Page 1


New Life, Same Location? Bus Terminal Could Stay Put


BY JACKSON CHEN In a potential dramatic change of course, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is now pursuing a study about the feasibility of renovating its existing bus terminal into a modern facility to meet the BUS TERMINAL continued on p. 6

10th Pct. Talks Bravery, Burglaries, Buzzing, Branch BY SEAN EGAN It was business as usual but with one usual suspect missing, at April 26’s edition of the 10th Precinct’s monthly Community Council meeting. While Community Council President Larry O’Neill was absent this month recuperating from leg surPRECINCT continued on p. 7


Migration is the theme for this acclaimed company’s 41st Annual New York Season. See page 21.

see page 12 for Christian Miles’ photo essay

DON’T COUNT ON ZERO Rent Guidelines Board Seems Increase-Inclined BY LINCOLN ANDERSON There might not be a rent rollback — much less another rent freeze — coming up later this year for tenants living in New York City’s more than 1 million rent-regulated apartments. On the evening of Tues., April 25, at The Cooper Union’s Great Hall on E. Seventh St., despite the presence of 150 tenants — both individuals and members of tenant coalitions — from around the city chanting, “Roll-back!” the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB), in its preliminary vote, approved increases of 1 percent to 3 percent for one-year lease renewals and 2 percent to 4 percent for two-year leases renewals for rent-regulated units. The RGB recommended the same percentage increases for loft tenants. For the past two years in a row, under Mayor Bill de Blasio, the RGB supported a zero percent increase for one-year renewals and a 2 percent hike for two-year renewals. The initial rent freeze two years ago was historic — the first time New York City had ever seen a zero increase under the current rent-regulation


program, which dates back to 1943. This year, many thought surely there would be another rent freeze, given that de Blasio is running for re-election to a second term. And many further hoped for a rollback — as in, an actual rent reduction. Landlords’ projected operating costs under former Mayor Mike Bloomberg were exaggerated — meaning the steady rent increases during those years were unjustified — according to tenant advocates; so, it was time for “a correction,” they argued, convincingly. Last year, Mayor de Blasio — who appoints all the RGB members — also had emphasized that “the data” supported a rent freeze. There were hopes on Tuesday in the Great Hall for a rollback this time around. Yet, this year, the data was different. Last year’s calls for a rollback, in fact, seemed louder and stronger — as if tenants knew it was actually possibly within reach, based on the numbers. RENT continued on p. 2 VOLUME 09, ISSUE 13 | MAY 4-10, 2017

Debate Over ‘Data’ as Rent Board is Chilly to a Repeat Freeze RENT continued from p. 1

“We said a rollback is what we need! We’re here to stop the landlord greed!” the tenants sang. “Fight! Fight! Fight!” they chanted. “Housing is a right!” “Si se puede!” (“We can do it!”) An Upper West Side woman in the audience — a 92-year-old retired gardener — was praying for a rollback. “I’m holding my breath,” she said. “I need it. We used to live on West End Ave. We had to leave because our building went co-op. If we had bought, we would have become millionaires.” Last year, a drop in the cost of heating oil justified a rent freeze, in the opinion of most of the RGB members. However, oil’s price has come back up. In short, this year, the data — landlords’ operating expenses — justify a rent increase, according to a majority of the nine-member board. Specifically, the “price index” used to calculate owners’ operating costs justified the raise, in the opinion of most of the board members. Harvey Epstein and Sheila Garcia, the board’s tenant members, opposed the recommended guidelines, which were put forth by Kathleen Roberts, the RGB chairperson. Also voting No on Roberts’ proposal were the two owner representatives, Mary Serafy and J. Scott Walsh, who favored boosting rents more. But the board’s other four so-called public members all backed the suggested rent hikes — eliciting a chorus of boos from the audience. Starting off the proposals, owner members Serafy and Walsh had advocated for steeper renewal increases — 4 percent for one-year leases and 6 percent for twoyear leases. “We believe a third straight year of a rent freeze would possibly be a disaster for a certain number of landlords,” Serafy stated. “According to the data, operating costs are up 6.2 percent. Not increasing rents this year will increase the possibility of large increases in the future.” “Not justified! Not justified!” the tenants in the audience chanted. All the other RGB members opposed this proposal. Next, Garcia and Epstein made a pitch for a “two-tiered system,” under which landlords who had taken advantage of MCIs (major capital improvements) and IAIs (individual apartment improvements) and vacancy increases in the past three years would have to give their tenants a rent reduction of 4 percent to zero percent for one-year renewals or


May 4-10, 2017

Photos by Lincoln Anderson

Tenants called for rollback — a rent reduction — at April 25’s RGB preliminary vote.

Tenants in the audience sang, chanted, catcalled and danced — but the RGB declined to support either a rent freeze or rollback.

2 percent to zero percent for two-year renewals. If the landlords hadn’t done any of these, their units would get lease renewals in the range of from zero percent to 2 percent for both one and two years, per the tenant members’ proposal. Epstein said they had been looking at “the data,” too, but that it told them a different story. “More than 35 percent of people pay more than 50 percent of their income toward rent,” he said. “Forty-five percent of people going into homeless shelters come from rent-stabilized housing.” Meanwhile, he added, “Owners’ income exceeds their costs, year after year.” Added Garcia, “We exist as a rent board because there is a homeless crisis. One hundred thousand people will be going through the shelter system this year. There are 60,000 people in the shelters — 30,000 of them are children.

“Landlords are paying 57 percent of every dollar to run their buildings — down from 68 percent a few years ago,” she added. “Tenants’ wages are stagnant. Tenants across the city are struggling, while landlords are doing just fine.” Garcia noted that leading landlord group the Rent Stabilization Association sued to repeal the RGB’s most-recent rent freeze, but lost in State Supreme Court. “The court ruled that the RGB can take into account affordability,” she noted. However, all seven other RGB members opposed Epstein and Garcia’s motion. “Shame! Shame! Shame!” came shouts from the audience — along with a long, loud hiss clearly meant to sound like a snake to show that the tenants felt the so-called “public members” had betrayed them. Then Roberts put forth her winning proposal, which passed by a vote of 5 to 4. “We need a revolution,” one woman in

the audience grumbled to other tenants around her. Speaking after the vote, Epstein said there won’t be a rent freeze or rollback for lease renewals starting this October because the final figures must be “in the range” that the RGB proposed Tuesday night in its preliminary vote. However, veteran tenant activist Michael McKee, of Tenants Political Action Committee, said there’s nothing in the law that says that must be the case. “Not at all true,” McKee said. “While the RGB has never adopted final rent adjustments that were higher or lower than the ranges, there is no prohibition against their doing so. ‘Ranges’ are nowhere mentioned in the law or the regulations. The ‘range’ methodology was adopted by the former Bloomberg RGB chairperson, Marvin Markus, as a means of tamping down tenant protest — don’t put out an actual preliminary number, keep people off-base.” However, told of McKee’s response, Epstein said, the city’s Law Department — the Corporation Counsel — this year is saying they, in fact, must stay “in the range.” “Corp Counsel told us specifically this year that the votes need to be within the range,” Epstein said. “I totally hear what Mike is saying and I think he’s right about what he’s saying about the statute. But there’s all these administrative-procedure act things and Corp Counsel says now that we have to be within the range.” Epstein — a former chairperson of the East Village’s Community Board 3 — RENT continued on p. 23 .com

