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Betsy Newell’s Keen Eye For How to Help 05

Scamming, Lying, and Odd Ties in Council District 7 Race 08-09 May 04–May 17, 2017 | Vol. 03 No. 09

Garment Industry Pushes Back Hard on West Side Rezoning 14

Laura Linney, Cynthia Nixon Shine as Foxy Ladies 20 MANHATTANEXPRESSNEWS.NYC


May 04–May 17, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

Remembering the 1943

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising


Chayele Palevsky, a veteran of the United Partisan Organization resistance in the Vilna ghetto in Poland.



nside R iverside Park at West 83rd Street, petals from blooming pink azaleas were scattered on an easily overlooked embedded plaque. But, at an adjacent plaza, among more than 125 people who braved a blustery spring day, the sentiments etched in cement were not irrelevant. Gathered at “der shteyn,” (Yiddish for “the stone”) and bundled aga inst t he cold, devoted New Yorkers commemorated the 74th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which began April 19, 1943. This year’s commemoration came on April 21, two days after the anniversary, which fell on the Sabbath. Even as the Holocaust sur vivor generation has become smaller through attrition, resistance efforts against the Nazis continue to be remembered at this annual event. “Some historians say that the 70th anniversary is the last time anything is ever remembered by people who were actually affected or took part,” said Shane Baker, executive director of t he Congress for Jewish Culture, in his welcoming remarks. “But for the 74th anniversary, we have a larger

crowd of people than any time in recent memory.” He added, “People feel it’s more important to remember now than at any other time in recent history, because of the national and world situation. Again we have a dictator using poison gas against his own people. Again we have ‘show’ bombings that don’t much affect that dictator’s operations. And in Chechnya, we have reports of gay men being rounded up and tortured in what some are calling concentration camps… And here in our own country, the leaders are playing fast and loose with history, calling concentration camps ‘Holocaust centers’ and denying that Hitler used gas on his own people.” It was a powerful opening to the annual commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, where 220 Jews staged a heroic resistance to continued Nazi efforts to deport the Polish city’s Jewish community to concentration camps. Jews had been confined to the ghetto in November 1940 and kept in a state of near-starvation. Deportations to the death camps began in 1942 and the following spring, after news surfaced of an impending new round of deportations, the community decided to resist, holding the Nazis at bay

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 04–May 17, 2017

Attendees at the commemoration placed daffodils over the pink azalea petals covering “der shteyn.”

until May 16. It was the largest organized armed rebellion within a Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Europe during the Holocaust. In the end, block by block, the ghetto was burned, with an estimated 13,000 Jews murdered. Another 40,000 were sent to concentration camps. The Riverside Park plaque — dedicated in 1947 — reads: “This is the site for the American memorial to the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto battle April-May 1943 and to the six million Jews of Europe martyred in the cause of human liberty.” The plaque is modest, originally intended to serve as a corner-

stone for a larger memorial. Buried beneath it are two boxes containing soil from two Czech concentration camps the Nazis established in Czechoslovakia — Terezin and Sered — and a scroll describing the defense of the Warsaw ghetto, composed by the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and written in both Hebrew and English. “There has been much talk of a monument,” Shane remarked. “Maybe this is, as well it should be, it.” The commemoration was organized by the Congress for Jewish Culture, the Jewish Labor Bund, the Workmen’s Circle, and the Jewish Labor Committee. Maciej Golubiewski, the Polish consul general in New York, and Agata Rakowiecka, the director of Warsaw’s JCC were present, as were parks department officials including Ma nhatta n Borough Commissioner William Castro a nd children from the Metropolitan Montessori School. Three of the children recounted the events of the uprising. Chayele Palevsky, a veteran of the United Partisan Organization, which led resistance efforts in the Vilna ghetto in Pola nd, and Irena Klepfisz, whose father Michal Klepfisz, an uprising leader in Warsaw, was killed in the Nazi onslaught, were among the speakers.

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Tenant, Pedestrian Well-Being Dominate UWS Town Hall BY JACKSON CHEN


it y Cou nci l member Helen Rosenthal and a panel of city agency representatives fielded concerns and worries raised by Upper West Siders during a town hall meeting on April 25. With topics f looding in from online submissions as well as from audience members, Rosenthal at times joined the criticism of city agencies and their failure to address key challenges facing the neighborhood. Inside the Center at West Park Presbyterian Church at 165 West 86th Street, residents fired off questions ranging from tenant harassment by landlords to dangers compromising pedestrian safety and the consequences of the recent controversial School District 3 rezoning. During the open mic portion of the town hall, residents spoke up about a wide variety of challenges they face living on the Upper West Side, with the harassment of tenants — whether through unwarranted renovation construction or simply aggressive landlords — the most frequent complaint voiced. Julie Hanlon, a rent-controlled tenant at 345 West 86th Street, said she and her neighbors have been targeted by chemical harassment through their landlord’s use of pesticides. A fter exhausting a series of suggestions made by Rosenthal, Hanlon pleaded with agency representatives on hand for solutions. Following Hanlon, a West 93rd Street resident said a widowed neighbor was forced out of her apartment after living there for 50 years with her husband, in the wake of his death. Rosenthal explained a package of tenant protection bills, known collectively as Stand for Tenant Safety, that she and her Council colleagues are working on. Some of those measures saw a lengthy hearing on April 19. Patrick Wehle, the Department of Building’s deputy assistant commissioner for external affairs, said the issue of tenant harassment, especially through construction, was critically important to the department. As for any proposed



City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, flanked by an array of city agency representatives, fields questions from Upper West Side residents queued up to voice neighborhood concerns.


Rosenthal chats one on one with an attendee at the April 25 town hall.

changes to the 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. time frame in which landlords are allowed to carry out construction, he said Council legislation would be required. Residents also made numerous comments about threats to quality of life posed by pedestrian dangers in the area. Upper West Siders mentioned both vehicles making precarious left turns and cyclists running red lights as dangers, especially for the neighborhood’s large elderly population, some of whom complained of experiencing near-misses. “One of the biggest problems that we think we’ve encountered is cyclists running red lights,” Levon Holley, the New York Police Department’s 20t h P recinct capta in, acknowledged. The precinct, he said, has issued 72 red light tickets and confiscated more than 30 electric bikes so far this year.

