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Keith Powers, victor in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary, now faces Republican Rebecca Harary and the Liberal Party’s Rachel Honig on Nov. 7 for the District 4 seat held for the past 12 years by Dan Garodnick.

Keith Powers Coasts to Easy Victory in District 4 BY LEVAR ALONZO A clear winner emerged from a crowded field of nine Democrats vying in last week’s primary for the District 4 City Council seat. Keith Powers, a third-generation resident of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, easily topped the field, winning more than 41 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the city Board of Elections. Marti Speranza, a member of Community Board 5 and director of Women Entrepreneurs NYC, fi nished a distant second, with just under 23 percent of the vote. No other candidate garnered more than 10 percent. POWERS continued on p. 14

Photo by Levar Alonzo

Bill Samuels addresses a Sep. 14 forum on a proposed state constitutional convention, while (left to right) Adriene Holder, Robin Chappelle Golston, Evan Davis, and (to Samuels’ right) Senator Liz Krueger look on.

EAST SIDERS JAM FORUM ON PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION BY LEVAR ALONZO State Senator Liz Krueger, Citizen Action of New York, the Legal Aid Society, and the Lexington Democratic Club, along with other Upper East Side Democratic clubs, co-sponsored a Sept. 14 forum on the proposal to hold a state constitutional convention. Area residents packed the All Souls Church at 1157 Lexington Ave. in the hopes that their ques-

September 21 - October 4, 2017 | Vol. 03 No. 19

tions and uncertainties about such a convention, on which voters will make a decision in the Nov. 7 general election, would be addressed. Four panelists were on hand to debate the issue, with the pro side arguing that the New York Constitution must be revised to encourage greater CONVENTION continued on p. 15





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Residents Rally for Better Air Quality as Port BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Like boxers lacing up their gloves before a bout, community groups are readying themselves with studies, statistics, and strategies as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey eyes its bus terminal expansion. It is unclear whether the Port Authority will replace or renovate its aging facility on Eighth Ave. (btw. W. 40th & 42nd Sts.). During this period of uncertainty, advocacy organizations like CHEKPEDS (Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety) and the newly formed Hell’s Kitchen South Coalition have designated air quality a major concern for whatever plan moves forward. City data on air pollutants show why: Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen have the third-highest annual average of a fi ne atmospheric particulate matter called PM2.5, deemed the “most harmful urban air pollutant,” according to the New York City Community Health Profi les Atlas from 2015, the latest year available, and the city’s air survey. Midtown is fi rst citywide for the particulate, followed by


Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen have the third-highest level of a fine particulate matter known as PM2.5, which has been called the “most harmful urban air pollutant,” according to a city report.



Stuyvesant Town and Turtle Bay. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) established the New York City Community Air Survey in 2007, and the most recently released report in April focused on air quality in neighborhoods from 2008 to 2015. The survey measures a myriad of air pollutants that includes PM2.5, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, according to the report. Christine Berthet, a member of CHEKPEDS, used city data to discuss air quality in a presentation to a Community Board 4 (CB4) commit-

tee last week. “Our whole city is already in the bad shape,” Berthet, who is also a CB4 member, told the Waterfront, Parks & Environment Committee at their Thurs., Sept. 14 meeting. But the air quality in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen “not only is it worse, it is way worse,” she noted. Compared with other city neighborhood annual concentration averages, the area is 69 percent worse when it comes nitrogen dioxide, 40 percent for fi ne particulate matter, and 92 percent worse for sulfur dioxide, Berthet said.

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“We are not making progress here,” she said. “We are not on the right track and that’s very concerning.” The area had a higher traffic density than both Manhattan and the city as whole in 2005, according to the survey. “The New York City clean air survey data has shown the connection between the bad air quality and the traffic,” Berthet said. “There is no real question that what’s coming out of the Port Authority and the Lincoln Tunnel have a major impact… on our environment and the air quality.” Berthet pointed out that while the existing population was 103,245 seven years ago, there were 226,000 daily bus commuters and 142,484 daily car commuters passing through the area, according to 2015 figures. An influx of new workers once Hudson Yards is up and running could add another 125,000 by 2025. “That’s not a small population,” she said. “People think about we are in the no-man’s land here but there are 47 schools and pre-Ks within half a mile of the Port Authority.”

Traffic congestion from the Lincoln Tunnel also contributes to air quality in the neighborhood, according to CHEKPEDS and CB4 member Christine Berthet.

AIR QUALITY continued on p. 25

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September 21, 2017


Photos courtesy of HK Dems

Mark Robinson, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, and Marti Allen-Cummings.

Tom Shanahan, Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, Marisa Redanty, Olamide Faison, and Jeffrey LeFrancois holding young Elijah LaFargue.

Democrats in Hell’s Kitchen? Believe BY NATHAN RILEY Donald Trump’s election provoked waves of revulsion all over New York City. In Hell’s Kitchen, a full-time drag performer, realizing his rights would be under attack, sought advice from a politically connected friend — City Councilmember Corey Johnson, who suggested he join a political club. Following up on that suggestion,

Marti Allen-Cummings surfed the Internet, but couldn’t find a club in his neighborhood. Nevertheless, he persisted. Neighbors and friends of his wanted a political club that would represent the current day diversity of Hell’s Kitchen. There was, in fact, already a political club in the neighborhood, but it’s one not suffused with the rainbow hues that would embrace Allen-Cummings

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and those he spoke to about the issue. The venerable McManus Midtown Democratic Club was founded in 1892 when political battles between Irish Democrats and Protestant Republicans animated city politics. Jimmy McManus, a Democratic district leader for more than half a century, is now basically retired but the club remains in the family. Mickey Spillane, Jr., a nephew, is a district leader in what is formally known as AD 75 part B, but Dick Gottfried, the local state assemblymember, said of Spillane, “I haven’t talked to him in two years.” Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio are busy this year running for reelection, but other electeds have no such obligations. Allen-Cummings emailed Gottfried on his public mailbox and a senior aide spotted the message. Gottfried, clearly pleased with the outcome that ensued, enthused over the phone, “It came together very quickly.” Wendi Paster, that senior Gottfried aide, called Allen-Cummings back. On Facebook, Allen-Cummings asked his followers if they wanted to start a club, and Mark Robinson, a friend, offered his living room for the first meeting. Paster was there for that December meeting — and, crucially, leaders of the Manhattan Plaza Tenants Association showed up. These two high-rise apartment buildings on W. 42nd St., home to many artists, formed a critical springboard for the new political club, the Hell’s Kitchen Democrats. For Allen-Cummings, it was all a big learning experience. District leaders, nominating petitions, collecting signatures were unknowns, but he and other neighborhood residents who met in December proved to be willing pupils.

Events also gave the new group momentum. Cynthia Doty, an Upper West Side district leader from the Three Parks Independent Democrats, remembers meeting members of the new club at phone banks for Jon Ossoff, who ran for Congress earlier this year in a Georgia Republican district with an open seat. The Hell’s Kitchen Dems marched as a group in the New York City Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration. They answered Trump’s white supremacist message with posters placed in stores in blocks above 34th St. proclaiming, “All Genders, Religions, Ethnicities, Sexual Orientations, Human Beings Are Safe Here.” By doing the work, they earned the trust of elected officials. But it was evident the group had one big handicap — they were unknown, while the Spillanes, including Mickey’s sister and fellow district leader Denise, had the familiar name. But Gottfried, his fellow assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and Congressmember Jerrold Nadler all endorsed the new group. None of those officials are up for election this year, but according to Paster, they wanted the new club’s members to be able to say, “We’re here, we’re serious, and we’re not going away.” They gave the club credibility and access to the skills of other insiders. One of Hoylman’s top staffers, Eli Szenes-Strauss, helped Paster in getting the club’s nominating petitions for city candidates and district leaders into shape, spending hours training Hell’s Kitchen residents on the intricacies of BELIEVE continued on p. 24 NYC Community Media




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September 21, 2017


Ground Zero Museum Workshop Offers Intimate Glimpses of 9/11 BY LEVAR ALONZO A museum founded, and often funded, by a photographer who spent seven months at Ground Zero is facing a challenge far greater than the struggle to keep its doors open. “It’s surprising to realize that it has been 16 years since the 9/11 catastrophe, and more and more people I meet forget what really happened surrounding America’s worst terrorist attack in US history,� said Ground Zero Museum Workshop curator Gary Marlon Suson, shortly before the Sept. 7 unveiling of a new sculpture and companion documentary timed for the 12th anniversary of the interactive museum dedicated to education and reflection. Suson, an FDNY Honorary Battalion Chief, was the official photographer at Ground Zero for the Uniformed Firefi ghters Association — one of only two photographers (and the only one with full access) allowed at the site past the fi rst few weeks, when then-mayor Rudy Giuliani closed it to press out of respect for the families of those whose bodies were still being pulled from the site.

