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The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

May 25, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 21





Pier55 stayin’ alive? Army Corps appeals; Trust tweaks its plan BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


t may still be too early to call Pier55 — the “arts fantasy island” that would be funded by Barry Diller — “the Atlantis of the Hudson River Park.” In short, the project isn’t sunk — at least not yet, its supporters say. On Monday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

filed an appeal of federal Judge Lorna Schofield’s stunning March ruling, in which she said the Corps had erred in issuing a critical permit for the project, since the “basic use” of Pier55 would not, in her view, be “water dependent.” Schofield rescinded the permit, leaving the project “dead PIER continued on p. 19

Woman killed by truck was longtime 8th St. resident, financial wiz BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


he 60-year-old woman fatally struck by a private garbage truck on Tues., May 16, at Eighth St. and Sixth Ave., was an Ivy League-educated financial adviser and broker and a founding member of the W. Eighth St. Block Association.

As of last week’s Villager deadline, police had not yet released the victim’s name pending family notification. Fern B. Jones lived at Nine W. Eighth St., near Fifth Ave. — a little less than a block away from where she was horrifically crushed by the carting


With 10,000 high-stepping hoofers, Saturday’s 11th annual Dance Parade & Festival hula-hooped, tangoed, waltzed and sambaed its way from W. 21st St. to Tompkins Square Park, where there was a post-parade festival with free dance lessons.

Veteran feminists to thump Trumpism at Judson reunion

JONES continued on p. 7



adical feminist Susan Brownmiller has plenty of room at the top in her West Village penthouse near the Meatpacking District. Outside on the terrace is her urban oasis of carefully cultivated plants, trees and flowers, the subject of her latest book, “My City Highrise Garden” (Rutgers University Press). To a casual observer,

she appears to lead an idyllic existence in Downtown Manhattan. But Brownmiller, a self-described “82-year-old celibate heterosexual,” isn’t always at peace in her spacious 20thfloor apartment on Jane St. (now shared with a roommate). The rent-stabilized penthouse pad was triple the rent of the one-bedroom apartment she previously had lived in, also on Jane St. But

she was able to make the move several years after the 1975 success of her groundbreaking treatise on rape, “Against Our Will.” That book established her as a prominent voice in the women’s liberation movement, even while some leftwing feminists denounced her for becoming a star name in a collective effort to achieve gender equality. FEMINISTS continued on p. 23

Scoopy unravels Ottomanelli ‘noose incident’ ...p. 2 Editorial: ‘Citizen Jane’ is a doc for the ages ...p. 8 Students’ tables teach us........p. 6


OTTO ‘NOOSE’ NEWS: Well, it’s all quiet on the Ottomanelli “noose incident” front. In April, the story broke that Victor Sheppard, a black deliveryman, had accused Joe Ottomanelli, one of the brothers who run the famed Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market, of a pattern of racial harassment against him, and that police were investigating it as a hate crime. Joe reportedly told Sheppard at one point, “Did you know that just a few years ago, black people couldn’t ride in the front of the

The noose that was allegedly given to a black deliver yman at Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market on Bleecker St.

bus?” Things culminated when Joe allegedly gave Sheppard a noose, telling him, “If you ever have any stress, just put it around your neck and pull it. I could even help you with it.” When we stopped by the renowned Bleecker St. butcher store last month, two of the brothers manning the counter up front, Frank and Gerry, said the articles in the Daily News plain got it wrong. (The


May 25, 2017


Jean-Louis Bourgeois being serenaded with traditional Lakota songs at his Native naming ceremony as he sits on a gift of a buffalo hide.

story was reported elsewhere, too.) In short, it wasn’t Joe, but another guy, that gave the man the noose, they said. “He got fired. [Joe] wasn’t the one that done it,” Frank told us, adding, “No Ottomanelli would have done something like that.” A black employee wearing a white butcher’s coat walked out lugging a hunk of beef and plopped it on the counter. “Look at Mike,” Frank said. “Mike, tell him how long you been working here.” “Twenty-four years!” Mike answered, flashing a quick grin, then turned and headed back to the rear of the store. “Doesn’t that tell you something?” Frank asked us. He added that he has several black friends. “The well-educated people know,” he said. “Our customers know, this wouldn’t happen.” Gerry showed us a copy of a statement that a spokesperson for the store had issued early on that read: “This is an unfortunate circumstance that we are working to resolve immediately. We are a family-owned business with over 50 years of service in the Village, and we have the utmost respect for all of our employees and patrons.” Ottomanelli is being represented by Ron Kuby, the well-known criminal defense and civil-rights attorney. “An employee gave him the noose and the employee was fired,” Kuby told us. “I believe that subsequent investigation showed it was not Joe. Case closed. Ottomanelli continues to serve a diverse community, as they always have.” Meanwhile, one source who used to work with Ottomanelli on advertising said, “Joe is a jokester, a prankster — but this is not a good time to joke around, with Black Lives Matter.” On the Greenwich Village Grapevine Facebook page, some members also commented on Joe. Lisa Daly posted: “I went to school with Rosemarie, his sister… . Joey was the youngest and a bit slow… . I remember him as always saying bad punch line jokes, it was his thing, not that I am saying it is okay, I am just saying I am not surprised.” During our conversation with Kuby, we asked him if it was true that Joe is, well, let’s say, “not the sharpest knife on the butcher block.” Kuby retorted that it was a ridiculous question and said he had no more to say on the issue. Councilmember Corey Johnson issued a statement to us about the incident. “I’m extremely disturbed by these reports and I hope the N.Y.P.D. Hate Crimes Task Force’s investigation of this incident is swift and thorough,” he said. “Ottomanelli’s is a cherished Greenwich Village institution, but these reports are very troubling.” We also asked another fa-


Jean-Louis Bourgeois, at his Native naming ceremony, is keeping the dream alive for the Lakota in their fight against the nightmare of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

mous civil-rights attorney, Norman Siegel, for his take. He said he has trouble with the concept of hate crimes, in general, since by definition they refer to targeting entire groups of people, while these alleged Ottomanelli incidents were seemingly targeting just one specific black person, as opposed to broadcasting a public message of hate to all black people. “If the facts are true, it’s despicable,” Siegel said. “But I’m not sure it elevates to a hate crime. The last thing they should try to do is cover it up,” he added of the Ottomanelli brothers saying that Joe didn’t do it. “It’s a well-established place. It’s a wellestablished name. I think the best thing to do is fess up,” Siegel advised. “New Yorkers are very tolerant people. SCOOPY’S continued on p. 10



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May 25, 2017


Judy Seigel, 86, photographer, activist Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association


News Story, First Place, 2015 Editorial Page, First Place, 2015 Editorials, First Place, 2014 News Story, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009










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The Villager (USPS 578930) ISSN 0042-6202 Copyright © 2017 by the NYC Community Media LLC is published weekly by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. 52 times a year. Business and Editorial Offices: One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. Accounting and Circulation Offices: NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201. Call 718-260-2500 to subscribe. Periodicals postage prices is paid at New York, N.Y. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Villager, One Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $29 ($35 elsewhere). Single copy price at office and newsstands is $1. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2017 NYC Community Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR

The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for others errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue. Published by NYC Community Media, LLC One Metrotech North, 10th floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (718) 260-2500 • Fax: (212) 229-2790 On-line: www.thevillager.com E-mail: news@thevillager.com © 2017 NYC Community Media, LLC


