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BRIAN BENJAMIN BIG WINNER IN WEST SIDE SENATE RACE BY JACKSON CHEN Brian Benjamin, the Democratic Party’s candidate for State Senate District 30, won easily in the special election held on May 23. Benjamin, a real estate developer and chair of Community Board 10, is looking to build on his years of community service in filling the seat vacated by Bill Perkins, who won an earlier special election to the City Council. With six years on CB10, Benjamin is already familiar with most of the district, which includes portions of the Upper West Side, East and Central Harlem, and Upper Manhattan. “I am honored and humbled that the voters have chosen me to be the next New York State Senator for the 30th District,” Benjamin said in a statement shortly after the polls closed. “Our community has a long history of trailblazing public officials, from the Upper West Side to Harlem and El Barrio. I’m proud to join the ranks of so many tireless men and women and follow their lead in fighting for our families.” According to unofficial returns from the New York City Board of Elections, the victor grabbed nearly 92 percent of just under 8,200 votes cast. The CB10 chair faced off against the Republican Party’s Dawn Simmons and the Reform Party’s Ruben Dario Vargas. Benjamin’s bid got last-minute boosts with endorsements by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the New York State United Teachers, a union of more than 600,000 education professionals. Benjamin worked with de Blasio

AMNH Impact Study Bared 06

Sex Abuse Survivor Relief 10

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at the CUNY Graduate Center on May 24.


BY JACKSON CHEN Seeking answers for many actions coming out of the new administration in Washington that they see as questionable, some 300 Manhattanites showed up last week at the CUNY Graduate Center in Midtown to hear the State Attorney General weigh in. On May 24, East Side State Senator Liz Krueger hosted a “State of the Resistance” talk with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has proven to be a staunch opponent of Trump and the initiatives he has focused on in the first few months of his presidency. So far, Schneiderman — who prior to his election as AG in 2010 served more than a decade as an Upper West Side State Senator — and his colleagues from some other states have intervened on a wide range of issues, from opposing Trump’s travel ban on entry into the US from seven majority-Muslim countries to pressing for a special counsel to take over the Justice Department’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign and administration. Schneiderman’s discussion at CUNY explored these national concerns while he also tailored his remarks to specific local

BRIAN BENJAMIN continued on p. 4

June 1-14, 2017 | Vol. 03 No. 11

concerns of New Yorkers, exploring topics focused on the new administration’s impact on the Empire State. In a city that is home to millions of immigrants, many of Trump’s goals — like cutting back on sanctuary city funding or emboldening immigrant officers — have New Yorkers concerned about protecting their neighbors as well as their values. “There are severe restrictions on the federal government’s ability to cut back funds for local governments,” Schneiderman said. “There’s a lot of chest-pounding and rhetoric about taking away all your money and you’re going to have to comply with this. It’s just not true.” Schneiderman explained that state Attorneys General from around the country have enjoyed success in defending the nation’s immigration traditions and said he expects that to continue. At the same time, he acknowledged that he and his peers are not alone in creating an effective counterweight to Trump. Schneiderman recalled Trump’s January 27 executive order that temporarily barred entry for refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations. While he and AGs from SCHNEIDERMAN continued on p. 4


Waterside Association Reels in Years of Hudson River Park Plans BY WINNIE McCROY Nature’s power to invigorate and inspire, along with our stewardship of that resource, was the thematic river that ran through the annual meeting of Chelsea Waterside Park Association (CWPA), held on the evening of Wed., May 24, at St. Paul’s Church (315 W. 22nd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). “Urban parks are a critical intersection between nature and the city,” said keynote speaker Nicolette Witcher, who serves as both vice president and the head of environment and education for Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT). “They are so important,” she said of accessible green spaces. “I raised three children in Manhattan, and the playgrounds and dog runs are essential; they give us great joy and utility.” Unlike the days of yore, when the monied elite would wisk their children to the country to commune with nature, today’s urban dwellers can find nature right where they live. This is in large part due to the efforts of the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, and groups like the CWPA and the Friends of Hudson River Park (FoHRP), the nonprofit advocacy and fundraising arm of HRPT (which works in partnership

Photo by Winnie McCroy

Hudson River Park Trust’s Nicolette Witcher served as keynote speaker, emphasizing the need for urban dwellers to connect with nature.

with the city and state to operate and maintain Hudson River Park, a fourmile, 500-acre stretch along the Hudson River, from W. 59th St. to Battery Park; visit hudsonriverpark.org). Witcher said it was critical that people interact with nature right where they live, be it via investigating nesting birds

during nature walks, helping restore the oyster population in the river, or just breathing in the salt air while jogging along the Hudson River Park. “Our way of connecting with nature is critical to our existance as a person, and our community as whole,” Witcher said. “Research tells us if we don’t

have real, meaninful interactions with nature, we are not as likely to exhibit pro-environmental behaviors.” “Nature also makes us more productive; a University of Michigan study shows that after just one hour in nature, memory and functioning improves by 20 percent,” she continued.”And nature heals us; hospital beds with windows overlooking trees show patients released sooner, and with less pain medication. Swedish studies show that joggers on a tree-lined path have much less anxiety and better mental health. And nature brings us together: tree plantings in urban communities breaks down barriers, sets aside arguments, and builds very strong communities.” In order for people to value nature, said Witcher, it’s not enough for them to just spend time in the country. They need to interact with nature where they live. And that’s where the Hudson River Park comes in; by integrating nature into the city, they can help people feel more connected to the environment. By 2050, 60 percent of all people will live in urban areas, said Witcher. So now is the time to focus on preservation. WATERSIDE PARK continued on p. 22

De Blasio Affordable Housing Myth #1 Mayor Bill de Blasio is creating, preserving and protecting affordable housing for families that need it most.

The Facts: • 168,000 wealthy tenants with annual incomes of $100,000+ occupy nearly 20% of all rent-regulated apartments. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau) • What’s de Blasio doing for 172,000 households with annual incomes of less than $25,000? • Only 5% of 40,000 affordable units under de Blasio went to tenants making less than $25K. (Source: Gothamist, 2/10/16) … “de Blasio’s… program will yield a grossly inadequate amount of housing for… the people who need it most.” (Source: Metropolitan Council on Housing)

De Blasio’s Housing Policies: Politics & Hypocrisy Next Week: de Blasio Myth #2 2

June 1, 2017

NYC Community Media

Trees Might Leave; Congestion Also a Concern During Water Main Work BY JACKSON CHEN The city’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is planning to tear up a chunk of Ninth Avenue to replace ancient water mains, enlarge the sewer pipe, provide utility and curb/sidewalk upgrades, and install new traffic signals and street lighting poles. While necessary, the project will impact traffic flow along an eight-block stretch, and seems poised to uproot a local greenmarket along with a leafy presence adjacent to the avenue’s bike lane. The project’s engineer, David Frank, said the water main project would see the elimination of some parking spots, reduce the number of traffic lanes from four to three, and possibly relocate bus stops as well as create a designated dropoff spot for residential garbage. In a Tues., May 30 email, a spokesperson for the DDC told this publication that the project is expected to begin next month and be completed by summer 2021. At a Thurs., May 18 town hall meeting — held at W. 56th St.’s High School for Environmental Studies and sponsored by West Side electeds and Community Board 4 (CB4) — Frank explained that the much-needed repairs would replace the Ninth Ave. water mains between W. 51st and 59th Sts. that have been in operation since 1870. “Water mains are supposed to last 50 to 100 years,” Frank said. “So you’re pushing 150 years on your older ones, your better ones were put in at 1908. I’d say we got our money out of those.” Much like any construction in the city, the project looks to be disruptive to neighbors and troublesome for the overall community. According to CB4 member (and former chair) Christine Berthet, one of the most frustrating consequences was the expected removal of trees. “We need the trees where they are, on the bike lanes,” Berthet said to DDC representatives at the town hall meeting. “That’s one of the major things we like with the bike lanes, to have the trees.” Berthet, who also serves as CB4’s Transportation Planning Committee cochair, said the removal of trees here would set a precedent for the rest of the city’s future water main repairs. The DDC said they’re following the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s guidelines where trees cannot be planted above a water main due to the expectation of future maintenance work. But the removal of the trees was an unacceptable option for Berthet. “Trees are tremendously important NYC Community Media

Photo by Christian Miles

The DDC’s repairs would reduce Ninth Ave. travel lanes from four to three.

