YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN
Photo by William Alatriste, courtesy NYC Council
At May 9’s West Side Summit, Councilmember Corey Johnson announced the winners of this year’s Participatory Budgeting process. Four projects will share the $1 million in funding. A new park for Hell’s Kitchen (on 10th Ave., btw. W. 48th & 49th Sts.) garnered the most votes, with 1,405 ballots cast.
PARK IT HERE, HELL’S KITCHEN West Side Summit Peaks With Participatory Budgeting Winners BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Corey Johnson announced the winners of his district’s Participatory Budgeting voting at a “West Side Summit” at the Whitney Museum of American Art (99 Gansevoort St., btw. 10th Ave. & Washington St.) on
the night of Tues., May 9. But it was the councilmember’s fiery comments about fighting Donald Trump that won the evening’s strongest applause. After giving a lengthy recap of his accomplishments in District 3 over the past year, Johnson turned his focus
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to Trump, urging people to keep up “the resistance.” As he did at a rally in Washington Square Park in January, Johnson once again slammed Trump as a SUMMIT continued on p. 2
VOLUME 09, ISSUE 13 | MAY 18-24, 2017
Trump Trumps All at Councilmember’s West Side Summit SUMMIT continued from p. 1
“pathological liar” — but this time his litany of accusations went even further. “In the not-too-distant future, Americans of all stripes and people around the world are going to ask each other, what did you do in 2017?” Johnson said. “What did you do when an authoritarian, autocrat, demagogue, pathological liar rose to power, pitting Americans against Americans, debased fundamental social institutions, pushed societal norms to the side, fired the FBI director and US attorneys, colluded with a foreign government, demonized and vilified racial minorities? What did you do in 2017?” Johnson noted that the leaders of the African-American civil-rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War and women’s suffrage struggles and the farm workers’ movement were all from the grassroots. “None of these movements were led by politicians and elected officials,” he stressed. “They were started by people, citizens, American people who said, ‘Enough is enough.’ They were movements that made our country and our world a better place. “When our children and grandchildren look back, I hope they will be able to say we were part of the resistance,” Johnson declared, “that we stood up, fought back against a man and a Congress who wanted to bring us back 100 years.” The councilmember said his district, which includes the Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, is where the fight is currently being waged most intensely. “New York is the epicenter of that resistance,” he stated. “The West Side is the epicenter in New York of that resistance. That is what these neighborhoods have been about for years, long before my time in the Council, even as a community member here — to march, to protest and to organize. “We did it with the Women’s Marches across the country and we must continue to do it,” he said of the ongoing opposition to the president and his policies. Finishing his pummeling of Trump, Johnson concluded, “We cannot normalize what is happening in America right now.” As the audience broke out into thunderous applause, nearly drowning him out, he declared, “We must be the face of resistance in America!” Former state Senator Tom Duane, earlier in the program, praised Johnson for his activism against Trump. “Whenever there’s a rally of resistance to the regime in Washington,” Johnson is
May 18-24, 2017
Photo by William Alatriste, courtesy NYC Council
Councilmember Corey Johnson’s annual West Side Summit was held this year at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
there, Duane said, adding, “He’s a leader in that battle.” But Duane — who began his career representing the Council seat Johnson now holds — also highly praised Johnson as the consummate local politician delivering for his constituents. “Has Corey Johnson not knocked on anyone’s door?” he asked. “He holds so many events in the district. He has a wonderful staff. Not since Ruth Messinger was a councilmember on the Upper West Side, do I think anyone there’s anyone about who deserves to be said, ‘Are there two of them?’ Down at City Hall, he’s very effective from land use to getting funding for programs that really help people who are really need help. You are well represented,” he assured the crowd. The event’s keynote speaker was Comptroller Scott Stringer, who also spoke to how Trump has galvanized New Yorkers into united opposition. “It is amazing what is happening,” Stringer said. “We have Jews fighting side by side with Muslims, blacks and Hispanics, young and old… . We are organizing in a way I haven’t seen since the ’60s and ’70s, and I believe we will benefit from it when this resistance is over.” In addition, Stringer said, Trump’s tax-cut plan would callously benefit the wealthy. “This is not West Side rhetoric,” he stressed. “The millionaires would get
a tax cut of $100,000. With corporate loopholes, they could walk away with $200,000. Single-parent households would see a tax increase of hundreds of dollars. This was literally written by the ‘Mar-a-Lago elite,’ ” Stringer scoffed, “millionaires writing a tax cut for millionaires to make them billionaires.” The federal budget backed by Trump and the Republicans would cut $400 million from the Big Apple, slicing out critical funding for things like special education and Section 8 housing, the comptroller explained. “It is a terrible attack on the city of New York,” he said. Meanwhile, Stringer stressed that immigrants — much maligned by Trump and Co. — are the backbone of New York City’s economy. “Immigrants make up half of the city’s workforce and earn $100 billion a year,” he said. “Our economy is built with the power of immigration.” On the local front, taking some apparent shots at Mayor Bill de Blasio, Stringer stressed that, while it’s great that affordable housing is being included in new construction projects, the rents must be set at a level people can actually afford. And he slammed the practice of putting homeless families in what he derided as “roach hotels,” saying the only alternative is to create more affordable housing. The announcement of the Participatory Budgeting (PB) winners, came at the end
of the two-hour “summit.” Johnson reported that 3,518 people had voted this year — with around 1,600 of them voting online — in late March and early April. About a dozen projects competed for chunks of more than $1 million in capital funding. The top vote-getter was $200,000 for a park in Hell’s Kitchen, on a vacant site at 10th Ave. (btw. W. 48th & 49th Sts.) that was used for construction of the Third City Water Tunnel. The city also plans to build affordable housing on part of the site. The community will be involved in planning and designing the park, Johnson said. Coming in second was $125,000 for real-time rider-information signs at five key bus stops in the district. This will add to the 10 electronic signs already funded in last year’s PB process. In third place was $150,000 for air conditioning for the library at PS 111 (440 W. 53rd St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), which is used for summer school and also as a cooling center. Rounding out the winners at No. 4 was $500,000 for grounds renovations at the Elliott-Chelsea Houses, to install new playground fencing, renovate walkways and revitalize garden areas, designed with the complex’s residents. During his recap of his accomplishments over the past year, Johnson cited SUMMIT continued on p. 15 .com
Wheels in Motion for Seventh Ave. Bike Lane BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC The city announced its plan to install a protected bike lane and other measures along Seventh Ave. — from Clarkson St. to W. 30th St. — after the community and elected officials pushed for a safer corridor. The bike lane will span the districts of Community Board 2 (CB2) and Community Board 4 (CB4). Shirley Secunda, chair of CB2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, said the board had asked for a “complete street” redesign in 2014. Secunda described a complete street as a “whole slew of different improvements for both pedestrians and vehicles as well as bicycles.” In CB2’s September 2014 resolution, which passed unanimously, the redesign could include “pedestrian safety islands with landscaping, protected bicycle lanes, dedicated bus lanes, and traffic lights with leading pedestrian intervals or split-phase timing.” Elected officials sent letters to the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) the next year and in 2016. “This was a campaign in action for a long time,” Secunda said. The DOT presented its plan to CB2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee on Thurs., May 4, and about 50 people showed up, according to Secunda. “I think that for the most part it was very happily [received] and welcomed,” she said in a Sat., May 13 phone interview. Secunda said that Seventh Ave. below 14th St. (part of which is Seventh Ave. South) has complicated intersections and “as a result every intersection is kind of a nightmare.” CB2 — like CB4 — is an advocate for split phase signals and there has “always been a problem with left turns,” she said. Currently, many traffic signals at intersections instruct vehicles to turn left at the same time that pedestrians are crossing, Secunda explained. When there is a split phase signal, vehicles are held back by a red light while pedestrians and cyclists can go with a green. The DOT’s plan is to install split phase signals at some intersections — including Greenwich Ave. and W. 11th St., and W. Fourth St. and Christopher St. — according to the agency’s presentation that was sent to this publication, and Secunda. “That’s a real improvement, that’s very welcome,” she said of the signals. Split phase signals will also be installed at the W. 14th St. intersection and an existing split phase signal will be maintained at W. 23rd St., according to a CB4 letter to the DOT. The agency pre.com
Courtesy NYC DOT
Community Boards 2 and 4 say split phase traffic signals, which hold vehicles back by a red light while pedestrians and cyclists can go with a green, will improve safety.
