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Serving Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Seaport and the Financial District VOLUME 30, NUMBER 17

SEPT. 7 – SEPT. 20, 2017

Home again The iconic Koenig Sphere, surivior of WTC collapse, unveiled at Liberty Park

Photo by Milo Hess

The iconic Koenig Sphere was finally unveiled this week at its new, permanent home at Liberty Park overlooking the Sept. 11th Memorial.

    

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


SUCCEEDING SQUADRON Four contenders vie for Democratic nod for Downtown’s Senate seat BY COLIN MIXSON It’s less of an election guide and more of a “selection” guide. The four candidates vying to replace former state Sen. Daniel Squadron as the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer on the November ballot won’t be facing the voters in a primary, but potential constituents should still probably know who they are. Because Squadron announced his surprise resignation after the filing deadline for candidate petitions, the Democratic contender for his seat — and almost certainly Squadron’s successor — will be chosen by members of the party’s county committees in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the two boroughs the 26th Senate District straddles. The campaign — or what there is of it — for the party’s ballot line will play out not on the hustings but in the political clubs of party activists and back rooms of the county committee meetings. Good relationships with

party bosses will count more than any appeal to actual voters. The decision is expected later this month, after the Sept. 12 primary gives voters a voice in most other races. The active contenders, in alphabetical order, are: Alan Gerson — A lifelong resident of Lower Manhattan, and Columbia Law School graduate, Gerson is no stranger to elected office. He served as Downtown’s City Council representative from 2002 until Margaret Chin unseated him in 2009 amid an ill-fated reelection campaign which saw Gerson fall with swine flu, and his campaign manager get busted for child pornography, and the untimely deaths of his campaign treasurer, his special counsel, and his campaign secretary — who also happened to be his mother. Filling Squadron’s seat would quite the political comeback for Gerson, who’s calling for greater local representation at the Battery Park City Authority, preserving

The Villager file photos

(Left to right) Former Councilman Alan Gerson, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, and District Leader Paul Newell are among the four contenders maneuvering for the backroom support of the Deomocratic Party county committees to secure the party’s ballot line in the November election to replace retired state Sen. Daniel Squardon, who announced his surprise resignation after the deadline to hold a primary. A photo of Diego Segalini was not available by press time.

the Gateway residential complex’s rentstabilization benefits and creating new infrastructure standards for large-scale developments. Brian Kavanagh — Assemblyman Kavanagh declared his candidacy just a few hours after Squadron announced his resignation, suggesting he got an early heads up from the former senator, and thus his support as a successor. As an 11-year veteran representing neighborhoods including the Lower East Side, Gramercy, Union Square, and Stuyvesant Town in the Assembly, Kavanagh is easily the most politically experienced candidate vying for the seat, but it’s unclear whether his strong ties

to nearby neighborhoods will be enough to the Downtown seat. A progressive member of the Democrat-controlled Assembly, Kavanagh’s legislative efforts have focused on strengthening tenant rights, pushing green energy projects, and promoting equality for the LGBT community. Paul Newell — The Downtown district leader made his name as the plucky underdog challenging Sheldon Silver for his Assembly seat 2008 — long before the disgraced former Speaker’s downfall. Newell lost to the once-powerful lawmaker, but he levSEANTE Continued on page 22

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Sept. 7 – Sept. 20, 2017

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Blaze guts Tribeca building Six-alarm fire sends nearly two dozen firefighters to hospital BY LEVAR ALONZO A massive six-alarm fire ripped through a Tribeca building just a few blocks from City Hall last Friday evening, and sent nearly two dozen firefighters to the hospital. Fire officials were on alert while battling the blaze that spread throughout the building because authorities believed there might be old ammunition still stored in the basement from a longdefunct shooting range. The five story building at the corner of Murray and Church street started to billow smoke just about 6:30 pm. Fire Marshals believe that the fire started inside the ground floor duct of the Famiglia pizzeria and worked its way up to the roof through the ventilation system. The exact cause of the blaze is still undetermined. About 50 fire units were dispatched with more than 200 firefighters battling the blaze that raged for nearly three hours before it was brought under con-

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trol, according to the FDNY. The department said that 23 firefighters were taken to Bellevue Hospital with minor injuries. Two additional firefighters were treated on the scene. Building occupants were able to quickly evacuate, and no other injuries were reported. According to the Department of Buildings, the mixed-used retail building has eight outstanding violations — mostly related to an illegal eating and drinking establishment in the cel-

Photo by Milo Hess

(Above) A six-alarm fire tore through 24 Murray St. on Sept. 1, drawing more than 200 firefighters into the battle to bring it under control, and (right) nsending early two dozen firefighters to the hospital.

lar. Three of those violations, totaling $4,800, are for not having proper fire

resistant material, and fire exits at the basement club Remix.

Sept. 7 – Sept. 20, 2017

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Battery Bark City vs. Fidi fidos! Dog-friendly neighborhood ratings get Downtowners growling BY LEVAR ALONZO There’s a dogfight brewing Downtown after a data-crunching real estate site rated city neighborhoods for dog-friendliness and named Battery Park City as top dog — much to the consternation of pooch parents in the nearby Financial District. Real estate listing firm StreetEasy compiled the rankings along with Rover, the country’s largest dog-walker network, to find dog-friendly buildings nearest to animal amenities such as vets, dog runs parks with off the leash areas, and lots of local dog-walkers, and determined that Battery Park City — where 63 percent of Battery Park City’s apartment listings are dog friendly — is a veritable pooch paradise. Not so fast — says Financial District booster and founder of the Fidi Fanpage of Facebook Luis Vazquez-Willhelm, “This article was grossly inaccurate. The Financial District is the friendliest dog neighborhood in the city,” said

Vazquez-Willhelm, a local real estate maven who is also vice president of Downtown Dog, a long-standing group crusading for canine concerns. “I am not aware of a single rental building or coop/condo that does not allow dogs. Many have weight and breed restrictions, but they all accept some of them.” But according to StreetEasy’s findings, the Financial District ranks only fourth on the list of dog-friendliest neighborhoods. Part of the reason may be that, whereas BPC is suffused with open green space, Fidi is a crowded warren of narrow sidewalks the relies for park space almost entirely of The Battery, a greensward which has lately been geared more toward people and tourists than four-legged friends. “In The Battery, the high commuter and tourist traffic present a challenge for allowing dogs to run free,” Parks Department spokeswoman Crystal

Photo by Downtown Dog NYC

Members of Downtown Dog NYC pushed for off-leash access to The Battery.

Howard. For more than 20 years, The Battery lawn was a popular early-morning place for dogs to frolic off leash, according to

longtime locals. But about seven years ago, the Parks Department started issuDOGS Continued on page 9

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Sept. 7 – Sept. 20, 2017

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ADVERTORIAL

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

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

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

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

Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

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

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

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

Sept. 7 – Sept. 20, 2017

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FOOD FIGHT Three food vendors were arrested for allegedly beating one of their competitors with a hammer amid a territorial dispute on Broadway on Sept. 2. The victim told police that he was setting up his food cart between Spring and Broome streets at 8 am when his rival food vendors attacked, one of them wielding a hammer to beat the cook. Police arrested three suspects on assault charges, and the victim was taken to a nearby hospital with wounds to the groin, chest, and neck, cops said.

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COAT CROOK A thief made off with two highpriced jackets from a Vesey Street fashion boutique on Aug. 25. An employee told police that the crook waltzed into the retailer near West Street at 4:44 pm, before grabbing a pair of the coats that together sold for $11,445, and slinking past the register without paying.

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Dover Street at 11:45 pm, when the npgoodnik put a hand over his mouth and a blade to his neck. “Give me your wallet, money, and phone,” the crook growled. But the victim claimed he didn’t have any of that stuff, and that a bag he was carrying contained nothing but laundry and medicine, cops said. So, the thief decided to settle for the man’s bag of meds, and fled heading east on Dover Street, according to police.

