Serving Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Seaport and the Financial District VOLUME 30, NUMBER 19
OCT. 19 – NOV. 1, 2017
Light imitates art New sculpture at Pier A Plaza truly shines in the sunlight Photo by Milo Hess
“Sunrise, Sunset (Revolution),” is a temporary public art installation designed specifi cally for Pier A Plaza by artists Dharmesh Patel and Autumn Ewalt using 27 aluminum panels embedded with 9,000 crystal prisms meant to create dazzling effects each sunrise and sunset.
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1 M E T R O T E C H • N YC 112 0 1 • C O P Y R I G H T © 2 0 17 N YC C O M M U N I T Y M E D I A , L L C
Stepping down After 10 years, Plaskin resigns as head of Gateway Plaza Tenants Association BY COLIN MIXSON Renters living at the massive Gateway residential complex lost a key booster in the struggle to extend their rent stabilization benefits on Oct. 5, when Glenn Plaskin announced his resignation as president of the Gateway Tenants Association. The Gateway resident spent a decade working to promote the welfare of his more than 4,000 neighbors, but when an unusually large crop of would-be advocates stepped up to serve on the tenant association’s board this year, Plaskin saw his opportunity to hand off the burden to a new crop of volunteers — and he’s not looking back. “After 10 years, it’s been a huge effort for me, and with so many people wanting to help, I just felt like maybe it’s time for me to take a break,” said Plaskin. The tenant leader’s resignation came as a shock to neighbors, who he addressed just a few days earlier at a
meeting to elect new board members on Oct. 2, speaking enthusiastically about the prospect of extending Gateway’s rent stabilization benefits, and making no mention of stepping down. “At the meeting he didn’t say anything about resigning,” said Gateway resident Tammy Meltzer. “He was full of energy and enthusiasm for the accomplishments of the tenants association, so I was very surprised by his resignation.” Plaskin said he’s confident that the renewal of Gateway’s stabilization benefits — which would require the Battery Park City Authority to reach an agreement with Gateway landlord LeFrak before the current deal expires in 2020 — will be achieved with or without him, but there are plenty of Gateway residents who would sleep better at night known Plaskin was at the helm. “He gave us all these tremendous assurances and he’s not there to back
Gateway Plaza Tenants Association
Glenn Plaskin, at right, who led the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association for ten years, was adept at courting the support of high-level politicos, such as Sen. Chuck Schumer, at left, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, center.
up what he said,” said Gateway resident and Community Board 1 member Tom Goodkind. “It’s an obvious shock. It leaves everyone in the lurch.”
Neighbors, fellow board members, and elected officials have since PLASKIN Continued on page 22
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Seaport sports ESPN to open studios at Pier 17 BY LEVAR ALONZO Cable sports giant ESPN is setting sail for the South Street Seaport, with a plan to open its first New York City studios at Pier 17 next year. Seaport developer Howard Hughes Corporation announced on Oct. 10 that ESPN would occupy approximately 19,000-square-feet in the swanky waterfront development. The studio is expected to open in 2018 and it will be the pier’s fi rst tenant to open its doors. “We are pleased to welcome ESPN as the latest addition to the Seaport District. They will bring a new dimension of entertainment to the neighborhood with live daily telecasts from Pier 17 in what I believe will become one of the most iconic studio spaces in the country,” said David R. Weinreb, CEO of Howard Hughes Corp., which is plowing $731 million into the seaport area. “This is yet another sign of Lower Manhattan’s evolution into a vibrant hub for the media, technology and creative sectors.”
Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
The exterior of the Pier 17 building — which is rigged for multi-color illumination — was lit up in red Oct. 10 to welcome ESPN to the waterfront. Local real estate maven Luis Vazquez said that the deal with ESPN is a good move for the development of the district. He noted that adding office space to the mix of mostly retail and food-service businesses coming to Pier 17 brings more balance to the area. “Overall it was a smart move to move away from bringing in more retail. We already have a lot more retail businesses coming to the area,” said Vazquez. “Workers in the office spaces can go out and enjoy the business around their offices.” Pier 17 will also be the home of new restaurants from Jean-Georges Vongerichten and David Chang, which are part of a larger piece-by-piece rollout of restaurants and a multiuse rooftop. All are expected to be open by next summer. ESPN will start a multi-year lease of the space producing multiple studio
Photo by C. Taylor Crothers
Pier 17 was lit up red on Oct. 10 to celebrate the announcement of ESPN moving its studios to the glitzy South Street Seaport venue next year.
shows from the facility, as well as radio broadcasts, and online content. The new location will provide ESPN with unique opportunities to create content within the studio, outside the facility, and on the rooftop with views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and city skyline. “The Seaport District production
facility is a state-of-the-art content factory that will allow us to produce differentiated studio content for both television and digital,” said Connor Schell, executive vice president for content at ESPN. “The flexible spaces, both indoor and outdoor, allow us to take advantage of all that New York City has to offer.”
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Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
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Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
CB1 blasts plan to infill arcades at 200 Water St.
BY COLIN MIXSON Talk about a low-water mark. Local civic honchos shot down a developer’s proposal to fill in a public arcade on Water Street with groundfloor retail and market-rate housing at the last Community Board 1 meeting, despite the fact that the panel voted last year to endorse a controversial text amendment to allow landlords to reclaim the pedestrian amenities — a decision that was, in hindsight, perhaps not the board’s finest hour, according to one member. “The vote to infill the arcades was one of the two worst mistakes I ever made with my vote in the 18 or 19 years I’ve been on the community board,” said Bruce Ehrmann. “It was very complicated and I’m not an idiot, but I’m now realizing the ramifications.” Rockrose Development is looking to augment its massive 576-unit, mixeduse residential building at 200 Water St. between Fulton and John streets with additional ground-floor retail and three,
second-floor apartments, which would all but eliminate a public arcade that the developer — like numerous other area landlords — ceded to the city in exchange for additional building height back in the 1960s. The arcade spaces were at first vibrant public areas flush with art, fountains, and other beautifying features, with the plazas surrounding 200 Water Street in particular earning many plaudits, with Progressive Architecture magazine putting the space on its cover in 1972. “I remember that plaza when I first came to New York, with its art, fountains, and joy,” said Ehrmann. “People would come from far and wide to see it.” But as time marched on and the buildings changed hands, the so-called “publicly owned private spaces” quickly lost their charms as the artistic embellishments that defined them were dismantled, according to CB1 Chairman Anthony Notaro. “It’s a very neutral, antiseptic, simple
via Google Streetview
The owners of 200 Water St. have applied for permission to fill in its pedestrian arcades along Front Street.
