Serving Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Seaport and the Financial District VOLUME 30, NUMBER 08
MAY 04 â€“ MAY 17, 2017
Wagner wrangle Locals balk at pavilion plans BY COLIN MIXSON Downtown civic leaders are going ballistic over a plan by the Battery Park City Authority to demolish a cherished pavilion in Wagner Park and replace it with a larger, more modern building as part of its stormresiliency plan for the neighborhood. A local leader was so persuasive in denouncing the authorityâ€™s plan at a meeting of Community Board 1 on April 25, that some members are prepared to go to jail to preserve the cherished park structure. â€œThis is so offensive â€” itâ€™s so offensive on so many levels,â€? said board member Wendy Chapman. â€œI donâ€™t know if weâ€™ll get arrested for taking petitions in the park, but, for me, itâ€™s at that level.â€? The chairwoman of the boardâ€™s Battery Park City Committee, Ninfa Segarra, unleashed a withering critique of the authorityâ€™s proposal for the Wagner Park Pavilion, which it plans to demolish and resurrect in the form of a more modern and resilient building thatâ€™s roughly twice as large.
! T A E R R R R R G
s a w It
For more on the fun, see page 10. Photo by Milo Hess
Little Luca got his face painted â€” and a few snacks â€” at Taste of Battery Park City on April 23.
Also in this issue: Outrage over ticket-vendor shooting Page 4
Foley Square as Downtownâ€™s protest central Page 17
May 2017 Seaport Report Page 15
PAVILION Continued on page 2
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PAVILION Continued from page 1
She portrayed the new building as a veritable wall, which would block cherished sightlines out to the harbor for the sake of additional space for a restaurant, while cutting back on community access â€” not to mention cutting the size of bathrooms there. Overall, she concluded the new structure was more about generating revenue for the authority than serving community members and enhancing resiliency. â€œClearly they are trying to commercialize these areas much more,â€? Segarra told the board. But many of the facts Segarra presented differ substantially from what BPCA is actually planning, according to authority spokesman Nicholas Sbordone, who stood at the back of the Seaport Museum gallery where the committee chairwoman spoke. â€œYou name it, and most of what she said was either wrong, or half-true,â€? said Sbordone, who refrained from correcting Segarra at the meeting for fear of breaking with board protocol. Most notably, Segarra told board members that the new building would rise three-stories, but according to BPCA vice president of real property Gwen Dawson, the proposed structure is actually two-stories tall, and topped by a rooftop deck with an awning fashioned out of solar panels. Dawson also refuted Segarraâ€™s claim that the new building would significantly alter sightlines from the inland-side of the pavilion, which conforms the current structures footprint on the ground â€” and in the air â€” although she admitted that a gap in the current structure thatâ€™s being axed due to resiliency concerns does provide a very limited view of the harbor.
Battery Park City Authority
The BPCAâ€™s plan to replace the pavilion at Wagner Park has caught flack from some locals.
â€œIf you were standing precisely at that point at Battery Place thatâ€™s just to the north of the pavilion and facing the water, youâ€™d say, â€˜I canâ€™t see what I used to be able to see,â€™â€? Dawson said. That aside, BPCA has taken special care to preserve the parkâ€™s spectacular views, largely by enhancing access to the costal parts of Wagner Park through several pedestrian pathways between Pier A and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Dawson said. The bathroom is planned to be roughly half as large, a move intended to dissuade non-parkgoers from exploiting the loo there, Dawson said, but that point, along with other aspects of the current proposal, are subject to change following community input. One thing the authority will have a hard time arguing with, however, is the appreciation locals have for the current pavilionâ€™s architectural merits, according
to board member Bruce Ehrmann. â€œItâ€™s a very beautiful, very special building. It has had all kinds of praise,â€? said Ehrmann, who described news of its destruction as â€œvery upsetting.â€? The authorityâ€™s resiliency project is currently nearing the end of whatâ€™s called the â€œAssessment Phase,â€? meaning that, while the BPCA has a good idea of what it wants in terms of infrastructure enhancements, pedestrian amenities, and landscaping, it remains unclear exactly how it will look and what it will cost beyond a vague estimate of â€œ10s of millions of dollars,â€? Dawson said. The BPCA is expected to begin bidding out contracts for design and engineering studies in about three months, after which board members will have further opportunities to critique and provide feedback on the pavilion.
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May 4 â€“ May 17, 2017
Outrage after ticket-vendor dispute ended in gunﬁre BY COLIN MIXSON Police have arrested a man in connection to last Monday’s shooting incident involving rival ticket sellers at The Battery that sent two people — including a bystander — to the hospital with gunshot wounds, and local leaders are demanding action to curb the passpeddler scourge. An anonymous tip led to the arrest of 37-year-old Brooklyn resident Jason Wright, who was booked at the First Precinct on Erricson Place Thursday, according to police. Wright’s record is spotted with 10 prior arrests since 1997, when police first picked him up on murder charges at the age of 17, cops said. Both victims fingered Wright as the gunman in the April 24 shooting, according to court documents. A third witness claims she saw Wright arguing with another man from across the street, when he started shooting from a gun hidden inside his jacket pocket, which then emitted smoke, according to court documents. Wright was charged with second-degree attempted murder, second-degree assault, second-degree criminal possession of weapon, and reckless endangerment. An attorney for Wright, Zwi Wasserstein, declined to comment on behalf his client. The quarrel between the competing ticket vendors turned bloody after one of the pass peddlers — allegedly Wright — drew a pistol on Washington Street near Battery Place at 3:10 pm, and started firing. His rival, a 40-year-old man, took a bullet to the gut, while another shot went wild and struck a
Police arrested Jason Wright on Wednesday in connection to Monday’s shooting incident Downtown.
34-year-old bystander in the leg, cops said. The shooting occurred just as the closing bell rang at nearby PS 276, and its a small miracle none of the departing students were mowed down in a hail of bullets, according to Councilwoman Margaret Chin. “This recent shooting, which occurred in broad daylight with young children nearby, presents an unacceptable level of danger,” said the lawmaker. Chin led a rally on Sunday at The Battery calling of the city to crack down on Downtown’s ticket sellers. Ticket vendors have prayed on tourists in Lower Manhattan for years, selling tickets to the free Staten Island ferry, and peddling passes to other popular Downtown attractions at outrageous prices. Their aggressive sales tactics have occasionally even turned violent.
Last year, one unsavory ticket vendor suckerpunched a 33-year-old tourist after the out-of-towner turned down the assailant’s wife, who tried to sell him a ticket to the Statue of Liberty. The blow sent the victim sprawling onto the pavement, fracturing his skull. Lawmakers have made some strides to address the reckless industry, and city council recently passed a law introduced by Councilman Dan Garodnick (D–Midtown) requiring ticket vendors obtain licenses through the Department of Consumer Affairs. But the shooting Monday demonstrated a more heavy-handed government crackdown is called for, Chin said, and the councilwoman is calling on consumer affairs and the mayor’s office to join City Council in exploring further solutions to the plague of ticket vendors Downtown. “I am calling on the Administration, and specifically the Department of Consumer Affairs, to act to rein in ticket selling at the Battery, which has so clearly spiraled out of control,” Chin said. Chin was joined Sunday by Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, Community Board 1 Chairman Anthony Notaro, members of the Financial District Neighborhood Association, local residents, and parents of children at nearby schools, including PS 276. It’s unclear what form a city crackdown might take, but Chin spokesman Paul Leonard suggested new laws giving cops greater “latitude” when it comes to policSHOOTING Continued on page 5
THE NEW SOUND OF
BROOKLYN 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 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
Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, NYC http://theaterforthenewcity.net/giovannithefearless.html smarttix.com or call 212-868-4444
May 4 – May 17, 2017
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.