Cops busted a 28-year-old man for allegedly robbing a man to the tune of $35 on Exchange Place on Sept. 4. The victim, 24, told police he was near Broad Street at 1:05 am, when the suspect waltzed in and demanded his cash, claiming he could beat the victim up if he wanted. The suspect’s alleged prey reached into his wallet and handed over the measly $35 he had on him, and the older man fled on foot, cops said.

A thief rode off with a woman’s $1,200 Citi Bike on Cedar Street on Aug. 24. The victim told police she had left the rental bike outside a pizza shop between Trinity Place and Greenwich Street as she grabbed a slice at 1 am, when she spotted the crook hop on her bike and ride off. A woman whom the victim presumed was the crook’s girlfriend abetted her delinquent beau, and could be seen trotting after him as he rode into the night, cops said.

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A gunman robbed a woman inside a Gold Street bank on Aug. 31. The victim told police she was inside the bank near Liberty Street pulling cash from an ATM at 12:35 am, when she fi rst spotted the nogoodnik watching her from outside the glass door. After she got her money, the man came in and pulled up his shirt to reveal a black pistol, according to police. “Give me $1,000 right now,” the crook snarled. The woman told her robber she didn’t have that kind of money, so the delinquent told her to hand over whatever she had, and the victim gave him $160, cops said.

PILL POPPER A knifeman stole a 36-year-old man’s bag of medicine amid a Water Street stickup on Aug. 31. The victim told police he was near

OFF THE RADAR Burglars looted a man’s car he parked on W. Houston Street on Aug. 26, taking his laptop, radar detector, and other goods. The victim told police he left his ride between MacDougal and Sullivan streets at 11 pm, and returned two days later to find one of his windows was shattered and more than $1,500 worth of valuables nabbed.

PURSE PURLOINED A crook nabbed a woman’s purse from right under her nose in a Wall Street lounge on Aug. 24. The victim told police that she was sitting at a table inside the bar between Front and South streets at 10:30 pm, when she looked down and noticed the bag at her feet — along with the iPhone 7 and Bose headphones it contained — had been stolen. — Colin Mixson DowntownExpress.com


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Bucks for a beacon City funds $4.5-million renovation of seaport museum’s lightship Ambrose BY COLIN MIXSON The city is floating the South Street Seaport Museum a $4.5 million grant for the restoration of the aging lightship Ambrose, one of five historic vessels moored at Pier 16’s Street of Ships. The 110-year-old Ambrose served New York Harbor as a floating light-

South Street Seaport Museum

The lightship Ambrose marked the mouth of the Lower New York Harbor between Coney Island and Sandy Hook, N.J. from 1908 until 1932.

house from 1908 until 1932, and its beacon heralded the beginning of a new life for millions of immigrants and the end of their harrowing journey across the Atlantic, according to the executive director of the museum. “The lightship Ambrose is an iconic symbol of New York,” said Captain Jonathan Boulware. “For millions of immigrants, Ambrose was the literal light of liberty. Passing Ambrose lightship meant that you had arrived at America’s shores.” The $4.5 million in city funding will foot the bill for major mechanical overhauls to the aging ship, which will be reconfigured to match its original design and appearance as a working lightship back when its radiant lamps marked the mouth of the Lower New York bay between Coney Island and Sandy Hook, N.J. Restoring the old sea gal to her former glory will require installing a fully functional steering system,

South Street Seaport Museum

The city has provided $4.5 million to the Seaport Museum to reconfigure the lightship Ambrose to resemble its original design back in the early 20th century.

reconfiguring the lightship’s topside cabins, and constructing new housings for the Ambrose’s all-important lamps, among other, less conspicuous improvements. Once the restoration is complete, New York will be home to the only lightship of its kind, according to the man heading up the project. “This is an ambitious project, at the end of which we will have an absolutely unique vessel and the only lightship in

its original, as-built configuration,” said Jesse Lebovics, director of historic ships at the museum. The museum plans to put the restored Ambrose to work as a floating classroom, where locals can be tutored about the watery parts of New York City’s history, with lessons including navigation technology, immigration in New York, and the role the shipping industry has played in the evolution of the greatest city on Earth.

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Dates: Thurs., Sept. 7–Wed., Sept. 13

ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES ARE IN EFFECT ALL WEEK Monday will mark the 16th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, and New York City and the nation will remember as always, with the 9/11 Ceremony, which will close the area bounded by Barclay Street and Battery Place, and between Broadway and West Street, and other nearby streets from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please show your respect by not driving near the area. West St. should be off your itinerary all day since The Tower of Lights trucks will be assembling on the West Side Highway at Morris Street. If you must travel northsouth in a car in lower Manhattan, stick with the FDR Drive. New York Fashion Week is upon us, bringing media, fashionistas, fans, and VIPs like Rihanna and Kanye West to Lower Manhattan from 9 a.m. to around 11 p.m. daily until Friday, September 15th. Events at Skylight at Clarkson Square during those times will take over streets bounded by Houston and Spring streets, and Hudson and West Streets. Spring Studios shows will intermittently close Varick Street between Laight and North Moore streets. These star-studded extravaganzas will impact traffic on West Street and at the Holland Tunnel, also affecting Canal Street. (Good thing

DOGS Continued from page 4

ing tickets and enforcing a leash policy that had long been ignored. At nearly 80 other city parks, dogs can enjoy off-leash time during specific hours, but Downtown’s main park, managed by The Battery Conservancy has long resisted allowing the practice there. “We have been working with the Battery Conservancy for greater dog access,” Vazquez-Willhelm said. Following a major grassroots push two years ago by Downtown Dog, with petitions and an appeal the community board, locals eventually convinced the Conservancy to provide some portion of land at The Battery where dogs can run

there’s no football this week to add to the mix!) On Sunday, the Century Bike Tour, from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., will stretch across boroughs, with thousands of bikers passing through Lower Manhattan. The tour will close Hudson Street from 14th Street to Eighth Avenue, continuing from there onto Bleecker Street and then south onto West Broadway. On West Broadway, they’ll head down to Grand Street, cutting east to Lafayette Street, and following it south to Centre Street, departing Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge Bike Path. Expect widespread impacts from Chelsea to the Civic Center area, with West, Varick, Houston, and Canal streets, and especially the Civic Centre access to and egress from the Brooklyn Bridge, experiencing the heaviest delays. The Broadway Village Fair, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., will close Broadway between Waverly Place and 14th Street. The 2017 school year has begun, so look out for morning and afternoon delays as school buses return to the streets, avoid parking near schools for the day, and drive extra-carefully! For up-to-date news, follow me on Twitter @GridlockSam and subscribe to my weekly eNewsletter at my website, www.gridlocksam.com.

and play unleashed. “About a year ago, in response to community request, The Battery Conservancy adapted a small portion of Woodland Lawn to accommodate neighborhood dogs,” Howard said. “We now have a dedicated off-leash area,” Vazquez-Willhelm said. “In addition, we can bring the dogs into the Battery Oval Green and the new bosque area, as long as they are leashed.” But off-leash dog runs clearly aren’t the main factor in the inscrutable StreetEasy ranking. Battery Park City my have three dog runs, but Brooklyn’s Dumbo, which ranked number two, boasts no fewere than seven.

