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YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN

EASY ON THE EYES HOW WE LOOKED UP TO THE ECLIPSE (see page 10)

PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN MILES

© CHELSEA NOW 2017 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

VOLUME 09, ISSUE 26 | AUGUST 24 - 30, 2017


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BY NATHAN DICAMILLO Garment workers and industry leaders along with elected officials presented recommendations last Friday aimed at slowing down a proposed rezoning of the Midtown district that has been the industry’s traditional home, urging the city’s Economic Development Corporation to phase out longstanding manufacturing space preservation requirements only over time and replace them with new safeguards aimed at maintaining industry capacity. Borough President Gale Brewer led the charge on the steps of City Hall as she pressed the EDC to review recommendations from the Garment Center Steering Committee established in May before certifying the rezoning plan it introduced earlier this year. The garment hub runs roughly from West 35th to 40th Sts., between Broadway and Ninth Ave. “We cannot get rid of the current zoning protections for the Garment District until we are sure that enough space is preserved for the manufacturers who need to stay in Manhattan,” Brewer said. The committee’s report included recommendations for a program aimed at retaining long-term garment production, the purchase of a building for a dedicated garment production space, support for non-profit partners of the industry, the phasing out of existing garment space preservation requirements gradually, and restrictions on hotel construction in the district. The full report can be found online at manhattanbp.nyc.gov. Release of the report has bought critics of the rezoning plan some additional time to make their case. The city had been expected to certify the rezoning on

Aug. 21, but several hours after the City Hall press conference, the EDC released a statement saying, “We have received the report released by the Manhattan Borough President’s office and look forward to a more thorough review of its recommendations. It became clear to us during the process of developing the recommendations that some were supported by all stakeholders while others were not. We’ll review the report and determine which recommendations are good policy and whether others can be adapted to support garment manufacturing and help grow good jobs for New Yorkers.” The agency did not specify a time frame for making a final decision. The steering committee produced its report within 90 days — which Brewer termed “unprecedented” in New York. “East Midtown took three years and we are doing this in three months,” she said. The committee talked to manufacturers, owners, and designers, while also conducting its own research. The borough president asserted that the Manhattan Garment District plays a critical piece in the fashion industry, which across the city accounts for 180,000 jobs, $11 billion in wages, 900 fashion companies, and 75 fashion shows that give New York its status as the world’s fashion capital. “This status of privilege stands fully on the shoulders of the garment workers,” said designer Yeohlee Teng, founder of YEOHLEE, Inc. Brewer believes the EDC and the steering committee both want to make the city’s garment rezoning plan successful and that phasing out old preservation GARMENT DISTRICT continued on p. 27 NYC Community Media


Momentum Begins for Moynihan Train Hall by 2020’s End BY TAYLOR TIAMOYO HARRIS Standing behind a podium and symbolically riding the track opposite his dire “Summer of Hell” prediction, Governor Andrew Cuomo confidently assured New Yorkers that a transit hub free of Penn Station’s notorious congestion and reflective of the city’s scale and sprawl is only three years away. “For decades, passengers were promised a world-class train hall worthy of New York — today, we are delivering on that promise and turning that dream into a reality,” Cuomo said, at an Aug. 17 press conference announcing the start of major construction that will transform the James A. Farley Post Office Building into Moynihan Train Hall by the end of 2020. “The best infrastructure,” Cuomo noted, “has the best economy. The challenge is in the doing. ... New York, we’re all about getting it done.” A press release accompanying the announcement heralded the progress so far, including the installation of 100 tons of new steel and the demolition of 6,000 tons of concrete and 400 tons of hazardous materials. The Moynihan Train Hall building, just a few blocks north of the massive Hudson Yards project, will feature a towering 92-foot skylight. Passengers in the newly designed 255,000-square-foot transit hub will have access to nine platforms and 17 tracks, 11 escalators, and seven elevators. “We are transforming the Farley Post Office into a state-of-the-art transit hub to get travelers where they need to go faster and more comfortably,” Cuomo said. “With better access to trains and subways, vibrant retail and business opportunities and stunning architectural design, we are bringing Penn Station into the 21st century.” The $1.6 billion dollar project also emphasizes having better communi-

© Empire State Development. Image courtesy SOM | Public Square

A rendering shows what all levels will look like upon completion.

cation with passengers by installing multiple digital informational screens at the busy intersection on Manhattan’s Far West side. The transit hub project is being spearheaded by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) project, and is expected to create over 12,000 temporary construction jobs and 2,500 permanent jobs. The state will supply $550 million to the project, and $630 million will come from joint venture developers Related Companies, Skanska, and Vornado Realty Trust. Amtrak, MTA, Port Authority and a federal grant will contribute a combined $420 million. In addition to being a train station, the Moynihan building will feature commercial, retail and dining venues. “If you think that Governor Cuomo

was going to put over a half a billion dollars into this facility solely for the use of Amtrak and not improve the experience for Long Island Railroad commuters, then you know someone very different than I know,” ESD President, CEO and

Commissioner Howard Zemsky said. “The thing to know is the naming is the easy part it’s the fun part and celebratory part. It’s the doing that’s the hard part.” TRAIN HALL continued on p. 12

Courtesy Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

The cavernous setting of Gov. Cuomo’s Aug. 17 press conference announcing the start of major construction for Moynihan Train Hall.

NYC Community Media

August 24, 2017

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Her Camera Captured the Quirkiness of the City BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Arlene Gottfried, a photographer par excellence of New York City’s street life, died on Tues., Aug. 8. She was 66 and a resident of Westbeth Artists Housing, at Bethune and West Sts. The New York Times reported that her brother, the comedian Gilbert Gottfried, said she died of complications from breast cancer. Her funeral was at Riverside Memorial Chapel, at W. 76th St. and Amsterdam Ave., on Aug. 10. Our sister publication, The Villager, profi led Gottfried in August 2011 on the occasion of the publication of a book of her photographs from the 1970s and ’80s, “Bacalitos & Fireworks,” which included many images of Alphabet City from that era. Also included in the book are a number of portraits of Miguel Pinero, author of “Lower East Side Poem,” which features the famous refrain asking that his ashes be scattered throughout the Lower East Side. Gottfried also enjoyed singing with church choirs in Harlem, hence her nickname, the “Singing Photographer.” In her 2011 interview with The Villager, the Coney Island native reflected how much things have changed since the ’70s and ’80s. It used to be easier to enjoy events and a sense of community in New York, she said. “You would just go,” she said. “It didn’t cost a lot. It was easy to be with people then. It’s so different today, and you don’t have the mix of people. New York is becoming so homogenized. The East Village — it’s like NYU, all dorms.”

Photos by Tequila Minsky

Arlene Gottfried, right, at the “Sometimes Overwhelming” exhibit of her 1970s and ’80s photos at Daniel Cooney Fine Art in 2014, with family members, including siblings comedian Gilbert Gottfried and Karen Gottfried.

