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Serving Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Seaport and the Financial District VOLUME 30, NUMBER 13

JULY 13 – JULY 26, 2017

Battery BOOM!

Downtown had a blast on the 4th of July! Page 5 Photo by Tony Falcone

Veterans Corps of Artillery of the State of New York — the nation’s oldest military corps, founded in 1790 — fired a 50-shot salute to America on July 4 from The Battery.



1 M E T R O T E C H • N YC 112 0 1 • C O P Y R I G H T © 2 0 17 N YC C O M M U N I T Y M E D I A , L L C

Hudson River Park Trust sued in 2016 cyclist death BY COLIN MIXSON The husband of slain bicyclist Olga Cook has added the Hudson River Park Trust to his list of state and city agencies he’s holding responsible for his wife’s death. Travis Maclean alleged in State Supreme Court on June 29 that the HRPT was well aware that the intersection where Cook was killed was a death trap, and that the trust should have worked to improve safety there before his wife was fatally struck by a hit-andrun driver in June last year. “They knew about all the past accidents that happened there and did nothing,� said Maclean. Cook was heading towards Tribeca along the Greenway bike path in May last year, when New Jersey motorist Samuel Silva hung a right off the southbound lane of the West Side Highway and struck the 30-year-old cyclist as she crossed Chambers Street. The intersection at the time had already seen 17 serious traffic acci-

Photo courtesy of Travis Maclean

Upper West Side resident Olga Cook was struck and killed in June 2016 while biking across Chamber St. along the Hudson River Greenway, which parallels the West Side Highway.

dents, according to the Department of Transportation, and Maclean alleges the agency responsible for maintaining the roads and bike path was well aware that conditions there were ripe for catastrophe, his lawyer said. “Given the 17 prior crashes at the location ‌ the condition should have been dealt with well before Olga’s

death,� said attorney Daniel Flanzig. Since January, Maclean has slapped both city and state transit agencies, along with the Battery Park City Authority and Silva himself with suits alleging nearly identical complaints, and the bereaved husband’s wide net is largely due to confusion regarding which agency holds jurisdiction over traffic infrastructure in the area, according to Flanzig. “At our early stage of investigation, we’re still trying to determine what parties had responsibility for safety at that location,� Flanzig said. For its part, Hudson River Park Trust claims no jurisdiction over the bike path, sidewalk, or roadways surrounding the scene of Cook’s death, according to spokesman James Yolles. “We are very sorry for the loss, but this incident did not take place on or adjacent to park property,� Yolles said. The city’s transit agency, which Maclean sued alongside the BPCA in May, is the only party among Maclean’s

Photo by Colin Mixson

Travis Maclean stands beside the memorial to his wife Olga Cook on the Hudson River Greenway near where she was struck and killed last year. Maclean is suing the Hudson River Park Trust, in addition to the city and state, the Battery Park City Authority, and the driver for his wife’s death.

growing list of defendants that has taken any action to improve safety at intersections along the West Side Highway since LAWSUIT Continued on page 17

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July 13 – July 26, 2017


Tenants score big win in rent-reg case BY COLIN MIXSON A State Supreme Court judge ruled on Monday that a Murray Street landlord illegally revoked his tenants’ rent stabilization benefits — and then took the unusual step of ordering the property owner to pay back his renters for steep rent hikes that should never have occurred. Justice Carol Edmead’s decision represents the most substantial judicial victory yet for tenants battling landlords over rent stabilization they claim is mandated through a state tax program that saves developers millions, according to the tenants’ lawyer. “This is certainly the most comprehensive decision yet,” said Serge Joseph. Back in 1995, the state legislature offered developers enviable tax breaks in exchange for renovating deteriorating Downtown office buildings for residential use in a program known as 421-g. Written into the bill was a provision requiring landlords provide tenants rent stabilization, which caps annual rent increases at rates set by the city’s Rent Guidelines Board, and ensures


tenants an opportunity to renew their leases. But Downtown landlords have long argued the tax program is subject to luxury deregulation rules, which removes rental units costing more than $2,700-per month from rent stabilization, and tenants at various properties have been forced to duke it out with landlords in court. Justice Edmead’s decision joins three other rulings the state’s courts on the matter, and brings tenants and landlords into an uneasy equilibrium with two victories each. Most notably, Supreme Court Justice Shlomo Hagler ruled in favor of the landlord at 85 John Street in May, with Hagler relying heavily on a letter written by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani that was read into the legislative record by former Senate Republican Leader Joseph Bruno just before his colleagues voted on the 421-g bill, in which Giuliani claimed luxury-deregulation rules applied to the new tax law. Tenants have argued that the courts’ interpretation of a state law shouldn’t be affected by the letter, but rather should only be informed

Image via Google Streetview

Tenants at 50 Murray St. won a big court victory with implications across Lower Manhattan when a judge ruled that they are entitled to rent-stabilization protection under the state’s 421-g tax program — and even ordered the landlord to pay them back for overcharged rent.

by the actual language of the statute — which makes no mention of luxury deregulation. Edmead appears to agree with that philosophy. In her decision, she stated the law’s intent was clear enough that the bill’s “legislative history” was alto-

gether inconsequential to the issue of rent stabilization. “The parties contend that the legislative history of RPTL 421-g supports their respective positions,” Edmead 421-G Continued on page 17

July 13– July 26, 2017


ON THE SPOT Spotify expands lease to fill 4WTC BY JACKSON CHEN The music-streaming service Spotify is expanding its lease at 4 World Trade Center, bringing the 72-story office building to 100-percent occupancy. Spotify opted to fill up 4WTC by taking an additional 100,000 square feet of move-in space spread throughout three floors, according to sources. The expanded lease would add more than a quarter of space to the company’s original deal that was signed in February for 378,000 square feet in 11 stories of the office building. The music company is expected to move in sometime next year. The Spotify deal may bring 4WTC to full occupancy, but its neighboring buildings are still searching for tenants. In January 2016, 21st Century Fox and News Corp backed out of a major deal for more than 1 million square feet of the 110-story 2 World Trade Center. The two media companies pulling out dealt a heavy blow, as it would’ve taken roughly a third of the building’s 2.8

million available square feet, leaving Silverstein Properties still looking for an anchor tenant. But the recent deal at 4WTC is definitely a hopeful sign, according to Downtown real-estate maven Luis Vazquez, founder of the Fidi Fanpage and a public member of Community Board 1. “We’re really happy to get them because they’re a young company,” Vazquez said comparing the area’s office demographic. “The old tenants were banks and finance, but the new companies—tech, media, advertising, and publishing — they tend to skew much younger and they have a sex appeal to them that the old industries do not.” He said the younger crowd would draw more retail and restaurants to the neighborhood. Vazquez added that Silverstein could also claim a major victory with 100-percent occupancy at 4WTC because they were not forced to discount rents to find tenants.

Associated Press / Mark Lennihan

Four World Trade Center is finally at full occupancy now that Spotify, a musicstreaming service, has expanded its lease.

“Now he has to focus on 3 World Trade [Center] and of course, getting an anchor tenant for 2 World Trade [Center],” Vazquez said of Silverstein’s remaining properties. “But having 4


[World Trade Center] filled is a great thing to have in his pocket.” Representatives for Silverstein Properties declined to comment. Spotify could not be reached for comment.


