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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 29, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 26

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Truck driver arrested and charged in death of cyclist on First Ave. BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

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ollowing a police investigation, the truck driver involved in the April 5 collision at First Avenue and E. Ninth St. that killed a 31-yearold Lower East Side cyclist has been arrested and hit with three charges. According to police, Kyung Hwan Hyun, 59, of Syosset,

N.Y., was arrested on the afternoon of Wed., June 28. He was charged with failure to yield for a pedestrian, failure to exercise due care and improper left turn on a one-way road. In the fatal collision, Kelly Hurley, 31, of Orchard St., was struck as she was cycling northbound on First Ave. and CYCLIST continued on p. 3

Push to save some pieces of destroyed Norfolk St. synagogue BY BILL WEINBERG

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he fate of the forlorn remains of the landmarked Beth HaMidrash HaGadol synagogue on Norfolk St. — gutted by fire on May 14 — is clearly an agonizing question for the Lower East Side’s Jewish community. On June 20, the Commu-

nity Board 3 Landmarks Committee, meeting at the Evelyn & Louis A. Green housing residence off Cooper Square, passed a resolution to protect as much as can be saved of the original structure after public safety is taken into account. The vote followed much testiSYNAGOGUE continued on p. 8

PHOTO BY Q. SAKAMAKI

Resistance both reigned and riled at the annual Pride March on Sunday. See ar ticle, Page 4.

De Blasio, Chin come under fire at town hall BY SCOTT R. A XELROD

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esides the heat, there was a palpable tension in the room when Mayor Bill de Blasio and Councilmember Margaret Chin hosted a town hall at the Chinatown YMCA and University Settlement on E. Houston St. on Wed., June 21. And while many of the roughly 400 attendees of the RSVP-only event waited pa-

tiently or impatiently to grill Hizzoner on a litany of topics that have been part of much criticism aimed at his administration, hundreds turned the sidewalk outside into what could have easily been mistaken for a casting call for contestants for “Who’s Pissed Off at the Mayor and Margaret the Most?” Mayoral candidate Sal Albanese arrived with the intention of holding a press confer-

ence about an hour before the town hall, not knowing the scope of protester turnout, and the fact that there was little room to walk, let alone engage an audience. He did have time, however, to share some thoughts on the two politicians headlining the town hall. “It’s clear that de Blasio and Chin are not listening to the MAYOR continued on p. 20

Pride was safer — but insaner for drivers ........p. 2 Ave. B stabbing victim ‘was doing drug deal’.....p. 9 Eye on Pride: March photos.....p. 6

www.TheVillager.com


SAFE PRIDE: Gay Pride is, of course, always a huge event in the Village, from the Pride March to its festive aftermath. But this Sunday evening, it seemed like things were on another level. We happened to be with a friend from Westbeth driving back to the Village and it was totally impossible to get anywhere near the place. Even pleas that she was a neighborhood resident trying to get home fell on deaf ears. Basically, we couldn’t turn left off of the West Side Highway, had to go all the way down to Canal St., then up Sixth Ave. — Greenwich St. was a massive traffic jam — to W. Fourth St., where cops directed us east. We finally could head uptown at University Place, but couldn’t turn left anywhere into the Village. Gay revelers mostly had car-free streets to themselves to mill about and partaay. A police source, requesting anonymity, confirmed to us, what we already knew: The street closures were especially heavy this year. What we didn’t know was the reason: Fear of an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack with a truck plowing into crowds. “They closed down Hudson St. and Seventh Ave. for safety reasons,� he told us. “This is the first year we closed those streets. They don’t want things happening out here like in Europe. They only did it in the Village. It’s mostly because of what’s happening in the world. I think that’s what they’re going to have to do now, especially when you have a lot of people in one area.� This approach was in evidence, for example, at the recent memorial vigil outside the

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Stonewall Inn for last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Orlando Pulse gay club massacre. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They blocked off streets with Sanitation sand trucks and police vehicles,â&#x20AC;? the source noted. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With the big events â&#x20AC;&#x201D; New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in Times Square, St. Pattyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day â&#x20AC;&#x201D; weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing it now. We â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cap the endsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;? of the events, he said. For her part, Marilyn Dorato, executive director of the Greenwich Village Block Associations, said residents she spoke to didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t notice anything out of the ordinary, since everyone usually expects Pride to be a massive all-day event. Told that there actually were extra street closures this year for safety, she said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think people are understanding of that. I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t gotten any complaints about it. My Fresh Direct didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t come,â&#x20AC;? she quipped. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not the end of the world. I have no personal problems with it, and because of the incidents that happened, people are really not going to complain about it.â&#x20AC;? Apart from the 12 arrests of gay activists outside the Stonewall Inn by Hoods4Justice, there were no other Pride-related police-related incidents in the Village, according to the Sixth Precinct.

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;NOOSE CASEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; NEWS: The Ottomanelli â&#x20AC;&#x153;noose incidentâ&#x20AC;? case is on hold in court until September, but the sparks are flying between the opposing lawyers on the case, Ron Kuby and Wylie Stecklow. Kuby is representing Joe Ottomanelli, 58, one of the brothers who runs Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market. Stecklow is repping Victor Sheppard, a black deliveryman who charges he was racially harassed and threatened by Joe

PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

You might call him the James Brown of the Pride March, because a sweat-drenched Councilmember Corey Johnson looked like the hardest-working man out there as he busted moves to the music.

and a store employee, Paul. According to the criminal complaint, one day in early April, when Sheppard arrived at the store, Joe held up a noose and told him, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Here is your gift. You can put it around your neck and pull it if you want to end it all. If you are feeling stressed out, I can help you with it.â&#x20AC;? Joe then pushed the noose into the deliverymanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s upper body, the complaint says. Sheppard added that about a week before that alleged incident, Joe told him, â&#x20AC;&#x153;It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t so long ago that your people couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sit in the front of the bus.â&#x20AC;? The formal charge is aggravated harassment in the second degree. Speaking to us last week, Stecklow said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a hate crime. He pushed a noose into the chest of an African American. Since this happened, there have been 10 more noose incidents around the country. Especially

SCOOPYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S continued on p. 23

TheVillager.com


Fire hits Bully’s deli and building on Broadway

A fire that star ted a bit before 6 p.m. on Wednesday on E. Ninth St. at Broadway quickly escalated into an “all-hands” situation, as firefighters rushed to the scene. The blaze repor tedly star ted in Bully’s deli and went up a duct and spread to the building’s top floor, with heav y damage below. A dog was rescued and fire firefighters suffered minor injuries, but luckily other wise no one was hur t.

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Firefighters on the scene at Broadway and E. Ninth St. on Wednesday evening.

Arrest in cyclist’s death CYCLIST continued from p. 1

Hyun was turning his box truck left from the avenue onto E. Ninth St. and into the “mixing zone,” where cars and bikes share space. Hurley suffered severe head and body trauma. She was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition and died there from her injuries a week later. Hyun remained at the scene and was not arrested initially. The subsequent investigation by the Police Department’s Collision Investigation Squad led to Hyun’s arrest on Wednesday. Police issued Hyun a desk-appearance ticket and he is slated to be arraigned on

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his charges in court on Aug. 29. After that, a Manhattan district attorney spokesperson said, the D.A. will file charges, which may or may not be exactly the same as the police charges. The spokesperson declined to speculate on what sentence Hyun might possibly face, if any, since the D.A. has not yet filed charges. Hurley was a studio manager at a Soul Cycle branch in the Flatiron District and a co-founder and vice president of the Movement Foundation, which helps girls and women counter society’s unrealistic messages about body image by building self-esteem through physical movement and exercise.