Courtesy NYC DOT
The Seventh Ave. bike lane will run from Clarkson St. to W. 30th St., with future extensions to the north and south a possibility.
sented to CB4’s Transportation Planning Committee (TPC) last month and the protected bike lane was discussed at CB4’s full board meeting on Wed., May 3.
It’s “a standard bike lane,” said Christine Berthet, co-chair of CB4’s TPC. Berthet also helped found Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian
Safety (CHEKPEDS; chekpeds.com). “The only thing we’d like is to proBIKE LANE continued on p. 16 May 18-24, 2017
Photo by Jackson Chen
Garment industry representatives talk with members of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s office during a breakout session during an April 24 forum on the future of Midtown’s traditional Garment District.
City Embraces Public Say on Garment District Future BY JACKSON CHEN To weave more public input into the proposed Garment District zoning change, the city on Wed., May 10 announced the creation of a steering committee that would review the controversial proposal and offer its recommendations. The Garment District rezoning plan was first presented during a Community Board 5 (CB5) meeting in March. Initiated by the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the proposal would remove a zoning mechanism that for decades sought to preserve manufacturing space while taking steps to stem the encroachment of hotels and foster the incoming wave of smaller technology, media, advertising, and nonprofit enterprises. But these proposals — affecting the area from W. 35th to 40th Sts., between Broadway and Ninth Ave. — drew immediate criticism from many garmentos who made clear the city was moving too fast and with little consideration for their business needs. The raucous opposition attracted the attention of elected officials and others, and on Wed., April 12, CB5 penned a letter asking for the creation of a steering committee before the city proceeded any further. Backed by both Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — whose borough stands to gain from
May 18-24, 2017
further migration of the industry out of its traditional home in Midtown — as well as affected community boards, the city recently agreed to create the Garment Industry Steering Committee. “I want to see the Garment Center not just survive, but thrive as a critical hub, even as we grow the industry in other parts of the city,” Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said in a written statement. “There is more and more consensus that the outdated preservation requirement has not proven effective at securing this industry the affordable, quality manufacturing space it needs. Thirty years of continuous job losses prove it. It’s time for a new approach to get this industry thriving again.” According to the announcement, the steering committee would meet for three months before issuing recommendations in advance of the Department of City Planning’s expected start of the public review process on Mon., Aug. 21. CB5 was recently involved with the Midtown East rezoning plan — jumpstarted early in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tenure, after the collapse of efforts late in Michael Bloomberg’s final term. CB5 was part of the steering committee formed to shepherd that effort through, and the community board is expected to have a seat at the table on the garment industry planning, as well. “We believe that a solution that will allow the garment industry ecosystem
to remain alive and healthy in our district is within our grasp,” CB5 Chair Vikki Barbero said in a statement that thanked the city, Brewer, and City Councilmember Corey Johnson. “We look forward to working with all the stakeholders in the next three months and reaching an agreement about which we can all be proud.” In the announcement of the steering committee, Johnson, whose district includes the Garment District, said, “Community involvement is an indispensible part of creating good public policy. With this steering committee, the city is committing to engage with those most affected by the changes that the Garment District has undergone so far and the challenges it will face in the future.” Given that the rezoning effort for the Garment District involves a considerably smaller area than that affected by the Midtown East rezoning, Brewer — who will chair the steering committee — said three months should be sufficient time provided members begin soon and meet regularly. The borough president acknowledged she would have preferred more time, but said the timeframe is a reasonable compromise among everybody involved. The city’s willingness to open the process up signals a shift in tone from recent statements from the EDC. The Garment Center Supplier Association submitted its proposal for a rezoning to the EDC,
under which 500,000 square feet of space in the district would be set aside for manufacturing use under a scheme managed by the city or a non-profit. The association’s plan was discussed as part of public forum convened by Brewer on Tues., April 25. In reaction to the forum, the EDC, even while agreeing to review the association’s proposal, stated, “The sponsors of the forum offer no realistic path to preserving and strengthening one of New York City’s iconic industries. This is about safeguarding a job-intensive sector for future generations by taking action today.” The new steering committee is still working to confirm its membership, but Brewer said she expects the city agencies, Community Boards 4 and 5, local businesses, unions, manufacturers, and other industry experts to be represented. When asked about the newly formed steering committee, EDC confirmed that it would have a seat at the table. A first meeting date has yet to be determined, but Brewer predicts it will be soon. “I really appreciate the fact that we can have this steering committee,” Brewer told our sister publication, Manhattan Express. “We’ll find a way to make it flexible and make Brooklyn work for some while making sure that manufacturers are able to stay in Manhattan. That ecosystem is incredibly important in Manhattan.” .com
State Senator Brad Hoylman gave CB4 an update about what is going on in Albany.
Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
Members of Community Board 4 at their May 3 full board meeting.
‘A’ for CB4: Albany, Adult Entertainment, Assistance on Agenda BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Zoning, bike lanes, and benches — as well as reports about what is going on in Albany and Washington — dominated the proceedings at the full board meeting of Community Board 4 (CB4), held on Wed., May 3 at Hudson Guild (441 W. 26th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.).
