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‘IT’S ABOUT WOMEN, FOR WOMEN, BY WOMEN’ Former Prison is Becoming a Global Hub for Activism, Empowerment (see page 3)

Photo by Katina Houvouras

Photos by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Seen at Sept. 23’s block party: Caity-Shea Violette (second from left) represented the Chicago chapter of the Voices and Faces Project, which hosts writing workshops all over the country for those who have experienced or witnessed sexual violence. © CHELSEA NOW 2017 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Painting was one of many activities at the block party, where organizations and community members anticipated the new role assigned to former Bayview Correctional Facility. VOLUME 09, ISSUE 31 | SEPTEMBER 28 – OCTOBER 4, 2017

Photos by Levar Alonzo

Matt Green, deputy chief of staff to Councilmember Johnson, answered questions about Participatory Budgeting. Behind him are posters promoting two of last year’s winners — ground renovations at the Elliott-Chelsea Houses and improvements to Bleecker Street Playground.

Judith Dahill, a librarian from the High School of Fashion Industries on W. 24th St., wants to build a green roof on top of the building. She said it would capture rain, provide insulation for the school, and attract birds, bees, and butterflies. She added that the project would help improve air quality.

On a Hot High Line Afternoon, Participatory Budgeting Gathers Steam BY LEVAR ALONZO An unseasonably balmy second day of fall, mixed with excitement in the air, made for great community brainstorming on the afternoon of Sat., Sept. 23. Council District 3 representative Corey Johnson held the “Year 4 Kickoff” event for Participatory Budgeting (PB), an ini-

tiative which gives residents a hand in deciding how their tax dollars are spent by setting aside $1 million in capital funds for projects proposed, developed, and voted for by community members. Matt Green, Councilmember BUDGETING continued on p. 16

The Youth Committee would like to see a rooftop garden at The James Baldwin School on W. 18th St., a new youth center on W. 25th St., and a filtered water system at the NYC Museum School on W. 17th St.

How a child learns to learn will impact his or her life forever.

City and Country School Keeping the progress in progressive education. Two-Year-Olds - 8th Grade

Open House: Thursday, November 16th, 6:00 - 8:00pm 146 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011 Tel: 212.242.7802 2

September 28, 2017

New to the Participatory Budgeting process, Steven Woloshin would like to see money go toward benches, tables, plants, and fountains in Hell’s Kitchen Park (10th Ave., btw. W. 47th & 48th Sts.).

NYC Community Media

Community Celebrates Correctional Facility’s Transformation Into The Women’s Building BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Passing out The Women’s Building block party bingo card, Marcie Chase was taking one of the activity directives — “make a new friend” —very seriously. Chase was talking to everyone — the young and the not-so-young — during last weekend’s community event to celebrate the metamorphosis of a former women’s prison into a hub of activism and social justice for women and girls called The Women’s Building. “It’s going to empower all women, all girls,” Chase, 53, told Chelsea Now on Sat., Sept. 23. “It’s about women, for women, by women.” Chase has a connection to the building that will be transformed — she was incarcerated at Bayview Correctional Facility for eight years. Shortly before Superstorm Sandy hit almost five years ago, the prison at the corner of W. 20th St. and 11th Ave. was evacuated and then shuttered. In late 2015, the governor and the NoVo Foundation announced that the building would be renovated and reborn as The Women’s Building. “There is great optimism to transform a place [of incarceration] into a place of hope,” Chase said. Chase, a member of the Women & Justice Project that is working with NoVo on the project, asked passerby to share their vision for The Women’s Building. Nearby, people were painting murals, which Chase said would be displayed at the building. “We’re deeply committed to ensuring women who were incarcerated in Bayview play a critical role at every step in the way in the creation of the building,” Pamela Shifman, NoVo Foundation’s executive director, said. Shifman said that the second annual block party — held this year at W. 20th St. between 10th and 11th Aves. — “is an opportunity to bring the whole community to celebrate what this building is going to become.” The Foundation has reached out to hundreds of organizations and activists for their input on the building, which is slated for completion in about five years. “Activists in all walks of life will connect in powerful ways,” Shifman said, confidently predicting its role as NYC Community Media

Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Formerly incarcerated at Bayview and now invested in its future as The Women’s Building, Marcie Chase, third from left, encouraged others to share their vision for the reimagined correctional facility.

“a real global hub for social justice.” Given Chelsea’s long history of activism, she said it is fitting that The Women’s Building will make its home in the neighborhood. For Chase, “being on the other side to mend fences” has been “very empowering for me to never forget where I came from.” It has been a great privilege and honor to represent the transfeminine perspective, she said, albeit sometimes a burden to be the one of the few transgendered voices in the room. Chase said there needs to be parole reform, the end of solitary confi nement, and more discussions about healthcare for imprisoned transgender people. The block party on Saturday afternoon drew activists and organizations, such as Sanctuary for Families, and residents who just happened to be walking by, like Charae Anderson and her children. Anderson, 27, who lives on W. 26th St., had taken her seven-year-old twins Megan and Madison, and her son, Mason, 3, to the High Line when she saw the event and decided to check it out. Anderson liked the booth that highlighted careers traditionally thought of as male professions, such WOMEN’S BUILDING continued on p. 15





REAL ESTATE: DEVELOPMENT! back to the neighborhood, rather than just being for the tourists.� Richman said that in addition to current Chelsea Local purveyors, there’s also “a new Asian food store coming, that’s going to bring with it lots of people who are interested in those new ingredients. It’s great, and it’s opened a lot of opportunities for new stalls, and a lot to look forward to.� Phase 2 of the downstairs expansion does not yet have an opening date, but is expected sometime in the coming year.