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

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Police arresting one of the protesters who staged a sit-in outside the Stonewall Inn Sunday, blocking the Pride March. A dozen in total were arrested.

Resistance rules at the Pride March

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June 29, 2017

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

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dozen queer activists were arrested during New York City’s Pride March as they protested the presence of police and corporate sponsors in the annual commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots that marked the modern L.G.B.T.Q. rights movement’s start. “To the police — You cannot mass incarcerate us, brutalize us, murder us and call it pride,” Hoods4Justice, the group that organized the protest, wrote in a statement posted on its Facebook page hours before the action. “To Wells Fargo, Citi and remaining corporate sponsors — You cannot pillage our homes, brand us, rob us of our dignity, invest in our imprisonment and spray us with water hoses in sub-freezing temperatures and call it sponsorship. To the politicians — You cannot sit idly by and call it allyship.” Hoods4Justice used a classic activist move: They never registered for the parade, instead jumping in with the 18 groups, including Rise & Resist, Gays Against Guns, ACT UP and other activist organizations, that comprised the resistance section that was registered and situated near the start of the parade. The resistance –– formed this year as a way for the Pride March to respond to Donald Trump’s election as president –– was staged, prior to the kickoff of the march, on E. 41st St. In the several hours leading up to the parade, Hoods4Justice initially gathered at the rear of that contingent, but

when the resistance organizations stepped onto Fifth Ave. moments after noon, the group jumped to the front of that section. “We’re here to declare that today’s Pride and coming Prides are a no-cop zone,” June, a member of Hoods4Justice, told said as the group marched south on Fifth Ave. to cheers and applause. The roughly 50 members carried banners reading, “There are no queer-friendly cops,” “No cops no banks” and “Decolonize pride.” Hoods4Justice was joined by a small contingent from Black Lives Matter of Greater New York. The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club marched in front of both groups. It is always difficult to tell if the tens of thousands who line the march route are cheering specifically for the groups that are going by at that moment or just cheering for every group that goes by. Judging by the raised fists that frequently greeted the Black Lives Matter group, it was clear that the group was winning the crowd. The cheers were occasionally deafening. “It shows that the good people of New York care about Black Lives Matter,” said Hawk Newsome, the president of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York and an officer in the Jim Owles Club, during the June 25 parade. “The gay community stands on the side of Black Lives Matter,” Newsome said. The police and Heritage of Pride a.k.a. HOP, the organization that produces New York City’s annual L.G.B.T.Q. Pride events, were clearly expecting Hoods4Jus-

tice, which was no surprise since a member was quoted in a June 19 USA Today article saying the organization would protest on June 25. Hoods4Justice was trailed down Fifth Ave. by about two-dozen police officers on bikes and another roughly 20 to 30 officers and commanders from the New York Police Department’s Strategic Response Group, which handles what police call civil disorder, and other police units. When the group arrived at the east end of Christopher St. at roughly 2:30 p.m., about two-dozen members of Hoods4Justice stepped out of the march route and waited on a nearby corner. They were first penned in by police bikes and then with police stanchions. As the members moved west on Christopher St. on the sidewalk, they were followed on the street by officers from the Strategic Response Group. The Hoods4Justice members timed their move back onto Christopher St. so that they blocked the parade route just as the N.Y.P.D.’s marching band, which was leading GOAL, the N.Y.P.D.’s L.G.B.T.Q. police group, arrived. Some Hoods4Justice members either handcuffed themselves together inside of long black tubes that covered their arms, or linked hands inside the tubes, preventing the police from easily separating them. The obstruction happened just yards from the Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 riots. Police brought out saws and threatened to cut through the RESISTANCE continued on p. 23 TheVillager.com


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

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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, 2017

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PHOTO BY Q. SAKAMAKI

Thumping beats and a thumping Trump beatdown To the booming thump of the floats’ sound systems and the marching of thousands of feet, Donald Trump was savaged at Sunday’s Pride March. The annual ex travaganza of Pride, passion and progressive politic s wended its way from Midtown through the Village to Christopher St.

PHOTO BY Q. SAKAMAKI

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PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER

TheVillager.com


PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER

PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER

PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER

PHOTO BY Q. SAKAMAKI PHOTO BY Q. SAKAMAKI

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June 29, 2017

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Push to salvage parts of destroyed synagogue SYNAGOGUE continued from p. 1

mony, some of it openly anguished, on the historical significance of the building and the options for its future. Arguing for demolition of the remaining structure, ostensibly on safety grounds, was Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum, leader of the Beth HaMidrash HaGadol congregation, which has been inactive for several years. He was backed up by a study from the Howard L. Zimmerman architectural firm, which has filed a “proposal for demolition” with the Department of Buildings. The summary of the demolition proposal made available to C.B. 3 and the city Landmarks Preservation Commission does broach “Potential salvage of Building components or relics found in safe or repairable condition as determined by Engineer.” And Greenbaum accepted this in principle. However, an accompanying map shows the street-front facade with its twin steeples and almost all the rest of the building marked as “beyond repair.” This category excludes only two walls — on the building’s south side and in its rear to the east. These areas are dubbed “potentially beyond repair.” Urging preservation of the building to the extent possible were former congregants, as well as local historians, activists and academics. The C.B. 3 Landmarks Committee resolution noted the testimony for preservation. It stated that “the Synagogue is beloved by the community, despite its poor condition in recent years, as confirmed by public testimony...strongly opposing complete demolition... .” The resolution said the committee “approves the application for demolition, but urges the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Department of Buildings, the Chinese American Planning Council and the Synagogue to work together with the structural engineers to determine which elements of the Synagogue can be retained safely and that those elements be incorporated into any new building on the lot.” The Chinese American Planning Council runs the Hong Ning senior housing complex next door to the synagogue. It owns land abutting the synagogue on the south and east, and had options for use of air rights from the historic building. The Planning Council was represented at the meeting by former City Councilmember Alan Gerson, who said the organization would “respect the preservationist desires expressed at this meeting.” In her remarks, Dr. Elissa Samp-

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PHOTO BY CLAYTON PATTERSON

An aerial shot from a neighboring high-rise’s roof taken the day after the disastrous May 14 fire shows the ex tent of the damage to the historic synagogue.

son, a longtime neighborhood resident and a Jewish studies scholar at Cornell University, captured the feeling of preservationists’ frustration at the meeting. “While we don’t know fully what can reasonably be saved now, it is eminently clear that with some real effort, the building could have been saved before the fire,” she testified. “Instead, each year we watched how bidding [for the property] went higher, even as the building continued to deteriorate further to the point of dereliction.” She recalled that in 2012, four years after it was abandoned, the synagogue filed a hardship application with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, seeking permission to demolish the structure. This was acknowledged by Greenbaum, who said the application had been withdrawn due to a “change of heart.” The rabbi, however, denied charges that the charity that actually owns the property is controlled by his own

family. This is the Beth HaMedrash HaGadol of New York Restoration Inc., to which the building was officially turned over by the congregation in 2009, the year after the synagogue closed its doors for the last time. It was also noted at the meeting that the building had suffered two fires before the one of May 14. One, exactly a week earlier, was quickly extinguished by firefighters. Another, in 2001, caused significant damage to the house of worship’s interior. A local 14-year-old has been charged with arson in the most recent and devastating fire. At least one speaker at the June 20 meeting openly expressed suspicion that the building’s owners were complicit in the arson and hoping to cash in on the real estate, which is presumably far more valuable vacant. At the meeting, Rabbi Greenbaum admitted that air rights above the landmarked building were worth an estimated $12 million before the fire, whereas the site without landmark protection could fetch $18 million.