JOSEPH LICHTER, D.D.S.
LISTEN EVERY TUESDAY AT 2:00PM ON BrooklynPaper.com/radio DowntownExpress.com
Cops are hunting the robber who nabbed an iPhone and cash from a man on Howard Street on April 30. The victim told police that he was near Mercer Street at 1 pm, when the crook sauntered up and snarled, “Where’s my money?” The two argued before the robber claimed he was packing heat, and took the victim’s smart phone and $570, cops said.
A thief nabbed a woman’s $2,000 handbag from a Spring Street diner on April 29. The victim told police she was chowing down at the eatery between Thompson Street and W. Broadway at 6:15 pm, when she headed to the bathroom and left her posh Fendi pocketbook behind at the table, only to return to find it was stolen.
BRIDGE STREET SLASHER BETTING ON CRIME Cops busted a man for allegedly stealing more than $1,000 worth of smokes, lottery tickets, and gum from a John Street convenience store on April 29. An employee told police that he was inside the store between Cliff and Pearl streets at 5:35 am, when he spotted the suspect sneak behind the counter and nab the small fortune worth of coffin nails and lotto tickets.
Cops are hunting the knife-wielding maniac who left a man with grievous wounds following a brutal Bridge Street attack on April 21. The victim told police he was near Whitehall Street at 9:50 pm, when the bruiser drew a knife and started slashing, causing numerous gashes across the man’s face, chest and right arm. The lowlife fled following his vicious assault, while the victim was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, cops said.
PERVY PERP Investigators are hunting the guy who nabbed nearly $2,500 worth of bras from a Broadway lingerie store on April 28. An employee told police the crook was inside the retailer between W. Houston and Prince streets at 4:15 pm, when he grabbed a whopping 60 bras and fled the store.
SWEET SLACKS! Cops busted the alleged thief suspected of nabbing a $1,275 pair of pants from a Vesey Street retailer on April 20. An employee told police he was inside the store near North End Avenue at 7:08 pm, when he spotted the suspect stuff the superb slacks inside his jacket and make for the exit with his ill-gotten britches.
Four thieves armed with knives assaulted a man on West Broadway on April 27, but only managed to make off with the chord from his headphones. The victim told police he was between Canal and Grand streets at 5:55 pm, when the pack of raiders surrounded him and the “taller” one started throwing punches. Then, the “skinny” one pulled a knife on the suspect, before yanking his headphone wires, which were attached to his phone, cops said. But all the delinquents managed to nab was the chord, and all four fled none-the-richer, according to police.
A man was arrested for allegedly brawling with a straphanger on an E train as it neared the Fulton Street Subway Station on April 22. The victim told police that he was riding the rails at 12:15 am, when the suspect went berserk and clocked him in the face. The commuter did his best to restrain the suspect, but he managed to break away after the doors opened at Fulton Street, according to police. A police officer spotted him not long after, however, and slapped the suspect in cuffs, cops said. — Colin Mixson
SHOOTING Continued from page 4
ing ticket sellers and prohibiting ticket sales except in designated areas, thereby preventing “turf wars” fought for control over tourist heavy sites. The vendors have been staking claim to new sites beyond their traditional DowntownExpress.com
haunts around the Staten Island Ferry and Battery Park, and have migrated to Bowling Green and the area around the 9/11 Memorial in response to the opening of the Oculus Transportation Hub, according to Notaro. “They’re all over the place,” Notaro said.
Councilwoman Margaret Chin led a rally on Sunday at The Battery calling on the city to crack down on Downtown’s ticket sellers, and create guidelines for alerting schools to security threats nearby.
Left in the dark NYPD never told school gunman on loose BY COLIN MIXSON Local elected officials are demanding the city layout clear guidelines for notifying teachers of potential emergency situations in light of revelations that a local school was left oblivious to a gunman on the loose following a shooting that occurred mere blocks away last week. Security officers and administrators at the Lower Manhattan Community Middle School only found out about the April 24 shooting the morning after the incident that wounded two people nearby, after a parent mentioned the grizzly occurrence to staff there, the vigilant mom said. “I actually was the one that told the school,” said Wendy Chapman, whose son attends LMC. “No one officially contacted the school and I was thinking that, it turned out this was a tragic shooting, but what if it was terrorism? They’re all trained to do lock downs, but the biggest piece is someone has to call them.” The shooting occurred on Washington Street near Battery Place — just two blocks from the Broadway middle school — at 3:10 pm, just as kids were pouring into the streets to head home for the day. The gunman, meanwhile, was still on the loose, and a suspect wouldn’t be apprehended until the following Wednesday. But nobody from the NYPD ever notified the school. Now a cadre of local politicians including Councilwoman Margaret Chin, state Sen. Daniel Squadron, Assembly members Deborah Glick and Yuh-Line Niou,
and Borough President Gale Brewer are demanding that the police department and Office of Emergency Management provide the community with its guidelines governing communications with schools during emergency situations, or, in the event none exist, to create such protocols. Staff at city schools are trained to implement various safety procedures in response to different threats, including gunmen inside and outside of the buildings. But those procedures are useless if city agencies don’t communicate threats to local scholars, the politicians say. “When these incidents occur, schools and their safety officers in the surrounding area should be the first ones to be notified,” the politicians wrote letters to the NYPD, Department of Education, and OEM. “We rely on them to protect our children, and without the proper information, they are unable to do their jobs.” The NYPD currently has no set guidelines for communicating with schools, according to department spokesman Lieutenant John Grimpel, and leaves to decision to supervisors on the scene to determine whether a potential threat warrants schools be notified and security procedures implemented. But the city’s Office of Emergency Management has set up a meeting with the NYPD, DOE, and local elected officials on May 9 to address the concerns they expressed in their letter, and review existing emergency protocols as they relate to schools, according to OEM spokeswoman Nancy Silvestri. May 4 – May 17, 2017
National Nurses Week 2017 The many hats nurses wear E
nter a hospital, doctor’s office, adult care facility, or medical clinic and you are bound to encounter nurses. Nurse is a broad term used to describe most individuals who perform patient-based care in a variety of settings. A nurse’s duties and title will vary depending on his or her educational background and the certifications and licenses he or she has received. The field of nursing is seemingly recession-proof. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly 2.6 million nurses in the United States. No other career choice within the field of healthcare can claim such strength in numbers, both in the United States and Canada. There are many advantages to becoming a nurse, including growing employment opportunities. Over the next 20 years, the bureau predicts 800,000 vacancies in the field of nursing in the United States alone. Financial gain is to be had as well. Depending on the type of nurse, he or she has the potential to make anywhere between $43,000 and $115,000 a year, according to the bureau’s Occupational Employment Statistics Program. Furthermore, because of the wide breadth of nursing services, there is plenty of room for specialty application and advancement. Here are the common types of nurses and the type of education required to become a nurse: Nursing aide or orderly: Nursing aides and or-
The nursing field is a multifaceted career.