Courtesy NYC DDC

The DDC’s water main project stretches from W. 51st to 59th Sts.

Photo by Christian Miles

Neighbors are concerned about the project’s expected removal of trees along Ninth Ave.’s bike lane.

in our neighborhood,” Berthet said. “One of the major reasons is our traffic and transportation is much worse than in most of the neighborhoods because of the Lincoln Tunnel, because of Port Authority. Trees are very, very important to our streetscape, our health, and our safety.” Instead of moving ahead with the removal of trees, the CB4 member recommended the agencies work more collaboratively to find a way to perform the water main work while not disrupting the trees. Overall, neighbors were also concerned about the temporary removal of

a traffic lane that is expected to bring more congestion. Residents brought up at the May 18 meeting that backed up cars and ambulances created an unending clamor of honking horns and sirens. A valued neighbor is already looking to relocate due to the construction preventing its farmers markets from operating. According to GrowNYC (grownyc. org), a nonprofit organization focused on improving the city’s environment, their Greenmarket that operates on Ninth Ave. (btw. W. 56th & 57th Sts.) WATER MAIN continued on p. 9 June 1, 2017


SCHNEIDERMAN continued from p. 1

other states worked on blocking the president’s action, thousands of lawyers and activists visited airports to see if there were stranded passengers seeking legal representation. “That was really the beginning of what I call the legal resistance,” Schneiderman said. “There’s a sense in the legal community of Attorneys General, lawyers for local governments, lawyers for nonprofits, and a lot of the members of the private bar that this order and other things they’ve done since then are offensive in a more fundamental way than meanspiritedness or bias. It shows a total disregard for the rule of law.” Schneiderman and other AGs continued their intervention on February 28 by opposing Trump’s executive order that aimed to rescind or revise the Clean Water Rule, established by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers during the Obama administration to protect streams and wetlands from pollution. Looking forward on issues of concern for New Yorkers, Schneiderman said one of the more pressing issues was codifying the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision into state law. Noting what he described as a “deep strain of misogyny” in the new administration, the Attorney General said it was vital to secure reproductive health rights in New York against the risk of erosion at the federal level. So far, the Reproductive Health Act, sponsored by Krueger, has passed the State Assembly and, in the Senate, has been referred to the Health Committee. Governor Andrew Cuomo has suggested an alternative route to protecting reproductive rights — through a state constitutional amendment, which provides greater security but is far more difficult to achieve. Given a federal government whose policies are suddenly both at odds with New York values and unpredictably volatile, Schneiderman said that it is time to start focusing on the powers that state governments have to make policy and protect the progressive gains of recent decades. “It’s very important that we recognize that states can fill in the gaps where federal government won’t enforce the laws,” he said. “The states are where the action is right now, and we have to take over state governments.” The Attorney General said it was also time to start capitalizing on the fierce political determination he sees among Democrats and channel

that to impact state legislative action. Schneiderman argued that, since 2010, Republicans have secured control of state after state and have been able to maintain that status quo by passing voter suppression laws. In New York, the AG said, introducing early voting would boost turnout dramatically. Beyond turning out for elections, he urged voters to scrutinize their elected officials by visiting their offices and speaking up — even to friendly legislators, since in that way voters’ words can then be brought to the Senate and Assembly floor. “The tougher you are with [electeds], the tougher they’re going to be with the opposition,” Schneiderman said. “So this new fierceness that you’re seeing is not just because everyone changed their diet... They are feeling this from their constituents.” A key problem progressives face in the New York Senate, Krueger charged, is the eightmember Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) that voted to share power with the minority Republicans, giving the GOP control of the chamber. With the recent addition of Senator Brian Benjamin — after he easily secured the Senate’s vacant 30th District seat in Upper Manhattan on May 23 — the Democrats maintain their 32-31 majority over Republicans but continue to be denied the leadership. According to Krueger, the Democrats are unable to pass progressive legislation due to the outsized influence of the Republicans, adding that IDC members need to “act like Democrats like they were elected to be.” Even as the largely Democratic crowd acknowledged the importance of which party controls the State Senate, they were also curious about what chance there was to shake up things at the White House. When asked as a lawyer what his view is of the chances for impeaching Trump, Schneiderman said, “Anything is possible.” At the same time, he warned that route was not “something to be taken lightly. It’s very serious, it’s a slow process, and it’s essentially a political decision.” Careful not to entertain the issue of impeachment too much, instead focusing on tackling substantive policy issues, Schneiderman also reminded the crowd of what removing Trump from office would mean. “If [Trump] goes tomorrow... we are looking at President Mike Pence,” he said. “There’s no door number two that brings you back to normal.”

PUBLISHER Jennifer Goodstein jgoodstein@cnglocal.com Manhattan Express, the newspaper for Midtown and the Upper East and Upper West Sides PUBLISHED BY

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June 1, 2017

EDITOR IN-CHIEF Paul Schindler editor@manhttanexpressnews.nyc ART DIRECTOR John Napoli

CONTRIBUTORS Jackson Chen Donna Aceto Lincoln Anderson Stephanie Buhmann Bill Egbert Dusica Sue Malesevic Colin Mixson Lenore Skenazy Scott Stiffler Eileen Stukane


Manhattan’s newest State Senator, Brian Benjamin, easily won a special election held on May 23. BRIAN BENJAMIN continued from p. 1

and his administration throughout the years as an affordable housing developer with Genesis Companies and through CB10. The mayor said that Benjamin has a proven track record of representing the community. “I believe that we need strong Democrats like [Benjamin] up in Albany, ready to help make our communities more affordable, and push back against the dangerous Trump agenda,” de Blasio said in a written release. “With Brian as New York’s newest State Senator, we can work to restore Democratic control to the Legislature and make these priorities a reality.” Even with a Benjamin victory, however, the Democrats, unable to command the support of Brooklyn conservative Democrat Simcha Felder, will not have enough votes to secure control of the Senate. With Republicans in charge, Democrats also face defections by a rump Independent Democratic Conference, whose members have won some leadership positions as well, in some cases, as enhanced pay — known informally as lulus — for their cooperation with the GOP. In his election night statement, Benjamin pledged to remain loyal to the mainline Democrats, though he has also said he hopes to be a uniting force between the Democrats and the eight-member IDC. “I will go to Albany and work as a proud Democrat, fighting for our families,” he said in claiming victory. “Together with my colleagues in the Democratic Conference, I will work to achieve meaningful bail reform, protect a woman’s right to choose, and secure the Campaign for Fiscal Equity funding our public schools deserve.” Benjamin’s statement also outlined his other priorities in Albany. “A growing affordable housing crisis impacts thousands of families and threatens their ability to stay in the community they know and love,” he said. “Far too often, our children do not receive the education they need to succeed. The progressive values we as New Yorkers share in criminal justice reform, immigrants’ rights, and a woman’s reproductive health are under attack by Donald Trump and the Republicans.” — Additional reporting by Paul Schindler

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Nightmarish delays at Penn Station due to track problems prompted Gov. Cuomo to seek a state solution.