Arlene Gottfried with a photo portrait of her mother.

PUBLISHER Jennifer Goodstein

THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY

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August 24, 2017

EDITOR Scott Stiffler ART DIRECTOR John Napoli GRAPHIC DESIGNER Cristina Alcine

CONTRIBUTORS Lincoln Anderson Stephanie Buhmann Bill Egbert Rebecca Fiore Dusica Sue Malesevic Winnie McCroy Puma Perl Paul Schindler Eileen Stukane

Arlene Gottfried with her photo book “Mommie” at a book-signing and exhibit at Westbeth, where she lived, last year.

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NYC Community Media


TALKING POINT Disbanding a Homeless Encampment 101: These Are People BY JOHN A. MUDD (PRESIDENT, MIDTOWN SOUTH COMMUNITY COUNCIL) There is no avoiding them. Whether you’re bustling through the city or enjoying a leisurely Sunday, you are bound to step over one. You could simply shrug them off. You could eek out a pitiful sigh and turn away, uncomfortable with their discomfort. You could get offended by their odor and feel trespassed against by their pleas. What if we took away “them” and put a name to a face? Imagine this person as a brother, a sister, or even yourself. Impossible? Never wanted to throw in the towel or think of yourself hanging on the fringe of society? How about you give the next homeless person you see squatting on the sidewalk a story. How long have they been on the streets? How did they get there? Are they addicted? What is their poison: alcohol, prescription meds, drugs? Are they depressed, schizophrenic? Did they have too many hard knocks or just one powerful sucker punch that put them down for the count? Now, is it harder to be egregiously affected or easier to empathize? I wrestle less with this dichotomy; even as I watch them sit in their chronic state, unbathed and stewing in the worst of odors. Empathy has won over annoyance. Living in the tourist-saturated midtown of Manhattan for over 30 years, the homeless cannot be ignored — you see them often enough, and they find their place into your subconscious. I have had the luxury of knowing some of their real stories, rather than the imagined ones. While walking past a camp under a scaffold stretching the length of a 40-foot construction site everyday, I became privy to the boasts, plans, and world views of some of its inhabitants: Paul Bright, Donald Cook, Gerard, Chris, Michelle, Mr. Y, Mr. X, and others. I’ve seen them during alcohol-fueled belligerent tirades. I’ve seen them literally air their dirty laundry using the metal crossbars that anchor the scaffold together as a clothesline. I’ve seen their collection of treasured items on full display under the distressed tree that sprouts through the scaffold’s roof. I naturally thought the homeless problem was a social one. The sight of human vulnerability, loneliness, and dispensability begs the question, “How did they get here?” Seeing the victims of homelessness bedded down on subway floors, slouched uncomfortably on benches, or encamped on sidewalks urges me to wonder why we are not doing more to help them. My job as president of the Midtown South Community Council (MSCC), a not-for-profit organization, tasks me with searching for answers. “Ignoring” was not an option each day I walked along W. 38th St. through the encampment of sleeping bodies beneath jackets, thin sheets, and battered woolen covers. I had no intention of looking away. It was my block they decided to camp on; I needed to get involved. Although it took me several weeks to cut through the air of intimidation and begin my four-month-long conversation, it led me to an understanding of their lives and the eventual disbanding of the encampment. NYC Community Media

Photos by John A. Mudd

Outreach is ongoing to homeless people, seen here on August 10 camped out on W. 39th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.).

A homeless encampment on W. 38th St., successfully disbanded in 2016 by the Midtown South Community Council in cooperation with homeless services organizations.

I’ve been asked how I was so successful in disbanding the encampment. What urged me to action is a better question: I saw their faces, knew their names (or the names they gave me), and listened to their stories.

Then there were those festering images of bugs and rats visiting their sleeping bodies, and the harsh rains gripping their tired old bones of those who yet to find their purpose. Compassion was easy when relating to them as fellow human beings. Empathy kept me persisting, meddling, and playing detective. More importantly, I wasn’t alone. I had plenty of support. It took a small platoon of homeless services (city, nonprofit, and faith-based organizations), media, and volunteers, who reached out, advised, offered resources, and more. And there was Mother Nature. When she swept in with some cold ferociousness hinting at harsher days to come, my remaining friends began to bend toward accepting help. Of course there were hurdles. Finding services they would accept required trust. I needed to show that I was sincere, that it was going to be different with me, that I had something new to offer. They had already been questioned, put through various databases, and sent to shelters where they didn’t want to be. Better than no shelter at all? Not if they’d rather brave the harsh outdoors. They’d been there, done that, and had ENCAMPMENTS continued on p. 24 August 24, 2017

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August 24, 2017

Photo courtesy of Office of Councilmember Rosenthal

Photo courtesy of Mel Wymore

Incumbent Helen Rosenthal, who was first elected in 2013, when she beat out a large Democratic primary field.

Mel Wymore, a longtime local community board member who came in second in the 2013 Democratic primary contest for the District 6 seat.

Museum Expansion, School Rezoning Dominate District 6 Council Debate BY PAUL SCHINDLER The primary election contest for the Upper West Side’s City Council District 6 seat features a rematch between the incumbent and the 2013 runner-up, but it was the third candidate’s main issue that dominated the first portion of an Aug. 17 debate in the three-way Democratic race. Speaking in a televised debate hosted by Errol Louis on his NY1 “Inside City Hall� program, Cary Goodman argued that despite the fact that the planned $340 million expansion of the American Museum of Natural History will eliminate just a quarter-acre of the surrounding 25-acre Theodore Roosevelt Park, the renowned science institution already controls more than half of the superblock — running from 77th to 81st Sts., between Central Park West and Columbus Ave. — that the museum and the park share. Charging that the “toxic expansion� is being facilitated by $100 million in public funding supported by the incumbent councilmember, Helen Rosenthal, Goodman, saying, “public parks are the glue of democracy,� argued that the expansion threatened what is a treasured “quiet step back� for neighborhood residents. Goodman, a former schoolteacher and executive director of a Bronx business improvement district, has been an outspoken leader in the fight against the museum’s expansion. The area, the challenger said, “is one of the wealthiest and whitest districts in the city. We are over-privileged

with museums and cultural institutions. We don’t need any more.� Rosenthal defended the expansion plan, saying, “I’m so pleased to be around for this opportunity for the museum to expand on 21st century science, research, and education. I mean, especially now, we need to make sure that our children, that our children’s children are getting accurate information about science.� The councilmember noted her role in pressing the museum to scale back the expansion slightly so it would encroach on only a quarter-acre rather than a halfacre, a modification she said would save two valued old trees. Pointing to community input on the expansion, Rosenthal said, “They’re not done addressing traffic and congestion.� The third candidate, Mel Wymore, a longtime local community board member who finished second after Rosenthal in the 2013 Democratic primary, described himself as taking an intermediate position between Goodman’s and Rosenthal’s. “There are serious things we can do to improve that project,� he said, after lauding the educational virtues of the museum. “We can reduce the size so it doesn’t impact the park at all. We can make sure that it’s sustainable as a model for energy and renewable energy, and we can work hand in hand with all the neighbors and stakeholders to mitigate every DEBATE continued on p. 23 NYC Community Media


