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YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN

Photos by Chrisitan Miles

EXIT STRATEGY

Refuse Fascism Opens the Door to Closing the Book on Trump/Pence (see page 2)

© CHELSEA NOW 2017 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

VOLUME 09, ISSUE 37 | NOVEMBER 9 - 15, 2017


Eyeing an End to Trump/Pence, Marchers Accept the Refuse Fascism Challenge

Jay W. Walker of Refuse Fascism is also a member of Gays Against Guns and Rise and Resist (both of those groups endorsed the Nov. 4 march).

Photos by Christian Miles

On Nov. 4, organizers in over two dozen locations nationwide answered Refuse Fascism’s call to “fill the streets of cities and towns” to declare the “whole regime illegitimate.”

Andy Zee of Revolution Books addressed the crowd.

BY TRAVIS STEWART With activists at the wheel and a diverse assortment of concerned citizens on board, the Refuse Fascism movement’s Nov. 4 march made the case for removing the current administration from office. Although House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would, the next day, tell CNN’s Jake Tapper that impeachment is “not someplace that I think we should go” at this time, organizers of the Saturday march made their position crystal clear by using “This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/ Pence Regime Must Go!” as the event’s

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rallying cry/slogan. Held simultaneously in over two dozen cities nationwide, the march launched a Refuse Fascism (refusefascism.org) call to “fill the streets of

cities and towns day after day and night after night, declaring this whole regime illegitimate — Demanding, and Not Stopping, Until the Trump/Pence Regime is Driven from Power.”

Following the Times Square rally, an orderly march proceeded through the streets of Manhattan to Washington REFUSE FASCISM continued on p. 17 NYC Community Media


Hell’s Kitchen resident, Ryan Farrish, 27, said he supported Councilmember Corey Johnson, saying he liked what he has done so far.

Photos by Dusica Sue Malesevic

This was the first local election Angela Filly, 23, was able to vote in.

Back of Ballot Sweeps Voter Interest as Local Races Lack Drama BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC It is a tale of two elections. Last year, on Nov. 8, excitement filled the air, lines ribboned down blocks, and the result surprised many. This year, on Tues., Nov. 7, there were no eager voters queuing and the results surprised none. Incumbents — Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer — handily won. Democrat Corey Johnson sailed into a second term as councilmember for District 3, garnering a total of 24,639 votes versus Eco Justice Party challenger Marni Halasa’s 1,487, according to the city’s Board of Election’s unofficial election results. (There were 53 writeins, but for whom was not specified.) The weather also got into the act of contrast — last year was a mild fall day while the wind, and, later, persistent rain made its presence felt on Tuesday. Chelsea Now spent about two and half hours outside of two polling stations — one in Hell’s Kitchen at PS 111 (W. 53rd St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), and one in Chelsea at PS 33 (Ninth Ave., btw. W. 26th & 27th Sts.) — and spoke to a dozen voters. Outside of PS 111, Frank Spadatora, 28, said he came out to vote “mainly to make sure there was a reelection for Bill de Blasio” and that he “sure as hell wasn’t going to let the Republican win.” It was the first time the Hell’s Kitchen resident had voted in local elections, stating it was a “direct correlation” to the presidential election last year. Spadatora was the only voter Chelsea Now interviewed who was enthusiasNYC Community Media

tic about the mayoral race. Many had praise for Johnson and his work in the community while other voters, like Laura Sanzel, 49, spoke about the referendums on the back of the ballet. Sanzel, a longtime Hell’s Kitchen resident, said she frequently votes in local elections and was most interested in “the reforms on the back of the ballot because I’m pretty sure the mayor’s going to have another term.” One of three measures for voters to consider was whether or not a constitutional convention should be held. It was ultimately defeated. Spadatora said that while a convention would be an opportunity to fix Albany’s issues, “I think it [would] cause a lot more damage if approved so I voted against it.” Ryan Farrish, 27, said he was conflicted about the constitutional convention. He said that as a gay man he is worried about the LGBT community after last year’s election. Farrish, who has lived in Hell’s Kitchen for three years, said he liked what Johnson has done so far and, “I stuck with him.” Jayshree Mahtani said the selection seemed “very status quo” and “it would have been nice if the selection would have changed something.” Mahtani, who is 33 and has lived in Hell’s Kitchen for seven years, said de Blasio was the only viable candidate. She said the constitutional convention “theoretically interested me but I think that it would be a little bit of a waste of time right now.” “I worry opening that black box now given our current political environment,” Angela Filly, 23, said about the

constitutional convention. Filly noted that a lot of the races — many for judicial positions — were unopposed, which she said spoke to voter apathy. “I think if turnout is low people have less confidence in our democracy,” Jeff MacDonagh, 41, said. MacDonagh said the constitutional

convention issue was the “most important this time around.” The Hell’s Kitchen resident said he voted yes as it “opens a door to updating the governance of the state.” Longtime Chelsea resident Lawrence Garment, 70, said, the convention “was BALLOT continued on p. 15

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Solid Showings for Incumbents and Curtains for Con Con BY LINCOLN ANDERSON In City Council District 3, covering the Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, Democrat Corey Johnson overwhelmingly won re-election to a second term, with 93.76 percent of the vote. His sole opponent, Occupy Wall Street activist and Sky Rink skating instructor Marni Halasa, who ran on the Eco Justice Party line, got 5.66 percent of the vote. Johnson is considered a leading candidate to be elected speaker of the City Council at the start of the new year. In a statement, Johnson said, “I want to thank the people of District 3 for entrusting me with a second term as your councilmember. We have achieved many things together in the district and at City Hall these past four years, and I look forward to partnering with you to achieve much more. The challenges we face are incredibly complex and entrenched, but the future of our city depends on our ability to address them. An affordable housing crisis, small businesses in crisis, historic income inequality, a homelessness crisis, aging infrastructure and obsolete public transportation are just a few of the issues we must address. I believe that we can fulfill the great promise of our city

