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The Paper per of Record for Greenwich Village, Vii llll a ag g e, e , East E as a s t Village, Vii llll ag V Vill age e,, Lower L ower East Eass t Side, Siiide S d , Soho, Union Square, Chinatown Chinatt ow w n and an a n d Noho, N o ho No h o , Since Sii n S ncce c e 1933 19 1 9 33 3

November 23, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 47

C.B. 2 floats idea to increase ferries along the West Side BY REBECCA FIORE

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t its Thurs. Nov. 16, meeting, Community Board 2 unanimously voted to strongly urge the city’s Economic Development Corporation to look into adding more ferry service on the Lower West Side to serve the area’s evergrowing population.

Shirley Secunda, the C.B. 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee chairperson, said the simple reason behind the resolution is the need to expand transit for city dwellers and commuters alike. “We’re requesting a study be done,” Secunda said. “There’s FERRIES continued on p. 4 PHOTO BY SARAH FERGUSON

Ottomanelli noose plea was baloney: Ex-worker’s lawyer BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

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n Sept. 19, Joe Ottomanelli pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct in an incident at Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market this spring, in which he was accused of giving a black deliveryman a noose. He pled to a violation, ation, not a

crime. It was considered a slap on the wrist, given that the original more-serious charge he was arrested for was aggravated harassment. Meanwhile, the attorney for a former Ottomanelli employee who was fired in the wake of the incident, told The Villager NOOSE continued on p. 3 NO

‘Big Sonia’ parks it at Quad .....p. 2

Protesters — many of them paid actors — slammed Aaron Sosnick at a rally last Friday in suppor t of developing the old P.S. 64 on E. Ninth St. as a university dorm. Sosnick, a wealthy hedge-funder, is a leading opponent of the project.

Trumped-up rally used hired actors BY SAR AH FERGUSON

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eveloper Gregg Singer has made plenty of tone-deaf appeals in his efforts to convert the old P.S. 64 school building on E. Ninth St. into a college dormitory. But his latest gambit — hiring a lobbying firm best known for backing Donald Trump’s projects — appears to be backfiring. As The Villager reported last week, Singer is paying Gotham Government Relations $12,000 a month to lobby for his stymied dorm deal. Gotham is the PR firm that helped launch Trump’s presidential campaign by paying actors to cheer for him as he made his fateful descent down

the elevator at Trump Tower. Gotham appears to have used the same tactic — and the same casting firm — to hire actors to boost turnout at the rally they staged at City Hall last Friday in support of Singer’s latest dorm plan. The Daily News obtained an e-mail offering people “$50 CASH” to “beef up attendance” for a rally called by the newly formed group “East Village Cares.” The e-mail called for “individuals of all ages who currently live in the East Village / Lower East Side,” or have “close friends / relatives in the area” to “speak and advocate about the neighborhood” and “protest blocking the

development of college dorms at the old P.S. 64 building located at East 9th Street and Ave B.” Nicole Epstein, an associate with Gotham, told The Villager she had “had no knowledge whatsoever” of the e-mail and suggested it could be an effort to “sabotage” their campaign. That seems a stretch considering the e-mail appears to have come from someone associated with Extra Mile Casting — the same firm that Gotham G.R. hired to provide “support” (i.e. actors) for Trump’s presidential announcement in 2016. The e-mail directed anyone interested in participating in the dorm rally to visit EastVilRALLY continued on p. 10

Possible fetus found in bank deposit box...........p. 4 Kids flip over Pier 40 ‘Release of Fishes’.... .......p. 9 www.TheVillager.com


ter told me, ‘It’s not like that anymore.’ ” Her son, Morrie Warshawski, a consultant and poet from Napa, California, who was at the event, told us it’s true. “I remember she came back and she said, ‘Oh, Moishala, you can’t believe what I saw.’ They were walking in the Village and people were shooting up.” He said he didn’t recall if it was in the West or East Village. Also on hand for the screening were the two filmmakers, Sonia’s granddaughter, Leah Warshawski, and her husband, Todd Soliday, from Seattle. It’s a very touching film, and Leah and Todd stress that they really want it to educate young people about the importance of tolerance in today’s world.

SHARP MEMORIES: “Big Sonia,” a poignant documentary about Sonia Warshawski, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor stubbornly operating the last store in a defunct Kansas City shopping mall, is currently screening at the Quad Cinema on W. 13th St. The film mixes the present with memories of her nightmarish past, which are portrayed in animation. We caught the premiere, complete with a “talk back” with the subject and filmmakers, last Saturday evening. Afterward, we asked Warshawski her thoughts about being in the Village for the movie’s opening. Basically, the idea had terrified her! Eighteen years ago, she visited here for either a wedding or bar mitzvah, and it was a frightening experience for her just to walk down the street. “I looked to the right, and I saw a man and a woman putting needles in their arms,” she recalled. “My granddaugh-

SEEKING SENATE SEAT: With Brian Kavanagh moving to the state Senate, two Democratic candidates have so far declared they are in the running for his Assembly seat. Harvey Epstein, a former chairperson of the East Village’s Community Board 3, who is currently the Urban Justice Center’s director for its Community Development Project, is one. Epstein, who is also a tenant member of the Rent Guidelines Board, has long been interested in seeking political office. He was reportedly interested in running for City Council in the East Village’s District 2 in the past, but never actually did it. The other candidate who has declared to date is Mike Corbett, a former Teamster who now works for the City Council, and has lived in the district his whole life. Corbett served a number of years as president of the New York

Proposed Expansion Hudson Square BID of the

The Hudson Square Connection is one of the city’s 75 Business Improvement Districts. With more people living and working in Hudson Square, there is more demand for our services. Following months of planning and outreach, the Hudson Square BID Steering Committee is excited to announce its proposed plan. Learn more at expansion.hudsonsquarebid.org.

Public Meetings – November 28, 2017 Join us for a presentation, followed by public comments and a Q&A session.

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180 Varick Street, Ste. 422 6pm - 7:30pm Getting Hungry

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November 23, 2017

The unstoppable Sonia Warshawski, 91, is the driving force behind the new documentar y “Big Sonia.”

