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The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

December 21, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 51

Could gay seniors tip garden vs. housing battle in Little Italy? BY SAR AH FERGUSON


he de Blasio administration just brought a new constituency into the battle over the Elizabeth Street Garden: gay seniors. Ever since the city targeted the garden for affordable housing five years ago, the fight over this quirky Little Italy statuary

has pitted the needs of low-income seniors against the need for green space in this dense pocket of Lower Manhattan. But in the new plans for the site unveiled two weeks ago, the city went out of its way to cast the proposed 121-unit residence as affordable, “L.G.B.T.Q.GARDEN continued on p. 10

‘I feel free!’ Immigrant unshackled at Judson Church Sunday service BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y


n Dec. 10, Judson Memorial Church’s Sunday service was more packed than usual. This inclusive congregation extends beyond its Washington Square South location. The building is also is designated New York City landmark, and was also

added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Judson has long been known for social outreach and support and work with social justice programs. On this particular morning, dozens of family members of APOFAM (Popular Assembly MONITOR continued on p. 4


About 400 people toting boom boxes blaring ambient music par ticipated in the annual “Unsilent Night” per formance-ar t walk through the Village Sunday night.

L shutdown plan a real train wreck: Neighbors BY REBECCA FIORE


esidents along 13th St. are concerned and skeptical of the city Department of Transportation’s newly released proposal for the reconstruction of 13th and 14th Sts., just one part of the plan to accommodate the L train 15-month long maintenance project slated to begin April 2019. Polly Trottenberg, the D.O.T. commissioner, spoke before

Safe City, Safe Streets........... p. 12

the City Council Committee on Transportation on Thurs, Dec. 14, revealing a 14th St. busway, where two-way M14 Select Bus Service will travel, blocking off all other vehicles during rush hour, with the exception of Access-A-Ride. Deliveries would be allowed during off-hours. In her testimony, Trottenberg called the S.B.S. an “upgrade-plus” that would include temporary bus bulbs, a sidewalk expansion and improved

station elements at stops. Bus stops would be offset — out of the travel lane — with commercial loading zones in between. This busway street treatment would run between Third and Eighth Aves. traveling westbound and between Ninth and Third Aves. traveling eastbound. It is not clear whether or not these measures would be temporary fixtures as a result of the L train cloLTRAIN continued on p. 6

Johnson sealing deal to be next speaker?........p. 2 E.V. tech honcho hardly neutral on ’Net ........... p. 15 www.TheVillager.com

SPEAKER SQUEAKER: Corey Johnson apparently may be the next speaker of the City Council. According to the Daily News, sources say Johnson and Democratic county leaders are telling people that he has secured the support of the latter, enough so that he will win the closely contested race between the eight candidates currently running to lead the city’s legislative body. The county leaders were reportedly either final-

izing the deal or it was already in place as of Wednesday. The rest of the councilmembers were expected to comply with the party bosses’ wishes. Johnson, 35, has represented the West Side’s Council District 3, which includes the Village and Chelsea, for the past four years, and was recently overwhelmingly re-elected. He faced no opposition in the Democratic primary. Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has been speaker since Mayor Bill de Blasio’s election four years ago, will be term-limited out of office at the end of this year. The Council’s 51 members will elect the new speaker in the first week of January. Requests for comment from Johnson, as well as his chief of staff, Erik Bottcher, were not immediately returned. Advocates for the Small Business Jobs Survival Act were elated since Johnson has promised, if he becomes speaker to hold a hearing and vote on the long-stymied bill. By the same token, S.B.J.S.A.’ers were heartened that Robert Cornegy, who has never let the bill have a hearing before his Small Business Committee in the City Council, may not, in fact, be a shoo-in to win, as the scuttlebutt was saying this week.


CALL 718-260-2516

Corey Johnson has repor tedly secured enough suppor t from Democratic Par t y count y leaders to win the Cit y Council speakership.