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July 13 – July 26, 2017



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High patriotism Downtown Lower Manhattan celebrates 4th of July BY COLIN MIXSON Downtown celebrated America’s birthday with a bang! A more-than-200-year-old state militia dedicated to protecting New York from the threat of British invasion fired off a thunderous barrage of artillery fire from The Battery in celebration of the 4th of July. Lucky for New Jersey, the troops were shooting blanks, according to commander of the Veterans Corps of Artillery of the State of New York “New Jersey would not have been pleased,” said Vice Commandant Ray Mechmann, “these certainly have the ability to fire over the bay.” The Veterans Corps kicked off its ceremony with a brief march from the Coast Guard Administration Building to Castle Clinton, where the troops

raised the stars and stripes and fired off the barrage. But the real show occurred near the park’s Navy Memorial, where the corps fired fifty shots — one for each state in the Union — and kicked up a racket even louder than Downtown’s construction boom. “They do make a good amount of noise,” Mechmann said. The oldest military organization in New York State, the Veterans Corps of Artillery was formed in 1790 by veterans of George Washington’s Continental Army, and has commemorated the nation’s birthday with cannon and gunpowder on July 4th for 227 years — give or take a few. In the early 1970s, the state took away the militia’s compliment of brass, 24-pound cannons, which — being more

Photos by Tony Falcone

(Above) Left to right, Gov. Dewitt Clinton re-enactor Kyle Jenks, Councilwoman Margaret Chin, and historical storyteller Jonathan Kruk joined a mini-parade from Federal Hall to the South Street Seaport on July 2.(Above right) The Richmond County Fife & Drum Corps provided some patriotic music for the march. (Right) The Crimson Kings of the Chinatown School added some flair.

Photo by Tony Falcone

The 227-year-old Veterans Corps of Artillery of the State of New York has been celebrating the 4th of July with a barrage from The Battery since its founding in 1790.

than 100 years old — officials decided they had “outlived their usefulness,” and the regiment was left without any guns for a while, according to Mechmann. Fortunately, good old Uncle Sam came through with two 75 mm Pack Howitzers sometime in 1972–1973, and then four more in 1986, and the corps has unleashed a thunderous boom Downtown every July 4th since. Two days before the Veterans Corps blasted its salute at The Battery, the Lower Manhattan Historical Society kicked off the week’s patriotic party on July 2 by giving out its 2017 Alexander Hamilton Immigrant Achievement Award over at Federal Hall on Wall Street to deserving international transplants following in the footsteps of the Caribbean-born founding father in making their adopted country a better place. This year, the group honored

Councilman Peter Koo, a Hong Kong native; Guillermo Linares, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who now heads the New York State High Education Services Corporation; James Neary, an Irish 57th Street restaurateur; and Chakanaka Watch, a Salvation Army pastor and radio personality born in Zimbabwe. The Sunday ceremony was followed by historical re-enactors and storytellers celebrating the bicentennial of the Erie Canal. The Veterans Corps of Artillery then led a mini-parade with marching bands from the Richmond County Fife & Drum Corps and the Crimson Kings of the Chinatown School from Federal Hall down to Bowling Green and then on to the South Street Seaport, which the Erie Canal linked to the Midwest through the Great Lakes, connecting America’s unsettled interior with the rest of the world.

Downtown got fireworks show — thanks to NJ Guv

Photo by Tony Falcone

Downtowners still got a show, even after Macy’s took its display upriver to Midtown this year. DowntownExpress.com

BY COLIN MIXSON New Jersey’s loss was Battery Park City’s gain. A budget impasse over in Dirty Jersey that shutdown public parks across the state caused the annual July 4th fireworks display normally held at Liberty State Park to head further north into Jersey City, making the Battery Park City esplanade an unusually excellent spot for viewing the holiday pyrotechnics, according to one local. “Ironically with the move of the fireworks further north, we had front row seats,” said Battery Park City resident

Richard Southwick. “We can always count on Chris Christie.” Downtowners were expecting to be cheated out of this year’s Independence Day fireworks, after Macy’s announced that it was moving its annual East River display upriver from the its traditional Lower Manhattan location at the Brooklyn Bridge, but the last-minute change for the New Jersey fireworks gave Battery Park Citizens an ideal view. The display’s launching pad, on a barge moored off Jersey City’s Exchange Place, couldn’t have been better located for viewing off the Battery Park City

Esplanade, and a relatively cloudless night gave spectators stunning sightlines across the Hudson River, according to one Midtown gal. “It wasn’t cloudy that night,” said Tiffany Layne. “We could see the fireworks perfectly.” The choice view from the esplanade came as a big surprise for Layne, who took for granted that East River views always trumped Hudson River prospects when it came to fireworks. “We didn’t think we’d be able to see fireworks from the west side, so that was a good surprise,” she said. July 13– July 26, 2017


CAGING BULL City barracades Bowling Green BY JACKSON CHEN So much for free-range beef. The city has blockaded the popular Charging Bull and Fearless Girl statues at the northern tip of Bowling Green with several heavy-duty concrete barricades. The barriers stretch from the Charging Bull to the pointed northern tip of the sidewalk where Morris Street meets Broadway. According to Bowling Green Association chairman Arthur Piccolo, he saw the concrete barricades being installed by NYPD at around 10 pm on June 29. Before the barricades, the cobblestone plaza where the bronze sculptures reside was surrounded only by plastic bollards. The heavy barriers were installed to protect visitors from cars on the surrounding streets, but Piccolo said they create new potential hazards. Tourists were seen standing on top of the concrete barricades to get bet-

ter camera angles of the Charging Bull and Fearless Girl and others walked along the outside of the barriers to avoid the crush of tourists surrounding the statues. Piccolo said these habits are an accident waiting to happen. “There’s a real potential for somebody to get pushed off those things and crack their head on the roadway, or even worse, get run over by a truck, bus, or a vehicle,� Piccolo said. The Bowling Green booster went further, suggesting that the barricades were put in as retribution for the controversy surrounding the installation of the Fearless Girl statue. The artist who created the Charging Bull back in 1989, Arturo Di Modica, opposed the placement of the diminutive sculpture in juxtaposition to his own creation, because it sought to co-opt his own work and CAGING BULL Continued on page 12

Photos by Bill Egbert

(Above) The city has cordoned off the northern tip of Bowling Green with concrete barriers amid fears that a terrorist might attempt to use a vehicle to mow down the droves of tourists who flock there to snap selfies with the Charging Bull and Fearless Girl statues. (Right) Though the barriers were installed ostensibly for safety reasons, some say they are creating new hazards, with people standing on top of them to get better camera angles, or walking outside them in the roadway to avoid the crush of tourists.




July 13 – July 26, 2017



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.

July 13– July 26, 2017



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A woman was arrested for allegedly biting a cop on South Street on July 4. The arresting officer reported he was between Whitehall and Broad streets at 10:10 pm, when the suspect chomped on his left arm.


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A thief nabbed more than $1,000 worth of Mucinex from a Broadway drug store on July 6. An employee told police the crook waltzed into the pharmacy between Murray Street and Park Place at 6:48 am, and nabbed a few dozen boxes of the congestion medicine before fleeing.







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Some crook disassembled the scaffolding on a Warren Street sidewalk in order to steal a man’s bicycle on July 6. The victim told police he chained his bike up to the sidewalk shed between Church Street and Broadway and headed into yoga class at 9:45 am, but returned later to find a screw had been removed from the scaffolding, allowing the crook to make off with the his $1,150 cycle.