Cuomo’s Fix for Troubled Hub: Give State Penn Station Repair Project BY JACKSON CHEN Governor Andrew Cuomo believes his administration can do better than the federal government, so he is requesting that Amtrak hand over the critically needed Penn Station repair project to New York State. The nation’s largest rail hub, which Cuomo likened to catacombs, is already running at double capacity, serving more than 600,000 passengers a day. Service out of Penn Station, shared by the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit, and Amtrak trains on the Northeast Corridor, has been disrupted by two derailments and frequent track problems in recent weeks, angering riders. Conditions on the city’s transit system — the subways, the LIRR, and Metro North — have reached crisis levels in the view of many elected officials and transportation experts. Amtrak, which owns the station and is responsible for maintenance of the tracks, plans to embark on an emergency repair project beginning Fri., July 7 –– an effort the governor now wants to commandeer. Amtrak has said the repairs will take six weeks and reduce peak train service during that period by 20 percent, but Cuomo is skeptical of its ability to carry out the complicated project on time. “Now, even if Amtrak could get this done in six weeks, if you reduce trains coming into Penn by 20 percent, it will be a summer of hell for commuters,” the governor said. “Amtrak has had a track record of coming with a schedule and the actuality has no connection whatsoever to a schedule.” Instead, Cuomo’s Tues., May 23 proposal to the federal government would NYC Community Media

allow New York State to take over the repair project. The governor also wants to merge the Penn Station repairs with the nearby Moynihan Station and Gateway projects. The Moynihan project will transform the landmarked James A. Farley Post Office Building into Manhattan’s new base for Amtrak trains, and the Gateway project will repair two deteriorated tunnels underneath the Hudson River and create a new tunnel to double the train capacity between New York and New Jersey. Cuomo said since the state already has a hand in these two major projects, Amtrak should surrender the reins of the Penn Station repairs to Empire State Development, which he asserted would be able to coordinate all three projects. “The best way to do this... is do it as one unified project under one project manager and have the entire project work together,” Cuomo said at a news conference at the CUNY Graduate Center (365 Fifth Ave., btw. W. 34th & 35th Sts.). The governor said he has already spoken with legislative leaders in the city and in Albany who offered support for his proposal. State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Long Island Republican, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and City Comptroller Scott Stringer are among those who have spoken up favorably about the idea. To further engage key stakeholders, Cuomo is assembling a task force to work with the federal government in seeking REPAIRS continued on p. 12 June 1, 2017


Our Perspective NYC Sends a Message by Banning On-Call Scheduling By Stuart Appelbaum, President Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW orking in retail in New York City can be a tough way to make a living. Low wages and insufficient hours can make it a struggle just to get by. And, until now, retail workers have faced the brutal practice known as on-call scheduling. But finally, thanks Retail workers deserve to to a new law passed by the thrive, not just survive. New York City Council, with Mayor de Blasio set to sign it soon, on-call scheduling will be a thing of the past. The RWDSU is proud to have led the fight against on-call scheduling, which disrupts workers’ lives and their families’ lives by requiring them to keep themselves available when they are not scheduled to work with no guarantee of an actual work shift. We work with retail workers, both unionized and nonunionized, every day. And we know how on-call scheduling has made it impossible for workers to take a needed second job or plan for the basic necessities of their lives, including child care, education, or medical care. That’s why the passage of Intro. 1387 is so important. The law bans New York City The new law will restore employers from scheduling control and balance to the workers to be on call. lives of working people in Employers will not be able to New York City. cancel a shift within 72 hours of the start of the shift except under extreme conditions like a natural disaster. Employers can only add shifts within 72 hours with workers’ consent. The new law takes away from employers a cruel, exploitative computer-driven system designed to optimize employer profits while sacrificing any considerations for working men and women. It will restore control and balance to the lives of working people in New York City. We applaud the city council’s action, and look forward to the mayor signing this bill into law. The de Blasio Administration’s partnership with the RWDSU to support workers sets a national precedent that will be felt across the country. It’s important that more cities recognize the destructive effect of on-call scheduling and ban the practice. Retail workers deserve to thrive, not just survive. And banning on-call scheduling is an important part of setting an environment where retail workers can move forward and build better lives.


www.rwdsu.org 6

June 1, 2017

Environmental Study of AMNH Expansion Bared BY JACKSON CHEN The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) took another step in the lengthy approval process for its controversial expansion as the Department of Parks and Recreation released the project’s draft environmental impact statement on May 18. The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation comes with a $340 million price tag and would significantly improve the museum’s visitor flow and offer more exhibition and educational space. However, the project would also encroach on the surrounding Theodore Roosevelt Park and involve three years of construction. The dense and detailed draft environmental impact statement (on.nyc. gov/2qc5UE0) triggers a comment period, with the public given the opportunity to sound off on June 15 at 6 p.m. in the museum’s LeFrak Theater (enter on Columbus Avenue at West 79th Street). According to Ed Applebome, senior vice president at AKRF, an environmental consulting fi rm that was part of the project team, the document focuses on changes between the site’s existing environment and expected conditions once the project is completed, with particular focus on three areas with potential for significant adverse environmental impacts. The expectation that the Gilder Center will draw an additional 745,000 annual visitors to the museum means there will likely be a notable impact on traffic and transportation. Applebome said that looking at three intersections expected to see increased vehicular traffic — West 81st Street and Central Park West, West 77th and Central Park West, and West 77th and Columbus Avenue — the team concluded that impact can be mitigated by a one-second traffic signal retiming at the discretion of the Department of Transportation. To address the expected influx of pedestrians at West 81st Street and Columbus Avenue, he added, a widening of the painted crosswalk is recommended. In weighing the impact of three years of construction, Applebome said the team specifically looked at two residential buildings — at 101 and 118 West 79th Street — in par-

ticularly close proximity to the project. There, the museum will offer window treatments or air conditioning to reduce the negative effects of construction noise and pollution on residents. The museum will also establish a construction working group to field concerns and complaints and serve as a point of contact for the community and local leaders. According to Dan Slippen, the museum’s vice president of government affairs, in assembling this working group, the museum will cast a “fairly wide net and we’ll be pretty inclusive” — potentially with representatives of neighborhood or block associations and business improvement districts. Due to the demolition of one of the museum’s existing buildings, one significant impact on historical and cultural resources cannot be avoided, Sue Golden, a partner with Venable LLP, a law fi rm that was part of the museum’s team, acknowledged. She noted the museum would document the building’s existence by preserving its records and working with the State Historic Preservation Office. Vocal opponents of the project remain vigilant, having rejected the Gilder Center at every step. Cary Goodman, a District 7 City Council candidate, was critical of the methods and documents used to examine the project. He said his stance remains the same — that the museum should restart the entire process with community input at the fore. “Frankly, I don’t think they have the community’s interest at heart for me to trust them to contain all the toxins that’s part of the project,” Goodman said of the environmental impact. “I’m not clear that their level of commitment to the neighborhood is good.” Another opposition group, the Community United to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park, recently retained an engineering firm through Michael Hiller, an attorney known for representing residential opposition to major developments, according to the group’s president Claudia DiSalvo. She added that the firm’s independent study would be more comprehensive compared to the draft study completed by the parks department. NYC Community Media