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December 21, 2017


Tax-breaks pitch for renewing small-biz leases BY REBECCA FIORE


n yet another effort to save New York City’s threatened mom-andpop shops, local legislators announced the latest plan to save small businesses. Called the “Mom & Pop Increase Exemption,” the proposal would encourage landlords to enter into long-term affordable leases, with fair renewal clauses, with independently owned businesses, in exchange for property tax abatement, according to a press release from Brooklyn Councilmember Brad Lander. The idea came from a recently released City Council report, “Planning for Retail Diversity: Supporting NYC’s Neighborhood Businesses.” One of the report’s recommendations — specifically, No. 19 — said that while the city and state have tools to support the development of new commercial space, help individual businesses, support growth in certain areas, and facilitate access to credit, New York lacks the tools to support retail diversity and save small businesses owners from increasing rent demands. “Every week, we lose another muchloved small business in our neighborhoods,” Lander said. “Rising commercial rents are pushing out the ‘Mom-and-pops’ who are the heart of our communities. We need a new tool to help save them.” The bill, Lander said, “is a common-

sense step we can take to save small businesses — and what’s special about our communities.” According to the City Council report, businesses in some neighborhoods are facing rent increases of more than 50 percent, on average, and the rapid rise in Manhattan rents has a direct relationship with the loss of small business and retail diversity. Supporting the legislation at the state level are state Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. Lander’s press release included statements from both of them. “Our city’s diversity should be reflected in the storefronts we see walking down the street,” Kavanagh said, “and I’m proud to introduce legislation that will empower New York City to support neighborhood shops. These small businesses give our neighborhoods the rich character we treasure, employ New Yorkers in their communities, and drive our local economy.” Added Niou, “Small businesses across my district in Lower Manhattan are fighting to stay open, but with rising rents, they often struggle to make ends meet and remain viable.” The Albany bill would authorize New York City to create this new tax program. The bill would not only keep local businesses’ rents low, but also discourage landlords from keeping their storefronts vacant in hopes for higher tenants, according to the bill’s sponsors.

Additionally, the tax-abatement program would be limited to landlords who rent to local, independently owned businesses, in order to discourage the proliferation of chains in the city, which tend to drive up commercial rents drastically, the press release said. Two local business improvement districts support the initiative. “The Chinatown BID / Partnership are delighted to learn of this new effort to help the small businesses and our community,” said Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Partnership. “Any relief to take the pressure off the merchants will, in the long run, be beneficial to all and bring stability to the wasteful cycle of vacating, removal and the long wait for the next tenants.” Added Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance, “In this increasingly challenging retail climate, it would be great for the city to provide tax relief for both businesses and property owners that would help create jobs and maintain the character of our local communities.” However, not everyone is pleased with a proposal that would keep commercial rent under landlords’ control. Steven Barrison, the spokesperson for the city’s Small Business Congress, said giving tax exemptions to landlords only further suppresses the voices of small business owners. Barrison said that since this program would be on a voluntary basis, landlords

would not have to comply. “Like every other Council proposal thus far, It doesn’t give any rights to small business owners,” Barrison said. “It doesn’t change anything. Small businesses still have no voice and zero fairness; if they had a voice they would say that this is ridiculous. This is an insult to democracy. “If the councilmembers were truly interested in fairness and helping the small businesses to survive, they would solve the unfair lease-renewal process and ensure that good-standing tenants could get a ‘right to renewal’ with a minimum 10-year lease renewal at a fair rent, so that both the landlord and business get a reasonable return on their investment. The new Council proposal accomplishes neither and will not save one business.” Since commercial rents currently are not regulated, landlords can charge whatever they want. Plus, as the S.B.C. Web site notes, commercial tenants are required to pay their landlord’s property taxes in a “pass-along” tax. “Once a landlord gets a tax break by claiming he would have doubled the rents, that higher increase now becomes the standard for all his other businesses and in the neighborhood area,” the S.B.C. Web site states. “Unscrupulous and greedy landlords will jump upon the higher rents as the new ‘fair market-rate rents,’ thus forcing more businesses to close and workers losing their jobs. Then the rents go even higher.”