May 25, 2017


udy Seigel, artist, photographer and passionate advocate for the preservation of Greenwich Village, died Wed., May 10, in the Morton St. brownstone where she and her husband raised their family and made their home for 60 years. She was 86. Although she lost her short-term memory because of Alzheimer’s, diagnosed seven years ago, Judy remained lucid and recognized her family until the end when she died in her sleep, said her daughter, Jessica Seigel. “My mother often said she would never leave our Morton St. house except feet first,” Jessica said. “On Wednesday she did, after dying at home asleep in her own bed. I’m feeling sadly joyful for such a finale to a long good life and that I was able to help carry her out, indeed, feet first.” In recent years, Judy’s relentless neighborhood advocacy and artistic endeavors were chronicled in The Villager. In a 2007 article by Kristin Edwards in the newspaper, Judy told about how she came to publish, with her own text and photos, “Read My T-shirt for President: a True History of the Political Front and Back.” Intrigued by what she called “street literature,” Judy began photographing people in T-shirts with different texts, concentrating on political messages, after taking part in the 2004 protests at the Republican National Convention. Judy’s letters to the editor of The Villager included issues about waterfront preservation. She also wrote to counter the claim that selling art on the streets was a constitutional matter, calling it “schlock as free speech” and “the right to clog streets.” She was passionate about the problem of homeowners, like herself, with tenants who pay low, regulated rents while the homeowners have to pay property taxes based on what market-rate rents would fetch. Judy explored that issue in testimony she wrote that was delivered by her daughter at a 2013 Rent Guidelines Board hearing. Judy often said, “We don’t own the brownstone, it owns us,” her daughter recalled. Over the years, Judy Seigel rallied to support many political and preservation causes. In the early 1960s, she marched, pushing her daughter in a pram, in a demonstration against Robert Moses’ plan to run street traffic through Washington Square Park. In the late 1970s, she joined women’s movement protests and attended the 1977 National Women’s Conference in Houston. She also wrote, designed and edited Women Artists News. In the 1980s, Judy joined the movement that forced the city and state to abandon the $2 billion Westway project. Trained as a painter at The Cooper Union, Judy branched out into photography and earned a master’s of fine arts from Pratt Institute. At age 50 she became an expert in alternative chemical processes for develop-

Judy Seigel in her studio on Mother’s Day 2011.

ing color photographs, and taught the subject for 14 years at Pratt. In the 1980s, Judy began photographing the pimps and hustlers around the pre-Disney Times Square. “I asked my mother if she was ever afraid and she said, ‘No. Nobody ever feels threatened by a middle-aged lady,’” her daughter said. Judy sold one of the prints she made during that time to the Museum of Modern Art. Cynthia Larson, a photography professor now living in Boston, recalled meeting and becoming friends with Judy in 1980 at

A s a photo historian, Judy Seigel was especially inspired by Victorian death images and mourning rituals. “Judy would be tickled to see the Victorian tribute we’ve cooked up — her bunted death notice on our front gate,” said her daughter, Jessica Seigel. “Some tourists stopped to gape and their guide was telling them, ‘ Well, the Village is like a small town.’ It was.”

Pratt. “I was 26 years old, right out of Iowa,” Larson said. “I was wide-eyed and very shy. Judy would shake me and say, ‘You can’t be shy and be a photographer in New York. Get involved.” Born on July 20, 1930, in Manhattan to Hortense and Gershon Aronson, Judith moved with her parents and two brothers to Scarsdale. After graduating from high school there, Judith went to Northwestern University. On a blind date, she met Morton Seigel in 1947. “So began the great love affair that led to 65 years of independent-minded marriage,” said their daughter Jessica, a writer and journalism professor at New York University. Back in New York, Mort and Judy lived first on E. 11th St. off Avenue C, then moved to Riverside Drive while Mort worked as a buyer for Bloomingdale’s. After graduating from The Cooper Union, Judy worked as an illustrator in an ad agency. In 1957, they bought the Morton St. house, dilapidated and roach-ridden, with eccentric tenants in residence. Nevertheless, they soon decided to leave for Switzerland where Mort, at the age of 30, would pursue a medical degree. They left the Morton St. house in the hands of Judy’s older brother, Richard Aronson. To support the family — their children were born in Switzerland — Judy did freelance illustrations and Richard sent them rent from the house. Dr. Seigel and Judy returned to Morton St. in the mid1960s with their two young children. “Those must have been difficult years,” said Jessica, adding, “My father often said all good things in his life came from Judy.” In addition to their daughter, survivors include Judy’s husband, Morton, and their son, Jeremy. A granddaughter, Marina, and Judy’s brother, Richard Aronson, also survive. The funeral was Sun., May 14, at Riverside Memorial, at Amsterdam Ave. and W. 76th St. TheVillager.com


TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell


phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.

Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-

haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.

Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at

a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.

Reading Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.

May 25, 2017


Students put it all on the table in art project BY LINCOLN ANDERSON


n the largest student exhibition in New York City parks history, school lunchroom tables decorated with colorful, socially conscious messages enlivened the southern plaza of Union Square on Tues., May 16. The sun was dazzling, all the better to highlight the artful tables, as middle-school students from classes in the 10 schools – two schools per borough — who created them gathered for the event. The tables are the culmination of the nonprofit group LEAP’s annual Public Art Program. Among this year’s program participants were students from the Lower East Side’s University Neighborhood Middle School 332M. Each table, in turn, will now be exhibited for 10 weeks through August in a park near the school where students created it. In the case of 332M, its table — whose theme is “Stop Bullying Now!” — will be on view at Captain Jacob Joseph Playground, at the corner of Henry and Rutgers Sts. In addition to cyberbullying, other themes students explored through the tables project included child abuse, gender inequality, gun violence, gang violence, pollution and animal abuse. Ten distinguished professional artists worked with the students to help shape their themes and then create the tables, including the likes of Christo, Daze, Julie Heffernan, Risa Puno, Stephen Powers, Nancy Chunn and Maia Cruz Palileo. Past guest artists have included Chuck Close, Crash, Tom Otterness, Julian Schnabel, Lorna Simpson, Deborah Kass and James de La Vega. Now in its tenth year, LEAP’s Public Art Program was created by Alexandra Leff, the group’s deputy director. “This is a unique opportunity to


Students in the LE AP Public Ar t Program cheered for their schools’ designated speakers at the May 16 unveiling of the lunch tables ar t project.

hear what young people have to say on these issues,” Leff said, describing the students as “young artists and social activists.” “The school lunch table was chosen as a canvas for these works as a symbol of student conversation,” she explained. Among the speakers at the event was Phil Weinberg, deputy chancellor for teaching and learning at the city’s Department of Education. “As I look at the tables, I am reminded once again that arts matter,” he said. “The work on these tables pushes us to be more thoughtful and

“Gender Equalit y: It Matters” was the table topic for one group of Bronx middle schoolers.

A pair of students from each of the 10 schools took turns explaining their par ticular table’s theme.


May 25, 2017

pushes our community to address these issues.” After being introduced by one of the adult speakers, two students from each school took the microphone to explain their tables. “People need to shoot out more love instead of violence,” one said of their anti-violence-themed table. “If we can help change the world, so can you.” The theme of one of the Staten Island school’s project was “Our Watery World.” “We chose a topic important to ev-

ery living thing on Earth — water,” one of the designated student speakers from the school explained. “Most people don’t realize how fi nite water is — and we can lose it if don’t realize its importance every day.” James Thorbs, principal of the Robert E. Peary School in Queens, another one of the adult speakers, told the students he, too, was wowed by the tables and their messages of positivity. “I am so happy that my world is in your hands,” he said.