ALBANY, ALBANY, ALBANY (AND A LITTLE BIT OF TRUMP) State Senator Brad Hoylman was back from Albany — complete with suitcase — and made his first stop the board’s meeting, he said. Hoylman noted the state legislature wrapped up the budget — “$163 billion of taxpayer money at work” — that had some “very good things” and some “very bad things.” “I’ll tell you the worst thing about the budget, and being a senator and Democratic minority, I definitely have the right to say this — they do not give us or the public or the press the opportunity to review the budget,” he said. “I literally was handed a 1,000-page document and given, I don’t know, 10 minutes to read it — maybe 10 minutes.” One “good thing” to come out of the budget was “New York finally joined the 20th century by raising the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18,” Hoylman said, and people applauded. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the “Raise the Age” bill into law last month. On other legislative fronts, Hoylman said that the senate, through a procedural motion, killed his legislation called the Child Victims Act — without a vote or any consideration by Republicans or Democrats. Hoylman explained that victims of child sexual abuse have no recourse in New York .com
civil or criminal court if they do not file a claim by the age of 23. “So it really locks out plaintiffs from bringing cases against their abusers,” said Hoylman, who noted the Child Victims Act would allow someone to raise a claim well beyond the age of 23. Hoylman also said he is working to use Albany as a leverage point to push back on what’s coming out of Washington. “Donald Trump has not shown us his taxes and as part of that effort in New York, we’re trying to force him to do so with two measures,” he said. One bill would require all presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their taxes before they can qualify for the ballot. A second measure would be to change New York law to require the state Department of Taxation and Finance to release the taxes of all statewide officeholders, which includes US senators, attorney general, state comptroller, governor, lieutenant governor, and US president, he said.
CB4’s “Office Hours” — providing oneon-one consultations for small business owners and those looking to start one — continue. “This month we assisted with four individuals who were looking for assistance with their small business issues,” he said. The next Office Hours event is Tues., May 30, 4–6 p.m. at CB4’s office (330 W. 42nd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves., Suite 2601). Visit nyc.gov/mcb4 for more info.
NYC IS ‘WINNING’ “A big win recently — we were able to get the city reimbursed for all of the costs of security for Trump Tower. [US Representative] Carolyn [Maloney] was big on that,” Jeremy Crimm, Maloney’s rep, said to applause. Between Election Day (Nov. 8, 2016) and Inauguration Day (Jan. 20, 2017), it cost the city CB4 continued on p. 16
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Trans Victim Killed in Chelsea Misgendered BY PAUL SCHINDLER When a transgender victim of a head blow succumbed to their injuries on Thurs., May 4, the NYPD identified them as a â€œfemaleâ€? and later gave their name as â€œBrenda Bostick.â€? Written statements from elected officials and victimsâ€™ advocacy groups â€” as well as media reports, including in Chelsea Now â€” identified Bostick as a 59-year-old transgender woman who lived on W. 25th St. in Chelsea. Since then, however, people who knew Bostick, including several social service providers, came forward, on social media and in other ways, to say Bostick identified as a trans man with the first name Kenneth. Gay City News (our sister publication) reached out to several social service providers who spoke about Bostick on social media but has not heard back from them. Several LGBTQ advocacy groups, meanwhile, trying to clarify the issue of the victimâ€™s gender identity, are saying that Bostick identified alternately as Kenneth and Brenda, perhaps depending on the circumstances of the situation they found themselves in or perhaps due to the fluidity of their gender identity.
â€œWe cannot know this personâ€™s gender identity,â€? said Pony Knowles, the national engagement manager at SAGE, or Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (sageusa.org). â€œThe only person who can really tell us had their voice extinguished by this crime.â€? According to Knowles, groups including SAGE and the New York City Anti-Violence Project joined together with transgender leaders to discuss how to address the question of identifying Bostickâ€™s gender and honoring their memory. Knowles acknowledged the statements of several individuals who provided social services to Bostick, but explained that conflicting information from them is not altogether surprising. Knowles pointed to an insight from LaLa Zannell, the lead organizer at the Anti-Violence Project (avp.org), that â€œtrans people are required to navigate different gender expressions to access different social services.â€? The result, Knowles said, is that â€œwe are forced to sit with the very uncomfortable feeling of not being able to honor the victim.â€? Knowles said that during the meeting of trans leaders, Elizabeth Rivera from the Latino Commission on AIDS (latino-
aids.org), recommended referring to the victim not by first name but with the title â€œMx,â€? to distinguish from Mr. or Ms. â€œUsing both names would also be appropriate,â€? Knowles said. â€œBut using just Kenneth or Brenda wouldnâ€™t be.â€? On its website, the Anti-Violence Project wrote, â€œAVP has learned of the death of Mx Bostick a 59-year-old Black transgender person in Chelsea. Since issuing our alert, we have learned that Mx Bostick identified as transgender, and used alternating names to identify themselves. To honor that, we are using Mx, an honorific that does not connote gender.â€? That statement emphasized the importance of Bostick identifying as a transgender person and noted that the victimâ€™s death is the 10th known slaying of a trans person in the US in 2017. Last week, Gay City News reported that prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorneyâ€™s Office expect to charge a 26-year-old man, Joseph Griffin, in Bostickâ€™s killing. The victim suffered a â€œblunt impactâ€? blow to their head at about 10:30 p.m. on Tues., April 25 outside 343 Seventh Ave. (btw. W. 29th & 30th Sts.). Taken by EMS to Bellevue Hospital, the victim died nine days later. The New York City medical exam-
inerâ€™s office, on Sun., May 7, ruled that Bostwickâ€™s death was a homicide and resulted from â€œcomplications of blunt impact injury of head.â€? Griffin was arrested shortly after Bostick was taken to Bellevue on a felony criminal mischief complaint of jumping onto the hood of a taxi near 352 Seventh Ave., across the street from where the victim was found, and smashing in its windshield. Griffin was arraigned on that charge on Sat., May 6, with bail set at $25,000, though prosecutors asked for bail of $250,000. According to police, Griffin is homeless, though some press reports say he once lived at the Bowery Residentsâ€™ Committee shelter at 127 W. 25th St. (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves; brc.org.), where Bostick lived. The NYPD said the killing is not being investigated as a hate crime but rather as a â€œdispute between neighbors.â€? Naila Siddiqui, Griffinâ€™s Legal Aid attorney, did not return a call seeking comment. People with information about the attack on Bostick can contact the NYPD at 800-577-8477 or in Spanish at 888577-4782.