A repor t of a fire in a four-stor y rear carriage house at 93 Perr y St., bet ween Hudson and Bleecker Sts., last Saturday just before 1 p.m. brought 60 firefighters speeding to the scene in 12 fire trucks and other emergenc y vehicles. The blaze was quickly brought under control. Mitchell Reichler, 56, holding the black dog, Orson, getting a pat from one of New York’s Bravest, above, said he had returned to his groundfloor apar tment and made himself a sandwich about 20 minutes before the firefighters arrived, and only smelled smoke as he rushed back out of his apar tment. A heater in the top apar tment repor tedly sparked the blaze, according to Reichler. He said Orson lives in that unit, but that the owner, who is “a private person,” was not home at the time. Reichler, who works in video production, was holding Orson with a leash made of clear IV tubes that E.M.S. workers gave him. “ We’ve got the greatest Fire Depar tment in the world,” Reichler said. One firefighter was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. TheVillager.com

December 21, 2017


Immigrant is unshackled at Judson 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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December 21, 2017

MONITOR continued from p. 1

of Migrant Families), as well sanctuary families and members of other immigrant groups, crowded into the back of Judson’s sanctuary, to support and bear witness. Gerzon C., 20, came across the MexicoTexas border two years ago, escaping violence and extortion from criminal groups in his Central American country. He was traveling with his brother and sister to get away from aggressive gangs. Upon crossing the border, he was immediately put into U.S. detention. Currently, he is in the process of getting a Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa, or S.I.J. — a protective status for youth fleeing violence in their home countries. In the meantime, however, for much of the past two years, he has worn an anklebracelet monitor, owned and administered by Libre by Nexus, at a cost of $420 a month, which he must pay. The payments have totaled more than $6,000 so far, and none of this money even goes to a bondsman, who would post bail — just as in a criminal court case — to ensure that Gerzon would show up for any immigrationcourt proceedings. As part of the Dec. 10 Sunday service, Gerzon, with the help of Reverend Juan Carlos Ruiz — the organizer and co-founder of the New Sanctuary Movement, based at Judson — removed the ankle bracelet. In front of the packed Judson Hall, Ruiz cut off the ankle bracelet and Judson’s senior minister Reverend Donna Schaper then held it up for all to see. “I feel free!” was Gerzon’s first remark. Through the translation by Ruiz, Gerzon explained why he took this step. “I was being extorted in my country,” the young immigrant said. “I’m being extorted here,” he said, referring to the ankle monitor. Ruiz was asked later if this act doesn’t now put Gerzon at risk. “Gerzon believes there has to be a denunciation of this practice,” he responded. “If this is the land of the free, he wasn’t free and we have to do something. “This is not civil disobedience, this is civil obedience!” Ruiz declared. “This is further violence, sanctioned and sealed by the federal government,” he said of the use of monitoring devices. Ruiz noted that formerly slavery was legal, but that did not make that right. “We have to make civil society aware to defy this shit!” he pronounced. Gerzon wanted to cut off his monitor in a prayerful context. As Schaper explained, this act of defiance took place as a “powerful part of the prayer service in the ‘Joys and Concerns’ part of the Sunday service.” In addition, also at the service were mothers from Latin America who have not seen their children for more than 20 years and were granted a limited-time “humanitarian visa” to enter the U.S. Judson Church helped start and was the lead congregation of the New Sanctuary Coalition — a New York City-area-based


Reverend Donna Schaper, Judson’s senior minister, held aloft the anklebracelet monitor after it was cut off of Gerzon C., right.

Reverend Donna Schaper cutting off the man’s GPS monitor.

interfaith network of more than 100 congregations, organizations and individuals, standing in solidarity with families and communities resisting detention and deportation in order to stay together. The Libre by Nexus Web site for the monitoring device reads: “We get your loved one out of jail. No collateral.” Its marketing is meant to entice undocumented immigrants, visa violators or criminals who are being held in detention and don’t have the full bond money. The Libre by Nexus program includes the use of GPS technology to secure bonds without cash by clamping an electronic monitor on the released detainee. The

