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The Paper of Record d for Greenwich h Village, Vii llag V ll a ll ag g e, e , East E as a s t Village, Vii llll a V ag g e, Lower Low w er e r East Ea ass t Side, S de, Si Soho, Union Chinatown ion Square, Chin n at ato ow w n and an a n d Noho, nd Noh No ho o , Since Sii nc S n e 1933 19 1 9 33 33

November 2, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 44

Council votes to end law banning dancing in bars, restaurants BY L AUREN GILL


verybody cut footloose! Dance fans are boogieing across the boroughs following the City Council’s Tuesday vote to repeal a Prohibition-era law that banned dancing in establishments — including bars and restaurants — without a spe-

cial license. Opponents of the statute said it’s about time the legislation — which many alleged is discriminatory — is abolished, so that they and other beat lovers can get down in peace. “The authoritarian and racist cabaret law has terrorized DANCING continued on p. 20

Diversity plan aims for District 1 schools to mirror the district BY LEVAR ALONZO


ower East Side and East Village parents have long advocated for more racial inclusion in their district’s elementary schools. On Thurs., Oct. 26, the city’s Department of Education announced it is launching a pilot school choice program for a school-choice

system aimed at increasing racial and socioeconomic diversity in schools in Community School District 1. The pilot program, called Diversity in Admissions, is the first of its kind in New York City, and includes a Family Resource Center. It will go into DIVERSITY continued on p. 8


Heavily armed police mixed in among Village Halloween Paradegoers Tuesday night, just a few hours after the deadly terror attack nearby on the Hudson River bikeway.

Rampage on bikeway; Terrorist mows down 8 BY COLIN MIXSON AND REBECCA WHITE


terrorist killed eight people and injured 12 others with a pickup truck he drove onto the Hudson River bike path bordering West St. in Lower Manhattan Tuesday, in the deadliest act of terror to rock the city since 9/11. “This was...a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed

Hallo revelers not scared...... p. 10

at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives, who had no idea what was about to hit them,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference shortly after the incident. Sayfullo Saipov was behind the wheel of the truck he rented from Home Depot when he entered the bike path at W. Houston St. outside Pier 40 at 3:05 p.m. He accelerated to high speeds heading south, crushing cyclists and pedestri-

ans 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. 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 ATTACK continued on p. 4

Acker Awards co-founders split in feud.............p. 2 Marte marches on L.E.S. and Chinatown ......... p. 12 www.TheVillager.com

OLD P.S. 64 NEWS: Councilmember Rosie Mendez explained to us that, as far as she knows, there are two main ways that the city can reacquire the old P.S. 64 from Gregg Singer and his partners: negotiate with him directly to get him to sell the property, or simply seize it through eminent domain and pay him fair market value. Mendez said she only heard about the mayor’s plan to announce that he wants the city to take the building back two hours before the recent District 2 town hall meeting they co-hosted. As far as the claim by Chris Flash, the editor of THE SHADOW, the local anarchist newspaper, that the city could simply “rescind” the building’s 1998 sale at auction to Singer, Mendez said, “I don’t know if that’s accurate, if that can be done, if you can rescind a sale all these years later. … What I know to be the elements of a contract, I think those have been met,”

she said. If it turns out that certain “clauses” were left out of the contract, however, that could provide an opening, she noted. Meanwhile, Chino Garcia, the head of CHARAS, the group that formerly occupied the old E. Ninth St. school building as CHARAS / El Bohio (El Bohio meaning “the hut”), told us they are still waiting to meet with de Blasio administration officials to talk about details. “We’ve only been talking on the phone, but we are getting ready for the meeting,” he said. He said CHARAS and members of the Save CHARAS Committee have been meeting to talk about programming the building. Managing and operating the building shouldn’t be difficult, on the other hand, he said. “The affordability is very important,” he said of the programs that will be offered. “Our idea is to try to help people, to try to get a facility for people that cannot afford rents.” As for what kind of uses would go into the building, Mendez told us, “If we can get space for CHARAS back in there, that would be good. There are a lot of nonprofits, and we’ve lost three nursing homes between this district and [Councilmember] Margaret Chin’s. We have a need for schools. In terms of the building and the use, I don’t know what the city’s thinking. There is a community-facility deed restriction for the building.” Garcia tipped us off that Mendez and her heir apparent, Carlina Rivera, are planning a big press conference Monday at noon on City Hall’s steps. The event will celebrate the birthday of the late Armando Perez, CHARAS’s artistic director, thank the mayor for his announcement about taking back the building, and “celebrate the rich history of CHARAS.”

ACKER FLAP: The two co-founders of the Acker Awards have had a major falling out and are now fighting over what direction the event will go in. They are also battling over who even retains the right, at this point, to use the very name of the late writer Kathy Acker, the awards’ namesake. Clayton Patterson, the Lower East Side documentarian, wants to take the Acker Awards “global,” enlisting others to hold parallel events in multiple cities and countries, from Toronto and Montreal in Canada, to Germany, Austria and Texas, among other places. Writer Alan Kaufman, meanwhile, wants the event to “stay true to its roots” and be totally noncommercial. The two co-created the awards in 2013, with Kaufman hosting an event in San Francisco and Patterson doing a version in New York City. Setting off the underground-arts storm, it seems that Patterson didn’t consult with Kaufman about his global expansion plans. But Patterson says the w r iter ’s i nvolve me nt with the Ackers has faded over the years — Kaufman admits he handed off the S.F. event to two other people to run after the first two years — and that its Web site, which Kaufman controls, is not being maintained. Kaufman, for his part, says