CHELSEA MARKET GOES “LOCAL� Launching on Thurs., Sept. 28 with a special celebration, Chelsea Market opens Phase 1 of “The Chelsea Local� — the 13,000-square-foot retail expansion of their lower level. The new cellar space is designed to serve as a “grocery-focused market within a market,� providing locals with direct access to groceries and rare ingredients. “We’re committed to keeping Chelsea Market dynamic and community-focused,� said Michael Phillips of Jamestown, owner of Chelsea Market. “The Chelsea Local is a place for our neighbors to shop for groceries from local purveyors in one easily accessible space.� A spokesperson for Chelsea Market told Chelsea Now that the space has been curated with local purveyors — some new and others longtime residents — to offer fresh, delicious products for shoppers to enjoy. They are also reaching out to actual “locals� so the Market can serve as an amenity to the surrounding neigh-

Courtesy Chelsea Market

The Chelsea Local wants to woo area residents to Chelsea Market’s new 13,000square-foot cellar retail space.

borhood by offering easily accessible, direct access to the groceries and rare food items. New food-based purveyors at the event include longtime produce supplier Manhattan Fruit Market; cooking supply store Buon Italia; organic small-batch dairy farmers Ronnybrook Farm Dairy; artisanal upstate meat supplier Dickson’s



Farmstand Meat Counter; wholesale Saxelby Cheesemongers; and the hot sauce shop Heatonist. Some have speculated that the move is part of real estate company Jamestown’s overall strategy to redirect resources to local residents, in the face of the cancellation of planned vertical expansion of Chelsea Market and the loss of potential profits from office workers in those towers. But a spokesperson for Chelsea Market insists, “They’re really unrelated. It is an effort to better utilize underused space and create more amenities for our neighbors.� Participating business say they can already see the impact of this strategy. Dave Richman of Ronnybrook said, “Chelsea Market is a tourist destination, but it was originally supposed to provide the neighborhood with great produce, meat, and milk. It was supposed to be their marketplace. And I think opening this downstairs area is reaching the local clientele, and bringing Chelsea Market

NEIMAN MARCUS SHRINKS ITS HUDSON YARDS FLAGSHIP STORE The Dallas-based luxury clothing chain Neiman Marcus is reportedly in talks with developer Related Companies to downsize the square footage of its flagship property in New York City’s new Hudson Yards, expected to open in the fall of 2018. While they are still finalizing exact specifications for the store, they are reportedly going to end up very close to their original 215,000-square-feet plan. “The store was originally contemplated at 215,000 leasable square feet and, with construction well underway, we are now finalizing exact specifications for the store,� a spokesperson for Neiman Marcus told Chelsea Now. “We plan to make the layout of the non-selling space more efficient, while keeping the customer facing space and our sales projections in line with original plans.� “As always contemplated, Neiman Marcus is now well under construction on their flagship that spreads across three floors of the Shops & Restaurants of REAL ESTATE continued on p. 21

MANTA SPA FOCUSING ON MAN TO MAN MASSAGE                                                        


September 28, 2017


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September 28, 2017


Mulch Ado About Sixth Avenue

Photo by Rebecca Fiore

Erica Sorg works two or three times a week on the plot that she shares with Pete Wilkins.

Photo by Yoshimi Kono

Yoshimi Kono’s eight-year-old daughter Yuma helps her father in the garden. He said she is always eager to help and loves talking to the neighbors.


September 28, 2017

BY REBECCA FIORE Bustling avenues filled with engine exhaust fumes, misplaced trash bins, reckless street-crossing pedestrians, and the upcoming cold weather are the main concerns of seasoned and fresh gardeners trying their hand at keeping their micro-gardens in Chelsea alive. The micro-gardens run parallel to the bike lane on Sixth Ave. that starts at W. Eighth St. The plots were created on elevated concrete pedestrian refuges (aka islands) that separate the bicyclists from motor vehicles. There are 23 micro-gardens spread along 27 islands from W. Ninth St. to W. 32nd St. There is one plot per island and each is four by five feet. Julie Winters, a micro-garden adopter since the bike lane debuted in 2016, said this year she was most impressed with her Russian sage, “which did really well! It must be accustomed to hard conditions. The exhaust from the cars beats the plants. I think next year I will grow something more hardy.” Winters shares a plot with two others on W. 15th St. She said she has been working with plants for many years now but that “gardening in the middle of the street in New York is a very strange experience. First, I went there and realized I had to wear a fanny pack because you can’t put your purse down on the island. There’s a tiny amount of safe space, between the heavy traffic one side and the bikes on the other side.” Winters suggested that during the planting season to always bring someone to stand watch, but for watering she goes at it alone. Yoshimi Kono said he agrees about the possible dangers during planting season and is protective of his eightyear-old daughter, Yuma, who helps him on their W. 18th St. plot. “It’s kind of dangerous in a way, the micro-garden is just next to the street,” he said. “While we are planting, if we step out one foot in the street you are dead. I always tell my daughter to stay on the bicycle side, but the bicyclists in the city are crazy.” That doesn’t stop Yuma from wanting to help her father out. “She always likes to help. She is so happy, she says, ‘I will do it! I will do it!’ ” Kono and Yuma have planted the same Japanese flower each season except this past spring. “Asagao” blooms in the morning and by the afternoon shrinks, Kono said. He said NYC Community Media

Micro-Gardens he finds gardening to be a natural stress reliever. “It is nice to have a green area especially in the city because it can be very, very relaxing. The touching of the soil, feeling happy that it is growing. You can feel the seasons.” During the blooming months, people are cautious around the plants, but during planting season, when nothing is above ground, people tend to step on the garden, which can damage the bulbs underneath. Kono has tried to create a small fence around his garden during that time, but didn’t have much luck fending off careless walking New Yorkers.