catch: The rental service fee is $420 a month, for as long as the person wears it. According to a March 2017 article in the Washington Post, Libre requires the immigrant to pay 20 percent of his or her bond upfront. Libre then pays the bond agency 15 percent of the required bail to spring the immigrant from detention, while Libre keeps the remaining 5 percent. Meanwhile, the immigrant’s monthly charge is simply for the ankle monitor and does not pay down the amount of the bond. Libre — which means “free” in Spanish but is a for-profit company — lists 22 offices in the U.S. on its Web site. According to the Washington Post article earlier this year, Libre had more than 6,500 clients at that time — though that number no doubt is growing under Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigrants. Libre by Nexus boasts yearly revenue of more than $30 million. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also uses tracking bracelets to monitor documented immigrants, though those individuals do not have to pay. That program monitors about 30,000 persons. Among the congregants at the Judson service was Keen Berger, the West Village female Democratic district leader, who has been a member of the Judson Immigration Task Force for 10 years. “This is a holy act to set the captives free,” she said, quoting from Luke 4-18. “And,” she added, “I agree with Juan Carlos, who before the unshackling, said about the 100 Mexicans plus 200 members of Judson, who bore witness together, ‘We need you and you need us.’” TheVillager.com

POLICE BLOTTER Senior slugger bust An arrest has been made in the case of a senior actress who was robbed while trying to enter her building at 162 W. 13th St., on Fri., Oct. 20, at 6:42 p.m., police said. In the incident, the thug hit the 81-year-old victim from behind on the right side of her face, forcibly removed her pocketbook and fled on foot. The victim complained of facial pain and had bruises. Police tracked her iPhone SE to Hoyt and Livingston Sts. in Brooklyn. Leroy Wright, 59, was arrested Wed., Dec. 13, for felony robbery.

TD Bank robbery Police said that on Thurs., Dec. 14, around 12:45 p.m., an unidentified man entered the TD Bank at 21 E. First St., at Second Ave., approached the employee

and passed a withdrawal slip demanding money. The employee complied and the robber fled with roughly $1,900. The suspect is described as 25 to 35 years old, around 5-feet-5-inches tall and weighing 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt under a blue jacket sporting white stripes and an Adidas logo, plus a red backpack and blue gloves. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.

Burlington bag A woman was shopping at Burlington

Coat Factory at 40 E. 14th St. when her purse was stolen Fri., July 21, at 5:55 p.m. While the 29-year-old victim was shopping, an unknown woman reached into her cart while the victim was being distracted by the thief’s male accomplice. Both perpetrators then left the location. The total value of the items stolen was $350. George Baez, 29, was arrested Thurs., Dec. 14, and Gladys Arango, 52, was arrested Fri., Dec. 15, for felony grand larceny.

Unsweet swipe Police said a woman was sitting inside Sweets by Chloe, at 185 Bleecker St., when her jacket and purse were swiped on Thurs., Oct. 26, sometime before 7:10 p.m. The victim, 25, noticed before leaving the store that her belongings were missing. She canceled her Chase

credit card and was informed that it had been used to make a $60 purchase at the Walgreens at 145 Fourth Ave., at E. 14th St. The total value of the stolen items was $140. Robert McKay, 57, was charged Wed., Dec. 13, with felony grand larceny.

Attempted break-in Two people were seen inside 206 Thompson St. on Wed., Dec. 13, at 5 p.m., trying to open a locked door, according to police. The building’s superintendent said he did not know the pair and they did not live there. The suspects were spotted with stolen property. Fernando M. Reyes, 36, and Michael A. Buccino, 38, were busted for felony attempted burglary.

Tabia C. Robinson and Lincoln Anderson


Ho, yeah! Elves ease commute in Hudson Square


aution, Elves crossing! Santa’s helpers pitched in to help ease the rush-hour commute in Hudson Square this month as a group of elves spread holiday cheer with festive songs and dance moves while supporting the Hudson Square ConTheVillager.com

nection’s Pedestrian Traffic Managers program. The elves were spotted at the corner of Varick and Spring Sts., apparently unafraid of being deported back to the North Pole now that President Trump’s name is due to be stripped off the Trump Soho Hotel.

The Connection business improvement district, or BID, created the P.T.M. program five years ago to allow pedestrians to safely cross Varick St. between Spring and W. Houston Sts. during the evening rush hour when Jersey-bound drivers are hell-bent

on getting into the Hudson Tunnel and back to the suburbs. According to the BID, the P.T.M. program has decreased blocked crosswalks in the neighborhood by 43 percent, blocked intersections by 61 percent and honking by 53 percent. December 21, 2017


A cross-section diagram showing the proposed D.O.T. changes to 14th and 13th Sts. prompted by the looming L train shutdown on 14th St. Thirteenth St. would get a t wo-way bike lane, while 14th St. would get Select Bus Ser vice overlaid on the existing bus route.