that Kathy Acker was his friend, and he simply will not allow her name to be besmirched by Patterson, who he accuses of trying to aggrandize himself — and even profit! — through the event. He also said that Patterson never made efforts to include him in the annual New York events after he moved here from Frisco. Patterson says he photographed Acker once, but admits she was not really a friend of his. But he bristles at Kaufman’s charges that he’s somehow cashing in on the annual affair. “Show me the money!” he declared. “I mean, c’mon!” Specifically, Kaufman accused Patterson of selling some of the boxes full of honorees’ contributions that he painstakingly collects and assembles for each year’s installment — an accusation that the documentarian fumed is completely unfounded. Patterson insists the Ackers have always been about promoting under-recognized, underground and avant-garde artists — and always will be. Kaufman, Villager readers will recall, organized the benefit concert in 2015 at Theatre 80 St. Mark’s — with Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye as headliners — to aid the victims of the Second Ave. gas explosion. “I don’t have any Patti Smith in my boxes,” Patterson scoffed, saying the Ackers have never been about promoting recognized artists. “My fame has always been about going up against it,” he added. Finding ourselves somewhat in the role of a hopeless mediator, we were in the middle of the pair’s e-mail backand-forth earlier this week, as dozens of increasingly heated messages flew between them. Initially, Patterson agreed to drop the Ackers name and try — with the help of others — to think up an appropriate new one while continuing the event. But, at some point, he changed his mind and now plans to keep calling his event the Acker Awards. Kaufman said he will reach out to Kathy Acker’s estate to block his former partner from using her name. Making their e-mail war even more testy, Kaufman lived with Patterson and his wife, Elsa, for a while a few years ago in their Essex St. building, during which the two “outlaw artists” had at least one major blowup, and they still both seem sore about that less-than-successful stint as house mates. “He lived in my f---ing house two years ago. We never talked about the Ackers,” Patterson said, incredulously. Kaufman is now maintaining that he will be the one running the Acker Awards in New York City from now on. He also criticized Patterson for giving an Acker to a female boxer from the Overthrow gym on Bleecker St., saying it was just because Patterson is pals with the hipster boxers there. But Patterson counterpunched that the woman was deserving. Plus, let’s face it, while Patterson might plug a friend or two who is a non-artist each year with an award, most of the Ackers do go to deserving local creative types who have never gotten their due in the mainstream media and wider society. Well, all we can say at this point is, obviously…to be continued! We hope these two can work things out, or at least come to an amicable agreement on how to move forward. The Ackers has become a great event, and we hope it continues to thrive.

CORRECTIONS: Last week’s Scoopy’s item on word that Westside Market is coming into the former Mrs. Green’s space at Hudson and Bank Sts. incorrectly called the existing supermarket at Bethune and Greenwich Sts. Gristedes. Obviously, it’s D’Agostino. Also, while the item said that Village Independent Democrats members picked outside Mrs. Green’s, Erik Coler, V.I.D. president, clarified to us, “We never picketed Mrs. Green’s. We spoke to the manager and the union people but never picketed.”… Also, our article last week on the refloating of “Diller Island” said it would sit off of W. 15th St.; it should have read off of W. 14th St.


November 2, 2017


POLICE BLOTTER Essex ‘knock-out’

Raising cane

Break-in bust

Police said that three men were involved in a “knock-out game” attack on a 53-year-old woman on the Lower East Side more than a month ago that left her bleeding from her face. The attack was first reported by DNAinfo. The victim was walking on Essex St. between Grand and Hester Sts. around 9:41 p.m. on Sept. 25 when one of the men, approaching her from behind, hit her on her face’s right side, sending her to the ground, according to police. “I’m gonna do it,” the man reportedly said, before striking her. The two other men reportedly goaded him into doing it, according to the Daily News. The trio didn’t attempt to take anything from the woman, leading police to characterize it as a “knock-out” attack. In the cowardly assaults, the perpetrators sucker punch their victims. The woman refused medical treatment at the scene. The Seventh Precinct has released a wanted poster with surveillance photos of three men they believe were involved in the assault.

A man viciously attacked his former flame inside 84 Christopher St. on Mon., Oct. 23, at 8 p.m., according to police. The victim, 24, stated that during an argument, his ex-boyfriend grabbed a cane and hit him about 20 times, causing bruising to his arms and fingers, a cut to his hand and substantial pain. The suspect also reportedly hit him with a glass mug and wrapped a dog leash around his neck, making it difficult for him to breathe. Martin Santomenno, 56, was arrested for felony assault. In an incident the following day involving the same two individuals, police said that Santomenno was hit in the back and chest inside 84 Christopher St. on Tues., Oct. 24, at 1:45 p.m. The 56-year-old victim left to walk to the Sixth Precinct and the suspect followed behind him and took his keys and wallet from his pants pocket. Carlyle David, 24, was arrested for felony grand larceny. The items were recovered from the suspect at the precinct.

Two men were in front of 65 Bank St. on Sun., Oct. 28, at 12:10 a.m., inspecting the locks because of numerous break-ins, police said. A man approached the building and the two inspectors recognized him from a break-in the day before. The suspect fled toward W. Fourth and W. 11th Sts. After a canvass of the area with police was conducted, the perp was spotted on Waverly Place and both witnesses positively identified the suspect. Angel Velez, 34, was arrested for felony burglary.

Simply smashing A man broke a window in front of 7 Greenwich Ave. on Wed., Oct. 25, at 10:55 p.m., police said. The glass was broken intentionally with an unknown object, and during a search of the suspect they found him in possession of stolen property. The window costs more than $250 to fix.

Ronald R. Morris, 21, was arrested for felony criminal mischief.

Boutique thief Police said that on Thurs., Oct. 12, around 4:10 p.m., inside Shoegasm, at 71 Eighth Ave., between W. 13th and 14th Sts., a man entered the location and removed a bag belonging to a 60-year-old woman who was shopping inside. Police said the same suspect also struck in Chelsea on Mon., Aug. 28, around 9:25 p.m., hitting the Sephora store, at 112 W. 34th St., where he removed a wallet from a purse that was on the floor belonging to a 28-year-old woman. The suspect was last seen wearing a black shirt, silver chain around his neck with a charm, a hat and blue jeans.

Tabia C. Robinson and Lincoln Anderson

For more news & events happening now visit www.TheVillager.com


November 2, 2017


Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association News Story, First Place, 2015 Editorial Page, First Place, 2015 Editorials, First Place, 2014 News Story, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009









The terrorist’s trashed rental truck on West St. on Wednesday morning after the deadly attack on the bike path.

Bikeway rampage; Terrorist mows down 8 ATTACK continued from p. 1



Member of the New York Member of the National Press Association Newspaper Association

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November 2, 2017

cars,” said Greg Ahl, a Brooklyn resident. “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. The man sprang from the truck wielding two pistols, a pellet gun and a paintball gun, yelling “Allahu Akbar!” (“God is great!). He stalked among cars on West St. before sprinting toward a group of nearby children, according Thibeaud Roy, a 15-year-old Stuyvesant High School student, who ran for cover when he spotted the weapons. “I was leaving Stuyvesant,” Roy said. “I was going to the bridge on the right that goes over West St. I was with a group of friends and I heard a commotion. I thought maybe someone had just crashed their car. I went down the steps a bit and I saw it was a white pickup truck, and the front end was all busted and there was smoke coming out. “And then I didn’t know what was happening and then the guy opened the door and he came out with two pistols in his hands, one was golden and the other was silver. There was a large group of kids that were gathered nearby and he started running toward them and then I saw him sprint and then I just sprinted back into the building and that’s all I saw from there. I was just scared for the kids at first. I just saw him run at them with his pistols in hand. “I went back to the windows and I saw the bodies of the people he ran over,” Roy

said. “We saw two people, the Citi Bikes all messed up. We realized they were dead.” The attack was ended by First Precinct Police Officer Ryan Nash, 28, who wounded Saipov with a gunshot to the abdomen. According to the Daily News, Nash happened to be nearby at Stuyvesant High School, where he had responded to a report of a 17-year-old student who was suicidal. Saipov 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 victims perished, according to Daniel Nigro, the Fire Department commissioner. Three victims have been released from the hospital, and four suffered critical injuries, but are in stable condition. The remaining five 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 home found notes indicating he carried out the attack in the name of ISIS, following months of planning. His attack closely mirrored strategies published on social media by the terrorist organization, according to John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism for the New York Police Department.