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Men Who Marry Men (MMM) are Making a New Template BY GERALD BUSBY When Craig Lucas and his partner Frankie Krainz got married after living together for three years, they didn’t tell anybody. The secrecy was partly an expression of their desire to insulate themselves from intrusions into their lives, especially their work habits. Craig, a startlingly literate playwright, is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony nominee; Frankie writes plays and musicals, and acts in films. “Friends were asking over and over when we were going to get married, so we did it just to be able to say, oh, we already are,” Craig said. “We loved each other, but marriage gave us a sense of completion we didn’t feel before.” The security of legal benefits was also important, particularly regarding the exigencies of old age and dying. “The template of straight marriage is strong,” Craig said, when I asked if he sensed an essential difference between straight and gay marriage. A template for gay marriage is perhaps the most sensitive point of contention between proponents of traditional straight mar-

riage and advocates of gay marriage. Traditionalists say that marriage is not governed by civil rights, but by religion. A gay template for marriage would transcend parochially morality. The gravity of religious ritual and sanctimony would be replaced by commitment to love itself within the context of social responsibility. This is by no means just about gay men and women; it’s about all men and women and marriage that goes beyond gay or straight. It’s the sexual overtones of gay marriage that make the hearts of religious fundamentalists flutter with excited disapproval — to accept gay marriage is to accept gay sex. I asked Craig and Frankie if they were monogamous, and they answered that their marriage is open. Craig defined open as freedom to explore new scenarios of sexual pleasure. Total trust is necessary to create and participate in new ways to do it. Having no secrets inspires freedom to explore the physicality of love. This may be a new template for marriage. It shouldn’t be a surprise that gay playwrights are creating a new

Courtesy Krainz/Lucas

Paris isn’t the only thing they’ll always have: L to R, married couple Frankie Krainz and Craig Lucas, seen here in the City of Light.

model for domestic married life in the same way that gay bodybuilders stylized masculinity in the ’80s. Since both Craig and Frankie are always working, I asked if their marriage had affected their creative output in any way. Both immediately said no. They also said no when I asked if they had told their families that they were married. They don’t want to defend themselves against the staunch conser-

vatism of their relatives. Craig and Frankie did comply with traditional marriage protocol in one regard. During dinner at the Knickerbocker Bar & Grill on University Place, Craig got down on one knee and, with a wedding ring in his hand, asked Frankie to marry him. Other restaurant guests gave them steady, perplexed glances. MMM continued on p. 23

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WATER MAIN continued from p. 3

on Wednesdays and Saturdays, would have to find a new spot. “We see about a year out where we probably have to relocate,” said Michael Hurwitz, GrowNYC’s Greenmarket director. “We’re debating whether or not we’ll relocate in the middle of this year so it gives us an opportunity to drive customers to get familiar with the new location.” Hurwitz explained that the construction during the project’s second phase would obstruct the Greenmarket operations. But the organization isn’t deterred as they’re in the process of seeking a new spot to set up shop. For the time being, they’re still operating the Greenmarket that opened on May 24 that usually hosts up to six producers. The director added that they’ve been in conversations with the Department of Transportation, DDC, and CB4 to make sure there’s a smooth transition and minimal impact. “All in all, everyone’s working with us,” Hurwitz said. “Obviously construction can be disruptive, but this is going to be as little disruption as possible.”

Photo by Christian Miles

GrowNYC is considering when to move its Greenmarket, in anticipation of the DDC’s four-year project.


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June 1, 2017


Deadlines Loom on Sex Abuse Survivor Relief BY PAUL SCHINDLER As the deadline approaches for victims of sexual abuse by local priests to file claims under a special fund established by the Archdiocese of New York, legislators in Albany looking to provide more broadbased relief to survivors are scrambling to move bills through the State Senate and Assembly in advance of the Legislature’s adjournment in late June. Several survivors of childhood victimization, including 47-year-old restaurateur Shaun Dougherty, appeared on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on May 15 to urge other victims to enroll in the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, a fund established by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. That fund, in its first phase, was open to survivors who had already made claims against the archdiocese. In its second phase, the program is accepting enrollment from survivors coming forward to the Church formally for the first time. The deadline for registration is July 31. “This is a unique opportunity that generations of children haven’t had,” said Dougherty, who noted that survivors are giving up no other options simply by enrolling. If they accept a settlement through the fund, however, they must agree to waive their right to any future claims. The fund is administered by Ken Feinberg, who was the special master who oversaw the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Dougherty suffered three years of sexual abuse by a priest beginning at age 10 while he was a student at a Catholic elementary school in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. For Dougherty, years of silent shame were followed by many more years in which his parents refused to believe his account of the abuse he suffered. Only after a statewide grand jury convened by the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office in 2014 concluded that he had in fact been abused among other youth in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese did Dougherty regain the trust of his parents — just two years before his father’s death. Even though the diocese back in Pennsylvania acknowledges the harm done to Dougherty, he has no legal recourse. And though he has no claims against the New York Archdiocese, he is an advocate here and in Albany for reform to help other survivors. The Dolan fund applies only to the Archdiocese of New York, which encompasses Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx along with several upstate counties. And it only covers abuse suf-


June 1, 2017

Courtesy Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse

Abuse survivors Shaun Dougherty (center) and Brian Toale (right) with Jerry Kristal of Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse, at a May 15 press conference at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

fered at the hands of priests or deacons, not that perpetrated by other Church employees or even priests who do not report directly to the Archdiocese. Mick Meenan, a 50-year-old journalist and former deputy editor at an NYC Community Media sister publication, Gay City News, has been in touch for the past year with his high school alma mater, Fordham Prep in the Bronx, about forced oral sexual assault he said he suffered from Fernand Beck, his religion teacher. Though Fordham fired Beck and its president has apologized to Meenan, he is unable to register with the archdiocesan fund regarding that abuse. Separately, he is preparing a claim regarding abusive behavior by one of his Bronx parish priests. Advocates for abuse survivors are also pressing Albany to take action that would relax what is one of the most stringent statutes of limitations facing abuse victims. Under current law, victims of childhood sexual abuse must either make a criminal complaint or file a civil lawsuit by age 23. Experts on childhood sexual abuse victims agree it can often take decades for a survivor to be ready to come forward. Early this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his support for a plan to eliminate all limits on the time a victim can come forward with a criminal complaint, allow civil suits to be filed for up to 50 years after any abuse, and create a one-year look-back window for abuse survivors whose cases couldn’t be brought under current law

to step forward. The announcement cheered survivors’ advocates but so far the governor hasn’t taken any concrete steps to further that pledge. In the meanwhile, Senate Republicans have blocked action on West Side Democrat Brad Hoylman’s Child Victims Act, which would eliminate any time limitation on filing civil suits. Pressing for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he is the ranking member, he was told by the Republican chair, John Bonacic, that at the direction of Majority Leader John Flanagan the bill would instead be diverted to the Rules Committee, where Hoylman said “it will never see the light of day.” Frustrated at the lack of debate about the issue, Hoylman said he merely hears vague concerns from Republicans about “false claims” clogging the courts. The bill, he explained, is opposed not only by groups such as the State Catholic Conference of Bishops and the Boy Scouts, but also by insurance companies that are “vehement” in their objections. “So it’s the old Albany story,” he said. “Corporate interests versus the needs of the little guy.” Hoylman’s hope, at this point, is that Cuomo will step forward in the session’s remaining weeks with a governor’s program bill. Saying he is optimistic that is what Cuomo is planning, Hoylman said, “It would be a significant unifying step and move the conversation forward in both houses.” Upper West Side Assemblymember