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Sept. 7 – Sept. 20, 2017

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Council member Chin ducks debate but challengers come out swining — against incumbenst — and each other BY LINCOLN ANDERSON City Councilmember Margaret Chin missed a lively debate among her three primary-election opponents last Thursday at Judson Memorial Church in the Village. She probably didn’t miss, however, being savagely attacked by them regarding her record, which no doubt would have happened. As previously reported, Chin ducked out of last week’s Villager newspapersponsored debate for the District 1 Democratic race, saying she had a previous commitment for a “constituent outreach” event at Hillman Housing, one of the large Grand St. Co-ops complexes. Chin has already spent two four-year terms representing the district, which stretches from the Financial District up to Washington Square and over to the Lower East Side, and includes Battery Park City, Tribeca, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown, Southbridge Towers and the South St. Seaport. Speaking before an audience of about 100, the candidates all started out

hammering Chin, but two of them — Dashia Imperiale and Aaron Foldenauer — soon turned their sights onto the third challenger, Christopher Marte, who is viewed by many as the strongest opponent to Chin in the race. Imperiale, an indie filmmaker and native Lower East Sider, touted her background as a tenant leader at her Grand St. Guild building on Grand St. She said that in 2010 she successfully led the effort to get the New York Archdiocese to ensure the development would be affordable for the next 40 years. “I am running because the system is rigged,” she told the crowd. “There’s nepotism, cronyism and everything is corrupt right now. I’m fed up. I’m not a politician. I’m just like you. I do not have real estate developers or bankers backing me, or Wall St. backing me. I am real grassroots.” Marte, also a Lower East Side native, noted his parents “immigrated from the Dominican Republican for an opportu-

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Sept. 7 – Sept. 20, 2017

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Christopher Marte, right, who is considered by many to be the strongest candidate against Margaret Chin, came under attack from Dashia Imperiale, center, and Aaron Foldenauer at various points throughout the debate, but kept his composure and calmly responded to their accusations.

nity... . In the past eight years, we have seen this opportunity diminish. They’re developing on our community gardens. Our tenants can’t afford what affordable housing is considered now. Our small business owners can’t negotiate an affordable lease.” He noted he has been an advocate for saving the Elizabeth St. Garden, where Chin and the mayor want to develop senior affordable housing. Foldenauer, a litigator who is originally from Virginia, has lived near Battery Park City for a dozen years. A former Republican, he said he switched parties last year and voted for Hillary Clinton and decided to try to enter politics due to his concern over Donald Trump. Asked if they felt Chin had alienated voters in the northern end of her district, all said that she had. “What she’s in is, pretty much, donor service not public service,” Imperiale charged. “As a councilmember, you have to listen to your constituents.” Marte said, “I believe that our councilmember has ignored the whole district entirely. She hasn’t been to a Community Board 2 meeting for two years.” He said Chin also “has not fully supported” the Chinatown Working Group’s rezoning plan that would cap heights for new buildings in an area, including Chinatown and the Lower East Side, where “supertall” towers are sprouting up. Marte also blasted Chin for not holding town-hall meetings. But Imperiale asked why Marte himself didn’t attend

the town hall Chin co-hosted with Mayor Bill de Blasio in June. “I decided I didn’t want to show up because I didn’t want to grandstand and make the event about me,” he answered. “I wanted residents to actually have the opportunity to ask the mayor about what’s happening with N.Y.U.,” referring to the university’s development plan for its South Village superblocks. He said he wanted residents to be able to ask the mayor and Chin about various issues. “I did decide to go,” Foldenauer emphasized, “because I wanted to look Margaret Chin — and Mayor de Blasio — in the eye and tell them that I mean business. It was a fiasco. Margaret Chin controlled the town hall from start to finish. She called on all of her friends and maybe a few others to ask questions.” On the Rivington House scandal, Marte said both the mayor and Chin should be held responsible for the loss of the former city-owned AIDS hospice site to private developers for luxury redevelopment. “She wasn’t doing her job,” Marte said of Chin’s not being on top of the situation. “What happened to Rivington House is a tragedy,” Foldenauer said. “Margaret Chin must have known — and if she didn’t, she was sleeping at the switch.” Imperiale gave the toughest comments on Rivington House. “Margaret Chin is supposed to be DEBATE Continued on page 22

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Sept. 7 – Sept. 20, 2017

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JAZZED UP Fops and flappers bid farewell to summer BY COLIN MIXSON It was a real sockdollager! Fetching flappers and drugstore cowboys sailed out to Governors Island on Aug. 26 and 27 for New York City’s swankiest blow since prohibition — the Jazz Age Lawn Party — and boy if that rub wasn’t the cat’s pajamas, according to one Brooklyn Sheba. “It was great,” said Stephanie McNevin. “It was definitely different than the regular weekend stuff.” Jazz Age Lawn Party entered its 12th year this summer with a weekend-long bash in June, but the season closed with a second Gatsby-inspired

bash in August, which saw hoards of well-heeled bearcats and dapper fops take over the shady lawn over by Liggett Hall. The event is part of the broader “retro-nouveau” jazz scene that sees young urbanites don gilded-era attire — including the classic straw-boater hat and Oxford bag trousers — while tearing up the dance floor to the rhythm of Peabody and Chalrestonstyle jazz. Jazz Age Lawn Party, which spearheaded the throwback music scene when it debuted in 2005, is now one among hundreds of ’20s-themed events, but it remains the city’s largest

Photo by Erica Price

Kris Carpenter pops the question to Alicia Bowerman on Governors Island.

Photo by Erica Price

Crooner Michael Arenella fronts the Dreamland Orchestra at the Jazz Age Lawn Party.

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Sept. 7 – Sept. 20, 2017

Photo by Erica Price

Elaborate period cosltumes are abig part of the fun for the Jazz Age Lawn Party

and most spectacular retro jazz event, attracting old-hats and newcomers alike, according to one swing lover. “The diversity of the event in New York is great,” said swing dancer George Gaston, who drove up from Philly with wife Allie for the event. “It was fun because you could see people experience this for the very first time, which is a very healthy thing for the scene.” The Governors Island event is also the city’s most fashionable Jazz-age event, and while other parties focus on the jazz, the sea-locked soiree encourages lost-generation cosplay that creates a surreal scene out of time, according to one New Englander. “It’s just he attention to detail that everybody puts into the outfits and the whole atmosphere throwing back to the ’20s is really fun to see,” said Aimee Hiltz, who drove out from Connecticut for the party on Saturday. For some, the process of shopping for ’20s-esque clothing and putting together outfits is every bit as fun as the event itself, according to McNevin. “For a couple weeks we were going to thrift stores and going online trying to find things that fit with the era,” said the Brooklyn gal. “Not just the event was fun, but preparing for it was pretty cool.” Performances over the weekend included headliner Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra, Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society, The Dreamland Follies, pianist Peter Mintun, and Queen Esther, along with jazz-era dance troupe Roddy Caravella and the Canarsie Wobblers.

Photo by Erica Price

Just fi ne: Jolene Walter and her gentleman escort share a smile on Governors Island.

DowntownExpress.com


Volume 1 | Issue 3

The Pulse of

Lenox Health Greenwich Village

Breast Cancer Awareness October is breast cancer awareness month – the perfect time to stop procrastinating and get your annual mammogram. Mammograms can detect changes in breast tissue before they are palpable by human hands. That means earlier diagnosis and treatment and a much better prognosis. It’s a fact – mammograms save lives.

Breast cancer facts and stats: – After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. – Risk factors for breast cancer include increased age, early menstruation, late or no pregnancy, and a family history. – Breast cancer is not just a women’s concern. About 2,470 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men this year. – A woman in the United States has a one in eight chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

Did you know…

You can decrease your risk of developing breast cancer by exercising regularly, being within a normal weight range and limiting your alcoholic intake.

Did you know…

There will be about 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in American women this year.

Getting screened for breast cancer can save your life. Lenox Health Greenwich Village has a state-of-the-art imaging center equipped to meet the breast imaging needs of the entire community. Visit Northwell.edu/LHGV or call (646) 760-6800 to schedule an appointment.