State Young Democrats, where he was known for his organizing efforts. The 74th Assembly District stretches from up around the United Nations down through Stuyvesant Town and the East Village. We hear the special election will most likely be called by Governor Andrew Cuomo in early 2018.

GET THE GOOSE: Now that it’s turned cold again, the Canada Goose vegan protesters have returned to Soho, picketing outside the winter-wear company’s Wooster St. flagship store, between Spring and Prince Sts. They’re trying to be both a little more strategic and mysterious this time around, Nathan Semmel, one of their members, tells us. “We are going to try to stay unpredictable in terms of scheduling this year,” he said. “We are also beginning to target boutique stores that carry CG. We have had a couple of successes. Our tactic has been writing, calling and dropping by the stores first. If they refuse to stop selling CG (and ultimately all fur, if they carry additional brands), then we are going to protest outside of those stores.” For example, last Saturday, they demonstrated outside Canada Goose for about an hour, then moved on to Kith, a “street-gear” retailer, at Lafayette and Bleecker Sts. The vegan activists charge the down in the Canada Goose coats is cruelly repeatedly “live plucked” from the birds, and they condemn the use of real coyote fur for the garments’ collars. Clearly, the signature black coats, with their distinctive circular “Arctic Program” red-white-and-blue patches on the left shoulder, are suddenly again everywhere you look. Beyond the coats’ cruelty, it’s surprising that in such a styleconscious place as New York, everyone wants to look alike. Some say people like to wear the coats because everyone knows that they are expensive. “They really are everywhere,” Semmel said of the pricey parkas. “However, awareness regarding the cruelty of fur is growing. We have recently seen Gucci and some other big brands declare they will no longer use fur because of the cruelty. Just today,

Burlington pledged to no longer sell fur. I agree it is primarily about status. What a sad commentary.”

GETTING IN THE PAPER: It’s an open secret that if you’re a writer who wants to get into newspapers or other publications, Susan Shapiro’s class at The New School (“Write for NYC News, Mags, Web”) is a great place to start. However, it was just by chance that a former student of hers, writer Gail Eisenberg, landed on the front page of The Villager’s Nov. 9 issue — in a photo. Eisenberg, who wasn’t identified in the caption, was pictured at the Refuse Fascism march, wearing an “Arrest Trump” T-shirt and holding a photo of a prison cell with the caption, “The Fall White House.” We don’t know if Shapiro can take credit for the photo, but she did tip us off that it was her former student! HIGH HOPES: After the City Council recently voted to strike down the city’s Cabaret Law, which bans dancing in places with liquor licenses that lack a cabaret permit, we reached out to Ian Dutton, our favorite goth commercial airline pilot / rivethead (person who likes industrial dance music). Starting in 1999 and for a few years after, Dutton was active with a group called Contempt that fought to repeal the law. “Honestly, I’ve given up on New York’s nightlife,” Dutton e-mailed us. “As I write, I’ve just landed in London — we’re here to go to two amazing club nights that have no equivalent in NYC, before heading to Munich, where I co-host and appear in a latex-designers fashion show and Shea [Shea Hovey, his wife] models in it, as well. Again, there is no parallel to this event in NYC. After we were unable to convince the NY State Court of Appeals that the state Constitution protects social dancing, and early in the Bloomberg years there was a Trojan-horse proposal to end the Cabaret Law, the enforcement of the law tapered off, as did my involvement. At the same time, my job gave me SCOOPY’S continued on p. 23 TheVillager.com


PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Joe Ottomanelli in front of Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market on Bleecker St. in June on the day of a cour t hearing in the case against him by a black deliver yman who claimed Ottomanelli racially harassed and threatened him.

Plea baloney; Attorney NOOSE continued from p. 1

this week that his client was the “fall guy” in the case. Joe Ottomanelli was represented by Ron Kuby, the well-known criminal-defense and civil-rights attorney. In what Kuby called a “complex plea agreement” with the Manhattan district attorney, Ottomanelli, 60, entered the guilty plea, and upon completion of three days of community service — in a soup kitchen or food pantry — will be allowed to withdraw that plea Dec. 15, and receive an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal. If during the next six months, Ottomanelli avoids any new arrests, the charges will be dismissed and the record sealed. In addition, Ottomanelli must complete one session of the Restorative Justice Program. A D.A. spokesperson descried this as “an educational session with a facilitator to talk about the particulars of what brought the defendant to court, and wider implications of that intolerance in the world. “It’s a very targeted experience specific to each person and each case,” the spokesperson explained, adding that the program was developed with the Museum of Tolerance. “It’s generally utilized to explore issues of prejudice, diversity and tolerance. “If he successfully completes all the terms,” the spokesperson said, “he’ll be allowed to take an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (A.C.D.) with an order of protection,” meaning he must stay away from the complainant. The assistant district attorney offered TheVillager.com

Ottomanelli leniency “in light of the defendant’s lack of criminal history and his age,” according to the spokesperson. Commenters on a Greenwich Village Facebook page have noted that Joe Ottomanelli — the youngest of the Ottomanelli brothers — was always known as a youth for not being, well, the sharpest blade on the butcher block and for having an often-inappropriate sense of humor. Meanwhile, Victor Sheppard, 36, said that in April, Ottomanelli gave him a noose — the symbol of lynchings — of yellow rope as a “gift,” and told him, “If you ever have any stress, just put it around your neck and pull it. I could even help you with it.” However, the next month, two of Joe’s older brothers, Frank and Gerry Ottomannelli, told The Villager that another employee, who they identified as Paul, was the one who thrust the rope at Sheppard, and that they had promptly fired him, so the problem had been solved. “No Ottomanelli would have done something like that,” Frank said at the time. Similarly, speaking to The Villager last week, Kuby stated, “Joseph Ottomanelli did not hand a noose to anyone, and this false allegation has deeply pained him and his family, who have served the diverse and constantly changing Village community for more than a century. Nonetheless, the incident did take place on his premises and he has repeatedly apologized for it and reiterated that Ottomanelli’s has zero tolerNOOSE continued on p. 6 November 23, 2017

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POLICE BLOTTER 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

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Embryonic deposit? On Wed., Nov. 8, at 11:25 a.m., staff at the Citibank branch at 555 LaGuardia Place alerted police that they while clearing out a safe-deposit box, they were surprised to find inside it a jar containing a possible embryo — as in a human fetus. Police did not say how old the possible embryo was — as in when it dated from. The Medical Examiner is investigating.