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With Anger and Determination, Chelsea Vigil Remembers Mx Bostick BY PAUL SCHINDLER Eight days after the Thurs., May 4 death of Mx Bostick, a transgender Chelsea resident who suffered a blow to the head on Tues., April 25, more than 100 transgender New Yorkers and their allies gathered at the site of the crime to honor Bostick’s memory and demand action on issues from police responsiveness to jobs, housing, and media portrayals. Bostick was attacked with a blunt blow to their head at about 10:30 p.m. on Tues., April 25 on Seventh Ave. (btw. W. 29th & 30th Sts.). Early last week, Gay City News (our sister publication) learned that prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office are expected to charge a 26-year-old homeless man, Joseph Griffin, in Bostick’s killing. Shortly after Bostick was taken to Bellevue, Griffin was arrested on a felony criminal mischief complaint of jumping onto the hood of a taxi near 352 Seventh Ave., across the street from where the victim was found, and smashing in its windshield. The vigil for Bostick was held at 6 p.m. on Fri., May 12, on the block of Seventh Ave. where Bostick was felled. The rally, facilitated by LaLa Zannell, the lead organizer at the New York City Anti-Violence Project (avp.org), and Cecilia Gentili, the assistant director of policy at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (gmhc.org), emphasized the theme “Black Trans Lives Matter.” The vigil was the second gathering of the day to honor Bostick, with another event held at the Brooklyn Community Pride Center (lgbtbrooklyn.org). Mariah Lopez Ebony, who heads STARR, or Strategic Transgender Alliance for Radical Reform, a group founded by the late Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, focused on the housing crisis facing the transgender community. “The issue is not the NYPD but the Department of Homeless Services,” said Lopez Ebony, who herself had spent the day in court trying to gain access to Marsha’s House, which provides shelter to LGBTQ people in the 20s. Bostick’s last known address was the Bowery Residents’ Committee shelter at 127 W. 25th St. (btw. Sixth .com
Photos courtesy Gay City News
LaLa Zannell of the Anti-Violence Project was one of the vigil’s facilitators.
Mariah Lopez Ebony of STARR, the Strategic Transgender Alliance for Radical Reform, speaks.
Tabytha Gonzalez of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund speaks, while GMHC’s Cecilia Gentili looks on.
& Seventh Aves.; brc.org), where Griffi n, the suspect in her killing, is said to also have once been a tenant. The NYPD is describing Bostick’s killing not as a hate crime but rather as a “dispute between neighbors.” Chelsea State Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, who has led the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) to victory 10 times in the Assembly, only to see it stalled in the
Republican Senate, told the crowd that whether or not the killing was a hate crime, Bostick would not fi nd themself in the vulnerable position they were on the night of the killing if they were a straight, cisgender, middle class or upper middle class Chelsea resident. Tabytha Gonzalez, a staff member at the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (transgender-
legal.org), emphasized the signifi cance of employment discrimination in marginalizing transgender lives. Gonzalez, alluding to the ambiguity in how Bostick’s gender identity has been discussed, also said, “It’s not about a label. It’s about a life.” Earlier on May 12, Pony Knowles, the national engagement manager at VIGIL continued on p. 23 May 18-24, 2017
POLICE BLOTTER CRIMINAL POSESSION OF A WEAPON: On the wrong track (gravity #1) Perhaps it was the controlled substances found on their person — or just an understandable aversion to dingy and delay-ridden Penn Station — that caused two twitchy trespassers to bypass the ticketed method of boarding and proceed directly to Amtrak’s railroad yard at around 12:20am on Fri., May 12. Despite signs indicating it was no place for the general public, uniformed officers found a 52-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman wandering around the tracks (W. 38th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.) without express permission or obvious purpose. When confronted, an illegal gravity knife was discovered in possession of the female (who, it turns out, had a prior conviction in NY state). Back at the station, after booking, both defendants refused the standard offer to use the phone — a wise choice, perhaps, as it would have made for a very awkward early Mother’s Day call.
CRIMINAL POSESSION OF A WEAPON: Caught clipping (gravity #2) At approximately 6:30pm on Sun., May 14, on the 400 block of W. 25th St., uniformed officers of the 10th Precinct observed a man with a knife clipped to his right side pants pocket. Upon further inspection, it was found to be an illegal gravity knife. Upon further investigation, it was found the man had an active warrant. Upon further action, the 22-year-old was taken into custody.
PETIT LARCENY: That hug really cost her (wallet woe #1) A touchy-feely straphanger who got up close and personal with a fellow commuter paid a high price for her public display of affection. The woman, 44, told police that at around 6:45pm on Thurs., May 11, she was walking toward the subway platform (having entered on the northeast corner of Eighth Ave. and W. 14th St.), and later noticed her wallet was missing. The wallet was ultimately
returned to the station’s booth clerk, but without its coveted cargo: $600 in cash. The victim told police that although she could not recall being bumped into or jostled (a common method of practiced pickpockets), she “might have dropped her wallet while hugging someone.”
LOST PROPERTY: Basement bungle (wallet woe #2) Drawn by the lure of cinematic and social pleasures to be found in legendary cover charge area of Rainbow Station (203 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 20th & 21st Sts), a 37-year-old gentleman of particular tastes paid his entrance fee to the store’s downstairs space at around 6am on Sat., May 13. Just prior to leaving the location, the man realized his wallet was missing, although he later told police he did not see anyone take it “or feel anyone bump into him” (a common method of practiced pickpockets, and not unheardof behavior in that particular establishment, or those of its ilk). Gone with the wind were the wallet (valued at $50), $90 cash, a MetroCard worth $32, and a bank debit card.
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SUMMIT continued from p. 2
the deal involving Pier 40 — which he helped broker — as the most significant. “Pier 40 is arguably the most important community asset” in the district, he said. “Thousands of children use its playing fields and its parking garage generates one-third of the entire Hudson River Park’s revenue. “A robust and transparent public process” resulted in “an outstanding deal,” Johnson said, in which more than $100 million was secured to shore up the W. Houston St.’s 4,000 corroded steel support piles. The deal will also bring 500 affordable apartments, including for seniors, to the new St. John’s Partners project at 550 Washington St., he noted, and also resulted in the city finally designating for landmark status the final one-third of the South Village Historic District. In addition, no further air-rights transfers from Pier 40 will be allowed into Community Board 2 after the St. John’s deal, in which the developers have agreed to buy 200,000 square feet of development rights from the massive park pier. The 550 Washington St. project will also include a 15,000-square-foot publicly accessible indoor recreation space and an affordable supermarket. Plus, the city Department of Transportation will do a $1.5 million study of traffic along Varick St. and around the Holland Tunnel. Johnson touched on many other initiatives he had a hand in over the past year, such as funding four formerly homeless workers from ACE to help keep the district clean and helping fund a green roof for the new Morton St. middle school. On that last subject, Johnson revealed to applause, “I have it on good authority that the school will be named for Jane Jacobs.” He called the “affordability crisis” the city’s most pressing issue. “Rents are soaring as many people who have lived here their whole lives are being forced out of the city,” he noted. “Our
Photo by Sean Egan
At March 23’s Participatory Budgeting Expo, CB4 and West 47th/48th Street Block Association member JD Noland made the case for a new park in Hell’s Kitchen. The project emerged as this year’s top vote-getter.
neighborhoods are being transformed and are struggling to retain their character and spirit. We need affordable housing like our lives depended upon it.” Johnson also said he is a strong support of the long-stalled Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which for years has never been allowed to come up for a vote in the City Council. “Our neighborhood affordable businesses and small businesses are closing at an alarming rate,” he said. At the end, Johnson thanked the crowd, saying it’s an honor to serve his constituents every day, and that he feels like the “luckiest” guy to have his job. “I pinch myself each time that I walk into City Hall,” he said. “I can only serve two terms, then I’m out — so I can only savor every moment.” Johnson has served three-and-a-half years of his first term and is running
unopposed for re-election. Finally, the councilmember added he has budgeted $200,000 to fill every empty tree pit in the district, so people should call his office if they see an empty
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one, and the city will plant a tree in it. “Trees,” Johnson reflected with a sigh, “We need something to feel good about these days. “Let’s keep up the resistance!” he exhorted. “You guys rock!”