Photo by William Alatriste

Councilmember Corey Johnson, greeted on Nov. 7, hours before he would be declared the lopsided winner in District 3’s race.

and ensure that our neighborhoods are affordable, diverse, safe and full of life. I know that with your partnership, we will prevail.” In the District 2 race, covering the East Village and stretching from the

Lower East Side up to the E. 30s, Democratic candidate Carlina Rivera won handily. With 99 percent of the scanners reported, Rivera won a total of 83 percent of the vote, running on the combined Democratic and Working Families lines. Jimmy McMillan took about 12 percent of the total on two ballot lines — GOP and Rent Is 2 Damn High — while Jasmine Sanchez got about 2 percent as the Liberal Party candidate, and a Libertarian and a Green candidate each garnered less than 2 percent. Rivera will succeed Rosie Mendez, who will be term-limited out of office at the end of the year after three terms in office. In other races, as expected, Mayor Bill de Blasio won re-election, with 66 percent of the vote. Republican candidate Nicole Malliotakis ran pretty

strongly, though, with 28 percent of the vote. Sal Albanese, running on the Reform Party line, with lots of integrity but not enough cash, barely cracked the 2 percent mark, and a number of other candidates got around 1 percent, more or less. Democrats Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer all comfortably coasted to reelection. Facing no candidates on party ballot lines, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance won re-election with about 91 percent of ballots cast. The rest of the votes were write-ins, presumably mostly for former Brooklyn prosecutor Marc Fliedner, who announced his writein candidacy after news broke about Harvey Weinstein’s history as a serial CON CON continued on p. 16

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Google, Gaga, Grant, Groundbreaking: The ‘G’-Whiz Week That Was BY SCOTT STIFFLER It was a very good two-day period indeed for those with an affinity for hard hats, project design renderings, and our nation’s seemingly robust novelty gold hammer manufacturing industry. On Thurs., Nov. 2, a groundbreaking ceremony put the business end of those shiny hammers to an equally symbolic plank of wood. If that action was for show, there was no doubting the real work about to take place. For the first time since its opening in the 1960s, the Robert Fulton Houses’ Fulton Center (119 Ninth Ave., btw.

W. 17th & 18th Sts.) will undergo a substantial renovation. Touting the groundbreaking, a press release from Hudson Guild (which runs all of the programs at Fulton Center, where NYCHA is the landlord) noted that, upon completion, the work will see restoration of “a critical anchor to the Chelsea neighborhood,” providing “seniors with social services, education programs, daily meals, and activities. It will also offer our community a modern, inviting space for meetings, celebrations, and ‘G’ continued on p. 16

File photo by Sean Egan

The “Doughboy” statue on Ninth Ave. is the site of Chelsea’s annual Veterans Day ceremony.

Chelsea Ceremony Pays Respect to ‘Veterans of All Generations’ Revived in 2014 for the first time since the ’60s and observed every year since, this respectful gathering has reclaimed its rightful place as a Chelsea tradition. On November 11, you are once again invited to join in paying tribute to veterans, active duty members of the military, National Guard members, and reservists. The ceremony takes place in front was has become known as “The Chelsea Doughboy.” Originally installed on April 7, 1921, the bronze soldier stands atop a 14-foot-tall granite statue, as a tribute to Chelsea residents who gave their lives for our country during World War I (this year’s ceremony falls on the 99th anniversary of the Armistice). A wreath, provided by State Senator Brad Hoylman, will be placed at the base of the statue. Participants and supporters include members of the 10th Precinct Auxiliary Unit (led by Capt. Paul Lanot and Officer Ramon Sandoval), the FDNY’s Seventh Battalion, EMS Station Seven, the London Terrace Tenants Association, Holy Apostles Church, St. Peter’s Church, Guardian Angel – St. Columba Church, Hudson Guild, and Chelsea Square Restaurant.

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“It’s especially important that veterans of all generations be recognized in this time of uncertainty,” said event organizer Frank Meade. “There is no longer a system of national conscription and today fewer than one percent of Americans are said to serve others in any capacity. Our active duty and reserve military, and many discharged veterans, have served multiple combat deployments in the ‘sandbox’ of Afghanistan and Iraq. While too many in today’s society have elevated the ‘one percent’ to an honored status, the real elite are these men and women who sacrifice their time, youth, family and, in many cases, their life’s blood, to do the right thing.” Rain or shine at 10 a.m. on Sat., Nov. 11. Meet on the west side of Ninth Ave. (btw. W. 27th & 28th Sts.). The ceremony will last approximately 15 minutes, allowing participants to walk to the Veterans Day Parade starting point at 24th St. and Fifth Ave. For more info on the history of the statue, visit nycgovparks.org/parks/chelsea-park/ monuments/232. —Scott Stiffler

Courtesy NYCHA

Hammering away at a good idea: Electeds joined NYCHA and Hudson Guild reps on Nov. 2, to begin the Fulton Center’s ambitions renovation project.

Courtesy Google

Google employees did the brick and mortar thing, stopping by PS 11 to share designs for the upgraded playground.