Woman killed by truck JONES continued from p. 1

truck. Jones is listed as having financial businesses registered at Apartment No. 2 at Nine W. Eighth St. Her LinkedIn page lists her as having been president since 2005 of FJ Co, a company that “enhances portfolios.� Her jobs before that included director of portfolio management at MetLife, senior investment analyst for global fixed income for General Motors Asset Management, and mortgage analyst and a trader/risk manager at JPMorgan Chase. Jones received a bachelor of arts from Yale in 1981 and a master’s degree in management and finance from M.I.T. in 1998. Members were informed of Jones’s death in a message on Mon., May 22, from Laurie Moody, secretary of the W. Eighth St. Block Association, on behalf of its co-chairpersons, Cormac Flynn and Carol Wilson. “We remember Fern as a good friend and valued community member, who worked hard to improve the quality of life on our block,� the e-mail said, in part. “She will be greatly missed here.� Sharon Woolums recalled Jones as “a very sweet, intelligent member of the block association. I saw Fern recently and am shocked by the news,� she said. Jones’s sister Ruth told the block association that Fern will be buried in Virginia on Memorial Day weekend and that the family is planning a memorial in New York this summer.


Fern B. Jones, a financial exper t and W. Eighth St. resident, was identified as the woman killed last week by a garbage truck at W. Eighth St. and Sixth Ave.

Following the publication of a brief article about Jones’s death in last week’s Villager, a spokesperson for M&M Sanitation Corp. reached out to say the truck was going just 4 miles per hour when it hit Jones. A Police Department spokesperson said she could not definitively answer how fast the truck was going at the time of the incident, and that the department’s Collision Investigation Squad was still investigating. The New York Post reported Jones was crossing Sixth Ave. at W. Eighth St. when, according to witnesses, she was struck, then dragged and crushed under the tires of the mammoth garbage rig. Police said she had been trying to cross from the north side of W. Eighth St. to the south side.

POLICE BLOTTER 4 on 1 on Sixth According to police, a quarrelsome quartet of goons — or possibly more — beat up a man in front of 391 Sixth Ave., just south of Greenwich Ave., on Sun., May 7, at 1:45 a.m. The victim told cops at least four individuals unknown to him kicked and punched him in a dispute. He suffered two fractures of his left leg and a bloody nose. The attackers fled in a black Mercedes-Benz. Narek Marutyan, 26, was arrested Mon., May 15, for felony gang assault. The other suspects are still at large.

Flatiron bike fatal A 74-year-old Lower East Side cyclist died 10 days after being “doored� by a taxi in the Flatiron District and then possibly fatally struck by an Uber car. Police said that on Thurs., May 4, around 6 p.m., Xin Kang Wang was biking eastbound on E. 20th St. between Broaday and Park Ave. South in the bike lane, when a rear passenTheVillager.com


ger-side door of a 2016 Toyota Camry swung open and Wang struck it. He bounced into the lane of moving traffic and fell in front of a second 2016 Toyota, an Uber. Responding to a 911 call, police found the victim lying in the street with body trauma. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he died from his injuries on Sun., May 14. Both drivers remained at the scene. There were no arrests. The investigation is ongoing. Wang lived at 77 Columbia St. in Masaryk Towers, a Mitchell-Lama affordable housing development. The Daily News reported that the first car had New Jersey license plates and pulled into the bike lane right in front of Wang, and that the passenger threw open the rear door without checking for cyclists, according to cops. Its driver was reportedly given a summons for discharging a passenger in a bike lane. There were conflicting accounts of whether the second car, the Uber, struck the fallen cyclist. BLOTTER continued on p. 10

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EDITORIAL ‘Citizen Jane’


owntowners owe it to themselves to see “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City.” This excellent new documentary chronicles the epic battles in the 1950s and ’60s between Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses for the very soul of the Village and surrounding area. It’s currently having its theatrical release — fittingly, in the Village — a one-month run at the IFC Center, at W. Third St. and Sixth Ave. It was slated to close Thursday, but check IFC to see if the run is extended. If not, get it later on DVD. The film was produced by Robert Hammond, one half of the team responsible for the High Line park. Jacobs died in 2006 at age 89 in Toronto. During her Village years, the writer-turned-activist / urban planner and her allies showed that “master builder” Moses and his megaprojects, in fact, could be stopped through grassroots “people power.” The film shows us the first victory over Moses by Jacobs, Shirley Hayes and their Village cohort of photo-op-friendly “stroller moms” — versus the plan by “The Power Broker” to plow a sunken road through Washington Square Park. Next, Jacobs and Co. beat back Moses’ “urban renewal” plan to raze 14 blocks of 19th-century warehouses and brownstones in the West Village and redevelop them with “modernist towers.” In the end, the community succeeded in getting the low-rise, middle-income West Village Houses built there. In her final showdown with Moses, Jacobs and Little Italy and Village residents sunk his Lower Manhattan Expressway. LOMEX, an elevated highway planned along Broome St., connecting the East River bridges and the Holland Tunnel, would have bulldozed 14 blocks through Little Italy and Soho. Moses scoffed that those “in the way” were renters who “don’t own anything,” so should move. Wow! But Jacobs led a crowd in disrupting a LOMEX hearing and was arrested. She even destroyed the stenographer’s tape. Both the project and Moses met similar fates soon after: Moses was finally pushed out of power by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Moses famously was a booster of the new car culture. But as anyone can see, especially on weekends, honking and polluting cars clog up our neighborhoods and make them less livable. Today, Moses’ “autos über alles” mentality is thankfully being reshaped with bike lanes, traffic calming — and, let’s hope, congestion pricing and bridge tolls soon, too. Today, Jacobs continues to inspire all of us who care about preserving and creating livable, humanscale communities. As she explains in her seminal book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” the street is vitally important, providing a place for people to interact. Community gardens — like the Elizabeth St. Garden, now threatened with development — fulfill the same purpose. “What would Jane do?” we often find ourselves asking. Supertall towers in areas desperate for protective rezoning, Airbnb abuse, the loss of Downtown hospitals, the Rivington House scandal, Hudson River Park air-rights sales... . Jacobs surely would have been on the right side of these issues — as always, unafraid to speak truth to power. Education activists are pushing to name the new 75 Morton school for her. Their efforts to turn this dream into a reality embody Jacobs’ can-do spirit. The school naming would be a fitting honor for a truly fearless fighter whose role in saving Downtown was nothing short of heroic and massive.


