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Marathoners Set to Go 03

Former Ex-Gay Champions Inclusion 05

La Dulcet Musto 19

Dan Quart Rips Veto of Ban on Knife Used by Tradesmen BY LEVAR ALONZO For the second straight year, Governor Andrew Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would have changed the existing rules on pocketknives known as gravity knives and used in trades jobs. Under current law these knives are illegal, but advocates say the ban is disproportionately used against minorities. “I’m truly disappointed in the governor,” said State Assemblymember Dan Quart, who represents the Upper East Side and Midtown East. “For the second year in a row this legislation was overwhelmingly supported by a broad and diverse coalition. And, for the second year in a row, it was vetoed by one single signature.” In 2016, the State Assembly and Senate overwhelmingly passed the legislation, but it was opposed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., and then vetoed by the governor. The Legislature acted again this year, but was once VETO continued on p. 4

Image courtesy of Legal Aid Society

A Legal Aid Society map of gravity knife arrests in the second half of 2015 demonstrates that they disproportionately target Manhattanites.

November 2 — 15, 2017 | Vol. 03 No. 22

Photo by Levar Alonzo

Seniors from West Harlem and Morningside Heights enjoy lunch during the fifth anniversary celebration of the Food Bank For New York City’s Senior Center on W. 116th St.

ON W. 116TH ST., DAILY NUTRITION AND A COMMUNITY BOND BY LEVAR ALONZO Local seniors joined the Food Bank For New York City at its Community Kitchen and Pantry in West Harlem at 252 W. 116th St. on Oct. 26 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Food Bank’s Senior Center there. Attendees ushered in the anniversary with a dance competition and karaoke over a hot meal and great conversation. Over the last five years, the Senior Center has grown into a tight-knit community, providing vital support for nearby residents over the age of 60. The facility provides hot sit-down breakfasts, lunches, and dinners on weekdays and take-home meals for the weekend, using recipes that factor into account health challenges common among seniors. “On a daily average, we serve about 500 hot meals [at seatings] three times a day, Monday to Friday, to residents of West Harlem,” said Seana Weaver, director of the Community Kitchen and Pantry. The Senior Center also offers help with benefits assistance under the federal government’s

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), wellness workshops, daily recreational activities like outings to the movies or a library, and fitness classes, in activities from yoga to aroebic dance-based zumba. “Many members here live on their own, either their kids are grown or just circumstances left them on their own,” said one participant at the Senior Center. “The Food Pantry and Kitchen is really helpful, it helps to supplement food supplies with food stamps being so low.” Angel Salas, a 68-year-old volunteer, said that the most gratifying thing for him at the Senior Center is not the hot meals but just the conversations he is able to have with anyone who comes in. “The meals provided are very important because people’s rents are too high, the benefits that they get from the government are too low,” said Salas. “But more importantly, the seniors that come here just want to be heard, they just want someone to listen FOOD BANK continued on p. 4


With Vehicle as Weapon of Terror, ‘Lone Wolf’ Targets Lower Manhattan Bike Path BY COLIN MIXSON A suspected terrorist killed eight people and injured 12 others with a pickup truck he allegedly drove onto a bike path bordering West St. in Lower Manhattan Tues., Oct. 31, in the deadliest act of terror to rock the city since 9/11, according to officials. “This was… a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives, who had no idea what was about to hit them,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference shortly after the mayhem. Sayfullo Saipov, 29, was behind the wheel of the truck he rented from Home Depot when he entered the bike path near Houston St. at 3:05 p.m. and accelerated to high speeds heading south toward the Battery Tunnel, crushing cyclists and pedestrians along the way, according to Police Commissioner James O’Neill. A chilling scene of bodies, bikes, and car parts littered the bike path in the suspect’s wake, and Good Samaritans who witnessed the carnage rushed to lend assistance, according to one witness. “I see a huge pile of completely trashed bicycles covered in what looked like parts of cars,” said Brooklyn resident Greg Ahl. “There was nobody standing up. Nobody was moving.” His rampage continued more than 15 blocks down to Chambers St., where Saipov collided with a school bus, injuring two adults and two children, according to O’Neill. The man sprang from the truck wielding two pistols, a pellet gun and a paintball gun, then stalked amongst cars on West St., before sprinting toward a group of nearby children, according to 15-year-old Thibeaud Roy, who ran for cover when he spotted the weapons. The attack was ended by 28-yearold NYPD Officer Ryan Nash, who wounded Saipov with a shot to the abdomen. The suspected terrorist was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment and interrogation, according to police. Of the 20 victims, six were found dead at the scene by paramedics who rushed 14 others to three area hospitals for treatment, where another two


November 2, 2017

Photo by Milo Hess

A suspected “lone wolf” terrorist drove this rental truck down 15 blocks of the West St. bike path on Oct. 31, killing eight people and injuring 12.

victims perished, according to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. As we went to press on Wed., Nov. 1, three victims had been released from the hospital, and four who had suffered critical injuries were in stable condition. The remaining fi ve victims were seriously injured, with wounds including major head, neck, back, and chest trauma, in addition to one victim who required multiple amputations, Nigro said. Saipov, a permanent legal resident, emigrated from Uzbekistan to the United States in 2010, where he found work as an Uber driver. Investigators searching Saipov’s Paterson, NJ home found notes indicating he carried out the attack in the name of ISIS, following months of planning, and his attack closely mirrored strategies published on social media by the terrorist organization, according to John Miller, Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Photo by Rebecca White

Moving south, investigators combed the West Side Highway for evidence.

BIKE PATH continued on p. 27 NYC Community Media

Walk a Mile in the Shoes of a Marathoner

Courtesy A. Leibowitz via Gameface Media

preparation, he told us, “The mental aspect of training is just as important as the physical. You can only really do what your mind believes you can do. It’s about keeping your eyes on the finish, but also the start line; not doing anything foolish, like overtraining or not listening to your body. So you create this training plan 16, 18 weeks out.” On the day we spoke with him — Oct. 12 — Leibowitz had just ran his 10th half marathon. The Staten Island Half, he said, was “pretty tough. It was either absolutely pouring or it was hot, but never at the same time.” Still, he noted, the experience “has me feeling pretty good about the full marathon.” More than just the challenge of completing the course, Leibowitz says the Nov. 5 event “is, in reality, a celebration of losing over 100 pounds. The marathon is a huge time suck, to carve out all of those miles; and it’s something you have to stay very dedicated to. But it’s a celebration of what I can do now because I’m so far from where I was then.” Having taken up running as part of a sea change in attitude and behavioral habits, Leibowitz said, “I am no longer within that range where I have to be concerned about my long-term health. I wake up in the morning and I’m more confident, more relaxed. It was always in the back of my head, worrying about someone noticing how much I weighed. Now, it’s about knowing I’m putting myself in the best possible situation to have the life I want to have… but once you lose that weight, that

Andrew Leibowitz, at the 2017 New York Road Runners Bronx 10 Mile race.

MARATHON continued on p. 18

BY SCOTT STIFFLER Their challenge is the same — but for Gene Byrne, 63, of Hell’s Kitchen and Andrew Leibowitz, 27, of Chelsea, the path they’ve traveled on the road to this weekend’s TCS New York City Marathon is as distinct as the neighborhoods they call home. “I look at myself as a clarion call for all the people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s to keep competing,” said self-described “Westside Irish kid” Byrne, who, despite quadruple bypass surgery and two hip replacements along the way, is anticipating his 16th consecutive fall trek through the five boroughs. “If you’re a runner,” Byrne declared, “you’re always going to be doing it, in some way, because it’s just part of your makeup.” For Leibowitz, crossing the finish line in Central Park will be cause for multiple celebrations — his first marathon, his 28th birthday, and a reminder of how far he’s come. “Six years ago,” he recalled, “I weighed almost north of 250 pounds.” When Chelsea Now recently spoke with both men as they prepared for Nov. 5’s rain or shine, hot or cold event, each had a unique perspective on how they achieved the athleticism and mental fortitude necessary to take on the grueling 26.2-mile course.