Linda Rosenthal, the sponsor of a similar bill in her chamber, is also upbeat. “I’ve spoken to the most senior staff in the governor’s office and I am very optimistic that we will get something from them,” Rosenthal told NYC Community Media. “Senate Republicans, of course, are the ones that are blocking this. But I think with the governor’s leadership, there is enough momentum to finally address a heinous history in this state and in the nation.” Cuomo’s office did not respond to a request for comment as of publication time. Hoylman could not conceal his contempt for hypocrisy about protecting children from abuse among his GOP colleagues. “Today the Senate is considering its 17th bill on sex offenders,” he told NYC Community Media on May 23. “These are press release bills, onehouse bills that won’t be enacted, so the Republicans can go back home and put the fear in their voters that sex offenders will flood their communities.” Meenan, who said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the abuse he faced as a youth and is currently battling his landlord in Housing Court, offered an even harsher assessment. “What does it take for these lawmakers to understand taxpayers foot the bill for pedophiles in lost wages, rents, incarcerations, etc.?” he said. “My possible eviction is a result of my religion teacher having my penis in his mouth.” NYC Community Media

State Liquor Authority Serves Sobering News to Il Bastardo BY WINNIE McCROY On Wed., May 24, the Chelsea restaurant Il Bastardo (191 Seventh Ave., btw. W. 21st & 22nd Sts.) brought a pending case before a full board meeting of the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA), attempting to illustrate how the owner had made changes to curb the public drunkenness and rowdy behavior at the restaurant’s now-infamous weekend brunches. After threatening to end the brunch altogether, the SLA handed them a $10,000 fine and stipulations that there be no music of any kind played during brunch. “There was a bacchanal feel to the brunches, and he has eliminated this,� said Thomas J. McCallen, Esq. of Carreras & McCallen PLLC, the lawyer representing owner Tarek Alam in case number #114207, Mangaroni LLC Il Bastardo. Chairman Vincent G. Bradley dismissed several of the charges, but sustained complaints that on Aug. 21, 2016, the business had failure to conform to application, failure to comply — unlicensed cabaret, and failure to supervise. Some points at issue were interior noncompliance with the permit regarding a DJ booth and selfie booth.

Photo by Scott Stiffler

On Sun., May 28, the brunch crowd that once brought a “bacchanal feel� to Seventh Ave. was nowhere to be seen.

McCallen said that since the winter, Alam had been meeting regularly with local interests, including Community Board 4, the Council of Chelsea Block Associations (CCBA), the 13th Precinct,

and City Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office. “This is an example of the perils of purchasing through a stock deal,� McCallen said, referencing how Alam came to be

in possession of Il Bastardo. The current problems, he noted, can be traced back to the introduction of prix fixe brunches. SLA SERVES continued on p. 27


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REPAIRS continued from p. 5

short-term and long-term solutions for the Penn Station, Gateway, and the Moynihan projects. West Side Congressmember Jerry Nadler, who will be joining Cuomoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s task force, focused on the question of Washingtonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s willingness to provide adequate resources, saying in a written statement, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Amtrakâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main issue has been a lack of funding and the federal government has both a responsibility and an obligation to fund this vital transportation network, which is important not just to New York State but the entire Northeast Corridor.â&#x20AC;? New Yorkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s two US Senators â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Minority Leader Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand â&#x20AC;&#x201C;â&#x20AC;&#x201C; were even harsher about the federal government living up to its funding responsibilities, especially in light of the Trump administration budget released this week. The two Democrats, in a written statement, pointed to the Presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proposed $760 million in cuts to Amtrak as an example of â&#x20AC;&#x153;doubling down on dilapidation.â&#x20AC;? Schumer added, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proposal to slash American infrastructure investments is a job-killing, 180-degree turn away from his repeated promise of a trillion dollar infrastructure plan. The fuzzy math and sleight of hand canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hide the fact that the Presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s $200 billion plan is more than wiped out by other cuts to key infrastructure programs.â&#x20AC;? Gillibrand said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s budget cuts would only further delay long overdue repairs to make our transit systems more safe and reliable.â&#x20AC;? Still, it seems that Cuomo has not given up entirely on Trumpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s promise of better infrastructure throughout the nation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;President Trump has talked about a trillion-dollar

Photo by Jackson Chen

Governor Andrew Cuomo at a May 23 press conference on the future of emergency repairs at Penn Station.

infrastructure program. What better single project can you have than this project?â&#x20AC;? the governor said. Cuomo also acknowledged the Metropolitan Transportation Authorityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s struggling performance with the subway system. To spur creative outside-the-box ideas, the governor said he challenged the MTA to initiate an international competition to solicit solutions to what he described as the systemâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s three major challenges: more trains running, improved train cars, and a modern transit system overall. To provide some incentive, Cuomo said the state would

offer a $1 million â&#x20AC;&#x153;Genius Transit Challengeâ&#x20AC;? award for the winning solutions in each of the categories. After hearing the MTAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s projected 40 to 50-year time frame to upgrade the subwaysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; signal system, Cuomo said he concluded government needs to begin exploring ideas from sources other than the usual industry experts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I will be dead in the next 40 years,â&#x20AC;? Cuomo said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It cannot take 40 years to put in a new signal system. Ideas are out there, the technology is out there. We need to get those ideas and technology here.â&#x20AC;?

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June 1, 2017

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The Specifics of Terrific ‘Pacific’ Shortened Sondheim sings in Classic Stage Co.’s ‘Overtures’ BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE Stripping down Sondheim is a trend this season, and theater is much better for it. On the heels of the artfully shaved “Sweeney Todd,” still packing the diminutive house at the Barrow Street Theatre, comes Classic Stage Company’s comparably pared down mounting of “Pacifi c Overtures.” In both cases, the reductions serve the pieces extremely well and they emerge as powerful, compelling, and pretty much required viewing for anyone who admires Sondheim and loves musical theater. In the case of “Pacific Overtures,” the show has been cut down to a taut 90 minutes without intermission. As directed and designed by John Doyle, “Pacific Overtures” is staged on a scroll that runs the length of the reconfigured theater. Using only a 10-person company, some pieces of fabric, and a few props, its focus is on the language, the music, and the story. The imposition of foreign culture on Japan beginning in 1853 and continuing to the present is chilling and, as performed in modern dress, the production reads as a bitter look back at how a culture is subsumed and largely erased, all in the quest for progress. The score is one of Sondheim’s most complex, relying at times on the pentatonic (Japanese) scale, and the lyricism and poetry resonate of the devastation being practiced on the country. With new orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick for a smaller orchestra, every note counts — and is beautifully placed. As the plot unfolds, what is arguably one of the most sublime songs in musical theater, “Someone in a Tree,” captures the pivotal moment at which the country is basically sold down the river — and how few people could understand what was happening at the time. There are many other memorable songs, particularly “Bowler Hat,” which tells the story of the loss of Japan’s ancient soul through a few accessories — bowler hat, monocle, and pocket watch. Similarly, the NYC Community Media

Photos by Joan Marcus

L to R: Kelvin Moon Loh, Austin Ku, George Takei, Marc Oka, and Thom Sesma in Stephen Sondheim’s “Pacific Overtures” at Classic Stage Company through June 18.