May 25, 2017

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Cochise salutes Apache To The Editor: Re “R.I.P., Apache” (Scoopy’s Notebook, May 10): Rest in peace, Apache. You’ll always be remembered for the person that you was and still are: a street warrior, youth advocate, the L.E.S. DJ who lovingly moved the hearts of the people toward a positive path, a father to many and a guiding light to your own family. I salute you. “Dynamite Brothers, forever! Forever, Dynamite Brothers!” Jose Quiles a.k.a. Cochise

No L train? No big deal To The Editor: We had an important transportation test two weekends ago. The L train shut down for the weekend. So, every politician and policy maker could see whether the “L train catastrophe” would occur in this closure. I personally rode the 14th St. crosstown buses several times at different hours on both days. Again, this was on a weekend bus schedule. I asked every bus driver if his or her bus was taking on more passengers and if there was unusual crowding. The majority said there was an increased passenger load, but almost all said no unusual crowding. This is an important finding. It reinforces the opinion that most people in our neighborhood have — namely, that only a modest readjustment of the 14th St. bus lines is needed. There is no need for “Select Bus Service” and other measures that, for ideological reasons, would be used to throttle and destroy the ability of 14th St. to carry vehicular traffic. The one major problem with traffic congestion occurred Saturday because the city approved a street fair on Second Ave. between E. 14th and E. Eighth Sts. John Wetherhold

Blood on Stewart’s hands To The Editor: Your April 27 issue, with its full-page worship of Lynne Stewart (“Lynne Stewart lionized as ‘people’s attorney’ at Midtown memorial”) has your paper hitting a new low! Lynne Stewart had blood on her hands! She helped transmit a fatwa from The Blind Sheikh to his follow-

ers that led to deaths in Egypt! I remind you that the translator in the case got 20 years! Lynne only got 10 but deserved much more! Why don’t you print the names of the people massacred in Egypt? Joseph Marra

Amusing Atzmon articles To The Editor: Re “ ‘This is lunacy’: Radical attorney slams protest vs. Theatre 80 political panel” (news article, thevillager.com, April 28) and “Flirting with the Devil: Gilad Atzmon and the ‘tyranny’ of free speech” (news article, May 4): Thank you for your amusing coverage of the controversy over the recent panel at Theatre 80 St. Mark’s Stanley Cohen declares the protesters “lunatic” and “fascist” for exercising their right to free speech through public picketing, plus attempts to intimidate them through threats of unspecified retaliation — and claims he is actually the victim of attempted censorship. Then (according to Sarah Ferguson’s sharply observed May 4 report), when Atzmon, at the panel discussion, begins to say things that might verify the protesters’ point, Cohen moves to shut him up. Lorcan Otway performs the well-known comedic trope of self-aggrandizing martyr, comparing his critics to Joseph McCarthy, himself to M.L.K., and — for reasons never quite explained — banging on abou Trump’s dangers. Then, he comes awfully close to suggesting the community has an obligation to fund him. I don’t know much about Atzmon, but the protesters have made specific charges of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Rather than respond to these criticisms’ substance, Cohen and Otway reach for that all-purpose defense of “free speech.” For the U.S. left, cries of “censorship” are the signal to turn off your critical faculties. Don’t think it is right for a private theater owner to provide a forum for fascism? “Censorship!” Talk about “the insular view of the American left.” Cormac Flynn E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 MetroTech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.



Our man in Havana on its farms and gardens



he working-class districts of Central Havana — the most densely inhabited part of the Cuban capital —remind me of the Lower East Side in the 1980s. The buildings are generally decaying, although they are much older than any in Alphabet City, and the sounds of salsa music and crowing roosters fill the air. There is a critical difference, however: Nobody pays any rent. Nearly all residents are the owners of their dwellings, pursuant to the expropriation of the old landlords in the early years of the Cuban Revolution. The booming tourist economy is bringing in lots of offshore money in the adjacent historic district of Old Havana, and an emerging quasigentrification can be seen there. But the real estate market is still heavily restricted, and there appears to be no risk of displacement — for now. I was in Havana to visit the city’s famous urban farms and community gardens, which sprang up during the “Special Period” of the 1990s — when the collapse of the Soviet Union meant a cutoff of subsidized oil and guaranteed prices for Cuban sugar. This crashed the island’s economy, and prompted a big push for self-sufficient and ecological models. Today, Cuba is getting subsidized oil from Venezuela — though that might not last, with that South American country now rocked by crisis — and is opening its economy as never before. Relations with the U.S. were restored under Obama, anticipating an end to the embargo — though this will take congressional action, and the Trump presidency has yet to formulate a clear Cuba policy. “After the Special Period, some models did not survive, like the bicycle,” admitted Gina Rey, an urban-planning specialist at Havana’s San Gerónimo University. The bicycles that had been encouraged by the government have largely disappeared from Havana’s streets. The old 1950s Detroit model cars, kept roadworthy through years of embargo by endless improvisation, are back on the roads — and all with shiny new paint jobs. But Rey was quick to add: “Others have been maintained, such as the urban gardens that are now part of the national program of urban agriculture, which has continued its growth and development in a sustainable manner. In Havana, the results have been good, and this can continue improving at the community level, TheVillager.com


A farmer at the Organopónico Plaza.

with an ever more participatory process in the city’s neighborhoods.” To see these urban farms, I took a taxi out to Vedado, the greener, more spread-out and in pre-Revolutionary times upscale district to the west of Central Havana. The center of Vedado is the Plaza of the Revolution, Cuba’s heart of administrative power, where Che Guevara’s iconic face looks down from the wall of the Interior Ministry Building. Just a couple of blocks off this expansive and sterile square, housing projects stand alongside faded mansions of the long-departed bourgeoisie, now inhabited by working-class residents. On one of these streets, I visited with Isbel Díaz Torres, a sometime literature professor and one of Cuba’s handful of leftist dissidents. His network, the Cuban Critical Observatory, was founded after the power transfer from Fidel to Raul Castro in 2006, to bring an explicitly anti-capitalist voice to the agitation for greater freedom. Díaz considers himself an anarchist, and lives much as you’d expect one to — in a squat, or as near as you get to one in Havana. As we passed through the columned entrance of the old house and crossed an interior courtyard, he told me the history. “In the ’90s, this was the Cathedral of Heavy Metal,” he recalled with a smile. During the Special Period, the building served as a “casa de cultura” — a government-sanctioned community center

— known as the Patio de Maria. But the youth-rock scene there seems to have got a little out of control, and in 2003 the government had it closed — possibly due to the embarrassment of a hive of metalheads just a block off the Plaza of the Revolution. The building sat vacant for a while. But after the devastating hurricanes of 2008, local folk whose homes had been destroyed or damaged took shelter there

Unlike bicycles, urban gardens have thrived in Havana.

— and were allowed to stay, their residency “unofficial” but tolerated. Díaz and his boyfriend are among them, sharing a small apartment behind the courtyard. Díaz took me for a walk just a few

blocks from his squat, and we passed big lots planted with bright-green rows of spinach, lettuce, chives, celery, parsley and cauliflower. Workers with hoes tilled the ground behind fences intertwined with fruit-bearing vines and flowers or reinforced with rows of cactus. The workers took a little time out to answer my questions. These farms began spontaneously, yet often under the direction of bureaucrats who worked in the nearby government office buildings, to feed their own employees during the Special Period. But soon they were formally recognized and organized as collectives. There are four members of the Organopónico Plaza collective, and their salary depends on yield. It is supplemented by sales of produce to local residents from the little stall set up at the farm’s entrance. Jorge Albertini, the director of Organopónico Plaza, told me he quit his job as a police officer to oversee the farm when it was formalized. “I like this better,” he said, smiling. When I asked about the agricultural methods, he quickly responded, “One hundred percent organic! Chemicals are prohibited.” Currently, Havana’s budding gentrification holds no threat to the organopónicos. Hopefully, they will survive without being put to such grim tests as a general collapse in Venezuela — or bellicose Trump designs on Cuba. May 25, 2017


Alex Helllinger with the coveted Luc y G. Moses Award from the New York Landmarks Conser vanc y for Nor thwell’s historically sensitive renovation of the former National Maritime Union Building.