design,” Notaro said. In a plan billed to revitalize the area, Councilwoman Margaret Chin and a local business improvement district, the Downtown Alliance, championed a socalled “text amendment” to the zoning laws allowing building owners to
reclaim the arcades, arguing that additional retail space would do more to enliven the streetscape. In addition to shoring up the buildings with anti-flood measures, the giveARCADES Continued on page 23
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Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
Slip-wrecked! don’t want to see,” said Paul Hovitz. “We don’t want to see the skeleton of the ship.” Parks got its hands on the $4.3 million from the state and federal government through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation back in 2006, and the agency showed the community board its plan for the sculpture in 2008, saying it was included to please the state’s Historic Preservation Office, which wanted the area’s shipping history to be reflected in the new park designs, according to Hovitz. At the time, the drab, asphalt plaza stretching along Peck Slip between Water and South streets, was primarily used for parking, and since the plan included some plantings and greenery in addition to the skeletal artwork, the community board signed off on the project, Hovitz said. “We said ‘okay,’ because, frankly, anything would have been better than a parking lot,” he explained.
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Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
(Above) Community Board 1 wants the Parks Department to nix the shipwreck sculpture shown in the background of the rendering of the decade-old Peck Slip Plaza plan. (Below) Locals would rather keep the plaza as an open, fl exibleuse space.
Photo by Yannic Rack
BY COLIN MIXSON Members of Community Board 1 are calling for the Parks Department to shelve a controversial plan to place a high-concept sculpture at Peck Slip Plaza, and asking the city for a traffic study looking at the possible effects of closing the portion of Front Street that bisects the park. The CB1 committee overseeing Downtown parks voted on Oct. 17 to ask the full board to endorse a resolution demanding that the city abandon a decade-old plan to install an ugly, skeletal structure resembling a burnedout ship in the open space, despite the Parks Department’s fear that nixing the maritime-themed sculpture would jeopardize the $4.3 million in funding earmarked for the Peck Slip Plaza project. Locals are all for the investment in their park — just not the weird shipwreck sculpture, according to the vice chairman of CB1. “I think it’s pretty clear what we
CB1 aims to sink plan for much-reviled shipwreck sculpture at Peck Slip Plaza
But locals soon came to recognize the value of open space — green or not — in crowded Downtown, so the community board went back to the Parks Department requesting they ax the statue, because it would take space away from the plaza’s newfound purpose — child’s play. “The cars were cleared out, so we had these two empty lots that quickly became used by children for play areas,” Hovitz said. The Parks Department heard the community’s concerns, but reps told CB1 that cutting out the sculpture could result in the state cutting the project’s funding, but the agency, according to Hovitz, had a plan. He said Parks planned to would go forward with a competitive bidding process to select a contractor for the project, but told board members the bids were expected to come back overbudget, which would give the agency its excuse to nix the ship sculpture without running afoul of the state. “The said hold off, because we’re concerned if we change the design, we’ll lose funding,” Hovitz recounted.
“Let us go out to bid and if the bid comes back as we think it will — overbudget — then we have an excuse at redesigning.” But that was back in 2009, and while the plaza was repaved and boulders installed around its perimeter in work that spanned 2011 and 2014, the city office stayed quiet regarding the fate of the funds, and the board’s requests for updates went largely unanswered. “We waited two or three years, and whenever we asked Parks they said, ‘we’ll get to it,’” Hovitz said. Eventually, Parks told CB1 last year that it was going forward with the plan — including the sculpture — and members moved quickly to oppose it, voting on a resolution requesting the agency preserve the plaza as a “piazza” style open space, without any large an obtrusive structures. In response, a Parks rep told board members that they could expect the entire project to be dropped, and so CB1 rallied again — this time to get the project back on the books for fear PECK SLIP PLAZA Continued on page 22
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Foam faux snow falls in Fidi BY COLIN MIXSON Lower Manhattan had a white October! Insulation work at a Fulton Street construction site dumped a flurry of foam particles on Lower Manhattan over the course of several days earlier this month, creating an effect like warm-weather snow that covered city streets for several blocks around the worksite with the puffy white stuff, according to witnesses. “It was falling like a blizzard, not even joking,” said Manny Correa, a concierge at a residential building across the street from the Fulton Street worksite between Broadway and Nassau Street. The foam snowstorm started up on Oct. 2, and locals spotted the flecks of falling insulation from as far away as City Hall Park, about three blocks from where the 30-story hotel is going up, according to Nassau Street resident Carrie Mulholland. Across the street from the construction site, workers at a GNC store said the faux snow kept blowing in through their front door, and Correa said the foam piled up so fast in the lobby of his
building that he “couldn’t sweep enough of it.” Street cleaners got some of the foam, but the stuff can still be found in cracks, along curbs and flowing into storm drains all around the worksite, according to Fulton Street resident Amanda Timchak. “It’s floating all around the streets,” said Timchak. “It’s in every little puddle in the Financial District.” The white debris came from insulation being installed along the exterior of the sky-high hotel, which was sanded off by workers in order to fit the foam panels together, according to Elias Nelon, a supervisor overseeing work on the hotel. The contractor was able to fix the problem by installing a vacuum on the sanders workers used to smooth out the insulation, and by Oct. 6 the company had reduced the amount of debris generated by the work by 90-percent, Nelon said. Inspectors from the Department of Buildings swung by the worksite four times from Oct. 2 to Oct. 6, but didn’t notice any violations of the city’s
Photo by Amanda Timchak
Debris from a Fulton Street construction site resembled falling snow in Lower Manhattan.
building code, according to spokesman Andrew Rodansky. The city agency registered an additional 311 complaint following the
Oct. 6 inspection — and after Nelon claimed the problem was fixed — and another DOB appraisal is forthcoming, Rodansky said.
9/11 Community Engagement Event
Join the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program for the first-ever Research to Care 9/11 Community Engagement event! This free, interactive, one-day event is a unique opportunity to:
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Saturday, October 21, 2017
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Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
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Oct. 19 â€“ Nov. 1, 2017
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Police are hunting for a woman they say stole a $37,000 watch from a man on Oct. 3. The woman allegedly accompanied the 46-year-old victim to his home in the vicinity of River Terrace and Murray Street shortly after midnight, and removed the watch when he was unconscious, according to authorities. The woman — described as in her twenties, 5-foot5 and 120lbs, with black hair — fled the location eastbound on Murray Street, police said. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57PISTA (74782). The public can also submit tips on the Crime stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All tips are strictly confidential.