Regarding pedestrians facing close calls with vehicles, Rosenthal told the DOT’s deputy borough commissioner, Edward Pincar, that she was not pleased with the unresolved questions about cars making turns at the intersection of West 96th Street and West End Avenue. “While crashes and injuries have gone down along the whole of West End Avenue,” she said, “at that corner of 96th Street, the number of injuries has gone up significantly.” Rosenthal requested that DOT meet with her to discuss the dangers pedestrians face at the intersection and to reconsider the current traffic light configuration, to which Pincar agreed. Early last month, the councilmember was joined by members of Community Board 7 and other neighborhood residents in calling for safety improvements at that corner. Some upset public school par-

ents said they are not yet seeing the intended results of School District 3’s rezoning. That rezoning, affecting those schools located between West 59th and 122nd St reet s, was a i med at reducing overcrowding and racial and socioeconomic segregation. With early enrollment numbers now in, Rosenthal asked the Department of Education for an update, especially regarding the prevalence of school waitlists. According to Sadye Campoamor, the DOE’s director of community affairs, there are still waitlists — she pointed to a 30-student list at P.S. 9 at 100 West 84th Street, but added the numbers are still preliminary. Public school students aren’t the only New Yorkers encountering waitlists, with roughly 250,000 prospective public housing tenants backlogged by the City Housing Authority. Brian Honan, NYCHA’s director of state and city legislative affairs, said the list is cleared on a first-come, first-serve basis, though priority is given to homeless families and to victims of domestic violence. He acknowledged that it is “not uncommon to wait six to eight years” for a NYCHA apartment. In the current combative political atmosphere, Rosenthal also faced a question about intramural party affairs. An audience member asked why she and Public Advocate Letitia James, both Democrats, held a luncheon for State Senator Marisol Alcantara shortly after her victory in the State Senate’s 31st District given that she caucuses with the Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC, in Albany, a group criticized for working in tandem with the Republican minority and giving the GOP majority control of the Senate. “My thinking is, hold your elected’s feet to the fire, so of course I’m going to help make that luncheon happen,” Rosenthal explained. “I will say without question that the IDC is beyond problematic. I think everyone, if they’re elected a Democrat, should be a Democrat.” From there, Rosenthal faced the remainder of the evening addressing concerns raised by a crowd likely largely made up of Upper West Side Democratic voters.

May 04–May 17, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

Betsy Newell’s Keen Eye for How to Help BY JACKSON CHEN


n the early 1980s, the Goddard R iverside Community Center extended its mission by undertaking the management of singleroom-occupancy residential buildings on the Upper West Side. After spending the money available to renovate its first such complex, the organization furnished the units in bare-bones fashion, providing a bed, a chest of drawers, and a chair. When Betsy Newell, a Goddard Riverside board member, accompanied a homeless woman in her 70s into one of the units, it was largely devoid of life or character. Newell recalls that the other woman didn’t speak a word to her. T he on ly clues to t he voiceless woman’s past were found in a Bloomingdale’s shopping bag she carried, filled with original watercolor paintings of England’s grand stately homes. Newell investigated further and discovered that the woman had worked for Condé Nast after graduating from Smith College around the time of World War II. So Newell knew they shared the same alma mater, but she couldn’t track down much of anything about what happened next for the woman after she left her magazine job or how she had become homeless. Newell’s primary concern at that moment, in any event, was making the SRO feel more like a home, even if the woman still treated her as a stranger. Newell decorated with curtains, a bedspread, a mirror, lamps, a rug she lugged up to the apartment, and one final gift she secured from a local arts supply store. “The very last day that I saw her, I had gotten a... really lovely pad of watercolor paper, colors, and a little easel,” Newell said. “I brought them, and she sat there and didn’t say anything.” But a couple of weeks later, Newell received a call from the social workers managing the building informing her that the woman had begun pa i nt i ng. Decades later, that is still something Newell points to as a significant part of her volunteer career. Now 76 herself, Newell has spent the past six years as the president


Betsy Newell in her office at Park Children’s Day School, where she serves as director, and, on the cover, with a young student there.

of Goddard Riverside’s board of directors. In tandem with that volunteer work, Newell continues to serve as director of Park Children’s Day School, a private pre-school, with 17 years — and counting — under her belt there. Her professional and volunteer work meshes smoothly — even if the time demands are considerable — as she attends Goddard Riverside’s board meetings in the mornings before school, as necessary, and her nights are divided between events with the non-profit and the school. According to Goddard R iverside’s former executive director Stephan Russo, the organization originally sought Newell’s commitment to spend a year as board president. “It grew into a wonderful sixyear partnership,” Russo said in a statement. “I loved working with Betsy. When I ran into obstacles, she was always right there by my side doing what was best for the organization and the community we serve.” L o ok i n g back on her ye a r s with Goddard Riverside, Newell recalled that her volunteer work there dates back to when she was a young woman running the Goddard Gaieties, a dance program for elementary school kids. She said the Gaieties’ admission policy contrasted with other, more exclusive local dance programs that required subscriptions or reference letters, while Goddard Riverside’s dances were inclusive and welcomed everybody.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 04–May 17, 2017

A fter running the dances for a number of years, Newell was recruited onto the board of directors, where she has served for more than 40 years. In those decades, Newell has played a part in a wide variety of the programs the organization undertakes, from senior citizen activities to helping homeless people stabilize their lives. “I’m no expert, but I think so often people who’ve lived on the streets have no social life,” Newell said of her experiences with homeless New Yorkers who have come i nto Godda rd R iverside’s programs. “It’s so lonely and they get inward-looking and they’ve been knocked around by society.” As a part of the services they provide to the organization, its board members meet with formerly homeless clients annually to explore their backgrounds and the progress they are making. What never fails to impress Newell, she said, was the clients articulating the importance of having a house or apartment key — as a tangible representation of a home. “Everybody always mentions a key,” Newell said, miming the holding up of a key between her thumb and index finger. “Because they haven’t had a key to anything for their years of being on the street.” By Newell’s account, having a place to call home really did boost the wellbeing of many, including a man she readily recalls details about. With the help of a Broadway director, Goddard Riverside clients joined together to write a musical about the trials of being homeless.

For Newell, the star of the show was a husky performer who easily filled out his bright white suit and belted out his lines with confidence. “One fellow no one ever had heard speak, he’d been living in the building for five years,” Newell said of the man. “He both spoke and sang in this production for the first time.” Despite bei ng present for rehea rsa ls as a cast member, Newell said, he still did not speak until the performance itself. The director, the Goddard staff, and the other cast members all took the man’s sudden turnaround as a miracle of sorts. “That affected me deeply, actually,” Newell said. “As did the woman that had an upbringing that was so similar to mine — that that’s what happens to people.” As Newell faces terms limits after six years heading the board, she said she is getting ready to step down. To commemorate her work over the past six years, the non-profit organization is launching the Betsy Newell Older Adult Fund to Support Positive Aging in Manhattan on May 10. The fund is aimed at improving the services the group can offer the elderly, including hiring a bus for more outings and dedicating a staff member to assist them in navigating the world of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other benefit programs. “ I c e r t a i n l y h av e b e g u n t o understand some of the hurdles that us older folk encounter every day,” Newell said, not shy about acknowledging her own age. Still, she remains mindful of the motivation that prompted her to begin volunteering her time and energies with Goddard Riverside four decades ago . “When the Upper West Side was being gentrified, a lot of people who lived in those tenement buildings were dispossessed,” Newell recalled. “A lot of them were elderly people who had no place to go, who didn’t have family. That’s what got me started when I was a young woman, the idea that these people really had no place to go and they were elderly.”