Plaques Eyed in Crackdown on Hate-Linked Memorials BY COLIN MIXSON After plans to remove a Confederate statue in Virginia led to deadly protests down south, Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to systematically expunge “symbols of hateâ€? from all city property, and said in a tweet the purge would begin with removing plaques honoring Nazi collaborators along the “Canyon of Heroes,â€? on lower Broadway. “The commemoration for Nazi collaborator Philippe PĂŠtain in the Canyon of Heroes will be one of the first we remove,â€? the mayor tweeted on Wed., Aug. 16. Sidewalks along the Canyon of Heroes feature 164 granite plaques along Broadway from Bowling Green to City Hall Park, one for each of the city’s beloved ticker-tape parades along their traditional route. Among those includes tablets baring the names of PĂŠtain — who during World War II led the rump puppet state of Vichy France and worked with Nazi’s to suppress French resistance and round up Jews for the concentration camps — and Pierre Laval, an even more reviled Franco-Nazi collaborator, whose plaque will also be included in a 90-day review of symbols of hate the mayor called for,

AP Photo/Vichy Censo

Marshal Philippe PĂŠtain as Chief of State, at right, and Pierre Laval as Minister of Foreign Affairs, interior and propaganda, led the rump puppet state of Vichy France, and collaborated with the Nazis in deporting French Jews to death camps.

also by tweet. The plaques were installed as part of a 2004 street improvement project envisioned by the Downtown Alliance, which manages the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District

(BID). They were subject to review by the city’s Department of Transportation and Public Design Commission, which approved engraving the French names into Broadway long after their legacy had become inseparably tied to Hitler’s Final

Solution, said Alliance spokesman Andy Breslau. But the plaques don’t specifically honor PĂŠtain and Laval, according Breslau. Instead, they commemorate historic instances of the parades themselves, both of which occurred just days apart in 1931, about a decade before France fell to the Nazis. “The thinking at the time was that this was a piece of notable New York history, which could be marked with these inlays,â€? Breslau said. “It was never designed to endorse.â€? The Alliance has no official stance when it comes to the mayor’s purge of questionable memorials, or his first intended targets, according to Breslau, who said the BID “looks forward to working with the mayorâ€? in reviewing public sculptures and other memorials Downtown. But several notables New York City has chosen to honor through its iconic parades have later fallen on the wrong side of history, and their accomplishments are marred by political beliefs and policies that are considered unconscionable by today’s standards. PLAQUES continued on p. 17

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NYC Community Media

August 24, 2017

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While students may have only limited control over the environment in their classrooms, they and their parents can do much to create home study environments that are conducive to learning: ESTABLISH A ‘DISTRACTIONFREE’ ZONE: When choosing a study area at home, parents can designate a “distraction-free” zone where no televisions, radios, tablets, and smartphones are allowed. Children are increasingly dependent on their smartphones and tablets, and while such devices can sometimes prove useful to students, that benefit is often outweighed by the distraction they present. When kids study at night, be sure they turn off their smartphones and only use their tablets as study aids. ESTABLISH QUIET HOURS: Quiet hours at home while kids are studying can help them better absorb their coursework, and that may lead

to improved performance in the classroom. While it’s important that a kid’s study area remain distraction-free, it can also help if distractions outside those areas are minimized. Keep televisions and other potentially noisy distractions turned off while kids are studying. If you want to catch up on a favorite television show or watch a movie, do so on your tablet instead of the television, connecting earphones so kids are not overhearing anything while they’re trying to study. KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS ON HAND: Hunger can be just as distracting as electronics or noisy housemates, so keep healthy snacks on hand. In lieu of unhealthy fare like potato chips or empty calories like pretzels, keep your home stocked with fruits and vegetables and protein-rich snacks like Greek yogurt. Such snacks will quell kids’ hunger pangs while also providing a boost of energy.

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NYC Community Media


Affordable Housing for Rent 555TEN PHASE 2 90 NEWLY CONSTRUCTED UNITS AT 555 Tenth Avenue New York, NY 10036 HUDSON YARDS Amenities: 24-hour gym*, indoor pool*, outdoor rooftop pool*, dog run*, outdoor landscaped areas*, club room*, bowling alley*, game lounge*, children’s lounge*, dog care services* and tenant storage* (*additional fees apply). Transit: A/C/E, M42 Bus No application fee • No broker’s fee • Smoke-free building This building was constructed through the Inclusionary Housing Program Development and Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program of New York State Homes and Community Renewal and is anticipated to receive a tax exemption through the 421-a Tax Incentive Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation. Who Should Apply?

x

Individuals or households who meet the income and household size requirements listed in the table below may apply. Qualified applicants will be required to meet additional selection criteria. Applicants who live in New York City receive a general preference for apartments.

x

A percentage of units is set aside for applicants with disabilities: R Mobility (5%) R Vision/hearing (2%) Preference for a percentage of units goes to: R Residents of Manhattan Community Board 4 (50%) R Municipal employees (5%)

Studio 1 bedroom

2 bedroom

3 bedroom

Monthly Rent1

Units Available

Household Size2

$613

10

ÄŽ

$659

33

ÄŽ

Annual Household Income3

1 person $24,549- $26,720 2 people $24,549- $30,560 2 people $29,075- $30,560 $790

15

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3 people $29,075- $34,360 4 people $29,075 - $38,160 3 people $32,572- $34,360 4 people $32,572- $38,160

$875

2

ÄŽ

4

Minimum Âą Maximum

1 person $22,903- $26,720

5 people $32,572- $41,240 6 people $32,572- $44,280

120% AREA MEDIAN INCOME (AMI) UNITS

Unit Size

40% AREA MEDIAN INCOME (AMI) UNITS

AVAILABLE UNITS AND INCOME REQUIREMENTS Monthly Rent1

Units Available

Household Size2

$1,949

4

ÄŽ

$2,091

18

ÄŽ

Annual Household Income3 4

Minimum Âą Maximum

1 person $68,709-$80,160 1 person $73,646-$80,160 2 people $73,646-$91,680 2 people $88,355-$91,680

$2,519

7

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3 people $88,355-$103,080 4 people $88,355-$114,480 3 people $101,143-$103,080 4 people $101,143-$114,480