SHIRT SWIPE A thief nabbed more than $2,000 worth of men’s shirts from a Broadway clothes shop on Oct. 12. An employee told police he was inside the store between Prince and Spring streets at 1:49 pm, when he spotted the suspect stuff 13 collared shirts into his backpack, and flee past the register without paying.
SHUDDER BUG A sticky-fingered thief nabbed a camera off a man’s shoulder inside the Cordlandt Street subway station on Oct. 14. The victim told police he was boarding an uptown R train at 8:30 pm, when the suspect snatched the camera hanging off his left shoulder just as doors closed, and booked it through the station to parts unknown.
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Cops arrested a 51-year-old man after they allegedly spotted him reaching into a man’s backpack inside the Fulton Street subway station on Oct. 12. The officer eyed the suspect placing his hand inside the victim’s backpack at 11:05 am, police said. After putting the man in cuffs, the office found he was in possession of 6 illicit Metrocards he’d bent to fool the turnstiles.
UNSAFE SAFE Thieves made off with an ATM containing more than $13,000 from a
Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
Cops say this woman swiped a man’s $37,000 watch on Oct. 3.
Broadway café on Sept. 9. The crooks nabbed the teller machine from the eatery near Morris Street at 4 pm, taking advantage of construction work there to remove the safe, which itself cost about $2,000
JOCK STRAPPED A thief nabbed more than $4,000 worth of jewelry that a woman left in an unsecured locker inside a Liberty Street gym on Oct. 2. The victim told police she stored her valuables in the gym near West Street at 4:25 pm, and returned later to find her expensive watch, diamond bracelet, and gold and diamond rings stolen.
CON EDISON ARTIST A con artist scammed a Broad Street nightclub out of nearly $3,000 on Sept. 30. The owner told police he was inside the bar near Stone Street when the phone rang at around 2 pm, and a man claiming to represent Con Edison said he was calling to collect a bill. The bar owner went ahead and paid $2,905, but called the phone number back later and was told, “You’ve been scammed and we will keep scamming,” according to police.
BIKE BANDIT A thief robbed a man on Battery Place on Oct. 6, taking his bike. The victim told police he had arranged to meet the crook near Greenwich Street to sell his bike at 7:30 pm, but the man claimed he had a firearm in his pocket and just stole the $700 cycle instead. — Colin Mixson DowntownExpress.com
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Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
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Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
HIGH-TECH TURNSTILES MTA testing smartphone tickets at Downtown subway stations BY LEVAR ALONZO The days of swiping a MetroCard may soon be a thing of the past as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority began to take its first steps toward a post-card era with tests of smartphonebased ticket-reading equipment at two Downtown subway stations. The MTA has begun a pilot program among its employees that allows for mobile phone payments, where users scan a barcode on their phones before entering the subway at specially equipped turnstiles recently installed at the Bowling Green and Wall Street 4 and 5 train stations. Though the new technology is being tested by employees at subway stations, the first customer rollout of the MTAâ€™s eTix app will be for Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad riders, according to a spokesman, as a way to unify the MTAâ€™s fare systems. â€œThe program allows for Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad customers to purchase a joint railroad
and subway ticket using their mobile phone,â€? said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. â€œTickets today in the eTix app have a unique bar-coded screen that allows conductors to scan and electronically validate a customerâ€™s ticket.â€? The eTix app is marketed as a way for riders of the rail lines to never have to use a vending machine or wait in line again when purchasing a rail ticket. â€œFor the subway, ticket readers able to read a bar-coded screen will be installed at specific, identifiable turnstiles. This will enable customers to scan and validate their tickets, granting them access to the subway,â€? said Ortiz. In addition to the two stations in Lower Manhattan, Grand Central and Penn Station have also installed the new readers, and 10 other stations are slated to get the new gear by the end of this year. â€œItâ€™s part of our efforts to create a 21st-century transit system that embraces innovation to improve the customer experience,â€? said Ortiz.
Photo by Joseph M. Calisi
The MTA is testing a new cardless, smartphone-based fare system at turnstiles at Bowling Green and Wall Street 4 and 5 train stations.
HALLOWEEN KIDZ KARNIVAL How a child learns to learn will impact his or her life forever.
City and Country School
PIER 26 AT N. MOORE ST.
Keeping the progress in progressive education. Two-Year-Olds - 8th Grade
Open House: Thursday, November 16th, 6:00 - 8:00pm
146 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011 Tel: 212.242.7802
Oct. 19 â€“ Nov. 1, 2017
! " DowntownExpress.com
TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell
phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.
Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-
haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.
Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and
chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at
a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.
Reading Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.
Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
E D ITO R IAL
What’s really scary about Halloween PUBLISHER
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BY LENORE SKENAZY “Trick or treat, trick or treat, give us something lethal to eat!” That’s not the actual rhyme, but from all the warnings about Halloween you just might think it was. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics is still insisting that “a responsible adult should closely examine all treats.” But why? How many decades of disproving this murderous myth do America’s doctors require before they lay it to rest? Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Delaware, first put a stake through the poison candy rumor all the way back in 1985, when he did a study of newspapers dating back to 1958, looking for “Child poisoned by Halloween candy” news stories. He found none — because there were none. One time, a boy in Texas did die of a poisoned Pixie Stix, but cops quickly discovered that it was from his own dad who, $100,000 in debt, had just taken out a life insurance policy on him. And yet we still use this fear of neighbors-as-psychopaths as an excuse to curtail our kids’ Halloween fun. We trot out plenty of other threadbare fears, too. Last week, Patch USA reminded its readers of a girl murdered in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, by a man later referred to as the Halloween Killer. That crime was in 1973 — 44 years ago. And yet, that single, sad story is the excuse Patch gives for publishing maps of the homes of men, women, and children on the sex offender registry. That may sound like they’re doing a public service. But it’s actually like telling people never to go south of 14th Street, because once there was a terrorist attack there. When Johns Hopkins Professor Elizabeth Letourneau did a study of sex crimes on Halloween, look-
ing for evidence of registered sex offenders pouncing on pint-sized pirates and princesses, she was shocked to find not only was there no bump in the numbers, the day was actually remarkably low in crimes against kids. In fact, she said, “We thought about calling it, ‘Halloween: The Safest Day of the Year.’ ” So Patch publishing the addresses of registrants may sound responsible, but it is scaring families with one exceedingly rare tragedy, and reinforcing the false idea that anyone registered as a sex offender is an insatiable monster. In truth, the number of people on the registry who commit a new sex crime is far lower than most people realize. It’s about five out of 100. Your kids are more likely to end up on the registry than to be molested by someone on it. That’s scary. And then there are the fears spread simply by the way Halloween is morphing from child holiday into supervision on steroids. Kids trooping door to door seems less and less normal as communities, churches, and schools sponsor chaperoned parties and “trunkor-treats.” That’s when parents park their cars in a circle and open up the trunks, which are decorated and filled with candy. Nothing wrong with that new tradition, except that it is edging out the far older one of kids walking around their neighborhood, not just a parking lot, and doing it on their own, not under the watchful eyes of a gaggle of grown-ups. Trunk-or-treating is a perfect exam-
ple of modern day childhood. We have taken away all the independence of the most liberating holiday of the year and replaced it with something that grownups may feel is just as good — plenty of candy — even though so many thrilling elements are gone: the bravery kids get when they knock at the cob-webbed house, the confidence they get from being trusted to go out at night, the triumph they feel returning home with the fruits of the labor, and the memories they make the way most of us did, goofing around without a parent always watching. That’s a lot to trade for a trunk of easily accessed candy. And that’s not to mention all the lesser fears swirling around like bats in our collective belfry. Fears for our kids’ teeth, digestive systems, and future figures, trotted out by marketers trying to foist upon us everything from Halloween toothbrushes (a substitute for sugar) to probiotic treats (I kid you not), to low-cal substitutes and vegan candy corn. As if Mary Janes weren’t bad enough! (By the way, commercial candy corn isn’t vegan. You have to make the vegan stuff yourself, which sounds only slightly less dreary than trunk-or-treating.) Holidays always evolve. Sleighs evolve into SUVS, taffy apples evolve into fun-size Snickers. But trick-ortreating did not just evolve into a riot of overprotection. That is a decision adults have made, pushed by the forces insisting our very safe kids are not safe enough to have the kind of fun and freedom we did. Lenore Skenazy is founder of FreeRange Kids, president of Let Grow, and a contributor to Reason.com.