May 18-24, 2017
BIKE LANE continued from p. 3
pose there is we have asked for them to do more pedestrian protection and safety items,” Berthet said. In the TPC’s letter to the DOT, it asked “that signals be adjusted to reduce the speed limit so that it does not exceed 25 mph, 24 hours a day” and for split phase signals at all intersections. Many intersections have what is known as a “mixing zone,” which Berthet called “dangerous.” In a mixing zone, pedestrians, vehicles and cyclist all have a green light, and, as aforementioned, vehicles are turning left as pedestrians are crossing. CB2’s Secunda said, “It’s proven to be a tremendously vulnerable spot for crashes.” Secunda said she has been in contact with Berthet for years — and that on mixing zones, they are on the same page. From 2011 to 2015, there were nine bicyclists, 10 motor vehicle occupants and 19 pedestrians seriously injured and one pedestrian fatality from Clarkson St. to W. 30th St. on Seventh Ave., according to the DOT. As part of the plan, one lane of traffic will be removed as well as about 50 parking spaces. The total project cost is estimated at $750,000, Alana Morales, assistant press secretary for the DOT, said in a May 16 email. DOT plans to begin work on the part of the bike lane between Greenwich Ave. and W. 30th St. over the summer, with that stretch slated to be completed at the end of this year, she said. Due to current utility work in the area, DOT plans to begin construction on the section on Seventh Ave. South between Greenwich
Courtesy NYC DOT
DOT’s presentation to CB4’s Transportation Planning Committee included this illustration of existing conditions and proposed improvements along Seventh Ave.
Ave. and Clarkson St./Carmine St. in 2018, according to Morales. CB2 also had some tweaks for the agency’s plan — they, too, would like more split phase signals as well as more curb extensions, Secunda said. The committee also asked for a crosswalk to be installed across Seventh Ave. at Leroy St., she said. “It’s really needed there,” she said. “It’s a dangerous spot.”
The committee recommended approval, and the resolution will be presented at the full board meeting of CB2 (nyc. gov/manhattancb2) on Thurs., May 18. CB4 (nyc.gov/mcb4) approved a draft letter that said it was “pleased” with the agency’s plan and that included its “serious concerns about speed, intersection treatments and pedestrian safety.” The only nay vote was CB4 Chair
CB4 continued from p. 5
$25.7 million for security at Trump Tower, Crimm said. The city received $27 million for that time period, and an additional $40 million post-inauguration. Trump’s wife, Melania, and son, Barron, still reside at the tower at 721 Fifth Ave. (btw. W. 56th & 57th Sts.). Maloney has fought for the reimbursement since December. “I’m very pleased that this budget agreement ensures that New York City taxpayers will be fully reimbursed for the costs to protect thenPresident elect Trump and his family and that future costs will be covered as the NYPD and FDNY continue to protect Trump Tower,” she said in a May 1 press release. “This is the right and fair thing to do.”
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME? Does gentlemanly behavior happen
May 18-24, 2017
Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
CB4 member JD Noland (standing) talked about the board’s priority to have affordable housing in the area from 11th to 12th Aves., and expressed concerns that more “gentlemen’s clubs” may be coming to the area.
at a “gentlemen’s club,” aka an “adult entertainment” venue? Just wondering. Also wondering about such establishments is CB4 member JD Noland but for a very different reason — the board’s stated priority to have afford-
able residential housing in the area from 11th to 12th Aves. The board’s Business License and Permits Committee was considering an application for NYC West Venture, which will be doing business as Spearmint Rhino Gentleman’s Club at
Delores Rubin, who told Chelsea Now it was a personal position, not a board position that she voted against the bike lane. “The main reason is a good number of cyclists do not follow traffic laws, which means we have a potential conflict with pedestrians and cyclists,” she said. “The bike lanes tend to give the impression there is a separate set of rules for cyclists than other vehicles.”
637 W. 50th St., near 12th Ave. Noland said he would vote for the application, saying it was a legitimate operation and they have the right to do it. “I would like to point out, however, and I would have to a letter come out of the committee if possible that the proliferation of … entertainment clubs on the West Side is a result of the rezoning that Mayor Giuliani put forward to have 11th and 12th Avenue in the 40s made a zone for gentlemen clubs and hotels. This is contrary to [CB4]’s stated position to try to get it zoned for housing.” He added, “We may be getting more of these clubs.” A Google search showed one club near 12th Ave. at W. 51st St. and one near 11th Ave. at W. 45th St. Noland wanted the board’s “different view how that area should be developed” in the public record. It was initially slated for new business at the end of the meeting, but Noland reconsidered. The Chelsea Land Use Committee may take up the zoning issue at some point. .com
Buhmann on Art Shirin Neshat: ‘Dreamers’ at Gladstone Gallery BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN While the Iranian-born and New York-based Shirin Neshat has focused on issues of gender, identity, and politics in Muslim countries for years, she now turns her attention to an investigation of American culture. In this exhibition, she explores the burdened and complex life of an Iranian living in the United States during today’s tumultuous climate. By presenting both a new film entitled “Roja” as well as a new series of photographs, Neshat invites her audience to confront the ambivalence of living across two cultures, which between them are rife with friction. Over time, Neshat has developed a unique visual language that manifests as a poetically abstracted epic, often utilizing recurring dreams, memories, and desires. In “Roja,” we find her inspired by the surrealist films of Man Ray and Maya Deren, among others, as she embarks on a subject with obvious personal overtones. The film traces an Iranian woman’s disquieting attempts to connect with
Copyright Shirin Neshat; courtesy the artist & Gladstone Gallery, NY & Brussels
Shirin Neshat: Untitled, from “Roja” series (2016).
American culture while reconciling her identification with her home country. The film is further accompanied by photographs that give Neshat’s well-known series of portraits, covered
with calligraphy derived from religious texts and poetry, a new twist. In these works, Neshat focuses on white men and women from the United States. By obscuring and blurring their fea-
Copyright Shirin Neshat; courtesy the artist & Gladstone Gallery, NY & Brussels
Shirin Neshat: “Roja” (2016, video still).
tures, she transforms these portraits into a metaphor for the mystification that enforces cultural boundaries and prohibits sympathetic attachments across race, class, and nationality.
May 19–June 17 at Gladstone Gallery (515 W. 24th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Gallery hours: Tues.–Sat., 10am– 6pm. Call 212-2069300 or visit gladstonegallery.com.