Offering the Homeless Help and Hope, On Their Own Terms BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Robert’s brown eyes smiled when he talked about his home of three years. After living on the street, the apartment “saved my life,” Robert said. “I was so happy I didn’t know what to do.” The only downside: He couldn’t bring his cats. An outreach team from Breaking Ground — a nonprofit that works to bring the homeless inside and get them housed — talked with Robert when he was living on the street in BedfordStuyvesant, got him into transitional housing at a YMCA, and eventually placed him at a new development in the Bronx, Robert, 53, told Chelsea Now. On Thurs., April 27, the sun decided to make an appearance after a day of rain, and Robert was near the entrance of the Chelsea Waterside Park at W. 23rd St. and 11th Ave. He said he had walked from the Bronx — in the rain — to Chelsea with his two carts that brimmed with bottles and cans. Breaking Ground’s Doug Becht, assistant vice president for housing operations and programs, and Bryan Tarabochia, operations manager, had approached Robert as part of their

Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

With the help of Breaking Ground’s outreach teams, Robert, center, got a placement in permanent supportive housing at a building in the Bronx after living on the streets. Bryan Tarabochia, left, and Doug Becht, right, of Breaking Ground.

outreach that afternoon, and this newspaper tagged along as they worked. Becht, who is also a licensed clinical social worker, gave Robert his cellphone number as they talked. Robert spoke about being a loner before, and living at the building has given him a sense of community as he is “trying not to be alone.” He declined to say how long he had been homeless, but Becht said that it was at least a year.

Becht pointed out that there might be the assumption that Robert is homeless, but said, “The perception doesn’t meet the reality as workers.” As part of doing outreach, it is important not to make assumptions, and he said it was good that they checked in with Robert. “There’s a value in coming out here,” he said. Heather Frey — outreach program administrator, Street Homelessness Solutions, with the city’s Department

of Homeless Services (DHS) — also came out that Thursday afternoon and said, “There is such a misconception that everyone you see outside is homeless.” Frey said that people are creatures of habit, and for someone who had been on the streets for years, they understand the rhythms of it. “It’s not a crime to be homeless,” she said. “And perception is not always reality.” Tarabochia said, “Housing is a big adjustment for people who have been on the street.” Becht concurred, saying that it takes a lot of courage to get services and to be housed. But, “When people go into supportive housing, they stay,” Becht said, noting that there is a retention rate of 95 percent for those in permanent housing. Brenda Rosen, president and CEO of Breaking Ground, explained that “supportive housing” is housing that comes with services such as medical and mental health care, substance abuse referrals, and other programs such as financial literary. Breaking Ground, which Rosen noted is also a real estate developer, has more than 3,000 units of permaBREAKING GROUND continued on p. 14

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May 4-10, 2017



Courtesy sageusa.org

SAGE’s campaign to block the federal Administration on Aging from deleting the LGBTQ community from its annual survey.

SAGE Fights Against ‘Erasure’ of LGBTQ Seniors BY PAUL SCHINDLER Advocates for LGBTQ seniors are scrambling to mobilize opposition to a Trump administration plan to drop questions about sexual orientation and gender identity from an annual government survey of older Americans. According to Michael Adams, the

CEO of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, or SAGE, the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants, which has counted the number of LGBTQ seniors each year since 2014, is a critical tool for making the needs of older Americans known to legislators and other policymakers.


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“The most important impact,� Adams said of the former Obama administration’s decision to incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity into the tally, “was in sending a message to federally-funded elder care providers that this was a segment that had to be served. We saw positive results as a consequence.� Now, the federal Administration on Aging, a unit of the Administration for Community Living within the Department of Health and Human Services, has put forward its new survey format that deletes the count of LGBTQ seniors that was done in 2014, 2015, and 2016. The agency is accepting public comment on the proposed survey form through May 12, and SAGE is pushing to get as many people as possible to submit their input. A dramatic public campaign by SAGE (which appears as an ad on page 2 of the April 27 issue of our sister publication, Gay City News) recalls the famous New York Daily News front page castigating President Gerald Ford’s refusal to bail out New York City during the height of its 1970s fiscal crisis, with the allcapitalized phrase: “TRUMP TO LGBT ELDERS: DROP DEAD.� Directing people to the group’s website at sageusa. org, the ad also states: “We refuse to be invisible.� The new administration’s plans regarding the annual survey, Adams said, amounts to “an erasure� of older queer Americans. “Trumps wants LGBT Elders to just disappear,� the SAGE website reads. Asked what specific benefits older LGBTQ Americans gained from their inclusion in the survey, Adams explained,

Photo by Donna Aceto

Michael Adams, SAGE’s CEO.

“We saw state offices on aging and area offices on aging stepping up and doing needs assessment and designing programs to serve our community. Of course not everywhere, but in a growing number of places including in places we wouldn’t have expected.� Noting that the federal government is the largest funder of elder services across the nation, Adams added, “Our fear is that this disregard will cascade down to state and local governments.� Adams argued that the proposed change in the Older Americans survey is “part of a pattern and practice of stripping rights from the LGBTQ community� on the part of the new administration in Washington. A similar modiSAGE continued on p. 23 .com

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May 4-10, 2017


No Bus Transfer? Port Authority Weighs Renovating Current Site

Chelsea Now file photo by Yannic Rack

Same place, expanded space? Port Authority is pursuing a study to renovate its current location. BUS TERMINAL continued from p. 1

Book and Lyrics by Carolyn Balducci Music by Mira J. Spektor Directed by Lissa Moira Music Direction by Cristina Dinella Projections by Bank Street Films Choreography by J. Alan Hanna Set Design by Marc Marcante & Lytza Colon Costume Design by Lytza Colon Lighting Design by William Geraldo

growing volume of passenger traffic. The current bus terminal (on Eighth Ave., btw. W. 40th & 42nd Sts.) has long been in disrepair and frequently operates beyond its passenger capacity during peak hours. To address the problem, the Port Authority board voted on Feb. 16 to commit $3.5 billion in its new 10-year capital plan to begin a renovation or replacement of the Midtown terminal. The project’s total cost would come in at a far higher price tag, with estimates floating around $10 billion, but the board agreed that $3.5 billion would suffice to

secured kick-start the process. Early public discussion about creating a modern bus terminal sparked considerable controversy and anger, especially regarding the possibility that eminent domain –– the forced sale of private property for a public purpose project –– in the blocks surrounding the existing facility might be part of the plan. Criticism from community members and elected officials moved the Port Authority to formally restart the planning process late last year. At its Thurs., April 27 board meeting, BUS TERMINAL continued on p. 14

Cast: Amanda Alyse Thomas, Matt Angel, Kimberly Bechtold, Torian Brackett, Jef Canter*, Kareem Elsamadicy, Xi Lyu, Zen Mansley, Douglas McDonnell, Amelia Sasson, Matthew Serra, David F. Slone, Esq., and Amanda Yachechak.