SUBTERRANEAN CROOKS Two thieves assaulted and robbed a man inside a Chambers Street subway station on July 4. The victim told police he was heading upstairs from the 1 train platform at the station near West Broadway at 10:30 pm when one of the crooks cracked him over the back of his head, while the other stomped on his feet. The thieves then nabbed his valuables, including his gold and diamond ring, cellphone, and $270 in cash, cops said.

POLO PERPS Looters attacked a worker at a Broadway fashion boutique as they nabbed a bunch of polo shirts on July 3. The victim told police she was hard at work at the retailer between Prince and Spring streets at 2:35 pm, when the six thieves came in and nabbed about $300 in shirts. As they fled, one of the crooks hurled the woman the ground, opening a nasty gash on her elbow, cops said.

DECKED A man was arrested for allegedly attacking a police officer on July 4 after


July 13 – July 26, 2017

going ballistic inside a Fulton Street drug store. The arresting officer told authorities he was inside the pharmacy near Water Street at 12:24 pm when he saw the suspect knocking items off the shelves and shouting insults at workers. When he spotted the cop, the suspect ran for the exit and hurled his skateboard at the officer, hitting him in his leg, according to police.

PUNCHY Two thieves robbed a man on Greenwich Street on July 8, taking his wallet and cellphone. The victim told police that he was near Rector Street at 5:30 am, when the crooks sauntered up and demanded his belongings. When the victim refused, one of the crooks socked him in the face and the pair made off with his stuff, cops said.

SHARP RHETORIC Cops busted a man for allegedly stabbing his colleague in the leg at a Mercer Street construction site on June 30. The victim told police he was arguing with the suspect at the work site between W. Houston and Prince streets at 12:05 pm, when the man suddenly stormed off, only to return with a knife and start slashing, police said. The attack, which left the victim with a nasty wound, was witnessed by three other men, and the suspect was arrested later that day, according to police.

CHARGING AHEAD A thief stole a woman’s wallet from her purse inside a Hudson Street coffee shop on June 29, before racking up $10,000 in illicit charges. The victim told police she was inside the coffee shop between Vandam and Charlton streets at 5:45 pm, with her wallet inside the purse dangling off the back of her chair. When she got up to leave, however, the victim realized that her bag had been ransacked, and the woman was quick to cancel her cards, cops said. But not quick enough, apparently, as the crook had somehow managed to rack up a small fortune in bogus charges in a short period of time, according to police. — Colin Mixson DowntownExpress.com


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July 13– July 26, 2017


Power of attorney protects loved ones


ife is full of the unexpected. But just because the future is unpredictable does not mean adults cannot prepare for what lies ahead. Estate planning is important, and establishing power of attorney can be essential for men and women looking to protect their financial resources and other assets.

What is power of attorney? A power of attorney is a document that enables an individual to appoint

a person or organization to manage his or her affairs should this individual become unable to do so. According to the National Caregivers Library, the power of attorney is granted to an “attorney-in-fact” or “agent” to give a person the legal authority to make decisions for an incapacitated “principal.” The laws for creating a power of attorney vary depending on where a person lives, but there are some general similarities regardless of geography.

Photo by Rich Legg

Establishing power of attorney well ahead of a medical crisis can avoid complications and provide peace of mind.

Why is power of attorney needed? Many people believe their families will be able to step in if an event occurs that leaves them incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves. Unfortunately, this is not always true. If a person is not named as an agent or granted legal access to financial, medical and other pertinent information, family members’ hands may be tied. In addition, the government may appoint someone to make certain decisions for an individual if no power of attorney is named. Just about everyone can benefit from establishing an attorney-infact. Doing so does not mean men and women cannot live independently, but it will remove the legal barriers involved should a person no longer be physically or mentally capable of managing certain tasks.

Power of attorney varies Power of attorney is a broad term that covers various aspects of decision-making. According to the legal resource Lectric Law Library, the main types of power of attorney include general power of attorney, health care power of attorney, durable power of attorney, and special power of attorney.


July 13 – July 26, 2017

Many of the responsibilities overlap, but there are some subtle legal differences. Durable power of attorney, for example, relates to all the appointments involved in general, special and health care powers of attorney being made “durable.” This means the document will remain in effect or take effect if a person becomes mentally incompetent. Certain powers of attorney may fall within a certain time period.

What is covered? An agent appointed through power of attorney may be able to handle the following, or more, depending on the verbiage of the document: • banking transactions • buying/selling property • settling claims • fi ling tax returns • managing government-supplied benefits • maintaining business interests • making estate-planning decisions • deciding on medical treatments • selling personal property • fulfi lling advanced health care directives A power of attorney document can be filled out and an agent appointed on one’s own or with an attorney. DowntownExpress.com


The benefits to establishing healthcare directives


ealthy adults may give little thought to injuries or illnesses. When the going is good, it is easy to forget about the less pleasant side effects of aging. However, putting off these conversations and decisions can lead to unnecessary obstacles in the years to come. Advanced healthcare directives can be invaluable resources for family members and friends who will be responsible for managing a person’s plans should he become unable to make his own decisions. Various organizations, including AARP, offer resources on advanced planning and the options available to adults looking to plan their estates. The National Healthcare Decisions Day movement, a group dedicated to providing clear, concise, and consistent information on healthcare decision-making, defines advanced directives as establishing: • A “healthcare power of attorney” (or “proxy,” “agent,” or “surrogate”), the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you

cannot speak for yourself. • A “living will” to document which medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life. People often tend to put off these decisions, but it’s important to make them as early as possible. Not only will they dictate your wishes, they’ll also take the pressure off of loved ones who would otherwise be tasked with making difficult decisions on their own.

Healthcare proxy Appointing a healthcare proxy ensures that there will be someone there who has the legal authority to make healthcare decisions for you if you are no longer able to speak for yourself. This may be a spouse, child, relative, or close friend. The Mayo Clinic suggests choosing a person who can be trusted to make decisions that adhere to your wishes and values and to be your advocate if there are disagreements about your care. Be sure to have a candid discussion with your healthcare proxy in

A lawyer can help make sure that your family will ba able to work with your doctors even if the worst happens.

which you go over the types of medical care you wish to receive and any ways you would or would not like your life prolonged. It helps to keep the proxy up-to-date on any medical conditions you may have so that she can make the most informed decisions on your behalf. Having a healthcare proxy does not mean you are giving up your right to make medical decisions. It’s a failsafe in the event you are unconscious or cannot direct medical care.

Living will An advanced healthcare directive

enables you to create specific written instructions for future care, known as a living will. The living will should include wishes regarding life-sustaining medical treatments and resuscitation if you are no longer able to speak on your own behalf. It also can spell out whether you want to remain in a hospital or receive palliative care at home for a terminal illness. A living will can be changed if or when your wishes or circumstances change.

Legal and medical advice Although legal advice is not required for an advanced directive, it can be helpful to iron out the legalities of your directives. Speak with your doctor about your desires and needs. A physician can help you form a coherent directive that is in line with your wishes. Remember, an advanced directive is not reserved for the elderly. Any consenting adult 18 or older can benefit from a living will and other documentation.