JENNIFER GOODSTEIN

EDITOR IN CHIEF LINCOLN ANDERSON

ARTS EDITOR SCOTT STIFFLER

CONTRIBUTORS ALBERT AMATEAU IRA BLUTREICH TINA BENITEZ-EVES SARAH FERGUSON BOB KRASNER TEQUILA MINSKY CLAYTON PATTERSON JEFFERSON SIEGEL SHARON WOOLUMS

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Shelter death On Mon., Nov. 20, around 11:15 a.m., police responded to a 911 call of an unconscious male inside a homeless shelter at 315 Bowery. Responding officers found a 77-year-old man unconscious and unresponsive inside his room. EMS also responded to the scene and pronounced the man deceased. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death and an investigation is ongoing. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending family notification. A police source told The Villager, “Police are looking into the possibility that the death might be suspicious. Keep your eye on it.” The building is the former location of C.B.G.B., and includes the John Varvatos boutique on the ground floor and the Bowery Residents Committee’s Bowery Safe Ha-

ven shelter on the upper floors.

W. Fourth choking A woman was choked in front of 147 W. Fourth St., between Sixth Ave. and MacDougal St., on Thurs., Nov. 16, according to police. The incident occurred just after 4:15 p.m., when the 18-year-old victim was attacked by a 20-year-old man. A search of the suspect turned up an A.T.M. / credit card-skimming device, and a fraudulent credit card. The victim suffered injuries to her neck. Jamel Smith, 20, was arrested for felony strangulation.

Stalking arrest A Village woman complained to police that her former boyfriend was stalking her, leading to his arrest. The final incident happened Fri., July 14. at noon, in front of 42 W. 13th St., when the suspect banged on her window and drew a heart on it. Prior to that incident, the suspect repeatedly went to the 37-year-old’s home and their children’s daycare. Marcos Reyes, 47, was arrested for misdemeanor stalking on Tues., Nov. 14.

Hit halal guy A vendor working in his halal-food truck at the southwest corner of University Place and E. 14th St. was robbed and slugged on Tues., Nov. 14, around 4 p.m., police said. A man approached the cart and swiped two Gatorades and two Pepsis. When the 31-year-old vendor requested payment, the suspect punched him in the face five times, causing swelling and bleeding to his eye. A search of the suspect by police turned up a small, clear bag of alleged cocaine. Robert Crespin, 35, was charged with felony robbery.

Mugged senior According to police, a Chelsea senior was robbed on Mon., Nov. 13, at 10:30 p.m. The man, 76, was entering his residence at 150 W. 21st St. when he was followed by two males. They stopped him in the vestibule area, pushed him against a wall and covered his mouth. The suspects rifled through his pockets and attempted to remove property. Shwan Lipscomp, 43, and William Bryant, 47, were arrested Sun., Nov. 19, for attempted felony robbery.

Tabia C. Robinson and Lincoln Anderson

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES GAYLE GREENBURG JIM STEELE JULIO TUMBACO

CIRCULATION SALES MNGR.

C.B.2 floats West Side ferries boost

MARVIN ROCK

FERRIES continued from p. 1

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November 23, 2017

been tremendous development on the far West Side and more is coming.” As the board’s resolution states, between the ongoing construction of the virtual “mini-city” of Hudson Yards and the pending development of nearly 1,600 residential units — including nearly 500 units of affordable housing — at 550 Washington St. (at the current St. John’s Center site), the West Side is expected to attract more residents, as well as workers. Discussions on the future of Pier 40, at W. Houston St., across from 550 Washington St., are still in the works. In short, people who live, work, play or visit the area will need better public transportation, Secunda said. “Whereas there is no close-by public transit in this far western portion of C.B. 2...the Hudson River is just a stone’s throw away across West St.,” the resolution

states. “Currently, the far West Side relies too heavily on for-hire vehicles and private cars for accessible transportation, which cause congestion and denigrate the environment.” Tom Fox, the former owner of New York Water Taxi and a longtime Hudson River Park advocate, said the ferry plan is a long time coming since the lower West Side is out of other transit options. “Buses take up service space,” he said. “Roadways are already pretty crowded, especially at some of the intersections of Route 9A [West St.]. That highway was designed more than 24 years ago. Between the Whitney Museum, the Standard Hotel, Chelsea Market, and now Hudson Yards, there are more people living there who weren’t there when the highway was developed,” he said. “The West Side is poorly served by north-to-south

mass transit.” Fox’s idea for a West Side ferry service, he said, is for a loop from Pier 1 to Pier 97, then down to Pier 84, Chelsea Piers, Pier 45 and Pier 25, then all the way to the World Trade Center to create a much-needed water route. Piers 40, 45 and 46 were also mentioned in C.B. 2’s resolution as possibly providing spots for ferry service. Fox explained, “It would give you the equivalent to the East Side,” which currently has routes from Manhattan stopping in Queens (Astoria, Long Island City, Hunter’s Point South and Rockaway) and Brooklyn (Greenpoint, North and South Williamsburg, DUMBO, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge). NYC Ferry, operated by Hornblower, has six routes that connect Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. All are on Manhattan’s East Side and two are summer

service only. “There could even be an express and a local where you go to W. 79th St., W. 42nd St., Greenwich Village and the World Trade Center,” Fox added. “And you can have a small one that connects various parks on the weekends.” Secunda noted that since the ferries are no longer privatized, a ride costs the same $2.75 as a train or local bus. “Basically, it’s part of the transit system now,” she said, “whereas before it was a private company and you paid a lot more. It’s really a wonderful innovation happening in the city. It’s real mass transit.” The vote of the full board of C.B. 2 was unanimous, with 34 board members in favor. “I think it makes all the sense in the world,” Fox said. “I tried doing that with New York Water Taxi in 2001. It’s a great idea, but not a new one.”