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,” Cuomo said at the press conference following the attack. The incident 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 Wednesday evening 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 Sunday, although athletes and spectators should expect a high security presence, police said. In multiple press briefings 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 1 million costumed New Yorkers turned out for the 44th Annual Village Halloween Parade. TheVillager.com


November 2, 2017



In attack’s aftermath, investigation goes on


arly Tuesday evening, the terrorist’s truck was left on the Hudson River bikeway at Chambers St. where the murderer’s bloody path ended after he


November 2, 2017

crashed into a school bus, just out of top of bottom photo. In top photo, a forensics team slowly combed West St., moving south, likely looking for bullet-shell casings.

Just about a block north of the Chambers St. pedestrian bridge, the bodies of victims slain by the terror truck still lay on the bike path under white sheets. In the bottom pho-

to, a white “ghost bike” can also be seen, marking where Olga Evgleska Cook, 30, an Italian triathlete, was fatally struck in June by a hit-and-run driver on the bikeway.


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Plan aims for District 1 schools to mirror the district DIVERSITY continued from p. 1

effect for the 2018-19 school year. School District 1 is roughly bounded by E. 14th St., the East River, Fourth Ave. / Bowery, Delancey and Clinton Sts. Parents have always been able to choose between the district’s elementary schools. Nevertheless, often the schools are racially and socioeconomically segregrated. In fact, according to a 2014 report by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, in many cases, District 1 schools are “intenselyâ€? segregrated, with only 1 percent to 10 percent white students. “We know that all students benefit from diverse and inclusive classrooms, and District 1 is taking an important step forward with their districtwide diversity plan,â€? said Schools Chancellor Carmen FariĂąa. “I thank District 1 parents and community members for their leadership in advocating for more diverse schools, and I’ll be closely monitoring the impact of this diversity plan as we engage in efforts across the city.â€? D.O.E. initially introduced elements of the plan in early September, and held public meetings at every District 1 school to gather family and community feedback. The feedback led to several improvements and additions to the diversity initiative. Under the diversity program, students who qualify for free or low-cost lunches,


An Ear th School student painted a pumpkin at the E. Sixth St. school’s recent fundraiser in Tompkins Square Park. The school holds three fundraisers per year.

live in temporary housing or are English Language Learners will have priority for 67 percent of the seats for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten in every District 1 school. Students without those criteria will have priority for the remaining 33 percent of the seats. “Our roots are in our communities, and as parent leaders who are able to



  Endorsed candidates

D.O.E. hopes the initiative will create more equitable access to the district’s schools and ensure that families are equipped with the best information to allow them to list their five or more preferred school choices on their application. “We know that we have a responsibility to teach our kids that there are people in the community who look like them and speak the language they speak, and also that there are people with different experiences,� Pena and the C.E.C. members said. “When our kids grow up and learn alongside children from diverse backgrounds, they become effective communicators with different types of people and succeed in different environments, and we know that’s really going to help them when they’re adults.� According to D.O.E., the District 1 school diversity plan efforts grew from a Socioeconomic Integration Pilot Program, or SIPP, grant awarded by the state Education Department in 2015 for increasing socioeconomic diversity in elementary schools. Both the District 1 Diversity in Admissions pilot program and Family Resource Center will be continually reviewed to ensure they are advancing the goals of diversity and equity in the district. This will include an evaluation of the plan’s impact at the end of the 2018 admissions cycle.

If the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (CCRA) passes Congress, carrying a gun into NYC from out of state will be easier than ever.

Ballot measures

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raise our own kids in this community, this diversity plan is very important to us,â&#x20AC;? said Naomi PeĂąa, president of Community Education Council 1, along with fellow C.E.D. members, in a press release. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are thankful for the valuable partnership between parent leaders and the D.O.E. The D.O.E. has heard and incorporated our feedback and shown commitment to ensuring this is an equitable plan, and we are united in doing whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best for our kids and our community.â&#x20AC;? D.O.E. is urging District 1 families to list at least five school choices on their childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pre-K and kindergarten applications. When they do this, according to D.O.E., families â&#x20AC;&#x153;maintain a district priority such that they are more likely to get an offer from one of their top five choices.â&#x20AC;? On Oct. 2, D.O.E. also opened what it is calling a Family Resource Center, at P.S. 15, at 333 E. Fourth St., which is aimed at educating families about their school-choice options. The center provides a one-stop spot for application and enrollment support and information about schools, programs and other city services available to District 1 children and families. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our vision is that we are the aid to community members and families,â&#x20AC;? Pena said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The vision of the office is to help families make the best choice of school for them.â&#x20AC;?

November 2, 2017

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


Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an Urgent Care Center right on 14th Street. Perfect for us 40-ish skateboarders.


                   646-568-5690 mountsinai.org/unionsquare



November 2, 2017



Boo who? H’ween revelers unafraid after path attack


ust a few hours after a terrorist attack blocks away on the Tribeca waterfront killed eight people and injured 11 others, thousands upon thousands of New Yorkers showed their grit and refusal to be cowed by marching up Sixth Ave. at the annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. As expected, there were plenty of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton costumes. The ubiquitous Marni Halasa, a candidate for City Council in the Third District (Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen) lit up in a smile as her favorite photographer, The Villager’s Milo Hess, snapped her picture as she held “King Donald” prisoner at sword-point, bottom left.