A DAY OF MILESTONES FOR ANDREW LEIBOWITZ “The furthest I’ve ever run is 22 miles,” said Andrew Leibowitz, who will have to go that distance and 4.2 more over the course of his first NYC Marathon. In

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Learn how you can help keep our city safe and stop the CCRA at CyVanceForDA.com Paid for by Cyrus Vance for Manhattan District Attorney


November 2, 2017


VETO continued from p. 1

Photo by Levar Alonzo

Seana Weaver, director of the Food Bank For New York City Community’s Kitchen and Pantry, at the fifth anniversary celebration of its Senior Center. FOOD BANK continued from p. 1

to because often times they live on their own, they don’t have anyone.” Salas added that many times people take a hug for granted but to someone that doesn’t have anyone at home, a hug can be life itself. The Food Bank for New York City (foodbanknyc.org), founded 34 years ago, is the city’s major hunger relief organization working to end hunger across the five boroughs. According to Weaver, the organization works to solve the city’s hunger problem, helping the 1.5 million New Yorkers facing food insecurity in their daily lives to gain access to a steady, healthy diet. “Food insecurity means that people aren’t able to put food onto the table, and every year 451 million meals go missed,” she explained of the scope of the city’s hunger challenge. “Manhattan has the highest cost per meal in the country and that’s more than $5 per meal, so that’s where we come in.” She said that the Food Bank distributes food and needed items to a network of more than 1,000 food pantries and soup kitchens. “Much of the food we get is donated and we also rescue lots of food that would otherwise be wasted,” Weaver explained. The Senior Center on W. 116th St. runs on

the strength and good nature of an extensive volunteer network. Weaver said it has three kitchen workers and 10 other staffers who handle other aspects of the Senior Center and the pantry overall. She relies on the contributions of between 300 and 400 volunteers each week who dedicate their time to helping out. The Senior Center has built up a strong sense of community where local residents can come for both nutrition and activities that take their minds off the stresses in their lives. “In between meals, we have classes that members can go and exercise, and many activities that just bring people together, we have people that’ve been coming here since we opened the Senior Center,” said Weaver. “They know each other and oftentimes just look out for each other.” She added that on some days she takes the long way to work just to be able to walk through the community to get a feel for what’s going on. The extra exercise helps her in thinking about the Senior Center’s outreach programming. “The seniors here mostly get the word out for us, they knock on doors of others and bring them in,” she said. “We work with other senior centers and make phone calls to bring in more seniors and help them out.”

PUBLISHER Jennifer Goodstein jgoodstein@cnglocal.com Manhattan Express, the newspaper for Midtown and the Upper East and Upper West Sides PUBLISHED BY

NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (212) 229-1890 | Fax: (212) 229-2790 www.manhattanexpressnews.nyc © 2017 NYC Community Media, LLC


November 2, 2017

EDITOR IN-CHIEF Paul Schindler editor@manhttanexpressnews.nyc ART DIRECTOR John Napoli

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

again snubbed. The current law, which dates back six decades, bans knives that can be opened with the flick of a wrist. The law’s original aim was to crack down on large doo-wop era switchblades, but has in recent years been used to arrest people for common folding knives. Gravity knives, often used by tradespeople, including electricians, plumbers, and construction workers, are available at hardware stores. “Make no mistake, this veto will have real life consequences for New York families,” said Quart. “Electricians, plumbers, laborers, and many more have shared their stories of ending up with a criminal record or in Rikers Island due to carrying a work tool they bought in a local hardware store. We could have prevented these results and put an end to these discriminatory prosecutions.” The vetoed measure, sponsored in the Assembly by Quart, aims to redefine which knives are illegal under the law. A peculiarity in the language of existing law defines any knife that can be opened with the flick of a wrist as one that can land the owner in jail. According to Quart, the NYPD has determined that any folding blade on the market can be opened with a practiced snap, even it was never designed to operate that way. Quart cited reports indicating that of the 60,000 New Yorkers who were arrested between 2003 and 2013 for gravity knife possession, 86 percent were black or Hispanic. Quart explained that his bill would eliminate a distinction btween commonly used folding knives and illegal gravity knives to protect innocent New Yorkers from unjust arrests. By

ADVERTISING Amanda Tarley ads@manhattanexpressnews.nyc 718-260-8340 ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Gayle Greenberg Andrew Mark Jim Steele Julio Tumbaco

removing the term “centrifugal force” from existing state law, his measure would prevent a “wrist flick” test from being used by law enforcement to target those carrying gravity knives. But in vetoing the gravity knife measure twice, the governor has contended that it would make any folding knife legal. Advocates for the bill said that it is time for the measure to be enacted because the laws are focused primarily on minorities, especially in Manhattan. Quart said that Vance’s opposition could be a critical factor in Cuomo’t thinking. “He not behind the governor but in rather in front of him leading the charge to shoot down the bill at all cost,” Quart said of Vance. The Legal Aid Society noted that prosecutors can link a gravity knife arrest to a previous crime and them “bump up” the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. The legal services organization found that the Manhattan DA’s office was far more likely to increase charges than any other DA’s office in the city. The group cited statistics from the second half of 2015, when it represented 65 Manhattan clients charged with felony possession of a gravity knife, and of that number, 90 percent were black or Latino. “New Yorkers, especially in the borough of Manhattan, face the continuation of discriminatory arrests and prosecutions thanks to unjust opposition in Albany,” said Quart. “Communities of color will have no relief from the Manhattan district attorney’s pattern of prosecuting poor people for possessing this simple work tool.” Quart said he intends to reintroduce the bill again in the upcoming January legislative session.

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Once Ex-Gay, Now Activist for Christian Inclusivity BY NATHAN DICAMILLO If you tell Alex Haiken that he can’t be gay and Christian, you had better have done your homework. “Because I’ve done mine,” he said. “And I say, ‘Come, let’s talk.’” Haiken likes to talk. He was on the gay student union in college and spoke to classes about what it meant to be gay. Retired after a 23-year career at the UN, he spends much of his time volunteering and enjoying life in Midtown East with his partner of 10 years, Mitchell Siegel, but also devotes time as a former member of the ex-gay movement to talking with Christians online or in person about the importance of LGBTQ inclusion in the church. Religion has always been a large part of Haiken’s life but not always an easy road. He grew up in a Reform Jewish household, but became Christian when he was 29. In his church, he gave up dating men until he reconciled his sexuality with his faith 16 years later. His journey has led him through several periods of acceptance and rejection. “The Jewish community thinks I’ve turned my back on them because I’m a Jew who believes that Jesus is the Jewish

NYC Community Media

Photo by Nathan DiCamillo

Alex Haiken and Mitchell Siegel, his partner of 10 years.

Messiah,” he said. “Many Christians are not happy with me because I’m unapologetically gay, without secrecy or shame. And the secular gay community dismisses me as insane for my continued association with what they

perceive to be a homophobic religion. So there aren’t many places I can go without pissing somebody off.” Haiken grew up in the Reform Jewish tradition, went to Hebrew school, and was bar mitzvahed at age 13. But grow-

ing up, Haiken leaned towards atheism. Being Jewish for Haiken was more about the holidays, traditional food, and Yiddish expressions. It was tales of life in a Jewish home that Haiken would tell Kevin Parker when they smoked weed together as young 20-somethings after working long shifts as waiters in a Manhattan restaurant. In response, Parker told Haiken that he was a “born-again Christian.” Parker’s goal, however, wasn’t to bring a homosexual man to repentance. Parker grew up in a non-Christian home and followed in his brother’s footsteps when he became a Christian in the mid-‘70s. “One of the things that’s great about Alex is that he’s a very, very caring person naturally,” Parker said. “When there was this essence of somebody else — God — who did things for us as a sacrifice, I think that touched him.” Parker understood that Haiken had been in relationships with men since he was in high school. In fact, Haiken had fallen in love three times before becoming Christian. He came out to INCLUSIVITY continued on p. 10

November 2, 2017


No Dancing Around It: He’s a Hero

Photo by Susie Morgan Taylor

At the podium, Gray Davis and his wife Cassandra (also an ABT dancer) with State Senator Brad Hoylman as he presents the NY State Liberty Medal and a Proclamation.