$2,875

1

ÄŽ

5 people $101,143-$123,720 6 people $101,143-$132,840

1

Rent includes gas for cooking. Household size includes everyone who will live with you, including parents and children. Subject to occupancy criteria. 3 Household earnings includes salary, hourly wages, tips, Social Security, child support, and other income. Income guidelines subject to change. 4 Minimum income listed may not apply to applicants with Section 8 or other qualifying rental subsidies. Asset limits also apply. 2

How Do You Apply? Apply online or through mail. To apply online, please go to nyc.gov/housingconnect. To request an application by mail, send a selfaddressed envelope to: 555TEN c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129. Only send one application per development. Do not submit duplicate applications. Do not apply online and also send in a paper application. Applicants who submit more than one application may be disqualified. When is the Deadline? Applications must be postmarked or submitted online no later than OCTOBER 23, 2017. Late applications will not be considered. What Happens After You Submit an Application? After the deadline, applications are selected for review through a lottery process. If yours is selected and you appear to qualify, you will be invited to an interview to continue the process of determining your eligibility. Interviews are usually scheduled from 2 to 10 months after the application deadline. You will be asked to bring documents that verify your household size, identity of members of your household, and your household income. EspaĂąol

Presente una solicitud en lĂ­nea en nyc.gov/housingconnect. Para recibir una traducciĂłn de espaĂąol de este anuncio y la solicitud impresa, envĂ­e un sobre con la direcciĂłn a: . 555TEN c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129. En el reverso del sobre, escriba en inglĂŠs la palabra “SPANISH.â€? Las solicitudes se deben enviar en lĂ­nea o con sello postal antes de [date] de octubre 2017.

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Kreyòl Ayisyien

Aplike sou entènèt sou sitwèb nyc.gov/housingconnect. Pou resevwa yon tradiksyon anons sa a nan lang Kreyòl Ayisyen ak aplikasyon an sou papye, voye anvlòp ki gen adrès pou retounen li nan: 555TEN c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129. Nan dèyè anvlòp la, ekri mo “HATIAN CREOLEâ€? an Anglè. Ou dwe remèt aplikasyon yo sou entènèt oswa ou dwe tenbre yo anvan dat oktòb

23, 2017. 

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Governor Andrew Cuomo ÍťMayor Bill de Blasio ÍťHPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer Íť HCR Commissioner/CEO Ruth Anne Visnauskas

NYC Community Media

August 24, 2017

9


It’s Safe to Stare Straight at Our Eclipse Photos

PHOTO ESSAY BY CHRISTIAN MILES Just a few blocks from where thoroughly enthralled office workers momentarily abandoned their desks to gawk, street level-style, at August 21’s solar eclipse, photographer Christian Miles mingled with those gathered on the sprawling deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

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August 24, 2017

NYC Community Media


Jewish Identity in the Summer of Hate BY MAX BURBANK Growing up, everything I knew about being a Jew came from Woody Allen films and the movie version of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Sad, right? No Zero Mostel for me, my Tevye was Topol, for Christ’s sake! (See what I did there? Apparently, Jesus was a Jew. A lot of people don’t know that.) The whole Woody Allen thing is admittedly a little tainted now, but you’ll have to forgive me — I didn’t have a time machine. I was raised by secular Jews in Massachusetts, one of only two Jewish families in town, and the Silvermans didn’t care for us. Anti-Semitism wasn’t something I ran into that much. To the other kids, Jews were obscure, robeand-sandal creatures found mostly on Sunday school felt boards. Oh sure, I’d hear the occasional “Don’t be such a Jew” or “He Jewed me down.” One time, classmates threw pennies at me in the hallway, shouting, “Chase the penny, Jew!” Okay, I guess that’s pretty overtly anti-Semitic when you think about it. At the time it just seemed on par with the wedgies and locker-stuffings I got for all the other ways I was different — talking about “Star Trek” too much, eagerly sharing my rote memorization of Tom Lehrer’s entire song catalogue… which, now that I see it in writing, also seems maybe a little Jewy. I identified as Jewish growing up, of course I did. I am. My parents are Jews, my grandparents. I didn’t go to Hebrew school and I didn’t have a bar mitzvah, but that doesn’t un-Jew me. All my life people said, “If you don’t practice the religion, how can you be Jewish?” the same way they said, “You can’t eat bacon. You’re a Jew!” like it was a physical impossibility. I’d explain as patiently as possible that Judaism is a religion and Jews are a people. Full disclosure, I don’t know if that’s correct. Also, I don’t really care. I’ve always liked being a Jew. It justifies a lot of my funny, slightly paranoid, sometimes standoffish personality and also my love of run-on sentences and habitual interruption of people (which I think of as just the natural flow of conversation, so when people give me a hard time about it they are really just being anti-Semitic). I stole that last joke from my oldest daughter, but she’s only half-Jewish (and I would have thought of it eventually). Beyond all that, I didn’t spend a whole lot of time pondering my JewishAmerican identity. I didn’t have to. I had NYC Community Media

AP photo by Steve Helber

White nationalist demonstrators hold their ground as they clash with counter demonstrators in Lee Park in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12.

that luxury. I grew up thinking that Jew-hating in America was for the most part a historical relic. I mean, I didn’t imagine everybody was all, “Oh, boy, Jews!” I just assumed that classic, old school, antiSemitic conspiracy theories about hooknosed Jews managing vast banking cabals, secretly controlling the media and Hollywood, and cackling maniacally while quaffing Christian baby blood by the liter had gone the way of the passenger pigeon and the rotary phone. I pooh-poohed Jewish friends who saw anti-Semitism lurking behind every corner like it was the solution to Einstein’s unified field theory. Charlottesville changed all that. Or Charlottesville was the final, undeniable proof that everything had changed. Or nothing had changed, I’d just been wrong my whole life. A rock that had always been in our backyard had been turned over, revealing about a million squirming Nazi bugs. And the President of the United States was telling me that sure, some of those Nazi bugs were bad, but many of them were very fine bugs. My grandfather on my dad’s side fought in World War II. He gave me a German helmet with a bullet hole in it he said he’d put there, but I always thought that was a lie. He was one of the first American doctors into Auschwitz. He never talked about it. Smuggling cases of whiskey on supply flights he talked about, but not a word about the

camps. My grandmother reportedly said once (and only once) that her husband had come back from the war different. Some things don’t get talked about, like what you saw in the war or what is was like to speak for your parents because they only spoke Yiddish, or why you fled Russia in the first place. I always imagined it was because of what happened at the end of “Fiddler on the Roof.” I have no other way to imagine it. When my dad was a kid running around Brooklyn, his dad was away fighting Germans — some of whom were, I have no doubt, “very fine men” who’d spent the last several years rounding up Jews from all over Europe. Now, here in the United States, we’re quite a ways away from doing anything remotely like that. But we’re a good deal closer than I ever imagined possible just a year ago. I hope I’m wrong. Just before I turned this column in, I stood on the Boston Common with my family, a few friends, and tens of thousands of people I had never met to protest a “free speech” rally whose guest list leaned heavily toward… well, let’s say Nazis so I don’t have to get into the finer distinctions of the particular ways in which they hate other folks. See how I demonstrated my right to free speech there? They huddled together in what could have passed as the gazebo from “The Sound of Music,” all 50 or so of them, and I imagine they were afraid to be sur-