Kono said he wishes they had funds for a proper garden fence, like the ones on the sidewalk gardens, which are made out of metal rods. Some gardeners use a cover crop for the colder months as decoration, but Kono said his bulbs are too close to the surface so for now he’s keeping it bare. Winters and her husband also tried the fence method to ward off unwanted foot traffic, but that didn’t prevent unwanted debris. “People use it as a garbage dump!” Winters said. “With gloves you have to pull out cigarette butts, cups, and whatMICRO-GARDENS continued on p. 23

Photos by Rebecca Fiore

The biggest concern during planting season is safety. Cars and the bikes fly by, with not much room to spare.

Our Perspective Proposed Workers’ Comp Changes Would Hurt Workers By Stuart Appelbaum, President Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW or over 100 years, our workers’ compensation system has protected workers injured on the job by providing immediate wage replacement and medical benefits without the need for a costly lawsuit. Now the obscure state agency that runs the workers’ compensation system in New York is proposing to cut benefits and eliminate essential legal protections for workers – changes that would devastate workers while lining employers’ pockets. Recently, the Board released with little notice a set of proposals that would upend the system, stripping injured workers of their legal rights and drastically cutting the compensation they receive. The first change would turn the routine medical examination, which must be done by an insurance-company paid doctor, into an adversarial interrogation. Up until now, an insurance company doctor was faced with two questions – was the worker injured on the job and if so what injuries did the worker sustain? Under the proposed regulations, workers – who may or may not speak or read English – would be required to answer a questionnaire that could force them to make statements that could hurt them in future legal proceedings. Yet, they would have no right to have a lawyer present. What’s worse, a doctor could classify a worker who refuses to answer a question or fails to answer a question to the doctor’s liking as “uncooperative.” Based on this classification, the Workers’ Compensation Board could suspend a worker’s benefits. The right to remain silent could be used against you if you are an injured worker. The Board was charged by the state legislature to suggest reforms to the guidelines that determine the level of benefits a worker might receive depending on the extent of permanent impairment resulting from the workplace injury. These reforms were supposed to be limited to “advances in medicine” that might alter the impact of a permanent impairment resulting from a workplace injury. Instead, the Board completely rewrote key provisions of the guidelines, going well beyond the scope of their mandate and drastically cutting injured workers’ benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Alliance examined potential outcomes based on real Workers’ Compensation claims to determine the impact of the new proposed regulations. Disturbingly, they found that 82 percent of the claims would receive no compensation under the new proposed guidelines. Under the current guidelines, 71 percent of these claims would be covered. If the proposed changes are allowed to pass, there could be a three-fold increase in uncompensated workplace injuries. Under these changes, many injured workers won’t be able to pay their rent or feed their families, let alone pay their medical bills, and that is an outrage. The Workers’ Compensation Board and Governor Cuomo should scrap these regulations and start again with a public, transparent process based on facts rather than a clear agenda to cut benefits to some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers: injured workers.

F Julie Winters is pleased with the way her Russian sage has stood up to harsh conditions, such as constant exposure to car exhaust fumes. NYC Community Media

September 28, 2017


POLICE BLOTTER MENACING: Cabbie catches flak


A cabbie’s close encounter with a fellow driver nearly put him in contact with the business end of a sharp instrument. That’s the story he told to police, who arrested a 48-yearold male as a result of a traffic dispute that stopped just short of turning ugly (and bloody). According to the victim, the car/cab kerfuffle unfolded at around 7 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 22, at the northwest corner of Ninth Ave. and W. 37th St. During the dispute, the perp displayed a knife and threatened the cab driver. Police responded to the scene, saw the weapon, and took the totally testy “threatenee” into custody.

PETIT LARCENY: Out of control

THE BENEFITS OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION RING CLEAR AS A SCHOOL BELL. But for too many students in New York City, effective physical education programs don’t exist. The American Heart Association is working to ensure every student in our city has access to PE.

You can help make that happen.

Text PHYS ED to 46839


September 28, 2017

We who work the crime beat pride ourselves on knowing a perp from a suspect and a suspicion from a conviction — but the details of this particular item had us going straight to Google. You, dear reader, might very well also benefit from the following primer: “A scissor lift is a portable, hydraulicpowered lift with a platform that can be raised into the air directly above the base.” Now that we have a working definition, here’s the crime behind the headline. The location: Inside of 500 W. 33rd St., a property in the emerging Hudson Yards neighborhood. A construction worker told police the theft of a Skyjack (that’s the brand name) scissor lift controller. According to the

THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-7418226. Crime Prevention: 212741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced.

56-year-old’s Wed., Sept. 20 report filed at Chelsea’s 10th Precinct, he put a lock on his lift before leaving work. Upon arrival to the next day, the victim discovered his lock and chain missing from the scissor lift — and the controller was gone. So, it seems, was $400, the value placed on the unit that pulled the strings on what our casual Google search so poetically described as “a portable, hydraulic-powered lift with a platform.” We said that at the beginning of this Blotter item, but it bears repeating, as that is often the way old dogs learn new things.