Numerous reports indicated that the synagogue’s owners had been in talks with the Gotham Organization — developers of the Gotham West luxury complex on 11th Ave. in Midtown. When asked by this reporter if the Gotham Organization idea has now been officially dropped, Greenbaum’s consultant Thomas McMahon replied by e-mail: “Nothing official. The idea and conversation continues to find a way [sic] to develop the property in a way that makes sense. Gotham was one of the respondents to a RFP [request for proposals] issued by the CaPC [Chinese American Planning Council].” But most at the meeting seemed to accept the summation of Joyce Mendelsohn, author of “The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited,” that the synagogue had suffered “demolition by neglect.” When word of the fire first broke, the Lower East Side was abuzz with speculation. The two going theories were that it had been an anti-Semitic hate crime or landlord arson — “Jewish lightning,” in the ugly popular phrase. Neither of these seem to have been the case, but this hardly lessens the loss to the community. Beth HaMidrash HaGadol, at 60 Norfolk St., was the oldest Russian Jewish synagogue in the United States. It was established in 1885, moving into a former Baptist church built in 1850 — some of whose parishioners later founded the famous interdenominational Riverside Church in Morningside Heights. An early leader was the revered Lithuanian-born Rabbi Jacob Joseph, who in 1888 was elected the first — and only — “Chief Rabbi” of New York by the city’s Orthodox congregations. For 50 years until his death in 2003, Beth HaMidrash HaGadol was led by Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, a Holocaust survivor and notable historian, who wrote “The Annihilation of Lithuanian Jewry.” Rabbi Greenbaum is his son-in-law. The building was landmarked in 1967, but finally abandoned by the dwindling congregation in 2008. Of potential concern to scholars is the library in the synagogue’s basement, which apparently suffered no serious damage in the fire. When asked about the library’s contents, Greenbaum replied by e-mail: “There were some older Talmud volumes, which we put in safe place. And in the basement basically were left prayer books and chumashim” — books of the Torah printed individually in bound volumes rather than traditional scrolls. TheVillager.com


POLICE BLOTTER Drug deal gone bad A reported violent home invasion on Avenue B at E. 13th St. Sunday was actually a drug deal gone wrong, according to police. The New York Post initially reported that a 31-year-old woman told police she heard a knock on her door around 8:30 p.m. Sun., June 25. After she opened the door slightly, she told cops, the man forced his way in and stabbed her multiple times, before taking $500 and fleeing. The woman was reportedly found by a friend around 11 p.m. and transported to Bellevue Hospital in serious but stable condition. However, according to police, “there was more to the story,” and the investigation determined that the victim’s report was not accurate. Police said the woman, Cassidy Helmken, of 207 Avenue B, Apartment 2R, had made an arrangement for a drug deal — she was apparently buying — but it turned violent. “It was a drug transaction that went bad,” Captain Vincent Greany, commanding officer of the Ninth Precinct, told The Villager. A search warrant subsequently turned up a quantity of alleged cocaine and drug paraphernalia at her apartment. According to police, it was not a home invasion: Helmken apparently willingly opened the door for the suspect. She was charged with seven counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and two counts of criminal use of drug paraphernalia. The investigation is ongoing. Police did not provide details about the suspect. Helmken has three prior arrests, including for criminal sale of a controlled substance.

Bust subway suspect On Fri., June 23, police reported the arrest of a suspect in a pair of recent muggings at the Spring St. C/E subway station. Kevin Williams, 34, of E. 125th St., was charged with two counts of first-degree robbery. According to the Daily News, Williams’s mother spotted him in a surveillance video released by police. She told a friend, who reportedly went to the cops. Williams lives in a homeless shelter, which the Daily News reported is in Harlem. But a First Precinct police officer told The Villager it’s actually on the Bowery. Police say Williams robbed two middle-aged women at knifepoint in the late-morning hours on the Uptown side of the C/E subway station at Spring St. and Sixth Ave. Each time, he grabbed the victim from behind and put a white TheVillager.com

cloth over the woman’s nose and mouth, while brandishing a blade. The first robbery occurred Tues., June 13, at 10:53 a.m., when the stranger grabbed a 50-year-old woman using the above M.O. and removed $70 from her before fleeing southbound toward Sixth Ave. Then, on Sat., June 17, at 10 a.m., the suspect accosted a 49-year-old woman from behind as she was ascending the stairway to exit the station. He again covered her nose and mouth with a cloth and held a knife, causing her to drop her purse to the ground. The attacker swiped $75 cash from it and fled, reportedly through the underpass to the station’s Downtown side. There were no reported injuries in either incident. The Daily News said there was no harmful substance on the cloth either time. Following the attacks, police — including undercovers — were posted inside and outside the station.

Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.

Not a ‘shoe-in’ A man stole some merchandise from DSW shoe store, at 40 E. 14th St., on Thurs., June 22, at 3:45 p.m., according to police. He didn’t get far, though, and was stopped right in front of the place. Patrick Rapcavage, 31, was arrested for misdemeanor petit larceny.

Teen mugger A 16-year-old was robbed and cut in front of 237 Thompson St. on Sat., June 24, at 5:32 p.m., police said. The suspect brandished a box cutter and forcibly removed the victim’s backpack, while taunting him, “Yo, run your s---.” During the robbery, the suspect cut the teen’s right hand. Police caught the suspect, and during a strip search, reportedly found 25 grams of pot on him. Shawndale Wood, 18, was arrested for felony robbery.

Fake gun, real charge A robber wouldn’t take no for an answer in front of 425 West St., near W. 11th St., on Wed., June 21, at 4:20 p.m., police said. The suspect asked a man, 54, for money. When he refused to give him any, the suspect opened the door of the victim’s car, removed items from inside it and walked off. When the victim confronted the suspect, the latter put his hands in his pocket, simulated a gun and pointed it toward the victim. Christopher Spence, 54, was busted for felony robbery.

‘Conditional’ case A man broke in through the main entrance of an apartment at 70 Carmine St. and filched property on Wed., June 14, at 7 p.m., police said. The suspect took shampoo, conditioner, a shirt and pants from inside shipping boxes found behind the door, then fled east on Carmine St. But he apparently didn’t have time to shower and dress up with the ill-gotten goods. Youssef Taher, 18, was subsequently arrested for felony burglary.

Tabia Robinson and Lincoln Anderson

N.Y.P.D.

A sur veillance photo of alleged Delancey subway station attacker.