Copyright Shirin Neshat; courtesy the artist & Gladstone Gallery, NY & Brussels
Shirin Neshat: “Roja” (2016, video still).
May 18-24, 2017
Indisputable Avalanche as Tip of Iceberg Trying times for Trump’s tired alpha act BY MAX BURBANK Hey, gang, here’s a quick, fun question: Is the United States in the midst of a constitutional crisis? That’s a difficult legal question, sadly, complicated by the fact there is no single agreed upondefinition of the phrase. Facts absolutely no one disputes are hard to come by right now, but here’s one, and it’s a good enough starting place: May 9, President Donald Trump fires FBI Director James Comey — something he, as president, indisputably has the authority to do. That’s the last clear thing we can say about anything that’s happened since before that tiny fact nugget began to roll down a massive mountain, gathering snow and ice as it tumbled, dislodging millions of other bits of frozen debris, and becoming a single, thunderous, wave of destruction! Except that first fact wasn’t metaphorical snow. It was a dung ball careening down a mountain of crap. In the absence of an official definition of a constitutional crisis, I’ll offer mine: A turd avalanche. A turdvalanche? Is there anyone willing to argue that the United States is not currently experiencing a vast, catastrophic, turdvalanche? An avalanche is a wave phenomenon that can’t be analyzed in terms of its individual parts. Past the instant of Comey’s firing, is any specific event pivotal? Does the ludicrous initial explanation that Trump was yielding to the Justice Department’s desire to dismiss Comey on account of how gosh darn mean he was to Hillary Clinton matter? Wasn’t that made irrelevant by Trump’s letter of termination, where he thanked Comey for informing him that he was not under investigation for that whole silly old Russia business? And wasn’t that eclipsed when Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt he was going to fire Comey anyway because he was a “showboat” and a “grandstander,” and a general pain in the ass over that whole fake Russia deal? Didn’t that make Jefferson Beauregard “World’s Most Adorable Li’l Racist Garden Gnome” Sessions violation of his recusal a pointless nonfactor? Once an avalanche gets rolling, does cause and effect apply, or is everything contributing all at once? Is Sean Spicer’s hiding in the bushes an important contributing factor, or just hilarious? Did he refuse to speak to reporters until they turned off their lights because of his crushing shame and embarrassment, or is he a vampire?
May 18-24, 2017
Russian Foreign Ministry photo via AP
L to R: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, US President Donald “good intel” Trump, and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak meet at the White House on May 10 for a TASS-only photo shoot.
Trump somehow didn’t seem to understand that firing the man investigating you for colluding with Russia makes it look just a tiny bit like maybe you are actually guilty of colluding with Russia. So it should come as no surprise that the only thing on Trump’s schedule the next day was… meeting with the Russians! That pairs nicely with following up a full day of being called “Nixonian” by meeting with Nixon’s old partner in war crimes, former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Lacking the gene for experiencing irony may not be the root cause of metaphorical avalanches, but it certainly helps them gain deadly speed and force. Wait, though, we’re really only halfway down the hill. Trump met totally unsuspiciously with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov because Putin asked him to. Also in attendance was Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak — who you might remember as the guy Michael “Former National Security Adviser” Flynn got fired for lying about talking to, and the guy who Sessions had to recuse himself from all things
Russian for lying about talking to. It’s funny, because Kislyak’s name isn’t on the president’s schedule for the day. We only know he was there because of photos published by TASS, Russia’s official state news agency. With true middle school panache, they were invited and the American press was barred. And here comes the bottom of the hill. During the meeting Trump revealed highly classified information, in the process jeopardizing a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. Information provided by a US partner that we withheld from allies because of its sensitivity, a partner who I would guess would be far less likely to share intelligence with us again. Why? Could be Trump is truly in the Kremlin’s pocket. He’s paying them off for electing him president; he owes them buckets of money; they really have the pee tape; who knows? Here’s a sadder possibility: He did it for the same reason he told Billy Bush he could grab women by the pussy. He wanted to impress them. They’re Putin’s inside henchmen, the people closest to a dic-
tator with an iron first — everything Donald Trump dreams of being. Trump was showboating, grandstanding. He’d had a really bad night and he needed to look big and tough and alpha, so he bragged about the “great intel” he gets briefed on every day. Could be both, I guess. Either way, given that — plus the Comey memo shocker that came to light on May 16 — shouldn’t we be warming up impeachment hearings or priming the pump on the 25th Amendment? As of press time, this is where we were. Anything could have happened by the time you read this. Maybe right now you’re thinking, “Why is he writing about all this when since then, Trump stopped wearing pants, slapped a fake nose and eyeglasses on his wiener, and started walking on his hands insisting everyone talk to his junk?” See, when I said this was the bottom of the hill? I may have lied a little bit, on account of how scary this all is. More likely we hit a plateau, and just a little further on is another precipitous drop, and then another, and another. Most folks caught in an avalanche never live to see the actual end of it. .com
Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER
IRISH REP GALA BENEFIT: “SONDHEIM AT 7” Unpredictable but always dependable, Chelsea’s passionately prolific Irish Repertory Theatre is poised to pull up stakes from their West 22nd Street home — but only for one night. Wonderfully welcoming though its recently restored facility may be, there just aren’t enough seats in the house for the crowd expected at this annual gala benefit performance. No less than the legendary Angela Lansbury is set to introduce “Sondheim at 7: Celebrating the Songs of Stephen Sondheim.” Directed and arranged by the Irish Rep’s artistic director Charlotte Moore, with a full orchestra and chorus under the direction of John Bell, the titular 7pm start time lets loose “as many hit songs as we can fit into 90 minutes,” as performed by Broadway stars Nancy Anderson, Melissa Errico, Mark Evans, Danielle Ferland, Malcolm Gets, Jeremy Jordan, Rebecca Luker, Howard McGillin, Ryan Silverman, and
Photo by James Higgins
A star-studded salute to Sondheim is served up at June 13’s gala benefit for the Irish Repertory Theatre (seen here, 2016’s “Finian’s Rainbow”-themed gala).
festival running (and leaping and twisting) its way across all three of the theater’s venues through June 4. May 20’s block party has all the essential elements: food, crafts, and children’s activities — plus the official announcement of a top-secret new undertaking (“the largest capital project in the company’s history”) and, of course, performances and workshops from in-house talent as well as troupes from the surrounding community. So far, the roster includes Al Son Son Tablao Flamenco, DJ Todd Jones, East Village Dance Project, Kinetic Architecture Dance Theater, Rude Mechanical Orchestra, Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Step Team, White Wave Young Soon Kim Dance Co., and indigenous song and dance troupe Silver Cloud Singers. The block party is free. Sat., May 20, 11am–4pm in front of La MaMa’s theaters on E. Fourth St. (btw. Second Ave. & Bowery). For info, visit lamama.org.