Megan Masako Haley as Tamate.

arrival of representatives from other countries looking for trade in “Please Hello” is nothing short of harrowing. Each of these contributes something

essential to the story and the production’s emotional impact. The company is exceptional. George Takei is The Reciter, who sets the tale in motion and watches almost ghostlike over the events. Steven Eng is sensational as Kayama, the lowly magistrate thrust into an ever-expanding fortune, almost by accident. He sings “Bowler Hat,” and his transition takes him from meek country man to the hard, worldly man seduced by stuff and advancement, despite his wife’s suicide because of her belief he had been dishonored. Other standouts include Kelvin Moon Loh, with an operatic bass voice and a powerful presence as the Russian Admiral, among other parts. Austin Ku, Thom Sesma, Orville Mendoza, and Mark Oka all shine. And the wonderful Ann Harada plays comedy as the pimp forced to recruit new girls. As she observes in her frus-

tration, “With appropriate veneering, even green wood has its charms.” Harada, like the rest of the cast, plays many roles — the original Broadway company had more than 30 performers — and she shows impressive range well beyond comedy. In an eerie echo of our own time, the cries to expel the “barbarians” and make Japan great again prove elusive and, in the end, impossible. For better or worse, one must deal with present realities, not nostalgic fantasy, even when that reality is grim. Through June 18: Tues.–Thurs. at 7pm; Fri.–Sat. at 8pm; Sat.–Sun. at 3pm. At Classic Stage Company (136 E. 13th St., btw. Third & Fourth Aves.). For tickets ($71– $126), visit classicstage.org or call 866-8114111. $30 lottery on Today Tix app. Runtime: 90 minutes, no intermission. June 1, 2017



THE WASHINGTON SQUARE MUSIC FESTIVAL A sweet source of June swoon for music lovers of many stripes, The Washington Square Association’s free outdoor Tuesday night concert series offers the distinct possibility of moon and the certitude of croon. June 6’s opening installment tips its hat to Pride month by welcoming America’s first gay and lesbian chorus. Rendered by the venue as technically unable to raise the roof, but powerful nonetheless, The Stonewall Chorale lends its 60+ voices to Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” newly transcribed for chamber orchestra by timpanist and percussionist Charles Kiger. The series’ longtime musical director, Lutz Rath, conducts the Festival Chamber Orchestra — and returns for those duties on June 13, conducting the Festival Chamber Ensemble in a program featuring harp soloist Mélanie Genin. June 20 sees the Ensemble return with selections from Rameau, Boccherini, and Mozart — along with four works by the thunderously dynamic New York Taiko Aiko Kai drum ensemble. The series concludes June 27, with a “Mostly Argentinian” program of tango and jazz featuring master bandoneonist and composer JP Jofre, backed by a nine-piece band. Tuesdays in June at 8pm, in Washington Square Park (main stage south; Fifth Ave./Waverly Place, btw. W. Fourth & MacDougal Sts.). All concerts are free (seating on a first-come, first served basis). Rainspace for June 6 & 13: Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South, at Thompson St.); rainspace for June 20 & 27: NYU Tishman Auditorium (40 Washington Square South). Visit washingtonsquaremusicfestival.org or call 212-252-361.

Photo by Sally J. Bair

Seen here, Lutz Rath conducts the Festival Chamber Orchestra. Washington Square Music Festival concerts happen every Tues. in June.

Courtesy ARChive of Contemporary Music

Sizzling hot: ARChive of Contemporary Music’s summer sale has 33,000 musicthemed items (give or take) up for grabs.

ARCHIVE OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC’S SIZZLIN’ SUMMER RECORD + CD SALE Everything old isn’t new again at the ARChive of Contemporary Music, because the recordings they collect (1950 to the present) never did and never will go out of style — certainly not in the hearts and minds of artists and scholars who flock to this Tribecabased nonprofit to access their library of over 90 million songs and over three million pieces of rare music-related photos, sheet music, press kits, and memorabilia. Twice a year (right now, then


June 1, 2017

in December), ARC opens its doors to the general public, with a fundraising sale whose fair price “wow” factor is eclipsed only by the breadth of its offerings: 30,000 items representing the best of what was left after they did their Noah’s Ark thing (i.e., keeping two of everything for that ever-expanding permanent collection). There’s no gristle in this “Sizzlin’ Summer” sale,” whose offerings include a selection of Latin recordings pressed in South America, Classical LPs for $1, other LPs, $1-$5, CDs, box sets, 2,000 never-before-offered singles, music-themed VHS and LaserDisc titles, vintage ’60s psychedelic posters, magazines, and rare Fillmore East programs. Spurred to action by a recent donation of books (for sale at the sale, of course), the ARChive crew is a tempting trade agreement: bring in any music-related book not in stock and exchange it for one of “equal or thereabouts face value.” Prep for your act of amiable bartering by visiting arcmusic. org/catalogs/books to see the 9,500 titles already in their book catalog. Daily: Sat., June 3–Sun., June 18. Weekdays, 11am–7pm; weekends, 11am– 6pm. At ARChive of Contemporary Music (54 White St., btw. Broadway & Church St.). Visit arcmusic.org or call 212-226-6967.


Photo by Rose Hartman, courtesy the filmmaker

Bianca Jagger at Studio 54 in 1977. Discover the backstory of this iconic image in “The Incomparable Rose Hartman,” opening June 2 at the Quad.

“She’s a rose with thorns,” says one keen observer, in this begrudgingly admirable warts and warts look at longtime West Village resident and photographer Rose Hartman — the woman who helped create the global face of NYC nightlife by confidently entering (then elbowing her way through) Gotham’s most fantastic parties, galas, and fashion NYC Community Media

Courtesy the filmmaker

Bicycle Habitat’s Hal, from filmmaker Fredgy Noël’s “Seven Days in New York.”

shows. Labeled by an impressive parade of talking heads as everything from “a very complex character” to somebody who “just doesn’t quit, to the point that you really want to strangle her,” this self-professed “chiffon jungle” safari photographer has an essence far more difficult to capture than that of her subjects. Starting out as a strict observer back in the day when the A-List had names like Capote and Warhol, the film makes a compelling argument that Hartman’s gift for “impulsive portraiture” (as one person describes it) elevated her from paparazzi to “visual historian.” It’s telling, however, that few who sing her praises appear on cameara with her — and for good reason. More than once, Hartman berates director Otis Mass, who, like so many before him, finally snaps. “Rose,” says the exasperated director, “shut the f--k up and let’s talk.” The exasperated viewer will feel the same way, and long before the film’s 70-minute running time has come to an end — thus granting Hartman’s desire: “I don’t want to be humanized. I like to come across as provocative.” Opens Fri., June 2 at Quad Cinema (34 W. 13th St., btw. Sixth & Fifth Aves.). Visit quadcinema.com.

FILM: “SEVEN DAYS IN NEW YORK” Independent filmmaker, 12-year Gothamite, and tart nostalgist Fredgy Noël populates her satisfyingly candid documentary with one longtime New Yorker for each day of the week — outsized personalities all, but none of them reduced to the sort of “boy, they sure are real a character”-type depictions that have soured so many other lazy and/or uninformed attempts to get under the Big Apple’s skin. A smart decision by director, cinematographer and editor Noël to sit back and observe rather than engage her subjects in conversation or bring third party talking heads into the mix pays off every time, revealing hidden dimensions and yielding quiet moments that speak volumes (such likable tour guide Sherwood, who, unable to stomach looking at New Jersey because that’s where his ex-wife lives, plays it for laughs then gets caught by the camera having uttered a very telling slip of the lip). With seven character sketches unfolding in just under 50 minutes, “Seven Days in New York” knows how to dig in and drill down, then move on before we’ve had our fill. Harlem hair queen Monae, Billymark’s West bartender/ co-owner Billy, and Bicycle Habitat’s Hal are among the witty, stubborn, natural born charismatics who made it here, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Their incurable love of the city is contagious. This film screened Wed., May 31 as part of the NewFilmmakers New York Film Festival at Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Ave., at Second St.). For info on future screenings and more artist info, visit fredgynoel.com. “Seven Days” will be available on vimeo. com in December. NYC Community Media


June 1, 2017


Photo by Nicholas Papananias

Installation shot, “Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia.” L to R, foreground, are the Orchestrions “Mechanical Aviary,” “Finky” and “The General,” created by Mothersbaugh in 2014 out of abandoned organ pipes and birdcalls.