BY LEVAR ALONZO His split-second decision to perform an act of well-choreographed athleticism saved a life — and earned this professional dancer accolades more meaningful than the most thunderous of curtain call applause. “Gray Davis acted when others could not,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman

at an Oct. 25 ceremony held at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. The senator was on hand to present Davis with the New York State Liberty Medal and a Proclamation declaring Oct. 25 “Gray Davis Appreciation Day” in New York’s 27th State Senate District. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor

HERO continued on p. 24

Gray Davis with Hee Seo in the American Ballet Theatre’s “Thirteen Diversions.”

Investing in Education

9 Won 400 full day Universal Pre-Kindergarten seats. 9 Invested millions in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) for public schools. 9 Secured $150 million to rehabilitate and expand the East River Esplanade with Congress Member Carolyn Maloney.

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9 Opened the Second Avenue Subway with Governor Cuomo. 9 Secured new ferry stops for Roosevelt Island and East Side. 9 Added off-board payment to the M79 and M86, and won 79 new busses for the M15.

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

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Investing in Better Parks

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

November 2, 2017

Working for Faster, Improved Commutes

Cleaning Up Corruption

9 Authored two laws to prohibit outside income, limit the influence of lobbyists and eliminate “legal bribery”.

Voteininthe the General Election, Tuesday,September November Vote Democratic Primary, Tuesday, 127 Pledge toVote VoteatatKallosForCouncil.com/pledge KallosForCouncil.com/pledge Pledge to NYC Community Media

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Cataract Surgery Common, Effective As men and women age, their risk for cataracts increases. Starting at age 50, cataract risk rises, and that risk only grows more significant as people get older. The National Eye Institute predicts that, by the year 2050, 50.2 million Americans will experience cataracts. The lens of the eye is normally clear, but as a person ages, the lenses can begin to cloud and lead to impaired vision. Cataracts can cause blurry vision and increase the glare from lights, affecting how a person can manage daily activities. They also may make it more difficult for eye doctors to examine the back of the eye during routine visits to detect conditions such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. Eye experts routinely recommend surgery when cataracts interfere with daily activities, such as driving, watch-

ing television, or even reading medication bottles. Surgery is a safe and common way to treat cataracts. The American Optometric Association says cataract surgery involves the removal of the natural lens of the eye, which is replaced with an artifical lens. This clear, plastic intraocular lens requires no special maintenance and is designed to properly focus. In many cases, the eye doctor will make a small incision in the side of the cornea, where he or she inserts a tiny probe. This device will use ultrasound waves to soften and break up the lens into small pieces, which are removed by suction in a process known as phacoemulsification. The cataract lens is removed, but the thin, outer layers of the lens, called the lens capsule, are not touched. Afterward, the plastic lens is placed in the lens capsule. If the cataracts have advanced and phacoemulsification is not an option,

the eye doctor will have to find another way to remove the lens. The intraocular lens used may be monofocal, fi xed-focus, accommodating, and multifocal lenses, and which type of lens is best for a patient’s needs will be determined by the eye doctor. Cataract surgery may only take 15 minutes, though patients will likely spend more time at the surgical facility to allow for prep time and post-operative evaluation. Recovery will involve the use of medicated eye drops several times daily, and a protective eye shield should be used while sleeping. As the eye recovers, a special pair of post-operative sunglasses are required to protect the eyes from bright light. Eye doctors also advise patients to avoid strenuous activity, including exercise, for at least the fi rst week of recovery. Water splashed

Clouding of the lenses of the eyes, called cataracts, may require surgery.

in the eyes can cause infection, so swimming should be avoided and caution should be taken when bathing or showering. All About Vision says it can take several weeks for the eye to heal sufficiently. If both eyes require surgery, doctors will often wait one to three weeks before performing surgery on the second eye. Learn more about cataract surgery by speaking with your eye doctor or visiting www.aoa.org.

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INCLUSIVITY continued from p. 5

his parents at 22. Parker didn’t tell his friend that he had to stop being openly gay to be Christian, but the teachings of many churches at the time emphasized that homosexuals who became Christians would have their heterosexuality restored to them by God. “I believed that if this is the God who created the heavens and the earth then making me straight was small potatoes,” Haiken said. “It didn’t seem unreasonable.” Haiken had seen some gay young men he knew grow up to remain homosexual in behavior and some grow up to be heterosexual in behavior. They were “just experimenting as kids,” in his understanding, and that made it seem all the more reasonable that sexuality might be mutable. A year into his Christianity, Haiken found the ex-gay movement and was at first relieved to find people who loved God and were claiming that God could make them straight. The movement sought to liberate gay people from their homosexuality like Alcoholics Anonymous helping alcoholics be free of addiction, he believed. “I thought, ‘What an answer to prayer,’” he said.


November 2, 2017

Haiken became involved with an exgay ministry in New York and enjoyed the sense of community that it provided him. He became suspicious of the movement’s validity, however, when he didn’t find his same-sex attraction changing even though his faith was not wavering. “I did date a number of women but as wonderful as some of them were, it was always like a Christmas tree with a section of the lights out,” he said. Haiken struggled more with his sexuality than the Christians who first taught him about Christianity. “That was never ever, ever, ever a problem at all for me,” Carol Healey, the woman who gave Haiken his first Bible in 1982, said. Healey’s Christianity began with a Catholic upbringing, but she says she “came to Jesus” when she was 40. After spending time in Baptist and nondenominational traditions, she is now Presbyterian. “The kind of Jesus that I came to and the kind of Holy Spirit that I began to understand was a loving, caring, giving God,” Healey said. “One of the things I would say to people when they would criticize gays or that kind of thing, I said, ‘If Jesus was on earth, guess who he would be hanging out with? It wouldn’t be you or me, it would be

them.’ That’s the thing that came to me so fully, was the mercy and the love of the Christ that I worship.” Haiken’s reconciliation of his sexuality and faith didn’t come as easily as Healey’s acceptance of him. But his suspicion of the ex-gay movement led him down a new journey of biblical interpretation. When Haiken looked into the historical context of what many call “the clobber passages” about homosexuality in the Bible, he found that they didn’t hold up to scrutiny. After 16 years of being a Christian, Haiken came to believe that homosexuality was compatible with Christianity just like heterosexuality was. He now understands that ancient biblical writers would have had no frame of reference for consensual, loving gay relationships. When Haiken was in the ex-gay movement, he believed that his long time of being sexually active with men was part of why it was taking so long for God to make him straight. Haiken was a leader in the ex-gay movement and even gave his testimony on “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson’s Christian television program. Over time, he realized that he wasn’t getting any straighter. “It was horrible,” he recalled. “Like living a double life.”

When Haiken realized that straight men in his church were just as horny as the gay men he was counseling, Haiken soon began to realize that being gay wasn’t abnormal — it was just human. “We had a men’s group,” he said. “One of the [straight] guys who was one of the pillars of the church said, ‘If it wasn’t for me being accountable to you, I would be out fucking everything that moves.’” When Haiken left the ex-gay movement, he wrote apology letters to some of the men he used to counsel. “I felt they needed to hear it from me,” he said. One of the women who led the ex-gay ministry still sends Haiken a birthday card every year. The first part of the letter wishes him a happy birthday, and the second half is always a plea for him to leave his homosexuality. But he doesn’t spend much energy arguing with her. “There is no functional reason for me to expect she will have a rational conversation,” he said. “You have to be discerning about who you talk to.” Evangelicals in Haiken’s life loved that he was a Messianic Jew — one who accepts Jesus as their savior — while he was in the ex-gay movement. INCLUSIVITY continued on p. 11