Delancey attack Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect in connection with an assault in the Delancey St. subway station on Sun., June 18, around 4:50 p.m. At that date and time, police said, the individual punched a 65-year-old man in the face on the Queens-bound J platform at the station. When the victim fell to the ground, the suspect punched and kicked him about his body, rendering him consciousness. E.M.S. medics responded and transported the victim to an area hospital in stable condition. The suspect is described as Hispanic, around age 20, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, with long hair. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). June 29, 2017

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News, arts,politics, police, opinion and more... Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all in the Villager

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Rich buying the Hudson To The Editor: Re â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pier55 project still afloat as Corps modifies permitâ&#x20AC;? (news article, June 22): People in the immediate community around where the Pier55 might be built were never consulted about it. This plan was created through secret meetings and West Villagers close to the proposed site were not invited. I, for one, find it troubling that pieces of the lovely Hudson River can now be given â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or maybe sold? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to wealthy individuals to build monuments to themselves. Is this the beginning of a troubling new trend? Elaine Young

Ignorance is not bliss The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

June 16, 2016 â&#x20AC;˘ $1.00 Volume 86 â&#x20AC;˘ Number 24

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Critics blast landmark bill as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;anti-preservationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;; Say â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;loopholeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; offers little hope BY YANNIC R ACK

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contentious bill that will put deadlines on the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s preservation agency to designate landmarks within two years was passed by the City Council last week. There was heavy opposition from preservationists and even initial disapproval from the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Landmarks Preservation Commission itself â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but the measure might be moot due

to a loophole, according to its chief critics. The legislation, Intro 775A, mandates that L.P.C. vote within one year to designate proposed individual landmarks, and take no longer than two years to vote on proposed historic districts â&#x20AC;&#x201D; limits that the billâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s opponents charge could lead to the loss of countless potential landmarks. LANDMARKS continued on p. 12

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

T

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

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

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Thousands of points of light: Monday nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vigil stretched along Christopher St. from Waverly Place to Seventh Ave. South.

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;We shall overcomeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;: Vigils draw thousands to Village BY PAUL SCHINDLER

I

ABUSE continued on p. 14

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

At the same time, both crowds rejected the notion that hate is an appropriate response to the violence and speciďŹ cally called out efforts to pit the L.G.B.T. community against the Muslim community over a tragedy in which the shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, is reported to have phoned 911 just prior to the massacre and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation New York, took the lead in organizing a rally outside the Stonewall Inn that drew several thousand people. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We come together because this is a community that will

never be silent again,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I ask every person to think of someone you knew who was killed because of anti-L.G.B.T. hatred. Think of a time when you felt unsafe in your own community. And I want every single one of you to think not of what anyone else, not of what I, but of what you can do to change that.â&#x20AC;? Kidd said the L.G.B.T. community should draw strength from the 49 patrons of the Pulse nightclub who were killed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We must go forward in love,â&#x20AC;? he said. Mirna Haidar, a representaVIGILS continued on p. 5

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

To The Editor: Re â&#x20AC;&#x153;Orwellian return to 1984 and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Death to Homosâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;? (talking point, by Tim Gay, June 22): A few years ago, I was telling some young gay men at a predominantly â&#x20AC;&#x153;gayâ&#x20AC;? beach about a project I was working on about the importance of safe spaces for gay men, and the oral histories I was transcribing about the venerable Hillside Campground. They were not impressed: Why would anybody need to go to a remote campground in order to feel safe? The disconnect with our recent past was alarming. So I love this column from New York Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s The Villager. Brian Kaufman

www.TheVillager.com

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

T

enants and politicians joined in calling on state legislators to       prove regulation and licens   %        &'     crushed to death in an elevator on New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Eve. ( )* 

     * +  !,!* ( / 

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

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

T

he term â&#x20AC;&#x153;scrappy New Yorkersâ&#x20AC;? is taking on added meaning at a spot on the Lower West Side where local resi                        

   

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

PHOTO BY Q. SAKAMAKI

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

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

COMPOST continued on p. 12

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

A

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

     42    53 (26    

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

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

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

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

To The Editor: Re â&#x20AC;&#x153;Stuy Town is fertile ground for composting planâ&#x20AC;? (news article, June 22): Thank you to Scott Axelrod and The Villager for the composting write-up. A nonresident went so far as to walk over to our welcome center with a print version of the article to thank us for rolling out this program. Apparently, she had been collecting food scraps for her friend who lived in Stuyvesant Town for years, and dropping them off at the Union Square farmers market.

Now she doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to do that anymore. Marynia Kruk StuyTown community affairs manager

Wild ďŹ reworks hurt wildlife To The Editor: Fireworks displays, like the ones sponsored by the New York Philharmonic and the New York City Parks Department at the end of concerts in parks citywide, are a clichĂŠ. The sound of explosions on a recent Wednesday night was all too familiar â&#x20AC;&#x201D; like something was blowing up a few blocks away. But it was only the end of the Philharmonic concert in Central Park and the tired fireworks that many people wish would just stop. Enough is enough. New York Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rhetoric about its new WildlifeNYC campaign is not believable. Those same raccoons lauded on subway posters are frightened out of their minds when explosions go off in the park â&#x20AC;&#x201D; their home. I have been at the park when I heard the frantic flapping of wings in reaction to the first explosions. I wondered how many dead birds were found the next day when it was light. The wonderful music of Dvorak, Bernstein and Gershwin should be allowed to stand on its own. Fireworks displays are an environmental disaster, releasing chemicals into the air, soil and water. The noise causes extreme stress to carriage horses, pet dogs, cats and the many wildlife species that occupy the parks. People who have pets can attest to how stressed they become. Terrorized dogs have been known to run off and get lost. The noise can be heard for miles, sounding like explosions. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;bombs bursting in airâ&#x20AC;? is upsetting to war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. The good news is that there are ecofriendly and quiet versions of fireworks â&#x20AC;&#x201D; essentially light shows. Other cities are doing it. New York can do it also. Elizabeth Forel Forel is president, Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to Th, 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.

IRA BLUTREICH

www.TheVillager.com

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The newly appointed M.T.A. chairperson gets right to work. 10

June 29, 2017

TheVillager.com


A taste of Meatpacking BID at annual meeting REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK BY MICHELE HERMAN

I

recently went to the annual meeting of the Meatpacking Business Improvement District. I’ve always had an uneasy feeling about the extragovernmental taxing entities known as BIDs and I figured I should learn more about this one, formed in 2014 so close to my West Village home. I also went in solidarity with friends who live on the edge of the district and have been losing sleep for years from late-night restaurant, club and private-party noise. And I have to admit that I went because it was being held at The Standard Hotel’s Biergarten (speaking of noisy restaurants) and they were serving breakfast. I learned that it’s been a tough year, and maybe a transformational one, in the Meatpacking District. The area is fi lled with both vacancies and construction sites, including the glass office tower on W. 15th St. that will house the giant Starbucks Roastery, the “Solar Carve” on 10th Ave. Meanwhile, as part of its regular work, the Department of Transportation has torn up the area’s streets and plazas to replace pipes and sewers. This has been tough on businesses; I talked to a woman from Fig and Olive on W. 15th St., who said the restaurant suffered enormously from daytime water shutoffs and from the block-long chain-link fence that’s set smack against the sidewalk. Residents in and near the district report a silver lining, though: The late-night crowds and noise have diminished considerably. No one is quite sure what to expect when the streets and plazas are put back together. As I read the annual report booklet and watched the presentation, complete with nifty 3D simulation of the neighborhood in the near future, my radar was tuned for both hope and alarm. On the hopeful side, the streets will now be freshly cobbled, with proper crosswalks, bike lanes and plantings. The BID’s executive director, Lauren Danziger, seems like a dynamo. And the BID is trying very hard to market the area as a culture, high-tech and fashion district, not a late-night clubbing one. On the alarming side, I’m a Villager, and it’s deep in my DNA to distrust a board that looks like a roll call of big developers: Taconic, Aurora, Related, Romanoff, Jamestown. Sure they’ve helped create niceties, like plazas and extra weekend security, but they’re TheVillager.com