Scoopy’s Notebook SCOOPY’S continued from p. 2

Get some counseling, deal with it. But to deny it, it’s the wrong way to go.” Reverend Al Sharpton brought Sheppard’s claims to light, and said that his National Action Network would be protesting outside Ottomanelli. But Robert Jackson, a community affairs officer at the Sixth Precinct, said he had no information of any protest actually having occurred.

FAMILIAR FACES: Veteran Downtowners will recognize some familiar faces among the interview subjects in the new documentary fi lm “Citizen Jane: The Battle for the City,” about Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses. These include former Mayor Ed Koch; his early Village co-district leader, Carol Greitzer, who, of course, went on to be a longtime city councilmember; Frances Goldin, who saved the Cooper Square area from “urban renewal” and is top literary agent; and Rosemary McGrath, the local G.O.P. leader and longtime Community Board 2 member, as a fi -

ery and beautiful young activist (she was a model in her earlier days, as the late Ed Gold used to recall) in a fi lm clip railing against LOMEX. Koch must have been interviewed for the fi lm not long before he died in February 2013.

HE’S SO DREAMY: Village activist Jean-Louis Bourgeois received a Native name — Dream Keeper — at a “dreamlike” naming ceremony near his house on the Muhheakantuck (“river that flows two ways”) a.k.a. the Hudson River at Cold Spring, N.Y., on Sun., May 21. Correspondent Sharon Woolums gave us the report: “We all got ‘smudged’ before entering the ‘circle of love and good wishes’ for our friend that we were all so very proud of this sunny day, a divine occasion (where grown men cried — so did I!) The Oglala Sioux tribe bestowed this honor on Jean-Louis because of his immense generosity and support he gave to the Standing Rock water protectors’ standoff during the bitter cold months. His contributions — fi nancial assistance, food and supplies — were essential for the camp to

survive. It was an auspicious sign that Pete Seeger’s iconic sloop Clearwater was docked in front of Jean-Louis’s house and just happened to be waving the Standing Rock fl ag on its mast.” At the ceremony, Bourgeois was given a buffalo hide, which he figures he can use as either a robe or a throw rug, and also a traditional breastplate made out of long, hollowed-out tubes of “buffalo ivory.” As for why he was named Dream Keeper, Bourgeois — the scion of legendary sculptress Louise Bourgeois — told us it was because he gave the Lakota $1 million, which is defi nitely helping keep alive their dream of defeating the Dakota Access Pipeline out in Standing Rock. In related news, he told us that the planned Lenape university at his Weehawken St. building that he is donating to the local Lenape will also be sharing space with another university named after a famous American feminist. He told us her name, but we’re sworn to secrecy. There is a time frame for all of this, though, he admitted, “not that makes any sense yet.”

HISTORIC WIN: Congrats to Lenox Health Greenwich Village on winning the prestigious Lucy G. Moses Award from the New York Landmarks Conservancy. Northwell, L.H.G.V.’s parent company, spent $150 million to renovate the landmarked National Maritime Union Building, at W. 12th St. and Seventh Ave., which was designed by Albert Ledner and built in 1964, and sold to St. Vincent’s Hospital in 1974. Northwell consulted with Ledner on the renovation and restored much of the exterior to the original design — the building is meant to look like a ship floating on water (the glass-block windows at its base). Anyone who has heard Alex Hellinger, the comprehensive-care center’s executive director, talk about the building knows that he really values its history and architecture. CURTAIN CALL COMING: Too bad about the Landmark Sunshine

Bottle bash



May 25, 2017

CORRECTIONS: Last week’s article “Durst admits funding Pier55 lawsuit, proving ‘Novo’ suspicion true” inaccurately stated that Barry Diller “was ready to give a quartermillion-dollars gift to the city.” That obviously should have read “a quarterbillion dollars.” Also, regarding the two Riverkeeper contributors who allegedly threatened to pull their funding unless the environmental group withdrew from the Pier55 lawsuit, they reportedly only give 8 percent of the group’s funding — not most of it, as the article originally stated. (The reporter had misheard it as “80 percent.”)… In addition, the tagline at the end of Patricia Fieldsteel’s “notebook” column in last week’s issue about the French presidential election incorrectly stated that she lives in chateau in France, which was what we had always thought was the case. In fact, she lives in a “normal house,” she assured. “I don’t want people getting ideas!” she wrote us. “I came here for five winters to babysit eight cats in a feudal chateau belonging to people who used to live on Eighth Ave. next to the Jane St Garden. So, yes, that’s where you got that idea from!” By the way, the mayor of Nyons was “very pleased” with her column in The Villager, she tells us. C’est bien!

Police Blotter BLOTTER continued from p. 7


Theater, which the New York Post reports will close when its lease expires in January 2018. The building at 139 E. Houston St. has been sold to developers for $31.5 million who will convert it to retail and office space. Landmark had wanted to add alcohol to the movie theater, but the idea was quashed by Community Board 3 five years ago. Downing drinks during fi lms seems strange to us — wouldn’t people constantly be getting up from their seats to use the restroom? But losing a great local indie theater is a bummer. In retrospect, semi-boozy movies sort of sound better than just more of the same bland retail and offices. Oh, well.

A man was reportedly assaulted with a glass bottle at 106 Seventh Ave. South, near Christopher St., on Thurs., April 27, at 1:20 a.m. Police said that during a dispute, a stranger hit the victim on the left side of his face with the bottle, causing a cut. The victim was aided at the scene and sent to Lenox Hill Hospital for further treatment. Roy Miller, 49, was arrested Wed., May 17, for felony assault.

Fedora felony A burglar hit Fedora, at 239 W. Fourth St., at 10 a.m. on Mon., April 3, but couldn’t make a clean getaway, police said. According to a report, an unknown suspect entered the place, crawled behind the bar and removed items from the cabinet. He put these into a milk crate and started to leave. But an employee told police he witnessed the incident and approached the suspect, who dropped the items and ran away. Demarest Flowers, 35, was busted Tues., May 16, for felony burglary.

Tabia Robinson and Lincoln Anderson TheVillager.com











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What can fade has not been forgotten ‘La Lucha Continua’ celebrates enduring message of L.E.S. muralists BY PUMA PERL The Lower East Side, late ’70s — garbage in the streets, crime, substandard housing, poverty, and drugs. When someone asked why I liked living down there my immediate reply was, “Because I can walk by La Plaza Cultural on a random Saturday and fi nd Tito Puente playing.” The spirit, the music, and the sense of community carried us through difficult and dangerous times. La Plaza Cultural’s history is a fascinating one. In 1976, a coalition led by founding members of CHARAS / El Bohio Cultural Center, including Chino Garcia and the late Armando Perez, cleared and claimed an empty lot at the corner of East Ninth Street and Avenue C. None other than master architect Buckminster Fuller helped the group build a geodesic dome; artist Gordon Matta-Clark worked with community artists, residents, and activists in constructing an amphitheater, using railroad ties and found materials. Green Guerillas pioneer Liz Christy helped create the iconic gardens and planted towering willow trees. The shared vision was of a public green space to enhance community life. In the ’80s, the space fell into disrepair as developers fought for the land and the neighboring buildings emptied. Gentrification had begun and now, instead of substandard housing, there were burning buildings, forcing the disintegration of families. Surreptitious drug sales had grown into an open-air market, attracting addicts from the entire metropolitan area, and the new businesses and renovated buildings were neither affordable nor culturally relevant to those who hung on. In 1985, Artmakers Inc., an artist-run, community-oriented mural organization founded by the late Eve Cockcroft, posted flyers around the neighborhood calling for “artists of conviction to paint political murals.” Cockcroft, an activist and leader of the national community murals movement, had been inspired by her visit to the San Francisco project known TheVillager.com


“La Lucha Continua The Struggle Continues” (Artmakers Collective, 1985).