rounded by a massive crowd that really didn’t like them. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a lesson they could take away from the experience? But that was Boston, not Charlottesville. I love my bubble, and I hope its skin is more like steel than soap, but it’s a bubble. I loved not thinking about things like this. I loved raising my kids certain they’d never worry about this bizarre hatred, as it faded further and further into the past until it was just a story, like Passover, which I’m stupidly now realizing is exactly the opposite of what the Passover story is supposed to teach you. I’m used to the full bucket of white privilege, but I find myself missing the cream, where I never had to think at all about my own race. I liked not thinking about it, and missing it makes me feel small and petty and naïve, like a Republican who changed his mind about marriage equality, but only after finding out one of his grandkids was gay. Apparently, Nazis don’t think Jews are white. I mean literally. I don’t know what the hell color they think our skin is, I guess it’s like camouflage, another nefarious Jew trick. It’s okay, though. If white only comes in a polo shirt, khakis, and a Tiki torch accessory, I don’t want it. I hope we’re Rose gold. I’d eat that color up with a frikkin’ spoon. August 24, 2017

11


Courtesy Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press conference applauding progression of the new Moynihan building, an expansion of Penn Station. TRAIN HALL continued from p. 3

In June, bookended entrances at the Farley building allowed riders access to 17 of Penn Station’s 21 tracks for New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), as well as the A, C, and E subway lines. Across the street at Penn Station, which serves over 600,000 passengers a day, repairs have been going on since July, causing customers to be rerouted on NJ Transit and the LIRR. Sometime after the repairs are done,

the governor would like to merge the Penn Station repairs with the new Moynihan Train Hall and Gateway projects. The Gateway project will repair two run-down tunnels underneath the Hudson River, doubling the space of the tunnel between New Jersey and New York. According to report earlier this month by the Regional Plan Association, by 2040 over 500,000 commuters will travel over the Hudson River to the city, which the city is not currently able to support. The report also stated the number of people commuting to the city from New

© Empire State Development. Image courtesy SOM | AT Chain

An aerial view of the Moynihan Train Hall building.

Jersey in the last 25 years grew from 250,000 to 320,000 (28 percent). A former ambassador to India and the UN, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who the building will be named for, championed the project. He was a Democrat who served as an advisor and counselor to President Richard M. Nixon and as NY State Senator from 1977 to 2001. His daughter, Maura, also attended the press conference earlier this month thanking Cuomo and expressing excite-

ment for the project’s progression. “On my father’s deathbed in 2003, I vowed to him I would try and get the station built and after trying for years and years and years and being told ‘No you can’t’ and ‘No it won’t,’ I gave up. I thought I won’t believe it until I see some people walking about with hard hats in the Farley building,” she said. “What is that over there?” Moynihan asked, pointing to a construction worker as the audience applauded.

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Photos by Milo Hess

The sidewalk plaques commemorating parades down the Canyon of Heroes in 1931 for later Nazi collaborators Philippe Pétain and Pierre Laval — which flank Broadway just north of Morris St. — are the first targets of Mayor de Blasio’s campaign to rid city property of hate-tainted monuments. PLAQUES continued from p. 7

In 1927, for instance, the city honored Charles Lindbergh for his daring solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. The legendary aviator was later notoriously supportive of the Nazis, however, and infused his arguments for US neutrality in the war with racist, anti-Semitic rhetoric. And a 1962 ticker-tape honored Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a dictator installed

NYC Community Media

by the Central Intelligence Agency, whose reign was marked by oppression and brutality that paved the way for his overthrow in 1979 and the establishment theocratic state that exports terrorism. It’s important that lines are drawn in determining the moral standards by which historical figures are judged, or else risk New York City’s many splendid statues and cherished landmarks being sacrificed on the altar of modern

political sensibilities, according to Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who first brought the Pétain and Laval plaques to the mayor’s attention in May. “It’s going to be complicated,” Hikind said. “Certain standards have to be set.” When the plaques were brought to Hizzoner’s attention about three months ago, de Blasio was sympathetic to the state lawmaker’s concerns, but reluctant to immediately remov-

ing the memorials, fearing that destroying one tribute might lead to demands that others be discarded, Hikind recounted. “He was clear about dealing with it — it was a question of how to deal with it, because once the city decided to do something, what about all the other things that might be objectionable to people for one reason or another?” Hikind said. In the wake of riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, how-

ever, the mayor seems to have decided to take action, and while it remains to be seen exactly how that review will be conducted, it appears that at least one standard for demolition — abetting the Holocaust — has been set, according to Hikind. “You have to set some kind of limit,” said Hikind. “A mass murderer, someone responsible for rounding up Jews, that’s a no brainer. Otherwise, it’s going to get very interesting.”

August 24, 2017

17


At Monday Night Jam, a Firm ‘Foundation’ for Jazz Hell’s Kitchen club room cooks with top chops, camaraderie BY NICOLE JAVORSKY Billy Kaye climbed the stairs, made his way to center stage, and stood at the mic. “We are waiting,” he said, pausing to great effect, “for the host.” An audience member quipped, “You’re the host!” Without skipping a beat, some others took up the refrain. The chant, though a joke, expressed the audience’s reverence for the jazz musician. “You’re the host! You’re the host!” This friendly exchange was just one example of the good humor — and good timing — on display every week, when the The Jazz Foundation of America (JFA) hosts a Monday Night Jam in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, at the Local 802 Musicians’ Union. Kaye has been a part of the Jazz Foundation since its beginnings. He joined the union at 18. Back when the clubroom where the jazz jam is held was a studio, Kaye’s music was recorded there. “I’ve been a member, host, honoree, the whole thing,” he said. “This room is my history.” But this steamy July Monday was a special occasion. The clubroom was packed for the 92nd birthday of another beloved jazz figure — pianist Zeke Mullins. Mullins’ smile was visible under the rim of his baseball cap. He sat at a table near the front of the room, surrounded by family members. Over 120 people fi lled the space, now adorned with black and gold balloons. Often during the night, faces gleamed in sudden recognition of someone else in the room. As two attendees shook hands and embraced, laughter spilled from their lips. Gabriel Romance, longtime jazz vocalist and flutist, emphasized, “It’s the camaraderie and friendship of musicians coming here. That’s what it’s all about.” Last year, after Romance sang at the jam, one member of the audience approached the stage. That week was the anniversary of the attendee’s father passing away. “The Shadow of Her Smile,” the song Romance performed, was a touchstone in her relationship with her dad. As waves of nostalgia crashed on her face, she

18

August 24, 2017

Photos by Nicole Javorsky

The house was packed for the 92nd birthday of Zeke Mullins, seen here at the piano.

cried, “To hear Gabriel sing it like that means so much.” Dashiell Feiler, JFA Manager of Grants and Program Development, organizes the jam. In his office upstairs, Feiler recalled how he used to wear jazz and blues T-shirts every day to school. “It’s a lifelong obsession.” He shuffled through some drawers until he found a cartoon. Jean Cabut, who died in the 2015 attack on the office of satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, drew it at one of JFA’s Monday night jams. After a moment of squinting at the caricatures, Felier pointed to the jazz musicians in the illustration, naming each one. At Mullins’ birthday celebration, singer, songwriter and musician Whitney Marchelle Jackson gave Mullins her CD (“Me, Marsalis & Monk”), on which Wycliffe Gordon Gabriel Romance captivates the audience at the JFA Monday Night Jam in August 2016.