Suson’s capture of the North Tower in mid-collapse was shot on the rooftop of the museum he later founded (located on W. 14th St. in the Meatpacking District). Unlike the considerable distance from which that shot was taken, Suson’s work at Ground Zero consisted largely of close-ups, to emphasize the intimate nature of recovery efforts. “I focused more on people, and the emotions of Ground Zero,� Suson noted of the many “private moments, like the honor guards.� In addition to over 100 of Suson’s photos, the 1,000-square-foot second floor space that houses the museum also displays dozens of images and artifacts of love, death, and sacrifice — including window glass, a ticket stub of the last PATH train to arrive at World Trade Center, and white lobby marble from the towers. The museum pales in comparison to the much larger, more wellknown, and better-funded National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Suson said that on slow months, he has had to put up his own money GROUND ZERO continued on p. 22

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“FDNY Honor Guard for Fallen Brother� (March, 2002) is one of many photos by Gary Marlon Suson at the Ground Zero Museum Workshop.


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A visitor listens to Susonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s narration while viewing his photograph of Father Mychal Judgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bunker jacket, found among the collapsed remains of the South Tower.

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Anti-Trump Resisters Flood Grand Central on Eve of UN Speech PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO With President Donald Trump, back in New York for only the third time since taking office in January, set to deliver an address to the United Nations General Assembly the following day, hundreds of demonstrators affiliated with Rise and Resist protested inside Grand Central Terminal during rush hour on September 18. The protest’s theme was opposition to white supremacy, an issue that Trump elevated to a raging national debate with his “many sides” reaction in assigning responsibility for last month’s racist and neo-Nazi marches in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to the death of Heather Heyer, a counterprotester killed when an Ohio man with a history of pro-Nazi sympathies rammed his car into a crowd gathered to denounce the hate messages. On its Facebook page, Rise and Resist, in highlighting white supremacist policies of the Trump administration, also pointed to Trump’s Muslim ban, his suspension of President Barack Obama’s DACA program that protected undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ war on

NYC Community Media

drugs and his mass incarceration policies, and tax reform proposals aimed at relief for the wealthiest Americans. After demonstrating at Grand Central, the protesters marched to Times Square. In his bombastic address at the UN on Tuesday, Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” if the US or its allies are threatened and called Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement “an embarrassment” to America.” — Additional reporting by Paul Schindler

September 21, 2017


Terrible Presidents, Tattooed on the Backs of Two Generations

Courtesy the Burbank family

Max Burbank’s grandfather, Irving Fagan, in his office at The Philadelphia Record.

BY MAX BURBANK Several years ago my bride, a woman of excellent judgment, exercised her marital veto and forbade me to get a tattoo of Richard Nixon. While I recognized and accepted her authority in the matter (all marriages have bargains), I fear she thought I was being impulsive. I was not. I’m not a Nixon fan, and I wouldn’t permanently mark myself to be ironic any more than I’d vape. “Ink” is forever and should be of the utmost personal significance. Anything less becomes a permanent label advertising crassness in 12-point Gothic Bold. Who, though, is the most omnipresent figure of the time I was born into? Whose rise and fall gouged his signature into American history, vile tendrils scrabbling forward into the future long after death, growing thinner, grayer, harder to discern, but never, ever vanishing? Who, in short, is the most tattoo-worthy? Muhammad Ali? Elvis? Hah. Richard. Milhous. Nixon. I have no personal memory whatever of Lyndon B. Johnson, but remember walking across the schoolyard with the other boys, arms over

shoulders, a Red Rover-style phalanx, chanting, “Humphrey is the one! Nixon is a bum!” I remember what seemed at the time like a landslide loss. Richard Nixon is the fi rst president of my mental landscape. I was 10. My parents hosted antiwar slide shows, real hippies crashed in our barn all summer, and George McGovern was my hero. The Senator from South Dakota, soft-spoken, rangy, a World War II Air Force veteran awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, now a soldier for peace. Forever confused and tangled in my memory with Jimmy Stewart, he was the sun that dwarfed, yet cast, Nixon’s twisted shadow. Though they campaigned for McGovern, my folks told me he didn’t stand a damn chance. I never believed them. He was the good guy. Black hats lose, and Nixon was a very black hat. Then I found out what a landslide really was. My parents slapped a “Don’t blame me, I’m from Massachusetts” sticker on the bumper of our Jeep, a perfect bookend for the brass Buddha my dad bolted to the hood the previous year. MAX continued on p. 20



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Edie Windsor Celebrated in Poignant Temple Emanu-El Memorial

Edie Windsor at the LGBTQ Pride March in Manhattan in 2013 just days after her Supreme Court victory over the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

BY ANDY HUMM Outside the Upper East Side’s Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Ave., Edie Windsor’s comrades from the grassroots marriage equality movement lined up more than an hour and a half early to make sure they would get a seat inside for her Sept. 15 memorial service. These were the people from Marriage Equality New York whom Edie sought out in order to marry Thea Spyer in 2007. After the couple worked with these activists on the front lines of that cause, they helped connect Edie to the legal help she needed after Thea’s 2009 death to get her marriage recognized by the federal government. The world will remember Edie, who died at age 88 on Sept. 12, as the successful plaintiff in United States v. Windsor in 2013, a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act that secured full federal recognition of all same-sex marriages legal in the states. But hundreds gathered last week to celebrate her as more than just a brave and determined plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court case, but as a singular human being full of life and love. Like Gilbert Baker, the Rainbow Flag’s creator who died earlier this year, and Father Mychal Judge, the Fire Department chaplain who perished in the 9-11 catastrophe, she was a gay person who touched the lives of millions — and those who encountered her felt a deeply personal connection. (The service can be viewed at https://venue.streamspot.com/video/07b68277b0.) Inside, we were joined by civic leaders from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Letitia James to Congressmember Jerry Nadler and out LGBTQ elected officials. We heard from Edie’s lawyer and friend Roberta Kaplan, her relatives and longtime friends, and — to the surprise of many — Hillary Clinton, in a service led by Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. But most everyone in the pews had a significant Edie story of their own, as well. Michael Sabatino, now a Yonkers city councilmem-


September 21, 2017

Photos by Donna Aceto

Edie Windsor’s signature hat and scarf on the altar at Temple Emanu-El during her September 15 memorial service.

Judith Kasen-Windsor, Edie’s surviving spouse, was the first of the speakers at the service.

Roberta Kaplan, the civil rights litigator who took on Edie’s case after some LGBTQ legal advocacy groups turned her down.

ber, standing with his husband, Robert Voorheis, outside ahead of the service, said, “She came to a Marriage Equality meeting and said, ‘My partner has MS. I need to get married in Canada.’” At that point in 2007, Sabatino and Voorheis were already in court fighting right-wing attempts to deny them recognition of their Canadian marriage in New York. “We put her in touch with Brendan Fay” who had also married in Canada and, with Jesús Lebron, ran the Civil Marriage Trail to get American same-sex couples married there, Sabatino added. Fay persuaded Judge Harvey Brownstone, an out gay Toronto jurist, to travel to a hotel near the airport there to marry the ailing and wheelchair-dependent Thea to Edie.

