehearsal for the July 4-Aug. 6 run of “Amerike.”

BY TRAV S.D. A century and more ago, the world possessed 10 million Yiddish speakers. Tens of thousands of them immigrated to the United States every year, many of them choosing to make their homes in New York City. In 2017, the world looks very different. The number of Yiddishspeakers, worldwide, is now six percent of where it was during its peak, and efforts are underway to curb immigration to the United States on the basis of religion and national origin. But one institution from that earlier age remains to remind us of the importance of ancient cultural legacies, and the countless way immigrants have enriched and benefitted America. At 102 years old, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) is still going strong. In July, they will celebrate the immigrant experience and the place of Jews within it by reviving their popular Yiddish language history musical “Amerike — The Golden Land” and by holding a unique two-day Immigration Arts Summit. Both will be presented at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, DowntownExpress.com

L to R, the “Amerike” creative team: Christopher Massimine, Motl Didner, Bryna Wasserman, Moishe Rosenfeld, Zalmen Mlotek, Merete Muenter.

located in Battery Park City. “Amerike – The Golden Land” is described as “a richly textured evocation of New York City as it absorbed wave upon wave of Jewish immigrants from 1897 through the 1940s, filled

with authentic period songs and the stories of actual immigrants.” The production will be presented in authentic American immigrant Yiddish, supported by English and Russian supertitles, with live video, and a seven-piece

klezmer band. The show was co-created by NYTF artistic director Zalmen Mlotek (who serves as the production’s music director) and Moishe Rosenfeld. According to Rosenfeld, “Amerike” began in 1982 as a benefit concert at an 85th anniversary celebration for the Jewish immigrant newspaper The Forward, which was held at the Stevensville Hotel in the Catskills. It was developed into a full-length show and has enjoyed many successful revivals since the mid-1980s (the most recent was in 2012). “When we first put this show on,” Rosenfeld said. “The older people in the audience were immigrants. They and their children spoke Yiddish and understood every nuance. The piece’s power to communicate was deep and powerful. The laughs were robust and it was a huge success. Now we’re so far removed and we don’t have that Yiddish-speaking audience and so our objective is to reconnect and bring these works back to life.” The Folksbiene’s most recent proAMERIKE continued on p. 22 June 29 – July 12, 2017

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Austin, Tennessee Pendleton pours passion for Williams into helming late-period ‘Play’ BY TRAV S.D. Austin Pendleton is a man of many reputations: renowned actor of stage and screen, theatre director, teacher, and artistic director of the now-defunct Circle Repertory Company. His current project is a revival of Tennessee Williams’ late work “The Two-Character Play,” produced by Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company. The linking may be fortuitous. Pendleton has previously directed prominent productions of several Williams’ works including “Vieux Carre,” “Orpheus Descending,” “Suddenly Last Summer” and “Small Craft Warnings.” And, last season, Playhouse Creatures presented a successful double bill of the late Williams one-acts “A Recluse and His Guest” and “The Remarkable RoomingHouse of Mme. Le Monde.” Pendleton’s passion for Williams stretches back to his earliest days in the theatre. “My fi rst encounter with a Tennessee Williams play became the fi rst time I knew there was such a thing as a great playwright,” Pendleton said. “When I was 14 I saw a good community theatre production of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ in my hometown in Ohio. I’d had no idea before that, that you could get that involved with a character in a play. I didn’t know you could go to the theatre and actually worry about somebody. The fi rst time I directed a play as an adult, I directed my mother [professional actress Frances Manchester Pendleton] in a production of ‘The Glass Menagerie.’ The characters haunted me for months. Williams writes about people we would never imagine would have impact on us, but they do. Tennessee Williams does not write ‘everyman’ characters. He writes these strange people but the whole world embraces them.” “The Two-Character Play” was written during a time of tumultuous transition for Williams. During the 1960s he plunged into radical experimentation, a transformation which drove both critics and audiences away. Many of these last works have been revived in recent years to great acclaim. “The Two-Character Play” is an existential ordeal in the manner of Beckett. A brother-sister acting team, who may Courtesy Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company

Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company continues their deep dive into the work of Tennesee Williams.