derlies help nurses care for patients and perform routine tasks. They spend most of their time with patients, serving meals, keeping patients comfortable, answering call lights, making beds, and giving baths. Most nursing aides work in a hospital setting or long-term
facilities for the elderly. A high school diploma may be all that’s needed to become a nursing aide. Licensed practical nurse: A licensed practical nurse studies for a year after earning a high school diploma and must be licensed in the state in which he or she will work. He or she typically records medical histories, weighs and measures patients, records symptoms, and administers injections. Registered nurse: A registered nurse typically pursues a two-year Associate’s degree in nursing or may receive a Bachelor’s degree in the field. Candidates must pass a national exam before they are licensed. The duties of a registered nurse are generally more varied and in-depth than those of a licensed practical nurse and can include helping patients manage treatment plans. Nurse practitioner: Nurse practitioners are among the most educated hospital employees. In addition to their registered nurse study, they earn a Master’s degree and may specialize in one area. Also, they may be able to work outside of the authority of a physician. In such instances, a they can run a medical practice, diagnose, and prescribe medication just as a doctor would. Although doctors are often thought of as the primary care providers in most healthcare settings, nurses are growing in numbers and have taken on many of the roles once reserved exclusively for doctors.
How to show a nurse you care
urses 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
May 4 – May 17, 2017
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 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
Nurses bring smiles to the faces of their patients. Find out how you can show your appreciation and garner a few smiles in return.
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. DowntownExpress.com
N ATION A L NURSE S W EEK â€˘ M AY 6 â€“12
For all that you do to bring the Fidelis Care mission to life every day, we are grateful and blessed. Fidelis Care is proud to recognize the talented and dedicated nursing professionals who are at the heart of caring for the health of our over 1.6 million members across New York State. For information regarding clinical positons
1-888-FIDELIS ďŹ deliscare.org
May 4 â€“ May 17, 2017
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Photo by Milo Hess
Sliver anniversary! Downtown Little League opened its 25th-anniversary season on April 22, with lots of excitement, herds of budding bat-swingers, and a few special guests, including legendary Mets pitcher â€” and Downtown resident â€” John Franco, who showed up to give the kids a pep talk and sign some autographs. The league started out in the early 1990 with a few kids on a grass lot in a dilapidated Battery Park, and has since grown to involve more than 1000 boys and girls each year. State Sen. Daniel Squadron honored the league with a unanimous Senate Resolution recognizing the volunteer groupâ€™s quarter century of community service keeping kids engaged and parents active in a community that has seen more than its share of disasters and disruption. Hereâ€™s to putting another 25 years up on the scoreboard, one game at a time.
Participants include* :
ts estauran R s u o l u f Fab Scores o F o o d F e s t iv a l in O n e
Adrienneâ€™s Pizza Bar Amada nt ATRIO Wine Bar & Restaura Bavaria Bier Haus Beckettâ€™s Bar & Grill Billâ€™s Bar & Burger City Blue Smoke Battery Park Bobby Vanâ€™s Steakhouse The Capital Grille Cowgirl SeaHorse Delmonicoâ€™s Restaurant The Dubliner Eataly NYC Downtown Fresh Salt The Growler Bites & Bar Harr yâ€™s Cafe & Steak Harr yâ€™s Italian Bar Haru Restaurant & Sushi
za 28 Liberty Pla 3 2 y a M , Tuesday Shine & William) d Nassau an e in P & iberty (Between L
or Rain - 3pm 1am 1
*As of press time
May 4 â€“ May 17, 2017
Inatteso The Ketch Brewhouse Le District The Malt House FiDi MarkJoseph Steakhouse Mortonâ€™s The Steakhouse OBAO Water Street Open Door Gastropub Parm Battery Park Pier A Harbor House Route 66 Smokehouse Stone Street Tavern Stout NYC FiDi SUteiShi The Tuck Room Ulyssesâ€™ Folk House Vintr y Wine & Whiskey Wei West
May 4 â€“ May 17, 2017
Taste of the town
Nineteen local restaurants served up their signature dishes at the secondannual Taste of Battery Park City on April 23.
Photos by Milo Hess
Local Mexican joint El Vez served up some tasty tapas at Taste of Battery Park City.
Second year of ‘Taste of Battery Park City’ wows the crowds BY COLIN MIXSON Locals wined and dined over by North Cove Marina as part of the second-annual Taste of Battery Park City, where 19 area eateries offered bite-sized tastings of their signature dishes. The event, which is organized by local parents to benefit tots at PS 89, was better than ever this year, and patrons were blown away by the fare on offer, according to one mom. “This year they outdid themselves,” said Battery Park City resident Amy
Nakamura, who came with daughters Arabella, 6, and Penelope, 3, along with dog Libby, “good food, good crowd, a testament the community down there.” Folks were glad to see that the $25 tickets for the event, which bought eaters tastings from five different vendors, were still cheaper than the upcoming Taste of Tribeca, where food lovers will be asked to shell out a $45 for five treats on May 20. “It’s newer, and when they’re newer they start out reasonably — then they go
up,” said Tribeca resident Elle Gerstler. Entertainment was provided in the form of face painting for kids, and music courtesy of local community band, the TriBattery Pops Tom Goodkind Conductor, which recently partnered with the New York Philharmonic as part of its New World Initiative, through which they covered Antonín Dvorák’s “Symphony No. 9.”
(Lef t) Tribeca resident Elle Gerstler enjoys a slice at Taste of Battery Park City. (Above) Conductor Tom Goodkind led the TriBattery Pops community band through a program of hit tunes to enliven the day.
May 4 – May 17, 2017
Amy Nakamura’s pooch Libby was such a good girl all day, that she got two slices of pizza at Taste of Battery Park City.
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 – May 17, 2017
How to avoid caregiver burnout C
aring for an aging or sick relative is not always so easy. In addition to the physical demands of caring for such loved ones, tending to sick people can take a mental toll, potentially contributing to a condition referred to as caregiver stress. Women are more likely than men to serve as caregivers to elderly or disabled adults. That increases their risk for caregiver stress, says the Office on Womenâ€™s Health, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Mayo Clinic notes that caring for a loved one can strain even the most resilient person. It can be
quite difficult to be a personâ€™s sole caregiver and witness a loved oneâ€™s health deteriorate due to a debilitating illness. As the population ages, nearly 80 percent of the long-term care that takes place in the United States is overseen by people who are not healthcare professionals, including daughters, granddaughters sisters, and aunts. Caregiver stress can manifest itself in many different ways, including physical and emotional problems. The following are some ways to handle the stress of caring for a sick or elderly relative: Investigate available resources.