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POLICE BLOTTER PETIT LARCENY: Student’s harsh lesson Imagine coming home from school and realizing your wallet was missing from your bag. That’s what happened to a 19-yearold student when she arrived home at noon on Thurs., Nov. 2. She was in her apartment on the 400 block of W. 19th St., when she realized that her wallet was gone. The wallet, which had $50 in it, was left in the school office unattended.

CRIMINAL POSSESION: Plain wrong in plain sight Contrary to a popular but misinformed belief, smoking pot in plain view in this city is still a crime. That’s what one woman forgot when she was seen in her building toking away. On Sat., Nov. 4 at 4:45 p.m., police were patrolling a building on the 400 block of W. 19th St. when they observed the women smoking marijuana. The 30-year-old was arrested on sight.

LOST PROPERTY: Watch wasn’t watched The energy rush that comes with a great workout can be distracting, even blinding one to the fact that your belongings have been left behind. Sneakers, a sports bra, or a hoodie are a few typical pieces of exercise gear that might stay in the locker — but in this case, a $9,000 Rolex was the missing item. On Wed., Oct. 18, a 51-year-old

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

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man was at Soul Cycle (8 W. 19th St., btw. Fifth and Sixth Aves.), the last time he saw the watch. When he got home to his home on W. 23rd St., he realized that his watch was missing. He didn’t recall anyone bumping or brushing up against him. He just thinks the watch is “lost.”

PETIT LARCENY: Sour note of a sound system theft Maybe someone didn’t like that loud music the 30-year-old victim was playing in his car, so stole his vehicle’s sound system. Or maybe the thief knew the resale value. The victim told police he parked his car overnight on the 300 block of W. 26th St. at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Nov. 2. When he returned to the car, he noticed the driver side window was broken and the radio, subwoofer bass, amplifier, and car charger were missing.

PETIT LARCENY: Bad seed at the ‘Market’ Helping yourself to someone else’s money is a crime, but a 23-year-old woman thought she got away with it. On Sat., Oct. 14, the woman, a cashier at Whole Foods Market (250 Seventh Ave., at W. 24th St.) was caught on camera taking $100 from the cash register. She was arrested for misdemeanor petit larceny. —Tabia C. Robinson

MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Inspector Russel J. Green, Commanding Officer. Call 212-239-9811. Community Affairs: 212-2399846. Crime Prevention: 212-2399846. Domestic Violence: 212-2399863. Youth Officer: 212-239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-2399836. Detective Squad: 212-2399856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7 p.m., at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & 35th Sts.). Visit midtownsouthcc.org.

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NYC Community Media

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

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

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

Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

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

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

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

November 9, 2017

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Photo by Pat Cooke

L to R, standing: The 10th Precinct’s Det. Mike Petrillo, the NCO program’s Sgt. William Coyle, and Officer Jarett Di Lorenzo, of Crime Prevention.

Word on the Street from the 300 West Block Association BY ZAZEL LOVEN On the balmy evening of October 18, the star-studded annual meeting of the 300 West Block Association — a citizens group active in Chelsea since 1959 — was called to order. New arrivals in the neighborhood joined us at St. Paul’s German Lutheran Church (315 W. 22nd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), our longtime host location for

this event. And welcome they were, especially when “Just what is a block association?” was asked by newcomers. Anyone who has ever thought that New Yorkers are not friendly ought to drop by a neighborhood block association meeting. We start off the evening with refreshments, and that half hour of socializing gives everyone a chance to say hello to old friends and shake hands

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with people they might only have read about in this paper. Though not all public meetings are smooth sailing, we try to maintain the peace by giving a platform to anyone who has general questions for our elected officials and their representatives, our guest speakers, and the always popular 10th Precinct officers. Rather than air personal grievances and complaints about specific issues, we see the role of the 300 West Block Association as a conduit to the agencies that might help with whatever is on the minds of the ever-vigilant New Yorkers — and we see the roles of this annual meeting as a way to connect everyone (a Community Resource contact list was emailed to our members shortly after the meeting). In keeping with the recycling theme of this year’s meeting, guest speaker

Andrew Hoyles — Program Manager, Organics, at the NYC Department of Sanitation — brought along a gift for each attendee: a handy, Zero Waste reusable bag, courtesy of his organization (get more info at nyc.gov/dsny). Into each bag went a handful of springblooming daffodil bulbs, donated by New Yorkers For Parks (ny4p.org). We hand them out at this fall meeting so they can be planted in our street tree beds, bike lane beds, and front gardens before the ground freezes. What has become a unique Chelsea happening, and a partnership activity between the 300 and 400 Block Associations, the annual Pumpkin Smash was highlighted by guest speaker Lia Lucero of The Lower East Side Ecology Center (lesecoloBLOCK ASSOCIATION continued on p. 23

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“I can’t complain if I haven’t exercised my right,” Jayshree Mahtani, 33, said.

Photos by Dusica Sue Malesevic

Rocky Lotito, 30, said the election on Tuesday was the first wave of backlash against President Donald Trump. BALLOT continued from p. 3

a good idea with bad people. I voted against it because I don’t trust the delegates.” John Sharp, a Community Board 4 member and a part of the New York State Democratic Committee, said, “In one sense, I would love to see it but with our current climate, it’s a dangerous thing to open up. I fear we would lose more than we could gain.” Another Chelsea resident, Rocky Lotito disagreed. “We need a lot of change in this city, in this state,” said Lotito, 30. “It’s worth rolling the dice” for the convention, he said. Other issues, such as gentrification of the neighborhood and the race for Manhattan district attorney, were on voters’ radar. Born and raised in Chelsea, Luis Fargas, 66, said he votes in local election and was “happy to be out and to be here to contribute,” but the specter of high rents and residents being pushed out of the neighborhood was on his mind. Wanyu Rachel Lu, 44, supported and commended Johnson and his staff for the great work they do in the community, but said she came out to vote for the write-in candidate, Marc Fliedner, against Manhattan District Attorney NYC Community Media

Longtime Chelsea resident John Sharp, a part of the New York State Democratic Committee, said he voted straight party line Tuesday.