Lauren Danziger, at rear, executive director of the Meatpacking Business Improvement District, speaking at the BID’s recent annual meeting.

also the ones who chip away at the historic fabric, quirkiness and affordability of the low-rise district in the fi rst place. I couldn’t help rolling my eyes when one of the BID’s founders, who’s stepping down from the board, came to the podium to talk about the organization’s history. He made it sound as if he and his cohort from the two precursor organizations (the Meatpacking Improvement Association and the Chelsea Improvement Company) were a small band of grassroots activists with so little cash that they needed to ask the other local businesses to chip in for services. I rolled my eyes because this was Paul Pariser talking, chairperson of Taconic Investment Partners. Pariser also talked about what an amazing asset the “Meatpacking” name is, what with cities around the world all claiming their own little spinoffs. As someone who knows the area by its working name (the Meat Market), I cringed, the way Hell’s Kitchen residents must when they hear their neighborhood called Clinton (its real-estate name). Three additional notes of alarm: Danziger sometimes lapsed into PRspeak like this: “...offering visitors an interactive and layered shopping experience.” As I wondered whether I’ve ever had a layered shopping experience, two images that popped up on the 3D simulation stopped me cold: the two tall new buildings proposed for the southeast corner of Gansevoort and Washington Sts. to replace the low-rise ones there now, as part of the “Gansevoort Row” project, and “Diller Island,” a.k.a. Pier55, the proposed park/performing arts center in the Hudson River. Neither of these is a done deal, and both are mired in controversy. Finally, I was concerned about the

discrepancy between the grand talk about the district’s uniqueness and the reality of the roster of tenants moving in: Restoration Hardware, Starbucks, Hermes. Elaine Young, a longtime local activist and one of two members of the BID’s IAAC (Impact Area Advisory Committee, something she pushed to create so that residents just beyond the BID’s borders could have a seat at the table), shared my alarm. “I think it’s very interesting that they did that,” Young said, referring to the image of the redeveloped Gansevoort St. “We’re not there yet. We’re in a lawsuit. That upsets me. That’s the kind of attitude we have to deal with.” After talking to various other players and learning more about the organization, I still feel that BID’s are dubious creatures. They force a tax on everyone within their borders. They

I still feel that BID’s are dubious creatures.

are supposed to remain neutral politically but have boards fi lled with individuals representing companies with a vested interest in development. And BID’s quite likely accelerate the cycle of ever-increasing rents that tends to force out longtime residents and small independent business owners. That’s not the whole story, though. Maybe we’re all just tired and demor-

alized watching the rancor of our national politics. But the more people I talked to, the more hopeful I felt that this BID is well aware of the potential pitfalls and is doing far more good than harm. For one thing, the BID is helping people who are trained to be wary of each other get out of their small bubbles to fi nd common ground. As Donna Raftery, a longtime Gansevoort St. resident and one of the BID’s two resident members, put it: “There are a lot of things we all have in common: Everyone wants the streets to be clean and safe, and no one wants someone peeing on their doorstep.” Raftery said that the BID has made her more sympathetic to business owners, who face their own set of challenges. “I would be thrilled,” she added, “if anyone on the business end said the same about us residents.” Yet she noted that she has no illusions about the BID. “There are seven or eight businesses to every one resident represented,” Raftery said. “It’s inherently about the businesses.” But she feels that the BID provides a forum for people to hear each other out, plus a powerful voice when larger issues arise and valuable relationships with the movers and shakers in each area business. Raftery has had a good working relationship with the BID’s community affairs staffer, Jeffrey LeFrancois. “We used to go to the Sixth Precinct” when we had issues, Raftery said. “The BID will have more pull with the Sixth Precinct, because they represent tax dollars. I think that’s a benefit. “Here’s what I wish the members would take from this,” she added. “The people who live here are not necessarily the enemy. The things the people want are good for the neighborhood as a whole. I don’t think the people on the BID like the 4 a.m. club scene: it’s just a bunch of problems.” When I talked to Danziger, she spoke proudly of the way the BID changed the conversation this year, in part through its two-month pop-up ARTtech interactive exhibit/workshop in one of the vacant spaces. “The press was covering the Meatpacking District as a place to go and drink,” she said, “an empty and nonmeaningful neighborhood full of vacancies. We used the vacancy to help tell a story of culture and art and technology.” I asked her about all the things I found alarming at the annual meeting, and she was ready with answers, some of which convinced me more than others. She said that the presentation MEATPACKING continued on p. 26 June 29, 2017

11


Google gives $1 million to Stonewall monument BY PAUL SCHINDLER

It takes a Villager. Your local news source

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

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

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

A

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

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

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

T

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

and Senate Democrats are arguing against entrenched opposition. State Senator Brad Hoylman introduced the Senate version of the bill with several co-sponsors, including Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Democratic Conference. ABUSE continued on p. 14

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

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

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

I

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

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

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

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

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12

June 29, 2017

I

n an unmistakable sign of the role private philanthropy can — and may have to — play with federal funding threatened across a broad array of worthy social goals, Google has committed $1 million to support efforts at the L.G.B.T. Community Center to develop oral histories and other narratives related to the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969 that can be preserved and disseminated in digital formats. The funding, announced at a press conference on June 18 — the beginning of Pride Week in Manhattan — will allow the Center to partner with the National Park Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group that supports the mission and facilities of the U.S. National Park Service, to enhance the experience visitors enjoy when they travel to the Stonewall National Monument. The national monument was created in Christopher Park, across the street from the Stonewall Inn, last June 24 in an executive proclamation by President Barack Obama. According to a written statement from the Center, the Google funding, which comes in the form of a two-year grant from its charitable arm, Google. org, will allow the W. 13th St. community facility and the N.P.F. “to seek out and document robust, diverse narratives of the Stonewall Uprising and transform the reach of the national park beyond a physical place. The result will be a digital experience that broadly shares the story of L.G.B.T.Q. civil rights, firmly establishing L.G.B.T.Q. history in the fabric of American history.” That digital experience, speakers at the press conference emphasized, would be available to millions worldwide, whether or not they are able to visit the West Village national monument. The announcement of the Google grant was made at the Center by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and West Side Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, and Schumer did not shrink from emphasizing the significance of the Silicon Valley giant stepping up in this political climate. “This announcement sends an unmistakable message to Washington: that the America we know celebrates and cherishes its diversity; it doesn’t hide from it or fear it,” Schumer said. “Google’s generous pledge could not come at a more vital time. With federal funding under assault, Google’s investment will be a shot in the arm for the Center and its work to better the L.G.B.T.Q. community.” Schumer ominously warned that an executive order from Trump has empowered the secretary of the Interior to review all national park designations made through the Antiquities Act — on which authority Obama relied in creat-