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Explore all of the opportunities in your area that may relieve some of the burden of caring for your loved one. These may include in-home visiting care services, meal delivery, adult activity programs, and more. Ask for help. Find out if responsibilities can be split among other family members, giving each person a chance to rest and recuperate. Get physical. Physical activity in any form can help reduce stress and improve feelings of well-being, offers the Alzheimerâ€™s Association. Go for a walk, take an exercise class, or ride a bicycle. Expect to feel more relaxed and less stressed after physical activity. Speak with a therapist. Discuss your feelings with someone not di-
Appointment companions help
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rectly related to your family or circle of friends. Caregivers may have feelings of anger, depression, and anxiety, and may even be in denial about how much care this person really needs. Talking about your feelings with a professional can put them into perspective. Focus on things you can control. You may not be able to cure the illness or disability, but there are things in your control. Rather than dwelling on things beyond your control, try to improve the things you can control. Try to have fun. Itâ€™s easy to make caregiving the only part of your life. However, you have to leave room for letting off steam. Donâ€™t feel guilty about going out with friends or a spouse. Make time for yourself.
isits to a physician are just one step people make in an effort to improve their well-being. Itâ€™s important that everyone visit their physicians at least once a year for a checkup, but seniors may need to see their physicians more frequently than other age groups. When visiting the doctor, it is easy for anyone to miss important components of what the doctor is saying, and itâ€™s just as easy to misunderstand instructions or medication information. Data from U.S. News and World Report states that about one-third of seniors still living on their own take a companion with them to their routine doctorâ€™s office visits.
listening. Together, the information theyâ€™ve heard can combine to provide a full account of the visit.
Taking notes Companions can jot down important notes about the appointment, such as dates and times for follow-up visits, medication advice, and any other instructions that may be forgotten once the patient leaves the office.
Medical history Sometimes a companion can be a useful resource, calling a doctorâ€™s attention to a patientâ€™s prior hospitalizations and illnesses. Companions can even call attention to any medications the patient is currently taking.
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People tend to forget at least half of what they hear in the doctorâ€™s office, says the Archives of Internal Medicine. This tendency may be increased when patients are nervous about the potential outcome of their visits. Bringing a companion along means that both people are actively
Serving as an advocate Very often a companion can operate as a patient advocate, clarifying questions or getting further information if the patient is hesitant to ask. If the information isnâ€™t clear, the companion can raise red flags or ask to have the instructions put in a different light. DowntownExpress.com
One fact is simple: poor planning or no planning will hurt your loved ones.
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May 4 – May 17, 2017
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ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES IN EFFECT ALL WEEK POTUS alert! Today, Thursday, President Trump will arrive mid-afternoon in the Big Apple at the Wall Street Heliport. Via the FDR, he’ll go straight to midtown, shutting down the FDR all the way to 63rd Street, and will remain there until midevening. In the height of rush hour, the motorcade will move back down the FDR, pass through the Battery Park Underpass, and up the West Side Highway to the Intrepid on 46th Street, closing the West Side all the way from the Battery to Midtown for the evening. At the end of the event, Trump will return to the Wall Street Heliport via the West Side and the Underpass, and leave NYC. Trumplock will be widespread. When the motorcade is
on the FDR, expect major delays entering the Brooklyn Bridge, especially from South Street and the FDR. That also means spillover traffic at the Manhattan Bridge, as well as jams on local streets and bridge entrances in the Civic Center area, including Broadway, Centre and Chambers streets, and beyond. While highways are closed, local streets throughout Tribeca and Soho will take some heat, and that also means slowdowns at the Holland Tunnel. In short, with the motorcade passing through both the east and west sides, none of Lower Manhattan will be easy driving, so take transit for the day. Also expect demonstrators to greet the president all over the city—most are planned in Midtown, but I expect Lower Manhattan crowds will also gather throughout the day. Follow me on Twitter @GridlockSam for up-todate details. Coincidentally, the Bloomberg
Square Mile Relay, Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., will shut down the area bounded by Pearl and South Streets, and Fulton Street and Old Slip, right near the helipad. On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Middle Collegiate Church 2nd Avenue Festival will close Second Avenue between 6th and 14th Streets. On Sunday, the Five Borough Bike Tour will cause a major traffic disruption in Lower Manhattan, primarily between the hours of 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. Bikers will gather from the Battery to Canal Street along Church Street, and on cross streets from Vesey to Lispenard Street between Broadway and West Broadway. Altogether, this will cause holdups at the Holland Tunnel and the Brooklyn Bridge. The route itself begins on Sixth Avenue, shutting it down from Franklin Street to midtown. This will cause northbound cars to use Hudson Street instead, causing traffic all over the west side. For a full route map, you can visit my calendar at www. gridlocksam.com.
VOLUME 30, NUMBER 07
APRIL 06 – APRIL 19, 2017
DOT=NOT Going to bat City passes buck on school trafﬁc safety
BY COLIN MIXSON City bureaucrats with the Department of Transportation are telling locals that the safety of schoolkids on the streets around the upcoming Trinity Place School isn’t their problem, and any trafﬁc studies or changes with have to funded by the developer. Parents and school advocates are ﬂabbergasted that the city would suddenly shift the responsibility to a private company that now has little incentive to make changes — which they see as a short-cited recipe for tragedy. “[The developer] can just build it the way it is, and then kids will get hit by cars, and then the city will fund the change — except it will cost more money at that point, and someone will already have gotten hurt,” said Eric Greenleaf, a member of the Lower Manhattan School Overcrowding Task Force. The city has purchased property within the residential development helmed by Trinity Place Holdings at 77 Greenwich Street as a site for a 476seat elementary school, which is expected to open sometime in 2022. But the narrow sidewalks surrounding the future school — and the site’s location adjacent to the bustling exit of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel — has led community members and local lawmakers to request a number of trafﬁc changes in the area to reduce risks to students. These include closing a west-bound lane on Edgar Street between Greenwich Street and Trinity Place to accommodate a sidewalk extension that would provide plaza where students and faculty can congregate without the this of getting hit by a speeding bus, according to Community Board 1’s youth committee co-chair and member of the overcrowding task force. “All they have is this roughly 650-square feet courtyard — that’s tiny and it’s not adequate for drop off and pickup for the school,” said Tricia Joyce, a member of Community Board 1 and advocate of creating the so-called Edgar Street Pedestrian Plaza. “A plan has to be in place by the time this opens.” But bureaucrats at the city’s transit agency
Howard Hughes Corp. steps up to the plate for local Little Leaguers, replacing damaged gear BY COLIN MIXSON The Downtown Little League’s new season was saved in the bottom of the ninth when a local developer volunteered to help replace the league baseball’s gear that was discovered ruined by improper winter storage just weeks before opening day. The little league, which pro-
vides competitive outdoor baseball and softball fun for about 1,500 Downtown boys and girls, typically relies on players’ moms and dads in the off season to store the hundreds of bats, gloves, pads, and other equipment essential to the Great American Pastime. This year was no different, except that the parents who stored
Photo by Tony Falcone
Ma t z apalooz a! Bright-eyed Battery Park 3-year-old Zoe Fisher enjoyed the arts and crafts activities at “Matzapalooza!” at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on April 2, presented by the Workmen’s Circle and the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. The event included a scavenger hunt, costumes and a photo booth, klezmer music and dancing.