This is a prefect example of as to why the voters have so little respect for the political process when a political position is just a means to line one’s pockets. No one can say that a lobbying fi rm hasn’t hired a politician for his political position and ability to assert influence based on his political status. Doesn’t Wright have any sense of shame? It is definitely a conflict of inter-
est for him to hold both positions. What kind of government oversight is there when this situation can be allowed? I think Senate candidate Paul Newell should be commended for spotlighting this issue. The question is, how many more similar conflicts exist among our “political officials,” and what — if anything — is being done about it? B. Wallace Cheatham Tribeca
Letters To the Editor: I was shocked to read in your Oct. 5 issue that [former] Assemblyman Keith Wright holds a position as a lobbyist or is affiliated with a lobbying firm. What kind of a rotten political system permits such a situation? Whether he is a party boss or is just a low-level member of the Assembly, he should not be permitted to hold positions in both venues.
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Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
Trump’s Plummet Predicts Itself BY MAX BURBANK “I didn’t think Trump could sink any lower, but…” is the beginning of a Facebook post or tweet that I see about once a week. We can all debate the relative lowness of specific Trumpian misadventures. Tweeting “Nobody could have done what I’ve done for #PuertoRico with so little appreciation. So much work!” is certainly despicable, but is it better or worse than the whole “calm before the storm” thing, teasing a potential nuclear war with North Korea like it was an “Apprentice” cliffhanger? One can argue the merits of which specific barbarity is more egregious than the last, but the steady downward trend is undeniable. Trump is the Usain Bolt of human awfulness. He will spend his career breaking records, a Kryptonian mole tunneling relentlessly toward the center of the earth at super-speed. Here’s another Internet poser you see a lot lately: “How low will Trump have to go before his fellow Republicans turn on him?” With very few exceptions, the answer has been, “I don’t understand the question.” Considering the depths Trump has already spelunked to, it’s not unreasonable to assume that Republicans’ willingness to embrace, or at least justify, Trump’s every debacle is mathematically just as endless as Trump’s ability to burrow deeper. So. No matter how bad he is, Trump has demonstrated he can and will get worse. No matter how ridiculous, transparent and damning Republicans have been in their support, they will get more bizarre, servile and tainted — rats defying all stereotypes, clinging tenaciously to the anchor chain of a sinking ship. It’s a mathematical death spiral before which all but the most dauntless imaginations would quail. Not mine. As Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson so eloquently sang in a tune penned for him by the great Lin-Manuel Miranda, “You’re Welcome.” See how I subtly placed myself in that company? That’s the kind of dauntlessness my imagination is sporting. An algorithm of my own invention — based on the president’s ability to be ever more horrid, coupled with Republicans’ willingness to normalize each step downward — allows me to predict the future. Not with, you know, total accuracy or anything... but I think I can sketch out the gist. About two weeks from now: During a horrific natural disaster Trump will call “The biggest!” and “So exciting!,” DowntownExpress.com
Illustration by Max Burbank
Trump will fly from a weekend of golf at Bedminster to a rally in, let’s say, Kentucky. He will be introduced by Vice President Mike Pence, who will conclude his remarks by having surprise guest Joe Arpaio spank him with a large American flag-emblazoned wooden paddle. Pence will release a statement saying that this “sincere gesture of loyalty and patriotism” was a “surprise” to the president, who had “no idea, as this act was entirely my own.” Fifteen minutes later, Trump will tweet “I asked @ VP Pence to be spanked by Joe Arpaio. I am proud of him and his @WifeMommy Karen.” Sean Hannity will describe the event as “The moment Mike Pence finally became Vice President.” In a month or so: Trump will sign an executive order allowing the health insurance industry to classify being female as a pre-existing condition, which he argues, “It is.” Exceptions are
granted for certain plastic surgeries, because “All citizens deserve the right to better themselves.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will claim “No health insurance is undeniably better for women’s health than having health insurance.” When accused by Katy Tur of “making no damn sense,” Sanders will reply they must “agree to disagree.” At 4 a.m. the next day, not really as a distraction from the health care/ women thing, but just because he’s nuts and kind of a bastard: Trump tweets “When will Fake News shut up about needy Puerto Rico? Very poor & disgusting before Maria, now all gone. Did what we could. Move on!” United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he “can’t be bothered all the time” with “questions about stuff the president thinks.” A week later-ish: In a wide-rang-