AUSTIN continued on p. 22

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June 29 – July 12, 2017


JUST DO ART BY SCOTT STIFFLER

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARKING LOT From raccoons to rain to birds to loony Trump supporters, the Public Theater will tell you that interruptions come with the territory when your Bard is based in an al fresco setting. But the unpredictable hijinks that have been known to play out in the comparatively cushy Delacorte Theater during Shakespeare in the Park seem downright tame compared to the pedigree of distractions that are par for the course for the hearty thespians of The Drilling Company. A summertime staple since 2001, the troupe’s cheekily named Shakespeare in the Parking Lot series has seen every manner of colorful Lower East Side life (honking horns, vocal passersby) make a bid for supporting player status. Undaunted, they will most certainly soldier on through two upcoming productions, the fi rst of which is “All’s Well That Ends Well” — whose comedic moments are, the Company notes, “interlaced with gut-wrenching pathos, causing it to be labeled one of Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays.’ ” Director Karla Hendrick calls this case of a famous French physician’s daughter in love with a man below her rank a story of “two young people united through diverse journeys through despair and darkness.” Darker still is where Hendrick stages the action: southeastern France circa World War II, just before (shades of our political present!) fascists overtake the great nation. Free. At La Plaza @ The Clemente Parking Lot (114 Norfolk St.; E. side of Norfolk St., btw. Delancey & Rivington Sts.). “All’s Well That Ends Well” runs July 6-22 and “Henry the Sixth Part Three” (helmed by Hamilton Clancy) runs July 27-Aug. 12. Shows are performed Thurs.–Sat., 7pm. Seats available on a first come first served basis; blankets spread out once seats are gone (you can bring your own chair). Visit shakespeareintheparkinglot.com.

Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Anwen Darcy as Helena and Michael William Bernstein as Parolles, in “All’s Well That Ends Well” — playing July 6-22 in a Lower East Side parking lot.

SOULPEPPER THEATRE COMPANY Despite their clean streets, extreme Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

JUST DO ART continued on p. 22 DowntownExpress.com

Soulpepper founding member Diego Matamoros in “Cage,” July 12-16. June 29 – July 12, 2017

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AUSTIN continued from p. 20

be insane and have been abandoned by the rest of their company, present to us a play within a play. The work is full of sadness and alienation and ultimately may be more rooted in reality than his original audiences could have known or appreciated. Williams fi rst presented an early version of the play in London in 1967. He continued to work on it, and presented a rewritten version called “Out Cry” in Chicago in 1971, fi nally bringing it to Broadway in 1973. That production closed after 12 performances. It took the public and the critical community decades to catch up with Williams’ vision. There have been numerous critically acclaimed productions over the past several years.

Courtesy the artist

Austin Pendleton directs “The Two-Character Play,” the latest in his long association with works of Williams.

“It’s one of his most personal plays,” Pendleton said. “He was inordinately fond of it. I’d acted in a 1982 production, the last one during his

lifetime, and it got good reviews. When it came time for me to direct the current production I thought I’d remember some of the things the previous director Tom Brennan had said [about the play’s meaning], but I couldn’t remember a thing. Any interpretation you come up with, you come up with in the moment when you’re doing it. You’re starting all over again.” The director appears to have found a key, at least for this production. “I knew Tennessee a bit and about his life,” Pendleton noted. “He was, especially in his last years, in a state of perpetual crisis. He carried his feelings about his sister around with him in his work all those years, and it came out in some of his greatest characters; Blanche, Laura. Critics

Best Ensemble, and design nods for its set, sound, and lighting. “Kim’s Convenience” (the “most successful Canadian play of the last decade”) looks at Canada’s immigrant community

through the lens of a multigenerational, family-run Korean variety store. Elsewhere on the schedule, Soulpepper founding member Diego Matamoros is among the trio who

uses the ideas (and last name!) of John Cage for “Cage” — a meditation on time, space, and memory that manages to work Zen Buddhism and apes into the mix. The musical “Alligator Pie” is performed (and was created) by those who grew up grooving to the rhymes of Dennis Lee (“Canada’s Father Goose,” he’s better known in these parts as lyricist for Jim Henson’s much-loved “Fraggle Rock”). Finally, at least as far as this roundup is concerned, a trio of concerts: “True North” acknowledges Canada’s 150th birthday with a collection of songs that speak to the country’s national character. “The Secret Chord” is a tribute to the late Leonard Cohen (yet another Canadian of distinction), and “The Melting Pot” looks at immigrant cultures that planted their feet in Manhattan and proceeded to create the soundtrack of the 20th century. July 1-29 at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 W. 42nd St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). For tickets ($25-$80), call 888-898-1188 or visit soulpepper.org.