TRAFFIC STUDY Continued on page 14
all the league’s baseball paraphernalia didn’t anticipate construction work that left the equipment encrusted in caustic dust and mold, according to Community Board 1 Vice Chairman Paul Hovitz. “One of the parents volunteered to store the equipment in their building, and apparently there was construction going on, because the equipment got covered in soot and mold — and even after an extensive cleaning a lot of it was unusable,” Hovitz said. Making matters worse, the mistake was only discovered a few weeks before the league’s April 22nd opening day, Hovitz said, leaving organizers to scramble to ﬁnd a well-endowed emergency sponsor who could help replace $30,000 worth of gear — and fast. “They were in trouble and they were really nervous about how to raise this kind of money,” Hovitz said. Enter Saul Scherl, executive vice president for the tri-state area at Howard Hughes Corporation, the developer transforming the oncedeclining historic South Street Seaport District into shopping and dining destination. He stressed the importance of preserving traditional pastimes and old-fashioned sportsmanship “When something like this happens, it’s important for us to help the kids,” said Scherl, “In this day and age, when we’re tied to phones and other modern-day tech, little league is so important. It’s nice that the kids get out on the ﬁeld and LITTLE LEAGUE Continued on page 14
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May 4 – May 17, 2017
BY JANEL BL ADOW Sails are being hoisted. Grass is being mowed. And everyone is making Memorial Day weekend plans to kick off summer. Yippee! FIFTY YEARS OF FUN… And more to come! The South Street Seaport Museum kicked off a year of festivities celebrating 50th birthday on Saturday, April 29, with a tribute to its founders, a look at its progress, and free fun for everyone. A couple hundred people gathered on Pier 17 to celebrate the museum, hear speakers, tour the ships, learn about nautical history, dance to some lively music, and enjoy beautiful spring weather. Starting with free admission to all the museum’s ships and galleries, the fun ramped up with a special bellringing ceremony aboard the lightship Ambrose. Special guest Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer took the honors of chiming the ship’s 110-yearold bronze bell at 1 pm. Honored guests included Councilmember Margaret Chin, Borough President Gale Brewer, and cultural affairs commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, along with trustees, members, friends and volunteers of the South Street Seaport Museum. While museum director Captain Jonathan Boulware pointed out that it’s “amazing we’re here” since a cloud hung over the museum for two years following 9/11, then came the 2008 recession and then a “damaging blow” from Hurricane Sandy. But the other guests all agreed that it’s the captain’s energy and leadership that will keep the muse-
um thriving into its next 50 years. After praising Boulware as “captain, my captain” and “an amazing leader,” Van Bramer bounded up the lightship’s gangplank to “one of the greatest honors of my life — ringing this bell.” “We are absolutely thrilled to be here celebrating our 50th anniversary,” Capt. Boulware told Seaport Report. “The Seaport Museum is reborn. Programs are growing. Funding is in place, at long last, for Sandy repairs, and the magnificent fleet of historic ships is in largely good repair for the first time in decades.” “It’s a wonderful feeling today,” said Norma Stanford, who came up with the idea of starting a museum to preserve NYC’s maritime history. “The museum is coming back to life because of the ability and vision of Captain Jon.” Along with her late husband Peter and a small group of rabble-rousers who liked to be called “the old gang,” they created a concept of “not just displays but training ships, not just pretty artifacts but a place to learn skills.” Jocelyn and Edmund Ho brought their sons Terrence, 9, and Brandon, 8, to tour the ships and learn about the sea. “The event is more than we expected,” Ho said. “We enjoyed exploring the Wavertree. And I learned speediest animal is the falcon, who can fly 200 mph. We’re learning together.” Terrence Ho said he learned that “captain rhythm” means pulling a rope to have sails go up. “I found that really interesting.” Music for the afternoon was per-
South Street Seaport Museum / James Keivom
The museum’s kickoff party drew a throng of supporters to the docks.
South Street Seaport Museum / James Keivom
City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer had the honor of chiming the Wavertree’s massive, 110-year-old, bronze bell to open the South Street Seaport Museum’s year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary.
formed by Valerie and Ben Turner of Piedmont Bluz. “It’s so thrilling to be part of this,” Valerie said while tuning up. “We’ve never played on a pier before. Or on water. Or in front of a ship. It’s a great afternoon.” HOWDY COWGIRLS... No need to run up to the Village to take in a fun, fantasy drag queen brunch anymore. On the first Saturday of each month — next one is May 6 — Cowgirl Seahorse (259 Front St.) has the party on. The brainy idea of drag queen host Blake Deadly, “Brunch Becomes Her” can cure or cause a hangover and add a few laughs to a weekend afternoon. The special guest this weekend is Candy Sterling, winner of 2016 Miss F.I.T. Drag Pageant. There will be trivia, games, fabulous performances, and a special “Miss Seahorse” audience participation contest. Mimosas are $6 with their regular delish weekend brunch, 2–4 pm. Reservations are recommended. SHMOOZEFEST… One of the most brilliant ideas recently is the neighborhood happy hour sponsored by the Old Seaport Alliance. It’s a chance for locals to get together, find out what we’re all up to, what are the latest developments in the ‘hood, and maybe make some new friends. The latest was on Wednesday, April 19, at Dorlan’s Tavern & Oyster Bar (213 Front St.). Quite a crowd showed up — from Water Street neighbors to Southbridge friends to Front Street barkeeps and SSSM volunteers. What was supposed to be two hours of cocktails continued long into the evening. The next monthly meet-up isn’t on their calendar yet but check the OSA Facebook page or website for an update. It’s a fun way to get to know the neighbors.
SAVE THE DATE… Get your glam on! The OSA annual fund-raiser on June 6 is now deep in the planning stages. Gala committee chairman Moria Kilgore (Cowgirl Seahorse) says they’ve hired Dish Catering, signed an array of local musicians and DJs and started gathering items for both the silent and live auctions. This year’s fete will be aboard the South Street Seaport Museum’s wonderfully restored flagship Wavertree and will honor its director, Captain Jonathan Boulware, for his service to the community and resilience he’s brought to the museum. The theme is “Blue Seas, White Nights,” and everyone is encouraged to wear white. More than 180 supporters attended last year’s event aboard the Hornblower and they’re hoping to top that. Tickets start at $100 per person with VIP sponsorships getting the added touch of table service. For more details, tickets, donations and more: www.oldseaportny.com. Please remember to honor those who served on land, air, and sea as you enjoy your Memorial Day.
Photo by Janel Bladow
Brandon and Terrence Ho enjoyed learning about the sea.