Eight family-friendly performances May 12, 13, 14 and May 19, 20, 21

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May 4-10, 2017


Careless Buzzing Buoys Vestibule Burglaries, Warns 10th Precinct PRECINCT continued from p. 1

gery, Commanding Officer Captain Paul Lanot (along with Crime Prevention Officer Jarett DiLorenzo and Community Affairs Detective Mike Petrillo) led the neighbors assembled at the precinct through news and statistics both encouraging and concerning — despite suffering from an obvious frog in his throat. Starting the meeting off on a positive note, Capt. Lanot took time to present a pair officers with the Cop of the Month award. “On April 6, at about 10:30 in the morning two officers performed an extraordinary job,� he said of April’s recipients, Officers Brendan Dono and James Argeniziano, awarded for their role in helping to save the life of a man in critical condition on Seventh Ave. and W. 20th St. Responding to a call, they arrived to find a man was in the back of a taxi with no pulse. The two performed CPR on the individual for a few crucial minutes, eventually helping to get him breathing again by the time an ambulance arrived on the scene. “A lot of the times you hear about negative interactions,� Capt. Lanot commented. “This is just another example of the things our officers are doing out there. I just wanted to thank them.� He further congratulated Officer Argeniziano for recently making it up to the detective squad. After congratulating the officers of the month one last time, Lanot launched into crime statistics. Over the PRECINCT continued on p. 10

Photo by Sean Egan

L to R: Cop of the Month PO Brendan Dono and PO James Argeniziano, with 10th Precinct Commanding Officer Captain Paul Lanot.

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May 4-10, 2017


National Nurses Week 2017

Everyday Ways to Nurture the Nurse in Your Life Nurses are often the first people patients see when visiting hospitals. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources Services Administration there were 2.8 million registered nurses, including advanced practice registered nurses, and 690,000 licensed practical nurses, in the United States between the years of 2008 and 2010. Nurses fill many roles in the medical community, assisting doctors and helping to make in-patient stays more comfortable for men and women who are ill or injured. Specialized nurses, such as nurse practitioners, may even serve as the primary healthcare provider, offering diagnoses and writing prescriptions. While there is a specific week set aside to show appreciation to nurses, many people agree that they deserve recognition throughout the year. Any instance is a good time to give back to nurses, and the following are a few ways to honor the nurses in your life: Play caretaker to him or her. Nurses tend to the needs of others all the time, but some nurses do not get the respite

Courtesy Metro Creative Connection

Small gestures of kindness make a difference to those who constantly care for others.

they deserve. Those who want to show appreciation to a nurse who has helped them in their lives can present the nurse with a gift card for a massage and soothing spa treatment. Cater a meal. Offer to cater a meal at the hospital or medical office so that all nurses on staff can benefit. If there

is one nurse in particular you want to treat, give that nurse a gift card to a nearby restaurant. Provide foot relief. Nurses spend hours on their feet, and that can cause pain or stiffness throughout the body. Present a gift card to a store that specializes in comfort shoes or custom

orthotics. A certificate for a pedicure or foot massage would no doubt be appreciated as well. Create a charmed existence. Charm bracelets are the rage right now, and nurses may appreciate a bracelet that highlights their career path with specific charms. For something they can wear on the job, treat nurses to a Steth-o-Charm, which is a charm that slides securely onto stethoscopes. These charms come in many designs and can make for a memorable gift. Give a decorative badge reel. Nurses must wear identification or have swipe cards on them to gain access to areas of hospitals. Many badges are standard items without any flare or style. A colorful or decorative badge reel can be a nice way to brighten up a nurse’s day. Give verbal or handwritten thanks. One of the easiest and most heartfelt ways to show your appreciation to nurses is to simply tell them how you feel. Offer a handwritten note or speak with a nurse in person. Such a simple gesture does not take much effort, but it is bound to make an impact. —Content courtesy Metro Creative Connection

Nurses Among Shift Workers at Risk for Sleep Disorders Like police officers, firefighters, doctors, paramedics, and pilots, nurses are at risk for developing shift work sleep disorder, a syndrome characterized by prolonged insomnia and excessive sleepiness due to the interruption of the body’s natural sleep-wake cycles. While having a nontraditional work schedule does not automatically lead to the disorder, an increasing number of jobs require shift work, and there has been a rise in the number of people reporting symptoms of the disorder. Studies show that shift workers tend to both sleep fewer hours during each 24-hour period and experience less satisfactory sleep than non-shift workers. Over a prolonged period of time, the loss of sleep and normal sleep rhythms can lead to difficulty concentrating, remembering information, and making decisions. Other symptoms include impaired hand-eye coordination and increased reaction times, both of which pose risks in a medical setting. Sleep deprivation among nurses has become one of the most common issues


May 4-10, 2017

Courtesy Metro Creative Connection

Like man shift workers, nurses are susceptible to sleep disorders.

affecting the quality of care in hospitals as well as the physical and mental health of the care providers themselves. Nurses who experience excessive sleepiness have been shown to make more

mistakes when administering drugs and using medical equipment. In addition to having have high rates of absenteeism and high incidents of automobile accidents, people who suffer from shift work sleep disorder are also at risk for developing serious health problems, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, and depression. Nurses and other shift workers cope with interrupted sleep cycles in a variety of ways, from consuming caffeinated beverages to taking sleep aids, but the only true remedy for sleepiness is to sleep. For many workers with nontraditional work schedules, avoiding the disorder comes down to two things — making sleep a priority and learning to nap. Here are some tips for nurses, and anyone suffering from shift work sleep disorder, to get a better’s night sleep: Make sleep a priority. When it’s time to snooze, make your sleep space a “do not disturb” zone. Turn off the phone. Block out or eliminate noise from other parts of the home. Darken your bedroom with blackout shades or by wear-

ing an eye mask. Schedule exercise to aid sleep. Exercise is a key factor in establishing healthy sleep habits. Set aside time for aerobic exercise during the workweek but not within three hours of bedtime. Since exercise raises your body temperature, it can be harder to fall asleep soon after. Plan ahead. Begin to change your sleep schedule three days prior to a shift change. On each of the three days, adjust your bedtime and wake time by one to two hours so that your circadian rhythm has a chance to adjust before the change. Nap smart. Night workers — especially those who have been awake for several hours prior to their shift — can benefit from a 30-minute nap prior to leaving for work. Whenever possible, find a spot at work for a 10-minute catnap during your break. If you become sleepy while driving home, pull over for some quick shuteye. —Content courtesy Metro Creative Connection .com

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May 4-10, 2017


POLICE BLOTTER CRIMINAL SALE OF MARIJUANA: Dopey DC dealer At around 3:45am on Sun., April 23, an officer observed a man attempt to sell some drugs to another individual at the northeast corner of 10th Ave. and W. 18th St. While the prospective purchaser fled the scene and remained unapprehended, the officer got ahold of the dealer. He was found to be in possession of a “substantial amount” of marijuana, which was explicitly wrapped and labeled for individual sale. In addition, a handful of pills were discovered, as well as (unsurprisingly) drug paraphernalia that was lined with residue. If that weren’t enough, he also had two forged Florida drivers’ licenses on his person. The 19-year-old Washington, DC resident was arrested.