LOST PROPERTY / CRIMINAL MISCHIEF: Double Double car car trouble The owner of a gray 2005 Hyundai told police that she parked her vehicle near the northeast corner of Ninth Ave. and W. 26th St. at around 11 p.m. on Mon., Sept. 18 — then settled in for the night. When she returned to the vehicle the following morning, she found the license plate was missing. Another driver, this one parking her car on the 400 block of W. 19th St., made a similarly stressful discovery. Having last seen her car in good, if not pristine, condition at around 7 p.m. on Wed., Sept. 20, she returned around 9 a.m. the following morning to fi nd, according to police, “her car keyed from the beginning of the driver’s door to the rear tail light.” The damage was estimated at $1,200. —SCOTT STIFFLER

MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Inspector Russel J. Green, Commanding Officer. Call 212-239-9811. Community Affairs: 212-239-9846. Crime Prevention: 212-239-9846. Domestic Violence: 212-239-9863. Youth Officer: 212-239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-2399836. Detective Squad: 212-2399856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7 p.m., at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & 35th Sts.). Visit

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

NYC Community Media

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

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 28, 2017


Yes, Virginia, He’s Been to the High Line

Summer weather in the fall wasn’t the only notable thing to happen on Tues, Sept. 26. Accompanied by Councilmember Corey Johnson and students from PS 33 Chelsea Prep, Mayor Bill de Blasio answered a question many in the community have been asking for years: “When will you visit the High Line?”


Photos by William Alatriste/NYC Council


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WOMEN’S BUILDING continued from p. 3

as construction. “I found it interesting,” she said. “It’s empowering women.” Kierra Coll, a mentor and survivor leader for the nonprofit Sanctuary for Families, was also at the block party with her children, Nalecia, 9, and Elias, 3. Sanctuary for Families advocates and provides services for “survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and related forms of gender violence,” according to its website. “For me, it’s another place where women can come together and be positive,” Coll, 28, said about the event. Nalecia, a fourth grader who likes science, said, “It’s fun and helpful.” Hannah Eddy, 25, a communications associate for the nonprofit, said that once The Women’s Building is “up and running, it’s going to be a great space for women and girls to come together.” Lorena Estrella was at the block party for a second year to support the transformation of the former prison into The Women’s Building. It is “creating a space of freedom and expression in a place that once held people captive,” Estrella, 29, said. Estrella is a part of the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, which she said works with young women in high schools in New York City and Newark on social justice and leadership. Maryam Olatunde, 16, was working the Sadie Nash table at the event, and said, “I appreciate something like this.” “It’s a safe space for me,” Olatunde said about Sadie Nash. “It’s very cool.” No block party would be complete without entertainment, and there was a group of drummers — one of which did tricks with her sticks — spoken word artists, and a step team called the Lady Dragons (from Brooklyn Technical High School) that got the crowd going. “We’re performing for The Women’s Building,” Yueling Chen, 17, said. Chen noted that women are still fighting for professional equality, especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. Velldreice Cadely, 17, said that a lot of current policy for women is being dictated by men. Her teammate, Daphny Belmont, 16, agreed, saying that during this current administration events like these were important. “We’re still here,” she said. “We’re going to take over the world.” NYC Community Media

Photos by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Lorena Estrella said the future Women’s Building would support the voices of those who are marginalized in the city.

Kierra Coll, left, and Hannah Eddy, right, both work for the nonprofit Sanctuary for Families. Coll’s children, Nalecia and Elias, also came to enjoy the block party.

Maryam Olatunde, a junior in high school and a part of the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, said she hopes to one day work in mass communications or international relations.

The Lady Dragons Step Team performed at the event. L to R: Nikki Turyanskiy, Mengwe Wapimewah, Tara Abdullah-Nri, Velldreice Cadely, Carina Tan, and Janai Toney.

Madison, Mason, and Megan took a break from coloring to indulge this reporter. Their mother, Charae Anderson, was walking by with them and decided to see what the block party was all about.

The NoVo Foundation has reached out to hundreds of activists and organizations for input on The Women’s Building, Pamela Shifman, the foundation’s executive director, said. September 28, 2017


BUDGETING continued from p. 2

Johnson’s deputy chief of staff, started the event (held on the High Line) by giving a brief overview of what PB is all about. The process, he noted, is “a great way to learn about democracy in action, and be the driving force behind real changes in the community.” As a visual aid, Green brought along a poster that was used to campaign for one of the winning ideas from last year: $500,000 to renovate playground fencing, walkways, and garden areas at the Elliott-Chelsea Houses (10 Ave.,. btw. W. 26th & 27th Sts.). Four projects in all were funded, with the top vote-getter providing $200,000 for the creation of a park in Hell’s Kitchen (10th Ave., btw. W. 48th & 49th Sts.). A member of the audience wanted to know how much input the councilmember’s office has throughout the process of brainstorming and voting. “We are just here to facilitate and keep the community informed,” Green said. After watching a short video explaining PB, those assembled broke down into five groups that rotated between five different tables, in order to share their ideas on projects they think are necessary for their community. Ideas were taken down by volunteers and representatives from the councilmember’s office on their iPads and made ready for online viewing. Residents were encouraged to develop more proposals, get their neighbors involved, and volunteer to be delegates (individuals who help facilitate the PB process), and take leadership roles at events like project expos. At the end of the brainstorming session, the ideas from the five tables were presented and the councilmember staffers wrapped up the event with a raffle, giving away PB T-shirts, a guided tour of the High Line, and a chance to have coffee with Johnson. The period to submit ideas is open until Oct. 13, after which the ideas are developed into full proposals and reviewed by delegates in a series of expos held through February 2018. Voting takes place April 5-17, 2018. The winning projects will be announced in May. To submit ideas, visit To contact Councilmember Johnson’s office, visit gov/district-3 or call 212-564-7757.


September 28, 2017

Photos by Levar Alonzo

Maria Useche wanted District 3 to look into new technology involving bacteria that can be used to help fix cracks in streets. Useche will have another chance to make her pitch — as the raffle winner who gets to have coffee with Councilmember Johnson.

Jon Nalley wants to see PS 33 Chelsea Prep (on W. 26th St.) used as a focal point for the community. “The school is in a neighborhood that is cross culture and cross economics,” he noted, “and it could act as an avenue to bring people together from Fulton, Elliott, Penn South houses and London Terrace.”