Nancy Sullivan’s “Not for Sale” (1985).

as PLACA, in which artists painted murals with political themes. On May 7, 1985, a meeting was held and a call to interested artists was put out. During the summer months, 34 artists convened in the garden and produced 24 “La Lucha Continua” murals on seven walls of four surrounding build-

ings. Today, three of these buildings have been renovated or torn down and replaced, leaving only two murals. The paint has faded and restoration is not possible, but La Plaza Cultural is alive and flourishing. The current exhibit at the Loisaida Center — “La Lucha Continua The

Struggle Continues: 1985 & 2017” — uses text and photographs to take us through the history of the mural project’s creation. Jane Weissman, exhibition curator and longtime Artmakers Inc. administrative director, walked me through and provided fascinating insights. Interestingly, many pieces fell into place almost serendipitously. The Loisaida Center, a multi-purpose space, was not targeted as the home for the exhibition but turned out to be the perfect spot, both logistically (it’s just across the street from La Plaza) and spiritually. The Center began as a grassroots movement in the ’70s, and continues to, as its website notes, “stand fi rm on its original mission: address the serious economic and social disenfranchisement of poor and low-income Latino residents, with employment and training opportunities, comprehensive youth development initiatives, as well as neighborhood revitalization activities that positively highlight the rich culture, heriLA LUCHA continued on p. 16 May 25, 2017


LA LUCHA continued from p. 15

tage, and contribution of the Puerto Rican and Latin American community in this City — while offering programming that meets the demands of the times and the neighborhood’s changing demographic.” Libertad O. Guerra, The Loisaida Center’s program director and chief curator, noted that May is Lower East Side History Month, and that the exhibition coincides with the area’s largest community event — the annual Loisaida Festival, taking place this year on Sun., May 28. The Loisaida Center produces and organizes the Festival, and La Plaza Cultural traditionally provides music, poetry, and family activities. Additionally, the Center has joined forces with the Fourth Arts Block (FABnyc) along with other local groups and community members to create a new mural at First Street Green Art Park (33 E. First St., corner of Houston St. & Second Ave.) paying tribute to the group of murals known as “La Lucha Continua.” The original collective mural overlooking La Plaza Cultural addressed the theme of gentrification through negative images on the left side (homeless families, eviction) and positive, hopeful images on the right (solar paneled rooftops, local markets). Individual artists or pairs continued the political themes idealistically and globally, including murals depicting struggles in Nicaragua and South Africa, as well as local and thematic focuses. Rikki Asher’s work, “For the Women of South Africa, Central America and the Lower East Side,” is one of two that still exist. In the left hand corner is the artist’s self-portrait, paintbrush in hand, followed by images of South African and Central American women; in the lower right corner we see a woman hanging laundry on the Lower East Side. In Asher’s words, “the issues that were important then are still relevant now. La Lucha Continua!” “Not for Sale,” by Nancy Sullivan, is a response to the gentrification of the Lower East Side. Two oversized hands are shown trying to stop the wrecking ball, symbolizing development, as children play innocently in the background. Sullivan became an anthropologist and moved to Papua New Guinea, gaining fame as an advocate for residents whose way of life was threatened by logging companies. In 2015, at the age of 57, she was killed while driving on the Taconic State Parkway.


May 25, 2017


From a photo taken in 1985, Rikki Asher’s “For the Women of South Africa, Central America and the Lower East Side.”



A current view of Rikki Asher’s 1985 work “For the Women of South Africa, Central America and the Lower East Side,” one of only two remaining “La Lucha Continua” murals.

An untitled 1985 work by Luis Frangella.

will lead a gallery tour of the exhibition followed by a visit to La Plaza Cultural, where attendees can take a closer look at the existing murals and get a live sense of the history. My gallery tour with Weissman concluded with a visit to La Plaza Cultural Community Garden (Avenue C, at E. Ninth St.). Despite my decades of familiarity, it provided a new connection on historical and artistic levels. Happily, La Plaza Cultural was fi nally preserved in 2002, and in 2003 was renamed La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez, in honor of the slain CHARAS co-founder and for-

mer Democratic district leader for the East Village.

Another take on Downtown life occurred when Artmakers Inc. reached out to owners of 8BC (a club/gallery at 337 E. Eighth St.). They were agreeable to a mural painted on the building but preferred that it reflect the burgeoning art scene rather than a “social realist” style. Artist Luis Frangella painted an image he was known for, the “expressionistic head,” which conveyed frustration and outrage more surrealistically. Originally from Argentina, Frangella died of HIV-related causes in 1990. At 2pm on Sat., May 27, Weissman

“La Lucha Continua The Struggle Continues: 1985 & 2017” is on view, free of charge, through July 31 at The Loisaida Center (710 E. Ninth St., btw. Aves. C & D). Viewing hours are Thurs., Fri. & Sat., 12–6pm and by appointment. For info, call 212-9893006 or visit laluchaartmakers.org. The 30th Annual Loisaida Festival will take place Sun., May 28,12–5pm, along the Avenue C Corridor (E. Sixth through 12th Sts). For more info, visit loisaida.org. TheVillager.com

The art of summer’s first sign Creative options on that long Memorial Day weekend BY SCOTT STIFFLER

THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY’S 22ND ANNUAL LOWER EAST SIDE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS Hundreds will fill the theaters and flood the streets — and that’s just the lineup of talent set to entertain the thousands upon thousands who will eat up this tasty smorgasbord of outdoor food and vendor festivities, dance, music, movies, theater, and art representing the heart and soul of Lower East Side cultural diversity. Mindful of the tone set by the current presidential administration, host venue Theater for the New City has declared this year’s theme “Art V. Tyranny.” That “V,” they say, is meant to stand as “a kind of victory sign” — a bold declaration of the inevitable outcome when we “take up art against a sea of troubles.” Always ready for confrontation through its year-round offerings of socially relevant and politically progressive subject matter, Theater for the New City is one scrappy fighter evermindful of the value of cutting loose and raising a little hell just for the fun of it. Case in point, the cavalcade of talent they’ve booked to enthrall and inspire. Here’s a glimpse at the lineup, in no particular order: Faceboy, Maquina Mono Latin rock band, Reno, The Drilling Company, Tammy Faye Starlite, Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America, Zero Boy, Fairytale Marionettes, New Yiddish Rep, Penny Arcade, Glitter Kitty, Cobu Japanese drumming ensemble, Burning City Orchestra, and, you’d better believe it, many, many, many more! Free. At Theater for the New City (155 First Ave., btw. E. Ninth & E. 10th Sts.). Inside TNC from 6pm–1am, Fri.–Sun., May 26–28. The street festival happens on Sat., May 27, 12pm–5pm (on 10th St., btw. First & Second Aves.). Visit theaterforthenewcity.net.


Theater for the New City’s Lower East Side Festival of the Arts delivers thousands of thrills in the venerable venue’s four theaters (and at an outside street festival).