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July 13– July 26, 2017


CAGING BULL Continued from page 6

transform it from a symbol of American economic vitality into a symbol of sexism. Making the new statue even more annoying to Di Modica and Piccolo, the Fearless Girl was hyped as a tribute to female empowerment, but was actually the centerpiece of a marketing campaign by McCann Worldgroup to promote a fund managed by State Street Global Advisors. Di Modica has filed suit against the two firms, as well as the city, for violating his copyright by illegally appropriating his Charging Bull sculpture for commercial purposes. In response, Mayor de Blasio took to Twitter to take a jab at Di Modica, tweeting, “Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl.” Piccolo said he believes the dispute led the mayor to install the obstructive barriers in retaliation for the lawsuit, adding that it was done at night and without community input. Neither the Mayor’s Office nor the NYPD returned calls for comment about the barriers. But according to the Downtown Alliance, there was already agreement in the community that the area around the two tourist magnets should be bet-




ter protected, said spokesman Andrew Breslau. “There was broad consensus that what was needed was something to protect pedestrians, tourists, the Fearless Girl and the Charging Bull from vehicular traffic,” Breslau explained. “Because a car, by accident or intention, could careen through a tightly assembled group of people.” A string of recent incidents in Europe has sparked fears that lone-wolf terrorists might use vehicles to kill bystanders at tourist spots in the city. In June, eight people were killed when terrorists used a van to plow into pedestrians at London Bridge before running to the nearby Borough Market to stab passersby. The June incident came on the heels of a March terrorist attack where five people were killed when a car was driven into pedestrians at London’s Westminster Bridge. And a year ago this week, terrorists killed 86 people in Nice, France, by driving a truck through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the roadway. “The thing you have to keep in the back of your mind is the worse case scenario,” Breslau said. “And providing some sort of protection for vehicular accidents or intentional misuse of a vehicle is warranted in this location.”

July 13 – July 26, 2017

Thurs., July 13 – Wed., July 19

ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES IN EFFECT ALL WEEK We’re now a few days into Penn Station’s track repair and so far, most of us have been spared the predicted hellish conditions, but don’t get complacent. Wednesday evening, as I write this, the backups at the Holland Tunnel are pretty severe for this time of year. Varick is backed up to Seventh Avenue past Clarkson Street, Canal Street westbound is backed up to Little Italy, and Broome Street past Broadway. I suspect this is due to the extra demand by hundreds of buses and many more cars at the Lincoln Tunnel causing extensive jams sending drivers south. If this pattern continues, the Hudson Square area is in for a rough summer. On the other hand, transit alternatives, especially across the Hudson, are so far preforming better than expected. PATH to Lower Manhattan has seen more riders but

is handling the loads. NJT’s options are also panning out acceptably. For information on transit options, visit njtransit-theupdate.com. One lane in each direction on the upper level of the Manhattan Bridge will close from 5 am–10 am Thursday, and from 10 pm Thursday night until 5 am Saturday morning. On Thursday, from 10 am–6 pm, the Civic Center Block Party will shut down Warren Street between Church Street and Broadway, impacting Broadway and Chambers Street, as well as Brooklyn Bridge traffic. The Second Avenue Festival will take place between 6th and 14th streets from 10 am–6 pm on Sunday, diverting cars to Third Avenue. On Saturday, DOT Weekend Walks, from 11 am–4 pm, will close Mott Street between Canal and Worth streets, Elizabeth Street between Canal and Bayard streets, and Bayard Street between Mulberry and Bowery.

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July 13– July 26, 2017


BY JANEL BL ADOW Summer vaycay! Everyone is eager for a little fun time around the Seaport! DANCING ON WATER… Dancers who whisper, a classic shipping vessel at port, and the magnificent cityscape of Lower Manhattan as a backdrop all combine for a truly unique experience in “Secrets and Seawalls,” an evening of dance in two acts. It will be performed for three nights aboard the cargo ship Wavertree. Inspired by “storms and disruption,” the dancers “whisper across an expanse, stealing and sharing secrets in a shifting, immersive environment.” Dancer and choreographer Melissa Riker collaborates with architect Lee H. Skolnick, FAIA, to use methods of dance and architecture to explore vulnerability and power, and how they are revealed. “Secrets and Seawalls” premiered along the beach at Fort Tilden in Gateway National Park in the Rockaways in 2015. For this adaptation, dancers will mingle with guests aboard the Wavertree. The dance piece grew from Riker’s questions about the integrity of NYC’s seawalls and the impact of weather. Together, Riker and Skolnick use their individual art forms to track how vulnerable both people and structures are to weather and the sea. “Secrets and Seawalls,” a collaboration between the South Street Seaport Museum and Kinesis Project dance theatre, will be performed Thursdays, July 20 and July 27 at 7 pm and on Sunday, July 30 at 5 pm. Tickets are available at: southstreetseaportmuseum.org/secretsand-seawalls/. FUN ART… The silly season is in full swing, so head over to Anderson

Contemporary Gallery, 180 Maiden Lane, Thursday, July 13, 6–9 pm, for the opening reception of “Hooligans,” featuring artworks by three native New Yorkers. Ian Sullivan’s cityscape murals and portraits are “flooded with mischief.” Working with resin on canvas, he contrasts colorful personas against the dark reality of city life. Josh Fayer presents abstracts of nature which demonstrate “the connection between consciousness and space.” And, Victioria De Lessep displays her mixed media works that explore “the fi ne lines between pleasure and pain, sexuality and individuality, anger and beauty.” Pop by and dream up your own interpretation of these enterprising artists. To attend, send a note to: rsvp@andersoncontemporary.com. CLASS CONTRAST… If you haven’t stopped by the South Street Seaport Museum’s current exhibit, “Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900-1914,” you should. Curator William Roka and Art Director Rob Wilson of Bowne Printers, gave me an insider’s tour. The show is one of the first to examine, side-by-side, the startling class differences in ocean liner travel in the early 20th century. Ships such as the Titanic, Olympic, Lusitania, Mauretania, Aquitania and Imperator were the reigning queens of transatlantic travel, transporting thousands from Europe to the U.S. and back. During the first 14 years of the last century, nearly 13 million immigrants traveling in Third Class to our shores, welcomed first by SSSM’s historic vessel, the Lightship Ambrose. Meanwhile, wealthy Americans, totaling no more

South Street Seaport Museum

The new exhibit “Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900-1914” shows how the rich traveled the seas in luxury — but the poor, not so much.