Anna Allen, a veteran of Participatory Budgeting, sees this process as a way to build equality in the community. “The entire process is a great way people can impact the changes and needs within their respective communities,” she said.

Residents of District 3 listened as a video explained the impact they can have from being involved in Participatory Budgeting. NYC Community Media

Pursuing the Unpredictable The New Museum, 1977–2017

Photo by Dean Kaufman, courtesy New Museum, NY

The New Museum, at 40, continues to champion local artists and introduce new talent.

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN It seems staggering that the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the city’s premier institution for less predictable contemporary art installations, is already turning 40. In fact, when the formidable Marcia Tucker (1940-2006) founded it on January 1, 1977, at the age of 37 and after having been dismissed from her position as Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Whitney Museum of American Art, it was the first museum in New York since World War II to be solely devoted to showing contemporary art. Four decades later, it remains in that position and it is (perhaps the only) one of the world’s very, very few art museums founded by a woman, as well as perpetually led by one. Over the years, the New Museum has relocated numerous times, consistently growing from its humble beginnings in NYC Community Media

a one-room office on Hudson Street in Tribeca. From there it moved to a larger installment at the New School for Social Research near 14th St., to the first two and a half floors of the Astor Building at 583 Broadway in Soho, a quick stint at the former Chelsea Museum of Art, and finally, to its impressive current home at the Bowery. In fact, it was the inauguration of its freestanding building (designed by SANAA) in 2007 that elevated the New Museum into an undeniable force to be reckoned with. It was during that moment that it transformed itself from a boutique museum into one of the city’s most exciting venues for contemporary art from around the world, as well as into a vibrant hub for new positions and ideas within the field. Not to mention that it has also helped to invigorate a gallery scene in the Lower East Side and Soho.

Although the new building provided the New Museum with increased visibility (and significantly more exhibition space), its programming had already been exemplary for years. While at times refreshingly unpredictable, it also made sure to dedicate ample room to local artists, who had been largely overlooked by the city’s other institutions. It was the New Museum which organized landmark exhibitions of such widely acclaimed artists as Joan Jonas (1984), Martin Puryear (1984), Leon Golub (1984), Ana Mendieta (1988), Nancy Spero (1989), and Carroll Dunham (2003), reminding visitors (and more often than not some of the city’s larger museums) of the rich local talent. Additionally, the New Museum has continually made a point of lending support to international artists who had not yet received institutional attention in the

United States. It was the first local institution to develop comprehensive presentations of what are now household names, including Mona Hatoum (1998), Doris Salcedo (1998), Xu Bing (1998), Cildo Meireles (2000), William Kentridge (2001), Marlene Dumas (2002), and Hélio Oiticica (2002). Founded by Tucker and directed by Lisa Phillips since 1999 (who prior to that had worked as the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art), the New Museum might be the only institution in the city that has shown as many important female as male artists. It has not only looked ahead, but also back, making sure to feature artists whose work has proven to be highly influential. By presenting the oeuvres of Carolee Schneemann (1996), Martha NEW MUSEUM continued on p. 18 September 28, 2017


NEW MUSEUM continued from p. 17

Rosler (2000), and more recently, the late Carol Rama (2017), for example, the museum continues this sort of ongoing exploration. Overall, the New Museum’s global focus remains unparalleled among other local institutions. Over the past five years alone, it has exhibited artists from Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, Poland, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, among others. In the past few years, the New Museum has developed its contextual programming, ranging from panel discussions and symposia to thematic publications. As early as 2003, it had formed an affiliation with Rhizome, a leading online platform for global new media art. In 2015, it established its promising Critical Anthologies in Art and Culture series, the first two publications of which entailed “Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century” (2015) and “Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good (2016).” This November, the third volume will be released. Entitled “Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility” and edited by Reina Gossett, Eric A. Stanley, and Johanna Burton, this collection of essays, conversations, and dossiers will explore the representation of trans identity throughout art and popular culture in recent years. The upcoming exhibition program will continue to focus on the Zeitgeist. Featuring an intergenerational group of artists, “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” aims to investigate gender’s place in contemporary art and culture at a moment of political and social upheaval and reignited ideological conflicts (Sept. 27-Jan. 21, 2018). While reflecting on its first 40 years this fall, the New Museum will also train an eye toward the future. In addition to launching a redesigned Digital Archive that will be comprised of 10,000 archival materials and objects, it will host a two-day event bringing together in conversation a range of artists from the Museum’s first four decades (Dec. 2 and 3). Undoubtedly, the conversations will be among the most exciting things to have witnessed in the New York art world, period. Among the participants will be Paweł Althamer, Lynda Benglis, George Condo, Carroll Dunham, Mary Heilmann, Joan Jonas, Paul McCarthy, Donald Moffett, Dorothea Rockburne, Martha Rosler, Anri Sala, Doris Salcedo, and Carolee Schneemann. Thankfully, extended hours and free admission will assure that the event can be attended by anyone — and so the New Museum’s mission continues to


September 28, 2017

Courtesy the artist and Thierry Goldberg, NY

From the group exhibition “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” — Tschabalala Self: “Mista & Mrs” (2016. Linen, fabric, paper, oil, acrylic, and Flashe on canvas, 90 × 96 in.).