DowntownExpress.com

Sept. 7 – Sept. 20, 2017

13


BY JANEL BL ADOW Crisp nights. Kids in school. Fall’s around the corner though lately it feels as if it’s already here. Time to break out the wool? WATERFRONT WRITER… For more than 40 years, journalist, author, and poet Patricia Ryan has gazed out of her Southbridge Towers apartment at the Brooklyn Bridge and South Street Seaport. She’s watched it morph from a working Fish Market to a tourist destination. She’s witnessed changes brought on by natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy and the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “I remember walking down Peck Slip at night and you could hear your shoes echo on the cobblestones,” she told Seaport Report. “It was quiet, healing, enchanted.” Ryan began her love affair with Downtown’s waterfront as Shipping News reporter for the NY Herald Tribune. She has turned her bird’s eye view of our neighborhood into much-praised books and poetry. “On a first night here I saw an accident outside my window and started taking notes of my impressions.” In “Living With The Brooklyn Bridge,” Ryan writes about this revered monument’s multiple personalities as they are revealed from her windows. It’s an enchanted bridge during quiet snowfalls, a working bridge bringing people in and out of the city during the week, and a brutal bridge of crashes and suicides. In her recent mystery novel, “War In A Beautiful Country,” she draws on local Downtown landmarks, as well as a vibe of vague foreboding known by longtime locals. “Most of the novel’s story could not have taken place without Downtown’s recent history of

South Street Seaport Museum

The Pioneer is a historic 1885 schooner that the South Street Seaport Museum uses for various educational programs.

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Sept. 7 – Sept. 20, 2017

random terror and still have the same impact,” Ms. Ryan explained. Both works are available as free E-books on Amazon, iTunes and Nook. So what does she think of current changes to the area? “It’s too crowded, too noisy, too commercial,” she said. “The East River Promenade never came into being as a thing of beauty, water and history. Instead, it’s dog poop and people crowding one another.” CELEBRATE IN STYLE… If you haven’t gotten tickets yet, hurry! Let’s all celebrate the 50th anniversary of South Street Seaport Museum on Sept. 19. For a half-century a core group of history buffs, politicos, business folks and neighbors have worked hard and faced many challenges to keep Seaport history alive and vital. The Sept. 19 benefit begins with a VIP cocktail reception in the Wavertree’s quarterdeck and Captain’s saloon, followed by a general admission cocktail reception aboard the 1885 sailing ship. Dockside dinner catered by Cipriani follows. The benefit honors SSSM board chairs who brought it through start-up and hard times: Jakob Isbrandtsen; James R. Shepley; John B. Ricker, Jr.; Robert W. McCullough; Peter A. Aron; Lawrence S. Huntington; Frank J. Sciame, Jr. and Robert G.M. Keating. Special recognition goes to Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilwoman Margaret Chin for their support of Downtown and the South Street Seaport Historic District. Tickets are $350 — $500 for the VIP party, available at https://web. ovationtix.com/trs/pr/978255. SAIL AWAY… Love the gracefulness of South Street Seaport Museum’s schooner Pioneer? Dream of early leafpeeping from its deck? Then here’s a fun afternoon for you. The historic ship sails up to Rockland County for educational trips this month. Students will haul lines to raise sails, and learn science, math and the technology of sailing, while studying water quality aboard this lovely floating classroom. But while on this teaching mission, she’s also hosting public sailing trips along the Hudson River. Two-hour sails depart on Friday, Sept. 22 at 2 pm and Saturday, Sept. 23 at noon and 3 pm from Haverstraw Marina, in West Haverstraw. Then on Sunday, Sept. 24, board at Emeline Park in Haverstraw for either a noon or 2:15 pm sail. Adult tickets are $28, children $25. Reservations: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/10194127.

File photo by Milo Hess

The Wavertree returned to the South Steet Seaport Museum’s Street of Ships on Sept. 24 after a 17-month, $13-million, city-funded restoration in Staten Island.

FINEST FILM FEST… Our neighbors, Animation Nights New York (180 Maiden Lane), host the 2nd-annual ANNY Best of Fest symposium later this month. For two-days, fans can mingle with creators, and budding artists can meet current filmmakers. The event features screenings, fine art exhibits, an eye-popping virtual reality animation showcase, and a whopper of a wrap party. Among the more than a dozen discussion panels are “History of Animation,” with Tommy Stathes of Cartoons on Film, David Kay of The Winthrop Group, and a special “surprise guest.” Other panels focus on the creative process, including “Pitching Animation” with Elise McCave of Kickstarter and LaToye Adams with Children’s Media Association. Some 175 films were submitted but only 20 selected. The finalists come from around the world. Pixar’s Andrew Gordon (“Finding Dory,” “Cars”) is judging

the Grand Prize Award. Tickets come in two packages: “Enthusiast,” which offers free access both days to first floor screenings, exhibits and panels; and “Industry” for $30 with access to the events PLUS pre-registration for the Virtual Reality Animation Showcase and industry events. One well-known New Yorker and animation enthusiast, author/cartoonist Anthony HadenGuest said about the fest: “Georges Méliès’s rocket reached the moon, Felix the cat hit the road, and the great journey continues.” 2nd-annual ANNY Best of Fest, Friday & Saturday, Sept. 29-30, noon to 10 pm, at 180 Maiden Lane. For information & Tickets: http://www. annybestoffest.com. And ANNY is giving Downtown Express readers 50-percent off Industry Badges! Go to this link for yours: https : //w w w.eventbrite.com /e / anny-best-of-fest-sept-29 -30 -201712pm-10pm-two-days-of-events-tickets-

Animation Nights New York

Some of the clever cartoons to be featured at Animation Nights New York’s 2nd-annual ANNY Best of Fest on Sept. 29–30 include (clockwise from upper left) “A Dog’s Life,” “Pub Crawl,” “All Their Shades,” and “Ticking Away.”

DowntownExpress.com


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         DowntownExpress.com

Sept. 7 – Sept. 20, 2017

15


E D ITO R IAL

Save the rainforest, eat GMOs PUBLISHER

Jennifer Goodstein EDITOR

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NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC ONE METROTECH CENTER NEW YORK, NY 11201 PHONE: (212) 229-1890 FAX: (212) 229-2790 WWW.DOWNTOWNEXPRESS.COM NEWS@DOWNTOWNEXPRESS.COM Downtown Express is published every week by NYC Community Media LLC, One Metrotech Center North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11201 (212) 229-1890. The entire contents of the newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2017 Community Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.

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16

Sept. 7 – Sept. 20, 2017

BY LENORE SKENAZY It all began when a neighbor of filmmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy sent a text asking if she could borrow some organic milk. Kennedy texted back, “You can borrow some milk, but I don’t have organic.” The friend politely declined, which set Kennedy to thinking. His family drank conventional milk. Did that make him a dad who didn’t care about his kids’ safety, or the environment? That would be odd, since he was nominated for an Oscar for his film about a community garden blooming in South Central Los Angeles, So it’s not like he didn’t care about food, or farming, or bettering the world. It was fortuitous, then, that just as he was processing these ideas about how organic produce had become almost like a secret handshake among his “well-educated and well-intentioned” friends — something they all shared, and trusted — he was approached by the Institute of Food Technologists, a group of 18,000 food scientists. They wanted him to make a movie celebrating their 75th anniversary. The idea was to somehow illustrate the intersection of food and science. Eventually Kennedy and his fellow producer, Trace Sheehan, a Brooklynite, decided to delve into a single issue: GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. That is, plants where a geneticist has taken DNA from one organism and inserted it another to make a food easier to grow, or healthier, or hardier. Many folks, like Kennedy’s organic-only neighbor, consider GMOs “Frankenfood.” The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart called G-M-O the three scariest letters in the English language. With emotions running so high, Kennedy made sure he and Sheehan would have complete control over the movie. And then they started wading into the debate.