July 13 – July 26, 2017

Kinesis Project

“Secrets and Seawalls,” a collaboration between the South Street Seaport Museum and Kinesis Project dance theatre, will be performed aboard the Wavertree later this month.

than 100,000 passengers each year, traveled to Europe and back in First Class, spending more than $11.5 million in today’s dollars on luxury vacations. “Eighty percent of the First Class travelers were rich Americans on vacation,” Roka said, pointing to the images of luxury steamer trunks outfitted with drawers and hangers. “Their suites would have whole rooms just for the luggage. Meanwhile the Third Class passenger had his whole life in one box.” Third Class passage would be a small, shared room costing about $1,200 in 2017 dollars, while First Class suites could have several bedrooms, sitting rooms, verandas, luggage and dressing rooms, and maids’ quarters and run to $100,000 a person or more in today’s money. And the contrast was even more clearly evident in the menus. Wilson replicated both classes’ dining lists using SSSM originals as examples. “In First Class, a new menu was printed for every meal on stiff, embossed card stock,” he said, “listing such delicacies as lobster, pate de foie gras and beef sirloin with Yorkshire pudding. The Third Class menu was a small sheet listing the day’s three meals and tea.” Breakfast included Quaker Oats and smoked herring, dinner could include Corned beef and Cabbage while supper was gruel, cheese and biscuits. “They did have to have nutritious meals to make it through Ellis Island,” Wilson said. “And 92 percent made it through immigration.” This small but historic exhibit is definitely worth a visit. It runs through January 7, 2018. Buy tickets online at www.southstreetseaportmuseum.org/ or in person at 12 Fulton St. SAILING AWAY… With the end of the school year, Rob and Amanda Zink and their two sons packed up their loft and said their goodbyes to their Seaport

friends. Rob retired after 31 years with the NYPD and 19 with the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association. Amanda passed the keys and leashes at Salty Paw to her head groomer, and the Zinks shuttled off to Maine for five weeks of summer fun at their lake house. Come the end of summer they will take one-way flights to West Palm Beach and set up a new home in Jupiter, Florida. “It’s time,” Amanda told Seaport Report. “The kids want that backyard. I want sunny weather and the ocean, and my husband wants a simpler life.” Amanda first moved to the Seaport in 1996 as a 22-year old intern at MTV. Over the years she worked extensively with Community Board 1, was one of the founding members of the Old Seaport Alliance following Hurricane Sandy, and was an asset to the Peck Slip School PTA and Taste of the Seaport. And fear not, her influence will continue with her little dog shop that could, The Salty Paw (38 Peck Slip). May Pilan, head groomer for the last eight years, will keep the lights on, the baths bubbling, and the fur from flying. “I’m gutted about leaving a place so special as the Seaport, where I have spent my entire adult life, but excited to write the next chapter,” said Amanda. “I feel proud of all I accomplished here, the organizations I was part of, and the dear friends I made that helped me make my mark here.” HIP HIP HOORAY… Just a little shout out to NYC Councilmember Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer! They announced two new grants for ship maintenance and educational programs for the South Street Seaport Museum. The Fiscal Year 2018 capital budget includes $500,000 for repairs to the Lightship Ambrose, and $20,000 is set aside for a Cultural After-School Adventure (CASA) program for Downtown kids. DowntownExpress.com












July 13â&#x20AC;&#x201C; July 26, 2017



The first Cold War: Popsicle vs. Good Humor PUBLISHER

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July 13 – July 26, 2017

BY LENORE SKENAZY Warning: Reading this column may have the same effect it had on the woman writing it. (I must have a Popsicle or Good Humor bar right now). But it wasn’t always as easy as screaming (and going to the freezer, or deli). These things had to be invented, and I think we owe those stone-cold geniuses a salute.

THE POPSICLE If it weren’t for Frank Epperson, we wouldn’t have the Popsicle. And if it weren’t for his kids, we’d be licking Epsicles, which sounds almost obscene. Here’s the story. One night in 1905, when Frank was 11, he left a glass filled with water, Kool-Aid (or its 1905 equivalent), and the stick he was stirring them with out on his porch. This was in Oakland, the Brooklyn of San Francisco. You know how they say it’s always beautiful weather in California? Ha. The cup of sweetened water froze solid. Frank pulled it out by the stick and — well, I think you can tell where this is going. He made these stick treats for his friends and, years later, he made them for his kids, too, calling them “Epsicles” — a mashup of his name plus icicles. But his kids called them Pop’s Icles, because they were made by their pop. And they convinced him to change the name. Epperson started selling the Popsicles at Neptune Beach, Oakland’s Coney Island. So novel were they that they had to be described to the public as a “frozen lollipop,” or a “drink on a stick.” They took off. By May of ’23, a single stand at the real Coney Island (in the real Brooklyn) sold 8,000 in a day. That same year, Epperson got a patent on his frozen treat. But, debt pressing down, he quickly sold the patent to a guy named Joe Lowe — a decision

Epperson later recognized as so epically awful that he is quoted as saying, “I haven’t been the same since.” For his part, Lowe expanded the business and, when the Depression hit, made the brilliant move of selling a twostick Popsicle for the same price — five cents — so two kids could (with some persuading, perhaps) break them in half and share them. In 1986, the Popsicle company finally stopped selling doubles, supposedly swayed by moms who complained they were too messy. One has to wonder if that was truly the case, or if 50 years after the Depression someone on staff pointed out: Why are we still selling two for one? Anyway, now Popsicle is owned by Unilever, and Epperson is buried in the same California cemetery as another food genius: Trader Vic, inventor of the Mai Tai.

THE GOOD HUMOR BAR And what of the yin to the Popsicle’s yang: The Good Humor Bar? Well, it’s complicated — and parallel. In 1922, an Iowa school teacher patented the Eskimo Pie, a square of vanilla ice cream enrobed in a chocolate shell (I love every word describing that pie). At approximately the same time, in Youngstown, Ohio, Harry Burt invented a chocolate coating that also enrobed a slab of vanilla ice cream. But when his daughter said it was too messy (kids seem essential to the confection invention process), he inserted a stick. He called it the Good Humor Bar and started selling them from a fleet of 12 trucks

outfitted, originally, with the bells from his son’s bobsled. Burt applied for a patent, but the officials in D.C. demurred, concerned his invention was too similar to the Eskimo Pie. Frustrated, Burt took a bucket of Good Humor bars to D.C. and passed them around the patent office to demonstrate the difference: His had a stick. Thus satisfied (or bribed, or just plain happy), the authorities gave him his patent. Guess what happened next? Burt sued Lowe — the guy who bought the Popsicle company — for copyright infringement. How dare Lowe sell something else frozen on a stick? By 1925, the suit was settled out of court and the deal was basically this: Popsicle could sell ice on a stick and Good Humor could sell ice cream on a stick. And sell they did. By the 1950s, there were 2,000 Good Humor trucks plying the streets of suburbia. The Good Humor men (no women till 1967) were required to take a two-day class in ice cream etiquette, like, “Always tip your hat.” But by the ’70s, with gas prices, insurance, and competition (yes, I’m talking to you, Mister Softee) all going up, the company’s profits melted. Good Humor didn’t become profitable again till the ’80s, and by then, the bars were sold in stores, not streets. Today, Good Humor is owned by Unilever, too. The bars are still delicious, but like Frank Epperson’s invention, they are no longer a mom- and(wait for it!) Popsicle business. If you want that, cool off with some shaved ice from a cart. Skenazy is founder of Free-Range Kids, a contributor to Reason.com, and author of “Has the World Gone Skenazy?”