May 4 – May 17, 2017
E D ITO R IAL
Fashion goes Native (American) PUBLISHER
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May 4 – May 17, 2017
BY LENORE SKENAZY When you think about Native Americans and fashion, your fi rst thought might be “beads.” (Well, at least mine was). Wait, no — feathers! No — buckskin with fringe! What’s more Native American than buckskin pants worn by some high-cheeked hunter about to shoot a deer? Well how about a Louis Vuitton arrow quiver? That is just one of the beautiful and unsettling items on display at Native Fashion Now, an exhibit at Downtown’s National Museum of the American Indian just south of Bowling Green. Admission, by the way, is free — the museum is part of the Smithsonian Institute. Step into the exhibit and you are surrounded by the kind of beauty and boundary-pushing you’d expect at a fashion show, not a powwow — and that’s the idea. While most non-indigenous Americans may think of Native fashion as whatever the “bad guys” wore in old Westerns, Native Americans themselves have been designing chic clothing since at least the 1950s. That was when Lloyd “Kiva” New burst onto the scene. Trained at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cherokee designer opened a boutique in Scottsdale, Arizona, that was so popular you could buy his dresses in New York and Beverly Hills. Neiman Marcus carried his clothes. He hobnobbed with the Kennedys. When New came out with a line of leather handbags inspired by Navajo medicine pouches, they were the Birkin Bags of their day: Everyone wanted one. His genius was to straddle both cultures. He used beads, yes, and Native symbols and colors, but the dresses of his on display at the show were classic ’50s and ’60s silhouettes. Think of the first cocktail dresses Barbie wore. She’d look great in New’s. Frankie Welch, New’s friend and sometime collaborator also of Cherokee extraction, incorporated Native designs and even basketry patterns into her work, too. From the ’60s through the ’80s, her styles were so popular, she designed clothes for five first ladies and seven Presidents. Her most celebrated creation was the Cherokee Alphabet scarf, an accessory she designed in 1966 when Virginia Rusk, the secretary of state’s wife, asked her to come up with an “all-American design.” What could be more all-American than Cherokee?
While Welch continued designing, New pivoted in the early ’60s and opened the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, which to this day serves as an incubator for Native American fashion. Karen Kramer, curator of the Native Fashion Now exhibit, goes to the annual Indian Market there, which has grown to a gathering of 1,000 artists. While the market had always held a “traditional clothing” contest, Kramer said, “I started noticing more and more
Then there’s the “Old Time Floral Elk Tooth” dress by Bethany Yellowtail, of Apsaalooke (Crow) and Northern Cheyenne heritage. A sheer black sheath covers a tight ivory-colored mini-dress. The sheath is decorated with elks’ teeth, which Kramer says were the epitome of wealth and style among the Apsaalooke people (also known as the Crow). That’s because only two teeth per elk are ivory, and considered suitable for adornment. On the dress, they form an outline that is sleek and slightly scary. But not all the items on display are meant for the red carpet. In a section of the exhibit titled “Activators,” Kramer highlights designer who area also activists. “Native Americans Discovered
Photo by Unék Francis
Navajo designer Orlando Dugi’s “Desert Heat” collection includes this ensemble of cape, dress, and headdress fashioned from silk, organza, beads, feathers, and porcupine quills.
contemporary Native fashion making its way on to the scene.” That was the inspiration for this show, which debuted at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, where Kramer works. “There are a lot of things in this show that might not look quote-unquote ‘Native American,’ ” she said. “But why is that? Everything in the show is Native American, so it should look native whether there are symbols and patterns you recognize or not.” Most of the clothes are simply, strikingly gorgeous. For instance, there’s an Oscarsworthy gown of orange and black swirls accompanied by a spiky headdress made of, as it turns out, porcupine quills. The ensemble is worn with a short cape of shiny black feathers as sexy as it is stunning, fastened with a sparkly beaded choker.
Columbus,” says a T-shirt that manages to flip history on its head. Jared Yazzie, of Dine (a.k.a. Navajo) heritage designed that shirt to protest Columbus Day. “I’m rockin’ the tee today because I am the 500-year resistance,” he wrote on his social media account. “I have been persecuted, stereotyped, hated, and killed. I stand strong with my people. I wear the tee to continue the fight and share the truth.” As with all the clothes in Native Fashion Now, the shirt is a startling reminder of the fact that, like America itself, American style has been around for thousands of years, and it just keeps evolving. Lenore Skenazy is a founder of the Free-Range Kids blog, a contributor to Reason.com, and author of “Has the World Gone Skenazy?” DowntownExpress.com
E D ITO R IAL
Keep protesting — it’s working! BY BILL EGBERT In the 100 days since President Trump took office, protesting has be come something of a new national pastime — especially in New York, where the Midtown mogul lost by double digits. And Downtown’s Foley Square has seen more than its share of displays of civic outrage. The square has become a magnet for demonstrations due to it target-rich environment, surrounded as it is by courthouses, federal buildings and nearby immigration enforcement offices — plus a bone fide Trump-branded building just marching distance away. Foley Square was the site of spontaneous protests on the night of Trump’s inauguration, and hosted spin-off rallies from the nationwide Women’s March the next day. In the wake of the travel ban signings, the square saw weekly demonstrations by immigrant and refugee advocates. When the House Republicans made their first doomed
Photo by Christian Miles
New Yorkers came out strong for diversity, immigration, and workers’ rights at a May Day rally in Foley Square on Monday.
Photo by Milo Hess
Protesting has become the national passtime since Trump’s election.
push gut the protections of Obamacare, convert Medicaid into defunded block grants, and voucherize Medicare, doctors, patients and healthcare advocates poured to Downtown’s new town square to denounce the plans as cynical and cruel, helping to scuttle the bill. And over the past couple of weeks, two more factions of the galvanized Resistance converged on Foley Square to show their opposition to Trumps pugnacious policies. On Earth Day, April 22, a “March for Science” raised signs in the square boldly defending such empirical facts as “2+2=4,” and declaring that “Oceans are rising and so are we!” Then this week on May Day — the internationally recognized day to celebrate workers and the struggles of the labor movement — local unions turned out huge crowds at the square to rail against the administration’s plans to role back hard-own worker protections, and to demand an end to Trump’s policy of persecuting immigrants. With Trump’s sad 100-Day bench-
mark now in the rear view mirror, there’s a chance that his desperate and frenetic effort to deliver even a handful of his promises may slow, and his daily calculated outrages could ebb. But that can’t be allowed to gut the intensity of the Resistance. Engaged protest is useless for political change if it doesn’t keep people energized enough for the the boring stuff — like mid-term elections and call-ins around critical Congressional votes. Activists and pundits aslike disparage the effectiveness of just knitting pink hats and painting clever signs, and then gathering in the public square to blow off steam for an afternoon before going home to binge watch Netflix until the day after the next midterms. Demonstrations shouldn’t be about you venting your own grievances, but rather connecting with activists to share their grievances — and tactics, and resources, and friends. Each demonstration should be about figuring out how to make the next one bigger and better, and coming up with more actions you take together in the meantime. That’s how you build a movement — and that’s what takes down Presidents. It is widely reported that Trump can-
Photo by Milo Hess
A bold stance in Trump’s America at the March for Science on April 22
Photo by Christian Miles
Their message to Trump — and the resit of the Resistance — was clear: this ain’t over.
not abide bad press, and the constant drumbeat of protests in the media capital of America guarantees a steady supply. Trump recently lamented to the Associated Press that he was surprised and disappointed that his press has gotten worse since he won the election. The consistent protests have been a mainstay of that negative coverage. And on his 100th day in office, Trump confided to Reuters that he misses his old life, and he’s shocked that being Leader of the Free World “is more work than in my previous life.” The persistence of the Resistance is a big reason for that. It’s greatest victory so far is that it’s starting to make Trump tied of being President. “I thought it would be easier,” he sighed. The job of the Resistance it to remind Trump every single day that it’s only going to get harder.