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he American Museum of Natural History and the Department of Parks and Recreation has released the final scope of work for its controversial expansion, the construction of the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. The final scope of work, made public on April 25, details all the environmental issues that the parks department, the lead city agency on the project, will look into, including open space, traffic, construction, and other matters. The $340 million Gilder Center project would create a significant museum expansion to improve visitor flow, offer more exhibition and educational space, and create a new entrance on the Columbus Avenue side of the institution near West 79th Street. According to the final scope of work, the project would reach 105 feet tall in five stories — rooftop bulkheads bringing it up to 115 feet —add 203,000 square feet of new space, and reconfigure 42,000 square feet of existing museum space. The expansion has attracted a considerable amount of opposition in the form of thousands of petition signatures because of its encroachment into the surrou nd i ng T heodore Roosevelt Pa rk. T he project would a lter approx i mately 75,0 0 0 squa re feet of the park, according to the document. The final scope of work offered several alternatives that would be looked into as possibilities for avoiding or reducing significant adverse environmental impacts of various kinds. The six alternatives in the document, ranging from simple to complex, include: • Reusing administrative space for Gilder Center purposes and moving administrative functions off-site; • Avoiding demolition of existing museum buildings by expanding the building footprint;


The black dotted line on the diagram indicates portions of the Theodore Roosevelt Park that face alteration as the result of the current plans for the Gilder Center’s construction.

• Limiting the project to infill construction; • Reducing the building footprint; • Moving the building site to Ross Terrace, a wide area of open space on the museum campus adjacent to the Rose Center for Earth and Space; and • Moving the proposed project to an off-site location. Since the museum doesn’t own any off-site property, it would have to find and buy a new site for several of the alternatives, the document noted. Cary Goodman, a vocal opponent of the Gilder Center who recently announced his candidacy for City Council District 6, said he was happy to finally see the alternatives that are listed in the document. “This actually ref lects well on t he com mu n it y bec ause t hey really came out strongly during the scoping session last April,” Goodman said of the alternatives

 GILDER CENTER, continued on p.7

May 04–May 17, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

Port Authority Now Weighs Build-in-Place Renovation BY JACKSON CHEN


n 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 growing volume of passenger traffic. The current bus terminal on Eighth Avenue between West 40th and 42nd Streets 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 February 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 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

 GILDER CENTER, from p.6 included. “So many people voiced alternatives and were so vehement about t he museum t hat fina lly they’ve decided to, in theory, incorporate them into the scoping document.” Goodman has repeatedly championed moving the Gilder Center expansion to a satellite location and again put his support behind that alternative. As for building on the Ross Terrace, an option that was mentioned by several people during the scoping session, he said that was his least favorite alternative. “On the one hand, it would spare the ecological assault on Margaret Mead Green and on the Roosevelt Park trees,” Goodman said. “[But] it still involves a serious imposition on what is a very fragile and crowded environment.”


The rush hour crowd at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown.

moved the Port Authority to formally restart the planning process late last year. At its April 27 board meeting, 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 build in 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

The scope document indicates that once construction begins, the museum would create a “construction coordination group” that includes representatives from the museum, the construction manager, the parks department, the 20th Precinct, Community Board 7, the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District, and other neighborhood groups. “The NYC Parks’s scoping process was an important step to inform the work that is going into the preparation of the draft environmental impact statement (or EIS) for the Gilder Center project,” Roberto Lebron, a museum spokesperson, said in an email. Now that the final scope of work is complete, the next step in the process is the parks department’s issuance of a draft environmental impact statement later this spring, when the public will be allowed to comment.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 04–May 17, 2017

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 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 July timetable for completing the viability study, the board expects to take the matter up at its September 28 meeting.

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Facing Call for Party Ouster, Lopez-Pierre

Admits Scamming and Lying BY JACKSON CHEN


rookly n City Councilmember David Greenfield, citing repeated anti-Semitic statements by Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a Democratic primary candidate for the District 7 Council seat, has called on the Manhattan Democratic Committee to remove him from the party’s rolls. Lopez-Pierre, meanwhile, has compounded controversies surrounding his attacks on the Jewish community and other race-baiting comments, w ith admissions of lying, scamming, and lying about scamming. So far the county Democratic organization has been non-committal about ejecting Lopez-Pierre — who is seeking election to the Upper West Side-Harlem-Washington Heights district — but has attacked his rhetoric as well as that of a Republican mayoral hopeful, while criticizing the media for covering both candidates. The latest media firestorm over Lopez-Pierre’s campaign came in an April 26 New York Post article, which reported he had claimed credit for a GoFundMe campaign that raised $5,871 and was purportedly launched to stop his hate rhetoric. The Post quoted the candidate as saying he created the GoFundMe page, explaining it was a “bait and switch” effort to foil his opponents. “I intend to use the money to pay for my marketing expenses,” Lopez-Pierre said in the Post article. “ The people who are doing this [donating] oppose me. I thank them for their support.” But in an interview with Manhatt a n Ex press, L opez-P ier re claimed he lied to the Post about having anything to do with the GoFundMe campaign — the proceeds of which have since been frozen and are under investigation, the fundraising website’s spokesperson, Bobby Whithorne, told the Post.



Thomas Lopez-Pierre, under harsh fire from other Democrats, has now admitted to both scamming in a fundraising appeal and lying about his admission of scamming.