What they found was a war. “People were losing their minds on both sides and I didn’t know that much about it,” said Kennedy. But as he began interviewing scientists, he realized one thing quickly. There’s a huge disconnect between the science world, which overwhelmingly believes that GMOs are safe, and the public, which does not. Part of the reason is that GMOs have become a sort of a placeholder for a lot of other issues the public has with food. “I feel like so many people who are skeptical of [GMOs] sort of lump together a hodgepodge of arguments as if it’s one monolithic entity,” said Sheehan in a phone interview. There are the people who think we’re growing too much corn, and the people who hate the company Monsanto (ignoring that farmers choose to buy the results of Monsanto’s research). There are the people who want sustainable agriculture but don’t take into account the fact that organic farming can sometimes require more land or water than GMOs, and some GMOs can reduce the amount of pesticides non-organic farmers need to use. To see the debate in action, Kennedy’s crew flew to Uganda where the banana crop is dying due to a rotting disease. A genetically modified banana plant is being developed by public-sector scientists there, and the farmers are desperate to start growing it. In the movie, we meet a mom and her children who all survive on the banana crop grown on her small farm. When the trees die, we grimly understand, so will her kids. The tree-saving modification has

nothing to do with profit, America, or big agriculture. It is simply a scientific advance. “We’ve been screening our film a while, and we ask before and after the film, ‘Who has concern about the safety of GMOs?’ And we see time and again, [the film] is changing minds,” said Sheehan. “No one says the farmers in Africa shouldn’t have the right to grow that genetically modified banana.” And no one thinks it is going to hurt them, or should be shunned in favor of organic bananas. And now that audiences agree that there’s at least one beneficial use of genetic modification, said Sheehan, “that’s a new place to start the conversation from.” Neil deGrasse Tyson narrates the film, “Food Evolution,” and having such a prominent scientist on board underscores the filmmakers’ message. When people ask Kennedy, “Are you really pro-GMO?’” he responds: “I am pro-science.” After the movie, I tried having a proscience conversation myself. My husband and I saw the film in Manhattan. There were precisely four people in the theater. As we were leaving, I saw two young men going up the stairs and said, “Wasn’t that amazing? wThe GMO movie.” “We didn’t see that! GMOs are terrible! Monsanto! Cancer! Only organic…” So I quickly mentioned just one fact I’d learned from the film: If we want to have enough food to feed the 30 billion people soon to inhabit the planet and we only grow organically, we’ll have to chop down the rain forest to turn it into farmland — “but if we grow GMO crops that need less space and less water, the rain forest is safe.” That started a conversation. Skenazy is founder of Free-Range Kids, and author of “Has the World Gone Skenazy?”

Posted To MAYOR’S CRACKDOWN ON MEMORIALS STARTS IN DOWNTOWN’S CANYON OF HEROES (AUG. 30) After removing Petain’s plaque, they can now remove the statue of Gertrude Stein from Bryant Park. During WWII she gratefully accepted the protection of Nazi collaborators and wrote a flattering biography of Petain. No doubt that statue will be

next on DeBlasio’s list.

Harry

This is flat out stupid. These sidewalk markers indicate who was honored with a ticker tape parade on Lower Broadway. Pétain and Laval were so honored before they disgraced themselves by bad behavior. The parades happened and the markers should stay. AND I want to know how the group to make the decisions about removing

“statues” will be constituted!! Maryanne Braverman

KOENIG SPHERE MOVED FROM THE BATTERY TO PERMANENT HOME IN LIBERTY PARK (AUG. 24) What kind of short-sighted, smallminded nonsense is it that they think POSTED Continued on page 22

DowntownExpress.com


The Great What’s His State Debate Questioning our president’s sanity is a rational act BY MAX BURBANK “He’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole.” That’s how California Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) described President Donald J. Trump to a “Meetup” of the Riverside County Young Republicans, and I’m not making any of that up. Not the use if the word “asshole.” Not that a Republican congressman used that word twice in reference to the leader of his own party. Not even that a group of Young Republicans refer to that official gathering as a “Meetup” — a term more commonly used to describe gatherings of people dressed as their favorite anime characters. Here’s the thing: When your asshole is causing you this much grief? It’s almost certainly a medical issue. You need to get it taken care of right away. It could be cancer, and it could kill you. Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) offered a more nuanced, less scatological take on Trump, introducing a resolution suggesting the president undergo a mental health exam, noting an “alarming pattern of behavior and speech causing concern that a mental disorder may have rendered him unfit and unable to fulfill his Constitutional duties.” A followup press release asked, “Does the President suffer from early stage dementia? Has the stress of office aggravated a mental illness crippling impulse control? Has emotional disorder so impaired the President that he is unable to discharge his duties? Is the President mentally and emotionally stable?” You can’t simply chalk up Lofgren’s concerns to partisanship. Republican pundits, major donors, former and even current office holders have begun to openly question Trump’s mental health. James Clapper, who served in top intelligence jobs under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, described Trump as a “complete intellectual, moral, and ethical void.” Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said Trump “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability” required of the presidency. Agree or disagree with these assessments, you have to admit they’ve got the same cards-on-the-table authenticity as “He’s an asshole.” So which is it? Is Donald J. Trump clinically insane, or is he just a… you know. I promised myself I’d only use that word seven times in this column and I need it twice more. Regardless, it’s a tough question. Where does one leave off and the other begin? The whole subject is almost impossible to talk about, especially for comedians, or “satirical pundits” if you want to address me with respect. See, if Trump is actually mentally ill, I can’t poke him for being a nut job, can I? I can’t even say “nut job,” because it’s cruel, stigmatizing, and not even functionally descriptive. I want so badly to say that Trump is “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,” with Cocoa Puffs being a metaphorical standin for a slavish compulsion to wallow, pig-like, in the worst excesses of fascism — and now I’m slamming pigs, blameless animals that are rarely dangerous and never so in any sense involving nuclear annihilation. DowntownExpress.com

The phrase “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” is offensive in every way, except when it appears in an essay on the unacceptability of mocking the disease of addiction in the service of selling chocolaty breakfast cereals. His name was Sonny. He was not “Cuckoo.” He was a Cuckoo bird. He was sick and he deserves our compassion, not our scorn. You see how hard this is to talk about? We need to talk about it, though. The possibility of a mad president is far too dangerous to avoid discussing just because it’s awkward. Is Trump

evidence for us to consider vis-à-vis our president being, shall we say, overly focused on Cocoa Puffs to the extent that he is unable to perform the duties of his office.

I’ve selected a line from a recent tweet. “After witnessing first hand the horror & devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, my heart goes out even more so to the great people of Texas!” He wrote this before visiting Houston, after his initial visit to Corpus Christi, some 200 miles from the flooding. He’d yet to tour any disaster sites, hadn’t met any victims, didn’t get rained on. So what can we glean about the presidential mental state from this tweet? crazy? And if he is, is he Maybe he believes he really did witRob Ford crazy, where it’s ness those things “first hand.” Not a doca chuckle unless you lived in tor here, but do I need a degree to know that Toronto when he was mayor and constitutes a hallucination? Maybe he can’t tell even then it was hard not to laugh the difference between seeing stuff on TV and until he died at 46 and you felt a little actually being there. That’s also cut-and-dried, bad about yourself? Or is he Aerys don’t need a psychiatrist to tell you it’s crazy, Targaryen crazy, where a whole lot of right? Maybe he thinks him saying folks end up extra crispy and it’s only a untrue stuff makes it become true, little funny if you’re part of the which is, hello, ALSO INSANE! royal family, but not for long But maybe… maybe he knows even then; Eric and Jr., TAKE full well that tweet is just a garNOTE! Illustration by Max Burbank gantuan lie. He knows no one It might be instructive to have mental health professionals weigh in, but for believes it. He’s telling it not just because he doesn’t the most part, that’s simply not going to happen. The give a crap about the truth — he wants you to know American Psychiatric Association holds to its long- he doesn’t give a crap about the truth. If that’s the case, we’re back at the start of the standing policy that it’s unethical for members to offer a professional opinion on the mental state of someone article. He’s just an asshole. A lot of people are saying they have not evaluated. The American Psychological maybe the biglyest asshole in the history of politics. Association agrees. If any other governing bodies of Does it matter? Isn’t that just as dangerous in every mental health professionals can be abbreviated using way and for many of the same reasons as if he was crazy? “APA,” I’m certain they’d also agree. And isn’t it possible, perhaps even likely, he’s both? That leaves us lay folk on our own. There’s ample Sept. 7 – Sept. 21, 2017