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


TheVillager.com

November 23, 2017

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Not open enough for business on Bleecker

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his — a slew of closed stores — is why the Greenwich-Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce is spending the entire month of November on a campaign to spur holiday

shopping on Bleecker St. The legendary thoroughfare has about a 14 percent vacancy rate for its commercial storefronts — which the chamber admits is a “sizeable” number of empty shops.

PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Ottomanelli noose case was baloney: Attorney NOOSE continued from p. 3

ance for bigotry in any of its forms. Ultimately, the criminal case against him, which never should have been brought, will be dismissed. Both the defense and the district attorney agree that dismissal is appropriate. “There was a noose,” Kuby admitted, though adding, “Joe was not the one who had it or gave it to the complaining witness,” referring to Sheppard. Asked if Joe Ottomanelli had made harassing statements to Sheppard over several different dates, as the deliveryman claimed to the media, Kuby answered, “no.” Patch reported Kuby as saying, regarding the noose incident, “It was done as a joke by a different employee but it wasn’t funny and the employee was terminated.” Asked by The Villager if Paul — instead of Joe — in fact, gave Sheppard the noose and harassed him, Kuby declined comment. “The case is over,” the renowned

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November 23, 2017

radical attorney said at another point. “If there had been a trial, all of these questions would have been answered. But both sides agreed on dismissal. If some lawyer wants to try to turn this into a payday, all of the evidence will come out.” Wylie Stecklow, Sheppard’s attorney, declined to comment for this article. But speaking to the Daily News after the plea agreement, he said, “When this investigation began in April, we were pleased when it resulted in the arrest of Joseph Ottomanelli for a hate crime. Joseph Ottomanelli pled guilty for his hateful act against Victor Sheppard and will be forced to make amends in the community most affected by his hateful conduct. While we recognize the difficulties in prosecuting these cases to the full extent of the law, we can hope that this result will deter people with hate in their hearts from committing additional racist acts.” Meanwhile, Joseph Mure, attorney for Paul Durando, the fired Ottomanelli employee, said, “Paul didn’t do anything

wrong. Paul actually liked that guy,” referring to Sheppard. “Paul hasn’t been charged,” Mure noted. “He never will be charged. He was never, never, never involved in the case. The only one who said Paul was part of the case was the defendant. They threw Paul under the bus. Paul was working that day and he was never involved,” he said, adding, “Paul kept his mouth closed. ... He tried to stay out of this.” According to Mure, Durando’s father had a big meat business in the old Meat Market in the Village, and, when the younger Durando became semi-retired, he took his clients with him to Ottomanelli. “When they basically told Paul, ‘Hey, we don’t need you anymore,’ he didn’t know what happened,” Mure said of the Ottomanellis’ canning his client. “With friends like them, you don’t need enemies.” Mure said, on the date in question, Durando was not in the back room, where the noose incident occurred, but

had gone out into the front room to get some cheese to pack in a box of meat for an order he was fulfilling, so he didn’t see what happened. The police came to Durando’s home to question him — yet, tellingly, never arrested him, Mure noted. “It’s an open-and-shut case,” the attorney said. “That’s the reason why Paul was never arrested — because the complainant [Sheppard] saw exactly who did it. “Paul Durando is a good man,” Mure said. “He’s a family man. And he didn’t deserve to be thrown under the bus. “Who else do you put the blame on,” the attorney asked, “your brother or Paul? They needed a scapegoat. “If this guy did nothing wrong,” he said of Joe Ottomanelli, “then why did he plead guilty? Paul wasn’t involved, that’s why Paul wasn’t arrested. Period.” Although the criminal case is closed, a civil suit can still be filed, Stecklow and Mure both noted. However, it wasn’t clear if one will be. TheVillager.com


ADVERTORIAL

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

TheVillager.com

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 23, 2017

7


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Town hall a ‘distraction’

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To The Editor: Re “Saving small stores; Hoylman panel tries to find some answers” (news article, Nov. 16): The issue is one thing — greed — and the control of our city by the Real Estate Board of New York. The Small Business Jobs Survival Act is the only solution, to date. And it is fully vetted and 100 percent constitutional. The comments otherwise by Borough President Brewer and any councilmembers, like Daniel Garodnick, saying otherwise are REBNY-driven fake news! They have never provided documented evidence to prove their false claim. The loss of 1,100 to 1,200 small businesses each month citywide is on all of their hands right up through the City Council, the public advocate and the mayor — more than 120,000 lost jobs on every local main street in New York City every year. The real story is the distraction game, such as this town hall and others like it, with Brewer and others, and the phony bills produced from the City Council’s Small Business Committee that all ignore the crisis and offer no solution to saving merchants from the unfair lease renewal crisis, and lack of fair rents and long-term leases of at least 10. years. Truth and facts matter: See SmallBusinessCongress.org . Steve Barrison Barrison is executive vice president, Small Business Congress of New York

Shop small on Saturday Call 718-260-2516 or e-mail pbeatrice@cnglocal.com

We cover “The Cube”!

To The Editor: You can support small retailers by joining me and your neighbors on the seventh annual national Small Business Saturday, this coming Nov. 25. Skip the national chain stores’ annual Black Friday madness, which now starts early Thursday night. Some stores are open all day. Thanksgiving Day should be a time to be with loved ones and family. More and more stores remind me of the Grinch in staying open, resulting in too many employees having to choose between family and work. The dishonor roll for 2017 of stores open on Thanksgiving includes Best Buy, J.C. Penny, Kmart, Kohl’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Michaels, Modell’s, Old Navy, Target, Toys “R” Us and Walmart.