LEAVING THE SCENE OF PROPERTY DAMAGE: Feels like we only crash backwards While out-of-towners should be aware of the quirks in NYC’s driving laws before attempting to navigate our metropolis, nothing could prepare this Pennsylvania resident for the good old-fashioned erratic, reckless driving he encountered on Sat., April 22. The man was stopped in traffic near the northeast corner of Seventh Ave. and W. 23rd St. a little before 6pm — but once the road began to clear up, he was

unexpectedly hit by another vehicle. The culprit? A blue Land Rover LR4, whose driver, for reasons unclear, put the vehicle into reverse and hit the other man’s car, a red 2008 Pontiac G6. The Land Rover driver then took off down W. 23rd St., leaving the 47-year-old Pontiac driver with nothing but a feeling of disbelief and a license place number.

ROBBERY: Big Gay bust A shoplifter with a sweet tooth hit the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (61 Grove St., at Seventh Ave.) on Thurs., Apr. 20, at 5:30pm. The man strode into the shop and grabbed some ice cream pints without paying, cops said. When an employee tried to lock the front door, so the guy couldn’t leave, the suspect pushed her and left. The 44-year-old perp was arrested the next day for felony robbery.

COMMUNITY COUNCIL INFO: K2 infestation Police have noticed an increase in the use of K2 around W. 14th St. and Sixth Ave. and believe that smokers of the drug are coming into the city on the PATH train, which has a stop at the intersection, according to a report in Town and Village. Speaking at a meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney said there were at least 10 people arrested for K2, also known as synthetic marijuana,

PRECINCT continued from p. 7

last 28-day period, he noted, crime had decreased by 30 percent, while it had similarly decreased by seven percent year-to-date from this time last year. Unfortunately, he reported, the precinct had seen a spike in burglaries recently, including in both commercial and residential areas. He noted that the precinct’s been doing outreach at certain buildings to help “proactively engage in crime prevention.” He then turned the floor to Officer DiLorenzo to give some tips about preventing burglaries. “It always seems to be someone leaving a window open,” observed DiLorenzo, who noted that windows left open or unlocked doors are the most frequent causes that lead to burglaries, rather than forced-entry scenarios. He urged those assembled to double check these entrances are secure when leaving the apartment — even if they live on a higher floor and feel safe. “We have seen instances where people get a little risky,” DiLorenzo warned. “Burglars have died before trying to get access to certain places.” “You should really look into a different style lock,” he encouraged neighborhood residents, explaining that


May 4-10, 2017

in the last week, and charged with violating health codes. The suspects ranged in age from 24 to 50 and were all busted around the intersection, where the bank on the northwest corner closed last year. Residents say the inactive storefront has led to the spot also becoming a magnet for loitering, graffiti, and litter.

—SEAN EGAN and TABIA ROBINSON CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawed-off shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.

THE 13th PRECINCT: Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Brendan Timoney. Call 212-477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212-477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30pm, at the 13th Precinct.

the standard latch-style window lock installed on most city windows can be easily cracked if they’re simply jimmied around for a little while. Furthermore, DiLorenzo reported that many of the burglaries concern packages, left in the view of vestibules. Oftentimes, if a burglar happens upon a package they want to take, they just ring a bunch of units in the building in question until someone absentmindedly buzzes them in. For this reason, he asked those present to never open the front door until they confirm who they are letting in, especially if they are not expecting any visitors. “We don’t want to see you on the report end,” Lanot concurred. “We want you to be on the front end, preventing any possible issues.” Finally, Lanot opened the floor up to questions and comments from the community. A resident of Penn South, who introduced herself as Phyllis, brought attention to issues arising in a small park space in the housing complex that she reported had a “magnetic attraction” to unsavory activities due to its 24/7 opening. Det. Petrillo and Capt. Lanot assured her they would discuss the matter at an upcoming meeting with Penn South Management. She also broached the

THE 10th PRECINCT: Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-7418226. Crime Prevention: 212741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7pm, at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced.

MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT: Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Inspector: Russel J. Green. Call 212-2399811. Community Affairs: 212239-9846. Crime Prevention: 212239-9846. Domestic Violence: 212-239-9863. Youth Officer: 212239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-239-9836. Detective Squad: 212-239-9856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7pm, at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & W. 35th St.). Visit midtownsouthcc.org.

topic of immigration and continued worries surrounding deportation. Lanot emphasized, as the NYPD has consistently, that they would not be involved with or aid US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportations. Later, Muhlenberg Library (209 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) Manager Lateshe Lee requested an increased police presence in that branch of the NYPL, after experiencing troublesome behavior from patrons there last week. “If you guys would just go through every now and then,” said Lee. “Just your presence would help us a lot.” “We will be there, but we also have a vast neighborhood,” Lanot commented as the meeting drew to a close, while directing Lee to the area’s neighborhood coordinating officers. “We’re going to look out for everybody, and we’re going to work with you, and look out for all the good people.” The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7pm, at the 10th Precinct (230 W. 20th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) or other locations to be announced. For info, call Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. .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.

May 4-10, 2017


Human Rights, Fair Wages, Safe Conditions Reso

PHOTO ESSAY BY CHRISTIAN MILES Christian Miles captured these images of May Day solidarity among workers, activists, immigrants, and others sensitive to the ongoing concerns of labor. Miles began at the W. 34th St. and Ninth Ave. location of B&H Photo Video, where its workers were on a day-long strike to protest dangerous warehouse conditions and an attempt to move union jobs to New Jersey. Miles followed as the assemblage made its way to Washington Square Park, then on to Foley Square, where several demonstrations throughout the city converged.