Buhmann on Art ‘Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia’ at Grey Art Gallery BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN While a founding member of the pioneering band DEVO, Mark Mothersbaugh has also been a visual artist since the early 1970s. Over several decades, he has amassed a prodigious body of work consisting of paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, wildly inventive musical instruments of his own design, decorative arts, film, film scores, and performances. Samples of his eclectic practice will be presented in this fascinating show. Many of Mothersbaugh’s works were sparked by his extensive visual diary of over 30,000 postcard-sized drawings. Obscure historical information, massculture, and Western consumerism are among his predominant themes, evoking the concept behind DEVO (de-evolution), which postulates that instead of continuing to evolve, mankind has begun to regress. In addition, many of Mothersbaugh’s images involve physical mutations. His particular interest in this subject stems from his personal experience of suffering from severe myopia, a common type of refractive error, where close objects appear clearly but distant ones blurry. The fact that his nearsightedness was not diag-


June 1, 2017

Photo by Nicholas Papananias

Courtesy the artist

Installation shot of Mark Mothersbaugh’s “50-Foot-Tall Scale Models of Proposed Farewell Arches to Luxembourg City” (2014. Painted fiberglass; each figure approx. 59 x 82 x 61 in.).

Mark Mothersbaugh: “Self Portrait with First Pair of Glasses” (2015. Painted inkjet print, 61 x 44 in.).

influences, informing the group’s distinctive look, which included hazmat suits and their trademark red “energy dome” hats. Looking at the works on display (including the world’s largest ruby crystal, molded into a soft serve cone), one will find that art is not simply another chapter within Mothersbaugh’s oeuvre,

but rather part of an ongoing multi-media exploration. Through July 15 at Grey Art Gallery (100 Washington Sq. East, btw. Waverly & Washington Places). Hours: Tues., Thurs., Fri., 11am–6pm; Wed., 11am–8pm; Sat., 11am–5pm. Visit nyu.edu/greyart or call 212-998-6780.

nosed in his early childhood has left him to relate to outsiders ever since. Approaching his subjects with a youthful perspective, his art and music continue to lack a sense of self-importance while aiming to shift our perspective on the status quo. Dada, Surrealism, and German Expressionism were among DEVO’s early

NYC Community Media


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

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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.

June 1, 2017


WATERSIDE PARK continued from p. 2

“Look at composting,” Witcher said. “It’s a simple little thing to put your organic trash in a different place than your regular garbage, and almost onethird of New York City’s garbage could be composted rather than barged or trucked out. Think of all that fuel used every day. All that garbage could just disappear, and instead become organic material in our city parks, so they would’t have to truck in tons of soil for their plants. It could have a huge impact, overnight.”

COMPOSTING COMES TO HUDSON RIVER PARK Chelsea residents are about to experience a sea change when it comes to your trash. As of Tues., June 6, you can drop off food scraps to bins at the W. 14th St. Pier as part of the Hudson River Park Compost Program. And starting Wed., June 14 at 6 p.m. on Pier 66, you can be part of the solution by joining the HRPT Compost Committee. They are currently seeking compost facilitators to work alongside Park horticulturalists to maintain and process compost materials and record data. They’re also looking for compost ambassadors to do community outreach and education. Volunteers must be 16 years or older, and commit to a minimum of two hours a week. As part of the compost outreach efforts, the HRPT is collaborating with a group of students from the University of Michigan to find ways to streamline the composting process, with the goal of getting more community members to participate. “Our project fits within the city’s Zero Waste 2030 goal and their sustainability goal,” said Anita Lin. “We want to simplify the waste project, and work with schoolchildren to encourage parents to compost. We are looking to take a third of the waste that is compostable and funnel that into 1,400 pounds of compost to use for gardening by the end of 2018.” Student Alexander Ho asked community members to complete a survey identifying things that motivated them to compost, as well as those things that made them hesitant to compost, be it odor, rodents, or lack of space. “With your insights, we can develop different strategies to get people in the community to compost and have a better environment,” Ho noted.

PREPPING FOR PLAY AREA RENOVATIONS Connie Fishman and Tony Simone — who serve, respecively, as FoHRP’s


June 1, 2017

Photo by Ted Gorodetsky

Chelsea Waterside Play Area in its current form, with signage indicating things to come. Work is expected to begin fall 2017 and last about six months.

executive director and director of external affairs — arrived to share great news: thanks to contributions from elected officials and community members, FoHRP is within $100,000 of its funding goal to renovate the 15-yearold Chelsea Waterside Play Area (visit tinyurl.com/jwyvdkb to support fundraising efforts). “We anticipate securing full funding by the end of June, at which point we will send the design out to bid, and start the renovations by September, to be finished by next summer so that kids have a new place to play by next year,” Fishman said As the first water play park for children in the neighborhood, this area gets an intense amount of use on a daily basis. Fishman said that playground equipment generally only lasts about a decade before it wears out. This water park suffered a shorter life span due to plumbing problems resulting from children pouring buckets of water and sand down the drains. “It was a real learning lesson,” Fishman recalled, “and when the playground committee began looking for their first project, they voted unanimously to fix this.” Community members, parents and the CWPA were asked what they would do if they had a fresh start. The new design goals included imaginative play features, the water and sand area better orchestrated, better sight lines, comfort and shade for parents, and separate play areas for big and little children. They worked with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., who created an ariel design of the new playground featuring a water play area for

young kids and a larger climbing area for bigger kids. On the remnant wall of the previous playground, they will commemorate the names of those who donated $5,000 or more. Among these are NY State Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, who donated $500,00, and City Councilmember Corey Johnson, who donated $800,000. “Corey is a huge supporter of the Hudson River Park, especially the Chelsea Waterside Park, and over the past few years has directed over $800,000 in discretionary money to renovate the play area,” said his representative Matt Green. “We are excited about working on the renovations and celebrating with you all when the park is finished. We are also excited about the June 6 kickoff of this new composting initiative at Hudson River Park. It would be terrific to get as many people as possible to participate.” Simone also noted that FoHRP raises several million a year from mostly private funds for free education and environmental programs for kids in all five boros. This includes Big Hit Wednesday movies, Family Fridays, Hudson Riverflicks Sing-Along Specials, fishing, kayaking, sailing, and nature walks. All information is available in their new brochure, Hudson River Park Presents Summer of Fun 2017.