© Petrit Halilaj; photo by Fabrice Seixas & archives kamel mennour

Kahlil Joseph and Petrit Halilaj exhibitions inaugurate the South Galleries. Seen here, Halilaj’s “Si Okarina e Runikut” (2014, detail of installation view: “Yes but the sea is attached to the Earth and it never floats around in space. The stars would turn off and what about my planet?”).

spread excitement and information about contemporary art as far and wide as possible. Fortunately for New Yorkers, it all unfolds in our own backyard. The New Museum is located at 235 Bowery (btw. Stanton & Rivington Sts.). Hours: Tues.–Sun., 11am–6pm and Thurs., 11am–9pm. Admission: $18 ($15 seniors, $12 students, free for ages 18 and under; pay as you wish every Thurs. 7–9pm). Visit or call 212-219-1222.

Courtesy the artist and Maccarone Gallery, NY

Alex Da Corte will create a new work for the inaugural installation in the storefront window of the New Museum’s 231 Bowery building — the first in a new series paying homage to the window installations that the New Museum mounted in the 1980s, which included projects by Jeff Koons and Linda Montano. Seen here, Da Corte’s “Fall 2020” (2017. Digital image, dimensions variable). NYC Community Media

The Groovy Moment of Peter, Paul and Mary Digging ‘I Dig Rock and Roll Music’

AP Photo/Bob Dear

At the London Palladium, Nov. 8, 1965, for the Royal Variety Performance in front of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. L to R: Paul Stookey, Peter Yarrow, and Mary Travers.

BY JIM MELLOAN I remember well the first time I heard Peter, Paul and Mary’s “I Dig Rock and Roll Music.” It would have been sometime in late 1967. I was in London, in my parents’ bedroom, performing the chore I had been assigned: polishing the family’s shoes. It would have played on Radio 1, the BBC’s recently launched rock station set up to win young listeners who had been listening to pirate radio stations such as Radio Caroline. As the trio sung the praises of The Mamas & the Papas, Donovan, and the Beatles, the whole thing seemed wrong to me. Surely you weren’t allowed to do that; talk about other acts in your own song. I told my dad about the song. He agreed with me that this was a very bad thing to do. As it turns out, Peter, Paul and Mary were not the first contemporary act to do this kind of name-checking. Arthur Conley had come out with a song a few months before called “Sweet Soul Music.” Written with Otis Redding, that song gives props to Lou Rawls, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, and Otis himself, as well as the Miracles’ “Going NYC Community Media

to a Go-Go.” But unlike the Peter, Paul and Mary song, which was written by trio member Noel Paul Stookey with James Mason and Dave Dixon, that song didn’t bitch about how its own author could really say something, but if he really did say it the radio wouldn’t play it. Manager Albert Grossman put Peter, Paul and Mary together in 1961. The three were part of the Greenwich Village folk scene, and Grossman believed there would be a market for three well-blended voices with a hip, beatnik look. His instincts were good. Their first album, “Peter, Paul and Mary,” released in 1962, spent seven weeks at No. 1, and 10 months in the Top Ten album chart. In early 1962, Grossman signed Bob Dylan, and several of the trio’s biggest hits were written by Dylan. “I Dig Rock and Roll Music” was the group’s first Top 40 hit since early 1965, and its first Top Ten hit since its versions of Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” in 1963. Fifty years ago, the song peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100: September 23 and 30 of 1967. It actually did not chart in the UK.

My friend Liz Burns recalls that she first heard the song at age eight, a couple of years after it came out. She had grown up with several Peter, Paul and Mary albums. She says that even at that young age she recognized that this song was “a pandering piece of crap.” It was, partly. But at the same time, it was, depending on your perspective, either a gentle or bitter tweaking of the ascendant rock genre — which in the past three years had left folkies like Peter, Paul, and Mary in the dust — and a genuine celebration of that genre. Kind of a neat trick. Some bitterness was certainly there. Mary Travers had told the Chicago Daily News in 1966, “It’s so badly written. ... When the fad changed from folk to rock, they didn’t take along any good writers.” But the thing was, this time, maybe really one of the only times, the group really had themselves a beat. On “Album 1700,” the 1967 album on which “I Dig Rock and Roll Music” appears, they’re backed by members of The Paupers, a Toronto-based psychedelic rock band that Grossman had recently signed. The bongos that suffuse “I Dig Rock and Roll Music” hark back to the group’s original beatnik image, if

not its sound. The three capture some of the essence of each of the three acts they reference: The Mamas & the Papas’ harmonies, Donovan’s mumbly psychedelics, and the Beatles’ backwards-playing studio tricks. And the tricky, bouncy counterpoint on the “Pah pah pahs” at the end wraps whole thing up with, to use an anachronistic word, pizzazz. Too bad for the group that the earnest, pious crusading for social justice through music that they exemplified was now pretty much a thing of the past. The culture had seen the end of the effectiveness of such tactics, and was morphing into something more fun, weirder, and perhaps blissfully not as honest: the counterculture. Peter, Paul and Mary caught on, and were willing to play along. The group finally had their only number one hit, “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” in 1969. That one, written by John Denver, was recorded in 1967 and also appears on “Album 1700.” It was a return to their more somber side, in keeping with the darker tones of 1969. But for one brief, shining moment, in 1967 when it was the thing to be, Peter, Paul and Mary were groovy. September 28, 2017