November 2, 2017





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www.cityandcountry.org November 2, 2017


Marte backers on the march in L.E.S., Chinatown BY K ARI LINDBERG


ore than 50 mostly older Chinatown residents gathered on Wed., Oct. 25, for a march through Chinatown to show support and galvanize new voters for Christopher Marte, the Independence Party candidate running for District 1 City Council. Starting from Seward Park, the marchers wended through core areas of Chinatown, including Canal and Mott Sts. and Confucius Plaza, where they converged on Chatham Square and were joined by Marte marchers from the Lower East Side who had been simultaneously taking a different route. The united march ended in a rally at Chatham Square with neighborhood residents and local business owners speaking in support for Marte. At the Chinatown marchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s start, at the entrance of Seward Park, chants of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Support Marte!â&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Lower East Side and Chinatown not for sale!â&#x20AC;? rang out in Mandarin Chinese from partisans standing behind a banner reading, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Chinese Support Marte for City Council,â&#x20AC;? in both English and Chinese. Joining his supporters, Marte stood for photos before joining the other Lower East Side for Marte groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s march that started at Montgomery and

Madison Sts. The march, organized by the Chinese for Marte Committee, came at a crucial time for his campaign. Its goal was to inform more residents and raise greater awareness for his campaign. Given that he lost the Democratic primary on Sept. 12 by a mere 222 votes to two-term incumbent Margaret Chin, who has held the office the past eight years, there is a strong urgency among his campaign that every vote counts. Now, running as a third-party candidate in the general election, Marte will have a second chance to try and unseat Chin on Tues., Nov. 7. Aaron Foldenauer, who also ran in the primary â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and was seen by most as a spoiler â&#x20AC;&#x201D; will be running in the general election, as well, on the Liberty Party line. Given the slim margin by which Marte previously lost, he and his supporters believe he has a chance of winning the general election. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The [primary] election showed that the majority of the people in this district want change: Fifty-four percent of this district voted against the incumbent,â&#x20AC;? Marte said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clear that they want change. He added that the march had â&#x20AC;&#x153;residents from Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Soho, Little Italy and the West Village, all united calling for changeâ&#x20AC;? Much of Marteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s support from the





NOVEMBER SIXTEENTH                  !# %!' #(


November 2, 2017


Supporters at the Oct. 25 march by Chinatown and Lower East Side residents for Christopher Marte for City Council rallied in Chatham Square. Due to a loophole in the term-limits law, the incumbent, Margaret Chin, can run for a third consecutive four-year term in office. Normally, only two terms in a row are allowed.

Chinese for Marte Committee and Lower East Side for Marte comes from his decision to support the Chinatown Working Groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rezoning plan, which calls for limits on development, such as height restrictions on new developments and harsh anti-tenant-harassment laws against landlords. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He supports the Chinatown Working Group that will protect not only Chinese, but also Latinos and blacks,â&#x20AC;? noted Kai Wen Yang, an organizer with Youth Against Displacement, which is part of the Chinese for Marte Committee. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This was the key reason for our support,â&#x20AC;? she said. Walking past Allen St. and toward Canal St., grandmothers pushed the strollers of their grandchildren, as they held signs in both Chinese and English, reading, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Vote Christopher Marteâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Marte cares about Chinatown.â&#x20AC;? Throughout the roughly 40-minute march, organizers routinely directed the crowd to bring the chants of â&#x20AC;&#x153; Support Marteâ&#x20AC;? to a louder volume, as shop keepers, workers on their breaks, tourists, and general pedestrians began noticing the crowd. Many onlookers stopping to take photos with the marchers and engaged in small conversations the organizers, who were passing out fliers on Marteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campaign. For many of the supporters marching, electing Marte and unseating Chin is personal. Ms. Guo (who withheld her first name), an eight-year resident of Chinatown, was told by her landlord in 2016 that she needed to immediately vacate her rent-stabilized apartment.

Currently, she is seeking a court order to remain in her home, where she now lives in fear that any day she could be homeless. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is harder and harder for people to find housing. The rents are increasingly rising,â&#x20AC;? Guo said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Margaret Chin wants to sell out Chinatown, she just wants the money, so she is forcing us out.â&#x20AC;? Guo noted that many Marte supporters gave as their main reason for attending â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and what has been the key motivational force behind much of the Districts 1 opposition toward Chin â&#x20AC;&#x201D; is Chinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not taking a hard stance against landlords who are price-gouging their tenants and harassing out low-income tenants, and allowing developers to continue building luxury apartments. In short, Guo said, Chin is complicit in the gentrification that has been rapidly eroding the community and culture of District 1. Yet, while many in the Chinese community feel that one of their own has turned their back on them, marchers for the Lower East Side for Marte took issue with what they perceived as an underlying Asian favoritism in her polices. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I would have supported Margret Chin,â&#x20AC;? noted Rose Marie Hameed, a 25-year District 1 resident. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But over the discussion of the senior centerâ&#x20AC;? to be included at the proposed residential building at 260 South St., â&#x20AC;&#x153;she expressed support for older Asians, but not blacks or Latinos.â&#x20AC;? The Villager could not verify this.



New York City Transit Workers




Proposition #1

The New York State Constitutional Convention

Latonya Crisp-Sauray Recording Secâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;y

Earl Phillips Secâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;y Treasurer

Tony Utano President

Nelson Rivera Administrative VP



November 2, 2017


EDITORIAL Protect the path


uesday, we saw terror return to Lower Manhattan in the worst such attack in New York since 9/11. Eight people were killed and 12 more injured by a radical Islamic, ISIS-loving terrorist driving a rented flatbed truck. Many of those slain were tourists, including five from Argentina, plus one from Belgium. Three other Belgians were injured. Also among the dead was LREI alumnus Nicholas Cleves, Class of ’12. Cleves, 23, attended the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School from kindergarten through 12th grade. The young software engineer, who lived in the Archive building, at Greenwich and Christopher Sts., was the only New Yorker killed in the attack. Luckily the terrorist struck at 3 p.m. on a weekday, or the carnage would have been far worse. We’ve seen vehicular terrorism cut its path of death and destruction across Europe. More recently, in Charlottesville, a white supremacist gunned his car into anti-racist counterprotesters, killing a young woman, which was deemed domestic terrorism by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. As usual, New Yorkers reacted with resilience and determination. Tens of thousands came out to enjoy the Annual Village Halloween Parade. But the question of keeping the Hudson River bikeway — one of the nation’s most heavily used — safe remains. Nearly 11 years ago, a drunk driver leaving a party at Chelsea Piers drove down the bike path and killed Eric Ng, a 22-year-old N.Y.U. graduate, as he biked near W. Houston St. As The Villager reported then, “...[T]he fact that a drunken driver so easily was able to get on the protected bike path — with fatal consequences — has heightened concerns to the point where something, at last, may now be done to correct the situation. Currently, the only physical barriers to keep car drivers from driving on the path are yellow pylons screwed into the center of the path at spots such as just south of Chelsea Piers and at W. Houston St., near the entrance to Pier 40. ...” As for why the bollards could bend, allowing vehicles to drive over them, Doug Currey, then-state Department of Transportation regional director, told The Villager it was to allow snowplows to clear the path in winter. Plus, fi xed poles could present a hazard to bikers, The Villager noted. “There’s always a trade-off,” he said. “Look at the potential impact to thousands of riders [versus] the occasional drunkard who goes on the path.” But now we have a much bigger problem. The terrorist drove right onto the path at Houston St. A Hudson River Park Trust spokesperson said it will be up to state D.O.T. to decide what, if any, safety improvements can be made to the bikeway. As we were finishing writing this editorial, that spokesperson forwarded to us a Daily News article posted online an hour earlier, in which Paul Steely White, director of Transportation Alternatives, calls for installing “barrier posts” on the path. “We need to start seriously considering strategic restriction of vehicle access in areas that are particularly vulnerable, teeming with pedestrians and cyclists,” White said. “There’s a dozen major intersections where vehicles can enter the greenway.” Yes, hard bollards will make the path more inconvenient for park maintenance staff and Park Enforcement Patrol officers — but what’s the alternative? We look forward to D.O.T.’s plan.