ing, erratic interview with Lester Holt, Trump demands to know “When will you people will stop saying all the time about how I’m a White Supremacist? If I think white people are better, maybe it’s because all your black football players crap on my flag. Explain that.” During the second half of the interview, he will be almost unintelligible as he consumes and entire bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken but can be quite clearly heard wondering aloud why African American player’s “owners” can’t “just force them to stand up” and reminiscing about “the good old days” when “it was all fire hoses, police dogs and stretchers.” About a month from then: Flying from a three-day golf weekend at Mar-a- Lago en route to a four day-golf weekend at some other course he owns, Trump stops off for a rally in some random former Confederate state. There he will invite Vice President Pence on stage, and ask him as a show of loyalty to strip to his underwear, bark like a dog, and “fetch” a star spangled rubber ball — all of which the Vice President will do after a pause that, while only 2.5 seconds long, feels like seven eternities. While Pence is telling the press it was his own idea, Trump tweets “He wishes.” Two months later, if we’re lucky: Trump tweets “Loser Mueller Fake News Russia bastard lies! Maybe someone kills treasoner. An idea!” A haggard White House Chief of Staff John Kelly says he “can’t control what the president tweets” when he’s “locked in the bathroom.” Like, another month and a half, maybe: For a harrowing three minutes and twenty-five seconds, a mostly naked, adult diaper-wearing Donald Trump can be seen on Facebook Live squatting on the Oval Office rug playing with a large set of plastic toy keys and saying the word “truck” over and over. A shrieking White House Chief of Staff John Kelly rushes the screen, which then darkness. Four months after that at the very outside: Despite consensus on the part of all 17 intelligence agencies, the president refuses to accept that Kim Jongun does not have an official Twitter account, and that the tweet calling Trump a “Morbidly Obese Tiny-Penis Mongrel” was fake. Deep within a hardened, underground bunker at an undisclosed location, the president tweets “Trump solves so-called ‘global warming,’ Fake News lying media call it ‘Nuclear Winter.’ So unfair!” Oct. 19 – Nov. 2, 2017
PECK SLIP PLAZA Continued from page 8
of missing out on the chance of getting any improvements to Peck Slip Plaza. “The money was earmarked for that site and we think it should be used there,” said Hovitz. “We don’t think the city should simply leave it the way it is.” On Sept. 25, the Parks Department met with community members at South Bridge Towers to gather input on what they want for the plaza — ideally without tearing up the agency’s designs. “What we’re hoping to do is not go all the way back to square one,” Steve Simon, chief of staff for the Parks Department’s Manhattan borough commissioner, told the crowd at South Bridge. But as the microphone was passed around to local residents, it quickly became clear that the project’s center-
PLASKIN Continued on page 22
reached out to Plaskin pleading for him to stay on with the association and see the stabilization renewal effort through. “His history and knowledge of Gateway is highly valuable, and we are losing a great advocate with his departure,” said Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou. “I hope he reconsiders his decision to step down, especially considering the number of votes he received in the recent tenant-leader election.”
piece had to go. “We say ‘no’ to sculptures involving the ribs of ships and other development that would interfere with the Slip’s open character,” said Neil Mossberg. “Peck Slip must remain an open square.” In lieu of the odd shipping homage, locals suggested working with local organizations like the South Street Seaport Museum to host events there, build sports facilities for older kids, and install new planters and benches that could double as barriers separating children from cars. Locals also discussed the merits of closing the brief span of Front Street that crosses through the plaza, with some locals expressing safety concerns, and others fears that traffic would be exasperated by the closure. Front Street resident Joe Astill suggested keeping Front Street open, while
But Plaskin said he’s had enough of the unpaid gig, but that he’s leaving the residential complex’s fate in good hands. “Stabilization is much bigger then Glenn Plaskin,” he said. Plaskin — an author and celebrity profi ler who’s interviewed Nancy Reagan, Audrey Hepburn, Al Pacino, and Donald Trump, among numerous other household names — joined up with the tenants association back in 2007, where he displayed a talent for
Downtown Express file photos
Peck Slip Plaza has come a long way since its days as a parking lot (left), to become a treasured open space for community events (right), and locals worry that the obtrusive shipwreck sculpture that the city wants to install in the middle of the park will spoil the plaza.
enhancing safety through the installation of stops signs and road bumps. “We don’t want to see Front Street blocked off,” said Astill. “It’s congested enough as it is. What we would like to see is more stop signs.”
CB1’s Waterfront, Parks, and Resiliency Committee wrote a resolution rejecting the shipwreck sculpture and requesting a traffic study, which the full board is expected to vote on at its Oct. 25 meeting.
courting big-name politicos to support Gateway’s rent stabilization efforts. He organized swanky lifetimeachievement galas, which honored NYC notables including former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and one-time Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, while ensuring that when Gateway called, the heavy-hitting honchos picked up the phone. “We created the events partly to recognize their achievements, but also to
get their support,” said Plaskin. In addition to successfully advocating for an 11-year renewal of rent stabilization benefits in 2009, the tenants association under Plaskin convinced LeFrak to fund a desperately needed $7.3 million renovation project that replaced aging windows and climate control equipment throughout the building, in addition to fighting the landlord on a hated pet policy that would have forced out some of Gateway’s furrier tenants.