WEST VILLAGE CHORALE SPRING CONCERT: “AMERICAN VOICES” Photo by Whitney Browne
La MaMa showcases in-house and community talent, at their May 20 “Dancing in the Street Block Party” (Pua Ali’i Ilima O Nuioka, seen here from 2011, returns this year).
Max Von Essen (and that’s just the lineup they had as we went to press). The selections are equally impressive displays of high quality and name recognition, from the likes of “Sweeney Todd,” “Into the Woods,” “Gypsy,” “Company,” “West Side Story” and more. Tues., June 13, 7pm at Town Hall (123 W. 43rd St., btw. Broadway & Sixth Ave.). Single ticket packages start at $100. Cocktail and dinner packages at Bryant Park Grill start at $500. To purchase, visit irishrep.org or call 212-727-2737.
LA MAMA: “DANCING IN THE STREET BLOCK PARTY” Fifty-five daring, daffy, enigmatic, and engaging seasons after Ellen Stewart started it all by giving voice to .com
Photo by Phil Armstrong
Songs of spiritual awakening fill the Meeting Room of Judson Memorial Church at May 21’s spring concert from the West Village Chorale.
Off-Off Broadway’s emerging vocabulary, La MaMa remains a dependable destination for ambitious, innovative art of all stripes — but it’s the medium of movement that’s front and center at this epic block party, which coincides with the start of “La MaMa Moves,” a dance
The nonsectarian, independent chorus that adds your voice to theirs every December at a “Messiah Sing” concert and a Caroling Walk through their beloved namesake neighborhood has chosen, for their 2017 Spring Concert, a program whose selections will fill the towering Meeting Room of Judson Memorial Church with testimonies of spiritual awakening and hope. Drawing on the work of American composers, the selections range from traditional spirituals by Alice Parker and Moses Hogan to 20th century classics by Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland. A Chorale commission will premiere Thomas Jefferson Peters’ “Good-Night” (a setting of a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley), and former Chorale leader Michael Conley is represented by an excerpt from his “Appalachian Requiem.” Colin Britt, the Chorale’s current artistic director, conducts, with Elena Belli on piano. Sun., May 21, 6pm at Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South, at Thompson St.). Advance tickets are $25 general admission, $10 for students. At the door, $30 general, $15 students. To order, and for more info, visit westvillagechorale.org. May 18-24, 2017
Bill Hoffman’s Mark on Artistic, Gay, and Jewish Life Caffe Cino pioneer, playwright of Broadway’s ﬁrst AIDS story, librettist was 78 ator, Beaumarchais, and the fabled Marie Antoinette, the ghost of whom Beaumarchais’ ghost is in love with. The at-once historical and magical tale is deftly constructed around Beaumarchais’ lesser-known sequel to these plays, “La Mere Coupable,” which takes place in the throes of the French Revolution that the earlier plays take place Courtesy Gay City News on the cusp of. William M. Hoffman, 1939-2017. So long as there will be opera, it’s a Versailles,” the opera he co-created certainty that “Ghosts of Versailles” with his lifelong friend and collaborator will find an enduring place for itself composer John Corigliano. One of the alongside “The Barber of Seville” and most prestigious events in American “The Marriage of Figaro.” Though it operatic history, this very grand opera hasn’t happened as such yet, it’s an was a world premiere commission by ideal triology project for future directhe Metropolitan Opera to mark the tors and opera companies. A “Figaro” cycle, like the “Ring” cycle. 100th anniversary of the company. In a life of contributions as rich Still early in her career, Renée Fleming, now retiring from the opera and varied as Bill’s, this remembrance stage, played the co-starring role of will perforce omit much. But mention Countess Almaviva. The opera recaps, should also be made here of the work comments on, and develops the stories he did on restoring the reputation and of some of opera’s most famous and place of the librettist as co-creator. beloved characters — that jack of all Hoffman felt that just as Da Ponte is arts and trades (and hearts) Figaro recognized and celebrated as the coand those paragons (and parodies) creator of Mozart’s operas, so should of nobility, the Almavivas. They are his own contribution be fully recogthe protagonists of two of opera his- nized, a co-equality likewise champitory’s most famous and beloved works, oned by composer Corigliano. It was Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” an uphill battle he was never to win, at and Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.” least not in our own times and in more “Ghosts” is also the story of their cre- traditional operatic venues. Bill went on to write and revise other plays, many of them with gay themes, one of which, “Cornbury,” was an adaptation of an earlier play about the mythic first governor of New York who was known to have cross-dressed. Panoramically, Bill recreated the early New York of the Dutch, Queen Anne, and the Indian wars. The political insights are as endless as the humor. At various points, he hoped to make the play into a musical, which tweaked the interest of Hal Prince. It’s hard to imagine another story that could so sweepingly recreate the early history of TV’S LONGEST RUNNING LGBT NEWS PROGRAM New York. Thursdays at 11 PM on Spectrum 34 &1995 HD, RCN 82, FiOS 33 There were many other projects, Video & Podcast online at www.gayusatv.org
BY LAWRENCE D. MASS William M. Hoffman, who died at age 78 on April 29, was an important and beloved figure in at least three communities: artistic, gay, and Jewish. In each, he left an indelible mark. A pioneer of the precious gems of gay street theater that came together in an anthology he edited, “Gay Plays,” Hoffman, a native New Yorker, was a leading light of Greenwich Village’s legendary Caffe Cino. As a playwright, he is best known as the author of “As Is.” In 1985, it became the first Broadway play about AIDS, following Robert Chesley’s Off-Off Broadway “Stray Dog Story” and preceding the premiere of Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart.” “As Is” was a hit and is widely credited, together with “The Normal Heart,” for creating greater public awareness of AIDS and its impact on our lives and times. Following its run on Broadway, “As Is” became a film starring Colleen Dewhurst as the AIDS hospice worker. My eyes still swell with tears when I recall the coup de théâtre that concludes the play. Despite harsh condemnation of homosexuality by the Catholic Church, here was a nun whose compassion for humanity leads her to share the most deeply personal ritual of her charge, a gay man dying of AIDS. Reflecting on their last exchange, she lifts up her hands to reveal her nails, painted red. It was one of those moments that would mark William M. Hoffman as a master of theater, art, and the human heart. Perhaps the pinnacle of Hoffman’s achievement was “The Ghosts of
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May 18-24, 2017
greater and lesser, that Bill worked on, most recently, “Morning Star,” a musical-dramatic co-creation with Ricky Ian Gordon of the infamous 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York, in which so many garment workers, most of them young Jewish and Italian immigrant women, perished. The story revolves around a Latvian Jewish family. “Morning Star” was a co-production of the Chicago Lyric Opera and the Goodman Theatre and had its world premiere in Cincinnati in 2015. In the interstices of this work is another issue that hugely preoccupied Bill and which colors everything he ever wrote: his Jewishness. In the many revisions and stagings of his play “Riga” (his parents were Latvian Jews who escaped the Holocaust, in which most of their relatives were murdered), he was deeply concerned about antiSemitism, past, present, and future. In the midst of his work on these plays, he established an informal network of artists and writers concerned about anti-Semitism, among whose regulars were soprano Regina Resnick, writer and feminist Phyllis Chesler, my partner Arnie Kantrowitz, and me. Like many artists, Bill left much undone. But just as there aren’t yet words to say how much he touched our lives, there aren’t yet measures to assess his impact. Because so much of what he had to show and tell us foretold of the future as it recreated the past, it’s certain that the story of William M. Hoffman, like few other artists of our communities and times, awaits a sequel, a “Ghosts” of his life and times. In his later years, he relocated from Soho to Beacon, New York, an hour or so up the Hudson River from Lehman College, where he headed the theater department and directed many original plays and productions for his students who loved him. There, he lived and worked with his husband, Russ Taylor. My last visit with them was in January. Bill had been suffering from increasingly serious and frequent illnesses, many of them stemming from severe arthritis. His role as perhaps my closest friend for more than a quarter century is inestimable. May he rest in peace. But may his ghost haunt us forever. .com