Cy Vance, who won reelection. “He did not bring charges against the Trumps or Harvey Weinstein,” she said. (Propublica, WNYC and The New Yorker reported last month that Vance’s office was considering felony fraud charges for Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. for “misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was failing to sell.”) She said while she does not think that Fliedner had a chance, she wants to send a message to Vance’s office “to clean house” and “to set a different course.”

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Courtesy Google

Courtesy Hudson Guild via Render 3DQuickly

A rendering shows what the revamped Fulton Auditorium will look like. ‘G’ continued from p. 6

youth activities.” All of the Center’s bathrooms will become compliant with the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), the kitchen will be modernized, and a “teaching” kitchen for kids and seniors will be added. The art gallery, currently located in the back, will face the street to entice passersby. Staff offices and meeting spaces are also getting an upgrade, as is the building’s exterior, lobby, and all-important Fulton Auditorium (frequent host to

Community Board 4’s full board meetings). In addition to Hudson Guild and NYCHA representatives, the electeds in attendance included Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, and Councilmember Corey Johnson — all of whom can be seen in the accompanying photo wielding those much-ballyhooed (at least by this publication) golden hammers. The project is expected to wrap up in fall 2019.

L to R: Carrie Beth Wood (PS 11 parent, Google employee), Rachael Keller (Google employee leading Gaga Pit project), Carley Graham Garcia (Head of External Affairs, Google NYC), and NYS Senator Brad Hoylman.

One day after the Fulton Center groundbreaking, on Nov. 3, representatives from nearby neighbor Google attended PS 11’s Family Friday event to speak with parents, kids, and community members about playground renovation plans. Senator Hoylman, who also attended, noted, “We have an obligation to ensure quality education is always attainable in New York City, and Google’s ongoing collaboration with PS 11 is no doubt a component of that effort. It was a pleasure attending today, and I look forward to seeing the prog-

CON CON continued from p. 4

sex abuser — and the revelation of Vance’s failure to prosecute the movie mogul for sexually assaulting an actress in Tribeca. Tribeca attorney Pete Gleason, a member of the Downtown Independent Democrats club, also mounted a write-in candidacy for D.A., but at the last minute, threw his support behind Fliedner, to no avail. In addition, on Proposal No. 1 on the ballot, voters resoundingly voted “No” — by 79 percent to 21 percent — to the idea of holding a state constitutional convention. The opportunity for a constitutional convention comes around only every 20 years, and one has not been held since 1938. But for voters, even in this current time of antiestablishment politics, the possibilities of enacting term limits for state legislators in dysfunctional Albany and increasing ballot access didn’t outweigh fears that conservatives would try to dismantle things like union pensions and rent regulation. Village District Leader Arthur Schwartz — one of the few local politicians who wanted a constitutional convention — scoffed at the notion that liberal sacred cows would be weakened because we are in the uncertain political climate of the “Trump era.” “Hillary Clinton won New York State by nearly 2 million votes,” he said, incredulously. “Have all those people changed since then because of Trump?” Michael Brautigan, a retired catering and production manager, who was voting Tuesday morning at the Westbeth artists affordable-housing complex in the West Village, said he backed the straight Democratic line. “I voted right down the ticket,” he said. Asked if he went for Johnson, he enthusiastically

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Photo by Erik Bottcher

The once and future Councilmember Corey Johnson, with District 2 Democratic candidate Carlina Rivera, who also won handily.

said, yes. “Corey Johnson just works so hard for our community,” he said. “He’s trustworthy, diligent.” Like 64 percent of voters who weighed in on ballot

ress PS 11 makes down the road.” The school, located on W. 21st St. between Eighth and Ninth Aves., received a $47,000 Beautification Grant from Google. Volunteers from the ubiquitous Internet company have been pitching in lately to improve various brick and mortar aspects of the school. Later this month, that same team will return to assist in the installation of a Gaga Ball Pit on PS 11’s rooftop play area. Not sure what a Gaga Ball Pit is? Google it. You’ll wish you were a kid again.

Proposal No. 2, he said he supported cutting off legislators’ pensions if they are convicted of certain kinds of felonies. “Absolutely,” he said. “Cut. It’s long overdue. Ridiculous.” But he didn’t vote for a “Con Con,” feeling it would be too dangerous to open up the state constitution at the moment. “What’s going on in Washington now,” he said, “government’s so changeable.” Ballot Proposal No. 3, a sort of land swap, allowing municipalities to use protected land if they provide an equal amount to replace it, failed at the polls. Voters — at least in New York City — generally seemed to find this proposal a bit confusing to figure out. A young couple, who did not give their names, who were also voting at Westbeth were very down on the mayor. Asked who they weighed in for, the husband said, “Anyone but de Blasio,” adding, “If he was Republican, I would have voted Democratic. I didn’t vote for a lot of the other candidates — I just came to vote against de Blasio.” They both darkened the oval for Malliotakis. The husband, who works in finance, recalled they recently had walked up Eighth Ave. to watch a movie on W. 23rd St. and saw a man who walked “15 blocks” without any pants or underwear on, and no police ever responded. They blame the mayor for a hands-off attitude on quality of life and the fact that fewer cops seem to be around. His wife, an actress, cradled a baby on her chest in a harness. They have lived in the Village, on Jane St., for six years. “It would be nice to have Bloomberg back,” he said. NYC Community Media


Photos by Christian Miles

Multimedia artist and activist Jamel Mims led the crowd in chants during the march.