May 4-10, 2017


onate with May Day Marchers, Speakers, Strikers


May 4-10, 2017


BREAKING GROUND continued from p. 3

nent supportive housing. About 40 to 50 percent of the units go to lowincome working class individuals and around 50 to 60 percent are reserved for the formerly homeless, she said in an April 28 phone interview. There is no requirement for someone to be clean or sober, she said. “We feel strongly that having a place is the first step to recovery,” Rosen said. Breaking Ground (breakingground. org) was once known as Common Ground, and it started in the early 1990s when the organization rehabilitated a dilapidated former welfare hotel at W. 43rd St. and Eighth Ave., she explained. In late 2015, the nonprofit changed its name from Common Ground to Breaking Ground, said Rosen, who has been CEO since the summer of 2011. Working with other nonprofits, “The goal of all of it is the same — bring people inside,” she noted. Breaking Ground sends outreach teams to several parts of the city, covering Brooklyn and Queens, and from 10th to 59th Sts. from river to river in Manhattan. “We touch thousands of people a year,” Rosen said, adding that the outreach teams establish relationships and work with homeless individuals within their

Courtesy Breaking Ground

After years sleeping in parks, Clovis Ahmed proudly displays the keys to his studio apartment at The Lee in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, obtained with the help of Breaking Ground.

time frame. Becht agreed, “We have an agenda but at the same time we let them get there at their speed.” Persistence, consistency and respect are important when creating a rapport with those who are homeless. “A lot of outreach is about repeated contact,” Tarabochia said, noting that it might take years to get someone inside. Becht said building a rapport is a combination of things: the frequency and quality of the interactions, giving

the person appropriate space and using body language that signifies that the person is an equal. In some instances, people are clearly malodorous, and not making a face or covering one’s nose shows the respect that can make someone feel comfortable, he said. It is also important that staff is interested and genuinely cares, he said. When someone is living with mental illness, Becht said that heightens the importance of the approach, and it emphasizes all the principles of engage-

ment. There is that much less room for the outreach team to gain trust with that individual, he said, who may disengage more quickly. Breaking Ground is part of the Manhattan Outreach Consortium, which was established (and is lead) by Goddard Riverside, according Becht and to Goddard’s website (goddard.org/grcc/programs/ HomelessOutreach). Goddard Riverside has a contract with DHS, and Breaking Ground is subcontracted, Becht said. Tarabochia, who has been with Breaking Ground for about two and a half years, said that they generally see more activity at Chelsea Piers and Chelsea Waterside Park when the weather is nice. Along the West Side Highway, west of the soccer field, there is activity as well, he said. The outreach team also spends time with their canvassing efforts in Hudson Yards and Hell’s Kitchen, and helped with an encampment at W. 35th St. at Dyer Ave. (btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), he said (Chelsea Now reported on the encampment last November). “We managed to get a number of people into our caseload,” he said. “Once we get the foot into the door, that’s when the progress starts,” Becht said.

BUS TERMINAL continued from p. 6

however, the Port Authority indicated it is now focused on exploring renovation options. According to the agency’s chief of major capital projects Steven Plate, the Port Authority has undertaken a study “evaluating the viability of a buildin-place option for the existing bus terminal on Eighth Avenue.” Port Authority’s chair John Degnan said the study is being conducted by an independent consultant and that the results would also include a rough estimate of costs and duration of the option to build on the existing terminal. “We’ll have an assessment by the end of July by an outside consulting engineer as to the feasibility of the build-in-place alternative,” Degnan said at a press conference following the board meeting. “That then will have to be considered by the board as to whether it ought to be the preferred alternative that we can adopt.” If the board were to decide to pursue the renovation option, the Port Authority would then conduct an environmental impact study that would take 18 months to two years to complete, according to Degnan. “If adding floors to the current bus terminal proves viable, I believe it should


May 4-10, 2017

Image courtesy Port Authority/Archilier Architecture Consortium

One of five designs scrapped by the Port Authority, this honeycomb wave plan would have used eminent domain to seize property on the north side of W. 40th St., west of Ninth Ave.

be the preferred alternative,” New Jersey State Senator Robert Gordon said at the board meeting. “Building on the current site preserves the easy access to the six New York City

subway lines. Second, it would minimize the impact and disruption to the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood both during and after construction.” Degnan instructed the agency to release

the report on the Port Authority website after its receipt in July if possible. Based on a July timetable for completing the viability study, the board expects to take the matter up at its Sept. 28 meeting. .com


Courtesy 300 West Block Association

May 10’s Community Meeting celebrates achievements and identifies challenges.


PENN SOUTH CERAMIC STUDIO SPRING SALE Sure, you can take a class at the Penn South Ceramics Studio and surround yourself with decorative and functional items of your own creation; but a mastery of the required skills won’t happen overnight. So in the meantime, visit this annual pre-Mother’s Day sale, eye the kiln that might one day fire up a cup molded by your own hands, and take home an item or two from one of the 10 talented potters whose wares will fill the tables (think one-of-a-kind bowls, plates, vases, mugs, and jewelry). Sat. & Sun., May 6 & 7, 11am–6pm at the Penn South Ceramics Studio in Building 6B, 276 Ninth Ave., at the northeast corner of W. 26th St.). For more info, send an email to pennsouthceramics@ gmail.com.

ANNUAL COMMUNITY STOOP SALE Their light spring-cleaning becomes your big score — when you set sail

down the tree-lined side streets of West Chelsea on a mission to navigate a sea of stoop sale bargains. We’re talking (and you’re walking away with) books, clothes, toys; plus music and movies in the album, cassette, CD, VHS, and DVD formats. Nobody’s averse to a little bargaining; or, for that matter, bartering. It’s all part of the fun that comes from catching up with neighbors you’ll see on those stoops for many more (finally!) warm months to come. A table in front of 321 W. 22nd St. serves as headquarters, where merchants can donate some of their profits to the good work done by your 200W, 300W, and W400 Block Associations. Sat., May 6, 11am–4pm, primarily on W. 22nd St. from Seventh to 10th Aves. Email 300wba@gmail. com for helpful hints on participating (residents of other blocks are welcome to join in).

this gathering, which celebrate achievements and confronts current challenges. In years past, a compilation of archival photos running on a video loop during the opening meet-and-greet session put a fine visual point on the easily forgotten fact that Chelsea wasn’t always the lush, tree-lined neighborhood we know today. As for our own era’s quality of life and pursuit of happiness, these topics are the marrow of the meeting — where you’ll learn about the 10th Precinct’s new Neighborhood Coordination Officers program, hear from elected officials, and find more than one volunteer opportunity when the discussion turns to the challenges ahead. Wed., May 10, at St. Paul’s Church (315 W. 22 St., btw. Eighth

& Ninth Aves.). Socialize at 6:30pm; meeting starts at 7pm.