NYC Community Media

INCLUSIVITY continued from p. 10

“In fact, I found an inherent kind of pro-Semitism in some circles which I think can sometimes be as unhealthy as anti-Semitism,” he said. “But when I integrated my faith and sexuality, many in my evangelical community did a 180 and concluded they could no longer afford my friendship.” Haiken compares the cost that LGBTQ people face in being accepted in the evangelical tradition with what would happen if a rabbi became Christian: a destroyed career and social standing. “Christian leaders face similar losses in breaking with the traditional stance on homosexuality,” he said. “It’s remarkably analogous. Jews tried to tell me I couldn’t be both Jewish and Christian, and Christians tried to tell me I couldn’t be both Christian and gay.” Haiken started dating again when he reconciled his faith and sexuality. “Re-entering the dating scene in my 40s was frightening,” he said. “I felt like a nervous school kid learning to walk on new footing.” When Haiken began to date again, his first relationship was with a Jewish man. He had minimal connection with Jewish people since he had become Christian, but found a deep connection with his second first love. He now has that connection with Siegel, who also grew up Jewish and became Christian through dating Haiken. “Mitch was this nice guy,” Haiken said. “Really upfront. What you see is what you get.” Haiken went on to finish his master’s degree in Urban Ministry at Pennsylvania’s Westminster Theological Seminary in 2010 and continues to advocate for the acceptance of LGBTQ people in the church and in society. He sees setbacks with the Trump administration, but believes like Martin Luther King, Jr., that the arc of the moral universe is long but bends toward justice. At jewishchristiangay.wordpress.com, Haiken writes about issues related to the LGBTQ community within the church. In one post from April 2011, he quotes evangelical scholar Lewis Smedes: “The Church’s treatment of homosexuality has become the greatest heresy in the history of the Church… It’s a living heresy because it’s treating God’s children as if they’re not God’s children.” Haiken also works with the Trevor Project and uses his seminary degree to talk to gay youth who call the project’s hotline feeling that the Bible condemns them for who they are. He seeks out communities that care about theology as much as he does but also understand his affirming position on homosexuality. While he continues to receive opposition, some of his strongest opponents have become some of his strongest supporters through the years. “I’ve learned that to live as a man of God and a follower of Christ means above all to live with personal integrity,” he said. “And I now get to live an honest and authentic life — before God, before man, and before myself. Unless we can be true to ourselves first, we cannot be true to anyone else. I think Shakespeare got it right when he said: ‘To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.’” NYC Community Media


November 2, 2017


Rash of Burglaries Bedevil; Common Sense Can Soothe

Photo by Scott Stiffler

West 22nd St. and Eighth Ave., one of the intersections mentioned by residents as a spot where bicyclists and pedestrians compete for limited space.

BY TABIA C. ROBINSON Package delivery services and careless residents are supplying burglars, free of charge, with one of the most important tools for committing crime:

Photo by Tabia C. Robinson

L to R: Officer Salvatore Saetta, Officer Jarett Di Lorenzo, Capt. Paul Lanot, Council VP Vinny Pizzonia and Council Pres. Larry O’Neill.

opportunity. That’s what nearly two dozen Chelsea residents learned while attending Oct. 25’s 10th Precinct Community Council meeting. At the outset, Commanding

MA MANHATTAN GREENMARKETS AND YOUTHMARKETS ARE OPEN! Twenty-five locations throughout Manhattan selling fresh locally grown fruits, vegetables, and more.

Officer Capt. Paul Lanot noted that crime in the precinct is up five percent for the month, due in large part to burglaries in residential buildings — none of which were cases of forced entry. “The burglaries are happening in four- and five-story walk-ups,” said Lanot. “We’re urging you all to lock your doors and windows.” Packages are also being stolen because delivery people from UPS and FedEx, among other companies, are leaving items at the lobby doors instead of delivering directly to the recipient and getting a signature. Capt. Lanot said that if community members see someone leaving packages outside the building or in the lobby, to call the company and/or 311. Officer Jarett Di Lorenzo, of Crime Prevention, suggested that if residents see anyone suspicious in the build-

ing who they haven’t seen before, say hello (to possibly scare them off) or, if they try to come in the door at the same time a resident does, refuse them entry by telling them to either use their key or call the person they’re coming to see. There were crime prevention books given out at the meeting for neighborhood residents to take, packed with useful tips. To get your own copy, stop by the precinct or send an email to Officer Di Lorenzo at jarett.dilorenzo@nypd.org. Another pressing issue for the neighborhood, according to Capt. Lanot, is traffic. There have been 925 moving vehicle violations this month. For the year, that number is 9,573. In the 10-day period between Oct. 14 and COMMUNITY COUNCIL continued on p. 16

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November 2, 2017

NYC Community Media


New York City Transit Workers




Proposition #1

The New York State Constitutional Convention

Latonya Crisp-Sauray Recording Sec’y

Earl Phillips Sec’y Treasurer

Tony Utano President

Nelson Rivera Administrative VP


NYC Community Media

November 2, 2017


Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Celebrates 35 Years of Feeding Needs BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC For 35 years — through fire, the tragedy of 9/11, and power outages from Hurricane Sandy — Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen has served meals to those in need. “Nobody gets turned away. That’s the way it’s always been,” Father Rand Frew, founder of the soup kitchen, told Chelsea Now at an event last week to commemorate the anniversary. Frew recalled a different Chelsea in the late 1970s — one in which there was nothing “chic” about 14th St., and the area across from the church at 296 Ninth Ave. at W. 28th St. was known as “boozers park.” “Holy Apostles was smack in the middle of all this,” he said. “I knew where the homeless were.” After studying at the General Theological Seminary (440 W. 21st St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), Frew said he had seen how a congregation in Atlanta had run a soup kitchen, and knew that he wanted to start one at Holy Apostles when he came to the parish in late 1978. Frew reached out the community, whom he called “supportive from day one.” Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen opened its doors in October 1982, and Frew said it is in for the long haul.

There was a fall nip in the air as people waited outside the church on Thurs., Oct. 26 for the evening event to begin. Bobbi Taylor and Michele Chaisson said that they have become more involved with the soup kitchen, coming to all the events. “They feed a huge amount of people,” Taylor said. Chaisson noted that federal funding cuts had made the soup kitchen’s work all the more important, saying that they feed the homeless and people who “just can’t afford to buy food.” Michael Ottley, the director of operations for the soup kitchen, said it is used and needed more than ever in 2017. “It’s an amazing thing that the soup kitchen has been around since 1982, which was, we thought, a temporary solution to a temporary problem,” he said. There was a cut to SNAP benefits last year, according to Ottley, and, thus, there has been an increase in meals served — about 30,000 more meals served this year than last. (SNAP, also known as food stamps, stands for the supplemental nutrition assistance program.) While there has been an increase in those of need of help, funding for the soup kitchen has been in flux — with

Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

L to R: Reverend Rand Few, Reverend Elizabeth Maxwell, Right Reverend Allen Shin, Reverend Dr. William Greenlaw and Reverend Glenn Chalmers at the Oct. 26 celebration.


November 2, 2017

NYC Community Media

Photos by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Supporters of the soup kitchen enjoyed food, libations, jazz music and a dance performance to commemorate its 35th anniversary.

some gains and losses. Through the federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program, the soup kitchen got $40,000 in funding, an increase from the $23,000 it had been receiving annually for several years, Ottley said. However, a grant that the soup kitchen has been getting since 1999 from the state Dept. of Health ended in October, John-Harvard Reid, associate executive director for the soup kitchen, said. The annual grant was for $183,000, which was doled out in five-year blocks, and is a loss of $915,000 in funding, he said. “We’re not the only ones who lost money,” Reid said. “Our funding has been hurt and we’re trying to make it up.” Reid noted that the soup kitchen’s annual Fast-A-Thon will take place on Thurs., Nov. 16. Many people who go to the soup kitchen eat only one meal a day, he said, and so for that Thursday, people who participate in the Fast-AThon are asked to only eat one meal. Like a walk-a-thon, people pledge to participate, asking others to donate in support of that pledge. Last year, the soup kitchen raised $90,000, and the goal this year is to raise $95,000, he said. Visit holyapostlessoupkitchen.org/ fast-a-thon-2017 for more info. The Fast-A-Thon also raises awareness that hunger is a problem in New York City, Reid said. Ottley said the Oct. 26 event also NYC Community Media

On the left, John-Harvard Reid, associate executive director, and, right, Michael Ottley, director of operations, flank Father Rand Frew, center, the founder of the soup kitchen.

helps to “brings awareness to the soup kitchen,” and to “fund the mission,” noting a good turnout with several longtime supporters attending. Each table filled with food was decade-themed. Photos of the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, and Duran Duran graced the 1980s table home to deviled eggs, a veggie tray, and quesadillas. The 1990s played host to sandwiches, salad and hot wings as

well as the emblems for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica. And the 2000s, or the Aughts, had love for the Backstreet Boys and pasta, beet, and beef dishes. A jazz band from Avenues: The World School kept the crowd swinging, and later TheEdwardMorganBallet (edwardmorganballet.org) performed. Joseph Alexander, director of the company, said afterwards that the piece

was created especially for the 35th anniversary of the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, which they had worked with before. The company has created two ballets for the homeless, collaborated with the writer’s workshop and people who go to the soup kitchen have danced with the group, he said. “Wherever we perform it’s about HOLY APOSTLES continued on p. 24 November 2, 2017


Timber! A Tree Crashes in Chelsea

Photos by Josh Rogers

The tree, shortly after it fell across W. 24th St. on the afternoon of Mon., Oct. 30.