“ The reason why I lied to the Post was because I hate the Post,” L ope z-P ier re told Ma n hat t a n Express, adding the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper is not “real journalism.” “I wanted to cause diffusion in this whole anti-Thomas LopezPierre mobilization,” he said. The GoFundMe incident emerged just one day after Greenfield, on April 25, called on the Manhattan Dems to oust Lopez-Pierre from the party under the terms of New York State election law, which authorizes removal of a member for “disloyalty to the party or corruption in office.” “There’s no question that LopezPier re’s campaign is based on good, old-fashioned, virulent antiSemitism,” Greenfield said in a written release. “It is incumbent on our party leadership to oust him immediately and to make clear to all New Yorkers that Lopez-Pierre’s values are not Democratic values.” He added, “Quite fra n k ly, if Lopez-Pierre wants to run for City Council he should do so by peti-

tioning his way onto the Ku Klux Klan Party.” Responding to the call for his ejection, Lopez-Pierre said Greenfield was using him “as an excuse to raise political campaign contributions from the real estate industry.” Repr ising t hemes he has employed against the incumbent city councilmember he is challenging, Mark Levine — which sparked the charges of anti-Semitism in the first place — Lopez-Pierre said of Greenfield, “We have a councilman of Jewish descent who is demanding the expulsion of a black Latino man from the Democratic Party. This reminds us of the days of Nazi Germany when party members had to take loyalty oaths or be expulsed from the party.” T he Ma n hatt a n Democrat ic Committee has received Greenfield’s request, according to the committee’s executive director, Barry Weinberg, who added it is consulting with lawyers to see if there is a legal route for removing Lopez-Pierre.

In a statement Weinberg forwarded to Manhattan Express, Keith L.T. Wright, the county leader and a former longtime member of the State Assembly, said, “Mr. Lopez-Pierre does not have the support of the New York County Democratic Committee in any race for any office. His anti-Semitic vitriol is despicable and appalling, and I fully condemn it. His antics over many years have received no traction with any members of our community on the Upper West Side or Harlem. He is a deeply troubled man, and I do not intend to fuel his disgusting campaign by giving him any more undeserved attention beyond this statement.” Wright also suggested the media may be giving undue attention to Lopez-Pierre. “We have recently seen what happens when the media fixates on fringe candidates with despicable racist and anti-Semitic beliefs,” the Democratic leader said. In a follow-up press release, Wright also took aim at Bo Dietl, a candidate for the Republican mayoral nomination this year, who attacked State Supreme Court Judge Debra A. James, whom he appeared before to have his lack of party registration waived in his bid to appear on the GOP primary ballot. “The judge looked like Charlene de Blasio,” Dietl said at a Republican mayoral candidate forum last week, according to the New York Times. “As soon as I saw her, I knew I had a problem.” Wright, in his press release, said, “I also condemn Mr. Dietl’s remarks suggesting that State Supreme Court Judge Debra A. James’ would be biased against Mr. Dietl due to her race… Repugnant statements by Mr. Dietl such as these are nothing new, and are a desperate grasp for relevance from someone who cannot even file his own paperwork properly and has no business running for mayor.

May 04–May 17, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

Third Candidate, With Striking Ties, Joins District 7 Race


Matthew Gros-Werter on April 6 registered an election committee to seek the District 7 City Council seat.



political newcomer could turn the City Council District 7 election this year into a three-way race, with incumbent Councilmember Mark Levine already being challenged by Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a candidate who has used anti-Semitic and race-baiting language as part of his campaign. In a district that covers Manhattan’s West Side from roughly West 96th to 165th Streets, Matthew Gros-Werter, who owns a small real estate firm, has thrown his name into the hat against the other two candidates, despite a history with Lopez-Pierre that includes some curious ongoing ties. Gros-Werter, 33, launched his Matthew Neil Group real estate business last September and on April 6 registered an election committee with the city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB). With no experience in local politics or on the area’s community board, Gros-Werter said he expects to bring his real estate savvy to the Council run. “In business, we’re selling the idea, which is a product that you give to somebody,” Gros-Werter said. “In politics, you’re selling an idea that becomes a bill or a concept that then becomes implemented.” In an interview with Manhattan Express, Gros-Werter said his two biggest concerns for District 7 are educational excellence and the neighborhood’s safety. When asked how he would address the housing problems confronting the district — ranging from tenant harassment to a shortfall in its affordable housing stock — the candidate said that’s an issue that needs to be addressed through extensive


 GROS-WERTER, continued on p.12 ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 04–May 17, 2017




dvocates 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. “The most important impact,� Adams said of the former Obama


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

Michael Adams, SAGE’s CEO.

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


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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 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 all-capitalized 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, “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 modification is also proposed for the annual sur-

vey 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 backwards,� 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.�

May 04–May 17, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

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For Resilient Candidate, Reform Begins at Home — and in the Bedroom

Assembly, a nd the City Council between 1996 and 2013. But Vargas, a retired veteran of the US Navy and Air Force, said he is undeterred, aiming at the State Senate based on an unusual platform which he characterized as being all about improving people’s quality of life. “I think it’s time to legalize [and] unionize prostitution,” Vargas said. “Sex is a human need regardless of what gender the person is, regardless of who the person prefers sex

with.” The candidate said he hopes to see the stigma surrounding prostitution fade and eventually have a state agency that works to regulate the industry and protect its workers. Vargas also thinks it’s time for society to redefine the boundaries of marriage, making it a renewable institution similar to holding a driver’s license. Marriage renewal, he said, should come up every 10 years, with couples given a choice of experiencing a second or third honeymoon or instead parting ways without the complications of a divorce proceeding. In a district in which many voters come from communities of color, Vargas is also offering a seemingly cont ra r ia n v iew on police relations, as an advocate of the stop and frisk practices that sparked considerable criticism and some costly lawsuits during the Bloomberg administration. Stop and frisk, he argued, is a way to prevent a “lawless society.” On tenant issues, Vargas advocates a doubling in the qualifying household income limit of $50,000 for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase

Exemption program that offers rent freezes to those 62 years old and older in the private housing market. Despite his previous failed runs, Vargas is voicing confidence about his latest bid, as is the party backing him. “I think Ruben is going to win a lot of votes from people who don’t turn out during special elections and people who are taken for granted by the Democratic Party,” said Frank Morano, a spokesperson for the Reform Party. Morano acknowledged that the race will be hard-fought, but said the Reform Party is confident he will at least best Republican Simmons for one of the top two spots on May 23. “Once we win people over with [his] personality, his record, and his beliefs on issues, then there’s the challenge to get people out of the mindset of voting for whoever the Democratic Party is,” the Reform Party spokesperson said. “Everybody recognizes it’s a tremendous uphill battle, but I think if there’s anyone with the energy and wherewithal for the long shot, it’s Ruben.”

shows that Ariel has donated $175 to L opez-Pierre’s current 2017 campaign. But when Gros-Werter recalled his 2013 contribution, he said the two men met in person when Lopez-Pierre picked up the contribution check from him. When asked why he donated to LopezPierre’s campaign, he said it was due to his sister’s recommendation and that he was “thrilled to be involved in politics at that time.” Gros-Werter has not donated to Lopez-Pierre since then. Campaign contributions aren’t the only ties between Lopez-Pierre and Gros-Werter. According to the CFB, the Committee to Elect Thomas Lopez-Pierre’s treasurer is Sandra Monperousse, whose LinkedIn profile cites her role in that campaign but also highlights her real estate license. According to the Department of State’s Division of Licensing Services, Monperousse’s license is registered with Matthew Gros-Werter and his 160 West End