November 2, 2017

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Respect Mother Nature

Pier 55 will never happen

To The Editor: “ ‘Diller Island’ sails again: Cuomo salvages Pier 55 plan” (news article, Oct. 26): Many in the West Village don’t like pieces of the Hudson being awarded to billionaires. Plus, this will block views of the Hudson. The western end of “Dillerville” will rise 60 feet to 70 feet tall, effectively hiding the Hudson. Please leave Mother Nature alone. The people of the far West Village don’t want this. Only the politicians do and a few Community Board 2 people who don’t live nearby. After years with impossible crowds, terrible traffic and other commotion due to the Meatpacking District, many of us West Villagers breathed a sigh of relief hearing Dillerville was not happening. It has been (sadly) exhumed.

To The Editor: “ ‘Diller Island’ sails again: Cuomo salvages Pier 55 plan” (news article, Oct. 26): I predict this thing will never be built. Nobody’s talked yet about the expense of piping fresh water into the island, and of a sewage system to carry off human waste.

Elaine Young

Susan Brownmiller

Needs more than a tweak To The Editor: Re “On housing, we need a ‘Mitchell-Lama 2.0’” (talking point, by Marni Halasa): The reason Mitchell-Lama was possible was because there were large portions of the city’s land, including Manhattan, that was cheap and available. It will take more than a minor “tweak” to bring it back. Donnie Moder

Big-bucks art power play To The Editor: “ ‘Diller Island’ sails again: Cuomo salvages Pier 55 plan” (news article, Oct. 26): Disgusting how real estate interests and billionaires always use art as a cultural cover story for their greed. These same plutocrats, Diller and von Furstenberg, pulled this scam with their deceptive “donations” to the High Line. Look at it now: street artists excluded, scores of food carts, daily corporate promotions, awful corporate-sponsored art installations and residential towers occupied by Russian mafia oligarchs, making the local streets impassable. Their “generous” donations ended up netting them a huge increase in the value of their buildings, which boosted their value by billions of dollars. I wonder how much they donated to Cuomo’s re-election campaign to get him so personally involved in this useless project? Robert Lederman Lederman is president, A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics)


N.Y.U. slap in the face To The Editor: Re “Neighbors: N.Y.U. flouting agreement to protect light, air” (news article, Oct. 26): Another N.Y.U. slap in the face of its neighbors! Mrs. Chin is not going to help the community on this issue. And N.Y.U.’s not going to listen anyway. Very selfish people destroying our neighborhoods. Sylvia Rackow

Political redemption To The Editor: Re “Neighbors: N.Y.U. flouting agreement to protect light, air” (news article, Oct. 26): There’s only one way that all the politicians who voted for the “N.Y.U. 2031” development plan and now are courting us for our votes can redeem themselves. They would have to show up at 181 Mercer St. with workers and wheelbarrows and put the bricks back in the pit and LETTERS continued on p. 24


Vote No on a state constitutional convention TALKING POINTS BY DEBOR AH J. GLICK


very 20 years, New Yorkers are asked to decide whether this state should hold a constitutional convention to consider constitutional amendments. That question will be on the ballot once again on Election Day. Holding a constitutional convention would threaten many of the essential protections already included in the New York State Constitution, and I encourage people to vote No. Generally, our constitution allows for amendments that are throroughly discussed and reviewed by the state Legislature and voters, one amendment at a time. A constitutional convention would instead allow a select group of delegates to open up the entire Constitution. Quick fixes usually result in bad policy. And though the deliberative process can be frustrating, we have many essential protections that could go out the window in a constitutional convention dealing with the entire scope of our government. Progressive voices frustrated by the failure of the legislative process to enact a number of reforms, like campaign finance reform, know that the stumbling block has been the Republican-dominated state Senate. Constitutional convention delegates are elected on state Senate lines, giving a clear edge to Republican or conservatives

Deborah Glick.

delegates. Added to that is the reality that Citizens United allows groups like the Koch brothers to pour funds into delegate elections. These conservative groups are anxious to undermine key protections, and would jump at the opportunity to do so in New York. Naturally, progressives are energized by the prospect of advancing our views in many areas, a desire I would share if there weren’t as many organized groups with huge resources arrayed on the other side seeking not only to eliminate these protections but also prohibit them from ever going back into law. What do we have to lose? Education: The Constitution guarantees a free and sound public education, which was the basis of the successful Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. Educational funding will be a prime target for education “reformers,” who consistently work to divert funds from traditional public schools to charter schools. Additionally, the Blaine Amendment enforces a separation of church and state in religious school funding. While there are exceptions for transportation costs, textbook aid and other mandatory-

cost supports, private and parochial schools regularly advocate for increased funding that would violate the Blaine Amendment, and would try to eliminate this provision. Social welfare: The LaGuardia Clause, added to our constitution in the 1930s, requires the state to provide “aid, care and support to the needy.” This has been a cornerstone of our social safety net, which obligates the state to provide shelter to the homeless, affordable housing to the poor, and healthcare to the needy. There are endless battles in the Legislature to protect the support we offer, and Social Darwinists are lined up to do away with this vital protection. Reproductive freedom: While the state Assembly has repeatedly passed the Reproductive Health Act, which I sponsor and which would uphold our abortion laws, the measure is never taken up in the Republican state Senate. A convention offers these antiabortion forces a chance to undermine our efforts permanently by restricting access to reproductive healthcare and sex education. Some hope we could enshrine Roe v. Wade protections in our constitution, but I am unwilling to roll the dice and take the substantial risk of hurting our state’s women. Environment: Our constitution provides for forever-wild lands. These forest preserves are part of the city’s watershed and limiting their development protects our water supply and provides for preservation of key habitat for many species. The consitution could also be changed to increase localities’ abilities to institute “home rule,” giving cities and counties the right to allow for fracking or other dangerous and unsound practices. Criminal justice: Courts have interpret-

ed our constitution to guarantee a right to counsel beginning upon request, even for police lineups. A suspect can’t be forced to give up this right. Unlike federal law, our state constitution guarantees a right to a 12-person jury and a unanimous verdict. We can’t be unreasonably stopped and searched without an objective basis, and our homes are inviolate without a warrant. Evidence gathered in violation of our rights can be excluded, and this “exclusionary rule” will be a target for prosecutors and law enforcement backed by conservative forces. Workers’ rights: Our constitution provides for a system of civil service based on merit and fitness for most state public employment, and protections for workers to organize and bargain collectively. We protect prevailing wages for workers contracted to work for the state, and we provide workers’ compensation for those injured on the job. Workers’ compensation and other protections are under constant attack by the business community, with many states undermining such protections through “right to work” laws, and those forces would work to achieve the same outcome here. Congress: But the most important reason to Vote No is that next year our efforts must be focused on electing progressives to the U.S. House and Senate. Focusing on electing convention delegates will divert our energy and resources. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize. Vote No. Glick is assemblymember, 66th District (West Village, Hudson Square, Tribeca, Soho, Noho, East Village west of First Ave. and a small part of Union Square)