Sanitation workers removed the tree on Wed., Nov. 1

BY JOSH ROGERS A large tree fell across W. 24th St. on the afternoon of Mon., Oct. 30 — but as luck would have it, no one was injured, according to police on the scene. The tree fell right in front of the High School of Fashion Industries, not long before dismissal. Police were concerned students might jump on the trunk sprawled across the street, but officials managed to quickly get the tree off of two parked vehicles and move it to the side of the street. The back windshield of one of the cars was smashed.

One passerby said a nanny noticed the tree start to wobble, and was able to maneuver herself and her charge out of the way in the nick of time. Police said the combination of heavy rain the day before and the still windy conditions likely caused the accident. Sanitation workers removed the heavy tree two days later, Wed., Nov. 1. It’s been a bad year for trees on W. 24th St., between Seventh and Eighth Aves. Back in July, a tree on the block was knocked over by a truck, according to police.

COMMUNITY COUNCIL continued from p. 12

24, there were 51 moving vehicle violations — with bicycles accounting for 30 of those violations. Detective Mike Petrillo, of Community Affairs, encouraged those in attendance to ask questions about the rash of burglaries or talk about any pressing issues they had. A resident of Penn South, Ben Friedman, expressed his concern for the upcoming holiday season. He said there are a lot of people in the city during the season, and everyone should be wary of pickpockets. Another local, Dr. Sidney Rosenblum, said, “The bikes seem to be getting out of control exponentially.” He added that much of the danger to pedestrians comes from a limited amount of space on the streets. Capt. Lanot urged everyone in attendance to not engage the bicyclists, and asked for specific examples of where bicyclists are not following the law, promising to send officers to troublesome locations. Two of the intersections named were W. 22nd St. and Eighth Ave., and W. 17th St. and Eighth Ave. On the same topic of traffic and safety, Friedman also expressed concern about lanes being reduced because of construction on W. 26th and 28th Sts. Detective Petrillo said although he understands


November 2, 2017

Photo by Tabia C. Robinson

Crime prevention handouts were distributed in response to recent burglaries.

the safety concerns, the precinct is not the point of contact for such concerns. Residents need to contact their elected officials, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Buildings. The 10th Precinct is located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community

Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-7418226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212924-3377. 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. NYC Community Media


Constitutional Convention Will Expand Voter Participation BY RACHEL BLOOM When looking at the extremely low voter turnout for New York City’s recent primary election, one wouldn’t know that city residents were deciding who would run for mayor this year. It is clear that New York needs to do more to encourage voter participation and competitive elections. While the need is evident, what is lacking is the political will to change the status quo and breathe new life into our politics. That’s why this Nov., New Yorkers must take control themselves and vote to hold a state constitutional convention to introduce much-needed reforms that make it easier to vote, reduce the power of incumbents, and level the playing field. In this year’s primary, just 14 percent of New York City’s eligible voters turned out to vote. Dismal, yes, and sadly on trend with previous years. In 2016, eight percent of eligible city voters voted in June’s federal primaries and 10 percent voted in September’s state and local primaries. What’s behind these low numbers? First and foremost are difficulties New Yorkers have getting to the ballot. New York has no early voting and no Election Day registration and it limits access to absentee ballots, which means that all voting must happen in person, on a work day. Laws governing voting in primaries are even more restrictive. Not only does a voter need to be registered with a political party before being able to vote, but New York also doesn’t allow citizens to register or switch parties on election day. And the cut-off deadlines to do so are absurdly early. First-time voters must register with a party 25 days before the election. Those who want to switch their affi liation must do so 25 days before the general election of the year before the primary they plan to vote in, by far the longest deadline in the entire country. (Some New Yorkers may remember that this is also why Donald Trump’s children were unable to vote for him in our state’s primary.) These rules mean that the deadline for new voters this year or those who want to change their party for next year was Oct. 13. NYC Community Media

With voting so difficult, it’s also no surprise that voters don’t care to turn out, especially when most elections are noncompetitive and feature an incumbent heavily favored to win. Perhaps that’s why city voters didn’t show up in the Sept. primary. With a decision between an incumbent mayor with low approval ratings and a long-shot challenger, why even bother to make time to go vote? Voters see the same names, faces, and ideas year after year, in part because elections in New York have become a race for dollars. Rules that treat limited liability corporations as individuals allow special interests and wealthy donors to pour money into elections, making the cost of mounting a campaign exceedingly expensive and discourage anyone but an incumbent. Public fi nancing of elections, like we have in New York City to great acclaim, would also benefit fi rst-time candidates, but there isn’t a statewide system, meaning that many would-be challengers are shut out. Several commonsense proposals would energize our politics and allow new faces in the room — enacting term limits, allowing early voting, and lowering maximum campaign contributions are just a few reforms that New York needs. Despite these obvious solutions, legislators have been unwilling to enact any changes. Perhaps not surprising when the current system makes it easier for those in power to stay in power. For the fi rst time in 20 years, these solutions can be created outside of the legislative process and passed without the interference of legislators. New Yorkers must seize the once-in-a-generation opportunity provided by the constitutional convention and pass these much-needed reforms that will make our elections more dynamic and include more voices in the process. With Albany unwilling to act, change must come another way, and that way is a constitutional convention. New Yorkers must vote yes on Nov. 7 to fi x our broken democracy. Rachel Bloom is director of Public Policy & Programs for Citizens Union. In our Oct. 19 issue, Nathan Riley made the case against the constitutional convention.





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MARATHON continued from p. 3

struggle doesn’t end. You have to be dedicated.” Within that quest to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle, Leibowitz noted stress triggers or temptations “can be responded to by either going for some ice cream or making a better choice. So I’m a big fan of almond butter, usually with a piece of whole grain toast and a banana. That’s one of my favorite snacks.” Running primarily solo but sometimes with others, Leibowitz will log up to 60 miles in a single week, which takes him “all over Manhattan. The easier runs typically start around the Chelsea Piers area, up through Pier 88.” Twice a week, there are “more intensive efforts I do with a group of people; interval training or longer distances at faster paces. This Tuesday [Oct. 10], I did a 7-mile progression run, starting at a marathon pace [6:50 to 7:00 minutes per mile] and then a 10K pace [about 6:00]. Sundays are long runs, as short as 16 miles and up to 22.” When we spoke with him, Leibowitz was planning to train that night with Nike’s “Project Moonshot” group, an offshoot, he explained, of the “Breaking2” project, which sought to break the 2-hour marathon record. “They took three star marathoners,” Leibowitz said, “and fell short, but still managed the best in recorded history. So they’re taking some of the things they learned in that project and applying it to some runners in the New York City Marathon; nutrition, cross training, physical therapy, and ‘pre-habilitation’ — keeping your body fit upfront instead of fixing things before they break. They had an application process early this year, so they could help these runners make their own goals. My time goal is 3 hours and 5 minutes, the Boston Marathon qualification time,” said Leibowitz, who equates Boston “to the Super Bowl for the amateur runner. You can do it for charity or time qualify, and it’s a pretty small field compared to other city marathons. Very competitive to get into.” Since qualification for Beantown at this point means a 2019 run at the earliest (next year’s field is already booked, he noted), we asked Leibowitz what his lifestyle routine might resemble after accomplishing his NYC Marathon goal. “It’s almost as if I am now on the other side of that grind, and I am thinking, ‘How do we keep it healthy?’ I feel great where I am, but I don’t need a six-pack. After the marathon, at least short-term the goal is to cut back on the running to that range I was in beforehand. The number in itself,” he said, referencing pounds on the body as much as miles on the road, “is not as


November 2, 2017

Photo by Maureen Byrne

Gene Byrne and daughter Kellsey Oceane Byrne, wearing her dad’s 2011 NYC Marathon medal.