Father Luis Barrios of Washington Heights’ Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz.

Pro-Trump provocateurs were also in attendance, holding signs and shouting insults. Here, one gets dressed down by a marcher.

hangs in the balance! Trump is playing Russian roulette with nuclear weapons. Denying climate change. The country is saturated with racism and xenophobia... bloodlust, bigotry, and coarseness. These are times when ordinary people must do the extraordinary.” Others who addressed the Times Square crowd prior to the march Downtown included Father Luis Barrios of Washington Heights’ Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz and John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Imam Souleimane Konaté of the Masjid al-Aqsa mosque in Harlem; and rapper Immortal Technique. Written statements by Gloria Steinem, Eve Ensler, and Arturo O’Farrill were read from the podium. Activists and organizers Jamel Mims and Sunsara Taylor were emcees. Barrios, who was recently profi led in a New York Times article for making his church a sanctuary for immigrants targeted for deportation, told those in attendance, “Many people are using God the wrong way, ‘Manifest

Destiny’ and ‘In God We Trust’ [printed on money]. This is not how God wants it to happen. He wants us to live together and mobilize against oppression.” The youngest speaker was Sabrina Ring, 17, a senior at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School Of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Ring, who is vice president of the school’s Students Against Social Injustice initiative, said, “I’m scared for the future. My future, everybody’s future. And it’s everybody’s responsibility to do what they can to change it.” In the days leading up to the march, alt-right outlets such as InfoWars, had labeled Refuse Fascism an “Antifa group” and warned of violence and a pending “civil war” as a result of their activity. Numerous pro-Trump provocateurs were seen the fringes of the rally, holding signs and shouting insults, but a heavy police presence and a lack of response from the protesters translated into a non-violent, though spirited, event.

Still, compared with many of the protest actions that have taken place in New York and elsewhere over the past year, this could not be described as a “big tent” protest. Most of the presenters appeared to have affiliations with far-left groups such as the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and the Black Panther Party. Narrowly organized and promoted by Refuse Fascism, no other political groups were in evidence, and no elected officials were present or invited to speak. “We want this to be about the people,” answered Walker in response to a query about the absence of politicians. And when it comes to extremism, those who attended might point out, none can top the guy they were protesting. A protester named Anna was quite clear about why she was there: “The environment is on the verge of collapse. Trump is threatening nuclear war with North Korea. Everybody’s rights are being trampled on. This man could quite literally end life on this planet.”

REFUSE FASCISM continued from p. 2

Square Park for additional remarks. Attendance estimates vary. Refuse Fascism claimed “a high of 1,200-1,500 in New York at its peak.” Organizer Jay W. Walker, who is also involved with the groups Rise and Resist and Gays Against Guns (both of whom endorsed the event), said Refuse Fascism is predicated on “nonstop activism. Our ultimate goal is to organize daily actions so that what may start out as a few thousand activists becomes tens of thousands and then millions until we finally bring down this dangerous and corrupt regime.” “The world is either under fire or under water,” declared multimedia artists and activist Jamel Mims. “This is the beginning of a process that will not end until Trump and Pence are driven from the White House.” Andy Zee of Revolution Books, one of the national organizers of Refuse Fascism, was no less unsparing in his exhortation to the crowd: “The future of humanity NYC Community Media

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Serving Up That Country Soul Emily Duff earns raves, eyes a return to Muscle Shoals BY PUMA PERL Emily Duff invited me to lunch. Anyone who has shared a meal with her knows that this statement is less mundane than it sounds. She’s a former chef — and the colors, textures, presentation, and tastes of her offerings are as resonant as her sound. “I respect the ingredients,” she said. “I ask myself, ‘How do I make them shine?’ Respect is the key to everything, the way to authenticity.” Sort of the same approach she takes to her music, and, I imagine, to life. Duff arranges bright red peppers, pears, cheese, herb rice, and other delicacies on our plates as we chat. “I bet your family eats well,” I commented, to which she replied, “I cook three beautiful meals a day.” She moved in alone to this 340square-foot apartment in 1990. Her husband, Skip, their two kids, Henry and Sylvia, and their dog, Banjo, now also inhabit it. Looking around the bright, homey space, I added that they must get along pretty well. “We all like each other,” she replied. “I grew up in this apartment. I am what I am because of the West Village. At age 13, I used to climb out my window and ride the train to the city. One day, I wandered west from Washington Square Park, and I knew that this was where I wanted to be.” Raised in Queens and Long Island, Duff wrote her first song at age seven or eight, after her mother taught her to play four chords on the guitar. It was about trading baseball cards, and, with its chorus of “Got it! Get it! Need it!” had a Ramones feel to it, although it was only 1973. Fans of the Emily Duff Band, which is rooted in country soul, may not be aware of her wide range of abilities and her early influences, but will be unsurprised by the threads that tie it all together — the aforementioned respect and authenticity. “I used to listen to Cousin Brucie on the radio,” she recalled, “and my mother and I would sing doo-wop. Songs like “Sh-Boom” and “Oh Donna” were my favorites. Sometimes my uncle would join us on mandolin.” She also connected to the sounds of the Brill Building. “Carole

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Photo by Skip Duff

L to R: Emily Duff and Dina Regine at Cowgirl.