Edie never forgot Fay’s help, showing up for all his St. Pat’s for All fundraisers in support of his inclusive St. Patrick’s Day parade in Queens. “At the Irish Arts Center, she would get up on the stage with Malachy McCourt to sing our anthem, ‘Wild Mountain Thyme,’” Fay said. When his group, Lavender & Green, became the first Irish LGBTQ contingent allowed to march in the Fifth Ave. St. Patrick’s Parade in 2016 after a 25-year battle waged by the Irish Lesbian & Gay Organization and Irish Queers, Edie didn’t just show up. At 86, she marched the entire route and joined the afterparty in the East Village that evening. “She showed us how to love in tough times,” Fay said. Paul Schindler, editor of Manhattan Express and NYC Community Media

Gay City News, said, “I remember first seeing Edie and Thea — not knowing who they were — as nice old ladies at a meeting of marriage activists at the Center where the average age was probably 29. I was touched to see them, but didn’t realize these were the women who were going to change everything.” Activist Jay W. Walker said, “She was tireless and attended almost every action with Gays Against Guns and Rise and Resist. Turn a corner and there was Edie. She never stopped her activism and did it with such joy.” Historian Blanche Wiesen Cook and playwright Clare Coss, a power couple of the progressive LGBTQ movement together for 48 years, were close to Edie since the 1970s. “She was a force of love and joy,” Cook said, to which Coss added, “She made people feel they could do the impossible. She cared so much about equality and justice.” Cathy and Sheila Marino-Thomas, leaders in Marriage Equality New York, worked alongside Edie for years. “When she walked out of the Supreme Court, she walked over to our kids to let them know it went well,” Cathy recalled of Edie’s big day before the nine justices in March 2013. James Esseks, co-counsel on the Windsor case for the American Civil Liberties Union, said, “I remember Edie saying that if she had to lose Thea, she would make something of it. And she did — not only a change in the law but she became a symbolic face so every American could better understand same-sex relationships. She turned a personal tragedy into a triumph for all LGBT people.” Columbia University law professor Suzanne Goldberg, who at Lambda was co-counsel for the defendants in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case that ended anti-sodomy laws in the US and was among those who submitted an amicus brief in the Windsor case, said before the service, “In addition to being beautiful, committed, and funny, she was fiercely brilliant.” Goldberg recalled, “She said she’d read every word of my brief and proceeded to stun me. Many lawyers don’t even do that.” Judith Kasen-Windsor, married to Edie just shy of one year, bravely led the speakers at the service. “She was an international symbol of LGBTQ rights,” she said, “but she was simply my love.” Rabbi Kleinbaum said, “Edie changed the world with a specific action, but like Rosa Parks she was part of a movement. She knew it took all of us to change the world.” Lewis Freeman, Edie’s first cousin once removed, spoke during the service about how that famous picture of Edie outside the Supreme Court with her arms spread wide resulted from her spotting her family members and breaking away from the press conference to greet them. “She was always Edie in public and in private,” said Freeman. “It didn’t matter how many people were around… For Edie, family wasn’t limited by blood relatives. You were all her family.” His mother, Sunnie Baron Freeman, recalled always being very close to her cousin, but because she was 14 months younger, Edie, even to their final phone conversation last week, called Sunnie “Baby.”


MEMORIAL continued on p. 24 NYC Community Media

September 21, 2017


Close to Tears, HRPT Head Said Costly Litigation Sunk Pier55 BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC A day after the news broke that Barry Diller’s Pier55 project was scuttled, Madelyn Wils, head of the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT), lamented the defeat. “This is devastating to a lot of us, honestly, we just lost the largest gift to a park in the United States and a promise to have programmed it as a not-for-profit, ongoing,” the president and CEO of the Trust said. “So it’s a devastating loss.” Wils was at a Community Board 4 Waterfront, Parks & Environment Committee meeting on Thurs., Sept. 14 for other Trust business — new vendor Black Tap is slated at Pier 84 and a discussion where the picnic area at the Chelsea Waterside Park would be moved — when co-chair Lowell Kern asked Wils what happened. The New York Times reported on Wed., Sept. 13 that the “entertainment pier” project was dead, and that costs had “ballooned to more than $250 million today from $35 million six years ago.” One of the reasons for the escalating cost was due to lawsuits. “We were unfortunately defeated — not in the courts,” she said. “We won in the courts. People seem to think somehow we lost in

Courtesy The Villager

Madelyn Wils, head of the Hudson River Park Trust, was candid at Sept. 14’s meeting of the CB4 Waterfront, Parks & Environment Committee.

the court, but we didn’t. … But we didn’t win because of the way that you could continue to sue and sue and sue.” She continued, “Construction now is eight to 10 percent a year so if you figure two and a half years, you’re looking at about 30 percent higher costs and aggravation. … I think Mr. Diller and his family felt eventually that, you know, they were here to provide something really special. … I think that just this week, it just between Mr. Diller’s family, he just felt it was too much, and decided to bow out.” Wils said Diller, a billionaire who is the chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp, had “lost a lot of money already. The Trust has lost money. He’s lost more, but he has more to lose than we do.” It is unclear what will happen to that part of the West Side waterfront, which Lowell called an “empty blight.” She said there may one day be a Pier 54. Diller would continue to support the park in some way, she said. “I don’t think he knows what that means. I mean, it’s emotional for him,” she said. “I think they just couldn’t understand how this could keep going on and so if I say too much more I’m going to cry so I’m not going to say much more.”

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1-917-246-2888. *You must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium, if not otherwise paid for under Medicaid or by another third party. Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and a contract with the State Medicaid Program. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare. This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, co-payments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits, premiums and/or co-payments/ co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details H3387_160706_161216 Accepted CST15186F NYC Community Media

September 21, 2017


POWERS continued from p. 1

Councilmember Dan Garodnick, who was first elected in 2005 and recently steered a major East Midtown rezoning plan through to approval, is unable to seek reelection due to term limits. The seat is one of the eight truly open races out of the Council’s 51 seats citywide. “I am humbled to earn the Democratic nomination for the 4th Council District seat,” said Powers. “For nearly a year, I’ve connected with East Siders, from Stuyvesant Town to the Upper East Side. I would not be here today without their support. I look forward to continuing to put forth new ideas for affordable housing, public education, and government reform.” Waiting in the wings to challenge Powers in the November general elections is the Republican candidate, small business owner Rebecca Harary. She won her party’s nomination in an uncontested primary. Rachel Honig, who finished third in the Democratic Party with less than nine percent, will appear on the Liberal Party line. In this heavily Democratic district, the winner of the Democratic Party primary generally is the favorite to win.