Via Nike+ Run Club/Project Moonshot NYC

It’s a marvelous night for a “Moonshot” — Andrew Leibowitz (left) on Sept. 28, with his Nike training group.

important to me as it was — so long as I am healthy and fit.”

FOR GENE BYRNE, ‘SHE’S THE REASON’ Raised on W. 83rd and Amsterdam Ave., Gene Byrne spent a decade in Richmond County working for Bill Murphy as an Assistant District Attorney. Then, he recalled, “When I decided to move back into Manhattan [in 1997], Hell’s Kitchen was an ‘up and coming neighborhood’ even 20 years ago.” For the past 17 years, Byrne has been a criminal defense attorney. Always athletic (“I played rugby for the New York Athletic

Club for about nine seasons”), Byrne ran his first marathon in 1998 when he “got a phone call from a buddy who was going to do the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon” and convinced him to make the trip to the West Coast. At the time, he noted, “I had never ran more than eight miles.” He had under a month to prepare. On a morning where the starting temp was 92 degrees, Byrne ended up completing the race in 4 hours, 2 minutes and 53 seconds. “No one told me about four hours as being the mark of a legitimate runner,” he recalled. “So I thought, ‘let me take a shot at New York. It’s the hometown race. It’s a home game.’ I

started training for that, and in 1998 I ran it in 3 hours, 48 minutes.” During a return to San Diego’s marathon the following year, he hoped to complete the course in 3 ½ hours, which would have qualified him for the Boston Marathon. But on the day of the race he wasn’t feeling well and ran almost 20 minutes past that time. “After that,” Byrne said, “I don’t know what happened. In January of 2000, I was out for a tempo run [a “comfortably hard” pace, according to runnersworld.com] in Central Park and it felt like my elbow was going to explode. I don’t even remember walking out of the park.” His girlfriend at the time, a nurse, convinced him to go seek immediate medical help. “A quadruple bypass later,” Byrne said, “I remember telling myself when I was in the hospital, ‘I’m going to run 15 New York Marathons in a row to come back from this.’ ” For Byrne, learning about his time bomb ticker came as a surprise — with an explanation provided by his bypass surgeon (Dr. Henry Greenberg, he told us, the name rolling off his tongue in a manner not uncommon among those who’ve bonded with the person responsible for opening their chest and stopping their heart). “Because I was an athlete,” Byrne noted, “Dr. Greenberg said, ‘You’re so fit, doctors don’t usually check guys like you for certain things. You fell through the cracks.’ ” Shortly after the surgery, “Greenberg told me he saw the frustration of an ex-athlete no longer able to operate at the level he was used to. He told me, ‘Your heart is a muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it gets.’ I said, ‘Doctor, I got plans.’ ” Byrne has since made very good on that declaration by successfully completing every NYC Marathon since 2002 (he also conquered IRONMAN triathlons in 2007 and 2008). But his days of running are over. “I walked last year’s marathon,” he said, “because I had my left hip replaced in 2016.” This past July, Byrne underwent the same procedure for his right side. “The days of running are pretty much over,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean you walk away. What’s important is not finishing in the top five. It’s knowing you did your best.” Determined to complete his 16th NYC Marathon, Byrne’s cardio training routine includes swimming and spinning, along with loops around Central Park — motivated by a desire for health and longevity to set an example, and be around, for his six-year-old daughter, Kellsey Oceane Byrne. “She’s the reason,” he noted, referencing much more than a marathon. NYC Community Media

La Dulcet Musto Nightlife maven appears in a dozen duets to support Gays Against Guns BY TRAV S. D. There may have been more powerful columnists in the history of American journalism than Michael Musto, but none was ever more adored, for he radiates a personality and humor as great as — and often greater than — the celebrities he covers. For nearly 30 years (1984-2013), his Village Voice column “La Dolce Musto” was obligatory reading for any New Yorker who wanted to have it on the ball. He’s a frequent presence on television and in documentaries, one of the rotating cohosts of the PBS show “Theater Talk,” a weekly blogger at Papermag.com, and the talent behind the “Musto Unfiltered” column at NewNowNext.com. Perhaps lesser known is the fact that he also sings! On Sat., Nov. 11, he will present his second evening of musical duets with a little help from his friends at Club Cumming, Alan Cumming’s new East Village venue. Joining him onstage will be the likes of Bridget Everett, Murray Hill, Flotilla DeBarge, and a dozen more. Titled “Musto Duets Deux,” the proceeds from the night will benefit Gays Against Guns. “I’ve always loved to sing,” Musto told our sister publication, Gay City News. “I sang in school. I was in high school musicals. I was in [the annual city high school musical competition] SING! I won Best Actor that year, which is a credit I never tire of bragging about. In college, I was in Gilbert and Sullivan productions. And in the early ’80s I fronted a Motown cover band called the Must. I hung up the singing for a while. But deep down I’m a ham. Just sitting down and writing all day is not enough for me.” The first “Michael Musto Duets” show on Sept. 23 was one of the first entertainments to grace the stage of the brand-new Club Cumming. The new space is essentially a reboot of Eastern Bloc, the gay bar at 505 E. Sixth St., co-owned by Benjamin Maisani and Darren Dryden, with the continued involvement of nightlife promoter Danny Nardicio. The transformed space is being called a “fantasy performance salon.” NYC Community Media

Courtesy Michael Musto

In addition to everything you thought you knew about Michael Musto, Nov. 11 at Club Cumming you’ll have a chance to find out just how splendidly he sings — in duet with some dozen favorites.

“It’s a wonderful mix of high-brow and low-brow,” Musto said. “Classical mixed with drag queen divas. I’m calling it ‘Café Carlyle meets CBGBs.’ ” Cumming’s connection to the club makes for a high likelihood of celebrity sightings. The very first week, said Musto, Paul McCartney, Emma Stone, and Billie Jean King all arrived as part of the same party. Stone’s bio-pic about King (“Battle of the Sexes”) had just been released, which partially explains the eclecticism of the trio. According to Musto, he initially suggested the duets concept as a night of numbers performed by other singers, but the club’s bookers understood him to mean something more like those records where Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett sing with a succession of partners, with Musto anchoring the evening. Musto didn’t mind the misunderstanding a bit. “People are always encouraging me to sing,” he crowed. “And I love duets.

When you’re singing in a duet you always have your partners as a safety net. No matter how bad I am, there’s always the other person to help carry it! I’m pinching myself. I can’t believe some of the people I get to perform with in this show.” Prominent among them is Bridget Everett, whom Musto mentions he gave early coverage to back in the 1990s. She’s been hot lately, with numerous appearances on “Inside Amy Schumer,” the 2017 fi lm “Patti Cake$,” her just-fi lmed pilot for Amazon, “Love You More,” and a standing ovation for her performance of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” back in August. With “Mr. Showbiz” Murray Hill, he’ll be performing “The Lady is a Tramp” –– with updated lyrics, “because,” quipped Musto, “neither one of us is a lady.” With jazz violist Aaron Weinstein, Musto will perform “I Loves You,

Porgy.” Also on the bill: Flotilla DeBarge, Cheryl Freeman (who played the Acid Queen in the Broadway production of “The Who’s Tommy”), Mrs. Kasha Davis (from “RuPaul’s Drag Race”), Jill Sobule (the songs “I Kissed a Girl” and “Supermodel”), Brini Maxwell (Ben Sander’s drag character), Amber Martin, Ari Kiki, Kenyon Phillips, and Markus Kelle, all singing what Musto described as a “mix of Broadway, disco, and cabaret diva classics”. About the beneficiary, Gays Against Guns, Musto said, “I’ve been involved with them since last year, in the wake of the Orlando shooting. Now, since the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, it’s a more vital charity than ever.” “Musto Duets Deux” is performed Sat., Nov. 11, 9pm at Club Cumming (515 E. Sixth St., btw. Aves. A & B.). For tickets ($32-$45), visit brownpapertickets.com/event/3105536. For Gays Against Guns info, visit gaysagainstguns.net. November 2, 2017