Avenue offices. Other online references also mention Monperousse’s position at the Matthew Neil Group. When asked about that, GrosWerter said that he was not aware that Monperousse — one of only four employees at his firm — is the treasurer for Lopez-Pierre’s committee, despite her being with Matthew Neil since the company’s launch. Gros-Werter explained that he usually discourages talk about private matters in the office. Noting that Monperousse had donated $175 to his 2017 campaign, Lopez-Pierre said he does not discuss details about his contributors. When asked if he had a relationship with Gros-Werter himself, Lopez-Pierre said he met him before, but that they were “not friends.” “I would prefer he didn’t run but I’m not going to stop some kid from running,” L opez-Pierre said of Gros-Werter. “The business of politics is incestuous. I’m not shocked. If you look at my contributors, you

will find they’re related to some really interesting people.” But an email blast Lopez-Pierre sent out on April 13 suggests he is not unhappy that Gros-Werter has joined the race. The email noted “there are now two Jewish candidates in the race for the 7th Council District.” Describing GrosWerter as part of a wave of younger generation Democrats looking for political office, Lopez-Pierre asserted, “These two Jewish candidates will divide the Jewish vote!” Lopez-Pierre is of Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Haitian descent, and has said that two-thirds of the voters in District 7 are black or Latino. Gros-Wer ter s a id he’s s e en Lopez-Pierre around in the neighborhood, but denied having a personal relationship with him. When asked about any ties to the other challenger, Gros-Werter said, “Politics is a funny gig, if he wins or I win, doesn’t he need a cabinet, a group of people he can trust?”



n Upper Manhattan community activist — running what is something of his umpteenth race for office — has now set his sights on the State Senate’s District 30. Ruben Dario Vargas, 65, said he intends to to bring up issues that he sees as unaddressed in the district, which covers parts of the Upper West Side, East and West Harlem, and Upper Manhattan –– and in a recent interview with Manhattan Express he seemed ready to live up to that pledge. The seat was vacated when incumbent Bill Perkins won a special election victory for the City Council’s District 9 vacancy. While a registered Democrat, Vargas said he’s running on the New York State Reform Party line. His opponents are Brian Benjamin and Dawn Simmons, who have secured, respectively, the Democratic Party and Republican Party lines in the May 23 special election. The contest to succeed Perkins is not Vargas’ first crack at local politics, having lost bids for Congress, borough president, the State

 GROS-WERTER, from p.9 discussion with developers, landlords, and tenants. Community planning, Gros-Werter said, must be incorporated into approval of new housing construction so that developers can build bigger but only if they offer amenities to the neighborhood. Gros-Werter doesn’t currently live in District 7 — being shy just a block of its border — but said he plans to move within the next couple of months. While many have not heard of Levine’s newest challenger, one of Gros-Werter’s opponents is already aware of the name. According to the CFB, Gros-Werter donated $175 to Lopez-Pierre on January 9, 2013 for that candidate’s shortlived run that year. W hen asked about that contribution, Lopez-Pierre recalled that Gros-Werter’s sister, Ariel, gave him a check on her brother’s behalf. The CFB database also



Ruben Dario Vargas, who has waged a number of other local political campaigns, is now aiming for the State Senate’s vacant District 30 seat.

May 04–May 17, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

Police Blotter ATTEMPTED RAPE: THE STALLS AT COLUMBUS CIRCLE (Midtown North Precinct) Police arrested 24-year-old Ibrahima Barry on April 22 and charged him with attempted rape after an incident the day before at around 10 a.m. inside Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. According to police, Barry, a Bronx man, snuck into one of the stalls of the second oor women’s bathroom. Police said he then slid underneath and made his way to the neighboring stall where an 18-year-old woman was. Barry exposed his underwear, according to police, causing the woman to scream and then him to run away. The victim was not injured, according to police.

MISSING PERSON: MARCOS CAMPELLO (17th Precinct) Marcos Campello, an 11-year-old boy from Murray Hill, has been reported missing according to police. Police said Campello was last seen on April 25 at around 3 p.m. outside the School for the Future at 127 East 22nd Street. Police released a photo of Campello (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a Hispanic male, around 5’8�, 130 pounds, with a medium build, brown eyes, and short black hair. He was last seen wearing a gray sweater, white pants, black and white Jordan sneakers, and a dark blue backpack.

MISSING PERSON: WILSON URENA (23rd Precinct) Police are also trying to locate another missing person, 24-yearold Wilson Urena, who was last seen on April 17 at around 7 a.m.

outside his home at 1405 Park Avenue. Police released a photo of Urena (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a male, 5’9�, 150 pounds, with a medium build, light complexion, brown eyes, and black hair. He was last seen wearing glasses, gray cargo pants, a blue hooded sweater, and sneakers.

PUBLIC LEWDNESS: SLEAZY STRAPHANGER (Midtown South Precinct) A man is wanted for masturbating on the E train on April 30 at around 5:30 p.m., police said. According to police, the suspect was aboard a northbound E train that past the 42nd Street-Port Authority Bus Terminal station when he sat next to a 30-year-old woman. Police said the suspect “began to manipulate his penis,� and the victim moved away but not before taking a photo of the man. Police released a photo of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a male, 30 to 40 years old, 5’8�, 170 pounds, and last seen wearing a white t-shirt and black shorts.

COLLISION: CRASH CAB (19th Precinct) Police said they responded to a call about a 50-year-old man struck by a yellow taxi in the intersection of East 78th Street and York Avenue on April 22. When ofďŹ cers arrived at around 9:30 p.m., the man was already being rushed to Cornell Hospital by EMS who responded ďŹ rst. Police said the taxi driver stayed on the scene and was not arrested. The investigation by the NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad is ongoing.

ASSAULT: MIDNIGHT RAMBLER (24th Precinct) A man ďŹ red off several shots from a handgun, hitting a 31-yearold man in his left leg, on April 29, police said. The suspect approached the victim at around midnight outside of 875 Amsterdam Avenue, between West 102nd and 103rd Streets, according to police, before shooting at him and then eeing east on West 104th Street. Police said the victim was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in serious but stable condition. Police released a photo and a video of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as a black male, last seen wearing a black baseball cap, a black T-shirt with a Rolling Stones Hot Lips logo, black jeans, and black sneakers.