Powers acknowledged that he and his GOP opponent are focused on many of the same challenges. What sets him apart from her, he said, is that he has “real roots” within the community and more experience. “We share a lot of the similar concerns and vision for the the district but my roots in this district and my political experience give me the upperhand,” he said. Powers said that his community expertise from working in State Senator Liz Kruegar’s office and, prior to that, serving as chief of staff to former Assemblymember Jonathan Bing was critical in connecting him to district voters and propelling him to victory. “Experience in this job really matters,” he said. “If you don’t, as we see with our current president, it can become a real hassle.” Powers has consistently cited fighting for affordable housing, supporting quality education, and strengthening public transportation as the top three concerns he would bring to the Council. On the issue of affordable housing, he hopes to bring new ideas to the table, with a proposal for a “21th century” Mitchell-Lama program, based

on an earlier state initiative that developed and built rental and co-op housing for middle-class families. He also wants to assist tenants who are seniors by broadening the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program to cover more city residents. SCRIE is a rentfreeze program that stabilizes the rent of seniors 62 or older who have an income level of under $50,000. “I want to make sure that middle class families continue to have a place in the district and that seniors receive assistance with their rent.” According to his website, Powers advocates a teacher evaluation approach based on what happens in the classroom, not on standardized testing. He also supports an increased city commitment to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s universal pre-K efforts, and would push to ensure that the East Side has sufficent seats by requiring new housing developments to create space for schools. On transportation issues, Powers specifically focused on the planned shutdown of the L train. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced that a 15-month suspension of service between Manhattan and Brooklyn beginning in April 2019 is requied for critical repairs. Powers

advocates expanded transit opitions, including select bus service, for straphangers along the L line route who would be affected. “The city should give serious consideration to a car-free 14th St. — whether it’s full time or during rush hours,” he said. “Regardless of the outcome, the city should expand select bus service to accommodate the L train riders, expand or alter existing bus lines to increase service, and address basic service issues like Metrocard refills and off-board fare payment.” Powers, who, as of September 15, has spent $155,000, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB), and has just over $60,000 on hand, has landed some formidable endorsements, including from the New York Times and the Daily News, Make the Road, a social justice group, the Stonewall Democrats and the Jim Owles Liberal Democrats, both LGBTQ political clubs, and Garodnick. “I believe it is important to listen to constituents and treat their issues as passionately as I would treat my own,” Powers said. “I enjoy the challenge of bringing people together and facilitating agreements that meet the needs of diverse stakeholders.”


Photo by Jackson Chen

City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal.

Incumbent District 6 City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal easily surmounted challenges from her 2013 runner-up, Mel Wymore, and Dr. Cary Goodman to win renomination in last week’s Democratic primary. Rosenthal captured just under 65 percent of the vote, compared to 31 percent for Wymore and four percent for Goodman. Wymore, a longtime member of Community Board 7, had run largely on his assertion that Rosenthal’s office was unresponsive to community residents’ requests for assistance, while Goodman centered his campaign on his opposition to the American Museum of Natural History annexing a small portion of the surrounding Theodore Roosevelt Park for its planned expansion. Though Wymore captured some local Democratic club support, Rosenthal earned a string of endorsements from progressive groups working

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September 21, 2017

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CONTRIBUTORS Levar Alonzo Donna Aceto Lincoln Anderson Nathan DiCamillo Bill Egbert Dusica Sue Malesevic Colin Mixson Lenore Skenazy Scott Stiffler Eileen Stukane

on tenant, disability, and LGBTQ issues. Rosenthal now faces Republican Hyman Drusin and independents Bill Ruadenbush and David Owens in the Nov. 7 general election. In the Upper West Side’s District 7, incumbent Councilmember Mark Levine captured nearly three-quarters of the vote to defeat Thomas LopezPierre, whose campaign faced harsh criticism for the candidate’s pattern of racially divisive and antiSemitic appeals. Levine faces Green Party candidate Florindo Troncelliti on Nov. 7. On the Upper East Side, in District 5, incumbent Ben Kallos captured the Democratic primary, with three-quarters of the vote against community organizer Patrick Bobilin and education advocate Gwen Goodwin. Kallos is unopposed in the Nov. 7 election. — Paul Schindler

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CONVENTION continued from p. 1

voter turnout and restrain the influence of entrenched political interests, while the con side raised concerns about the threat such a convention could pose for important rights and protections currently enshrined in the Constitution. “I myself am leaning heavily pro-convention, which puts me in the minority among elected officials,” said Krueger, the East Side senator who moderated the evening. “It doesn’t change the fact that I respect both sides of the argument.” This November, New Yorkers, for the first time in 20 years, will have a chance to vote yes or no on whether they want to hold a constitutional convention to amend the state’s founding document. Since 1967, when the last convention was held, voters have repeatedly rejected the idea of holding a convention. The recent volatility in voter behavior, as evidenced by the surprise election of Donald Trump last Novemeber, has many elected officials, advoacy organizations, and voters concerned about the potential for opening up a can of worms with no predictable outcomes should a convention be approved. In her opening statement, Krueger urged those in attendance to listen and weigh both sides of the issue to make an educated choice come Nov. 7. She specificially disputed social media rumors that choosing not to vote on that ballot question would be an automatic yes. Non-profit groups like the Legal Aid Society and Planned Parenthood have taken issue with the push for a convention, warning that it could repeal hard-fought protections and also be influenced by “dark money” forces. Adriene Holder, who serves as the Legal Aid Society’s attorney-in-charge of civil practice pointed to concerns that a constitutional convention could weaken or imperil entirely Article 17, which protects low-income New Yorkers. Article 17, she explained, was added to the State Constitution in a convention called during the Great Depression in 1938 and mandates that the state provide assistance to lowincome residents. That provision has been an effective tool used by lawyers in court cases aimed at providing adequate social service supports for New Yorkers in need, according to Holder, who noted that Article 17 has been the target of opponents in earlier conventions and in the Legislature since its enactment. “If a convention is called, every part of the State Constitution could be subject to replacement or revision,” Holder NYC Community Media

Courtesy of newyorkconcon.info

The timeline going forward should the constitutional convention ballot question be approved on Nov. 7.

said. “This includes really the key protection for low-income New Yorkers.” According to the New York State Library website, when the last constitutional convention was held in in 1967, the proposed amendments that resulted were rejected by voters. The 1938 convention, in contrast, was successful at amending the Constitution, addding safeguards including Article 17. Evan Davis, senior counsel at Cleary Gottlieb and manager of the Committee for a Constitutional Convention, argued that a constitutional convention is really a partnership between the voters and the convention delegates. If voters in November decide to hold a convention, 189 delegates would be elected next year to a 2019 convention that would consider amendments to the exising Constitution. Any amendments the delegates approve would then go back before the public for an up or down vote. “The individual amendments are put before the people and ultimately the people will have to decide,” David said. “That is a very important protection in this whole process.” In making his case, Davis noted the low voter turnout in last week’s primary elections, where just 14 percent of Democrats — who make up the large majority of city voters — turned out. He argued that because of tough voter registration restrictions written into the Constitution, with deadlines set about a month prior to voting, many residents who only tune in during the final weeks of a campaign are deprived of the chance to vote. Online registration requires a driver’s license or an official non-driver’s ID, but Davis said the fact that half of the city’s adults don’t have a driver’s license — with many not bothering to obtain a nondriver’s ID — imposes a practical barrier to registering in this way. Just as much as Davis feels that a constitutional convention could fi x barriers to effective governing in the State Constitution, some feel that it could still take away important individ-

ual rights and safety net protections. “In a perfect world, Con-Con would be a good idea,” said Robin Chappelle Golston, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire States Acts, adding that its downsides are the “lack of transparency and possible loss of what we already have in the Constitution.” Planned Parenthood is a leading advocate for women’s reproductive rights. Chappelle Golston’s concern is that the public will not be able to weigh in on the process until the convention is over, which she warned could be too late. The convention, she said, would likely become an “inside baseball game” with backroom deals being reached by delegates. Her organization, she said, fears that existing protections for abortion could be traded away for changes in other key areas. The forum also made clear that an underlying tension between upstate and downstate interests is beginning to surface in the debate over holding a convention. “We live in the New York City bubble and don’t worry much about certain issues, but we have to realize Trump carried 46 of our 62 counties in the state,” Chappelle Golston said. “This would not be a progressive bastion figuring out ways to make our Constitution more progressive. There will be delegates with other agendas and that leads to compromise.” She also raised concerns about whether the delegates elected would be truly representative of all communities across New York. “We also believe there won’t be true representation of the people that make up this great state,” Chappelle Golston said. Bill Samuels, a businessman and founder of Effective NY, a nonpartisan think tank focused on public policy isseus, spoke in favor of a convention, arguing that unwarranted fears should not stand in the way of breaking down traditions that hold the state back. “Andrew Cuomo and that culture