King was a hero.” When asked what she listens to at home, she didn’t hesitate. “Gospel. Every time I see Mavis Staples I can’t stop crying for joy. It was the first concert my kids ever attended with me.” Duff’s musical accomplishments are as diverse as her tastes. “My favorite instrument is the cello,” she noted. “I played and composed from the fourth grade on. I hear the counter-melodies and the orchestra as I write.” She would also love to play drums in a band again. “It’s relaxing when you’re not fronting or conducting. But whatever you do, if you’re doing it right, you’re inspiring. As a frontwoman, my goal is to inspire everyone in the band to have a conversation that brings us inside the song, allows us to inhabit it.” Cowgirl, a popular restaurant that includes a performing space, happens Photo by Charles Chessler

The Emily Duff Band.

EMILY DUFF continued on p. 20 NYC Community Media


Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER

“MIRACLE ON 42ND STREET” AT DOC NYC It’s got jazzy transition music and charismatic star power, plus its archival footage of seedy ’70s Midtown puts HBO’s “The Deuce” to shame — but this documentary on NYC’s iconic housing complex for “qualified singers, actors, dancers, and behind-the-scenes members of the entertainment community” comes up just short by adhering to that old showbiz adage about leaving the audience wanting more. Running mere minutes over one hour, there’s simply not enough time spent telling the multitude of stories to be found within Manhattan Plaza’s two Mitchell-Lama funded, Section 9, subsidized housing towers between Ninth and 10th Aves. from W. 42nd to 43rd Sts., whose 1,689 apartments house some 3,500 residents — 70 percent of those being performing artists and the rest being neighborhood elderly, and local residents who were living in substandard housing at the time of the project’s construction. That ultra-wonky sentence gives you a good idea of how the film spends its first third, during which even confident narrator Chazz Palminteri can’t bring things out of the weeds. But when director Alice Elliott gets down to the business of letting the theater impresarios, project backers, Plaza administrators and early-era tenants walk down memory lane, “Miracle on 42nd Street” comes alive with the urgency of artists who struggled for success, and credit Manhattan Plaza with helping them to get there — not only by providing a place whose rent declined when their fortunes did, but also by placing understudies and hoofers within blocks of the theaters where they practiced their craft. It also didn’t hurt to be surrounded by a community eager to help you prep for auditions or give you a life-altering break, free of charge. We can thank one such act of kindness for the very career of Alicia Keys. “I’m definitely a Manhattan Plaza baby,” she says, attributing “the whole reason I can play piano” to a woman who, upon vacating the building, told her of an old upright, “If you can move it, you can have it.” Keys did so and, not yet in her teen years, wrote a song on that piano after being deeply touched by seeing the 1993 film “Philadelphia.” Although this documentary does not link Keys’ recollection to Manhattan Plaza’s own role in the AIDS crisis, Elliott’s film does chart, to great effect, the toll taken on its community. Archival footage from a CBS news report states, “It’s believed more people have died of AIDS at Manhattan Plaza than in any other residential block in the country.” In response to that need, the Manhattan Plaza AIDS Project was created, which later expanded its mission to care for any resident who was terminally or chronically ill. There’s enough for an entire documentary on that era alone. Watching this section of “Miracle,” one hopes that film exists already, from footage left on the cutting room floor. Giancarlo Esposito, Donald Faison, Terrance NYC Community Media

Copyright 2017, Miracle on 42nd Street, Inc., all rights reserved

Self-described “Manhattan Plaza baby” Alicia Keys hits all the right notes, in the documentary “Miracle on 42nd Street” — screening Nov. 11 as part of DOC NYC.

Howard and Samuel L. Jackson are among the big names who no longer live in the building, but practically swoon at its footprint on their formative years. They all have winning stories to tell — but that stingy one-hour running time means they do so at the expense of hearing from current tenants who have worked steadily in the business without achieving marquee status. That’s a shame, yet it’s hard to fault a documentary with frequent appearances by Angela Lansbury and Estelle Parsons, along with video footage from a young Larry David during a Kenny Kramer-booked Manhattan Plaza Tenant Talent Night. Later, when David recalls paying $57 a month upon a November 1977 move to the building, we don’t need the film’s final ruminations about modern-day real estate realities to know the circumstances that created Manhattan Plaza are not likely to happen again. But any miracle built to last has faith as its foundation — and hearing from likeminded people who created an oasis is enough to make you believe that if they did it back then, others might in the future. Sat., Nov. 11, 7pm at the SVA Theatre (333 W. 23rd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). For tickets ($19, $17 for children & seniors), visit docnyc.net/film/miracleon-42nd-street. Director Alice Elliott, Kenny Kramer, and Chazz Palminteri are among those expected to attend the screening.

“LITERATI: A COMEDY SHOW ABOUT THE GREATEST AMERICAN NOVELS NEVER WRITTEN” In need of a few good laughs and weary of scrolling through a Facebook feed where Fake News runs amok? This series uncomplicates the matter by admitting upfront that the prestige literature whose pages come alive on the stage are not now, nor will they ever be, registered with the Library of Congress. Your hosts Colin “Master of the self-help genre” O’Brien and Michael “Pioneer in the erotic autobiography genre”

Photo by Susana Rico

Fiction so good you can’t make it up — except they did. Faux reading series “Literati” happens Nov. 18 at Caveat.