for the revival: “Because of the times we’re living in, a musical about immigration at the turn of the century made sense. We’re going to be doing this show right across the water from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. There’s an important synergy. The Jewish immigrant story is the story of all immigrants. We all had trouble coming over [to America.] We all had struggles, but we made it ours.” In that spirit, in addition to the production, NYTF will be hosting a twoday Immigration Arts Summit on July 17 and 18. The summit will feature a keynote address by John Leguizamo, with

participation of such diverse figures as former NBC television journalist Ann Curry, Larry Kirwan of the band Black 47, performance artist Jenny Romaine, and Frank London of The Klezmatics. Also performing will be a culturally variegated collection of New York City arts organizations, including the Pan Asian Repertory, Repertorio Español, Irish Repertory Theatre, the Kairos Italy Theater, the Irish Arts Center, the Turkish American Repertory Theatre, the Romanian Cultural Institute, and Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs in the USA. The Summit concludes with a free outdoor concert at the Robert F.

Wagner Park on Tues., July 18 at 7pm. “Amerike – The Golden Land” and the Arts Summit will be presented at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Pl., at West St. & First Pl.). Opening Performance on Tues., July 4 at 7pm. Then, through Aug. 6: Wed. at 2pm; Thurs. at 2pm & 7:30pm; Sun. at 2pm & 6pm. For tickets ($35-$60), call 866811-4111 or visit nytf.org (where you will also find info. on the Summit; $10 for one day, $15 for both). Directed by Bryna Wasserman; movement & staging by Merete Muenter; music direction & arrangements by NYTF artistic director Zalmen Mlotek.

JUST DO ART continued from p. 21

politeness, and stellar reading comprehension skills, our neighbors to the north have never made a national sport out of rubbing our noses in it (a moot point when you’re so damn good at hockey). They’ve even taken the high road by not pointing out the fact that many fine Americans are, or at least were, Canadians (see: Alanis Morissette, Ryan Gosling, Pat Kiernan). Now, add 65 members of Toronto-based Soulpepper Theatre Company to the list of impressive imports. Their monthlong Off-Broadway residency at The Pershing Square Signature Center will take over all five stages to present 11 plays, musicals, and concerts. Two works of distinction begin their run on the second day of the month: Soulpepper’s “highly theatrical” adaptation of the 1915 W. Somerset Maugham novel “Of Human Bondage” is the mostawarded show in Toronto history, having garnered a slew of “Canadian Tony” (aka Dora) awards, including Best Play,

AMERIKE continued from p. 19

duction, a revival of the 1923 operetta “The Golden Bride,” was a smash success, and according to NYTF CEO Christopher Massimine, provided impetus to revive the present work. “In a way the two shows are opposites,” he said. “ ‘The Golden Bride’ was a fantasy about American life in the 1920s. ‘Amerike’ is the realistic story of the immigrant experience: the xenophobia people faced, and the political unrest.” Sound a little like 2017? Rosenfeld offered that this too was an inspiration

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began to decide it wasn’t worth watching him do this any more and it hit him hard. ‘The Two-Character Play’ seems torn out of those feelings. It takes place in this frozen country, everybody’s walked out. The characters speak in code to each other. It’s haunting and disturbing and funny like all of his plays.” June 29 through July 16 at Duo Multicultural Arts Center (62 E. Fourth St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). Performances: Thurs. & Fri. at 8pm; Sat. at 5pm & 8pm; Sun. at 3pm; Wed., July 5 & 12 at 8pm. Admission: $35 general seating, $49 premium (front row seat, glass of wine), $15 for students (must show ID at the door). For reservations, visit playhousecreatures.org.

Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Soulpepper’s much-awarded “Of Human Bondage” stage adaptation plays July 1-26.

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