is as old and as outdated as Tammany Hall, and we must change it,” he said. Then, alluding to the fact that most Albany legislative negotiations are carried out among the governor, Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, and Senator Jeff Klein, a Bronx Democrat who heads up the rump Independent Democratic Conference, but exclude Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who leads the Democrats, who nominally have a majority, he added, “There is no better example than when four men go in a room and they exclude the woman that runs the Democratic Party. Think that’s going to change in 2018?” Samuels argued that individual legislators need a greater say in Albany and that transparency should be encouraged in contrast to the current practice of closed-door negotiations. Without spelling out details, Samuels also advocated for a constitutional amendment to create pension benefits for New York’s many freelance and non-union workers — an effort that runs counter to strong economic trends in recent decades. “Sixty percent of our workers in Manhattan have zero pensions,” he said. “One of my amendments is to require that the Constitution have a pooling access to all workers, so that not only union workers have good pensions but the rest of us do, too.” In his closing remarks, Samuels encouraged audience members to run to become delegates. “This will an exciting time, and it will be fun to bring about change,” he said. “I urge you not to have doubt and uncertainty.” But doubt and uncertainty are what brought many to All Souls Church last week in the first place, and it was unclear at the evening’s conclusion how many of the crowd’s questions had been clarified. Voters now have just seven weeks to become comfortable that they are making an informed decision on Nov. 7. September 21, 2017



Photo by Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Tuesday night fever: Mayor de Blasio shows off his signature dance move, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Smackdown,â&#x20AC;? at the Park Slope Armory after he won the Democratic nomination in 2013.

Dance Dance Evolution? Cabaret Law Could Waltz Into History

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September 21, 2017

BY LAUREN GILL Mayor Bill de Blasio supports the repeal of an archaic law that bans dancing in establishments that do not have a special, hard-to-get license as long as those clubs and bars enact certain basic security measures, a rep announced at a Thurs., Sept. 14 City Hall hearing on the statute. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The de Blasio administration strongly supports repealing the current cabaret law,â&#x20AC;? said Lindsay Greene, a senior advisor for the Office of Housing and Economic Development. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are better ways than the current law to create a strong and healthy nightlife economy.â&#x20AC;? In June, Greene refused to say whether Hizzoner backed a bill by Councilmember Rafael Espinal (Dâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Bushwick) that proposes abolishing the 1926 cabaret law, citing a pending lawsuit on its constitutionality. The pol introduced the measure that month, arguing the statute was put in place to target black jazz clubs and has been used as a way for police to discriminate against minority groups ever since. But now de Blasio will sign legislation to scrap the old law, on the condition it is replaced with one that requires nightlife businesses maintain surveillance cameras and ensure security personnel is properly licensed and registered. Attendees erupted in a vigorous bout of â&#x20AC;&#x153;jazz handsâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; raising their hands and wiggling them rapidly â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in approval following the announce-

ment, because clapping is not allowed in Council chambers. The Department of Consumer Affairs currently enforces the cabaret law, but the NYPD will be in charge of ensuring haunts are up to code under the new legislation. Espinal worried this change will give cops free reign to target clubs and bars since they can use camera checks as a way to gain entry, but Greene claimed police will only investigate businesses when there is reason for concern. Dance advocates spoke following Greeneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s testimony, including one woman with plenty of experience getting down who suggested the â&#x20AC;&#x153;dance policeâ&#x20AC;? might lighten up if they tried cutting a rug themselves. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Maybe theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll feel a little better if they start swinging and swaying themselves,â&#x20AC;? said Mercedes Ellington, the granddaughter of jazz legend Duke Ellington and the first black dancer in the revered June Taylor Dancers troupe. The mayor, despite his gangly 6-foot-5 frame, is somewhat of a dance pioneer himself, most famously creating â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Smackdownâ&#x20AC;? in 2013, choreography in which de Blasio licks his hand and bangs it on the ground. But before the mayor can make busting the move legal for all, Espinal needs to amend the bill and then the Council has to vote on it, which is expected to happen in December. NYC Community Media


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

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

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

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

Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

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

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

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

September 21, 2017


We Can Still Fly A refusal to grow up clashes with the march of time BY DAVID KENNERLEY More often than not, theatrical meditations on mortality tend to be dismal affairs. But red-hot playwright Sarah Ruhl, who has earned plaudits for plays such as “Stage Kiss” and “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” has solved the problem in her latest effort by expertly grafting on elements of the beloved children’s story “Peter Pan,” injecting a fantastic dose of whimsy while embracing the tale’s dark undercurrents. “For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday,” now at Playwrights Horizons, is set in Davenport, Iowa, in the 1990s and in timeless Neverland. The first part features a protracted, tense scene in a hospital room, where an elderly father lies on his deathbed, attached to a web of monitors and drips, surrounded by his five doting offspring. The siblings have put their lives on hold to stand vigil by their dying father (Ron Crawford). Ann, portrayed by the legendary, luminous Kathleen Chalfant, may be the oldest chronologically — she’s pushing 70 — but not emotionally. Her fondest memory is playing the role of Peter Pan as a teenager, and she still identifies with the boy, sharing not only his love of flying but also his refusal to grow up. John (Daniel Jenkins) is a college professor, while Jim (David Chandler) and Michael (Keith Reddin) are doctors who have followed in footsteps of their father, a local pediatrician back in the day. The youngest, Wendy (Lisa Emery), the apple of her father’s eye, appears particularly distraught over the dire circumstances. “Peter Pan” aficionados will notice that these names match those of key characters in the book. The achingly poignant drama finds poetry in the peculiar dynamic of a family reunion, studded with reminiscences of key childhood moments anyone can relate to. Occasionally, each of the old man’s children reverts to their role when growing up, stirring old rivalries and recriminations. Under the resourceful direction of Les Waters, the characters are richly drawn and expertly portrayed. Ann is based on Ruhl’s mother, who actually


September 21, 2017

Photo by Joan Marcus

Kathleen Chalfant and Ron Crawford in Sarah Ruhl’s “For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday,” directed by Les Waters, at Playwrights Horizons through Oct. 1.

played Peter Pan in her youth, and some of the dialogue is lifted from interviews with her extended family. The lead role is tailor-made for Chalfant, whose mischievous grin and sprightly demeanor conjures Peter Pan even before she dons the famous green tights, tunic, and feathered cap. Arguing is a family sport. The siblings spar about politics, religion, afterlife, and euthanasia. By liberally upping the dose of their dad’s morphine, is it murder or simply palliative care? “It’s about staying ahead of the pain,” says Jim defensively. Ann recalls an earlier trauma putting down the ailing family dog. The pooch, played by Macy, who starred in the recent touring production of “Annie,” makes several heart-

warming, ghostly appearances and hits all of her marks. After their father finally takes his last breath, the siblings breathe a sigh of relief. The second part finds the family at a large dining table at the family homestead, holding an Irish wake — drinking Jameson’s whiskey, cracking jokes, and trying find solace in their shared experience. “I pride myself somehow on not growing up,” Ann says, equating that with being “programmed” and “ossified.” Michael’s mantra used to be “immortality through immaturity.” In the final part — a metatheatrical fantasia set in their childhood bedroom and a warped version of Neverland — the siblings play roles in an otherworldly

production of “Peter Pan.” Tinker Bell is there and so is Captain James Hook, embodied with dastardly panache by Chandler. They discover the Lost Boys and the Jolly Roger. And yes, there is an abundant amount of jubilant flying involved. To this tenderly affecting drama’s credit, the cables miraculously disappear in our imaginations, and we are convinced the fairy dust is real. Runtime: 90 minutes, no intermission. Through Oct. 1 at Playwrights Horizons (416 W. 42nd St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.). Tues.–Sat. at 7:30pm; Sun. at 7pm; Sat.–Sun. at 2pm. For tickets ($59-$99), visit ticketcentral. com or 212-279-4900. Artist info at visit playwrightshorizons.org. NYC Community Media