Letters To the Editor: Visiting the vintage New York City Transit buses on Governors Island this past Saturday was a great trip down memory lane. It was a time when bus drivers had to make change and drive at the same time. No one dared bring any food on the bus or leave any litter behind. You had to pay separate fares to ride either the bus or subway. Now there are Metro Cards with free transfers between bus

and subway, along with discounted weekly or monthly fares. As a teenagers, riding the old subway cars in the 1960s was a time when it was common to find both penny gum and soda machines dispensing products at many subway stations. Clean and safe bathrooms were readily available. It was a time when people respected authority and law. Previous generations of riders did not litter subway sta-

tions and buses by leaving behind gum, candy wrappers, paper cups, bottles and newspapers. No one would openly eat pizza, chicken or other messy foods while riding a bus or subway. Everyone paid their way and there was virtually no fare evasion. Previous generations of both bus and subway riders survived daily commutes with no air conditioning. All LETTERS Continued on page 17


LAWSUIT Continued from page 2

Cook’s death. The agency installed new safety features — most notably an additional signal phase that prevents drivers from crossing paths with cyclists on

421-G Continued from page 3

wrote in her decision. “Inasmuch as section 421-g is unambiguous, as both parties also assert, the court needs not enter into that discussion.” Attorney Joseph Burden, who repre-

LETTERS Continued from page 16

they had for comfort were overhead fans. Air-conditioned buses and subway cars that we all take for granted today were virtually nonexistent up until the time of the 1964-65 World’s Fair. Air conditioned buses were still a novelty. It was not until 1966 that NYC Transit

Chambers Street — at the intersection where Cook was killed, and plans on following up with similar changes to intersections along the West Side Highway between Warren and Thames streets beginning this fall. Silva, who entered into a plea deal

with prosecutors over charges related to Cook’s death, was sentenced to up to four years imprisonment by a Manhattan Criminal Court judge in March. The city DOT declined to comment, instead directing inquiries towards the city’s Law Department, which did not

respond to requests for comment by deadline. New York State Department of Transportation declined to comment. Maclean is not planing any additional lawsuits at this time, according to Flanzig.

sented the developer in both the 85 John Street case and in the case of 50 Murray Street, disagreed with Edmead’s ruling, and said if the legislation had been less ambiguous, then the courts wouldn’t be so conflicted over the issue. “If all these judges are going dif-

ferent ways, wouldn’t you think it was unclear?” Burden said. And while Edmead’s is the first decision requiring a landlord to pay back his tenants, it’s the developer’s decision to appeal that could have the widest ranging effect — if the Appellate Division of

the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, it would result in the highest decision yet and set precedent for a clearly conflicted lower court. “This could have an impact on that and others who live in 421-g housing,” said Burden.

first purchased more than 600 buses with this new feature. Subsequently, all future new buses would include air conditioning. By the early 1990s, 100 percent of the bus fleet was air conditioned. In 1967, NYC Transit introduced the first ten air-conditioned subway cars operating on the old IND system that operated the A, C, E. F, and G lines.

It was not until 1975 that air-conditioned subway cars were introduced on the old IRT system that operated the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Franklin Avenue and Times Square shuttle lines. Subsequently, this was extended to the old BMT system running the B, D, J, L, M, N, Q, R, W, and Z lines. I t took until 1982 to retrofit all the original IRT “Redbird” series subway cars. By 1993, 99 percent of the sub-

way’s 6,000 cars were air conditioned, with the exception of a handful running on the 7 line. Fast forward to today, and you can see how MTA public transportation is still one of the best bargains in town. Riders can count on air conditioned buses, subway, and commuter rail cars on a daily basis. Larry Penner Transportation historian

idea, proposed by public transit pundits who have no clue how car owners feel. Car ownership in NY City is already taxed. A (purportedly) temporary auto use tax was imposed in 1975 to help the city out of its’ fiscal crisis. As it was implemented without a sunset clause, it’s still on the books. Cars are assessed at $15/year … commercial vehicles are at much higher rates. My counter proposal is to remove ALL the parking meters. Since the streets are public why are we being charged to use them. There are additional inequities in street usage. And lastly, my time is worth some-

thing. When I worked in Brooklyn, it took 75 minutes on average by subway. By car, even on the traffic and construction choked Belt Parkway, it took only 50-60 minutes (and on low traffic days only 40-45 minutes – it ALWAYS took 75 minutes by subway). The city needs to work on traffic flow and not restrictive methods (bridge tolls, etc). Steve Katz

Sadik-Khan’s Street Fight.

Posted To LAGGAGE CHECK: GATEWAY TENANTS SAY MANAGEMENT HOLDING RENT CHECKS TO SCAM LATE FEES (DEC. 6, 2016) Gateway is not only charging late fees, but it also charges late fees on late fees. A case in point, if you have a couple hundred dollars late fee which you didn’t pay in time, they will charge you another $100 on top of that! It’s ridiculous! Mom in Gateway

TIME TO END FREE STREET PARKING (JULY 6) That’s a VERY stupid and inane

I wholeheartedly agree. Plackard parking is a concern, too. A great read for more on this – and good, hard data backing these thoughts – is Janette

Most threats or attacks against Muslims in the U.S. have been self-inflicted. If you want to worry about violence, read the Koran. Bob Or the Bible. Lulu


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July 13– July 26, 2017


Tweetin’ Trump’s Thoroughly Modern Maelstrom Everything’s a target for weapons of MDP BY MAX BURBANK Shortly after I turned in this column, Donald Trump Jr. took the still-smoking gun he’d fired a little over a year ago and laid it on his Twitter account. That’s the big story now, another “only story there is.” Yet again. Others will cover it ad nauseam, and I’ll get to it myself, I promise. But for now, let’s take a second to tuck it into the context of history. Richard Nixon once said, “Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.” Remember that watershed moment in the proud history of presidential circular logic? Maybe not. It was a long time ago. Here’s another moment that’s probably more familiar. And quotable. And ominous. “My use of social media is not Presidential - it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!” That’s a tweet from our own (by which I mean our own fault) President Donald J. Trump. I know it feels like a long time ago, but his stubby little digits pounded that out on the first day of the month you’re living in right now. Hey! Here’s a fun question: What the hell does that mean? I know I’ve argued in previous columns that attributing “meaning” to anything coming from Trump is a wasted tumble down a sociopathic rabbit hole; that he doesn’t “mean” anything in the way that word is generally used — but humor me for a moment. Let’s try to unpack the statement, as an experiment. He can’t mean just the fact that he’s on Twitter. Barack Obama was the first president to tweet, so you know Agent Orange means his tweets are longer, harder, better and whiter than his predecessor’s. It’s the way he tweets, the manly, shoot-from-the-hip, surly, mean-spirited, coarse, vulgar, inconsequential, infantile, barley literate content of his tweets that makes them MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL, right? Maybe not so much. That explanation is a little… complicated. It’s a tad too much nuance for our Donald. See, Trump is the president. He’ll remind you of that every chance he gets. He’s the president right now. In the modern day. So anything, anything he does is MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL! Get it? So when Trump tweeted “Big Win in Montana for Republicans!” to praise the special election win of a House seat the day after candidate Greg Gianforte brutally body-slammed reporter Ben Jacobs, that was MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL! And when the Commander-in-Tweet retweeted a vintage video of himself delivering a fake beating to Vince McMahon, the real CEO of a fake sports competition whose head had been replaced by the real logo of CNN, a real news channel he calls #FraudNewsCNN, or just #FNN for short, that’s MODERN DAY