Wolf — who also host the equally silly and satirical “Literati” podcast — stay in character throughout the evening, donning the occasional wacky costume accessory and inviting you to imagine a world where their overbaked narrative scenarios are real. Sat., Nov. 18, 7pm at Caveat (21 Clinton St., at E. Houston St.). Tickets are $10 at the door, $8 online via caveat.nyc. Learn more about the multitude of comedic projects from O’Brien and Wolf at nancycomedy.com, where you can also access “Literati”-specific stage show and podcast info. November 9, 2017

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EMILY DUFF continued from p. 18

to be directly below Duff’s apartment. In 2015, she began the monthly Family Round-Up featuring her band, and, in 2017, added the monthly Tuesday Night Music Club: A Songwriter’s Listening Room. “My intention in creating the songwriter’s night was to have publishers come and listen to new original material.” The venue’s welcoming vibe feels like an extension of her apartment, with kids doing homework at a back table and friends, family members, neighbors and fellow musicians gathered together to eat delicious food or drink at the bar. Sometimes musician friends, like well-known saxophonist Danny Ray, are spontaneously invited onto the stage. “It was like playing in the best country soul sandbox ever,” he told us. “Emily’s a bruja. Her band elevates me every time I go out to see them play.” New York City musician, photographer, and DJ Dina Regine has played in several songwriter circles and performed with Duff in other venues, billed and unbilled. “I can’t count the times I’ve been sitting in the audience to root her on and five minutes later I’m on stage with her,” Regine said. “That’s the way a music community should be — loose, artsy and fun. As a songwriter, Emily is one of the most prolific I’ve met in my long career. No filler tunes with this gal; each song is a mini-novel filled with stories about real people and real life, joys, pain, ups and downs.” Listeners of the Emily Duff Band’s newest album, “Maybe in the Morning,” agree. Singer, songwriter, and author Rosanne Cash wrote, “This is Emily’s strongest work yet. She’s found a confident, slinky feel and a gritty groove that serves her uniquely original lyrics and gritty voice well. Her stellar band is more than supportive — they’re soulful stars in their own right.” It was a deeply spiritual experience for Duff to record the album in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, at the FAME Studios. “Going to the place where my favorite music was recorded was like going to church,” she said. “It gave me chills walking through the door.” Duff has hundreds of unpublished songs and is working on a gospel blues album with the working title, “You Better Believe.” Her dream is to return to Muscle Shoals to record. The joy of being there was a factor in “making me become realized,” she said. “I have the confidence to get out there and I’ve become a believer in what I do. All of these years, I’ve never asked for anything, but this is so important to me that I’ve created a

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Photo by Tyra Newkirk

Emily Duff at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Photo by Charles Chessler

Danny Ray and Emily Duff onstage at Cowgirl’s Family Round-Up.

GoFundMe campaign to help me get back there.” Her parting message to the reader is, “Put down the iPhone, say goodbye to the DJ, and remember that great songs and guitars save lives. Go see live music!” Cowgirl is located at 519 Hudson

St. (at W. 10th St.). No cover, all ages. Call 212-633-1133 or visit cowgirlnyc.com. The next Family RoundUp is Tues., Nov. 14 at 6:30pm. The next Songwriter’s Listening Room is Tues., Nov. 28 at 7:30pm. Artist info at emilyduffband.com and emilyduff.bandcamp.com/album/maybe-

in-the-morning. To donate to Duff’s GoFundMe campaign, visit http:// tinyurl.com/y9dd8smz. Additional shows: Nov. 15, 8pm at Maxwell’s Tavern (Hoboken, NJ; maxwellsnj. com) and Tues., Nov. 21, 8pm at 11th Street Bar (510 E. 11th St., btw. Aves. A & B; 11thstbar.com). NYC Community Media


Space Queens Unleashed, Again Fabulous epic of war and lust across the universe has a down-to-earth side BY DAVID KENNERLEY When you think of the storied, experimental Ridiculous Theatrical Company, co-founded by the Ăźber-talented, unabashedly queer Charles Ludlam in the late 1960s, what first comes to mind is comic camp, followed soon after by freaky frivolity. Certainly the play titles alone suggest a warped brand of ridiculousness: “The Mystery of Irma Vepâ€? (an anagram for vampire), “Whores of Babylon,â€? and “Turds in Hell.â€? But there’s more than meets the eye in the Ridiculous canon. Deep beneath the cross-gender casting, campy performances, gaudy costumes, broad humor, improvisational acting, and surrealistic settings lurks a bedrock of intellectual acuity. This is particularly evident in the raunchy, respectful 50th-anniversary revival of “Conquest of the Universe or When Queens Collide,â€? the troupe’s debut offering that starred writer Ludlam, who also directed. How fitting that the work is being celebrated by La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, a vital incubator of Off-Off Broadway theater since 1961 and a showcase for the Theatre of the Ridiculous, as the genre came to be called. Inspired by Christopher Marlowe’s 1587 masterwork of depravity “Tamburlaine the Great,â€? “Conquestâ€? is considered a reaction to the brutal cultural upheavals during the mid-20th century such as fascism, McCarthyism, and the Vietnam War. The caustically comic fantasia is jam-packed with a dizzying array of cultural and political references spanning hundreds of years, with nods to the Bible, Shakespeare, George Orwell, 1950s B movies (“Queen of Outer Spaceâ€?), Frank Sinatra (“Fly Me to the Moonâ€?), Vietnam, and much more. I’m not going to pretend I caught even half of them. The convoluted plot is almost beside the point. While the source material has Tamberlaine (Ludlam’s spelling of the Marlowe character) invading a bunch of kingdoms like Babylon, Persia, and Africa, in this version he is a space invader, conquering the planets one by one, using tactics of exquisite savagery that equal the original’s. This maniacal dictator (portrayed with gusto by Grant Neale who, amazingly, was in the original production) calls himself “President of Earth,â€? enslaving Bajazeth and Zabina, King NYC Community Media