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MAX continued from p. 8

(Did I mention Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m from a family of freaks?) In 21 months, Nixon would resign in disgrace â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not like I knew that. I cried a lot. The summer of 1973, I was 11. My grandfather was working on dying in an upstairs bedroom. I think heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have checked out a good deal sooner, but having spent his whole adult life as a reporter for the Philadelphia Record and the International Labor Press Association, he sure as hell wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t going to miss the Watergate hearings. The Grim Reaper could cool his boney heels in the hallway. After sundown heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d get weird, scanning blankets held between his hands like Sunday papers, often entertaining the delusion he was a passenger on a riverboat full of gamblers, prostitutes, and thieves â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but as long as the hearings were on, he was lucid as hell. He hardly spoke anymore, his skin was stretched across his bones like the doped paper on a model airplane, but his glittery eyeballs tracked every movement on the screen like a couple of sentient marbles. He hung in for a while after the final gavel, but never came downstairs again. I hope the Angel of Death came to him

Courtesy the Burbank family

Irving Fagan, directly to the left of President Harry Truman, posing with a bunch of old white guys in suits for God knows what all, probably some lefty labor thing.

as Representative Barbara Jordan (D-TX), that rich butterscotch voice letting the old reporter know his story was told, walking with him down the gangplank of that seedy riverboat onto a peaceful shore. So the Founding Fathers built well, right? The system worked, the black hat got his comeuppance, albeit with

a pardon. The memory of a shadow is a potent thing, though. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re Nixonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s kids, and this is his world. The emotion that typifies us most is anxiety. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve spent our lives climbing up and away from the time the President of the United Sates was such a bad guy he had to resign. We can never totally relax. You know in a slasher fl ick, how the monster is laying there dead at the end? Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s getting up again before the credits. And thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always a sequel. Nixonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Southern strategy sucked the demagogues and white supremacists from the Democrats with red meat and dog whistles. Appeasing new red voters made it ever harder to run as a moderate Republican. Nixonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s culture wars and targeting of â&#x20AC;&#x153;elitesâ&#x20AC;? was successful enough to never go out of fashion. Republican intellectuals turned a blind eye at best, cynically exploiting racial tension and religious tribalism, eventually birthing the Tea Party. Nixonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

signature scorn for Washington â&#x20AC;&#x153;eggheadsâ&#x20AC;? blossomed into the denigration of education and science, until the Republican Party became a perfect tainted Petri dish, ideal for spawning a monstrosity like Trump. My kids saw marriage equality become the law of the land. They watched an African-American person become president. It felt like weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d left Nixon in the past, but he was right there with us the whole time, just beneath the surface. You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t bury a real monster deep enough. And in a sequel, the monster is stronger. Shoot this one in the head with proof of high crimes and misdemeanors, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll look at the smoking gun, yell â&#x20AC;&#x153;FAKE NEWS,â&#x20AC;? and keep on coming. Bright side? I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only a matter of time before Trump self-destructs. Should he avoid impeachment, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still seventy-one years of bloated, old crazy-guy with a less-than-healthy lifestyle. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not designed for the long haul. But there are kids out there for whom Trump will be the fi rst president they remember. When he blows up, it wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be a shadow they live under, it will be a pureed spray of rotting carcass theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be cleaning up their entire lives. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never stop worrying Trump wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a mere sequel, forever doomed to think he was the second installment of an endless franchise. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just as well my bride wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let me get that tattoo. You know who has an ink Nixon on their back? Roger Stone. Stone cut his nasty, pointed teeth working in the Nixon administration. He founded a political fi rm with Paul Manafort. He ran public relations for Bush during the Florida recount. He was an advisor on Trumpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campaign. Roger Stone is the fetid, vile tendril directly connecting Nixon to Trump. Anything that weaselly bag of crap has on its skin? I want nowhere near mine.

MANTA SPA FOCUSING ON MAN TO MAN MASSAGE                                                        


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September 21, 2017

NYC Community Media

Just Do Art: The Awkward Adolescence Edition BY SCOTT STIFFLER

AUTHOR READING: “LORDS OF THE SCHOOLYARD” Set in 1970s southern suburbia, long before kids would be driven to suicide by cutting remarks hurled into cyberspace, the merciless tormentors in Ed Hamilton’s debut novel get their results the old-fashioned way — through face-to-face intimidation, made all the easier by adults who look the other way. “We were doing part of their job for them,” says the narrator of his coaches and teachers, “by showing that difference and weakness were prohibited.” An indictment of suburban boredom and banality as well as the rush we get from grabbing power and being given attention, “Lords of the Schoolyard” is told in fl ashbacks by Tommy Donaldson in adult form — whose candid observations about cruelty, alienation, opportunism, and betrayal never quite confi rm that the “classroom cop” has evolved to the point of rehabilitation and regret; only steely self-awareness. Released last week to coincide with October’s National Bullying Prevention Month, “Lords of the Schoolyard” follows Hamilton’s 2015 collection of short story sketches (“The Chintz Age: Tales of Love and Loss for a New New York”) and 2007’s true tales of living in an iconic NYC landmark (“Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Living with Artists and Outlaws of New York’s Rebel Mecca”). Whether through nonfiction or pure fl ights of fancy, Kentucky native Hamilton’s knack for hurling gritty little details at the reader will leave lasting marks long after the fi nal page has been turned. Get the vocal version of that sensation when the Chelsea resident reads from “Lords” at a Lower East Side venue, next Friday. Sept. 29, 7pm at Bluestockings Bookstore, Café, & Activist Center (172 Allen St., btw. Stanton & Rivington Sts.). Free (donations accepted; $5 suggested). Visit edhamilton.nyc, bluestockings.com, and stompoutbullying.org.

Courtesy Sagging Meniscus Press

Photo by Skye Morse-Hodgson

Chelsea’s Ed Hamilton reads from his debut novel, “Lords of the Schoolyard,” at a Lower East Side bookstore.

Sam Soghor, pictured, blends his own bio with that of co-writer Ben Gassman to flesh out the guy who runs “Sam’s Tea Shack.”

Ben Gassman and Sam Soghor. Directed by Meghan Finn; featuring Sam Soghor with Design by Normandy Sherwood; special guest performances by Adam Leon (9/21), Eliza Bent (9/27 & 9/28), and Rebecca Patek (9/30).