July 13 – July 26, 2017

map yet? No? Be patient. He will, eventually. And it’s not just whatever he does that’s MDP. It’s anything he might do in the future! If he dons a colorful jester suit and juggles balls of his own excrement on “Fox & Friends?” MDP! If, at his next press conference, he unleashes a Super Soaker full of ammonia on White House correspondent Glenn Thrush? MDP, baby. If, during the next State of the Union, instead of giving a speech, he crams a partially sedated mongoose down his pants and spends 45 minutes smiling and humming to himself while doing what you fervently hope and pray is a Hula dance? MD-frikkin’-P! But you know what’s really peak MDP just now? A little G-20 summit side-meeting meeting attended by just six people: Two translators sworn to secrecy; our own easily fatigued POTUS, a former Reality TV star and surname salesman who has never before held elected office, whose chief activities are tweeting and golf; seasoned creep and longtime Bashar al-Assad booster Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Russia since 2004; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil, a man utterly devoid of diplomatic experience, proud recipient of the coveted Russian Order of Friendship, a medal literally pinned to his chest by Vladimir Putin; and, of course, Putin himself — 16-year veteran of the KGB, former Prime Minister and now Russia’s only president this century, complicit in the murder of multiple journalists, and invader of Crimea. You have to admit, it’s an impressive resume, especially when stacked up next to Trump Steaks and a failed casino Illustration by Max Burbank business. By design, no one knows what happened at that meeting. We do know it was scheduled for half an hour and it ran for two. I’m gonna go way out on a limb and guess that the bulk PRESIDENTIAL, or just MDP for short! Slamming the free press and our own intelligence of those two hours was not spent on Trump dressing organizations during a speech in Poland? That’s down Putin for messing with our electoral process. MDP! Letting Ivanka take his seat at the leader’s According to New York Times Moscow bureau chief table like it’s “Take Our Daughters to Work Day” at Neil MacFarquhar, Lavrov said Trump accepted statements from Putin that Russia had not hacked the G20 summit? The MDP-iest! When Trump tweeted from the G-20 that the US election. As of press time, Trump had not “Everyone” was talking about “why John Podesta denied that claim. ‘Cause when you have to decide refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the whom to believe, 17 of your nation’s own intelligence CIA” … wait, WHAT?! That just literally CANNOT agencies or a brutal dictator who’s just kuh-RAZY be true, because NO, no they WEREN’T, that’s for shirtless trail rides? Going with Putin is as MDP beyond ABSURD. Is he hallucinating? Or just telling as it gets. So the only question now is, just how far does a lie he knows you know is a lie, as a sort of Twitterized, word-form middle finger? Neither. You’re look- MDP extend? Is it MDP for your namesake son to not only collude with Russia, but also publish the ing at it all wrong. It’s not WTF, it’s MDP! It’s so beautifully, perfectly, simply stupid! MDP is proof himself? Or will Jr. get shoved under the (prewhatever Trump does, precisely because he’s doing sumably “Access Hollywood”) bus? And what of it! If you did crap like that it would be awful, but Manafort and Kushner and everybody else this evenyou’re not president, Trump is! Hasn’t he come to tually extends to? ’Cause if MDP isn’t large enough? your house and shown you a color-coded electoral They’re gonna need a bigger bus. DowntownExpress.com

Photos by Cylla von Tiedemann

Named Best Musical by the Dora Awards (Toronto’s “Tony”) and the Toronto Critics Association, “Spoon River” is an immersive musical adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology.”

Oh, Canada! Soulpepper at the Signature sure to send you swooning BY TRAV S. D. “Canada is looking better and better.” If you’re like this correspondent, you’ve been uttering those words daily for months. Now that I’ve been introduced to the work of Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company, I am all the more convinced of the rightness of that sentiment. Founded in 1998, Soulpepper has rapidly grown into something like a national civic theatre for Canada. As this innovative company approaches its 20th season, Canada too celebrates a milestone: the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the moment at which Britain’s remaining North American colonies became Provinces of a single Dominion. In commemoration of both of these historic anniversaries, Soulpepper has taken the unprecSoulpepper’s “Of Human Bondage” stage adaptation plays through July 26.


SOULPEPPER continued on p. 20 July 13– July 26, 2017


Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Soulpepper’s “New York — The Melting Pot” concert, July 21 and 22, looks at immigrant culture’s connection to the 20th century soundtrack. SOULPEPPER continued from p. 19

edented step of bringing the core of their company — 65 artists — to New York City, where they are presenting a repertory season at The Pershing Square Signature Center through July 29. The company will be presenting 11 separate productions, including theatrical adaptions of W. Somerset Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage” and Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology,” an original concert evening called “New York — The Melting Pot,” and a series of nightly cabarets. While it’s common for ballet companies, orchestras, and circuses to bring their entire operation to faraway towns, not since the early 20th century has it been usual for an entire company of actors to visit as a single traveling unit as a showcase of the company per se. Back in the day, such operations were known as stock companies — an idea quite distinct from the modern notion of touring, in which a single show tours, employing a company specifically hired for that single show. Soulpepper is a repertory company, a group of artists who have been performing together for many years, and who bring with them


July 13 – July 26, 2017

a menu of several different theatrical productions. Given the nature of the organization, said Soulpepper Founding Artistic Director Albert Schultz, they have to: “Since we’re a rep company that operates year-round, all of our work is interwoven like a fabric. So the notion of bringing a single show to New York is out of the question. The fabric would just fall apart. Our primary resource is human beings. Theatre is the glue. A lot of our actors go through our training program, the Soulpepper Academy, and so they become profoundly connected. They develop this complicity. Forgive the pun, but it’s our signature as a company.” I was fortunate to catch “Of Human Bondage” and was struck by this quality: a tightly knit ensemble operating as a single, complex organism, with rich, confident interactions that would only be possible where each member knew every other member, just as a musician knows his instrument. Just as impressively, the actors provide the play’s soundtrack live onstage, meaning that they also literally play musical instruments. Acting and design all function as one interrelated concoction, or, as Schultz described it, a “gumbo.” It all

makes for a very impressive evening of theatre. Judging by reviews, Toronto and Canada alike are proud of their homegrown institution. There is a certain logic in Schultz wanting to introduce it to the city he calls “The Center of the Universe.” To realize this ambition, Soulpepper launched a special fundraising campaign that netted $1 million. “People wanted this to happen,” Schultz said. In addition, Soulpepper’s residency at the Signature Theatre is designed not only to showcase the company’s work, but its philosophy. “Everything we’re doing here is a reflection of the values of the company,” Schultz explained. “The space at Signature is very similar to our own, with a central public space, with four or five venues, or portals, radiating off of it. This creates an opportunity for interactions, for conversations with the audience. In addition to our mainstage shows, we have nightly cabarets in the main space, which I’ll be hosting, and company members and guests will be performing. It’s an opportunity to get to know us.” And like any good guest, Schultz and Soulpepper have brought their host a

gift. In this case, it’s a musical concert called “New York — The Melting Pot,” to be presented on July 21 and 22. According to its promotional description, the show “traces the contributions of immigrant cultures to the creation of the soundtrack of the 20th century.” “It’s an ode to this city and its best impulses,” Schultz said. “New York invented the 20th century, largely through the contributions of three refugee cultures: Jewish, Irish, and African American. It’s a program we first put together in August of last year. Without changing a word we’re finding it’s gained much more resonance given the current political reality.” It’s nice to know Toronto appreciates what makes New York City great, even if a certain son of New York who now presides in Washington seems a little confused on that score. If the rest of Soulpepper’s season is anywhere near as good as their production of “Of Human Bondage,” none of their “interwoven fabric” is to be missed. Soulpepper is in residence through July 29 at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 W. 42nd St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). For tickets ($25-$80), call 888-898-1188 or visit soulpepper.org. DowntownExpress.com

Installation view, “Roni Horn” (at Hauser & Wirth New York through July 28).