In Dad’s Journey of Aging, We Both Found Community BY REBECCA NEUWIRTH My father was a very proud man. But aging and arthritis, combined with the body’s payback for a half-century of leading a bachelor’s life — with all its Sardi’s cocktails and 3 p.m. breakfasts of olive and cheese — took its toll. When he reached 80, he was a frequent visitor at the doctor’s. But though Dad often accepted help gracefully and increasingly sought it for the small things in life (shopping as the heavy bags became unwieldy, crossing the street as his stride slowed down considerably), he did everything on his own terms and fiercely defended his independence to decide. Would there have come a time when I would have had to force more help on him? I often wondered where the lines were. When should I insist on taking action, and when should I stand by and respectfully watch? There were a million small questions: Do I buy him a walker, even if he doesn’t want it? (I bought it and he used it, and it felt good to be of help.) Can I insist that Dad eat healthily, or even just regularly? (I could not, especially when his ideas of health included the firm belief, abetted by a slew of ridiculous health articles, that diet soda was better than fruit juice.) Can I help with finances when they are getting complex? (That was an absolute “No” and must have touched on some very strong emotions, as I could not even bring it up without strife.) There were selfish considerations too: Would I have been able to manage more help, financially and physically? And philosophical ones: Would it have killed my father’s spirit to insist against his will? A few days before he died, I urged my dad to move even closer to me so I could provide him with more care: warm meals, daily visits. “Maybe in a few years, we can think of that,” he told me, and not because he didn’t like those things. His death spared me the hard decisions. My story is not unique — it has made me part of the vast club of people who have watched their parents age and for whom this is, suddenly, deeply personal. And it’s impacted the way the world looks: I saw a man the other day whose gait was so slow that he ended up in the middle of the street when the light changed, dangerously turning his small frame to the oncoming traffic. How we treat the elderly, and if we even notice them, seems like a good a test of character. It turns out that with all the challenges, my dad was neither unique nor unwise in wanting to stay at home. Decades of research show that “aging in place” — which means getting the help that makes it possible to continue to live at home — has real advantages. Emotionally, it allows aging individuals to retain their sense of independence and dignity, which in turn keeps them healthier. And fi nancially, it is almost always more affordable for the individual and the government by very real margins, even when taking into consideration significant home care. Still, staying at home requires a level of ongoing engagement, and many, many decisions. And that takes a village, to borrow the phrase, and three key conditions that I believe need to be in place. First, my father was blessed to live in a commu-


September 28, 2017

Courtesy the Neuwirth family

Rebecca Neuwirth and her father.

nity that understands what it means to be supportive of aging people and their families. Our local Senior Center plays an outsized role in that. Ours is run by JASA (Jewish Association Serving the Aging; under the auspices of Penn South Social Services, and was founded 30 years back by UJA-Federation of New York, that offered seniors help in the residential community in which they lived. Today, the Penn South buildings we live in have a plethora of programs, from yoga to movie night, and social workers to help with individual questions and cases. We availed ourselves of these services in different ways. My dad suspected he was too young for the classes, but he enjoyed the ping pong table — and while he usually didn’t take the advice of the social workers, he liked telling them jokes and they joyfully responded with the laughs and human contact that meant so much to him. It was me who availed myself of the service, asking the social workers for their wisdom on what was “normal” or a source of concern, and getting information on available options. Second, at least as important as the services was the sense of connectedness that my father felt in his older years. Working at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (, a Jewish relief group that cares for people from children in poverty to elderly Holocaust survivors, I’ve witnessed the overwhelming importance of human contact, spiritual connection, a sense of meaning — all of those play an outsized role not only in mental but also in physical well-being. We are fortunate that across our local Penn South community, there is an awareness of the challenges of aging that manifests itself not only in physical amenities, but also in attitudes. People stopped to help my dad all the time, and to talk with him; and he had the time to listen too, which they valued. Our local synagogue, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (, and my dad’s other synagogue from his Upper West Side days, Congregation Habonim (, were exceptional as well in creating a warm community that welcomed my dad. I will never

forget the Kol Nidre service I attended with my dad less than a year before he died. I insisted on bringing him in a wheelchair and a prime area had been reserved for us to sit — and so we sat together — just us without my kids — singing and praying in the tragic, hopeful way of that holiday, until late into the evening. Those many small and positive interactions made his life not only possible, but also so much more pleasant. In retrospect, they also morphed the burden of his care into small blessings of connection and goodwill shared by many. Sometimes I would be angry at my father for asking assistance for many small daily tasks, but he insisted that most people were glad to offer aid, and I think he was right. Finally, Dad’s most earnest desire was to be useful, and that made our last years together as a family fulfilling. Until the end, he babysat for my children, entertaining them with word games and stories for hours on end, even when he couldn’t easily walk or horse around. Creating meaningful opportunities to contribute and real social connections was the key not only for my dad to remain vivid, but also for us too to profit from him and his many gifts and to form our own identities in the process. What incredible talent we have in our communities — mentors and chess teachers and witnesses to history — and how we rob ourselves when we consign them to the past prematurely. We need to do more to harness intergenerational cooperation, not just as isolated “community service” opportunities, but as part of how we live and play. Part of the challenge of our time is to create stronger communities across many lines, and to turn the issue of aging from a personal or family burden to a shared communal responsibility — and opportunity. We have a very real, a very personal interest in getting this right. Rebecca Neuwirth, a seasoned nonprofit professional who is engaged in strategic philanthropy for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, lives in Penn South with her family. NYC Community Media

REAL ESTATE continued from p. 4

Hudson Yards,” echoed Related in their statement. They note that the retail portion of Hudson Yards has commitments to occupy 70 percent of available floor space. But some worry that by cutting the size of their store, Neiman will negatively impact Hudson Yards’ ability to attract other luxury retail stores. Like other big retailers nationwide including Polo Ralph Lauren and Barneys, Neiman Marcus has been hit by declining in-store traffic as shoppers turn to online purchasing and casual fashion. Earlier this year, Neiman’s top brass was rumored to have met at investment bank Lazard to discuss whether Related might take an ownership stake in the department store, after declining sales over the past seven quarters and nearly $5 billion in debt. But Related Chairman Stephen Ross told Fox Business they had no interest, saying, “Neiman Marcus is a great company, and we are a developer, and I don’t think those two areas come together.” He said that more than 90 percent of sales still took place in stores, adding that Hudson Yards was “changing the new heart of New York.” And, while Saks Fifth Avenue owner Hudson Bay Co. was in the lead to acquire the retailer, in June Neiman Marcus ended those negotiations, saying the company was no longer for sale. “We at Neiman Marcus Group are as excited as ever about having a new, threelevel flagship store at Hudson Yards. We continue to focus on our customers and delivering unparalleled services, experiences, and incredible merchandise,” said a spokesperson for Neiman Marcus.