SELIS MANOR SALE The Tenants’ Association of Selis Manor, home to blind and visually impaired residents, invites you to this sale whose proceeds will benefit the blind of New York City. Among the reasonably priced items up for grabs: gift and food baskets, clothes, gadgets, jewelry, fragrances, homemade goodies, body care products, adaptive devices, kitchen items, and linens. If that’s not enough to get you through the door, we’re told there will also be door prizes! Sat., May 6, 11am–5pm, at Selis Manor (135 W. 23rd St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.).

COMMUNITY MEETING The West 400 and 300 Block Associations are the combined forces behind this annual spring event. “Neighbors Working Together Since 1959” is the motto, and the mission, of

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Ten talented potters put their wares on the table, and up for grabs, at May 6-7’s Penn South Ceramics Studio Spring Sale.



May 4-10, 2017


Sex and Death: Read All About It! Singular sensation Dandy Darkly puts stage to page BY TRAV S.D. For someone who can’t be pigeonholed (humorist? playwright? poet? clown? comedian? performance artist? horror writer? LGBT icon?), the phenomenon of nature known to the public as Dandy Darkly is totally distinctive. Living fully up to his pseudonym, Darkly is a Southern Gothic steampunk grotesque given to flamboyant recitations and flights of persiflage accompanied by courtly and commedia-like presentationalism. He is the personification of decadence, and he knows it, and audiences love him for it — from his local queer fanbase here in NYC, to his even more rabid one in Edinburgh, where he has had four sold-out hit shows in the International Fringe Festival. The popular performer has two undertakings to tout: a new book of his monologues entitled “Dandy Darkly’s Six Hundred and Sixty-Six Tales of Sex and Death, Volume One,” which will be launched with an event at NYC’s Bureau of General ServicesQueer Division on May 6; and a national tour of his solo show, “Dandy Darkly’s Myth Mouth” — which starts in May at the Tampa International Fringe Festival and Orlando Fringe, then the Providence Fringe Festival in July, followed by the Chicago Fringe and San Francisco Fringe in late August and early September. Dandy Darkly is the creation of Brooklyn-based Neal Arthur James, who began performing the character in 2010. Originally from rural Georgia, James graduated from the state university in 1997 with a degree in theatre, tried his hand as a conventional actor for a while, but began to have more success writing columns and op-eds for publication. The character of Dandy Darkly emerged from a fiction blog James created. An invitation from the Stonewall Inn to perform his writings live is what first brought the character from the page to the stage. The typical Dandy Darkly monologue is extravagant, over-the-top, violent and extremely ridiculous. One of his more popular pieces is “Bearskinner,” a sort of horror-infused tween summer camp story; part pseudo-autobiographical confessional, part Dr. Seuss, and part “Silence of the Lambs.” “This little clown has been living inside me forever,” said James. “There is an eight-track recording of me at age five telling Georgia ghost stories. My grandfather was a wonderful natural storyteller. He influenced me a lot. It’s been really rewarding, watching the process of Dandy developing organically over the years.” James is a wordsmith par excellence, forging great dense confections of self-expression that Courtesy Gaybird Press

Dandy Darkly launches his new book with a May 6 event at the Bureau of General Services-Queer Division.


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DANDY DARKLY continued on p. 18 .com


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DANDY DARKLY continued from p. 16





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ought to be the envy of most armchair writers and poets. The extreme musicality of his writing seems to contain echoes of Great American Authors, especially Southern masters like Thomas Wolfe and William Faulkner, but ground up in a parodymill with other elements like hokey porn, horror, and fantasy. Shockingly, James claims to have grazed very little among the greats. “I’m really an outsider when it comes to that,� he said. “I come out of classical theatre and clowning. I write and satirize popular culture, and as such I am a font of movie trivia and television tidbits — subconsciously I do perhaps tap into writing styles of authors like Thomas Wolfe, but it’s the theater and the horror cult film world I critique that I’m most enamored of. I’ve also been influenced by classic rock artists like the Eagles, or the Beatles much more than fiction writers.� Oddly, you can see it. His monologues are imbued with the clarity and power of pop songwriting. The leap between his Cha-Cha the Caveman or Mister Timothy and the Beatles’ Rita the meter maid or Mean Mr. Mustard is not the size of the Grand Canyon. James also admires many contemporary performance artists. Names he mentions in this context include Penny Arcade, Taylor Mac, Desiree Burch, Paul Soileau, Justin Sayre, Peter Michael Marino, Killy Dwyer, and Jenny Lee Mitchell. For someone who knows him primarily through his stage work, the process of reading him is both familiar and disorienting. The voice is there, but disembodied, like an echo. On stage, there is a powerful visual component. Dandy Darkly is a clown, with an elaborate baroque costume and make-up that takes the artist over an hour to get into prior to every performance. “Believe it or not, I had one critic who said I shouldn’t perform the stories in costume, that the writing should speak for itself,� laughed James. “But I think it’s absolutely necessary. The part is shamanic. I need the mask. Dandy is more outgoing than I am, more of a people person. At the same time, I am more friendly and gentle. Dandy says horrific things. Horrible things happen in these stories. A pirate eats a mermaid!� Though Dandy was originally a creature of the page, for seven years now he has been living primarily in theatres and cabarets. Returning him back to his original format has had its challenges, said James. “For the book, I

Photo by Bobby Miller

Our favorite straight shooting storyteller in a promo photo for 2015’s “Dandy Darkly’s Trigger Happy.�

needed to pull back a little,� he said. “Onstage I do things like break the fourth wall, and make asides directly to the audience. I had to make many to fit it into the constraints of the page. Punctuation had to be conventionalized. But the process was also helpful to me as a writer. Going back and looking over older work was instructive, seeing how the work progresses over time. I also noticed several tricks I have that I tend to repeat, and will know to look out for.� But that self-criticism is balanced with a healthy supply of well-deserved self-regard: “Ultimately, I think as artists we need to be true to our voices and try to create work that makes us laugh the loudest, swoon the hardest and weep the most willingly. Some people may say it’s selfi sh or egocentric to be moved by your own work. I know some artists who are very detached from their work, but I’m quite the opposite. I love Dandy because he makes me feel totally comfortable in my skin, but also utterly like an alien being — which I adore.� Get your own fix! “Dandy Darkly’s Six Hundred and Sixty-Six Tales of Sex and Death, Volume One� (Gaybird Press) is now available through most online booksellers, and the launch event happens Sat., May 6, 7–9:30pm, at the Bureau of General Services– Queer Division (located in Room 210 of the LGBT Center; 208 W. 13th St., btw. Seventh & Greenwich Aves.). Suggested donation of $10 to benefit the Bureau (no one will be turned away for lack of funds). Visit the Bureau at bgsqd.com, the Center at gaycenter.org, and the author at dandydarkly.com. .com


BROOKLYN The Community News Group is proud to introduce BROOKLYN PAPER RADIO. Join Brooklyn Paper Editor-in-Chief Vince DiMiceli and the New York Daily News’ Gersh Kuntzman every Tuesday at 2:00 for an hour of talk on topics Brooklynites hold dear. Each show will feature instudio guests and call-out segments, and can be listened to live or played anytime at your convenience.