© Roni Horn, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth; photo by Ron Amstutz

Buhmann on Art Roni Horn at Hauser & Wirth BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN Having worked in sculpture, drawing, photography, and site-specific installation, Roni Horn’s oeuvre spans more than four decades. Her earliest works entailed wedges of solid-colored glass that were set on shelves, as well as an installation and performance centered on an ant farm. This exhibition will focus on her photographic opus “The Selected Gifts, (1974–

2015)” — a collection of 67 photographs that document various gifts, which the artist received over a period of 41 years. These include some fascinating and rather unusual objects, such as a fossilized dinosaur egg and a handmade olive tree, but also leather gloves and two copies of Djuna Barnes’ “The Book of Repulsive Women.” Each object is depicted against a plain white background, and takes on a

nearly iconic presence; a token of friendship and diverse human interests. To Horn, they also manifest as something more personally revealing in that each object “is a reflection through the warped optic of others that shows a level of accuracy beyond that of any mirror. A portrait I could not have imagined without the unwitting aid of friends, acquaintances, and knowing strangers.”

In addition, two new bodies of works on paper and glass sculptures complement the installation, reflecting Horn’s ongoing interest in questions of identity, meaning, and perception. Through July 28 at Hauser & Wirth New York (548 W. 22nd St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Mon.-Fri., 10am6pm. Call 212-790-3900 or visit hauserwirth.com.

Photo by Ron Amstutz

Photo by Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich

Roni Horn: “The Dog’s Chorus. Let Slip At the Drop of a Hat” (2016. Watercolour, pen and ink, gum arabic on watercolour paper, tape. Left drawing: 29 1/8 x 22 3/8 x 1 5/8 in. Center: 32 7/8 x 21 5/8 x 1 5/8 in. Right: 31 1/4 x 21 3/4 x 1 5/8 in.).

Roni Horn: “The Selected Gifts, (1974-2015)” (2015-2016. Ink jet prints on Hahnemuehle paper, 67 parts; 13 x 13 in (18 images); 13 x 14 in (3 images); 13 x 16 in (31images); 13 x 18 in (9 images); 13 x 19 in (6 images).


July 13– July 26, 2017


A Strong Slate of Strained Relations 2017’s NY Asian Film Festival is mindful of family matters BY SCOTT STIFFLER Bullets fly and swords are wielded in plenty of the crowd-pleasing, kinetic selections at 2017’s New York Asian Film Festival — but its deepest cuts come from the sharp tongues of those who know us best. Questions about what makes, breaks, and heals a family are front and center in a number of outstanding selections this year — two of which are reviewed below and enthusiastically recommended. Drawing from the deep well of fiction that tell us you can only go home again by getting knocked on the noggin, lapsing into a coma, and learning a valuable lesson, “Duckweed” does its “Wizard of Oz” quest thing very well, but also manages to spread a thick layer of subversive melancholy atop the save-my-parents/ save-myself prime directive of “Back to the Future.” The result is an often light but consistently challenging rumination on destiny that refuses to shave the bittersweet edges off its arrogant antihero’s bid for redemption. It’s 2022, and gifted rally driver Tailang (Deng Chao) caps his victory with a venomous and very public criticism of Zhengtai (Eddie Peng), the father who refused to support his dreams. In a slowmotion crash sequence as bold as the rest of the film is restrained, Tailang’s car meets the business end of a speeding train and he wakes up back in 1998, the year before he was born. Rather than concern itself with the mechanics of time travel that made this possible, “Duckweed” gets right down to the serious business of ambition, interpersonal dynamics, and fatal flaws — groundwork that’s nicely established in a scene where Tailang is rescued from a skirmish by his shockingly spry and charismatic father, an entrepreneurial gang leader with terrible business instincts and the wrong taste in women. It seems Zhengtai has a fiancé whose maiden name is not that of the mother who must give birth before dad is sent to prison for six years, only to emerge as the twisted tormenter responsible for turning his now-motherless boy into the ungrateful heel of 2022. For the tail end of the ’90s, though, the trio become fast friends while the Tailang goes all out to ensure his very existence. What makes “Duckweed” so engaging has very little to do with how the future version of an unborn son maneuvers the right people to the altar. That’s enjoyable enough, yes; but its real appeal is rooted


July 13 – July 26, 2017

Courtesy China Lion Film Distribution, Inc.

It’s a nice day for the right wedding: “Duckweed” sends an arrogant son back in time to make sure his parents get hitched.

© 2016 Entertaining Power Company

Sanitation workers also serve as a secret force tasked with sweeping Hong Kong’s bloodsuckers under the rug, in “Vampire Cleanup Department.”

in the slight advantage director Han Han gives the audience over the main character. We’re always one step ahead when it comes to realizing that despite Tailang’s knowledge of impending events and his slowly emerging sense of empathy, some lives will be lost and others will be damaged; perhaps beyond repair. Waking up in the present to find his timeworn father at the hospital bedside, a tender moment of recognition between them provides a bit of hope, but stops short of delivering the brand of dewy kinship that made Dorothy Gale and Marty McFly’s homecoming such a pleasure to watch. That narrative choice is difficult to digest, but it sure does stick to the ribs. Sat., July 15, 12:30pm. Mandarin with English subtitles. 101 minutes. An anomaly relative to the more somber entries in this roundup, “Vampire Cleanup Department” never drops the

ball in its desire to juggle gore and genealogy. Like the kindhearted teen whose newfound immunity to supernatural toxins gives him an edge in the fight against evil, “VCD” is a zippy hybrid with an unusual blood type coursing through the veins of its franchise-friendly mythology: Deep beneath a seemingly mundane garbage collection station, civil servants who sweep the streets by day spend their nights answering the call to keep Hong Kong’s robust population of undead in check. “When a person dies with injustice on a cloudy day, at a gloomy place, then he might turn into a vampire,” says Uncle Chung (a droll Richard Ng), who recruits naive and nerdy Tim (an appropriately named Babyjohn Choi) into the team’s rapidly aging ranks after a vampire attack reveals his nephew has inherited protective powers from his late mother (mom

and pop, turns out, were Department bigwigs who died heroically). Trained in the ways of vampire fighting and soul reclamation, the dutiful but untested teen is sworn to secrecy (having refused a sip of memory-erasing tea that keeps the general public blissfully unaware). On his first mission, Tim comes freshface-to-putrefied-face with a female vampire. Lacking the heart to stab hers, a bloody good smooch turns Summer (Lin Min-chen) into a mute but perceptive beauty. The rest of the film plays out as a manic series of seismic shifts in tone, with Tim hiding his new love interest from the others, coaching her in the ways of humanity, and confronting threats on several fronts (a big bad vampire; a delusional grandmother; the upstart local authority determined to replace VCD with his own force). Transfused with injections of comedy, action, horror, and romance, directing team Chiu Sin-hang and Yan Pak-wing are so dead-set on entertaining you that the genre-hopping attention deficit disorder of their debut feature proves less of a distraction than a welcome asset. Sat., July 15, 10pm. Cantonese with English subtitles. 94 minutes. “Duckweed” and “VCD” screen at the SVA Theatre (333 W. 23rd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). For tickets ($14; $11 students/seniors), visit subwaycinema.com. DowntownExpress.com


July 13â&#x20AC;&#x201C; July 26, 2017


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July 13 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; July 26, 2017


Profile for Schneps Media

Downtown Express  

July 13, 2017

Downtown Express  

July 13, 2017