Posted To PLASKIN RESIGNS AS HEAD OF GATEWAY PLAZA TENANTS ASSOCIATION (OCT. 13) Glenn Plaskin has been a godsend for us here at Gateway. He has been a tireless champion for residents rights and we need him now more than ever. I understand a decade of this kind of work would leave anyone spent and a bit beat up. I hope he will still be with us in some kind of a “consultant” capacity. All the new board members would certainly benefit from his broad range of experi-
ence with dealing with the myriad of challenges facing us here downtown. His guiding hand will be very much missed. Howard Grossman
BIKES BEGONE! CB1 ENDORSES PLAN TO STEER BICYCLISTS AWAY FROM ESPLANADE TOWARD HUDSON RIVER GREENWAY (SEPT. 28)
I am deeply honored to have worked beside Glen Plaskin on the GPTA. I respect his decision to resign. I look forward to seeing and hearing him in other forums of life. Good Luck Glen! Thank you for your service. Delphina M Livorsi
Green light arrows like the one on Chambers St. should be installed on every intersection in BPC where there is a risk of cars hitting cyclists. Only then will cycling be safer along the greenway rather than on the esplanade. JC
For more news & events happening now visit www.DowntownExpress.com 22
Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
Dates: Thurs., Oct. 19–Wed., Oct. 25
ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES ARE SUSPENDED THURSDAY FOR DIWALI Bicyclists will roll through the streets of Manhattan this Sunday for Bike MS starting at 5:30 a.m. This is mostly an uptown affair, but the route will stretch down West St. from the 50s all the way to Canal St., before turning into the Holland Tunnel, and closing it to New Jersey-bound traffic from 7 to 7:30 a.m. Most riders will continue down West Street, through the Battery Park Underpass, and on to FDR Drive northbound. I’m expecting the last of the stragglers to be gone from lower Manhattan by 10:30 a.m. On Sunday at 4:30 p.m., the Giants play the Seahawks at MetLife Stadium, so expect extra traffic at the approaches to the Holland Tunnel starting around 2 p.m. Even the 1-5 Giants can draw more than 60,000 fans. Fans can avoid the Hudson River snarls by taking NJ transit to Secaucus Junction, and transferring to the free NJ Transit rail shuttle. On Thursday, the Broad Street Lunchfest will close Liberty Street between Broadway and Trinity Place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Taste of the Seaport festival will close Peck Slip between Front and South Sts. and Front St. between Beekman St. and Peck Slip. Expect heavier than usual crowds in
ARCADES Continued from page 7
back requires developers to enliven what’s left of the public spaces after they develop them. But Rockrose’s proposal — which includes planters, drinking fountains, seating, and trash cans — demonstrates little community value in exchange for roughly 4,000-square feet of prime real estate, according to the board’s vice chairman. “They’re not giving back anything,” said Paul Hovitz. With local ground-floor retail space renting $200 per square foot a year, the 200 Water St. infill could net Rockrose an annual $800,000 windfall. Adding insult to injury, the developer’s proposal also includes a café with outdoor seating that would eat into what public space remains within the DowntownExpress.com
Chinatown for the Falun Dafa Holiday Season Parade on Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. Streets within the area bounded by Mott St., Worth St., East Broadway, and Grand St. will be off-limits to car traffic. The Manhattan Bridge will experience delays and there could be a trickledown impact at the Brooklyn Bridge. Best bet for drivers crossing the East River would be the Battery Tunnel or Williamsburg Bridge. From the Mailbag: Dear Transit Sam, Why doesn’t every street corner in the city have at least a one-car-length no parking zone so that every vehicle at an intersection can see oncoming traffic without obstruction? As it is now, you can’t see a thing when you reach an intersection. M. Lau Dear M. Lau, Many cities do exactly what you say and prohibit parking within 15 or so feet from a corner. NYC has done it in a number of locations after determining a need; it’s called “daylighting.” Why doesn’t the city do it all over? I’d say the biggest reason is public outcry over losing parking spots. I’ve seen communities reject removing a few spaces even to speed up emergency vehicles. So, I think the city DOT will continue “daylighting” on a case by case basis. Transit Sam
shrinking arcade, and leaving pedestrians with little walking space, even as a large retail construction project at nearby Pier 17 nears its completion. “This is really considerably bad planning when you consider the increased traffic that’s going to be going down Water Street once Pier 17 opens,” said Hovitz. Perhaps the worst part of Rockrose’s proposal is that, regardless the community’s objections, it’s perfectly legal within the confines of the text amendment — and its unclear whether the City Planning Commission, which must sign off on the developer’s plans, will rule based on the letter of the law, or its spirit, according to Notaro. “What the applicant is asking for, per the text amendment, is appropriate,” he said. “That’s the problem.” Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, 2017
The Long View on La MaMa’s Mind At 56, it’s the anchor of stability we need
Photo by Carolina Restrepo
An exploration of aging, anxiety, and doomsday, Split Britches’ “Unexploded Ordnances (UXO)” plays Jan. 4-21, 2018.
BY TRAV S.D. What to make of the state of the world when pillar institutions (e.g., the government in Washington, ostensibly) become the loose cannons, and experimental arts organizations become anchors of stability? We are thinking specifically of the Downtown theatre La MaMa, which is now about to enter its 56th season as New York’s premier Off-OffBroadway venue, and is now in the midst of launching a major capital project and an innovative archiving initiative even as it unrolls one of its most exciting seasons in years. Here are just some of the things that are on the calendar. In obser-
Oct. 19 – Nov. 2, 2017
vance of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company and the 30th anniversary of the death of its founder Charles Ludlam, his partner and heir apparent, Everett Quinton, will direct a production of Ludlam’s “Conquest of the Universe or When Queens Collide” (Nov. 2-19). On Nov. 11, an edition the Sat. afternoon educational performance series “Coffeehouse Chronicles” will be devoted to Ludlam. On Oct. 7, “Chronicles” focused on the late Sam Shepard, many of whose earliest plays premiered at La MaMa. Readings of his plays will happen throughout January.
Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot will be joining the Belarus Free Theatre in “Burning Doors” (through Oct. 22). Split Britches (Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver) premiere “Unexploded Ordnances (U XO)” Jan. 4-21, 2018. Performance artist John Kelly stars in “Time No Line” Feb. 22-March 11. And there will be international projects, like Motus Theatre (Italy) in collaboration with Great Jones Repertory Company on “Panorama Part One,” a show about race and immigration (Dec. 28-Jan. 21). And “ALAXSXA | ALASKA” by Ping Chong and Ryan Conarro (through Oct. 29), as well as “Don’t Feed the
Indians” by Murielle Borst-Tarrant (Nov. 2-19, part of of La MaMa’s Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective programming). Why all this activity now? Is La MaMa rising to the specific challenges of this political moment? “Most of our shows this fall have been in development, for some a year or two,” said artistic director Mia Yoo. “Artists are hyper-sensitive to the world around them. They guide us and show us the direction we need to be going. And our season’s programming and concept grow out of that urgency that they feel.” LA MAMA continued on p. 26 DowntownExpress.com
Buhmann on Art: Joyce Kozloff at DC Moore Gallery ‘Girlhood’ maps a route back, and away from, innocence BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN Joyce Kozloff’s latest work — “Girlhood” — contextualizes her ongoing mixed-media cartographic collage paintings with her childhood drawings by incorporating them. This journey into personal childhood exploration began when Kozloff recently discovered a folder of safely stored elementary school drawings in her late parents’ home, after having to face the difficult task of packing it up. The result is a moving installation that aids in accentuating notions of wonderment and the thrill of discovery that has characterized Kozloff’s oeuvre for years. Woven into stunningly layered assemblages of maps, figures, landscapes and still lifes, these works treat the world as an open invitation for exploration, a vast space that can be navigated from various distances. However, it also addresses the fact that over time, our worldview becomes something learned, impacted by clichés, misinformation, and doctrine. Having been engaged in feminist and political activism for decades, Kozloff stresses that the worldview of her “naïve public-school pictures” is,
in fact, “further away from me today than the places were then.” Thinking back to her childhood, she notes: “False scenarios about other times unraveled for many in my generation, although not everywhere nor for all Americans. And that’s why my conventional grammar school innocence feels weirdly relevant to me — within our polarized society, where so many people hold onto fantasies about recovering an imaginary past.” The deeper one dives into Kozloff’s works, the more complex they become. Whereas they might simply appear whimsical and playful at first, a quality that is underlined by the inclusion of foreign dolls and 1950s goofy figurines, for example, they soon raise questions of stereotypes, the preservation of the natural world, and, especially, our responsibility toward children — whose innocent curiosity about the world should remain a source of inspiration and not a dream waiting to be crushed. Through Nov. 4 at DC Moore Gallery (535 W. 22nd St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.–Sat., 10am–6pm. Call 212-247-2111 or visit dcmooregallery.com.