Fleet of foot or in need of a lesson? Head to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s Battle of the Big Bands on May 27 and swing dance the night away.

FLEET WEEK EVENTS They leave their ships to explore New York City, while we board a ship to explore their world — that’s Fleet Week, Pier 86-style, when The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum puts all hands on deck for a series of activities, themed events, and live demonstrations saluting the arrival of those who serve in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Fri., May 26, the research vessel Neil Armstrong will be open for public tours. Guided talks take place on the hanger deck, and the Intrepid’s free summer movie series takes flight with a screening of “Top Gun,” TheVillager.com


Members of our military rock out, take a dive, and show they know the drill, in a series of Times Square Fleet Week events.

introduced by NASA astronaut and former T-38 pilot Gregory C. Johnson (limited seating on a first-come basis). On Sat., May 27, happening throughout the day on Pier 86 (and repeating for the next two days), those hosting hands-on activities and displays include the US Coast Guard, the FDNY, the South Street Seaport Museum, and former Intrepid crewmembers. The Pier 86 stage goes Broadway at noon, with performances from the casts of “School of Rock,” “Cats” and “Kinky Boots.” By 7pm, the area has been taken over by a 2,000-square-foot wood dance floor, for a three-hour Battle of the Big Bands that invites you to “follow the fleet in Navy-inspired outfits and vintage clothes” while you swing dance the night away (ages 21+ only; dance lessons provided). Sun., May 28 sees an 11am demonstration on the flight deck from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Silent Drill Team and an excerpt from the new Off-Broadway musical “Deployed” (about a veteran’s search for purpose after deployment to Iraq) at 1:30pm and 4:30pm. Memorial Day is observed on Mon., May 29, with an 11am public commemoration ceremony attended by veterans of wars and conflicts from World War II to the present. The playing of “Taps,” a wreath laying, and the unfurling of a 100-foot American flag are among the solemn observances that are part of this annual event. At 2pm, the USCG Search and Rescue team will perform a demonstration on Pier 86. Times Square is also hosting its share of Fleet Week happenings, with an emphasis on acts of talent and skill. Access the “Schedule of Events” option on the home page of fleetweeknewyork.com to fi nd out where and when you can see the USCG Silent Drill Team, Navy rock band Rhode Island Sound, a dive tank demonstration, a Navy Band concert, and the Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment. Intrepid Museum and Pier 86 events take place daily through Mon., May 29. Live demonstrations are presented by Intrepid Museum educators, and Fleet Week-themed tour guide talks take place on the hangar deck. Pier events are free; those inside the Museum require admission. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is located at Pier 86 (W. 46th St. & 12th Ave.). Regular weekly hours: Mon.–Fri., 10am–5pm; Sat. & Sun., 10am–6pm. Regular admission: $33 adult, $31 ages 65+; $24 ages 5–12; free for retired and active US Military, US Veterans, & children under 5. NYC residents with photo ID: $19 adults & seniors; $17 ages 5–12. Visit intrepidmuseum.org. May 25, 2017



May 25, 2017


Pier55 stayin’ alive? PIER continued from p. 1

in the water,” according to the plaintiffs from The City Club of New York who brought the lawsuit. In addition, at the end of April, the Hudson River Park Trust — the state-city authority that operates and is building the 5-mile-long park — fi led a modified permit application in hopes of satisfying the judge’s objections. The federal Clean Water Act review by the Army Corps had been triggered because the ambitious project contained a certain amount of concrete “fi ll” — basically, flowable concrete that was to have been poured into hollow “pot”-style support piles, which would spread out at their tops rather than just being traditional straight piles. “The recent court decision was a procedural one concerning how the Corps considered our request for a small amount of concrete fi ll within some of the project’s piles,” a Trust spokesperson said. “Our new application eliminates that concern because there is no longer any fi ll proposed.” Specifically, Schofield’s decision concerned 280 square feet of flowable concrete fi ll previously proposed in some hollow piles. According to the Trust, subsequent to the judge’s ruling, the project’s design team was able to eliminate the need for fi ll by substituting solid, precast concrete piles in place of the hollow piles that previously required fi ll. In addition, a 4,000-squarefoot seasonal barge has also been eliminated from the plan, which, the Trust says reduces the amount of piles and platform coverage of the river. Otherwise, according to the authority, the project being reviewed is the same as the one previously permitted by the Corps — which Schofield, again, said was a violation of the Clean Water Act. Should the Trust’s modified application be approved, the Trust and Pier55 Inc. — the Diller-led nonprofit group that would operate and program the pier — would “restart construction immediately,” the Trust said. Separately, the U.S. Attorney, which would represent the Corps in the case, has also fi led a notice of appeal. The Trust, too, has fi led a notice of appeal “to preserve its ability to remain a


participant in the process.” “I was not surprised that they fi led,” Tom Fox, one of the two City Club plaintiffs, said of the Trust. However, Fox said, he was surprised that Pier55 is now being touted as a $250 million project. Back in 2013, when news of the plan fi rst broke, its price tag was only $130 million. In an article in last week’s Villager, Michael Novogratz said of Diller that he “was ready to give a quarter-million dollars gift to the city.” Similarly, an article in The New York Times on Monday on this Pier55 lawsuit appeal said, “The cost of the project has swelled to an estimated $250 million, from $130 million.” Both Fox and Richard Emery, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said their understanding was that when Diller signed an agreement after the project was modified somewhat earlier this year, the media mogul capped his enormous commitment to it at $185 million. The city has also kicked in $14 million toward Pier55. But who would pay that additional $50 million — the taxpayers? Fox and Emery ask. Asked about that, the Trust spokesperson told The Villager that Fox and Emery don’t quite have it right. “Pier55 / Mr. Diller will be responsible for all increases / overages,” the Trust spokesperson assured. “The cap” that Fox and Emery are referring to “is wrong,” the spokesperson said. Fox, who was an earlier planner of the park and the fi rst president of the Hudson River Park Conservancy, the Trust’s predecessor, remained confident in their lawsuit. “This is another round in a long battle for the health and preservation of the river,” he said. As for the Trust saying it has reduced the amount of fi ll in the project, Fox scoffed, “It’s fi lling the estuary. The piles are still there from Pier 54 and Pier 56 — they’re putting in more.” Instead of rebuilding the historic Pier 54, near W. 13th St., the Trust chose to try to create a pier on a new footprint in the river between the footprints of the old Piers 54 and 56. The wooden piles from those two piers are still sticking up out of the river, though their concrete decking is no more. PIER continued on p. 22 May 25, 2017


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Pier 55 alive? PIER continued from p. 19

Commenting on the appeal, Emery said, “The fill issue is sort of interesting because fill triggered the judge’s ruling on the Clean Water Act, and there is some precedent for when projects attempt to circumvent the fill requirement. “Moreover, they still seem to be using fill in here — they want to use it above the water, which I’m not sure is kosher. They’re engaging in tricky behavior,” Emery accused of the Trust. “We’re not sure it doesn’t violate the Clean Water Act or the principles of putting anything in the Hudson.” Echoing Fox’s remarks, Emery said, “One of the things we didn’t argue the last go-around — but we will argue this time — is that the number of piles, 552, is equivalent to fill. It’s so dense. It’s a feeling that there are so many piles in one place.” Both Fox and Emery said they don’t get how removing the barge changes anything. Emery used a water idiom regarding the Trust’s latest modifications of the embattled plan. “They seem to be pretty much out to sea on this whole decision,” he mused. “This whole thing seems kind of slapdash. It’s what happens when you don’t have public review.” The plaintiffs charge the Pier55 plan — at least initially — was conceived and developed in secret out of the public eye. But the Trust counters that the project went through the proper public reviews. As part of its modified application, the Trust sought to counter Schofield’s assertions that the Pier55 plan could be sited elsewhere. For example, the Trust said it couldn’t go on Gansevoort Peninsula, which is also in Hudson River Park, since a marine waste-transfer station is planned there, which would be disruptive of performances. Also, the high-pressure natural gas Spectra pipeline that the Trust allowed to run under part of the peninsula puts that area off limits for the kind of uses in the Pier55 plan, the Trust said.