JAM continued on p. 24 NYC Community Media


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NYC Community Media

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.

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August 24, 2017

19


Buhmann on Art Carol Rama at the New Museum BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN This is the first New York museum survey featuring the fascinating Italian artist Carol Rama (1918-2015) and the largest presentation of her work in the US to date. Though her oeuvre has been largely overlooked in contemporary art discourses, she has still managed to achieve a cult status of sorts. Recently, she has attracted renewed attention from artists and scholars, especially after a stunning retrospective exhibition was held at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin (2016/2017). “Carol Rama: Antibodies” brings together over 150 of Rama’s paintings, objects, and works on paper, embracing primarily examples of her figurative work (she also worked in abstraction). With an at times Surrealist twist, Rama created fantastical anatomies that reflected ideas of desire, sacrifice, repression, and liberation. In its enchanting eccentricity, these works recall another Italian artist (and Fellini actor), Ele D’Artagnan (1911-1987), whose figures were equally liberated, erotic, ambiguous, and rendered in brilliant colors. Self-taught, neither Rama nor D’Artagnan had thankfully

Photo by Pino dell’Aquila © Archivio Carol Rama, Turin

Carol Rama: “Annunciazione [Annunciation]” (1985. Mixed mediums on framed canvas. 12 5/8 x 18 7/8 in.).

ever been schooled into conformity. Looking at Rama’s images, one cannot help but be in awe of her talent and courage to

embrace such a radical subject as desiring women with wagging tongues in a rather conservative time. On view through Sept. 10

Photo by Maris Hutchinson/EPW Studio

Installation view of “Carol Rama: Antibodies.”

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August 24, 2017

at the New Museum (235 Bowery btw. Stanton & Rivington Sts.). Museum hours: Tues.–Sun., 11am–6pm, Thurs, 11am–9pm. Admission:

$18 ($15 seniors, $12 students, free for ages 18 and under, pay as you wish every Thurs. from 7–9pm). Call 212-219-1222 or visit newmuseum.org.

Photo by Pino dell’Aquila © Archivio Carol Rama, Turin

Carol Rama: “Spazio anche più che tempo [Even More Space Than Time]” (1970. Rubber tire collage on canvas. 47 1/4 x 59 in.). NYC Community Media


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Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER

â&#x20AC;&#x153;THE PLANTATIONâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; AN IMMERSIVE ADAPTATION OF â&#x20AC;&#x153;THE CHERRY ORCHARDâ&#x20AC;? First presented in 2015 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; when pivotal anniversary dates in Civil War and Civil Rights history coincided â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Brave New World Repertory Theatreâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s postemancipation, southern plantation adaptation of â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Cherry Orchardâ&#x20AC;? calls Charlottesville to mind as it immerses the audience in circa-1870 dynamics of race, class, power shifts, and steadfast denials. Replacing Russian playwright Anton Chekhovâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recently freed serfs and fi nancially strapped aristocrats with emancipated Confederate slaves and bankrupted Southern gentry, director and Repertory Theatre co-founder Claire Beckman sets her adaptation in Virginia, and sets out to explore â&#x20AC;&#x153;the root causes of Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most pressing social issue.â&#x20AC;? In doing so, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Plantation,â&#x20AC;? says Beckman, â&#x20AC;&#x153;is our effort to return to the genesis of the conversation; the neglected and misunderstood period known as Reconstruction.â&#x20AC;? Having gained acclaim for its sitespecific, up-close approach (â&#x20AC;&#x153;To Kill a Mockingbirdâ&#x20AC;? unfolded on the front porches of tree-lined Flatbush; â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Tempestâ&#x20AC;? sprawled across Coney Islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beach and boardwalk), â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Plantationâ&#x20AC;? will be a 17-person, fully formed production taking place in the Commanding Officers House on Governors Island. That 1843-built landmarked mansion gives plenty of period cred to this culmination of two summersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; worth of development; first, as a standing-room-only staged reading, then, last year, as a limited run. Even then, before Charlottesville cast its shadow, actor Blair Underwood hailed it as â&#x20AC;&#x153;a poignant, powerful, riveting and

Photo by Doug Barron

Brave New World Repertory Theatre sets Chekhovâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Cherry Orchardâ&#x20AC;? on a post-emancipation plantation, circa 1870.

Photo by Kat Yen

â&#x20AC;&#x153;I.M. LOST!â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; at the Dream Up Festival Aug. 27â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Sept. 3 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; gets serious about clowning.

relevant production that resonates profoundly in these current times.â&#x20AC;?

MANTA SPA FOCUSING ON MAN TO MAN MASSAGE                                                        

             

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Ten performances, all at 1:30pm, from Aug. 31 through Sept. 24 in the Nolan Park section of Governors Island, at The Commanding Officers House. Free tickets are available for each performance, with a limited number of guaranteed seats for $25; free ferries depart from Manhattan and Brooklyn before 11:30am. For ferry info, visit govisland.com/info/ferry. For tickets, visit bravenewworldrep.org.

THE DREAM UP FESTIVAL While Theater for the New Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fun, free, potently political street theater production (â&#x20AC;&#x153;Checks and Balances, or Bottomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Up!â&#x20AC;?) makes its rowdy way across the five boroughs through Sept.