“SAM’S TEA SHACK” For the hard-partying, soft-spoken, rap-loving, storytelling shape shifter who presides over “Sam’s Tea Shack,” all roads, even the ancient ones, lead back to Queens. While serving up the titular beverage, your host recalls colorful tales of his youth (schoolmate of Lin-Manuel Miranda; guest of honor at a coke-flowing, adult-oriented, Studio 54-set bar mitzvah) while bringing all of the curiosity, albeit none of academic qualifications, of a genealogist, anthropologist, and psychoanalyst to his “Ashkenazi Jewish boy’s fantasy he is amongst his ancestors: central Asian nomads.” Throw in sizable side orders of pop culture punditry, food criticism, and fatherly anxiety, and you’re right back where we started — in that culturally diverse borough accessible along the F train. Whether connected to the past (his grandmother on her death bed “looked quite Chinese”), summing up the present (“If the city had a king there would be more order; but the city doesn’t have a king, and I don’t want more NYC Community Media

Photo by Olivia Ellis

Jacob Grover’s first full-length production is no wreck, but you’ll still be rubbernecking “Demonstration of a Drunk Driving Accident.”

order”), or planning the future (he’ll book Tuvan throat singers for his son’s coming of age ceremony), Sam never met an observation he didn’t want to premise with “I’m just saying.” Beware of that phrase, because something big is about to drop. And if not, well, you can’t fault a show that keeps trying to ply you with rugelach. Through Oct. 1; Thurs., Sept. 21/28 and Wed., Sep. 29 at 9:30pm; Tues., Sept. 26, Fri., Sept. 20 & Sun., Oct. 1 at 7pm. At The Tank (312 W. 36th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). For tickets ($12, 1 drink minimum), visit thetanknyc.org. Written by

Students stage a cautionary play about drunk driving while facing some sobering facts about themselves, in recent NYU Tisch graduate Jacob Grover’s fi rst full-length production. Mr. Grover was seldom if ever asleep behind the wheel while taking the classes that earned him a BFA in dramatic writing, because “Demonstration of a Drunk Driving Accident” is, well, the hack phrase of choice that comes to mind is “remarkably assured.” Rest assured, the playwright doesn’t go down the easy road. The group of high school seniors who struggle to put on the play are a complex bunch, with the requisite amount of skeletons, rivalries, and anxieties that tend to come to a boil when a group of young people are put in a confi ned space and forced to bond. Compared to the library in “The Breakfast Club,” the gutted car body that serves as the set piece for their at-risk production seems positively claustrophobic — all the better for coaxing things to the surface. Thurs./Fri., Sept. 21/22 at 8pm; Sat/Sun., Sept. 23/24 at 7pm. At the Alchemy Theater Laboratory (104 W. 14th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). For tickets ($10), visit brownpapertickets.com. Artist info at jacobpgrover.com. September 21, 2017


Photo by Gary Marlon Suson

January, 2002: Gary Marlon Suson, 100 feet below Ground Zero at the remains of Commuter’s Cafe in the PATH subway station. GROUND ZERO continued from p. 6

Photos by Gary Marlon Suson

Now on permanent display, Marie-Hélène’s recently unveiled “Metamorphosis” (2017; 10.5 x 3.4 in.; steel, hydrographic transfer of image, paint, glass).

“North Tower Collapse from Meatpacking District, 10:02 A.M., 9/11/01.”


September 21, 2017

to keep his own museum going. He has also started to work with the Memorial & Museum by allowing them to use his photographs. “I’m just happy that my images are going to be in a place that more people can see them,” Suson said. “As challenging as it is to keep the [Ground Zero Workshop] museum’s doors open, it’s minuscule compared to the challenges faced by the victims’ families on a daily basis.” What sets the museum apart is its interactive nature. Visitors can pick up the artifacts, and hear Suson’s detailed and emotional fi rst-hand accounts of being in the pit (he not only shot photos, but was also part of the recovery effort, working with rescuers in the search for survivors). One thought-provoking photograph shows a bunker jacket discovered in January 2002 among the remains of the South Tower lobby, which belonged to FDNY Chaplain Father Mychal Judge. A Franciscan friar and Catholic priest, Judge rushed Downtown from St. Francis of Assisi Church (135 W. 31st St.) following the fi rst tower’s collapse, and was fatally injured during the second tower’s collapse. Suson has worked hard to offer a frank and respectful presentation of the grim subject matter. By focusing on recovery efforts rather than images of the tower collapsing, the museum is very kid-friendly — and its simple design and aesthetic, Suson recalled, stems his 2004 visit to the Netherlands, when he toured the home of Anne Frank, the Jewish teen who wrote a diary of her life before being sent to a Nazi death camp. “The Anne Frank [Museum Amsterdam] amazed me at how small

her room was, yet almost 10 million people go a year to see her room,” he said. “There is nothing in the room but it was the importance of being there.” The experience being in Anne Frank’s room inspired him to “come back home to build something similar in theory” where education and respectful remembrance went handin-hand. That mission was further realized on Sept. 7, when the museum unveiled a new sculpture entitled “Metamorphosis,” created by Belgium-born, New York City based artist Marie-Hélèn. “The artist used her own original photo of the World Trade Center that was then heat pressed onto trade center metal,” Suson said. “We gave the artist glass from the towers that she chipped and placed throughout the project.” In the center of the fl ag that is fashioned to the top of the artwork is a gemstone that was made from World Trade Center glass. The glass was shaped into gems to be placed in rings for 9/11 families. One side depicts the towers engulfed in fl ames, with broken glass representing the past. On the other side is an untouched tower. This new tower represents hope. “My goal,” Suson said of his own hopes, “is to keep the memory of 9/11 alive through images and artwork — so that our world doesn’t forget.” At 420 W. 14th St. (2nd Floor, btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.). Museum Hours: Wed.–Sun., 11am–3pm. Admission: $25 ($19 for ages 4-12 and seniors 65+, free for 9/11 family members; $15 for military. Discounted rates for groups of 20+ (maximum guests per tour, 30). For more info, visit groundzeromuseumworkshop.org or call 212-920-4264. NYC Community Media

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September 21, 2017


BELIEVE continued from p. 4

collecting valid petition signatures. The club held meetings at community spaces in the district that runs up the West Side from 34th St. to about 70th St. By May, its members were fully engaged in the endorsement process, supporting de Blasio, Johnson, Letitia James for public advocate, and Gale Brewer for borough president. All of them, of course, are incumbents overwhelmingly favored to win again this year. What was significant, however, was that this represented the first time the neighborhood ever had an open public endorsement meeting. The McManus club, following an older tradition of boss rule, plays follow the leader. It doesn’t hold public endorsement meetings. In settling on district leader candidates, the club chose Thomas D. Shanahan, a gay civil rights attorney, and Marisa E. Redanty, a past president of the Manhattan Plaza Tenants Association and a well-known local activist.

Shanahan and Redanty were up against the Spillane siblings, heirs to the McManus hold on the neighborhood. The Hell’s Kitchen Dems may be new to political organizing, but they are not social media novices. A Facebook ad featured local elected officials touting Shanahan and Redanty as “a new generation of Democrats in Hell’s Kitchen.” A video, also posted to Facebook, featured a very regal Marti AllenCummings wearing a full-length deep red evening gown urging voters to “Remember to vote locally” for district leader. The campaign also included “Dear Neighbor” letters from well-known local residents like former Borough President Ruth Messinger and a video from former State Senator Tom Duane. The Spillanes’ campaign, in contrast, was decidedly old school — posters mounted in store windows throughout the district. On primary night last week, the new club held a party at the Ritz, a wellknown gay bar on W. 46th St. Though turnout citywide was down given de

MEMORIAL continued from p. 11

Edie’s longtime friends Marjorie Sherwin and Rose Walton did a moving reading of Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise” that contains the lines, “Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise?” Indeed, one of her doctors, Rosanne Leipzig, said Edie had been scheduled next month to speak to her fellow gerontologists about “love and sex” after 80. Karen Sauvigne said, “My friend Edie Windsor was brilliant to her dying day, lighthearted and beautiful.” She spoke of Edie’s pioneering work at IBM in the 1950s “achieving the highest technical rank — rare for a woman” at that time — and how proud Edie was to have “the first personal computer delivered to a New York address.” Sauvigne added, “Edie’s love was vast and boundless. She made everyone feel special.” Clinton was greeted with a standing ovation and gave a well-received speech that included the line, “Edie helped change hearts and minds, including mine,” a reference to her only embracing same-sex marriage in 2013, after leaving the State Department and prior to her second presidential run. Activist Jackie Rudin wrote on Facebook, “I loved that Hillary’s presence did not overwhelm. She came with just the right amount of reverence and respect.” Clinton said, “How she experienced loss, grief, and injustice made her only


September 21, 2017

Photo by Donna Aceto

Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged that Edie’s activism changed her heart.