Small Business Saturday began on Nov. 27, 2010. It was in response to both Black Friday (large stores) and Cyber Monday (e-commerce stores). Small Business Saturday is designed for those starting holiday shopping to patronize small and local communitybased business. Give P.C. Richard & Son credit for being the first major store to close on Thanksgiving. This year, the honor role includes Barnes & Noble, BJ’s, Costco, DSW, Home Depot, IKEA, Jo-Ann Stores, Marshalls, Nordstrom, Petco, Pier 1 Imports, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sam’s Club and Staples, along with P.C. Richard & Son. They are putting aside financial greed to let their employees stay home with family and are closed. Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with friends and family. Get a good night’s sleep and instead come out and support small business by shopping local. Larry Penner

Why pardon a turkey? To The Editor: President Trump is getting his pardon pen ready, as the Mueller investigation starts indicting his associates. This Wednesday, he plans to practice on two very innocent Minnesota turkeys. The other 244 million turkeys killed in the U.S. this year have not been so lucky. They were raised in crowded sheds filled with toxic fumes. Their beaks and toes were clipped to prevent stress-induced aggression. When these fowl were 16 weeks old, slaughterhouse workers cut their throats and dumped them in boiling water to remove their feathers. Consumers pay a heavy price, too. Turkey flesh is laced with cholesterol and saturated fats that elevate risk of chronic killer diseases. This Thanksgiving, as we give thanks for life and good fortune, let’s also skip the gratuitous violence and grant our own pardon to an innocent animal. Nico Young 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.

EVAN FORSCH

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November 23, 2017

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PHOTOS BY REBECCA WHITE

Local kids and parents watched the “Release of the Fishes” out on the south walk way of Pier 40 earlier this month.

A striped bass that hopped out onto the floor with a powerful flick of its tail was returned to its bin, before being lowered down into the Hudson.

Fish release makes a splash F

ish, crabs, snails and other marine animals were returned to the Hudson River on Nov. 9 at Pier 40, at W. Houston St., as part of the River

Project’s “Release of the Fishes.” Local kids took in all the wild watery action at the free event, starting from the Wetlab, on the pier’s south side, to the creatures’

lowering by bucket into the river. Providing some thrills, at least one striped bass jumped high and right out of its container and flopped about on the floor in the Wet-

lab, before it was corralled and returned to the bin, then lowered down into the Hudson — which is probably where it was hoping to hop to in the first place.

PHOTOS BY REBECCA WHITE

The world is his oyster.

Elevator going down! Next stop, the river! TheVillager.com

“Take me to the river. Drop me in the water... .” November 23, 2017

9


Trumped-up rally on old P.S. 64 used actors RALLY continued from p. 1

lageCares.org, a Web site that is registered to Gotham’s founding partner Brad Gerstman. A flier for the event put out by East Village Cares listed the group’s mailing address as 1339 Franklin Ave. in Garden City — which is also the address of Gotham G.R.’s Long Island office. “Note this is a real live protest, and protestors MUST look real and be enthusiastic and verbal about the subject. Signs will be provided by production,” the e-mail stated. (Asked to respond, Extra Mile wrote in an e-mail: “We aren’t able to help you with this.”) In fact, the rally on Friday drew about 30 mostly unenthusiastic participants, including several from outside the community who seemed perplexed when asked why they cared about a dorm project in the East Village. “We’re working — I’m working,” responded one man from Harlem who was holding a “Restore P.S. 64!” sign. When asked what he meant by “working,” he clammed up. “No comment,” he said and smiled. Melissa Williams, a finance worker who lives in the West Village, showed up bearing a picture of East Village Councilmember-elect Carlina Rivera, captioned with the phrase: “Paid 4 by Aaron Sosnick. Fake as it gets.” Asked why she cared about Rivera’s stance on a proposed dorm that isn’t in her neighborhood, Williams responded, “I have family in the East Village.” The rally was headed up by Gotham’s lead partner David Schwartz and Epstein, who led the crowd in chants of “We want the dorm!” “This is a community that is fed up! This is a community that is saying, ‘Enough is enough!’ ” Epstein shouted. Epstein blamed politicians and “wealthy individuals” for “colluding to obstruct” Singer’s efforts to “restore” the building for the community. In particular, she singled out “billionaire” benefactor Aaron Sosnick, who lives in a penthouse at the Christodora House, a condominium tower that sits adjacent to the old P.S. 64. “These people are trying not to have a college dorm put up, all because a rich guy is paying for it,” she shouted as the protesters behind her booed. Sosnick, who operates a hedge fund worth an estimated $4 billion, is on the board of the East Village Community Coalition, which led the campaign to landmark the old P.S. 64 in 2006. Although the landmarking blocked Singer’s earlier plan to erect a 27-story dormitory tower at the site, it hasn’t stopped him from seeking to develop the existing five-story school building into student housing. The building has a deed restriction and can only be developed for “community facility use.” Over the last decade, Singer has sought to lease space in the building to various schools, including The Cooper Union, the Joffrey Ballet and now Adelphi University, which most recently offered to pay $373,500 a year for the right to rent out two floors of the building. But Singer’s effort, Epstein alleged, had been foiled by Councilmember Mendez and Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation, who she claimed had succeeded in blocking further construction in the site. Berman’s name, she said, was “all over the documents” they received through a Freedom of Information Act request for city correspondence relating to Singer’s dorm plans filed with the Department of Buildings. G.V.S.H.P., she noted, received a $250,000 donation last year from Sosnick’s charity La Vida Feliz Foundation, and Sosnick has also been a leading contributor to the area’s elected officials, including Mendez, her successor Rivera and state Senator Brad Hoylman, who received $11,000 from him last year. Reached after the rally, Hoylman scoffed at the notion that his opposition to Singer’s dorm plan was bought and paid for.

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November 23, 2017

PHOTO BY SARAH FERGUSON

From left, Jorge de Yar za, Nicole Epstein, David Schwar tz and Paul Engler at the front of last Friday’s rally at Cit y Hall. De Yar za, a local restaurateur, and Engler are East Villagers who want Gregg Singer’s dorm project to move for ward. Epstein and Schwar tz are with a government-relations group that orchestrated the rally, which included paid actors.

“I was a vocal supporter of CHARAS,” the community group that occupied the school building when Singer bought it, “long before I ever thought about running for the Senate,” he said. “This is astroturfing at its most comical,” Hoylman said of the rally. “It’s straight out of Donald Trump’s playbook, and it’s not going to fly in the East Village.”

‘Note...protestors MUST look real and be enthusiastic.’