17


Excellent ‘LIBRIS’ New NYPL film, retrospective testify to Frederick Wiseman’s talents BY SEAN EGAN “I don’t even use the term documentary,” asserted legendary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, 87. “In my youth when people used the word documentary it always had the connotation of something that would be boring and would be good for you. I don’t think either of those has to be the case. It was almost like Ex-Lax. … That was the connotation of documentary a long time ago. I think there’s still a slight flavor, so to speak, of that. They’re just movies. What’s wrong with that word? It’s a good enough word for me.” Terminology aside, it’s hard to overstate Wiseman’s contribution to the documentary form throughout his career, which has yielded more than 40 films in five decades, from his groundbreaking 1967 debut, “Titicut Follies,” to “In Jackson Heights,” his 2015 neighborhood portrait. The director’s style is low-key and inimitable — fly-onthe-wall footage is presented sans narration and subtitles, as careful editing immerses viewers into the milieu of his subjects (often over expansive run times). Wiseman’s importance certainly hasn’t been lost on the film community: Film Forum is gearing up to release his latest work (he’s the theater’s mostpremiered American director), and are currently in the midst of a multipart career retrospective. Over its expansive selection of films, the lookback, titled “The Complete Wiseman,” captures Wiseman in his element, chronicling a number of institutions with unrivaled depth and grace (1989’s “Central Park,” 1995’s “Ballet”). “I think, generally speaking, I’m a curious person. I am ‘Curious Fred’ instead of ‘Curious George,’ if you know that children’s book,” Wiseman remarked. “In a sense, the institution is only an excuse, a pretext, to have a look at what’s going on in America. What I’m trying to do overall is to give an impressionistic account of contemporary life and each institution provides a framework for that,” he noted. Wiseman’s latest, “EX LIBRIS — The New York Public Library,” continues to mine this vein by taking an in-depth look at the New York Public

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Sept. 7 – Sept. 21, 2017

Courtesy the New York Public Library

An exterior shot of the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, one of the subjects of “EX LIBRIS.”

Library (NYPL). Its system, comprised of over 92 branches in three boroughs, provides Wiseman with an excellent opportunity to gauge America’s pulse through the lens of a societal cornerstone often taken for granted. “It just occurred to me one day that I had never done a library, and a library might make an interesting addition to this so-called institutional series that I’ve been doing,” Wiseman explained. After getting permission from NYPL President Anthony Marx in 2015, Wiseman visited a number of branches, and started filming soon thereafter. Armed with NYPL activity bulletins, Wiseman bounced around the system for 12 weeks, capturing everything from lectures to NYPL board meetings to simple day-to-day activities. Then, Wiseman began his extensive editing process, poring over hundreds of hours of footage in order to determine the shape and themes of the movie (“I can’t work on structure in the abstract,” he noted). “I had the view, naïve and uninformed, before I started

[that] the library was a place you take out books. That’s only a very small part of what goes on in the New York Public Library,” said Wiseman. “Over the last eight or 10 years, the branches particularly have become important cultural and academic centers in the communities. … I was very moved by the depth and scope of the work of the library.” The film bears out Wiseman’s realization, as “EX LIBRIS” paints an NYPL that’s a far cry from the hushed tones and austerity often associated with libraries. Locals assemble to discuss community politics and take classes; children enjoy after-school activities; and students take advantage of the unique resources exclusive to the NYPL. Philosophy, history, and art are passionately and thoughtfully discussed, in the form of events featuring high-profile figures such as Richard Dawkins, Elvis Costello, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, as well as classes from lesser-known lecturers delivering animated talks on Jewish identity in America, socialism, and the slave trade. Meanwhile, Marx and the

board are shown working to improve the NYPL, debating how to push it further into the 21st century. “I think the library represents the best aspects of democracy. Particularly in this time when there’s an attempt to undermine the very idea of democracy by the Trump Administration,” postulated Wiseman, who cites the accessibility of the library as fostering opportunities for all members of the community. “What you see is democracy in action. You see immigrant groups being helped, you see poor people being helped, improving the possibilities for getting better work, furthering their education, improving their language skills, or their training skills,” he elaborated. “Well, that’s completely opposite to the attitude and the point of view that’s coming out of Washington. The film is very political in that sense; the contrast between the interest in people that the library represents, and the racism and elitism that comes out of the WISEMAN continued on p. 21 DowntownExpress.com


Cosplay and Drag Blend at Flame Con Queer geeks offer inclusive, warm place to come home to BY CHARLES BATTERSBY The stereotypes of nerds and gays often appear at odds with each other, but, for the third year in a row, geek culture and the LGBTQ community have enthusiastically teamed up at Flame Con (flamecon.org). The weekend convention, held this year Aug. 19-20 at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott, gathers the artists and writers who create queer comic books, movies, games, and TV shows to unite them with fans. As with any gathering of geeks or drag queens, many of the attendees wore extravagant costumes based on their favorite characters. Cosplay was once a rare subculture for only the most ardent fans, but it has become a widespread part of any event featuring nerd culture. Flame Con bolstered the ranks of its cosplayers with nerdy drag queens who used their campy style to interpret superheroes, video game heroines, and even Disney princesses. Rachel Greeman moderated panels on cosplay and staffed the Cosplay Corner station at the con. She pointed out a few things that make cosplay at Flame Con feel different than at other cons. “My favorite thing about Flame Con, specifically, is that cosplayers here feel more comfortable in doing what they want for cosplay, and not as much what they think will be popular or what they think will get them a lot of photos taken and stuff like that,” she said, and then, referring to her own Harley Quinn costume, added, “Everybody wants their picture taken but, I think, at Flame Con people are going to take my picture because they like me, and they like what I’m wearing and how I’ve done this. I don’t think people are as nervous about wearing something that might get them called out or ostracized. Because we don’t allow that at Flame Con, and we encourage people to have their own unique sense of style.” Greeman then pointed out a cosplayer wearing a Wolverine dress, with rhinestone trim on the uniform and glittering sparkles on their claws. “I love seeing all the corsetry, the rhinestones, the glamour that goes into it,” she said. “Because when they come to Flame Con they want to be very glamorous. In their own way. They want to define what cosplay means to them. I feel like you don’t see that anywhere DowntownExpress.com

Photos by Charles Battersby

One of the contest judges, Dax ExclamationPoint, as Catwoman (right) with Geisha VI.

else, because other places don’t welcome that kind of creativity with open arms the same way that Flame Con does, and that’s why I’m so proud to be doing this here.” Flame Con had a costume contest and costume parade on both days of the event. Speaking to our sister publication, Gay City News, one of the contest judges, Dax ExclamationPoint, a drag performer who dressed as Catwoman for the con, illuminated the subtle distinctions between traditional drag and drag as cosplay. “Drag is performance art, so is cosplay, but a different kind of performance,” she explained. “In the contest earlier, they did skits and voices. That’s performance.” The contests at Flame Con did have a more theatrical feel to them when compared to mainstream cons. When a “Steven Universe” cosplayer whipped out their ukulele and started singing the show’s theme song during the costume contest, half the audience joined in and knew the entire song by heart. When a cosplayer dressed as the sea witch Ursula from “The Little Mermaid” quot-

ed the famous “Now, sing!” line from the movie, the audience once again burst into song. Cosplayer Jay Justice was a special guest at Flame Con, and spoke on several cosplay panels. She told Gay City News, “Cosplay at Flame Con feels more diverse than at other conventions, possibly because there is an overall sense of acceptance and a shared culture, an increased familiarity with the same concepts and ideals. Flame Con feels like coming home to so many of us.” Justice said she also noticed “a lot of original concept cosplay among the queer community. We like to do our own thing, make up a fantasy elven persona, or a futuristic sci-fi hero, or our own gay superhero.” Media, in general, has increasingly focused attention on LGBTQ characters, and there is no shortage of canonically gay characters in geek media, too. This year’s Flame Con saw many costumes based on recent franchises like the video game “Dream Daddy,” and the anime “Yuri On Ice,” both of which were released within the past year. Flame Con’s ideas of inclusion extend

beyond the LGBTQ community. There’s a strong focus on keeping the con accessible to disabled attendees and on ethnic diversity. During one of her panels, Jay Justice recalled a time when she was called out by a child for cosplaying as a character traditionally portrayed as being from another race. “Many of the little black children were extremely excited to see a Batgirl who looked like them and they begged for photos and autographs, holding my hand and giving me hugs,” she said. “The white children were hesitant and one of them, a little boy, gave me a look and a smirk and asked, ‘Doesn’t Batgirl have red hair?’ I could see the enthusiasm start to wilt out of the black children, and I calmly and brightly replied, ‘The cool thing about Batman is that he believes that it doesn’t matter what you look like, as long as you are a good person. Anyone can be a superhero.’ The child slowly sat back down and said, ‘That’s true.’ And then we all played and talked about video games. It was a great lesson for everyone.” It was one of many truths about cosplay that Flame Con had to teach. Sept. 7 – Sept. 21, 2017