LISTEN EVERY TUESDAY AT 2:00PM ON BrooklynPaper.com/radio .com

May 4-10, 2017


Rhymes with Crazy

Tap Into The Great Drinking Water Debate BY LENORE SKENAZY Charming, handsome, and homeless, the 25-year-old we’ll call “Bruce” and I were eating dinner at the small Manhattan shelter where I volunteer once a month. We were both enjoying the pasta provided by another volunteer, but only one of us was drinking a $3 bottle of water. “What?” I exclaimed when Bruce told me how much he had paid for the bottle he had bought earlier that day. “How can you possibly spend that much on water? How can anyone? Tap water is free!” Bruce just started an $11-an-hour job in Brooklyn. He’s got to save up for a room, and taking out $3 chunks for a liquid that flows freely just doesn’t make sense to me. But to him? It is vital. “This water is safe,” he said, picking up his bottle. “So is water from the sink,” says I. His friend, a young woman who is also in the workforce and also homeless (never assume that homeless equals not working) stood up for him. “The water from the tap has all sorts of chemicals in it.” “The water in bottles is tap water!” an older shelter guest chimed in, laughing heartily. Bruce just shrugged. “I got to stay healthy.” So allow me, as a public service, to ask the questions that need answers,

beginning with: Is bottled water really better for us than New York City tap water? “In general, the municipal water supply of any given area has more rigorous environmental standards and controls than the water supplies used by private bottlers,” said Richard Murdocco, a columnist who writes on urban planning issues and has worked with environmental and housing groups. What’s more, New York City’s water is not just any hometown’s H2O. It is a roaring, rushing paragon of purity, said Murdocco. “The water supply is so pure that it went unfiltered for decades until federal law mandated New York City filter the water, a move city officials thought was unnecessary.” So why are people afraid of it? For starters, because bad news always gets more attention than — yawn — anything that is fine.

“Headlines [are] about bad tap water, especially in locations like Flint, Michigan,” said Jacob Hatch, author of the Hydration Anywhere blog. People remember fuzzy factoids about plastics and pipes and toxins and leaching, but, “In general, water quality is something people know little about,” said Hatch. With so much quasi-info floating around, we think we heard something terrible about something (not quite sure what), and we not only believe it’s true, we believe it’s going to kill us all right here, right now. In point of fact, Hatch continued, studies show that “bottled water is not, on average, any cleaner or safer to drink than tap water.” Where bottled and tap are not equal is when it comes to polluting. Producing a bottle of water actually uses about six times more water than is contained in the bottle itself. And then there’s the energy used to make the bottle, label the bottle, fill the bottle, transport the bottle (sometimes across entire oceans) and stock the bottle. Then there’s our energy we burn to schlep the bottle home. What’s more, 80 percent of the 50 billion plastic water bottles purchased in the US every year do not end up recycled. Off they go to landfill (more schlepping). “So if you need the convenience of a water bottle,” I said to Bruce, “or if

you love that particular bottle, at least reuse it. Just fill it with more water tomorrow.” Oh no, no, no, no, came the reply. “Refill it and the plastic breaks down and gets into your blood.” “That’s patently untrue,” says Michael Cervin, author of “Our World of Water: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Earth’s Most Critical Resource,” and blogger at This World of Water. If you are using the same bottle for years and years, Cervin said, then yes, it can start wearing out, the way Tupperware gets tired after 10 or 15 years. But refilling it for weeks on end is no threat to anyone’s health, so long as you wash the bottle out with soap and water from time to time. Remember, Cervin added, we’re not eating the bottle, “we’re merely using it as a vessel to consume a beverage.” I didn’t have all this info at my fingertips at the shelter, but I did have some sheets of paper, so I taught Bruce and his friend how to make an origami cup the next time they’re thirsty and don’t want to spend $3. Then we filled the cups with tap water, toasted to better times, and drank deep. Somehow, all three of us survived. Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker who authored the book, and founded the blog, Free-Range Kids (freerangekids.com).

EXTRA! EXTRA! Local News Read all about it


May 4-10, 2017



BATTERY DANCE: 41ST ANNUAL NEW YORK SEASON Informed by interactions with artists and audiences during recent tours of Europe, Africa, South and East Asia, and the American Midwest, an invigorated Battery Park Dance touches down on the ground of its namesake neighborhood. Longtime company members will join forces with dancers from Iraq and Romania, composers from Syria and Tunisia, and an Armenian-Syrian visual artist. “Never before have we had artists as diverse as those being presented in our New York Season,” said the company’s artistic director, Jonathan Hollander. “We have seen the power of dance to bring people together and to express emotions that cannot be touched by words alone.” The program features four migrationthemed world premieres. “On Foot” is an ultra-relevant realization of a decade’s worth of the company’s exposure to refugees and youth in conflict zones, who struggle to overcome the staggering loss of family, community, and homeland. “Reconstruction” takes cuts from the 2003 studio effort by electronic music duo Matmos, which explored the

formance; $250). For reservations, visit batterydance.org. On May 11, Cornell University’s Dr. Penny von Eschen gives a 6:30pm pre-performance talk: “The Role of the Arts as a Vehicle for Public Diplomacy.”

IVY FILM FESTIVAL This satellite event of the Brown University-based Ivy Film Festival, currently on a tour of campuses across the country, comes to the School of Visual Arts’ SVA Theatre for an evening-length program of short films created by under-

Courtesy the filmmaker

Bell (Beier) Zhong’s Shanghai-set tale of awakening screens May 12 at the Ivy Film Festival.

Courtesy IFC Films

Punching above his weight: Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner in “Chuck.”

American Civil War, with various Battery Dance members choreographing individual segments from the album. “Double Knot” features Hussein Smko from Iraq and Razvan Stoian from Romania, in a gladiatorial duet that explores competition and brotherhood. “Echoes of Erbil” is a solo piece spotlighting the culture of Iraq’s Kurdish region. It’s performed by Hussein Smko, the first recipient of Battery Dance’s Adel Euro Campaign for Dancers Seeking Refuge. Wed., May 10 & Thurs., May 11, 7:30pm, at the Schimmel Center at Pace University (3 Spruce St., btw. Gold St. & Park Row). Tickets are $25 (opening night reception follows the May 10 per.com

Photo by Claudio Rodriguez

Battery Dance rehearsing “On Foot,” one of four world premieres at migration-themed May 10-11 performances.