Ludlam Celebrated By Those He Loved Everett Quinton brings back a Ridiculous original, with Brian Belovitch along for the ride BY DAVID NOH The late, great Charles Ludlam wrote dozens of plays, but they are rarely revived right here in the very city in which he pioneered the alternative theater scene. To remedy that, La MaMa is reviving his â&#x20AC;&#x153;Conquest of the Universe or When Queens Collide,â&#x20AC;? commemorating both the playwrightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s founding of his Ridiculous Theatrical Company half a century ago and his death 30 years ago. Inspired by Christopher Marloweâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tamburlaine the Greatâ&#x20AC;? and set in outer space, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a futuristic tale of war across the universe with Tamburlaine capturing various kings and queens (of course) from Mars, Venus, and Saturn with names like Zabina, Natolia, and Cosroe. This production is being directed by Ludlamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s longtime partner, Everett Quinton, and I snatched the opportunity to discuss it with him at a favorite West Village neighborhood haunt, Hudson Diner. Joining us was actor Brian Belovitch, who is playing Alice, the wife of Tamburlaine. I met Belovitch an eon ago, at his Hellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Kitchen apartment when he was then known as Tish Gervaise, one of Manhattanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most lauded trans personalities and certainly the sexiest. Looking like Claudia Cardinaleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s younger and even more voluptuous sister, Tish sauntered through the clubs and then-Bohemian nabes of this burg, leaving a wake of devout fans and gob-smacked guys behind her. Michael Musto was at Tishâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s place, too, as was Holly fucking Woodlawn, and we all had a gay old time, perusing Antonio Lopezâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s opulent new Arabian Nights-inspired book, for which Tish had modeled, and dishing some serious dirt (including

Photo by David Noh

L to R: Brian Belovitch and Everett Quinton star in a revival of Charles Ludlamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Conquest of the Universe or When Queens Collideâ&#x20AC;? (through Nov. 19 at La MaMa).

what an avid fan of Screw magazineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s back page ads for transgender escorts Eddie Murphy was). It was a quite heavenly reunion, during the course of which, while discussing â&#x20AC;&#x153;Conquest of the Universe,â&#x20AC;? Zsa Zsa Gaborâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s immortally trashy sci-fi epic â&#x20AC;&#x153;Queen of Outer Spaceâ&#x20AC;? was heavily discussed. (You knew it would be.) Quinton, who spent this past summer memorizing a full act of Shakespeareâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Antony and Cleopatraâ&#x20AC;?

MANTA SPA FOCUSING ON MAN TO MAN MASSAGE                                                        


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November 2, 2017

which he performed for a one-night stand in Provincetown at the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was asked which of Charlesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; plays they should use for this commemoration and I chose this, which was the first one he did when he started the Ridiculous. He would read the newspaper every day and just be inspired by whatever news story caught his fancy and wrote a play from that. And, as Tamburlaine, we have Grant Neale, who was in the original production! I play two roles: Cosroe and Zabina. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a big production, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re excited about the fabulous design of it, and I just want to get it up on its feet! Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m so proud of this cast, which I hand-picked. Of course, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very gay: you know, Charles used to say, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I get down on my knees every day and thank God Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m gay!â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;? Belovitch described his role as â&#x20AC;&#x153;a cross between Suzanne Sugarbaker from â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Designing Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and Ann Richards, although not as smart. But she does use coquetry and various feminine wiles to gain power. You know, I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t acted or done drag in so long, look what I have to wear now,

which I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t use to need!â&#x20AC;? And with that, Belovitch pulled out not only a cunning pair of high heels but a couple of hip pads. Tish Gervaise certainly didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need them back in the day, and Belovitch recounted some of his mesmerizing past. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m from Providence, Rhode Island, and always knew I was different from age four or five. The first guy I was ever with was around 15, from high school. Tall and skinny with long hair. He took me to this place by the railroad tracks where you went into this building where there was some cardboard which had been laid out and a candle. It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t traumatizing at all. That shit happened later, when I was introduced to the local nearby cruising ground and started hopping in and out of cars.â&#x20AC;? Belovitch began transitioning in his teens and came to New York â&#x20AC;&#x201D; away from a decidedly non-supportive family with six siblings â&#x20AC;&#x201D; where he fell into modeling and the cabaret/club world. He praised the great Lopez as LUDLAM continued on p. 22 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.

November 2, 2017


Let’s Get Lost in ‘Stranded’ Jerry Nolan bio has a beat you can read to BY PUMA PERL “Stranded in the Jungle: Jerry Nolan’s Wild Ride — A Tale of Drugs, Fashion, the New York Dolls, and Punk Rock.” Curt Weiss’ bio of drummer Jerry Nolan lives up to its long subtitle. Nolan’s drumming drove the Heartbreakers and the New York Dolls, and his style was the epitome of his favorite fashion expression, “profiling.” His appetites for women and substances can also be described as nothing less than driven. Well-written and painstakingly researched, “Stranded” presents Nolan as a complex and layered character, while exploring his technique and approach to drumming. Weiss also explores the explosion of the punk era. It is often said, about the ’70s, that you were there or you weren’t there. Sometimes you don’t remember if you were there. I fit into all three categories to varying degrees, but the memory of wandering into Club 82 and seeing the New York Dolls for the fi rst time breaks through the haze. Weiss spent 11 years working on this book, which includes many interviews from people who knew Nolan in different contexts, and with varied opinions. What can’t be denied is he was a hell of a drummer whose career was cut short by the same demons that took many of our best musicians. It makes sense that Gene Krupa was an early hero. Too bad the Jerry Nolan (1946-1992) didn’t come even close to Krupa’s 64-year life span. Who knows what else he might have done. Weiss will read from “Stranded in the Jungle” (a Backbeat Books release) on Tues., Nov. 7, 8pm at Rough Trade (64 Ninth St., Brooklyn, btw. White & Kent Sts.). The NYC release party takes place Thurs., Nov. 9, 7pm at The Delancey (168 Delancey St., btw. Clinton & Attorney Sts.). More info at facebook.com/pg/curtweissauthor/events.

Courtesy Backbeat Books via Facebook

The book’s release party happens Nov. 9 at The Delancey.

LUDLAM continued from p. 20

“the most generous man. He drew me a bunch of times and I luckily still have some sketches. But he really got me, all of us, really, and was so very kind. When you posed for him, he made you feel like you were really something special. “But you know, I tried everything, got married [to a soldier for five years and lived on a German army base], had my own rock band, modeled as a woman, and no one knew the difference. But I was too ahead of my time, and the frustration got to me. A downward spiral of drugs — crack cocaine, honey, it was the ’80s! “But I got myself to rehab and have been sober for a very long time. Then I decided to stop transitioning and became a man again. I’m so happy now, have a new husband — a horticulturist. We live in Brooklyn, and I work in a rehab center now, as a counselor,


November 2, 2017

Photo by Theo Cote

The “Conquest” cast includes, L to R: Shane Baker, Jeanne Lauren Smith, Everett Quinton, Lenys Samá and Géraldine Dulex.

because I have been there and so know what that’s all about.” I frankly cannot wait to get to La

MaMa and revel once more in the delirium, fun, and authentic wit of Ludlam’s universe, especially with these two

fabulous veterans who’ve known each other forever. And I will never forget Belovitch’s line when once asked how he felt after having his breasts removed. Referencing a famous Mary Tyler Moore TV movie of the week, he said, “First, you cry.” Through Nov. 19: Thurs., Fri. & Sat. at 8pm; Sun. at 4pm & Mon., Nov. 6 at 8pm. At La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. Fourth St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave., second fl.). For tickets ($31; $26 for students & seniors), visit lamama.org/ludlam. SPECIAL EVENT: Coffeehouse Chronicles, La MaMa’s educational performance series exploring the history and development of Off-Off Broadway, will look at the groundbreaking Ridiculous Theatrical Company and the work of its co-founder actor, playwright and director, Charles Ludlam. This free event (donation suggested) happens Sat., Nov. 11, 3pm at the Ellen Stewart Theatre. NYC Community Media