May 25, 2017


Veteran feminists will thump Trump at reunion FEMINISTS continued from p. 1

During a recent interview, Brownmiller recalled bitter “infighting” in the women’s movement. She also expressed serious concern about right-wing attacks on core feminist issues — such as reduced access to abortion in the Trump era — when this reporter asked her about what she planned to talk about at a Sat., June 10, reunion of second-wave feminists at Judson Memorial Church, at 55 Washington Square South. It starts at 1:30 pm. “I’m still working on it. I would imagine older feminists are feeling pretty defeated because Trump is in the White House,” Brownmiller mused as she sipped coffee and smoked Marlboros at her dining-room table. “Aims that we thought we had won, we’ve lost — like abortion rights in state after state.” She noted that there’s also fear among feminists “on what Trump will do with his appointment of judges. We have every reason to be depressed,” she said. The reunion, a “speak-out” sponsored by Veteran Feminists of America, will bring together other well-known movement activists from the late 1960s, among them social-justice organizer Heather Booth; filmmaker Mary Dore; “Sexual Politics” author Kate Millett, and attorney/author Jo Freeman. Guests will pay $50 each — $25 for students — to attend the get-together. There will also be women’s music by Holly Near and Margie Adam, a light lunch and refreshments, plus a free gift CD of movement photographs. The event’s theme is “We Won’t Go Back!” a decidedly defiant slogan that will also be displayed on the red T-shirts of about 14 volunteers on hand for the occasion, according to Barbara J. Love, co-chairperson of the reunion and vice president of development for V.F.A. Love edited the 2006 book listing, “Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-1975,” and co-authored the 1977 volume “Sappho Was A Right-On Woman: A Liberated View of Lesbianism” with Sidney Abbott. Love, 80, said she will start off the program by welcoming people and making a statement before turning over the microphone to attendees. “We’re not going to go back to the 1950s —we’re not going to let Trump do that,” she told The Villager during a phone conversation. “People who are younger than 60 don’t remember women dying in seedy motel rooms” from botched abortions or “being accused of attracting” rapists. Love said the average age of secondwave feminists is about 80 and predicted that some would arrive at Judson gripping walkers and seated in wheelchairs. “We’ve lost a lot of people” from the women’s movement who have died, she continued. “We’re going to have posters on the walls to remember them.” She also hopes to attract young women —and men — to the V.F.A. reunion,



Feminist Susan Brownmiller, who wrote “Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape,” on the balcony of her prized Jane St. penthouse apar tment.

claiming there’s a “resurgence and excitement among younger women because of Trumpism. I think young people realize what they could lose,” she said. “A lot of them went to Washington” for the Women’s March a day after Trump’s inauguration. “Some went to Boston and to Mar-a-Lago. I went to the march in New York. There were thousands of young people there.” Carole DeSaram is a board member of V.F.A. and a former New York City chapter president of the National Organization for Women in the 1970s. She believes younger women will continue to protest any Trump attempts to roll back feminist gains, and said reports of the movement’s demise are greatly exaggerated. “No way — it’s just the opposite. I get e-mails every weekend out of the New York City NOW chapter about people showing up for demonstrations,” she said. “They’ve been to big ones. There was one in front of Trump Tower. There’s this surge by young people who are not affected by the past and are incensed because their rights are being threatened. They’re coming out in droves. They want action, not a lecture.” “Everybody is depressed,” noted DeSaram, a 78-year-old grandmother of five and former member of the Tribeca Community Association who now lives with her husband in Upstate Rhinebeck. “Young people always assumed they had these rights, so how dare this Neanderthal sexist pig try to take them away?” DeSaram was unable to attend the recent Women’s March in January. But she was part of the Aug. 26, 1970, NOWinspired Women’s Strike for Peace and Equality, a massive march down Fifth Ave., marking the 50th anniversary of


Village resident Barbara Love, who wrote “Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-1975,” will be among the gathering of second-wave feminists at Judson Memorial Church on Sat., June 10.

female suffrage in America when women were granted the right to vote. DeSaram was at the forefront of the feminist battle to end credit-card discrimination against women, who had been unable to get an open line to credit in their own names without the approval of their husbands or fathers. DeSaram and NOW members attended public hearings and read anguished letters from divorced and destitute women in Congress. In 1974, Congress passed passed

the Equal Credit Opportunity Act outlawing the discriminatory practice. Brownmiller, who joined the march against Trumpism in New York, is not so sure that young women these days recognize the contributions of older feminists — which include NOW’s successful lobbying back in 1968 to turn sex-segregated “help wanted” ads into gender-neutral listings. “I know times have changed,” she said. “But I get really angry when women on college campuses think they’ve discovered rape. Abortion rights was our victory — also all the violence issues: rape and sexual assaults and assaults of children.” Gloria Steinem, a co-founder of Ms. magazine, surfaced as a feminist leader several years after radical feminist groups like Redstockings held speak-outs and created consciousness raising. In 1968, New York Radical Women demonstrated against the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J, tossing girdles and copies of Playboy into “freedom trash cans.” While Steinem is often regarded in the media as the “face” of the women’s movement, this is a label disputed by Redstockings and by Steinem herself. How does Brownmiller view her? “It is our custom — certainly in America —that the media picks one person as the icon of an entire movement,” she replied with some irony. “When we had those recent marches in New York, Washington, D.C., and around the world, I happened to be watching Chris Matthews on MSNBC. He devoted about 10 seconds to this phenomenon and said, ‘Women marched all over the world today.’ Then he ran a picture of Gloria and said, ‘Isn’t she wonderful?”” Brownmiller, however, acknowledges the good-looking and articulate Steinem, now 83, made the women’s movement palatable to mainstream America. “We were caricatured as angry women in combat boots,” she said. “Gloria, God bless her, would never get angry. It was remarkable.” Betty Friedan, the feisty co-founder of NOW and its first president, was undoubtedly a primary force in the nascent women’s movement after she wrote her first book, “The Feminine Mystique,” in 1963 about educated suburban housewives trapped in domesticity. It’s widely credited with influencing U.S. secondwave feminism during the 20th century — even though, as Brownmiller noted, Friedan was “a little slow in recognizing that there were a lot of lesbians in the women’s movement.” Indeed, Friedan dubbed lesbians in the movement as “infiltrators,” “blackmailers” and “seducers” in a 1973 retrospective, said Love, who noted, “She mellowed and finally accepted reality.” Friedan and other ghosts of the feminist past may get channeled at Judson on June 10, and that could be a lively experience for second-wave feminists. “We don’t get together that often except at funerals,” Love said.

May 25, 2017


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