Why tenants should vote against a ‘Con Con’ BY MICHAEL MCKEE


very 20 years, the New York State Constitution mandates a statewide vote on whether to convene a convention to consider amending it. On Nov. 7, New Yorkers will vote Yes or No. This measure, on the back of the ballot, is more important than anything on the front. Tenants Political Action Committee debated this question at length, and despite many arguments in favor, we voted unanimously to oppose “Con Con” in 2017. With a state government that is a model of dysfunction and gridlock, it is tempting to try an end run around the governor and state Legislature to attempt necessary reforms they have refused to enact, despite the stunning number of politicians who have been convicted of corruption and gone to prison. Many New Yorkers of goodwill believe that a constitutional convention could force such reforms into being, and indeed TheVillager.com

that is a theoretical outcome. But the risk of a negative result for tenants and constituencies without access to piles of cash is very real. One negative is that delegates are chosen based on the 63 state Senate districts. Because Andrew Cuomo allowed the state Senate Republicans to draw hyperpartisan district lines to preserve their shrinking majority, this could result in Republican delegates to a convention having a majority. There is every reason to believe that the very politicians we now criticize for refusing to enact progressive reforms would control the convention. Current and former elected officials, and even lobbyists, are eligible to run, and legislators could use their superior name recognition and campaign funds to outgun grassroots candidates. Anyone who understands how Albany really works sees the probable composition of a convention as inclined to do the bidding of special interests. Beyond the potential to water down

critical protections for poor people, workers, civil rights and wilderness protection, there is one “reform” of special importance to tenants: allowing special interests to place legislation directly on the ballot by petition. Many states allow this already. New York does not. It is not hard to imagine the real-estate lobby initiating a statewide referendum to terminate rent-control laws, which only exist in New York City and the Downstate suburbs. In fact, this is exactly how Massachusetts ended rent controls in 1994, passing a statewide referendum 52 percent to 48 percent. Only three cities in the eastern part of the state had rent control — Boston, Cambridge and Brookline — and the landlords’ multimillion-dollar media campaign in central and western Massachusetts made much of the fact that Cambridge’s mayor lived in a rent-controlled apartment. The analogy with New York is clear. New York City landlords would spend any amount to get rid of rent regulations

via statewide ballot initiative. And if they failed the first time, they would keep trying. Some progressive groups take the position that this would be a good change in New York. But they should consider the downside. Ballot initiatives are easier to mount by groups with superior resources, and easier for them to win for the same reason. A colleague in California told me, “Every time we face a ballot initiative, the landlords start with an $8 million budget and we struggle to raise $80,000.” We think there is a better way: In the last year, thousands of New Yorkers have become involved in organizations that work to raise political awareness and seek to hold politicians accountable, with a focus on swing districts and turncoat Democrats. The energy coming out of these efforts is inspiring. Let’s harness it to elect better legislators and change our laws, at last. McKee is treasurer, Tenants Political Action Committee November 2, 2017



Focus on cataract surgery: Common and effective


s 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, watching TV 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 eye’s natural lens, which is replaced with an artificial lens. This clear, plastic intraocular lens requires no special maintenance and is designed to properly focus. In many cases, the

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

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-clouded lens is removed,

but the lens’s thin, outer layers, 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, fixed-focus, accommodating or 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 first week of recovery. Water splashed in the eyes can cause infection, so swimming should be avoided and caution should be taken when bathing or showering. AllAboutVision.com 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.

(formerly known as Nancy Burner & Associates, P.C.)

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November 2, 2017


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.” TheVillager.com

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


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/.


November 2, 2017

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”). TheVillager.com

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 “Conquest of the Universe or When Queens Collide,” commemorating both the playwright’s founding of his Ridiculous Theatrical Company half a century ago and his death 30 years ago. Inspired by Christopher Marlowe’s “Tamburlaine the Great” and set in outer space, it’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 Ludlam’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 Hell’s Kitchen apartment when he was then known as Tish Gervaise, one of Manhattan’s most lauded trans personalities and certainly the sexiest. Looking like Claudia Cardinale’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 Tish’s place, too, as was Holly fucking Woodlawn, and we all had a gay old time, perusing Antonio Lopez’s opulent new Arabian Nights-inspired book, for which Tish had modeled, and dishing some serious dirt (including what an avid fan of Screw magazine’s back page ads for transgender escorts Eddie Murphy was). It was a quite heavenly reunion, during the course of which, while discussing “Conquest of the Universe,” Zsa Zsa Gabor’s immortally trashy sci-fi epic “Queen of Outer Space” was heavily discussed. (You knew it would be.) Quinton, who spent this past summer memorizing a full act of Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” which he performed for a one-night stand in Provincetown at the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, said, “I was asked which of Charles’ plays they should use for this commemoration and TheVillager.com

Photo by David Noh

L to R: Brian Belovitch and Everett Quinton star in a revival of Charles Ludlam’s “Conquest of the Universe or When Queens Collide” (through Nov. 19 at La MaMa).

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. It’s a big production, we’re excited about the fabulous design of it, and I just want to get it up on its feet! I’m so proud of this cast, which I hand-picked. Of course, it’s very gay: you know, Charles used to say, ‘I get down on my knees every day and thank God I’m gay!’ ” Belovitch described his role as “a cross between Suzanne Sugarbaker from ‘Designing Women’ and Ann Richards, although not as smart. But she does use coquetry and various feminine wiles to gain power. You know, I haven’t acted or done drag in so long, look what I have to wear now, which I didn’t use to need!” And with that, Belovitch pulled out not only a cunning pair of high heels but a couple of hip pads. Tish Gervaise certainly didn’t need them back in the day, and Belovitch recounted some of his mesmerizing past. “I’m from Providence, Rhode Island, and always knew I was different from age four or five. The fi rst 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 wasn’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.” Belovitch began transitioning in his teens and came to New York — away from a decidedly non-supportive family with six siblings — where he fell into modeling and the cabaret/club world. He praised the great Lopez as “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, 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.