Posted To GATEWAY’S CHAMPION, LINDA BELFER, DIES AT 72 (APRIL 15) But Gateway is only treated “as if” it is rent stabilized for rent increases. When it comes to important City programs such as DRIE and SCRIE (disability and senior citizen rent increase exemptions), those protections were not available for Linda. Linda could not even get a Volunteer Lawyer for the Day, since the buildings in reality are not rent stabilized. I continued to be Linda’s friend until the last day, and we learned two important things. First that those protections weren’t there, DowntownExpress.com
and that so many of her friends never contacted her once she had to go to a nursing home. I used to tell her about what projects were being completed in the neighborhood and I still talk to her in my mind when I see something new that I want to discuss with her. Rick Landman
WAGNER WRANGLE: CONTROVERSY OVER BPCA’S PLANS TO REPLACE PARK’S PAVILION (MAY 1) When BPC was under development (and after the construction of the ugly Gateway Plaza buildings), there were
requirements for the appearance of new buildings. Look around and you’ll see that the buildings are brick with stone on the lower floors along the streets. Most of BPC’s residential buildings have a classic look. And it sends a peaceful vibe into the neighborhood. Ironically, as I walked on the High Line recently, I noted the contrast with the buildings going up around the Hudson Yards. They are irregular, hard, and jarring – no sense of neighborhood at all. The old pavilion in Wagner fits into the old appearance and the new (like the new Pier 16 in the Seaport) does not. Some of these facts may account for
the negative reactions to the look of the new pavilion in Wagner Park. Maryanne P. Braverman
DOWNTOWN OUTRAGE AFTER ARREST IN BATTERY TICKET-VENDOR SHOOTING (MAY 1) The cops could crack down on the illegal vendors – and there will probably be an incident and a resisting vendor might end up dead and then the Chin and the city council will howl self righteously at the “criminal” behavior of the police. Harry May 4 – May 17, 2017
The Inside Track on Outsiders Art on A Gallery merges mediums and champions community BY PUMA PERL A few weeks ago, Wendy Scripps, the owner of Wendigo Productions and Art on A, and I met up at the Bowery Electric’s Friday Happy Hour to chat about her work and her vision. This year, she is the Acker Award recipient for community activism; many folks acknowledge her as “The Godmother of the Lower East Side,” based on her mission to keep the Downtown scene alive. “I love the outsiders, because I was an outsider,” said Scripps, who was born and raised in Northern California. “My parents moved to the Upper West Side when I was about 20, and a year later I found my home in the East Village. I never felt like I fit in before, but this neighborhood fit like a glove. When my mother told me about my great grandfather, Samuel Gompers, an immigrant who grew up down here, I understood the connection even better.” Looking around the bar, one could see living proof of the East Village family she has nurtured. Raffaele Mary, widely known as Raff, was serving up the drinks. She is authentic rock and roll: former singer for Cycle Sluts from Hell, a writer, blogger, and general manager of Wendigo Productions and Art on A. In the DJ booth stood bassist Sam Hariss, member of The Sweet Things, one of the local bands that often plays at the rock shows presented by Wendigo. Kelly Virginia Vinson, a Texas-born neighborhood artist and East Village resident whose jewelry creations are sold in Art on A’s shop, occupied one of the barstools. “I have trunk sales at the gallery, and every year there’s a holiday party and there are so many friends selling their work and buying gifts for others” she told me. “Wendy does so much more than people know about. She is also associate producer on fi lms by Dean Dempsey [“Candy Apple”] and Michael Levine [“Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream”].” The creation of Art on A grew organically under the umbrella of Wendigo Productions, founded in 2010, by Scripps, Rik Rocket, and other friends. The original focus was promoting and booking local bands. “I feel like I understand the way musicians think,” reflected Scripps. “We were the nerdy kids, the misdiagnosed kids. I was severely dyslexic and thrown in special education classes even though I read independently on a college level. I drew in full perspective at age 10. Our minds go on overload and we fi nd different ways to communicate.” The original tiny storefront was located on Avenue B, and they began inviting bands and local artists to display their merchandise in the window. They tried an art show, and decided to fi nd bigger digs and open up a Courtesy the artist
Katrina del Mar’s “Feral Women/Filmed Portraits” exhibit includes this photo of Kembra Pfahler.
May 4 – May 17, 2017
ART ON A continued on p. 20 DowntownExpress.com
A New Life for ‘Dead End’ Gritty, forgotten gem gave us Bowery Boys franchise BY TRAV S.D. Some names of the theatre deserve to have been forgotten; playwright Sidney Kingsley (1906-1995) isn’t one of them. Kingsley invented not one but at least three original genres of the stage and screen. His forte was to take a fascinating American subculture, obsessively research it, and then depict it on stage. In 1933’s “Men in White,” he gave the world its first “heroic doctors in a hospital” show, pioneering everything from “General Hospital” to “ER.” It was one of the few bona fide hits of the Group Theatre. In 1949’s “Detective Story,” Kingsley created the police procedural, blazing a trail that would lead to things like “Dragnet,” “Law & Order,” and “The Wire.” But the setting and characters of another of his Broadway smashes would come to have the longest shelf life of all: 1935’s “Dead End.” The Axis Theatre Company is reviving this forgotten gem at their home in Sheridan Square through May 20. “Dead End” originally ran on Broadway for two years. Produced at the height of the Great Depression, it told of a group of poor, directionless, (and apparently hopeless) New York City street urchins, and some well-meaning adults who try to help them. It went on to become a 1937 Warner Brothers film starring Humphrey Bogart, Joel McCrea, Sylvia Sidney, and the kids from the original Broadway cast, including Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell, and others. Their popularity launched several successful comedy film franchises starring the kids under different names: the Dead End Kids (1935-1939), Little Tough Guys (1938-1943), the East Side Kids (1940-1945), and the Bowery Boys (1946-1958). In the intervening time, the world of the play evolved from one of hard-hitting social realism to one lowbrow slapstick comedy, featuring such plot devices as robots, genies, and mad scientists. Nowadays, that is what most people remember about the Bowery Boys. It is rare for audiences to have an opportunity to grapple with the original source material. “I was obsessed with the Bowery Boys when I was a kid,” recalled the revival’s director, Randy Sharp, “and have been fascinated by them ever since. There’s something about these New York City street kids that’s very American. I’ve had the Bowery Boys make appearances in some of my past shows, like ‘Hospital’ ” (Sharp’s annual multi-epiDowntownExpress.com
Photo by Pavel Antonov
Jon McCormick (foreground) and Lynn Mancinelli in rehearsal for “Dead End.”