Hoylman confirmed that he had consulted with Sosnick and many others in the community. “Bottom line,” he said, “I don’t feel that a dorm is an appropriate community use for this building, and I’m confident that represents the vast majority of opinion in the area.” Berman similarly dismissed the allegations against G.V.S.H.P. “Gregg Singer is a serial liar who has now hired Donald Trump’s PR firm to pay actors to stand at City Hall rallies and make up allegations against real community groups,” he wrote in a statement to the Villager. “Mr. Singer knows that he does not have a leg to stand on, which is why he has been unable to get permits for his bogus [dorm] facilities through three of the most prodevelopment administrations in New York City history. “This is the last desperate gasp of someone who knows

he has lost the fight, as evidenced by the mayor indicating his intention to retake this historic community center from Singer, who has done nothing but try to destroy it, and allow it to rot, and attempt to fill with illegal uses,” Berman added. Sosnick, who was traveling, said he could not respond in person to the smear campaign. But he sent in this statement via e-mail: “I’m fortunate to be trustee of a foundation with resources to support fine organizations like G.V.S.H.P. and E.V.C.C. It’s an honor and a pleasure to be able to help them give communities and neighborhoods a voice and make sure rules are followed as real estate development happens in New York City.” Admittedly, the notion that Sosnick is essentially paying politicians to obstruct Singer’s dorm is a bit rich, coming from Gotham. One of the lobbyists who contacted this reporter to spin that story is Richard Lipsky, who was convicted in 2012 of paying bribes to a state senator to act on behalf of his clients. Lipsky is now lobbying on behalf of Singer’s LLC, records show. Berman suggested Singer may be getting desperate. This month, a judge ordered Singer to pay a settlement of more $8 million to his investors, who have sued him for failing to develop the building while continuing to pay himself management fees of up to $30,000 a month. With Mayor Bill de Blasio saying he’s looking into “reacquiring” the old P.S. 64 “for the community,” Berman and other veterans of the CHARAS struggle hope the city may now have more leverage to negotiate a way out of this 20-year impasse. But exactly how the city could “reacquire” the building, and at what cost, are not easy questions to answer, especially since Singer says the property is now appraised at more than $80 million — even before renovation. Singer insists the building is not for sale, and is currently appealing the stop-work order from the Department of Buildings, which rejected his latest lease with Adelphi beRALLY continued on p. 23 TheVillager.com


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Photo by Mati Gelman

The cast of Nathaniel Sam Shapiro’s “Diaspora.”

Still taking a stand at Masada ‘Diaspora’ gathers the complexities of a scattered people BY TRAV S.D. How soon is “too soon” — are 2,000 years enough? Probably not when you’re talking about the mass suicide at Masada (73 CE) or the Jewish Holocaust during the Third Reich. Yet in “Diaspora” (playing at The Gym at Judson through Dec. 23), playwright Nathaniel Sam Shapiro tackles both of these subjects, filtered through the eyes and experiences of callow American Jewish youth on a Birthright-type cultural legacy tour of Israel. “Diaspora” pendulates between hilarious and heartbreaking, often within a single scene. The show juxtaposes scenes of college kids hooking up, getting high, and generally complaining about their lives as they ride on a tour bus, with exchanges between characters in the last days of the historical Masada, where, according to the traditional telling, nearly 1,000 Jews burned themselves alive rather than allow themselves to be captured by their Roman persecutors. “My first encounter with the Masada story was as a kid,” said Shapiro. “It bothered me. I found it off-putting. Subject matter like that engenders a strong response and gives the metaphor TheVillager.com

a relevance. Masada was the last bastion of the Jewish Revolt and, in a way, precipitated the diaspora into Europe. I feel like a metaphor was already there for me, easy to relate to the contemporary politics of Israel. The Likud and Netanyahu are all about walling themselves up, a feeling that the world is out to get you, that you can only rely on yourself.” The ignorance of the young people in the play about their own history, and their emotional distance from it, is frequently shocking. Shapiro says his character research included interviewing people who have visited Israel and Palestine, and observations of youngsters on actual Birthright trips around the country. As for the Masada research, there were the works of Josephus (ca. 37-100), the only contemporary account, and Nachman Ben-Yehuda’s “The Masada Myth.” “Josephus was kind of the Benedict Arnold of the Jewish Revolt,” explained Shapiro. “He was writing for a GrecoRoman audience, the prevailing worldview at the time. So there are doubts as to its accuracy. But for understanding how people saw themselves at the time, it’s invaluable.”

Added perspective on the subject matter is provided by the play’s director, Nairobi-born Saheem Ali. “Nathaniel and I met as graduate students at NYU,” recalled Ali. “Nathaniel had written a piece called ‘The Erlkings,’ about the Columbine shooting, and needed a director for it. I was impressed by how he fashioned existing documents, FBI reports, and so forth into a work of theatre. So we formed a working relationship.” “The Erlkings” was produced on Theatre Row in 2014. “Diaspora” is their second collaboration — and according to Ali, it’s been as much a learning experience as an act of expression. “Nathaniel gave me my introduction to this culture,” said Ali. “I grew up in Kenya. I didn’t meet any Jews until 1998. I experienced a good deal of enlightenment, working on this play. I really relied on him for cultural perspective, and the fact that he’s so researchoriented. Nathaniel’s writing about these human experiences provides the entry point. I provide the theatrical interpretation.” “Saheem helps provide an outside perspective that is a key in communicating with a broader audience,” added Shapiro.