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Council votes to end law banning dancing DANCING continued from p. 1

New York City culture for almost a century. Today, that comes to an end,â&#x20AC;? said representatives for the Dance Liberation Network, an activist group that led the repeal effort. â&#x20AC;&#x153;See you on the dance floor.â&#x20AC;? Bushwick Councilmember Rafael Espinal introduced a bill to scrap the 1926 law in June, arguing that officials put it in place to shut down black jazz clubs of that era and that the measure has been used as a way to discriminate against minorities ever since. Opponents also charged the law provided authorities with a way to unfairly target small businesses by conducting surprise raids, which resulted in fines that drained the nightlife establishmentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; finances. Now that the City Council has voted to abolish the law, the bill will go before Mayor Bill de Blasio, who upon signing it, will do away with the legislation for good. Hizzoner voiced his support for repealing the statute in September, on the condition that nightlife businesses install surveillance cameras and ensure that security personnel is licensed. Activists who fought to scrap the legislation cheered its imminent abolition, claiming the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s after-hours industry will grow even more diverse when the cabaret law is no more. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This long-overdue repeal decriminalizes a fundamental cultural expression, and puts an end to the absurdity of an effective city ban on social dancing,â&#x20AC;? said representatives for the New York City Artists Coalition, another pro-repeal group. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is a very positive step toward a vibrant, safer and more inclusive cultural nightlife.â&#x20AC;? The law was used frequently by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the 1990s to crack down on nightclubs suspected of promoting or allowing drug use, The New York Times pointed out. Back then, as reported by The Villager, the city notably unsuccessfully tried to


Drop the mic! Mayor de Blasio is ready to declare victor y in repealing the cabaret law.

prevent Limelight operator Peter Gatien from regaining his cabaret license to keep him from reopening. A judge ruled the city was unfairly discriminating against Gatien. According to the Times, only 97 out of roughly 25,000 eating and drinking establishments in the city have a cabaret license, which is difficult and costly to obtain. The repeal will take effect one month after the mayor signs it into law. A downside of the lawâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s repeal in nightlife-heavy Downtown Manhattan is that it will lead to a slew of noise complaints by neighboring residents. An argument in favor of the cabaret law was that it restricted dance clubs to areas that are zoned for commercial manufacturing â&#x20AC;&#x201D; as in, not heavily residential.

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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


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.

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Lowline is still on track for opening by 2021 BY LEVAR ALONZO


he Lowline Lab — a drop-in space on Essex St. between Stanton and Rivington Sts. — attracted more than 100,000 visitors and was host to educational programming and community events. Now the Lowline team is looking “down the tracks” to what’s next in order to achieve opening the “world’s first underground park” in 2021. The lab space operated from October 2015 through February 2017 and showcased the solar technology that would power and illuminate the novel park. The city’s Economic Development Corporation last summer gave its support for preliminary work to begin on the vacant Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, which runs underneath Delancey St. for two blocks between Clinton and Norfolk Sts. The plan is to transform the underground space into a park with plants, grass and trees, with an educational angle, plus just free open space for everyone, according to Dan Barasch, the project’s co-founder. The roughly 60,000-square-foot old terminal is currently owned by the city and leased to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Barasch said it hasn’t been easy but they have been striving to meet benchmarks set by the city, and that the next phase is working on the space’s physical, design, programming and operations, as well as increasing community involvement.


A design rendering of the Lowline, which would be illuminated by sunlight through special solar technology.

“We know that the property is cityowned, so you need a partnership with the city,” he said. “We have been working hard to meet all their goals. We have learned that schematic design is hard, community engagement is hard and raising money is hard. But the next phase of our plan is design.” The city’s approval came with “conditions,” requiring the Lowline team to meet planning and fiscal goals. Barasch said the community has given basic guidelines for what people want to see done with the space, but that the Lowline team still wants more community input.

He is hoping to pinpoint local leaders with experience running a communitybased program and other experts, plus young and old alike. “We have questions, like is the space going to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Do we close sometimes for private events or do we charge tourists and not locals?” Barasch asked. “We have so many questions that we want to ask. All we know is that we want to build this free public space.” So far, they have reached out to the community through town halls, one-on-one sessions with experts and sought guidance

from Community Board 3. “These methods are proving good for us, but we aren’t reaching the other stakeholders in this project,” Barasch noted. “We are looking to target the young kids and seniors and the people that don’t regularly attend their community board meetings. “Our goal is, by this time next year, that we will have completed our design and have something more buildable,” he explained. One way the Lowline is successfully reaching out to the community is through its Young Ambassadors program. This initiative is a paid high school internship program for sophomores and juniors, which prepares them for careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and math a.k.a. STEAM. “The goal is to develop young leadership in the community, but also to be exposing young people to career opportunities that they may have never considered,” said Blaze Jones-Yellin, the Lowline’s manager of community and youth. E.D.C has extended its conditional agreement with the Lowline until April since they are meeting all the goals the agency has set. An E.D.C. representative said that once the Lowline has reached all the milestones the parties have agreed on, it will then be considered for public funding. The Land Use Committee of C.B. 3 recently was given an update on the Lowline’s progress and gave the project a continued thumbs up.

Letters to The Editor LETTERS continued from p. 14

cover it up, as if it did not exist, and plant trees and grass, and especially cherry trees, and get rid of all the scaffolding, etc. No more noise, dust, environmental health hazards and planning and destruction! Chin did us in. Marte knows the way Judith Chazen Walsh

Artists value garden To The Editor: The beautiful Elizabeth St. Garden has steadily become a vital place for many artists to sustain a meditative relationship to nature. Soho is only three blocks west. Recall only two decades ago, Soho was the capital of the New York City art world from the ’70s to late ’90s during Soho’s golden years. Not only New York City, but the center of the international art community, as well. I was in Soho all that time and am still


November 2, 2017

an artist there. I’m often well spoken of in big media for my hopes of changing the system for encouraging stronger, better art that can make a difference to the wider American public. Many artists were driven out by escalating rents, but a fair number remain. According to a long New York Times article last week, there’s a surprise resurgence of many galleries about to open in Soho. While that’s wonderful, there are no longer any places left in the community for artists to meet. The garden is the last green space around and is magnificent. Please give artists a needed toehold to revive things. Margaret Chin wants to destroy the garden as part of a shady real estate deal, though not one but several other suitable spaces for housing already exist a few blocks away. This garden is no weedy lot, as Chin continues to claim — and which she refuses to visit — but beloved by thousands weekly from all over the world for its beauty and place of peace besides serving the local community and artists. It would be a callous, fascist act for

Downtown New York City in these times, like the destroying of the original Penn Station. Real natural beauty and the preservation of a small bit of nature that can heal the spirit mean less than nothing to these developers like Chin. Show them they are wrong and preserve the Elizabeth St. Garden. I often post images about the garden on my Facebook page. Bill Rabinovitch

return. Monique Fong

Little goes long way To The Editor: Re “Why we’re pink” (news article, Oct. 12): The pink pages made the issue difficult to read. Next year, please consider a wraparound or pink limited to the cover page.