17, all is far from quiet at their East Village home base. Another annual happening â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the Dream Up Festival â&#x20AC;&#x201D; is set to unleash its quirky roster of fulllength plays, musicals, and solo shows hailing from here and abroad. Among the offerings: Nathalie EllisEinhornâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;I.M. LOST!â&#x20AC;? has added poignancy this year, with the curtain having come down on the Ringling Bros. circus. Based on interviews with clowns working everywhere from hospitals to theaters, the show looks at why people stay in the art â&#x20AC;&#x153;despite inevitable failure.â&#x20AC;? Likewise, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Buskers: The Musicalâ&#x20AC;? explores destiny and determination through the lens of NYC subway performers. In â&#x20AC;&#x153;Finishing the Suit,â&#x20AC;? a tailor looks back, having lost his lover Jimmy and his most famous client â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the Duke of Windsor. Set in a Los Angeles art school, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dimensionsâ&#x20AC;? merges theater and dance with spoken word to tell the stories of young minority students exploring their sexual identity â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and Craig Silverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;God in a Boxâ&#x20AC;? has the conflicted solo performer mulling over options, when he finds the deity trapped in a container and placed in front of him. Aug. 27 through Sept. 17 at Theater for the New City (TNC; 155 First Ave., btw. E. Ninth & 10th Sts.). Admission price ($12-$20) varies depending on the show. For show, schedule and ticket info, visit dreamupfestival.org. Order tickets by phone at 212-868-4444. For all other things TNC, visit theaterforthenewcity.net or call 212-254-1109. NYC Community Media


DEBATE continued from p. 6

impact, any traffic impact and environmental impact.” Pointing to leadership he took in rebuilding the 59th Street Rec Center and saving Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, Wymore characterized himself as someone able to bring all sides to the table. Acknowledging that any solution involves compromise, he said, “When people feel heard, they’re okay with not getting everything they want.” Goodman then complained that the only public hearing on the museum expansion drew no public officials, including Rosenthal, and she responded he had “spent a year and half in front of the museum spreading misinformation.” The other major point of contention in the debate centered on Rosenthal’s support for the school rezoning plan adopted in District 3 and endorsed by Community Education Council 3, an elected body of local parents. Though other local elected officials did not support the plan — which redrew the lines for a dozen schools between W. 59th and W. 116th Sts. as a new area school building is slated to open this fall — Rosenthal argued that the “elegant” rezoning plan addressed segregation in the neighborhood’s schools that had existed for more than 50 years while easing overcrowding. “Everyone says, ‘Let’s wait, let’s study it some more,” she said of those who criticized the rezoning plan. “These parents had studied it to death.” Community Education Council 3, Rosenthal insisted, had seized an historic opportunity, with the opening of the new school, to right a zoning scheme long out of balance. Goodman and Wymore were scorching in their criticism. Pointing out that the rezoning plan left out schools in the district between W. 116th and W. 122nd Sts., which have a far higher percentage of non-white students, Goodman said, “I think it’s a monumental failure of this councilwoman’s tenure.” Rosenthal, he said, does not send her children to public schools, while Goodman, who taught in segregated schools in the Bronx and East Harlem, had. The racial gap between the heavily white schools south of W. 116th St. and those north of there “is not being bridged, not being approached.” When Rosenthal responded that her district only runs as far north as W. 96th St., so the schools above there are not in her “purview,” Wymore interjected, “That’s a failure in leadership… You need to collaborate with all the leaders in the district and do the groundwork.” Though the incumbent shot back, “You’re creating a yarn,” and charged Wymore was absent from the hundreds of hours of public meetings on the issue, he said, “Real NYC Community Media

leadership is bringing all these people together, even reaching across district lines if you have to work with another councilmember.” In questions the candidates posed to each other, the major source of disagreement was over Wymore’s assertion — a key rationale for his challenge to the incumbent — that Rosenthal’s office is unresponsive to constituent complaints. “Why don’t you answer the phone?,” he asked. “That’s just factually wrong.” Rosenthal said. “I don’t know who you’re talking to.” In her opening comments, the incumbent said, “I’m so proud of the work my office has done,” pointing to the recent enactment of tenant protection legislation, measures to assist people with disabilities

in gaining access to government services, and her work on the school rezoning. Wymore, saying, “I love the Upper West Side,” and noting his New York Times endorsement in the 2013 contest, asserted he had not planned to run this year until he observed the large number of empty storefronts, what he sees as the failed school rezoning, and the continued economic squeeze on local seniors and lower income residents. Goodman, in his opening statement, emphasized not only his opposition to the museum expansion, but also his critique of the continued “immoral” segregation in Upper West Side schools and his sense, as a 66-year-old, that the growing number of seniors are not receiving adequate services from the city.

Photo by Jackson Chen

Cary Goodman, a longtime critic of the American Museum of Natural History’s planned expansion that would annex a small portion of the surrounding Theodore Roosevelt Park.

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ENCAMPMENTS continued from p. 5

resigned themselves to the thought that this was all the world had to offer. What they didn’t know was they were floating in just a small part of a wide world of solutions. Even still, they could not see the possibilities beyond survival and their current limited circumstances. When I asked Cassandra and Chris, a couple from the encampment, if they had dreams, if they could have whatever they wanted, anything at all, what would they be doing now? Cassandra, with earnest contemplation answered, “A minimum wage job.” Chris, with proud ambition said, “I have this idea for a T-shirt.” I encouraged them to broaden their scope of possibility. I got them interested and it gave me some credibility. Now progress was paramount. They needed opportunities, extraordinary care, and individual attention to their particular needs. Finding services to match each case required research and networking. There was no one-size-fits-all solution. The various service providers — the city, not-for-profit groups, and faith-based homeless outreach services — had rules and requirements, some more stringent than others. Were they elderly? A veteran? An alcoholic? Were they having a gender crisis? Were they mentally challenged or depressed? Were they a transient or a victim of happenstance? How long have they been on the streets? Were they chronically homeless? I did the best I could to source a fix for their needs in the time that I had. Besides contacting city, not-for-profit, and church-based services, I had the

support of Inspector Russel J. Green of the NYPD’s Midtown South Precinct. Our network (in some cases) was able to confirm identities and clarify stories. Our diverse group was able to make more resources available, but more was still needed. We worked diligently to help those individuals find options outside their circumstances. Initially, the dynamics of the encampment escaped the naked eye. It continually morphed as various tenants came and went. Some were just passing through, while others were there for trade. Skirting the lines of homeless to sell drugs and bodies were easy reasoning for disbanding the camp, but in that you had to wonder where the dealers, users, prostitutes, and pimps might take their business. It was not our desire to move Paul and the others to another part of the city. We wanted to help resolve their issues and try and transition them to a healthier lifestyle. We worked to pull Michelle away from her pimp and our presence hampered drug sales. We focused on the encampment’s anchor, and watched for anyone wavering from their commitment to continue their camping adventure. As October 2016 approached, Mother Nature pitched in, the population thinned, and so did our patience. A date of action was set. We made regular visits to inform the group that we would be removing any items left on the sidewalk come the following Tuesday. The operation went well. With three volunteers to remove the collected items, outreach services to provide assistance to the remaining individuals, Midtown Precinct officers to tamp down any conflicts, and the sanitation department to pick up the considerable garbage,