more generous, more open-hearted, and more fearless in her fight. She refused to give up on the promise of America. There wasn’t a cynical, defeatist bone in her body. That’s especially important for us to remember now.” Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE, or Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, which honored Edie’s achievements years before her famous case, said, “In so many ways, Edie was our mother. She made every one of us, her children, feel as if we were the apple of her eye.” He also said, “With Judith, she reminded us that we can have love and romance at any age.” Roberta Kaplan, who took on the DOMA case independently after the LGBTQ legal groups initially turned Edie down, delivered what was a moving elegy, saying, “The fact that Edie

Blasio’s inevitability, more than 1,000 voted in Manhattan Plaza. The mood at the Ritz became ebullient as the evening wore on. In the end, Shanahan pulled 1,763 votes to Mickey Spillane’s 1,403 for the male district leader slot, while Redanty outpolled Denise Spillane 1,844 to

1,339 for the female post. It was a clean victory for both Hell’s Kitchen Dems candidates, but Shanahan and Redanty both understand that a rematch could well emerge down the road. The new club is careful to speak respectfully of its rival. In the aftermath, Allen-Cumming offered a “shout out” to the army of volunteers whose “hard work” gave the neighborhood a “voice.” Gottfried believes the new club will grow. The district includes Hudson Yards, where new high rises will add thousands of new residents. The Hell’s Kitchen Democratic Club will be there to greet them. “We had activists without a political club,” Gottfried remarked, “but they certainly came out of the woodwork” after Trump’s upset win last November. The new club successfully mobilized voters because it embraced diversity, something Hell’s Kitchen residents love about their neighborhood. In this instance, Donald Trump gave a boost to progressive politics.

was the perfect plaintiff was obvious to me from the moment we met.” Kaplan recalled sharing her concerns about the health of Edie’s heart throughout the litigation, pushing the district court judge to rule quickly. “Edie was never shy about describing the two maxims that she and Thea lived by: ‘Don’t postpone joy’ and ‘Keep it hot,’” Kaplan said. “While I had no issue with ‘don’t postpone joy’ — in fact, it’s a lesson I have tried very hard to keep in mind ever since — ‘keeping it hot’ was a different story.” Kaplan won Edie’s pledge that she would not talk publicly about sex while the case was pending, even though “she made it clear she did not agree with my strategy.” They won the case “at 10:03 a.m. on June 26, 2013. I can assure you that Edie was publicly talking about sex before noon.” Kaplan continued, “As a lawyer, there are moments with a client when you hold your breath. Perhaps none is scarier than when your client speaks at a press conference for the first time while a case is pending, which Edie did the day we filed our complaint. But from the moment she opened her mouth, that 4’11”, 95-pound Jewish lady with perfectly manicured nails and perfectly coiffed hair explained with such clarity and humanity why her rights, and all of our rights, should not be denied.” “Edie saw in her lifetime the seemingly impossible dream of marriage that she and Thea shared when they got

engaged back in 1967 become reality for gay and lesbian couples across the nation and now even the world,” Kaplan said. “In fact, she had a huge role in making that happen. And Edie rightfully exercised that right with the utmost joy when she married the second great love of her life, her beloved spouse Judith, last year.” We filed out to a heartbreaking rendition of “Over the Rainbow” from Cantor Steven Zeidenberg. The LGBTQ anthem can be a cliché, but here it allowed us a release at the loss of the woman who indeed brought us… well, over the rainbow. Outside the service, Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Dwayne D. BeebeFranqui, with his husband Jonathan, talked about how three years ago he got Edie to speak to more than 400 LGBTQ military service members and spouses in Washington and how Edie said to him, “You continue to love and support that man because you need him and he needs you.” She was a bit of an evangelist for marriage. Edie became friends with the men, inviting them to her Hamptons place, where Beebe-Franqui helped her identify medals Thea’s father won in the Dutch Army before fleeing the Nazis. Jim Obergefell, whose 2015 Supreme Court case, building on the Windsor victory, won same-sex marriage rights for all Americans, said after the service, “It perfectly captured Edie: irreverent, political, warm, and loving.”

Courtesy of HK Dems

This poster appeared in windows on the West Side in recent months.

NYC Community Media


Air quality in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen is a major concern for the Hell’s Kitchen South Coalition and CHEKPEDS. AIR QUALITY continued from p. 3

She added, “This is a major, major crisis for our neighborhood.” Air quality also seems to disproportionately affect low-income residents — they are about nine times more affected by low air quality, she said. CHEKPEDS was founded around 10 years ago, and the pedestrian safety group has always kept air quality in its sights. “As part of this work, we’ve been very, very active on the air quality. Because, indeed, when you are walking, you cannot walk safely without being able to breathe,” Berthet said. The group tackled bus idling as well as fi nding more parking spots for buses, she said. Berthet said one of the main reasons a driver leaves the engine running is because there is nowhere to park, and they are looking to avoid getting a ticket. In New York City, a vehicle can idle for three minutes but only one minute in a school zone with fi nes ranging from $115 to $2,000, according to a flyer NYC Community Media

Photo by Christian Miles

The Port Authority is looking to increase capacity of its terminal by 40 percent by 2040, prompting health concerns from locals already alarmed by the neighborhood’s air quality statistics.

Berthet handed out at the meeting. “One of the major problems we have with the Port Authority bus terminal is the amount of idling that not only the buses but also the cars backed up from the Lincoln Tunnel spew in our neighborhood,” she said.

Earlier this year, the Port Authority announced it would conduct a study on renovating its current location, known as the “build-in-place” option. The authority’s board is tentatively scheduled to get a presentation on that option at its Sept. 28 meeting,

Steve Coleman, spokesperson for the Port Authority, said in an email. Coleman said the specifi c agenda for the meeting would be issued on Sept. 22. The Port Authority issued a request for proposal (RFP) in June for the environmental work for the new terminal, Coleman said, but only one proposal was submitted though it was posted and publicized for six weeks. “Since Port Authority practice is typically to get two or more proposals to maximize competition, the environmental RFP will be combined with one for preliminary architectural/engineering services and will be reissued in the fall,” he said. Estimated cost of the project could hit $10 billion. The Hell’s Kitchen South Coalition was formed around issues related to the Port Authority’s bus terminal plans, Rev. Tiffany Triplett Henkel told the committee. “In May, we had another meeting of the full coalition where we identified air quality as a AIR QUALITY continued on p. 27 September 21, 2017



September 21, 2017

NYC Community Media

Photo by Christian Miles

Environmental advocates say bus idling — running the engine while parked — contributes to air pollution. Courtesy CHECKPEDS via DOHMH

Air quality in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen is “not only is it worse, it is way worse,” said Christine Berthet at a recent CB4 committee meeting.

AIR QUALITY continued from p. 25

major concern.” The coalition has called upon the Port Authority “to reduce the number of buses that will travel to Midtown in the future and to start immediately to reduce the current congestion caused by idling, gridlock, and the spillover of the Port Authority bus operation in our streets,” Henkel said. JD Noland, a committee member and Hell’s Kitchen resident, said that the Port Authority wants to build a terminal to accommodate a 40 percent increase in capacity by 2040. “It’s an enormous increase in capacity. They want to build a bigger terminal in Hell’s Kitchen,” he said. Berthet said that the Port Authority wants a staging area for the buses. “The problem with that is that the staging area is just a massive queue, which is going to be idling for five or six hours a day for 500 buses,” she said. “If we’re going to take more buses in New York City — maybe, right, we’re still fighting that battle… We don’t want that staging. Period. That’s it.” In addition to fighting against a staging area for buses, Berthet enumerated other “targeted strategies for various bus activities,” shown on one of the last slides of her presentation, which included advocating for an enclosed terminal and parking, and underground ramps. She said, “We’re going to have to have a big fight on our hands and that’s where we are going to use all that information.” NYC Community Media

September 21, 2017


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