Tree’s pagan roots

Doug Douglass

To The Editor: Re “Ai Weiwei ‘Fence’ in full effect underneath the arch” (news article, Oct. 19): Many local Villagers and tourists have enjoyed the Christmas tree in Washington Square Park for many years. It is, however, not a Christian symbol. It began as a tree or other lit-up something in Northern European countries to remember, on the longest night of the year, that light would

E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 MetroTech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published. TheVillager.com

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ptimistic. That would be the word used to describe the emotion one of the longest-tenured coaches in New York sports history is experiencing right now. In his 25th season as the head coach of New York Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tennis program, Horace Choy is as excited as ever for the journey that lies ahead. An N.Y.U. alum, Choy signed on to become head coach for the 1993-94 athletic season following a standout career coaching at New York Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hunter High School. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My goal was to foster a team spirt and build up the program,â&#x20AC;? he said. As the coach of a Division III school without athletic scholarships, recruiting the best student-athletes can be a challenge. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I try to find that slim intersection of good tennis players, good students, players who want an urban environment for college and families that can afford tuition,â&#x20AC;? Choy said. Molded by that environment, Coach Choy has spent the majority of his 52 years in the New York City area and seen changes in the community that reflect his program, as well. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Both are bigger and in some ways better,â&#x20AC;? he said of the university and its tennis program. N.Y.U.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expansion from a commuter school to one with national and global reach has allowed for the recruitment of a more varied pool of prospects. Dipping into that pool has brought the program a string of positive string. With a roster boasting players from up to five different countries, the N.Y.U. womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tennis program has amassed an impressive 17-9 wonloss record over the past two seasons. With the team improving each season, Choy has boosted the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tennis proTheVillager.com

gram to a new level or relevancy. In addition to his work with the womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s program, in 2007, when the school needed him most, he took on the job as the head coach of the menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tennis team, too. These days, it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a surprise to see the Violets regarded in the upper tier of collegiate tennis. At the Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Northeast Regionals, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Choy and his players etched their names in college tennis history, taking home both the womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s singles and doubles titles. What made this feat even more noteworthy was that both the singles and doubles finals featured matchups between N.Y.U. women. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been doing this for 25 years and I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t remember a time when a team had all four finalists,â&#x20AC;? Choy reflected. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a pretty historic day for our program.â&#x20AC;? Like all great coaches, Choy has the ability to bring out the best in his players. Perhaps the biggest reason for his success is his ability to communicate with his players, a skill honed over 25 seasons on the job. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I would like to think that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m fair,â&#x20AC;? Choy said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have the same expectations of all my players, whether at the top of the lineup or at the bottom. I also think that I let my players know how much I value education and that they should commit to their schoolwork.â&#x20AC;? Pushing student-athletes to be the best they can both on the court and in the classroom, the coach is most proud of both the level of play and the academic standards his players achieved. Without a dedicated tennis facility near the Village, the team practices most nights at Stadium Tennis Center in the Bronx. These late-night practices would likely pose a real challenge to other coaches, but Choy does not let it deter him. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The players make the best of a tough situation,â&#x20AC;? he said. With fall tennis season ended, Choy is looking to the spring, when his team will take the court again, and â&#x20AC;&#x201D; as he has for the last 25 years â&#x20AC;&#x201D; for ways for his players to keep improving.

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November 2, 2017




Cutting the ribbon on the new garden, from left, Susan Stetzer, Rosie Mendez, Gale Brewer, Mitchell Netburn and Joslyn Car ter.


Shelter garden will help break down the barriers BY LEVAR ALONZO

CALL 718-260-2516



new community garden at the Third St. Men’s Shelter will now be blossoming for residents and neighbors to enjoy. On Wed., Oct. 25, Project Renewal — a housing and social charity that combats homelessness on all fronts — celebrated its 50th anniversary with a Halloweenthemed street “fall festival” and ribboncutting ceremony to open the new community garden, on E. Third St., between the Bowery and Second Ave. The new green space is a welcome addition to both the surrounding community and the charity’s oldest shelter. Project Renewal and the shelter hope that this new space will bring about a bond between the community and Third St. residents. “This garden will not just be for the residents, but for the community,” said Mitchell Netburn, C.E.O. of Project Renewal. “They are welcome to come in and help. We all have that image of a homeless person as someone who lives inside a shelter. The garden is here for the community to see people out there, and maybe come inside and talk to them. It just breaks down those barriers.” Joslyn Carter, administrator of the city’s Department of Homelessness Services, applauded the efforts of Project Renewal in assessing residents’ needs and helping prepare them with skills to have productive lives. “At Project Renewal, they really look at what a person needs to go back out into the community, and they are good at doing that,” she said. “Giving residents this skill is a benefit to the community, too, so that it is not ‘us against them.’ ” The garden will help the shelter’s residents with socialization, including those with mental and health issues and limited mobility. The shelter offers a wide range of health, recovery and job-training services to homeless men with substance-use

disorder histories. “The garden will allow men living at the Third St. Shelter to spend time outdoors, learn to grow and harvest herbs and vegetables and to socialize in a pleasant environment,” Netburn explained. The space will feature a greenhouse for growing herbs and vegetables, which came to fruition thanks to partnerships between Community Board 3, Project Renewal and D.H.S. At the ribbon-cutting, C.B. 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer thanked everyone for coming together and making the garden a place neighbors and shelter residents alike can enjoy. She also announced the garden would be getting a new fence soon. Project Renewal runs a culinary program, in which the men get job training in the industry and also provide food for the shelter residents. When the greenhouse is operational, the culinary students will use its produce in their meal preparation. Manhattan Borough President and Councilmember Rosie Mendez were at the celebration to show their support for the garden. According to Netburn, Mendez allocated funding to help complete the garden and was extremely supportive in the process. In 1991, with the advocacy of neighbors, the Third St. Men’s Shelter became the first homeless shelter contracted by D.H.S. to be run by an outside organization. Prior to Project Renewal’s involvement, the shelter had been a major quality-of-life problem for the area. “Thanks to the partnerships,” Netburn said, “we turned what was a cold, concrete space into this beautiful green space where residents of the building will get to enjoy the outdoor and programs, like horticultural therapy. We thought it would be appropriate to host a block party to thank the community for 50 years of continued support.” November 2, 2017


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