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Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER

METROPOLITAN ROOM: FINAL DAYS IN CHELSEA Cozy to put it mildly, the layout of Chelsea’s Metropolitan Room has always paled in comparison to the expansive roster of talent to grace that tiny stage over the course of any given month. Now, after an 11-year run, the little space that could — and did — provide a friendly and supportive home to drag performers (Hedda Lettuce!), old school Yiddish theater greats (Fyvush Finkel!), autobiographical raconteurs (Leslie Jordan!), and nightclub royalty (Marilyn Maye!) is pulling up stakes and staking its claim on a new Midtown space with enough square footage for a restaurant, piano bar, and two performance rooms. That new club won’t debut until early 2018. Until then, they’ll be presenting some of their longtime performers at a kindred spirit venue that knows a little something about eclecticism: The Triad on W. 72nd St. But the Metropolitan Room isn’t going quietly from its W. 22nd St. space. Trading kicking and screaming for crooning and swinging, the Metropolitan Room bids adieu to Chelsea with a highspirited marathon starring an embarrassment of riches culled from their long list of top-notch headliners. That event goes from 9pm on Sun., Sept. 24 through 9pm on Mon., Sept. 25. The final night, until we meet again, is Sat., Sept. 30, when David Maiocco and Chuck Sweeney rule the roost as, respectively, Liberace and Peggy Lee, in the appropriately titled “Lee Squared: An Evening with Liberace and Miss Peggy Lee.” Show at 9:30pm — and don’t lift any glassware on your way out, okay? Let’s remember what the Metropolitan Room taught us, and keep it classy. The Metropolitan Room is located at 34 W. 22nd St. (btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.). For reservations, call 212-2060440 or visit metropolitanroom.com.

THE WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK FOLK FESTIVAL Long a prime destination for poets, protesters, and people watchers, Washington Square Park can also claim a storied history (and a not-too-shabby present) as the place where musicians of all stripes gather for impromptu jams, intense debates, and pivotal moments

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Sept. 7 – Sept. 21, 2017

Photo by Kevin Alvey

Marilyn Maye was a big draw for the Metropolitan Room, which bids adieu to W. 22nd St. on Sept. 30.

© Down Home Radio etc

John Cohen joins The Down Hill Strugglers (seen here) at the Washington Square Park Folk Festival.

Photo by Eli Smith

Roll away to a half sashay, a community square dance closes out Sept. 10’s Washington Square Park Folk Festival.

where songs are written and bands are formed. Before the coffeehouses of Greenwich Village took it indoors and exported it globally, the city’s folk scene found a warm and welcoming incuba-

tor when the likes of 1940s-era Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger would spend Sunday afternoons making music in the park (followed some years later by a young Bob Dylan). Mindful of that

history and determined to keep the tradition alive, Greenwich Village native and music producer Eli Smith — along with a formidable crew of likeminded genre enthusiasts and local small business backers — will present the seventh annual edition of their Washington Square Park Folk Festival. The event draws heavily upon local talent. This year’s roster features blues guitar from Zeke Schein (1:45pm), traditional Turkish and Balkan music from Seyyah (2:30pm), and string band Bill and the Belles (3:15pm). Joined by legendary ’60s-era folk musician John Cohen, The Down Hill Strugglers (a trio that claims Smith as a member; Coen Brothers fans known them from the soundtrack to “Inside Llewyn Davis”) open the festival with a 1pm set, and the event closes with a 4pm community square dance called by Alex Kramer. If that afternoon in Washington Square Park gives you the folk bug, or makes it worse, mark your calendar for another Smith-produced event: The 10th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival, April 6–18, 2018. Details at brooklynfolkfest.com. The Washington Square Park Folk Festival is a free event, held from 1–5pm on Sun., Sept. 10 (stage located by the Garibaldi statue on the park’s East side). For more info, visit wspfolkfest.com.

UNLIKELY HISTORIANS: MATERIALS COLLECTED BY NYPD SURVEILLANCE TEAMS, 1960-1975 Freedom of assembly doesn’t necessarily mean freedom from scrutiny — in fact it often guarantees it, especially when the cause you stand for poses a DowntownExpress.com


Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives

As the United Nations General Assembly opened its 26th session on Sept. 21, 1971, the US opposed replacing the Taiwan-based Nationalist Republic of China with the People’s Republic of China. Those who took to the UN Plaza and surrounding areas in a show of support for the PRC were under surveillance by the NYPD — records of which are on view as part of the “Unlikely Historians” exhibit.

threat, real or imagined, to the powers that be. Decades before making headlines and earning ACLU ire for keeping tabs on the Muslim community and the Black Lives Matter movement, the NYPD was very busy tailing individuals and infiltrating organizations. In doing so, the trail of records left behind survived to become a fascinating, at times infuriating, time capsule of Big Brother’s unblinking eye. This exhibit is rich with photographs and

objects from 15 years of surveillance, which saw NYPD scrutiny of organizations such as the Communist Party, Black Panthers, Nation of Islam, The American Renaissance Party, Women Strike for Peace, and Youth Against War and Fascism. Among the documents are photos from a 1963 C.O.R.E. demonstration for fair housing, a 1972 National Renaissance Party gathering at the Rhodesian Embassy in support of that country’s segregationist

Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives

In 1968, Columbia University students opposed a proposed gym in Morningside Park and the University’s affiliation with a defense industry think tank. The gym, with a back door entrance for Harlem residents, was seen as a misuse of public land and an example of urban segregation. Protestors occupied several buildings; over 100 were arrested; construction of the gymnasium was halted. Part of the “Unlikely Historians” exhibit.

government, and Muhammad Ali’s 1968 speech at Muhammad Mosque 7C (following revocation of the boxer’s license after he refused to enlist in the Army). Other items on display include film footage of demonstrations, a copy of a speech written by Martin Luther King Jr., pamphlets, buttons, and magazines. And what does all of this cost to see? It’s free

— which seems only fair, given how taxpayer dollars financed all that surveillance in the first place. Sept. 8–Feb. 28, 2018. At the New York City Municipal Archives (1st floor gallery, 31 Chambers St.; northwest corner of Centre & Chambers Sts.). Viewing hours: Mon.–Wed. & Fri., 9am–4:30pm; Thurs., 9am–7pm. Visit nyc.gov/records.