ing the Stonewall National Monument. Pledging to fight any effort to overturn the designation, the senator saluted those “brave New Yorkers who nearly 50 years ago taught this country the power of resistance.” Glennda Testone, the Center’s executive director, emphasized the value of making the Stonewall National Monument a digital story available worldwide. “The inspirational funding that Google is providing to the L.G.B.T. Community Center will lift up L.G.B.T.Q. history on a global platform, further magnifying the Stonewall Uprising’s place in the overall story of the L.G.B.T.Q. civil rights movement,” she said. Will Shafroth, the N.P.F.’s president, explained that $250,000 from the Google grant will go directly into the projected $2 million budget for “effectively launch[ing]” the national monument, which is expected to host an onsite visitor’s kiosk, as well as the digital experience his group and the Center will help the National Park Service make available. “The national parks community is grateful for Google’s support to develop education programs for New York City students — and eventually students worldwide — that focus on the important issues of equality, human rights, civil rights and more,” Shafroth said. According to an article in The New York Times, the idea for Google’s support of the national monument and the Center came from William Floyd, the company’s openly gay head of external affairs for New York. Eric Schmidt, executive chairperson of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, said, “The Stonewall National Monument is a testament to the brave people whose actions that night sparked the beginning of the modern L.G.B.T.Q. civil rights movement. With our donation, my hope is we can capture and preserve their stories and, through technology, share them with the world to inspire all those who continue to strive for human rights.” The work that Google’s donation and additional fundraising by the N.P.F. will allow is expected to be completed by June 2019, when World Pride will celebrate the Stonewall Rebellion’s 50th anniversary in New York. Among veterans of the Stonewall Rebellion present was Tommy LaniganSchmidt, who was 18 when police raided the bar. At last year’s designation of the national monument, Lanigan-Schmidt recalled the Stonewall of that era as “a dingy nondescript building that was like a speakeasy, run by the Mafia” — but one, at least, where slow dancing, “a full embrace,” was allowed. TheVillager.com


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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 Yiddish-speakers, 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 TheVillager.com

Summit. Both will be presented at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, 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, fi lled 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 sevenpiece 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 fi rst 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 production, 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 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 AMERIKE continued on p. 19 June 29, 2017

17


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 Rooming-House of Mme. Le Monde.” Pendleton’s passion for Williams stretches back to his earliest days in the theatre. “My first encounter with a Tennessee Williams play became the first 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 first 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

Courtesy the artist

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

‘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 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 first presented an early version of the play in London in 1967. He continued to work on it, and presented a re-written version called “Out Cry” in Chicago in 1971, finally bringing it to Broadway in 1973. That production closed after 12

Theater for the New City • 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net

TNC’s Dream Up Festival Aug 27 - Sept 17 25 shows 23 World Premieres 2 American Premieres. Dreamupfestival.org 18

June 29, 2017

TNC’s Street Theater

Checks and Balances or Bottoms Up!

Written and Directed by: Crystal Field Music Composed by: Joseph Vernon Banks August 5th - September 17th Opens right here on 10th Street on August 5th at 2:00 PM All performance locations and times are available Online!

The Life and Death of Queen Margaret A patchwork of mostly Shakespeare’s text as funneled and augmented by: Toby Vera Bercovici and Dan Morbyrne August 10th - 20th Thurs.- Sat. 8 PM Sun. at 3PM $18.00

Courtesy Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company

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

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. “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 began to decide it wasn’t worth watching him do this any more and it hit him hard. ‘The TwoCharacter 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. TheVillager.com


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.

AMERIKE continued from p. 17

Repertory, Repertorio Español, Irish Repertory Theatre, the Kairos Italy Theater, the Irish Arts Center, the Turkish American Repertory Theatre, the Romanian Cultural Institute, and TheVillager.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 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, 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.

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 866-811-4111

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. June 29, 2017

19


De Blasio and Chin come under fire at town hall; MAYOR continued from p. 1

community,” Albanese said. “They’re taking their lead from real estate developers and lobbyists, and ignoring the wishes of the majority of the community.” The community, in fact, did turn out in force hoping for their wishes to be heard. A large, loud contingent of protesters representing Chinatown carried placards of de Blasio and Chin being symbolically slapped in the face with sandals. Supporters of the Elizabeth St. Garden cried out for saving the garden from being bulldozed for affordable senior housing. Others came to demand that a 10-year plan to shut down Rikers Island be implemented. Soho residents slammed illegally large big-box stores taking over the neighborhoods. The scandalous, shady Rivington House property flip, supertall towers gone wild in the Two Bridges area — there were no shortage of subjects voiced by the angry demonstrators. Meanwhile, members of the mayor’s security detail and officers with the New York Police Department’s counterterrorism unit funneled those waiting in line — some for several hours — through what appeared to be a portable Transportation Security Administration screening simulator, complete with metal detectors, patdowns and bag checks. In addition, as DNAinfo first reported last week, police and the mayor’s security detail members were seen and recorded blatantly confiscating all pieces of political literature and fliers from people entering the town hall — much of it protest literature against de Blasio and Chin — only to leave them behind in a crumpled pile at the event’s end. Now Aaron Foldenauer, a candidate for City Council challenging Chin in Lower Manhattan’s District 1, has filed a formal complaint against de Blasio and Chin based on what he claims to be “governmental suppression of free speech and the unauthorized search and seizure of opposing political materials.” “This is on par with Bridgegate, and the misconduct is punishable under the same federal criminal statutes at issue in Bridgegate,” Foldenauer, who is a an attorney, said in a statement released Wednesday. “It is unquestionable that the vast bulk of the materials distributed by the various groups outside the event were anti-Margaret Chin and anti-de Blasio,” he said. “It was hugely advantageous for both de Blasio and Chin to have these materials confiscated.” The Villager reached out for comment to the Mayor’s Press Office, which did not respond by press time. Back inside, over the course of more than two hours, de Blasio fielded questions from attendees chosen at random by Chin, having to stop several times as persistent hecklers clearly enjoyed the opportunity to bash him over all of the same issues he was being attacked on by

20

June 29, 2017

PHOTOS BY SCOTT R. AXELROD

Dozens of protesters suppor ting the Elizabeth St. Garden turned out to voice their frustration over the cit y’s plan to develop it as affordable housing for seniors.

An angr y protester led a large contingent of A sian residents from Chinatown in an anti-Margaret Chin chant. Shouts of “Margaret Chin, Shame on You!” and “Margaret Chin, Step Down!” resounded outside of the Chinatown YMCA , where the town hall was held.

the protesters outside. Other issues included affordability, as well as rent regulation and the Rent Guidelines Board’s upcoming vote this past Tuesday night whether to freeze or raise rents: To tenant advocates’ dismay, the R.G.B. rose them, 1.25 percent for one-year lease renewals and 2 percent on two-year lease renewals. But the mayor abruptly disappeared, reportedly to take a phone call from Al-

bany on the issue of mayor control of the city’s public schools, and did not return, leaving Chin to field questions for another hour. Terri Cude, chairperson of Community Board 2, noted that Elizabeth St. Garden activist Emily Hellstrom “was ready to set the mayor straight on the garden, but he had already left. Wouldn’t it be better to have five times more affordable housing at 388 Hudson St.?”

Slamming Mayor de Blasio for his close ties with developers and real estate, a protester showed a photo of him posting with the head of the Real Estate Board of New York.