Rhymes with Crazy
Exclusive and Inclusive: The Finsta Gen Finds Their Groove BY LENORE SKENAZY Do you know what a Finsta is? Neither did I, because I am not between the ages of 13 and 34. Anyone 13 to 18 is “Gen Z,” and those aged 18 to 34 are the much-discussed Millennials. Dan Coates studies them both. His company, yPulse, is a marketing research firm based in Manhattan, and lately some of its research has been on Finstas. Finstas are fake Instagram accounts that are actually more real than a person’s so-called “real” Instagram account. On a Finsta account, he explained, “Teens only accept their closest friends and post funny or embarrassing photos for the enjoyment of their few followers.” In other words, it is a window into their imperfect life. But on their “real” Instagram account — that is, a social media account where people can share pictures and captions — they post perfection. In fact, Coates said, Instagram users take an average of eight photos for every one that they post, which means that their friends or followers are seeing a highly selective, cropped, and filtered version of their lives. Instagram pictures are to real life what Vogue’s fall fashion spread is to the average person wearing, well, clothes. Naturally, if you are taking eight pictures for every one you post, that’s a lot of snapping. Young folks “feel like there’s always some sort of camera on,” said Coates. “So they’re always ‘on.’ ” They are also worried about which moments should and should not be recorded. It is like sitting at the control panel and editing a movie of your life. Constantly. This new pressure — and the pressure of seeing all your other friends looking their best, happiest, and skinniest all the
time — may explain why this generation of young people is so anxious. “More than half say, ‘I often feel overwhelmed.’ Sixty percent say, ‘Social situations make me feel anxious.’ More than 50 percent say, ‘I constantly feel stressed,’ ” said Coates. That is an unprecedented level of worry. The worry manifests itself in a couple ways. On campus there’s been a “huge increase” in students seeking personal counseling. But another trend Coates has noted is the “Fear of Burning Out,” in which young people recognize that this media obsession as too consuming, and deliberately take a break. As a gal who has tried her own digital detox and generally failed within several long minutes of not checking my e-mail, all I can do is wish them luck. When not worrying about how their life looks to the world — or whether they’re having some kind of breakdown — Millennials are completely obsessed with food and drink. Even though I was the last to hear about the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino (currently being sued by Brooklyn’s End Cafe for being a rip-off of its Unicorn Latte), the drink is still being shared on social media, in part because it is a gorgeous swirl of colors
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and sprinkles. But also, like the Cronut before it, this is a novelty food that confers status on whoever gets one. Snap! A much lovelier trait the Millennials seem to share is their inclusivity. The generations before them, said Coates, were far more cruel. “One false move and you were exiled. You got a nickname and everything went downhill from there.” But today’s young people have lots of friends, including some who’d have been outcasts in an earlier era. When Coates and his team interview Millennials, “We’ll say, ‘We totally get all your friends — except Phil.’ They say, ‘Yeah, we get it, there’s a lot going on with Phil. But if you ever need advice on the Android operating system…’ It’s like they’re stockpiling tools and resources.” It’s also like they’re just not into excluding people, perhaps because they were raised by the generation that brought us flower children and the peace movement. Coates theorized: “After going through the ’60s and trying to change the system, I think an entire generation
of Boomer moms decided, ‘Okay. Mixed results. We haven’t changed society, but I’m going to start with my own family.’ ” It may be no coincidence that the Millennials’ concerns are the same as their parents’ — race relations, gender equality, tolerance — just taken a step further. “My kids were proud to be part of the gay-straight alliance the whole time they were in high school,” said Coates. Like their parents, young people also expect to save the world, although sometimes they do this with a credit card. “I used to just buy shoes. But now when you buy shoes you somehow must be shoeing people on the other side of the planet,” said Coates. “Your every act as a consumer somehow has to create a positive net effect.” That’s a worthy goal, even if a multicolored Frappuccino may be a particularly sweat-free, status-boosting, camera-ready way to achieve it. Snap! Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker, founder of the blog Free-Range Kids (freerangekids.com), and author of “Has the World Gone Skenazy?”
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May 18-24, 2017
May 18-24, 2017
THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
PUBLISHER Jennifer Goodstein
EDITOR Scott Stiffler
ART DIRECTOR John Napoli
GRAPHIC DESIGNER Cristina Alcine Courtesy Gay City News
State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay Democrat who represents the West Side. VIGIL continued from p. 9
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE; sageusa.org), told Gay City News that SAGE and the Anti-Violence Project had convened a meeting of transgender leaders to discuss how best to describe Bostick’s gender identity in honoring them. The best information people at the meeting had was that Bostick alternately identified as Brenda and Kenneth. “We cannot know this person’s gender identity,” Knowles said. “The only person who can really tell us had their voice extinguished by this crime… Using both names would… be appropriate. But using just Kenneth or Brenda wouldn’t be.” A friend of Bostick’s was at the rally but too upset to speak to the crowd or the media. That friend was said to have been told by Bostick, “You know the Met Life Building… Well, some people call it the Pan Am Building. Some people call me the Met Building, some people call me the Pan Am Building. But I’m still that big and I’m still standing.” Elizabeth Rivera, an HIV specialist at the Latino Commission on AIDS (latinoaids.org), focused her anger on both the NYPD and the media. “We found out about this attack a week later,” she said. “We found out about this attack only after they died.” Turning to media representations of trans lives, Rivera added, “I hold you responsible for the stigma that continues.” Michael Adams, the executive director of SAGE, whose offices one block below the site of the crime hosted the mourners at the conclusion of the vigil, noted the proximity of his organization to the crime site and the role Chelsea plays in the life of LGBTQ New Yorkers, saying, “Some one was murdered in our home on holy ground.” Out gay West Side State Senator Brad Hoylman, who is stymied in his efforts to win approval of GENDA by the implacable opposition of Republicans who control the Senate, said, “Our hearts are breaking. Our hearts are despondent in the heart of Chelsea. .com
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