HOMICIDE: SPECIAL CASE (24th Precinct) Police are looking for a man they believe is connected to a fatal stabbing on the Upper West Side. When ofďŹ cers responded to a call at 2536 Broadway, between West 94th and 95th Streets, on April 27 at around 11 p.m., they found 24-year-old Anthony Special Stewart with stab wounds to his torso. EMS transported Stewart, an Upper West Sider, to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he died. Police said there were no arrests and the investigation was ongoing. Police released a video of the suspect (available at manhattanexpressnews.nyc), whom they describe as an Hispanic male.

Local police contact information at manhattanexpressnews.nyc.

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Garment Industry Aggressively Challenges Rezoning


A Garment District panel discussion convened by Borough President Gale Brewer included (from left) George Kalajian, president of Tom’s Sons International Pleating; Steve Epstein, a representative of Theatrical Wardrobe Local 764; Edgar Romney, an official from Workers United; Barbara Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance; Yeohlee Teng, a designer for YEOHLEE Inc.; Joseph Ferrara, president of the New York Garment Center Supplier Association; and Susan Chin, executive director of the Design Trust for Public Space.



rganizations that are working to preserve the fabric of the Garment District are offering alternative proposals to what they see as an unfriendly zoning change being pushed by the city. The fact that criticism is coming from many quarters was clear in an April 24 forum and panel discussion convened by Borough Pres-

ident Gale Brewer, who has called on the de Blasio administration to go back to square one in its planning about the cluster of Midtown blocks roughly from West 35th to 40th Streets between Broadway and Ninth Avenue. Some garment industry officials are urging a fundamental rethinking of the city’s apparent goal of shifting the industry’s center to Brooklyn, and even leaders in that

borough agree that the rezoning should be guided in part by an advisory group made up of stakeholders. The intensifying discussion of substitute proposals for the Garment District’s rezoning follows a heated Community Board 5 meeting in late March at which the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and Department of City Planning presented their ideas,

which includes the elimination of a 1:1 preservation requirement, created in 1987, under which every new square foot of office space is required to be matched by preservation of manufacturing space. A key component of the city’s rezoning v ision is to stem t he encroachment of hotels into the district by requiring new ones to

 GARMENT DISTRICT, continued on p.15

De Blasio Pledges $100MM to Close East Side Greenway Gap BY JACKSON CHEN


he city has announced a $100 million investment for the construction of a new East River esplanade from East 53rd to 61st Streets to fill a gap in the existing pathway for pedestrians and cyclists traversing the Manhattan waterfront. On April 25, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’s looking to close the largest incomplete stretch of the Waterfront Greenway surrounding Manhattan by using millions from the city’s capital budget. The project would go far toward finally wrapping the entire island with a contiguous 32 miles of pedestrian and cyclist waterfront access. Currently, the East River Esplanade provides disjointed waterfront access, with users having to cut over onto city streets between East 53rd and 61st Streets as they approach from either the north or the south. “The Hudson River Greenway has vastly improved quality of life on the




The city plans to bridge a key gap in the Waterfront Greenway by building an esplanade from East 53rd to 61st Streets.

The new esplanade will allow pedestrians and cyclists to avoid having to cut onto city streets in the East 50s.

project has already received initial approval from the US Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. The East River Esplanade has long been in need of improvements, as repeatedly pointed out by elected officials and community organizations. Congressmember Carolyn Maloney and City Councilmember

Ben Kallos, co-chairs of the East River Esplanade Task Force, have persistently pressed for funding to repair the esplanade’s infrastructure. North of 60th Street, the esplanade is currently undergoing needed renovations through public and private partnerships, with a total

West Side,” de Blasio said, “And we want families in every corner in the borough to have that same access to bike, walk, and play along the water.” The city’s Economic Development Corporation will lead the project and begin design work this year. Construction is expected to start in 2019, with the completed esplanade expected sometime in 2022. The

 ESPLANADE, continued on p.15

May 04–May 17, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

 GARMENT DISTRICT, from p.14 seek a special permit. The proposal is aimed principally at catering to the new breed of smaller enterprises that have been moving in — in advertising, technology, media, and the non-profit sphere. Wit h t he EDC continuing to invite community feedback before moving forward, it is finding that critics are not shy about pointing to the lack of stakeholder input and to the plan’s overall misguidedness. Brewer’s forum drew a wide array of traditional Garment District players, including designers, manufacturers, and unionized workers.

According to Steve Epstein, representing the Theatrical Wardrobe Local 764, the district, though not the center of manufacturing it once was, continues to offer him a cluster of convenient outlets for his supply needs. “We’re talking about an efficiency that does not exist anywhere else,” Epstein said. “That does make me more competitive and it makes the product... much more exciting and beautiful for the consumer.” Joe Ferrara, president of the New York Garment Center Supplier Association and one of the panelists, charged the EDC’s proposal

would “deport the Garment Center to Brooklyn.” While separate from its Manhattan rezoning push, the EDC has aggressively promoted the city’s efforts to create two garment hubs in Brooklyn. Yeohlee Teng, a designer who owns YEOHLEE Inc., said that investing in Brooklyn is a great idea, but t hat t he cit y should offer the same incentives in what remains of Manhattan’s Garment District. Teng, who also teaches at the Parsons School of Design, said many of her students are able to complete projects due to the

school’s proximity to the Garment District. “The importance of the Garment District lies in New York’s claim to be the fashion capital of the world,” Teng said. “Now you can only be the fashion capital of the world if you keep incubating great new designs that are made in New York.” Rather than focusing on improvements to the proposal laid out by the city, with what the Garment Center Supplier Association sees as clear inducements for the industry to move to Brooklyn, the group has

 GARMENT DISTRICT, continued on p.23

 ESPLANADE, from p.14 price to bring the portion extending north to East 125th Street into “a state of good repair” now exceeding $200 million, according to numbers from the Department of Parks and Recreation. “ The dream of an East R iver Greenway is getting closer with a vital connection to fill the gap between 53rd and 61st Streets,” Kallos said about the mayor’s investment. “I will finally be able to run the full length of my district from Midtown East to East Harlem.” In addition to the $100 million earmarked for the esplanade connection, the mayor is also allocating $5 million for a multi-agency study to be completed this year that looks at how to bridge smaller remaining gaps in the borough’s waterfront access. Jennifer Ratner, the founder and board chair of Friends of the East River Esplanade, said her group is thrilled about the connection given its long advocacy for enhancing and expanding Manhattan’s Waterfront Greenway. She added, however, that the sections of the esplanade on the Upper East Side continue to need attention, with parks department reports showing numerous heavily deteriorated piers, chronic sinkholes around East 90th Street, and a dire need for repairs along the esplanade’s seawall. While voicing excitement at the mayor’s commitment, she said her group will remain vigilant that the repairs promised by the parks department for the stretch of the esplanade between East 60th and 125th Streets are carried out. ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 04–May 17, 2017




nter a hospital, doctor’s office, adult care facility, or medical clinic and you are bound to encou nter nu rses. Nu rse is a broad term used to describe most individuals who perform patientbased care in a variety of settings. A nurse’s duties and title will vary depending on their educational background and the certifications and licenses they have received. The field of nursing is seemingly recession-proof. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly 2.6 million nurses in the nation. No other career choice within the field of healthcare can claim such strength in numbers, both here and in 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 US alone.