Cude asked. C.B. 2 has been pushing an alternative plan to build the senior housing project on a vacant, city-owned lot at Hudson and Clarkson Sts., but the mayor and Chin won’t let go of the Little Italy garden as a development site. “De Blasio said the Elizabeth St. Garden has always been designated for housing, but it used to be a school,” Cude said. “It’s been an open space for 200 years.”

TheVillager.com


Pelted with protests, questions on myriad issues

Former Councilmember Sal Albanese, who is running as a Democrat for mayor in the September primar y election, talked to people outside the town hall. He had been planning a press conference to hit the mayor on his real estate ties, but the crowd of protesters was so over whelming he couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was generally composed and often upbeat during the town hall. But some questions, like this one, clearly ruffled him.

A s people entered the town hall, the mayorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s security detail and police confiscated from them any protest fliers and handouts by candidates running against Margaret Chin. Aaron Foldenauer, a litigator who is running against Chin, has filed a legal complaint over it. TheVillager.com

Chinatown protesters have used this one at previous protests against Margaret Chin â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a placard showing her being pelted with shoes. Chinatown activists charge she is not doing enough to halt the rapid pace of gentrification and displacement of lowand middle-income residents in the neighborhood. June 29, 2017

21


22

June 29, 2017

TheVillager.com


Resistance rules and riles at the Pride March RESISTANCE continued from p. 4

tubes, and the entire process of clearing the disruption took about 30 minutes. The crowd was not sympathetic to the disrupters. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be doing this,â&#x20AC;? said Steven, 17, who was watching the parade. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The parade is about acceptance, not resistance.â&#x20AC;? As some of the 12 protestors were led off by police, some in the crowd booed loudly. Asked if they were booing the police or the protesters, people on the sidewalk were unanimous in saying they were booing the people who had blocked the parade. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All these guys are not the problem,â&#x20AC;? said Chris Laro, who described himself as a Vermont ex-hippie, referring to the police. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a vital issue, but todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not the time.â&#x20AC;? A number of people interviewed during and after the protest had no idea what it was about and had to hear an explanation from this reporter fi rst before

they had any reaction. It is unknown if HOP or the N.Y.P.D. was the complainant in the arrests, but a man wearing a HOP T-shirt reading â&#x20AC;&#x153;Executive Boardâ&#x20AC;? could be seen conferring with police during the arrests. While this is not the fi rst time people have been arrested while protesting during the Pride March, it would likely be a fi rst if HOP asked that the arrests be made. James Fallarino, HOPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s spokesperson, did not respond to a call seeking comment, and the Police Department press office could not immediately supply an answer. The crowd along Christopher St. cheered loudly as GOAL and L.G.B.T.Q. members of other city uniformed services, including the Corrections and Fire departments, marched by. GOAL (Gay Officers Action League) invited the L.G.B.T.Q. police group from Toronto to march with it this year after it was banned from Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s annual Pride Parade. The registered resistance contingent swelled to more than 2,000 people, effectively stealing the Pride show this year with its large group and loud

Scoopyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Notebook SCOOPYâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;S continued from p. 2

now, New York needs to be an example that this is not acceptable.â&#x20AC;? Stecklow added that the employee Paul, who has since been fired, was watching the noose incident and â&#x20AC;&#x153;holding a butcher knife.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;My client felt that if he responded in any way, he was going to get harmed,â&#x20AC;? Stecklow said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Paul was there laughing and asking if he liked his gift. Thankfully, Victor kept his wits about him and did not respond. He wondered, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Are they trying to provoke me to make the first move?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;? Meanwhile, he said, Sheppard has been unable to work, is in counseling and is not sleeping well. Some posters on a Village Facebook group who knew Joe as a kid said he was always a jokester, though his jokes were often not funny and inappropriate, adding that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t excuse his behavior. They also noted he wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the sharpest knife on the butcher block. However, Stecklow said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;For someone to say this is a joke, they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t understand the effect on this young black person.â&#x20AC;? Stecklow was also very unhappy that, in response to Kubyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s request, the judge agreed to put off hearing the case till September. Meanwhile, Kuby, who recently, to the chagrin of his legions of radio fans, lost his gig with Curtis Sliwa on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Curtis and Kubyâ&#x20AC;? show on WABC, is still busy with his law practice. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The recipient of the noose has hired a sleazeball civil lawyer â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Wylie Stecklow â&#x20AC;&#x201D; to cash in,â&#x20AC;? Kuby scoffed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure it was an unpleasant experience that should never have happened,â&#x20AC;? he said of the incident at the store. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Unfortunately, his lawyer thinks he was handed a winning lottery ticket, not a noose.â&#x20AC;? Told of Kubyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s comment, Stecklow shot back, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obviously forgotten the civil-rights background from where he came. This is a hate crime being perpetrated against TheVillager.com

a young black male.â&#x20AC;? Told of that, Kuby retorted, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am a part of the civil-rights movement. Stecklow and his ilk are part of the civil-rights business. They only care about civil rights when they smell money.â&#x20AC;? Hey, letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hope neither of these guys is holding a butcher knife next time they meet!

JUDICIOUS NOTES: Village Democratic District Leader Arthur Schwartz is proud that Paul Feinman, a member of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;home team,â&#x20AC;? has been confirmed as the first openly gay member of the Court of Appeals, New York Stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s highest court. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Paul lives in Chelsea,â&#x20AC;? Schwartz told us. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He was elected to the Civil Court in 1996, in the Village-Soho judicial district, one year after I was elected district leader. He ran against Liz Shollenberger, who in â&#x20AC;&#x2122;95 had lost her district leader position to Aubrey Lees. Feinman won by 26 votes. He used my union office as his headquarters, and Tom Duane,â&#x20AC;? who was a city councilmember at the time, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and I played big roles in his campaign.â&#x20AC;? Meanwhile, the New York Post reported last week that Shollenberger, who recently won a judgeship in Westchester, is in such bad shape that she couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even climb the three steps to her judicial bench, even with the help of a specially installed railing. The Post said she suffers from a digestive disorder and morbid obesity â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and got into some gross details â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but Tim James, her husband, said she has pulmonary hypertension. Shollenberger, who is currently on medical leave, told The Post from her bed in White Plains Hospital Thursday: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have no intention of retiring. I want to work. I want to be a judge. Judges get sick all the time.â&#x20AC;? WHAT A DRAG: Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson and

message very near the front of the parade, which often more closely resembles a celebration. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The crowd was joyous, the crowd was thrilled with our message of resistance,â&#x20AC;? said Ken Kidd, the activist who took the lead on organizing the contingent. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They joined in with us when we said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Donald Trump has got to go!â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;? Joining the resistance contingent were Housing Works, the AIDS services organization; Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the L.G.B.T.Q. synagogue; and Indivisible Nation BK, a Brooklyn activist group. Gay City News, a sister paper of The Villager, also marched with the resistance. HOP initially resisted admitting the contingent into the parade at all, and also pushed back on the effort to have it located at the front. When HOP agreed to allow the resistance contingent a forward position, it capped the number of groups that could join the section. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All of the groups came together to say this is not normal, this is fascism,â&#x20AC;? Kidd said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and we are going to be resisting until this Trump regime is over.â&#x20AC;?