graduate and graduate student filmmakers. The selections include “Shark Tooth,” in which a mother and daughter deal with their past while attending a spiritual workshop in the desert (by Oren Gerner of Israel’s Minshar for Arts Academy). Iran is represented by Saman Hosseinpuor of the Hilaj Film School, whose “Fish” has the titular creature separated from its bowl, which sends a longtime couple scrambling for water. University of Southern California undergraduate Raquel Korman’s documentary “Forever Home” takes a candid look at 10 children adopted from the foster system, living under the same roof. LGBTQ cinema has strong representation among the 11 selections at this

screening. “Broad Strokes,” by Philip Vernon of Chapman University, has queer best friends Annie and Austin navigating romantic temptations at a New Year’s Eve party that’s on the wane. NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ Elegance Bratton’s “Walk for Me” sees Hassan’s mother discover him as Hanna, a girl who vogues in the NYC ball scene. Another proud product of Tisch, Bell (Beier) Zhong’s Shanghai-set “Blooming Night” is a largely wordless, visually and emotionally engaging look at a pivotal day in the life of a lonely street guy who spies a pair of red heels passing by, follows, and is enticed — by an invite written in crimson lipstick — to walk through the doors of a “forbidden” club. Once inside, a question from his dancing partner provides an answer about his own emerging identity. Fri., May 12, 7pm, at the SVA Theatre (333 W. 23rd St. btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). A reception with the filmmakers follows the screening. Tickets are free to the public (reservations required via http://bit.ly/2pXyvcw). For festival info, visit ivyfilmfestival.org.

CHUCK Seen by this ravenous fan of boxing biopics at last month’s Tribeca Film Festival, “Chuck” gets its local release at

AMC Loews Lincoln Square and Regal Union Square Stadium on May 5, then goes nationwide on May 12. Making weight at a trim 101 minutes, director Philippe Falardeau’s R-rated tale of real life New Jersey liquor salesman and heavyweight underdog Chuck Wepner suffers a crippling cut at the opening bell — use of the main character’s flashback voice-over — that continues to swell all the way into the final round. Known to his eternal displeasure as the “Bayonne Bleeder” (he’s rarely knocked out but spurts the red stuff like nobody’s business), Wepner’s epic journey from rags to riches to rock bottom and redemption is written by a team of four and played by Liev Schreiber as the ultimate Sphinx — and I don’t mean Larry. With precious few fight scenes and an endless parade of atrocious behavior (adultery, coke habit, boozing, bad parenting), there’s little to cheer for, even when Wepner goes 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali and inspires the Rocky franchise. The filmmakers just don’t seem interested in asking, or capable of grasping, what made this guy tick. Too bad, because “Chuck” has some powerful allies in its corner: Morgan Spector nails the voice and physicality of a young Sylvester Stallone; Elisabeth Moss, rocking a Jersey accent to the point of either stunning accuracy or sly parody, brings strength and insight to the thankless role of Wepner’s long-suffering wife; Ron Perlman, superb as Wepner’s manager, is a scheming slob smart enough to hold his own with Don King; and Jim Gaffigan, in a rare dramatic turn, is refreshingly unlikable as Wepner’s childhood buddy, errand boy, and occasional foul-mouthed meanie. These major assets, plus the admirable recreation of 1970s clothing, décor and general malaise, make the film’s shortcomings all the more glaring. Like the man himself, “Chuck” works hard to get a shot at the title, but comes up short according to the scorecard of any reasonable judge. Visit ifcfilms.com for more info. May 4-10, 2017



May 4-10, 2017


SAGE continued from p. 4


PUBLISHER Jennifer Goodstein

EDITOR Scott Stiffler



fication is also proposed for the annual survey of residents of independent living centers, which provide housing for seniors and other Americans who have physical disabilities. The Census Bureau, within the Department of Commerce, recently pulled back plans in the works — again in the Obama administration — to include questions aimed at tallying the number of LGBTQ Americans in 2020. The Census has, since 1990, accumulated data on same-sex partner households, but LGBTQ self-identification has never been measured.

“The federal government is the primary collector of data on so many things,” Adams said. “At the end of the day, it is difficult to make change on so many issues, elder issues included, without data.” In recognition of the critical link between being counted and getting services, New York City late last year enacted several laws aimed at better counting a variety of underserved populations — including LGBTQ residents, non-English speakers, and those with multi-racial backgrounds — for a wide array of service delivery purposes. “It’s an atrocity, a huge step back-

wards,” Adams said of the Trump administration push against documenting the nation’s LGBTQ population, as he also noted its reversal on protecting transgender students. “Our goal here is stop this from happening,” he said, noting support SAGE has from other leading LGBTQ and elder advocacy groups. “But there is something else we need to accomplish here. It’s clear the Trump administration thought this could be done in the dead of night. We need to show them that they can’t do this in the dead of night. We need to make it really clear they will pay a high price.”

he said. “Now a Supreme Court judge says affordability is the main criterion.” However, given that this year’s price index is actually up — by 6.2 percent — but the RGB’s rent-increase recommendations are only about half that amount, Strasburg indicated the RSA might sue again. “We may find that this year is a better lawsuit for us,” he said. There will be five public hearings throughout the boroughs to gather input

on the proposed rent increases. Two Manhattan public meetings will be held in the Downtown area: Thurs., May 25, at the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s ninth-floor conference room, at 1 Centre St., at 9:30 a.m., and Wed., June 14, at the US Customs House, at 1 Bowling Green, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. The RGB will hold its final vote on Tues., June 27, at Baruch College’s Mason Hall, at 17 Lexington Ave., at E. 23rd St., at 7 p.m.

John Napoli


CONTRIBUTORS Lincoln Anderson Stephanie Buhmann Jackson Chen Sean Egan Bill Egbert Dusica Sue Malesevic Winnie McCroy Puma Perl Paul Schindler Eileen Stukane


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RENT continued from p. 2

said he was “disappointed” there will be no rent freeze, much less a rollback. “We think the data really supported it,” he reiterated. “I think the board really ignored the data.” However, Helen Schaub, a public member on the RGB, when asked how the board could have backed a rent freeze for two years, yet now supports an increase, also cited the data. “The data is different than last year,” she said. She said a breakdown of the price index of landlords’ operating costs done by RGB staff is all clearly spelled out on the RGB website (nycrgb.org). “The price index was negative for two years,” but not this year, she noted. Asked if the board felt that rent increases during the Bloomberg years that were “rubber-stamped” by the RGB — based on exaggerated cost projections, according to advocates — have been corrected by a couple of years of rent freezes, she said, “I think it is.” Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA), predicted — unhappily — that, by the end of this current process, tenant advocates would succeed in driving down the rent increases as far as possible. “In June, we believe there will only be 1 percent and 2 percent increases,” he said. Yet, landlords continue to face increasing New York City real estate taxes, he said. The RSA’s landlord members represent about half of the city’s 1.2 rent-stabilized apartments. Regarding their lawsuit challenging last year’s rent freeze, Strasburg said his group strongly disagrees with the basis of the judge’s ruling — mainly, that affordability should be considered by the RGB when it sets rents. “Affordability was not even mentioned in the [original rent-regulation] statutes,”


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