Courtesy the artist and DC Moore Gallery, NY
“Then and Now” (2017. Acrylic, collage, and found objects on canvas; 72 x 60 x 3 in.).
Courtesy the artist and DC Moore Gallery, NY
“The Giant of New Jersey” (2017. Acrylic, collage, oil pastel, and photograph on canvas; 49 x 37 in.). DowntownExpress.com
Courtesy the artist and DC Moore Gallery, NY
“Red States, Blue States” (2017. Acrylic and collage on canvas; 36 x 48 in.). Oct. 19 – Nov. 2, 2017
Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER
THE FIFTH CHELSEA FILM FESTIVAL We’ve always lauded the Chelsea Film Festival’s dedication to emerging talent, marginalized voices and social justice — now, with the annual fall event occurring for the first time during a Trump administration, its mission (“give voice to the unheard”) seems more vital than ever. Founders Sonia JeanBaptiste and Ingrid Jean-Baptiste have retained the four-day festival’s signature content: short and featurelength narrative and documentary films, Q&A sessions, and industry mixers — but they’ve also added a Climate Change Day (Oct. 22, 12-4pm) dedicated to issues including mindful consumerism, reducing waste on film sets, and factory farming. Also new to the festival, a Virtual Reality Competition will showcase works made by women, people of color, and LGBTQs. As for the films (72 shorts and 15 features), selec-
tions include Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s redemption tale “Mukoku,” in which a washed up drunk (once a skilled swordsman) meets and mentors a high schools student with “a natural high ability in Kendo and fond of rap music.” Shirley FrimpongManso’s comedy “Potato Potahto” has divorced couple Tony and Lulu still living together, each hiring attractive younger people for help around the house (with the added benefit of making their live-in ex jealous). Closing the festival, director Fisher Stevens collaborates with Leonardo DiCaprio for the climate change documentary “Before the Flood,” a call for swift action as species disappear and ecosystems change. Thurs., Oct. 19 through Sun., Oct. 22. Screenings take place at AMC Loews 34th St. (312 W. 34th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.) and venues within the Fashion Institute of Technology (227 W. 27 St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Tickets to individual screenings are $13, with several festival pass options available. For the full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit chelseafilm. org. Social media: #CFFNY2017.
Photo by Mei-Yin Ng
Hear stories from Chinatown residents during an immersive dance performance tour. “Sit, Eat and Chew” happens Oct. 21 and 22.
SIT, EAT AND CHEW: A GUIDED TOUR OF DANCE PERFORMANCES Growing up in 1970s Klang, Malaysia as the daughter of that port town’s fi rst fi lm projector and, later, camcorder owner, Mei-Yin Ng put herself on a steady diet of American musicals and, later, Merce Cunningham’s work via videotape. Since arriving in NYC on a one-way fl ight, the director and choreogra-
LA MAMA continued from p. 24
The long view seems to be very much on La MaMa’s minds these days. Even as they undertake this ambitious season, they are launching a three-phase $50 million construction project called “Restore a Building, Remake a World,” which will begin with the oldest of their four properties at 74 E. Fourth St. According to Nicky Paraiso, Director of Programming at the Club at La MaMa, work on the first leg is slated to begin in January, necessitating the temporary closing of the popular Club Space and First Floor Theatre for at least two years. The two spaces will be merged into one, with a raised ceiling and more flexible seating and staging areas. La MaMa will upgrade their technical equipment in the space, and make it wheelchair accessible. Further, they will add a studio above the theatre, in a space that was once La MaMa founder Ellen Stewart’s apartment. This will be used as rehearsal space, and for the presentation of their Coffeehouse Chronicles series, play readings, and children’s theatre productions. During the construction, Paraiso
Oct. 19 – Nov. 2, 2017
Photo by Adam C. Nadel
Puppetry, video, interviews and yuraq (Alaska Native Yup’ik drum and dance) are woven into “ALAXSXA | ALASKA,” playing through Oct. 29.
added, “There will be an interim club space in the lobby era of the new Downstairs Theatre [at 66th E. Fourth St.], where we can continue to do solo performances, readings, and small productions of plays and music events. It will be called Nicky’s Paradise Lounge and will open right after the New Year.” “This isn’t just about making nice new spaces,” Yoo noted. “The buildings are in dire need of help, after years and years of constant use. We
want to make sure it exists for future generations. Just as in the very beginning, when Ellen [Stewart] looked at the needs of the community, saw that the Downtown theatre needed a space to work, and she provided it. We’re thinking about the future of our community, who they are, and creating a space where people can connect to people.” In a similarly forward-looking vein, La MaMa has recently announced a project to make their video archives
pher has been exploring the nexus of technology and the human body at a number of unconventional venues (including a hotel room and a fi sh market). Her current project provides food for thought by taking its audience on an immersive guided tour that goes beyond the Chinatown most of us know — restaurants and shops — to share the stories of its longtime residents. “Sit, Eat and Chew” features her six-member dance troupe in collaboration with local troupes from the community. At various locations throughout Chinatown, the ensemble uses words and movement in performances based on interviews, research, and personal anecdotes drawn from community storytelling workshops. On Sat., Oct. 21 & Sun., Oct. 22 at 2pm, 2:45pm and 3:30pm (each tour approx. 100 minutes). Meet at MOCA, the Museum of Chinese in America (215 Centre St., btw. Howard & Grand Sts.). Tickets, which include admission to the museum, are available via mocanyc. org ($25 general, $15 for students, seniors & MOCA members, $10 for Chinatown residents). For artist info, visit MeiBeWhatever.com.