Courtesy Related-Oxford

A rendering of the Hudson Yards Neimen Marcus store, 10th Ave. entrance.


Amazon will bring 2,000 jobs to its new presence at Manhattan West (450 W. 33rd St.).

Brookfield Properties emerges the victor as Amazon announces it will open its second headquarters in their Manhattan West mini-megaproject, featuring six mixed-use buildings on Manhattan’s west side, from Ninth to 10th Ave., from W. 31st to 33rd Sts. Amazon recently signed a 15-year lease to occupy the sixth and seventh floors (as well as part of the eighth and 10th floors) of the building at 450 W. 33rd St. that now sports a glass exterior, courtesy of an REX design. Amazon leased 360,000-square-feet of the building now known as 5 Manhattan West to serve as the main location for Amazon Advertising. They will spend $55 million to make the space energyefficient for the 2,000 new workers they

expect to hire by next year, including software engineers, data analysts, and economists. This move brings 5 Manhattan West up to 99 percent occupancy, with other notable tenants including JPMorgan Chase, and Amazon property Whole Foods, which will occupy a 60,000square-feet space at the base of the office tower. The online giant already employs some 1,8000 workers in their three New York City locations: their 350,000-square-foot Prime Hub on W. 34th St., the bookstore at Columbus Circle, and the $9 million Fashion Photo Studio in Brooklyn. They are also planning to open a massive 855,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Bloomfield, Staten Island, creating 2,250

NYC Community Media

Photo via

new jobs. “Amazon’s further expansion in New York is proof positive that our strong economic climate, diverse workforce and talent are helping to attract top-notch companies from around the world,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo in a statement. The state has offered Amazon up to $20 million in tax credits through New York’s Excelsior Jobs Program. Through Oct. 19, Amazon is also seeking bids for a site to build a second North American $5 billion headquarters, where they will hire another 50,000 high-paid employees. Some, like Related’s Ross, “can’t see them really coming to New York, realistically,” believing New York is too expensive to be a viable option.

But Amazon has said that when it comes to the new headquarters — which they’ve dubbed HQ2 (and which could resemble their huge 8.1 million-squarefoot Seattle campus in design) — they’ll land in a metro area where they expect “to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.” Their RFP (request for proposal) notes that incentives offered by bidders will be “significant factors” in their decision. “We want to encourage states and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting our preferred timeline,” said Amazon in a statement. Brooklyn leaders are gearing up to enter their bid. September 28, 2017



September 28, 2017

NYC Community Media

MICRO-GARDENS continued from p. 7

ever is accumulated there. My husband made a fence to alert people not to walk over it. It stopped people from walking on, but has it stopped people from throwing garbage in it? Oh no.” Kono also said that he recently got into an argument with the city’s Department of Sanitation after trash bins that were supposed to be on the sidewalk were left on the median next to the gardens. He said people miss the bins and the trash inevitably ends up in his garden. Erica Sorg and her plot partner Pete Wilkins both said they don’t have an issue with picking up occasional trash from their plots. “People seem to appreciate it and aren’t being disrespectful,” Sorg said of her shared micro-garden. “It’s amazing the amount of thanks you get from passerby,” Wilkins said. “A lot of the time they think we are employees of the city.” Their two plots, on W. 24th St., have been filled with marigolds, petunias, and miniature roses. The flowers were donated from Trader Joe’s (675 Sixth Ave., btw. W. 21st & 22nd Sts.). Thanks to outreach from the Chelsea Garden Club, Lowe’s (635 Sixth Ave. btw. W. 19th & 20th Sts.) offers a discount on gardening supplies and plants. Along the avenue, A. Bulfamante Landscaping (which waters trees and micro-gardens maintained by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership) has volunteered to water other microgarden sites pro bono. Wilkins said he was most impressed by his petunias this year, but in the upcoming months he’s planning on taking out Sorg’s marigolds, which were eaten by insects, and replacing them with mums. “Mums are pretty hardy and colorful and beautiful. They last well into frost season,” Wilkins said. “Once winter sets in we do have the mulch that’s there that will protect in the winter. Some people also like to use pine branches.” Each gardener had a different approach for the fall and winter seasons. Winters will put a cover crop on

Photos by Rebecca Fiore

Urban gardening comes with its challenges, including trash that lands in the plot when people miss nearby bins (which actually belong on the sidewalk).

top of her plot, like kale or cabbage to keep the soil rich; Wilkins and Sorg will have mums to brighten the street; and Kono is keeping a bare top to give room for his bulbs underneath to grow. Sorg, a self-proclaimed green thumb novice, said she is constantly learning from Wilkins and from the flowers themselves. She said she enjoys coming down three times a week to water her plants because it has given her a sense of community. Even Kono’s daughter Yuma has made new friends in the neighborhood, he said, through working on the microgardens. “Normally, people don’t talk to strangers,” he noted, “but this is a nice compliment, a good experience. Sometimes the neighbors come by and say ‘Hi.’ Sometimes they try to help us. Other neighbors gave us flower bulbs to plant. It’s nice community work, to do together.”

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Lowe’s and Trader Joe’s both offer gardening supply discounts and flower donations, respectively to the micro-gardens running down the avenue.

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