Nursing is a nearly recession-proof field, but there are occupational hazards, perhaps none more common than shift work sleep disorder.

Financial gain is to be had, as well. Depending on the type of nurse, they have 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 most common types of nurses and the required educa-

tional training: Nursing aide or orderly: Nursing aides and orderlies 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, and giving baths. Most nursing aides work in a hospital setting or in 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 they will work. T hey t y pica lly record medica l histories, weigh and measures patients, record symptoms, and administer injections. Registered nurse: A registered nurse typically pursues a twoyear associate’s degree in nursing or may receive a bachelor’s degree i n t he f ield. Ca ndidates 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 direct authority of a physician. In such instances, they can run a medical practice, diagnose, and prescribe medication just as a doctor would. Increasingly, the best qualified nurses are taking on roles once reserved exclusively for doctors.

Nursing’s Biggest Occupational Hazard BY MANHATTAN EXPRESS STAFF


ike 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, a nd ma k i ng decisions. Ot her symptoms include impaired handeye 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 affecting the quality of care in hospitals as well as the physical and mental health of the care providers themselves. 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 drinking coffee 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 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, and darken your bedroom with blackout shades or by wearing 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 work week but not within three hours of bedtime. Since exercise raises your body temperature, it can be harder to fall asleep soon afterward. Plan ahead: Begin to change your sleep schedule three days prior to a shift change. On each of t he t hree 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. And, whenever possible, find a spot at work for a 10-minute catnap during your shift.

May 04–May 17, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

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America’s True Native Fashion BY LENORE SKENAZY PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN jgoodstein@cnglocal.com

EDITOR IN-CHIEF PAUL SCHINDLER editor@manhttanexpressnews.nyc



ADVERTISING AMANDA TARLEY ads@manhattanexpressnews.nyc 718-260-8340


Manhattan Express, the newspaper for Midtown and the Upper East and Upper West Sides, is published by NYC Community Media, LLC. Send all inquiries to: Manhattan Express, One Metrotech Center North, Suite 1001, Brooklyn 11201 or call 718-260-4586. Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this paper, in part or whole, can be reproduced or redistributed. All contents © 2016 Manhattan Express. Manhattan Express is a registered trademark of NYC Community Media, LLC. Jennifer Goodstein, C.E.O. | Fax: 212-229-2790 Subscriptions: 26 issues, $49.00 ©2016 Manhattan Express, All rights reserved. NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC | ONE METROTECH NORTH, SUITE 1001 | BROOKLYN, NY 11201 | 212-229-1890



hen you think about Native A mer ica ns a nd fashion, your first 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 in “Native Fashion Now,” an exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan, just opposite the Bowling Green subway stop. 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 pow wow — 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 heritage, incorporated Native designs and even


A cape, dress, and headdress from the “Desert Heat Collection” (2012) by Orlando Dugi, of Diné (Navajo) heritage, with paint, silk, organza, feathers, beads, and 24k gold and headgear of feathers and porcupine quills. Julia Foster is the model, with hair and makeup by Dina DeVore.

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 t he ea rly ’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 contemporary Native fashion making its way onto 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 quoteunquote ‘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 Oscarworthy 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. Then there’s the “Old Time Floral Elk Tooth” dress by Bethany Yellow tail, of Apsaalooke and Northern Cheyenne heritage. A sheer black sheath covers a tight ivor y-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 Columbus,” says a T-shirt that manages to flip history on its head. Jared Yazzie, of Diné (aka Navajo) heritage designed that shirt to protest Columbus Day. “ I ’m r o ck i n’ t he Te e t o d ay because I am the 500-year resistance,” he w rote 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 the author of the book and blog “Free-Range Kids” and a contributor at Reason. com.

May 04–May 17, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

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illian Hellman’s “ The Little Foxes” has one of the juiciest fema le roles in A mer ica n t heater: Regina Giddens, a greedy matriarch conniving for control of the family cotton business in Alabama at the turn of the 20th centur y. None ot her t ha n Ta llulah Bankhead originated the Broadway role; in revivals, Anne Bancroft, Elizabeth Taylor, and Stockard Channing did their best to outshine that iconic standard. A nd now, i n t he Ma n hatt a n Theatre Club’s splendid new production, it takes two actors to fill the role. Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney play Regina at alternating performances (Nixon did the honors the night I attended), swapping out another key role, that of Birdie Hubbard, Regina’s flighty, foolish sister-in-law. The two characters couldn’t be more different. If the kindhearted Birdie represents artistic culture, then the brusque Regina personifies hard-nosed capitalism. Tackling both roles in repertory is a testament to the versatility and courage of these gifted actors. Nixon is extraordinary as the r ut hless schemer, ma nipulating her brothers to snag a larger share of a lucrative, can’t-miss business deal — building a cotton mill so they no longer have to ship their crop to a facility up north. Beneath Regina’s cold exterior lies an even stonier heart. Nixon masterfully amplifies the cynical, borderline bitchy demeanor that she perfected years ago as Miranda on “Sex and the City,” to chilling effect. Greed is hardly Regina’s only motivation. Her money-grubbing brothers, Ben and Oscar, played


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Cynthia Nixon, seen here playing the Regina role, and Laura Linney, as Birdie, in the Manhattan Theatre Club production of Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes,” directed by Daniel Sullivan.