sode experimental soap opera parody, which can ultimately also trace its lineage to Kingsley’s “Men in White”). Ordinarily, Axis produces Sharp’s own original plays, but on occasion the company will take on an existing work and give it their own patented stamp. In the past, for example, they have done Georg Büchner’s “Woyzek” and Benjamin A. Baker’s “A Glance at New York.” Significantly, the latter play is a gritty 1848 gaslight melodrama about life among New York’s working class, not unlike “Dead End.” According to Brian Barnhart, Axis’ producing director, the company considered such plays as “The Philadelphia Story” and “Our American Cousin” (the play Abraham Lincoln was watching the night he was shot) before settling on “Dead End.” With a cast of 14 (some Axis veterans and some newcomers), this is the largest cast production the company has ever presented. The original 1935 production had a cast of 35, when the economics of theatre were very different. The entire cast is onstage throughout the length of the show. “One of the immediate challenges of ‘Dead End’ is how to deal with its iconic, stamped-out characters,” noted Sharp. “The hooker with the heart of gold; the snotty kid; the bad guy. In
real life there is no such thing as a ‘Bad Guy.’ So who is that? Why does he talk like that? Maybe the Bowery Boys aren’t so cute. They seem to be enacting something dark and not very joyful. These are real children and adults living in tenements. Audiences were being exposed to the fact there was an unimaginable divide between rich and poor at the time, one even greater than there is now.” Audiences less familiar with the Axis house style should know not to expect an “on the nose” production. What is on view will be quite different from what one might have experienced at the original play or film, or subsequent revivals in 1978, 1997, and 2005. While Kingsley’s original text (with some cuts) remains the framework, in Axis productions one often fi nds the moment-to-moment behavior of characters surprising and unpredictable, with motivations and line-readings not the obvious ones. For this reason, to this observer, Axis productions are never boring. Undergirding this production is a tapestry of live sound, organically devised by the cast through improvisation. Frequent Axis collaborator Paul Carbonara (of Blondie) is composing an original score at Sharp’s direction that will draw from
Hollywood movie soundtracks. One thing the Axis production will have in common with other theatrical versions and not the famous film, however, is a much franker treatment of language, references to sex, and depictions of violence and poverty, all of which were softened or expunged from the Hollywood film. “In 1935 there was no Internet,” said Sharp. “Kingsley was using the theatre as a tool to literally educate people about conditions happening feet outside their door. It was a snapshot of real life during the Depression. The challenge is how to rediscover that now. Everyone has seen [images of] poverty and been inured to it. I want to reawaken them. How do we look at this again? I don’t want the audience to just sit back and let it skim over them. This is about a literal dead end, with no way out. These people still exist. We can’t dismiss them.” “Dead End” runs through May 20: Wed. & Thurs., 7pm; Fri. & Sat., 8pm. Additional performances Mon., May 1, 7pm (official opening Wed., May 3). At Axis Theatre (One Sheridan Square, btw. Washington Pl. & W. Fourth St.). For tickets ($30 adults, $20 students, seniors; $15, artists & those under 30), visit axiscompany.org or call 212-8079300. May 4 – May 17, 2017
ART ON A continued from p. 18
gallery. “It’s hard to get gallery shows if you are outside the norm. We love the outsider art,” said Scripps. And the “outsiders” love Art on A, which seamlessly merges mediums. As Raff pointed out during my visit to the gallery, “We all come from several worlds. Rik is an artist and the original guitarist of the Toilet Böys. People know me from the rock world, but may not realize that I studied at Parsons.” The shows and the artists reflect that sensibility. October 2016’s “The Art of New York Rock” exhibition presented the artwork of musicians included in Steven Blush’s book “New York Rock.” Included were Chris Stein, Rick Bacchus, and many others. The closing party featured live music, with crowds spilling over into the street. March 2017’s “The Art of New York Waste” exhibition celebrated the underground rock and roll newspaper, with work by editor-in-chief/photographer Lucky Lawler and many other contributors. Robert Butcher, an artist and photographer who was included in the New York Waste event, talked to me about his September 2016 solo show, “American Madonnas & Liars,” which included images of both Raff and Scripps, and explored the interaction between subject and viewer. “I met Wendy at Manitoba’s [99 Ave. B] and loved her straightway,” said Butcher. “It was like speaking to an old friend. Wendy is benevolent, a benefactor, and a patron with a unique vision. She’s the glue that holds us together.” Scripps intends to continue her mission by exploring different fronts, both personally, and for the community. “I don’t like to be onstage,” she said. “I’m a behindthe-scenes person. I’m working on a nonprofit to help artists stay in the neighborhood by securing housing. For myself, I would like to study poetry and writing. Someday, I want to publish my memoirs.” Currently on view is a look into the world of artist, Katrina del Mar, a multi-faceted East Village resident. She’s an art and commercial photographer, visual artist, painter, fi lmmaker, and also fronts a punk band, The Shirtlifters. Del Mar’s show, “Feral Women/Filmed Portraits,” returns her to her roots as a visual artist with a riveting exhibition of photo portraits, fi lmed portraits, and black velvet paintings and drawings. During the run of the show, some of del Mar’s fi lms will be shown, and raucous opening and closing parties are to be
May 4 – May 17, 2017
Photo by Joseph Alvarez, courtesy Wendigo Productions
Wendy Scripps, owner of Wendigo Productions and Art on A Gallery.
Courtesy the artist
Courtesy the artist
Wendy Scripps as featured in “American Madonnas and Liars,” an Art on A exhibit. Art by Robert Butcher.
Katrina del Mar’s “Jade with gold nail polish” (2016, oil pastels and gold leaf on black paper, 22x30 in.).
expected. “I’m super excited to be showing at Art on A, to be working with curator Rik Rocket and with Raffaele,” she said. “They are East Village legends, both badass rock ’n rollers whose art practices are cross-disciplinary, encompassing music, writing, and visual arts. I’m grateful to Wendy
Scripps for doing her part in keeping the art and music scene going in this rapidly gentrifying city. The corporate culture is trying to make a corpse out of our amazing city, to drain the blood and flatline the pulse by ousting the artists. We are here fighting to keep the heart and soul of the city alive and well!”
Katrina del Mar’s “Feral Women/ Filmed Portraits” exhibition runs through May 18, at Art on A Gallery (24 Ave. A, btw. Second & Third Sts.). Gallery Hours: Mon., Thurs., Fri. & Sat., 1–8pm; Sun., 1–7pm. Call 212300-4418 or visit artonagallery.com. Also visit wendigoproductions.com and katrinadelmar.com. DowntownExpress.com
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 SixtySix Tales of Sex and Death, Volume One,” which will be launched with an event at NYC’s Bureau of General Services-Queer 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 DowntownExpress.com
Courtesy Gaybird Press
Dandy Darkly launches his new book with a May 6 event at the Bureau of General Services-Queer Division.
“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 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, espe-
cially Southern masters like Thomas Wolfe and William Faulkner, but ground up in a parody-mill 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 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 DANDY DARKLY continued on p. 22 May 4 – May 17, 2017
Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER
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 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-
DANDY DARKLY continued from p. 21
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 selfish or egocentric to be moved by your own work. I know some artists
May 4 – May 17, 2017
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 undergraduate 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 “forbid-
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
Photo by Claudio Rodriguez
Battery Dance rehearsing “On Foot,” one of four world premieres at migration-themed May 10-11 performances.
den” 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.
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. Photo by Bobby Miller
Our favorite straight shooting storyteller in a promo photo for 2015’s “Dandy Darkly’s Trigger Happy.”
May 4 â€“ May 17, 2017
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