Photo by Theo Cote

Everett Quinton in the 50th anniversary production of the late Charles Ludlam’s “Conquest of the Universe or When Queens Collide,� directed by Quinton at La MaMa through Nov. 19.

and Queen of Mars, and Natolia, Queen of Saturn, among others. He’s the epitome of power and avarice gone horribly awry (any resemblance to the current occupant in the White House is purely coincidental). The evil president wields sex as a weapon, as we see him gleefully pound his way into power. Not to worry — the sex is stylized and simulated. “I free mankind from the yoke of reason which weighs upon it. Rape and behead them,� Tamberlaine says, referring to the dancing Firewomen of Mars. There’s even a castration scene meant to elicit eeks as well as guffaws. Ludlam’s Elizabethan-esque dialogue is spiked with bawdy double entendres, and penis and scatological jokes abound. The Queen of Venus beckons a suitor to “Come into my chamber� and someone else demands, “Show me to Uranus.� Ba-dump-bump. In the end, does Tamberlaine get his just desserts? Let’s just say that the dessert he gets ain’t pretty, and John Waters would approve. Leading the rambunctious cast of 11 portraying more than 20 “dramatis personae� (as labeled in the program) is none other than longtime Ridiculous veteran Everett Quinton, who was

Ludlam’s partner and took over as artistic director after Ludlam’s life was cut all too short by AIDS 30 years ago. Not only does he shine playing the dual roles of Zabina and her incestuous twin brother, Cosroe, he also directs this production with flair. Given that the early Ridiculous offerings were often gritty affairs with crude production values in cheap basement or loft spaces, this may be the most sophisticated “Conquest� yet. Robert Savina has designed gorgeous, heavenly planet-like orbs suspended high

above the action, and the lighting by Christopher Weston and sound design by Tim Schellenbaum are first-rate. Also impressive are Ramona Ponce’s wild costumes — some fashioned with found materials like CDs and what look like wire hangers — which retain the raw, homespun spirit of the original. And yet, something is amiss. Despite a committed cast and a solid production, why does this “Conquest� fail to fully capture our hearts? Perhaps it is a victim of its own success. In the 1960s, when naturalistic realism dominated the stage, the Theatre of the Ridiculous was radical and subversive. These days, the antics onstage register as relatively quaint. The Ridiculous sensibility has been thoroughly absorbed into mainstream culture, where gender-bending is everywhere on film, television, and Broadway, videos of outrageous carnal acts (with or without space costumes) are just a few keyboard clicks away, and jeering drag queens are replacing clowns at kiddies’ birthday parties. Through Nov. 19: Thurs., Fri. & Sat. at 8pm; Sun. at 4pm. 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.

MANTA SPA FOCUSING ON MAN TO MAN MASSAGE                                                        

             

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BLOCK ASSOCIATION continued from p. 10

gycenter.org). The Saturday following Halloween is a great opportunity to get out all of your frustrations by chopping up pumpkins brought by their owners to W. 22nd St.’s Clement Clarke Moore Park. Over the years, thousands of pounds of pumpkins have been diverted from landfills, finding a second life as compost added to the soil to nurture our trees and park spaces. The compost also goes on bike lane gardens tended by volunteers from the Chelsea Garden Club (to follow their activities, visit chelseagardenclub.blogspot.com). No neighborhood meeting would be complete without Detective Mike Petrillo of the 10th Precinct. He introduced us to two officers from the Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) program. While crime statistics are always of interest (watch those packages delivered to your lobbies), the NCO looks to form partnerships between shop and business owners, neighborhood residents, and local officers, to promote community building for the benefit of us all. Following the police, the crowd listened to brief reports on topics relevant to Chelsea by Matt Green from Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office, Eli Szenes-Strauss from State Senator Brad Hoylman’s office, and Lucille Songhai from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s staff. Looking to the future, we plan to keep on our mission of forging connections and hosting community events. Caroling around the neighborhood in December draws a crowd of all ages, people passing by, and members of the Precinct, accompanied by the stellar musicians from the Chelsea Symphony (chelseasymphony.org). Together, we brave the cold with the promise of hot chocolate and cookies as the evening wraps up. In May, our annual Stoop Sale is multi-faceted — items no longer wanted are exhibited for sale on stoops and tables, while interactions between neighbors and shoppers gives the event its lively tone. At this year’s event, two fellows hosted a table with loads of houseplants they potted up and gave away! And keeping our street trees strong by cleaning out tree beds, planting daffodil bulbs, and digging compost into the soil is yet another activity that brings out neighbors to work together. When people ask “What is a block association and what does it do?,” we encourage them to watch “Chelsea Then and Now” — a slide show (https://vimeo. com/20312192) highlighting the history of the neighborhood and this organization. State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried summed it up when he spoke to those of us at the annual meeting about the importance of block associations and how they work with elected officials to improve community involvement in local affairs. Want to get involved? Reach out and join an event, get on our mailing list by sending your contact information to: 300wba@gmail.com.

PUBLISHER Jennifer Goodstein

THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY

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

EDITOR Scott Stiffler ART DIRECTOR John Napoli

Photo by Zazel Loven

You can’t put a price on these good vibes: This spring’s annual Stoop Sale saw neighbors giving away potted plants free of charge.

CONTRIBUTORS Lincoln Anderson Stephanie Buhmann Rebecca Fiore Dusica Sue Malesevic Winnie McCroy Colin Mixson Puma Perl Paul Schindler Eileen Stukane

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