we made the block a happier place and we like to think we were able to help a few homeless people in the process. The homeless condition begs for a cure. New York City, with an approximate 60,000 homeless, still leads our nation’s homeless population indices, with California a distant second. The housing, shelters, and day centers are near or at capacity. The badly managed and remote shelters cause many homeless to prefer the streets. Day spaces are fewer. We are in a crisis; before and through the 2016 homeless boom, funds were held up by political wrangling. Someone wanted something in return; a mix of developers and politicians were motivated less by the immediate needs of the homeless. While the squabbling for self-interest is leaving our brothers and sisters on pitted sidewalks, progressive waves are eroding ideas of old. “Social” and “restorative” justice are taking root. Inequality and its long-term impact are being understood. People are leaning towards the welfare of others. But still there is work to do. There still exists an unwillingness to accept change or impinge on a system that puts wealth, individualism, and success in the same sentence. This puts us at a pivotal point; a time for change. The answers are with the new wave of thinkers and doers, who are sifting through the subterfuges of life, throwing off prejudices, and questioning those who would strangle progress and defy logic to pursue selfish needs to the detriment of others. Our current administration knew better than to arrest homelessness away. Infringing upon their rights was not an option. Our societal problem can’t be ignored; shooing the homeless away, dis-

JAM continued from p. 18

and Clark Terry also appear. Beyond serving as a place for established jazz musicians to come together, Romance called the Monday night gathering “a good fraternity” to support local musicians — old, new, and in-between. For each jam, a different combination of musicians plays in the band, accompanying the vocalists and players who sign up to perform. Anyone who didn’t know otherwise, however, would think they were part of a regular band. The bandleaders lend their support to the “newbies,” as Feiler put it. JFA’s work to support jazz and blues musicians encompasses much more than the weekly jam though. Feiler explained how scarcity of work, low payment, and unreliable work add up to difficult fi nancial circumstances for many jazz players.

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Photos by Nicole Javorsky

Whitney Marchelle Jackson (second from right) and other audience members enjoyed jazz music, along with refreshments.

“I like to think that it’s because they’re innovators, and that’s not economically optimal,” Feiler said. Improving the welfare of jazz musi-

cians is important not only for the craft, but also for the individuals themselves. JFA offers direct assistance to musicians, including housing

regarding their civil liberties, and shuffling them elsewhere is not the solution. This administration took a more mature and compassionate approach to the problem only to be criticized. In the short-term it didn’t pay dividends, but the long-term will yield more than enough wealth. The new wave of political leaders are joining the progressive line for the prosperity, health, and well-being of others. Assemblymember, Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens) has been pushing to swap shelters for subsidized housing. Not-ForProfits (Breaking Ground, Coalition for the Homeless, Housing Works, Urban Pathways) with their housing first programs pay immeasurable dividends in rebuilding the human spirit. Marc Greenberg, Executive Director of Interfaith on Homelessness and Housing, tirelessly lobbied for affordable housing and supportive housing. Faith-based and nonprofit organizations are sharing ideas and working together to create more housing opportunities. Innovative companies like Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) are finding higher dividends in the development of communities. I, along with my network, pitched in to meet a growing crisis on my block. That block must extend throughout midtown and beyond, not only for our comfort, but to cure the illness of the human condition that would lead men and women to live on the streets. How morally bankrupt are we if we leave our brothers and sisters to that fate? For more information about the Midtown South Community Council, visit midtownsouthcc.org.

and medical help. They even have a licensed social worker on staff and host free concerts at schools, museums, and nursing homes. The jams alone are an avenue to engage the community in jazz music. Attendees come from all over the New York City boroughs to perform and listen to others. One of Feiler’s favorite moments from the jams is when the musicians are on stage playing and the people in the audience sing along. “That happens fairly often here.” Weekly except on major holidays, the Jazz Foundation of America hosts its Monday Night Jam from 7pm to 9:30pm at the Local 802 Musicians’ Union (322 W. 48th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.; first floor Club Room). Free and open to the public. Musicians wishing to perform are encouraged to arrive early to sign up. Visit jazzfoundation.org/what-we-do/mondaynight-jam-series. NYC Community Media


NYC Community Media

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NYC Community Media


Photo by Jackson Chen

At a Community Board 5 meeting in March, designers Rosie Turner (left) and Alisa Nicole voiced their concerns about the proposed Garment District rezoning to members of the board (far right) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. GARMENT DISTRICT continued from p. 2

requirements over time is the most critical recommendation in the committee’s report. The rezoning plan announced by the EDC on March 22 would remove a 1:1 preservation requirement enacted in 1987 that requires one square foot of garment manufacturing space to be preserved for every one square foot of new office space created in the district. Despite that requirement, the Garment District has endured a steady decline in the availability of manufacturing space and a spike in hotel development. The zoning change would require new hotels to seek a special permit and is aimed at giving preference to new enterprises in the advertising, technology, media, and non-profit spheres. The EDC reported that the nine million square feet of production space in the 1980s has shrunk to just 830,000 square feet. While more than eight million square feet of manufacturing space has disappeared since, only two percent of the original 1987 manufacturing inventory — about 175,000 square feet — has been preserved as the result of the 1:1 requirement, the EDC said. The EDC’s goal is to allow the garment industry to retain its current footprint over the next decade while accommodating the area’s trend toward smaller companies by maintaining existing manufacturing and commercial zones but eliminating the 1:1 space preservation requirement. The EDC, in March, emphasized the garment industry’s growth in Brooklyn. “At the beginning of this process, people were asking if we should move the Garment District to Sunset Park, Brooklyn,” Brewer said. “Obviously the answer is no, but it was the wrong question. Our real goal should be to keep garment manufacturing healthy here in Manhattan while growing it in Brooklyn and other boroughs as well.” Brewer and others were skeptical about EDC findings that 34 percent of garment industry workers live in Brooklyn, 22 percent in Queens, 15 percent in Manhattan, and 12 percent in New Jersey. She believes that the many industry workers who have voiced unhappiness about the rezoning plan, which she points out would advantage industry growth in Brooklyn, proves the EDC wrong. Joseph Ferrara, president of the New York Garment Center Supplier Association, argued that 80 percent of his workers travel from Queens and would have to switch from a 30-minute commute into Manhattan’s Garment District to an hour-and-45-minute commute to an emerging garment hub in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. “Manufacturers are the most vulnerable population within the ecosystem,” Ferrara said. Removing the preservation requirements without any replacement safeguards would be removing “wholesale skills that have been honed for over a 100 years,” he added. NYC Community Media

MAX

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                 to advanced systems of the 21st century. A variety of drones, historical artifacts, model airplanes and rare videos will be on display at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Free with Museum admission. For more information and a full listing of upcoming events, demonstrations and tours, visit intrepidmuseum.org/drones.

MADE POSSIBLE BY

PIER 86, WEST 46TH STREET & 12TH AVENUE

intrepidmuseum.org ©2017 Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

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NYC Community Media

Chelsea Now  

August 24, 2017

Chelsea Now  

August 24, 2017