more available to the public, made possible by a $100,000 grant from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission. La MaMa’s audiovisual archives date back to the 1970s, documenting many seminal, now historic productions. But much of the material exists in now obsolete formats and is degrading. It’s now being digitized, which will both preserve the information and make it widely accessible. La MaMa’s archives, which also include correspondence, photographs, play scripts, show posters, and other historical ephemera is not just significant in relation to La MaMa itself. Because of La MaMa’s central role in the development of Off-Off Broadway, it amounts to a documentary record of the birth of a movement. “Martin Luther King spoke of a ‘network of mutuality,’ ” Yoo said. “We need each other, in our society, in our community. Theatre is so much about storytelling, about seeing through the eyes of another human being. This is the time when art can make us think. It’s a big part of what we can do.” For more information on the season, visit lamama.org. DowntownExpress.com
I’ll Sing ‘Em All and We’ll Stay All Night Linda Glick takes us down New York cabaret’s Memory Lane BY TRAV S.D. This month and next, cabaret fans will have a rare chance to catch up with a New York cabaret star of the 1970s and ‘80s, Linda Glick, when she plays Pangea with her new show “Teach Me Tonight.” Back in the day, Glick was a mainstay of such venues as Les Mouches, the Duplex, Triad, Reno Sweeney’s, Judy’s, and many others, when she wasn’t playing the big rooms like the Rainbow Grill or touring internationally. Her fan base was and is largely gay; she sang in bathhouses, too, and she’s been a headliner at several national Pride gatherings in Washington. She’s also shared bills and stages with Harvey Fierstein, Sid Caesar, Shecky Greene, and Rita Rudner, understudied for Eartha Kitt, and workshopped a show with Kander and Ebb. In her heyday, her appearances got mentions and plugs in Variety, Page Six, and Earl Wilson’s syndicated column. Born and raised in Forest Hills, Glick initially taught French and Spanish in city public middle schools, performing in cabarets at night. Because she was proficient at singing in foreign languages, she was hired as a replacement for Rita Dmitri at La Chansonsette supper club. Two European agents saw her perform there and she was immediately booked on an international tour, launching her career. She’s sung everywhere from Thailand to the Catskills, but she claims, “I don’t like any other type of venue as much as I like New York cabarets.” Glick recently took me on a trip down Memory Lane to some of her old haunts to talk about the cabaret scene in days gone by and how things have changed. Along the way, she shared anecdotes about many adventures from her long career. Reno Sweeney’s (126 W. 13th St., now a pasta restaurant called Gradisca): “A lot of big names played here: Diane Keaton, Manhattan Transfer, Cybill Shepherd, Holly Woodlawn, Barbara Cook, Janis Ian, Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Peter Allen, whom I later opened for at a club called Waaay Off-Broadway in Washington, DC. Reno Sweeney’s was wonderful. They made a point of always displaying these beautiful flower arrangements. It was run very professionally by a man named Lewis Friedman, a great manager. This was the first place I ever worked with my own string section. And this is where we premiered a song I cowrote called “Weekend Lady.” One time I’d forgotten my costume, I left it in the cab, and my girlfriend came to the show so we literally switched clothes so I could perform. And then at the last possible second, the cab driver burst into the club with my costume. I remember the man’s name to this day. He was a hero.” The VIP Room (120 Madison Ave. at E. 30th St.): “The house band was a bunch of Greek guys. DowntownExpress.com
St.): “This location had previously been a spot called the Pearl. The Bushes was where I got my first shot at developing a following, I played these Sunday night shows and napped in the boiler room between sets. The crowd here was mostly gay, too.” Danny’s Skylight Room (346 W. 46th St., now a New Orleans-themed restaurant called Bourbon Street): “This place was run by Danny Apolinar, a songwriter who sang and played piano. Danny was responsible for getting me a gig at the Central Plaza Hotel in Bangkok.” Bike Stop West (230 W. 75th St.): “The manager was a man known as the Emerald Queen. This venue was very small. I actually performed on the bar and the audience spilled out onto the sidewalk.” Gypsy’s (1065 First Ave. at E. 58th St., now Fusha Asian Cuisine): “It was packed to the rafters when I performed there. Gypsy was the emcee, but the owner was [Hollywood dancer and impresario] Ted Hook. There was so much freedom then. I wore this cocoa-colored gown with black feathers as breastplates. Marilyn Sokol showed up wearing a boa made of rubber chickens.” Photo by Anthony Grasso
Linda Glick, who appears for four evenings at Pangea, recalls New York’s cabaret scene back in the day.
I sang there three to four times a week, for several weeks. Because I sang in several different languages, one time an important patron requested I sing a song in Russian. I had heard that there were some guys doing a Russian version of “Those Were the Days” down at one of the Ukrainian places on Second Avenue, so I sent someone there for the sheet music. I stuck the music into a book, and invented some patter and put on a shawl and sang the song from the book. The owner wanted me to ditch the book, but I said, ‘No, this has all been carefully rehearsed. I need my props!’ Then, when I did my encore on that show, a medley of Édith Piaf songs, the audience actually threw money. I gathered it all up and split it five ways with the band.” Les Mouches (559 W. 26th St.): “You got upstairs in an elevator, and it was a whole complex with dining rooms, a cabaret, and a dance space with mirrored disco ball. My director was Bill Hennessy, he had been Bette Midler’s hair stylist and mentor. He was the one who gave her the funny onstage walk that she does. It was a festive, free place, with a gay clientele. I sang a song called ‘Knights in Black Leather,’ and threw ball gags and other sex toys out to the audience.” The Bushes of Central Park West (158 W. 73rd
Many another name came up during Glick’s reminiscences: Brothers and Sisters, Grand Finale, Steve McGraw’s (which is now the Triad), Eighty Eights (now a restaurant called L’Artusi), Trude Heller’s (now Lenwich, Greenwich Village), Tramps (now an Irish bar called Shades of Green), and of course the legendary Duplex, which is one of the few places from the old days that is still going. As to why the landscape in New York changed so much over the past few decades, Glick speculated, “You can’t make a living in cabaret now. There got to be fewer and fewer rooms and different types of venues. The rents got higher, the economics changed, and AIDS hit the gay community hard.” As that happened, Glick transitioned into acting in theater, film, and television. Notable credits include stints as Mrs. Brice in two touring productions of “Funny Girl,” the role of Nancy Pelosi in the HBO movie “Too Big to Fail” about the 2008 financial meltdown, and several shows at 54 Below in 2015. But, she said, “I really love the atmosphere at Pangea, it reminds me of the classy old supper clubs from the old days. I can’t wait to perform there.” Linda Glick’s “Teach Me Tonight” is performed Oct. 25, Nov. 1 & 10 at 7:30pm at Pangea (178 Second Ave. at E. 11th St.). Tickets: $20 at pangeanyc.com; $25 cash only at the door. $20 food or drink minimum. Oct. 19 – Nov. 2, 2017
Oct. 19 â€“ Nov. 1, 2017
October 19, 2017