to smarmy perfection by Michael McKean and Darren Goldstein, inherited their daddy’s fortune and, as a woman, she received zilch. She had little choice but to marry the now-ailing Horace Giddens (the ever-reliable Richard Thomas) not for love, but to secure her future. Now it’s payback time. Linney’s somewhat mannered t a ke on Bi r d ie m a ke s le s s of an impact, mostly because it’s a qu ieter role. T he quad r uple Emmy-winner is certainly convincing as the artistic dreamer who drinks too much and waxes nostalgic about the glory days of her family’s pla ntation, which was taken over by her husband, Oscar. Linney shines during a revelatory, heart-tugging mono-

logue, bet ween gulps of elderber r y w i ne, where she adm its that, on her wedding day, everyone knew Oscar married her for the cotton fields but she hadn’t a clue. A nd t hat she secret ly dislikes her son, L eo (Michael Benz), who takes after his avaricious daddy. Regina’s 17-year-old daughter, Alexandra (Francesca Carpanini), has a special bond with her Aunt Birdie and, at the play’s climax, has to make a tough choice between culture and capitalism. Director Daniel Sullivan wisely takes a straightforward approach to this classic 1939 drama (no gimmicky projections or winking anachronisms here). Under his careful guidance, the three acts move at a fast clip. The ha nd-

some, realistic set of a vast, genteel parlor, anchored by a curving staircase, is designed by Scott Pask, and the eye-popping period costumes are by Jane Greenwood. And yes, there is an old-timey red velvet curtain that announces the opening and closing of each act with an exclamation point. In this gripping, psychologically rich revival of “The Little Foxes,” character and plot mesh seamlessly. Many of its themes still reverberate today: the tyranny of big business, the corrupt power of an unethical moneyed class, the disgrace of racial oppression, and the failure of doing nothing when crimes of injustice are committed. No better is t his a r ticulated t h a n i n a p oi nte d sp e e c h by Addie (Caroline Stefanie Clay), the devoted black servant. “Yeah, they got mighty well off cheating negroes,” Addie says of the Hubbard family. “Well, there a re people who eat t he ea r t h and eat all the people on it like i n t he Bible w it h t he locusts. Then, there are people who stand around and watch them eat it. Sometimes I think it ain’t right to stand and watch them do it.”

May 04–May 17, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc


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-

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 04–May 17, 2017

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 04–May 17, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

Phillipa Soo Sparks Sweet, Modest Tale BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE



he new musical “Amélie” would be perfect for a first date. It’s endearing, not too demanding, and with the magnificent Phillipa Soo in the title role stages a charm crusade that is nigh irresistible. That may seem like damning w ith faint praise, but “A mélie” makes little pretense of having big ambitions. Rather, it seems designed to divert and enchant on a small scale. It’s a gem, albeit an imperfect one. I had never seen the movie on which the musical is based, so the story of a shy, young woman who lives to do good in the world while not drawing any attention to herself was new to me. As a child, Amélie lost her mother, lived in an overly protective world, and used her outsized imagination as a coping mechanism. As an adult, she moves to Paris, works in a bistro, and quietly helps people. Whether finding ways to instill confidence in a fledgling writer or urging on a tentative relationship, she stays well in the background unknown and unacknowledged, living a solitary life. Her neurosis (though that seems such a strong word for this gentle, well-meaning creature) is so internalized that when she is confronted with the potential for real love, she’s terrified and pretty much immobilized. To a greater or lesser degree, many of us can relate to that. The story is told in a series of set pieces that establish the charac-

 GARMENT DISTRICT, from p.15 submitted a completely alternative plan to the EDC. Ferrara explained that the association’s proposal calls for setting aside 500,000 square feet of space in the district dedicated exclusively to manufacturing use. Under this alternative, a city entity or a non-profit would own or manage the space and allocate it among industry manufacturers. “[This] would provide enough of an anchor to the industr y to survive,” Ferrara said of the halfmillion square-foot set-aside. “We expect it would build upon that

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ter. Ultimately, she encounters an artist, Nino, and throughout the course of trying to get his lost work back to him, falls in love. How Amélie conquers her fear and takes a chance on being vulnerable consumes the second half of the show. As I said, great for a first date. Cra ig Lucas’ book captures the sweetness of the tale, though it takes a while to get going; the exposition is complicated. The music by Daniel Messé is pleasant if not memorable, but the lyrics by Messé and Nathan Tysen are often extremely clever and insightful,

their seeming innocence delightfully belied by sophisticated rhyme and meter. Any reservations one might have about the structure of the show, however, are more than compensated for by Soo’s performance. She plays Amélie as a gamine with a pixie-like charm and sense of humor that offset her darker side. She sings with delicacy and flawless technique that send chills of pleasure up one’s spine. Adam Chanler-Berat is perfectly cast as Nino. He has an appealing presence that is part innocence, part

passion and manages to be both challenging and non-threatening to Amélie. If anyone can bring this bird to light, it’s him. Chanler-Berat has an excellent voice and an inherent earnestness that work throughout. The rest of the company fills a variety of roles very well. T he s e t s a n d c o st u m e s b y David Zinn evoke Paris, though the show as written doesn’t seem too intensely French, presumably by design. Pam MacKinnon has directed with delicacy and humor appropriate for this tiny tale. Clocking in at an hour and 50 minutes without intermission, the show knows not to overstay its welcome. In a world of muscular musicals, the delicacy of “Amélie is decidedly welcome — but much more and it might start to cloy. That said, when Amélie is finally able to experience a little of the joy she brings to others, it’s a hard heart indeed that would remain untouched.

anchor... It’s not intended to include the entire industry, it’s simply so that enough of it can be anchored in the district.” CB5 chair Vikki Barbero, in an April 12 letter, requested that both the EDC and City Planning put the Garment District rezoning effort on hold while a steering committee spends up to nine months exploring proposals for moving forward. “We’re eager to roll up our sleeves and get to work but we cannot responsibly proceed on the current path,” Barbero said in her letter. “We need to do better for the sake of the thousands of people who depend on

this district for their livelihood.” Brewer, who by the time of her forum had already asked the city to start the process over with more input from stakeholders, repeated that call, warning that otherwise the industry would inevitably be shoved out of Midtown. In an April 14 letter addressed to city agencies, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — whose borough critics of the EDC plan charge would be the winner from that approach — joined Brewer and the chairs of Manhattan Community Boards 4 and 5 in requesting that a steering committee be formed.

According to an EDC spokesperson, the agency is considering the proposal for a steering committee and reviewing the New York Garment Center Supplier Association proposal regarding Manhattan manufacturing space, though that statement was grudging, at best. “ T he sponsors of t he for um offer no realistic path to preserving and strengthening one of New York City’s iconic industries,” said Stephanie Baez, EDC’s vice president of public affairs. “This is about safeguarding a job-intensive sector for future generations by taking action today.”


Adam Chanler-Berat and Phillipa Soo in Craig Lucas’ “Amélie,” with music by Daniel Messé, lyrics by Messé and Nathan Tysen, and directed by Pam MacKinnon.

ManhattanExpressNews.nyc | May 04–May 17, 2017


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May 04–May 17, 2017 | ManhattanExpressNews.nyc

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