“You could get lost in insider knowledge and references. It’s helpful having someone who can question things.” As for approaching the topic with satirical humor, Shapiro said, “I hope to be in the tradition of many of my Jewish heroes who use humor to communicate stories of oppression and pain. More generally, humor is an amazing tool. There is something about laughter that involves you. There is something to be gained from exploring uncomfortable moments. When some of these characters take some of these awful events lightly, for us to find it funny, you have to acknowledge how horrible it is. Someone who didn’t find it horrible wouldn’t find it funny.” “Diaspora” is the inaugural production of Shapiro’s new producing organization, Red Moon Theater Company. Through Dec. 23. At 2pm, 3pm, 7pm or 8pm depending on the specific Tues.-Sun. performance. At The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson St., btw. W. Third St. & Washington Sq. South). For tickets ($55.50-$79.50), call 866-811-4111 or visit diasporatheplay.com. Follow “Diaspora” on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @diasporatheplay. November 23, 2017

15


All-In for Anime NYC Costumed fans of Japanese comics and cartoons convene at the Javits Center BY CHARLES BATTERSBY New York has a major Comic Con but, in years past, there was a con just for Japanese comics and cartoons. The old New York Anime Festival was absorbed into the New York Comic Con (NYCC) five years ago, leaving the city’s nerdy Japanophiles without a major con they could claim as their own. This year saw the arrival of the first Anime NYC — a three-day event (Nov. 17-19) held at the Javits Center, where fans could indulge their love of “Sailor Moon,” “Fullmetal Alchemist” and more, in the company of fellow Otakus (a Japanese term for obsessives, most commonly of the anime and manga stripes). Although a sizable experience, Anime NYC was smaller than the juggernaut that is NYCC. Its show floor took up only a fraction of the convention center’s space, and had about 20,000 attendees — as opposed to the 180,000 at NYCC. The smaller crowd was still extremely enthusiastic as they eagerly lined up to meet voice actors from games and cartoons, catch exclusive movie screenings, and participate in the Masquerade ULTRA DELUXE costume contest. It has been over 25 years since “Sailor Moon” premiered, influencing an entire generation, as such, the con declared Sat., Nov. 18 to be “Sailor Moon Day,” and had panels that allowed fans to meet the voice cast of the English language version of “Sailor Moon Crystal,” the most recent anime adaptation. Unofficial meet ups were held around the convention center too, and over 50 costumed “Sailor Moon” fans attended one such gathering. The organizer of this event, who goes by the name Rizuki, told us, “I expected maybe 10 to 20... It was quite more than I expected.” After spending an hour organizing the swarm of sailor scouts for photo shoots, Rizuki said that she and many of the attendees discovered “Sailor Moon” in the early ’90s, when the English dub first aired on American TV. She explained that the franchise has such a wide appeal because “It doesn’t matter who you are, what you label yourself as, ‘Sailor Moon’ is for everyone. The fans today proved it, so much... We have a common love and a common ground, and we can all come together with that common link and do something beautiful like we did

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November 23, 2017

Photos by Christian Miles

Anime NYC had more people in costume than the typical con.

“Sailor Moon” fans showed off their costumes (this article’s author is in the center).

Gamers lined up to try rare Japanese arcade cabinets.

today.” Cosplayers from all fandoms later participated in the con’s official Masquerade ULTRA DELUXE. Just about any pop culture convention will have a costume contest, but anime cons draw a distinct crowd, according to judges YuffieBunny and Uncanny Megan. “The cosplay is totally different,” said YuffieBunny. “It’s usually a much younger crowd at Anime Cons.” Uncanny Megan added, “There’s more focus on the cosplay because, typically, Anime conventions do contests based on craftsmanship, while at a lot of comic cons it’s just walk onstage and present yourself.” Indeed, some of the winners wore outfits that could only be fully appreciated when seen up close, like a ‘Sailor Moon’ dress that was hand-knitted from yarn. Instead of merely parading their contestants across the stage, the Masquerade ULTRA DELUXE also got the audience into the act. While the judges were debating who had the best costumes, audience members were invited onstage by host Uncle Yo to participate in party games and compete for prizes. Uncle Yo explained that this degree of interaction with the audience during a costume contest was rare at cons. “The Masquerade has always been for TheVillager.com


the contestants and the con-goers themselves,” he said, and described Anime NYC’s version as a “multi-level, Price is Right-style game show.” Random audience members were selected to compete in anime-themed Pictionary, charades, and a dance-off (to anime themes songs, naturally). The audience was dazzled when one cosplayer, Aaron Libato, was brought onstage for the fi nal round of the dance off. Libato was dressed as Star Lord, Chris Pratt’s character from “Guardians of the Galaxy.” He told us that he was fortunate enough to have memorized all of Pratt’s dance moves from the films, and that he knew the theme song of the anime he had to dance to. He won the dance contest, and joyfully told us afterwards, “Never doubt yourself when going to a convention or cosplaying. Even if you bought the costume or it’s made of cardboard or duct tape. Do it!” Fans who weren’t daring enough to dance onstage could also try out a selection of rare Japanese arcade games on the show floor, including dance games. Japanese arcade machine provider Tokyo Attack offered an assortment of oddball game cabinets that could be played for free. Alongside favorites like “Dance Dance Revolution” and Taiko drum simulators were several unusual games that can’t be found on this side of the Pacific. Anthony Capobianco of Tokyo Attack said, “In your traditional American arcade, you have a joystick and you have buttons... We’ve got some unique games like Super Table Flip. The idea is, you hit a table, and when you build up your anger meter, you flip over the table. Something you’re never going to

see in America.” True to his description, the game has a controller shaped like a dinner table and forces players endure a meal with infuriating virtual people, before inevitably knocking over the table to the astonishment of their fellow diners. The con ended with an exclusive screening of the live-action film adaptation of “Fullmetal Alchemist.” This was an opportunity for Americans to catch a highly anticipated Japanese movie even before its Japanese premiere in December. The sold-out screening also let fans meet the film’s director, Fumihiko Sori. Although this particular audience was composed of hardcore fans, the movie was accessible to people who are just discovering the franchise. It condensed about one third of the manga’s storyline down to a self-contained feature, but left room for possible sequels. In addition to cartoons and comics, Anime NYC allowed attendees to show their obsession with other elements of Japanese culture, like pop music with a “Diva Night” concert, and Japanese food with a panel on ramen noodles which featured a discussion between globally-recognized ramen chefs. As Uncle Yo reminded the audience at the Masquerade, “This is New York City. We’re the home of the Avengers, the Ghostbusters, Spider-Man, and now we are the home of the nerds.” It only took until the day after for word to arrive that Anime NYC will become an annual affair (as of Nov. 16-18, 2018). Visit animenyc.com for updates. Facebook: facebook.com/ AnimeNYC. Twitter: @AnimeNYC. Instagram: @AnimeNYC.