NEW WEBSITE, NEW BOARD CWPA Co-Secretary Donathan Salkaln launched the group’s new website at cwpark.org, and spent time showing community members the parts of the site, including how the color-coded map corresponded to the calendar of

events; for example, the purple color indicating the dog park could be used to correspond to a purple marker for a dog Halloween costume contest. Salkaln envisioned the park as five little villages: the dog run, kids park, floral gardens, basketball courts, and soccer fields. He invited community members to help unite these areas by become writers and photographers for the site. Salkaln said he was inspired by the work of longtime community member Robert Trentlyon, who wrote a column on his proposed storm surge barriers for the website. He also noted that he’s been working with a representative at the Fulton Houses to encourage kids to begin posting news and photos about the activities at the basketball courts and soccer fields. There was also talk of a possible expansion of the dog park. Finally, CWPA Treasurer Burt Lazarin took a few minutes to introduce the members running for their 2017 Executive Committee, some of who had been longtime fixtures in the community, and others who had moved to the neighborhood in the past decade. “I encourage everyone to participate in our events and meetings, and to sit in on the board meetings,” said Lazarin. “We would like all the communities to come together, and all of these different people to be on the board. Right now it is not representative of all the people in Chelsea.” Finding no objections to the proposed leadership committee, Lazarin closed the meeting, saying, “We have consensus. And I hope we will have some additional names the next time around.” NYC Community Media

MMM continued from p. 8

The marriage of Nickolaus Typaldos, a visual artist, and Whitney Platt, a writer, is quite another matter. They met in Portland, Oregon, where both had migrated from rural mid-America, Nickolaus from Missouri, and Whitney from Kansas. They lived together in Portland, then New York for 11 years before they tied the knot. Nickolaus told me he was always adamantly against marriage as a legal contract or a religious mandate. “If the system is set up to work against us, then we should work the system to our advantage. We came to it on our own terms.” Whitney added, “I looked it up on the website to see what we needed to do, and then said let’s do it now.” Their straight friends, not their gay friends, had been the ones who asked when they were going to get married. They played it cool even after they were married, with just a post on Facebook right after the civil ceremony. In their selfie, they wore identical shirts. “Now I sometimes forget we’re married,” Whitney told me. “I still refer to Nickolaus as my boyfriend.” This avoidance of conventional responses and judgments about themselves masks their total commitment to each other’s success, particularly their creative work and the development of their professional careers. Whitney, who works as a human resources professional at New York Public Radio, has provided practical and emotional support for Nickolaus from the very beginning of their relationship, when Nickolaus was an art student in Portland. For his recent solo exhibition at Marvin Gardens Gallery in New York, Nickolaus received critical praise from Art Forum; Whitney helped make that possible. Whitney performs publicly with Nickolaus. At the David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea, Nickolaus improvised electronic music as Whitney read his poetry. Besides being an artist, Nickolaus is an established organizer of art fairs around the world and his opinion about what’s happening with young visual artists is highly regarded. This success affects his marriage with Whitney in a simple but profoundly reassuring way — their relationship is solidified by their implicit confidence in each other to be exactly what they need for support, to always be there for each other. Nickolaus’ mother considers their longtime commitment more important than their marriage, though she did say, with a reference to her own marital history, “Don’t you feel different now, like something has changed?” Whitney and NYC Community Media

Nickolaus both answered, “No.” Pragmatism, not sentiment, seems to be at the heart of how they live their lives. Being married brings down insurance rates and stabilizes the practical aspects of living together as two men who love each other. Whitney also said that they’ve inspired their friends to get married. Like Craig and Frankie, Nickolaus and Whitney are open to sexual experiences with other people. They don’t feel that sexual attraction to other men affects the foundation of their love and respect for each other. Domestic comfort and stability are more important than sexual conquest, which governed the lives of most gay men a generation ago. Maybe domestic comfort and stability are the new template for gay marriage.

Courtesy Platt/Typaldos

L to R: Whitney Platt, who works at WQXR, and Nickolaus Typaldos, an up-and-coming visual artist.

June 1, 2017


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SLA SERVES continued from p. 11

“The next thing we see is a series of violations that the authorities were intimately aware of,” McCallen said. “I addressed that with him and asked what changed. In a large part, the brunch itself got celebrity press, the restaurant caught on and became — no pun intended — an intoxicating situation where brunch was driving the operation. But it was a period of months, not years.” The SLA noted that the restaurant had other open cases against it over multiple charges from behavior, stemming from an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) report, causing Chairman Bradley to remark that none of those open cases “involved dinner, which suggests the restaurant shouldn’t do brunch.” “I spent a great deal of time with Mr. Alam telling him that despite what you feel and think in inheriting this method of operations, there are strict rules preventing this disorderly noise and some of these activities. But they can be rectified. My first suggestion was ‘You need to be a presence there every weekend for these brunches,’ ” McCallen said. But Chairman Bradley was not mollified, saying, “I don’t know that that’s really giving me any security. Let me tell you where I want to start. No DJs, ever. The DJ booth needs to be pulled out. And I would suggest you get rid of the selfie booth, which is somewhere that women like to go to disrobe.” McCallen said both the DJ booth and selfie booth had been removed, and gave a rundown of other changes Alam had made — among them, regulating the crowd with a strict reservation-only system that eliminated occupancy by half, more security, and increasing the price on the prix fixe menu from $35 to $65, which he said draws an older crowd seeking a more conventional brunch. He also noted that Alam is on the premises every weekend. “Why do I have to wait this long for him to change something?” countered Chairman Bradley. “He got notice of pleading in August, he’s aware brunch was a problem, and he didn’t do it by January, when the next charge came down. If this was the only thing, I’d probably be able to do what you want. But given what’s coming with the other cases — I’m assuming they’ll all go to hearing and similar charges will be sustained — I think we’re all wasting our time. And he may be wasting his money. We could be back here in three months and I could be cancelling him.” But McCallen argued that the club had no recent cases of violence or disorderly conduct, no drug trafficking, noise complaints were eliminated, and Alam had NYC Community Media

instituted a zero-tolerance policy. Perhaps moved by the attorney’s argument that all of his client’s investments were tied up in the establishment, Chairman Bradley took pity, saying, “Are you willing to live with no recorded music whatsoever, and a $10,000 fine? This was out of control so I’m going to control it for a period and then see what happens with the other complaints.” He permitted background music during dinner. The lawyer agreed to the stipulations. William Crowley, Director of Public Affairs at the SLA, confirmed that the Board “imposed a $10,000 fine for one case, #114207,” but noted that “there are four additional pending cases against the licensee.” Il Bastardo’s liquor license attorney, Bruno V. Gioffre, will likely handle some of these upcoming cases. Gioffre reiterated the laundry list of corrective actions the establishment had made, among them Alam being present on weekends and being in contact with Councilmember Johnson and CO Deputy Inspector Brendan M. Timoney of the NYPD’s 13th Precinct. Gioffre added that restaurant reservations had been cut by half, security had been increased, and there were virtually no lines or crowds outside. “From January to now, since I went to the 13th Precinct, there have been no complaints or 311 calls. I’m working on this every day. We made a mistake and now it’s been corrected,” said Alam at the hearing. He also said that General Manager Sherif Ibrahim had been attending CB4 meetings with District Manager Jesse Bodine, as well as meetings with CCBA President Bill Borock. But Borock said that by this point, it’s a case of “the boy who cried wolf,” noting that he had been less than enthusiastic about meeting with the manager. He told this publication that he was not receptive to Bodine’s urgings to have Ibrahim talk the situation over with the CCBA, although he did welcome them to a meeting. The SLA may have been sympathetic, but Borock was not. “You had your chance,” Borock said of the situation. “It’s enough. The community at a minimum wants their liquor license taken away, and at maximum would like to see them close. They’ve been too much trouble all of these years, and this would teach them a lesson, which is what they deserve.” It remains to be seen as to whether the SLA will deem the changes at Il Bastardo to be sufficient. As Chairman Bradley noted, “This one’s corrected, but you still have more coming down the road.” June 1, 2017


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