WISEMAN continued from p. 18

Trump Administration.” Nonetheless, Wiseman does not consider himself a political filmmaker — that is, his movies, with their decided lack of editorializing, do not trade in the kind of partisan politics or didactic message-distribution many more recent, fi nancially successful documentaries aim for (ones “mainly of the Michael Moore variety,” he quipped). “There’s a famous American philosopher by the name of Samuel Goldwyn who said, ‘If you have a message, send a telegram.’ It would be presumptuous of me to make a statement of what I hope people will get out of [my films]. I hope they enjoy the movies and it provokes and stimulates them to think about the material, the subject matter of the movie, or the group of movies if they see more than one,” Wiseman explained. “We all live such segmented lives. One of the things that movies like [‘EX LIBRIS’] can do is bring the experience of being at the place to people who haven’t had my experience. It’s not many people get a chance to spend 12 weeks wandering around the main branch and the various local branches of the New York Public DowntownExpress.com

Courtesy Zipporah Films

Photo by Erik Madigan Heck

New Yorkers take advantage of the Milstein Microform Reading Room at the NYPL’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

A portrait of Frederick Wiseman, 87, legendary filmmaker and director of “EX LIBRIS.”

hope people will think about what the movie is about.” It might be a simple request, but Frederick Wiseman has proven time and again over his career that his movies deserve to be not only seen and thought about, but treasured and revisited long after the projection bulb dims. “EX LIBRIS — The New York Public Library.” Director, Sound, Editor, Producer: Frederick Wiseman. 197 minutes. Daily screenings, Sept. 13–26,

at 12:15pm, 4pm & 7:45pm. Tickets: $14, $8 for members. At Film Forum (209 W. Houston St. btw. Varick St. & Sixth Ave.). “The Complete Wiseman: Part II (1986-1996)” runs Sept. 6-14. Call 212-727-8110 or visit filmforum. org. Wiseman appears for Q&A following the 7:45pm screenings on Sept. 13 & 14. He will be in discussion with Errol Morris at the NYPL on Sept. 14, 7–9pm. For tickets ($25) and info, visit nypl.org/LIVE.

Library. Or similarly, hang out at ballet rehearsals for three months. Or if you haven’t been through Army basic training, see what Army basic training is like. Or if you haven’t been riding around in police cars, give you a sense of what that’s about. “When a film like this works it can bring the experience to the viewer,” he asserted. “I don’t have any general wish other than, naturally, because I make the movies, I’d like them to be seen. I

Sept. 7 – Sept. 21, 2017

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DEBATE Continued from page 10

the checks and balances — because she’s the councilmember — of Mayor de Blasio, who is in bed with the Real Estate Board of New York. He’s a developer’s prostitute and she’s right there with them. At the end of the day, Margaret Chin and Mayor de Blasio should be held accountable for Rivington House. Period.” They each outlined the top three priorities that they would focus on, if elected. Imperiale said hers would include “fighting back for Rivington House” and using eminent domain to take it back. “At the end of the day, that belongs to the city not greedy developers,” she said, adding that her other priorities would be creating affordable housing and abolishing the 421-a property-tax relief program for developers. Foldenauer listed protecting small businesses, maintaining infrastructure and the environment. “The tragedy in Houston reminds us of all the work we have to do on the environment,” he said. Marte gave as his three: passing campaign-finance reform to get special interests and big developers out of City Council politics; passing the Chinatown Working Group plan, and protecting the waterfront. “I’m the only candidate here tonight that actually goes to every Waterfront Committee meeting, that sat down with the committee chairpersons,” Marte

SENATE Continued from page 2

eraged his political gains during the race to win the job of district leader in 2009. Since then he’s been active advocating for tenants’ rights and other local causes — including pushing for a full-service hospital to be

POSTED Continued from page 16

it should not evoke memories of that GOD AWFUL attack? Timothy Warner Putting the Sphere back in its original location was never a practical alternative given the design of the Memorial, and there are plenty of

said. “One of the big concerns is we don’t have a plan in place to protect our waterfront.” Marte said big developers helped reelect Chin the last time, “and we have seen the consequences, from [supertall towers] in Two Bridges to development in the Financial District.” He added that he is supporting community members’ lawsuit to stop the next three supertall towers currently in the pipeline for the Lower East Side, and that this is the kind of thing Chin should have been doing. “Our councilmember has rejected their lawsuit...or to support their lawsuit. How many constituents have seen the Extell tower?” Marte asked, calling the 80-story building going up by the Manhattan Bridge a “pure example” of lack of proactive planning on zoning. “These megatowers will have primary, secondary and involuntary displacement,” Imperiale said. “Margaret Chin said that it was an ‘as of right’ for these towers to go up. It wasn’t as of right, it needed a special permit. She waited until a month before the election to hold a press conference about it. These are not ‘minor modifications’... . She should have been saying [something] eight years ago.” “My apartment building was flooded” during Superstorm Sandy, Foldenauer said. “The flood threat is real here in Lower Manhattan. I call for a moratorium on waterfront development until we are protected.” Asked how they would help resist

the Trump administration, Marte noted that three months ago his building was raided by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents. “I contacted every single neighbor and told them not to open their doors, not let them in,” he said. Speaking about education issues, Marte noted that his experience attending diverse public schools on the Lower East Side broadened his horizons and encouraged him to travel and explore the world. On police issues, Imperiale noted she has an uncle who was a police officer, so she is not anti-cop. On a question about traffic around the Holland Tunnel, she said that cutting back the number of bike lanes, in general, in certain areas around the city could help alleviate congestion. All three candidates said, if elected, they would work to pass the long-stymied Small Business Jobs Survival Act. About half hour in, Dashia ramped up her attacks on Marte, charging, “Everyone knows you are getting money from Wall St.’s bitch, Charles Schumer.” Marte calmly answered that he only met Schumer once. “I don’t know him,” he said. He later told The Villager that Imperiale apparently was referring to a photo showing Marte posing with Schumer, which Marte said was snapped at a Downtown Independent Democrats club event. Imperiale also attacked Marte for

allegedly putting a few thousand dollars of his own money into his campaign and not declaring it properly, so that he could get matching funds for it. But Marte later said this was actually money he took out from his retirement fund to live on. “I have a vision for our district,” Marte said in his closing statement. “I’m ready. I have the track record, that on Day One, I will represent the people of District 1.” “I am not a career politician,” Imperiale said in her final remarks. “I am not backed by Wall St., I am not bought and sold or on layaway,” she said. Brandishing a photo rendering of all the supertalls planned on the Lower East Side, she said, “If it happens here, it will happen everywhere.” Foldenauer reminded everyone again that Chin had ducked the debate and said he was ready for the job. Afterward, an informal polling of audience members showed that people had been impressed by both Marte and Imperiale, in particular. People liked “the fighter” in Imperiale, but some felt her remarks – such as calling Schumer “Wall St.’s bitch — for example, would not be befitting of a councilmember. One person said Marte, even though he is the youngest of the bunch, was “the adult in the room” and kept his cool under fi re — noting he even calmly poured Imperiale a glass of water after one of her barrages against him.

built at St. Vincent’s Hospital, which closed in 2010. He made another unsuccessful bid for the Assembly last year in a race that went to YuhLine Niou, but Squadron’s resignation has given Newell another chance to join the state legislature, and his strong ties to local party activists —

especially the Downtown Independent Democrats — should serve him well when the council committee convenes later this month. Diego Segalini — A Lower East Side resident who joined the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in 2007, Segalini now serves as the group’s exec-

utive vice president. He is also a public member of Community Board 3, which represents the East Village, Chinatown, and Alphabet City. Beyond that, Segalini is a newcomer to the political stage, and faces an uphill battle against the more experienced, and better connected contenders.

reminders of the horror of the attack in the Museum. But the Sphere is certainly a legitimate historical artifact that deserves to be on public display at a prominent location that is in reasonable proximity to the WTC site. I think that placing it in Liberty Park, where it overlooks the site, is a pretty good compromise, and I’m happy to see that Mr. Burke (who

has written many letters on this matter over the years) finds this to be an acceptable outcome. This has been a contentious issue for many years, and I’m glad to see that it has finally been resolved. Bill Love

TICKETABLE OFFENSES: ROGUE VENDORS STILL PLAGUE DOWNTOWN DESPITE CRACKDOWN (AUG. 21) Visitors need internationally comprehensible signs that direct them to the SI Ferry and Statue Cruises. Maybe also include warnings against the hawkers. Jared

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