Photos by Christian Miles

A cosplayer amazed the host of the Masquerade ULTRA DELUXE dance-off.

L to R: At the Ramen Summit, foodies learned about noodles from chefs Kenshiro Uki, Shigetoshi Nakamura, and Ivan Orkin.

These cosplayers brought their own Japari Bus.

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L to R: Costume contest judges Uncanny Megan and YuffieBunny presented a panel on cosplay modeling. November 23, 2017

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Rally used hired actors RALLY continued from p. 10

cause it only committed the university to rent a minimum of 20 beds. Mendez laughed at Epstein’s charge that she had unduly swayed the D.O.B. against Singer’s plan. “If Gregg Singer wanted to have a dorm there, he could have had one a long time ago,” she said. “He just needs to submit a valid lease from a college or licensed institution. “What he keeps submitting is a license, not a lease, because it says the organizations can give back the beds they don’t use to the owner to rent out himself,” Mendez argued. What’s ironic, of course, is that by hiring Gotham to concoct a trumped-up protest, Singer undermined his cause along with the claims of those in the community who say they are fed up with the ongoing stalemate. Not all the people who showed up on Friday were actors. At the heart of East Village Cares are three local residents who say they’ve become disillusioned with what they feel are vague promises by Mendez and others to restore the building along the lines of the old CHARAS community center — something they view as unrealistic. The most vocal is Jorge de Yarza, a resident of E. 11th St. and owner of Donostia, a tapas bar on Avenue B. De Yarza says he and others have collected more than 900 signatures from people in the area who would support having a dorm instead of a “vacant eyesore.” During the primary election, de Yarza went so far as to help Singer pass out leaflets promoting opponents of Carlina Rivera, in hopes of electing a candidate who would be more sympathetic to Singer’s dorm project. Asked why he feels so strongly, de Yarza accused Mendez of “lying” to him about what constitutes a legal dorm. He also said the empty school building has become a magnet for vagrants and drug users who congregate on the block and make their way into the alley behind his business. He has met with Singer and architects for the dorm project, and blames Mendez and her allies for the stalemate, which he said perpetuates “all this filth”

on the block. Joining him was Paul Engler, a former dancer who says he used to rehearse at CHARAS. Engler said he, too, voted for Mendez and actively supported the campaign to landmark the old P.S. 64. But he says he’s now come to believe that the dorm would be a good option for the community and says he feels “duped” by Mendez’s opposition. Engler was echoed by his wife, Temple Carr, a luxury jewelry designer, who complained that the vacant building had become a safety hazard and was attracting trash and rats. Engler and Carr live in a townhouse on Avenue B overlooking Tompkins Square Park that’s been written up in design publications. Carr denounced “all this mythology” she said had evolved over the years around Singer, who she portrayed as a father and “communityoriented person,” who has been unfairly “demonized” by opponents of the dorm. Asked why she didn’t fault Singer for not cleaning up the trash and dog poop outside his building and fixing the heavedup sidewalk, Carr insisted Singer was “spending a lot of money” to maintain the school even though the city won’t let him develop. Instead she took a shot at La Plaza Cultural, a community garden located down the block on the corner of Avenue C. “Look at all the dog shit and rats outside La Plaza,” Carr complained. When this reporter, who (full disclosure) happens to be a member of La Plaza, questioned why Carr would hold a volunteer-run garden to the same standard as a man who pays himself more than $100,000 a year to manage a for-profit property, she scoffed: “That place is full of trash, it’s a dump, an eyesore” she said of the garden, renamed after Armando Perez, one of CHARAS’s founders, after his death in 1999. A few days after the rally, East Village Cares updated its Web site to include a complaint about La Plaza Cultural, which it characterized as “ugly, dirty, rat-infested and weird. Plus they do a sloppy job of upkeep on the outside / public area. This area needs to be addressed.” East Village Cares has not, however, removed the photo on its homepage that erroneously shows a street scene from Greenwich Village.

PHOTOS BY CLAYTON PATTERSON

The young future “falafel guys,” in front of Clay ton Patterson’s front door, on Essex St., from left, Titu Mohammed, Masud Hoque and Kammal Mohammed.

Da Falafel Guys survive inspection crunch time BY CL AY TON PATTERSON

I

am grateful to The Villager for publishing my article on the problems that Da Falafel Guys were having (“City regs could make falafel shop tank,” Clayton, May 18): The problems have all been solved. The shop has received an “A” from the Department of Health, and another small Lower East Side business survives. This is not just a small business. These are local neighbors who grew up in the community, and found a way to stay here and open a business. I have known these guys since they were children. I watched them grow and become productive, contributing members of

our local culture. With all that gentrification has wiped out, it just feels good to know that some of the roots of our history and past can still be found here. And, strange as it may seem — and I know many others in my part of the community who feel the same way — it is difficult to find eatable, inexpensive food in our part of the L.E.S. We have multiple $1 pizza places, $3 meatballs, standard deli fare, and from there the prices go along with the high rent. I do recommend Da Falafel Guys, at 127 Rivington St. The food on the menu is healthy, affordable and served in hungry-man portions. Support the community. “Make Downtown Ours Again” is one of my new campaign slogans.

Scoopy’s Notebook SCOOPY’S continued from p. 2

the opportunity to travel regularly to cities where underground nightlife was still thriving, so I stopped fighting and started dancing — just rarely in New York. I’m thrilled that New York will finally bury the last bits of this law of racist origin. After years of community board service [Dutton was a member of Community Board 2], I still maintain that the presence of dancing is irrelevant in TheVillager.com

determining whether an establishment is a good neighbor. I’m hopeful that this is a step in re-establishing New York’s credentials as a cultural Petri dish.”

CORRECTION: A caption on a photo of a woman in last week’s article on the Club 57 exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art did not properly identify her as artist Marlene Weisman. Weisman exhibited at Club 57 in shows curated by Keith Haring.

Kammal Mohammed today behind the counter at Da Falafel Guys restaurant, on Rivington St. November 23, 2017

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The Villager  

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