Buhmann on Art Paintings manifest as portals in ‘The Roaming Eye’ BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN Curated in a joint effort by the acclaimed New York-based painters Kathleen Kucka and Jennifer Riley, “The Roaming Eye” brings together an unusual group of artists, aesthetics, and approaches. Still, despite this obvious eclecticism, they have one thing in common: all of them utilize vision as the dominant sense. The result is a vivid and surprisingly cohesive exhibition, in which the vocabulary might herald from many sources — such as abstraction, figuration, as well as narrative structures — but in which it is nevertheless fused into a unique, independent language. “We consume with our eyes and as visual-centric beings we’ve created activities that include image feeds saturated with innumerable pictures of life and art alike,” state the curators, while further pointing to modern technology as an ongoing source of inspiration. “On our devices we scroll — searching for ideas, meaning, inspiration and connection to life. We swipe right for ‘like’ or left for ‘no thanks’ to people and works of art. In this process, images of diverse type and source flow seamlessly in front of our eyes. Browsing the different paintings on display, which range from stunning black and white paintings by Christopher Deeton and David Rhodes to Shirley Kaneda’s stark juxtaposition of luminously patterned color fields to Russell Robert’s intriguing compositions made of gestural brushwork, one will quickly find inspiration in the manifold ways in which contemporary visual expression can take shape on canvas. As the exhibition primarily embraces large-scale works by all artists — including Alison Blickle, Davide Cantoni, Kathleen Kucka, Margrit Lewczuk, Judith Linhares, Jennifer Riley, and Marc Andre Robinson — it allows visitors to be enveloped by each unique vision. Here, paintings manifest as portals rather than windows, inviting the audience to step into a purely visual experience. Through Dec. 9 at the Shirley Fiterman Art Center (81 Barclay St., btw. W. Broadway & Greenwich St.). Hours: Tues.–Sat., 12–6pm. Call 212-776-6237 or visit bmcc. cuny.edu/sfac/. NYC Community Media

Courtesy Shirley Fiterman Art Center

Courtesy Shirley Fiterman Art Center

Alison Blickle: “Moon Phases” (2017; oil on canvas and ceramics; 87” x 55”).

Christopher Deeton: “Number 236” (2015; acrylic on canvas; 108” x 80”).

Courtesy Shirley Fiterman Art Center

David Rhodes: “Untitled 16.2.17 (1)” (2017; acrylic on canvas; 19.6” x 15.7”). November 2, 2017


HERO continued from p. 6

“His selflessness in the face of danger symbolizes the very best of New York and sets an example for all of us,” Hoylman said, adding, “I am proud to call Gray a constituent and thrilled to bestow upon him our state’s highest civilian honor.” Davis, 31, a Chelsea resident and a dancer with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), stood in front of his fellow dancers, clearly humbled by the award. “I don’t consider myself a hero,” he said. “I am extremely honored. We here at the ABT are just dancers, but we are human beings first and that’s how we all should live.” Shortly after 11 p.m. on the night of Sat., June 3, Davis, along with his mother and his wife, were at the 72nd Street Broadway-Seventh Avenue subway station, heading Downtown on their way home (his wife Cassandra, who is also a dancer with the ABT, had just finished performing at the Metropolitan Opera House). When altercation broke out between a 58-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, the man was pushed onto the tracks. The victim, who hit his head during the fall, was taken to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. On Sept. 20, his attacker, Carolyn Mack, pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in the first degree. A sentence of four months’ jail and five years’ probation was handed down on Oct. 17, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. “I was looking around just waiting for someone else to do something but no one did. Other people were screaming to get help so I unconsciously just

Photo by Susie Morgan Taylor

State Senator Brad Hoylman presented Davis with the NY State Liberty Medal, as well as a Proclamation declaring Oct. 25 “Gray Davis Appreciation Day” in NY’s 27th State Senate District.

jumped onto the tracks to get the guy up,” Davis said. In recovery but still feeling the pinch from a herniated disk, he managed to lift the unconscious man to safety. Cassandra Davis said her husband has always been a selfless person, whether helping little kids cross the street or just doing what he can for others. “My first thought was for someone to get help. Then, when I looked down

to the tracks, there’s Gray down they’re picking this man up,” she recalled. In reference to Davis’ heroic act, Hoylman invoked the words of former ABT principal dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov — who famously said, “Dancers are made, not born.” “I think,” Hoylman noted, “the same can be said for heroes… They seize a split-second moment, they embrace danger, selflessly, and they become role

HOLY APOSTLES continued from p. 15

healing the world,” Alexander said. “We can educate people through the arts — and that’s our way of giving back.” While mostly celebratory, the event was also somewhat bittersweet. “It’s a shame we have to continue to do this — hopeful that we don’t have to do this anymore,” Ottley said. Father Dr. William Greenlaw, the rector who led the soup kitchen after Father Rand Frew, said the 35th anniversary is “quite a milestone. It has survived through really tough economic times.” He added, “It’s a family here. People believe in the mission.” However, he pointed out that the stained glass window for the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen has the date of


November 2, 2017

Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Joseph Alexander, director of TheEdwardMorganBallet, coaxes a guest at the celebration to dance.

its founding, 1982, and then a dash, with the notion that one day there would be an end date “because the problem had been addressed,” Greenlaw said.

Reverend Elizabeth Maxwell, who was with the soup kitchen for 25 years, agreed, saying, “On one level, of course, it’s a great thing to see it going strong.

models for all of us.” After receiving the award, Davis said that he would be going right back to preparing for that night’s show. “We often ask ourselves what would we do if we were faced with this kind of decision. Gray asked, ‘Why is nobody doing anything?’ and then did what many of us couldn’t. I am immensely proud of him,” said Kevin McKenzie, ABT’s artistic director.

One the other hand, we always wanted to go out of business.” During the evening, many, like Maxwell, spoke of their time at the soup kitchen. Ottley, the director of operations, praised the volunteers and the staff who make the program work. He gave a special award to Wendy Shepherd, parish administrator, who has worked for Holy Apostles for 29 years. “Anything you need to know about Holy Apostles, you call Wendy,” Ottley noted. Afterwards Shepherd said the honor came as a surprise. “They kept a very good secret from me.” She added, “This place speaks volumes for itself. This is a place that is so unique to me, to New York and what is at the heart of it is giving, always giving.” NYC Community Media

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November 2, 2017



November 2, 2017

NYC Community Media

Photo by Rebecca White

Photo by Milo Hess

In the foreground, on West St., the Home Depot rental truck; the school bus it collided with can be seen in the background.

Flowers were already piling up Tues. afternoon at a makeshift shrine outside PS 234 on Greenwich St., near the end of the terrorist’s 15-block rampage.

BIKE PATH continued from p. 2

Counter Terrorism at the NYPD. The attack is not considered part of a wider terrorist plot, however, and the suspect is thought to have acted as a lone wolf killer, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. “There’s no evidence to suggest a wider plot, or wider scheme,” said Cuomo. The attack drew a massive emergency response, and West St. from 14th St. down to the Battery Tunnel was expected to remain closed in both directions until the evening of Wed., Nov. 1, to accommodate the ongoing investigation, according to police. New Yorkers were also told to expect an increased police presence in various forms — including plainclothes officers, heavy weapons teams, and rooftop snipers — throughout the five boroughs and within the transit system, as security remains on high alert following the attack. The New York City Marathon, which is expected to draw some 50,000 runners, will go on as planned on Sun., Nov. 5, although athletes and spectators should expect a high security presence, police said. In multiple press briefi ngs held since the attack, both de Blasio and Cuomo urged New Yorkers to carry on without fear, in defiance of Saipov’s ultimate goal to spread terror with his attack. “To New Yorkers, be New Yorkers, and live your lives, and don’t let them change us or deter us in any manner, shape, or form,” Cuomo said. On Tuesday night, hours after the attack, more than a million costumed New Yorkers turned out for the 44thannual Village Halloween Parade. —Additional reporting by Rebecca White NYC Community Media

November 2, 2017



November 2, 2017

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Profile for Schneps Media

Manhattan Express  

November 2, 2017

Manhattan Express  

November 2, 2017