Tod Lippy, editor of ESOPUS magazine, will hold a conversation about the legendary drag scene at the Pyramid Club at the Tompkins Square Library on Wed., July 12, at 6 p.m. The discussion will focus on Pattersonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s photographs of the inventive drag performers at the East Village club in the mid-1980s. A selection of these portraits are featured in ESOPUS 24, which is currently on newsstands. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Up to that point, drag had been about referencing movie stars like Bette Davis or Judy Garland,â&#x20AC;? Patterson notes in the issue. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But the queens at the Pyramid Club invented entirely fictitious characters.â&#x20AC;? Those characters, embodying everything from space aliens to goth punks to suburban housewives, were created by performers including Tabboo, Hapi Phace, Sun PK, RuPaul, Maze, John Sex, John Kelly and International Chrysis, all of whom posed regularly for Pattersonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s portraits. Patterson and Lippyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s talk will be accompanied by the formerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s photos, and audience members are encouraged to bring questions â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and memories â&#x20AC;&#x201D; for an open discussion afterward. To RSVP, go to nypl.org/ events/programs/2017/07/12/conversation-clayton-patterson-and-tod-lippy, or

experience the new. experience the now.

call 212-228-4747 or stop by the libraryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s circulation desk.

MILDAYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S SURRENDER: Soho Alliance Executive Director Sean Sweeney tells us that he and his allies are throwing in the towel in their efforts to stop the former Miladyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bar space at Prince and Thompson Sts. from becoming a high-end restaurant. Basically, Sweeney had felt the spaceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s provision for grandfathered retail use had expired, meaning it would now have to be residential. However, apparently, in residential districts zoned R6, R7 and R8, ground-floor retail use does not get lost even if the space is vacant for more than two years â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Miladyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s closed in early 2014 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; as is the case in most other districts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Miladyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is in an R7, so the nonconforming eating and drinking use was never lost when Miladyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s closed for three years,â&#x20AC;? Sweeney said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Some Uptown Italian restaurateur is taking it over.â&#x20AC;? This comes as good news to Howard Stern biography writer Larry â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ratsoâ&#x20AC;? Sloman and other locals who actually do want another restaurant option on the block. For the record, Sweeney said he would have loved if Miladyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s was still there.

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The meter is running out on cars and parking RHYMES WITH CRAZY BY LENORE SKENAZY

W

hat 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 nonprofit 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 creat-

ing 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 St. 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 St. 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, bringing them back. For a while, almost all the bikes are gone, then the rack fills up

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June 29, 2017

again, then off they go. And across the street, taking up twice as much space as the rack, are two cars, 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-sit-allday 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 the 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. Streets are public land that we are giving away. 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) 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. Here in New York, one simple idea is to start charging for all street parking, and give the money to the M.T.A. Most of us would cheer. “Streets can be designed for either cars or people, but not both at once,” White says. It is time to stop giving away New York City’s precious public land.

Taste of M’Packing BID MEATPACKING continued from p. 11

included the redeveloped Gansevoort St. and Diller Island because the BID has to plan for the likely future. Her marketing-speak? As someone who worked in fi nance, was a global meeting planner and a Chamber of Commerce employee, she’s used to talking to businesspeople, and this is the language they speak. But now she has a wider constituency that includes local residents and local politicians. “I’m trying to make the conversation resonate for everyone,” she said. Finally, on the question of big chains moving in, she said they must respect what’s here already. “My hope is that these businesses acknowledge that they chose the neighborhood for specific reasons and honor it,” she said. “What makes the neighborhood so special is how the community comes together, and we will continue to foster that sense of community. At the core, everyone’s value is the same. I’ve been here a long time. People come with a smile or with vitriol they’ll spill. They come away realizing we all want the same thing.” Hermes strikes me as a particularly ironic addition: the uber-patrician company known for its horsey-set accessories moving in to the neighborhood known for hanging beef carcasses. “I think they’re recognizing that they

need to develop a new consumer base,” Danziger offered. “The Meat Market attracts a creative, dynamic patron. Where better to do that?” She shut me up with one good example of a company that has put its money where its mouth is. I mentioned a complaint I’d heard from a Chelsea resident about deafening noise from fans in the behemoth Google building. Danziger hadn’t heard about this, and seemed both concerned and extremely eager to help. What’s more, she said, Google has gone out of its way to add value to the neighborhood. “Google helped us underwrite the free WiFi in the plazas,” she said. “It was not a small endeavor and they get no credit. They are hyperaware that they can be seen as insular.” She told me that the company approached the BID and together they created a Neighborhood Night Out program in which local businesses sign up to host an event or tour to get Google employees into the neighborhood. The only rule is that the event can’t be profit-oriented. Last year, there were 18 tours, three times a night, and 2,400 Google employees took part. I’m not sure what a creative, dynamic patron is exactly, but I like the BID’s fierceness. “We don’t let anyone get away with anything,” Danziger said.

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Grove St.’s birdy little secret: Arty birdhouses BY SCOTT R. A XELROD

G

rove St. may be known to many a ’90s-nostalgic tourist as the place to pose in front of the “Friends” building. But the five blocks that stretch from Hudson to Christopher are also home to a collection of unique birdhouses on both sides of the quiet, tree-lined street. “I had a dream that Grove St. became the block with the beautiful birdhouses,” said Richard Eric Weigle. An award-winning documentary film producer, Weigle has lived on the block for more than 40 years, and has served as president of the Grove St. Block Association for the last 17. That dream took flight more than a year and a half ago, as Weigle and his husband, Michael Anastasio, have since hung roughly 20 pieces of what can be considered feathered-friend-friendly art, with the intention of surprising residents and passersby as if they’ve suddenly become involved in a scavenger hunt. Many of the houses come from the couple’s personal collection, including a piece from Holland and a pair that they decorated with beach glass, tile and stones that they collected during a trip to the Italian coastal city of Positano. Others were sent by friends from Amsterdam and donated by other local residents. “Of course, it was a couple of gay guys who came out to make the block beautiful,” Weigle joked. Anastasio is an interior designer, and he and Weigle also are the organizers of the Greenwich Village Film Festival. Anastasio, who has served as the primary installer of the birdhouses, pointed out that each one has to be hung just high enough to remain out of reach, but low enough to be seen. To date, only one of the houses has flown the coop, which Weigle and Anastasio blame on bad weather, and not a roving gang of birdhouse bandits.

Direct from Amsterdam, the “Bondage Birdhouse.”

“Everyone seems to love them,” Weigle said. “If someone didn’t want one in front of their house, we would relocate it. They’re supposed to bring joy, not drama.” To dramatic effect, many of the birdhouses have been strategically positioned so that they’re virtually color-coordinated with the buildings they’ve been placed in front of, as if they were sold as a set during some surreal real-estate deal. Others are almost completely camouflaged by their surroundings, appearing as if they’re growing out of the trees they’re attached to, or are an optical illusion popping out of the buildings behind them — like those pictures where you have to blur your eyes and stare through to see a hidden image. The leather-strap-adorned house that hails from Amsterdam is a

highlight of the collection that one simply just can’t stop referring to as “The Bondage Birdhouse.” While the birdhouses of Grove St. are all but hidden in plain sight, Weigle conceded that he’d rather not clutter the

street with any new installations for the time being. Although, it should be noted, that he said this while carrying around a house that he brought down from his apartment and was scouting locations for the entire time.

PHOTOS BY SCOTT R. AXELROD

Michael Anastasio, left, and Richard Eric Weigle — holding a birdhouse — sitting on the steps of their Grove St. building. TheVillager.com

A stained-glass birdhouse blends in with its surroundings. June 29, 2017

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