L shutdown plan a real train wreck: Neighbors LTRAIN continued from p. 1

sure or they would become permanent. According to a D.O.T. spokesperson, “A version of Select Bus Service will remain on 14th St. However, when the L train returns, the ridership demands will lessen and the street design may change accordingly.” Residents are concerned that since car traffic would be restricted on 14th St., drivers would be forced to side streets, such as 13th St., which D.O.T. has additional proposed changes for. “We are carrying a lot of the burden,” Birgitte Philippides-Delaney, president of the W. 13th St. Alliance, said. “This was presented as a plan, a done deal, not a work in progress. It’s been very upsetting to the community. We live in one of the last remaining 19th-century neighborhoods. There’s got to be other solutions besides 13th St. bearing the brunt of this.” Along 13th St., Trottenberg said, would be the first two-way protected crosstown bike lane, stretching from Avenue C to Ninth Ave. To do this, D.O.T. would remove the parking lane on the south side of the street, install the bike lane, and reduce the street to a smaller travel lane with parking on the other side. The new 13th St. crosstown bike lane is “expected to be permanent,” the D.O.T. spokesperson said. “Robert Moses initiated projects without neighborhood input or commentary. A bike lane is not a highway, but it will have major and irreversible impacts on W. 13th St.,” PhilippidesDelaney said. Philippides-Delaney, who lived on W. 13th St. for more than 25 years, said that in the public meetings she attended, held by D.O.T. and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, she had never heard of a plan for bike lanes on


December 21, 2017

An over view of the proposed D.O.T. changes for 14th and 13th Sts.

her block. “The Alliance, we are not opposed to bike lanes in general,” she said. “The question is are the bike lanes appropriate for historical residential streets? Without knowing the details, or not having a chance to speak up during a public commentary period, we are skeptical.” Gary Tomei, president of the W. 13th St. 100 Block Association, echoed similar sentiments that at the previous meetings held on Feb. 23 and March 9 hosted by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, along with D.O.T. and the M.T.A., there was never a discussion of bike lanes along 13th St. “No one is against bicycles and having the use of bicycles,” Tomei said, “but not at the expense of our community and not in this arbitrary way.” Some of the safety concerns for residents living on the block include that the one lane of traffic would be backed up by people getting into or out of cabs or unpacking groceries from cars, that crossing the two-way protected bike

lane could be dangerous, and that children who attend City and Country School, at 146 W. 13th St., would be endangered by cyclists. The school’s principal, Scott Moran, said that his biggest concern is for the safety of his students. “Losing an area for children to easily be dropped off is unnecessarily dangerous,” he said. “Our children range from age 2 to 14, and you can imagine the chaos of having those children crossing an active roadway to get to school.” Currently, the school’s drop-off zone is directly in front of the building, and according to the city’s proposal, the bike lane would run right through that spot. Moran said no officials notified the school of D.O.T.’s proposal and that they heard the news through being active members of the W. 13th St. 100 Block Association. At the Transportation Committee hearing last Thursday, local Councilmember Corey Johnson asked what data was used to show that restricting vehicular traffic on 14th St. wouldn’t

just flood neighboring side streets. While Trottenberg said she would make this data publicly available, that has not yet been done. “We can’t promise there won’t be impacts on neighborhoods,” Trottenberg said, adding that D.O.T. needs to discourage people from driving in Manhattan. “This is the enormity of the challenge we are facing, with 50,000 people on 14th St. that were formerly traveling underground coming up to the surface,” she explained. “We want to accommodate them with buses so they don’t all get into Ubers because that will only make traffic worse... . If we do nothing, unfortunately, the streets of Lower Manhattan will be filled with traffic during these 15 months.” In addition to the bus stops and lanes on 14th St., the plan calls for a 10-footwide pedestrian sidewalk extension, intended to accommodate the droves of additional displaced L train riders. But Tomei doesn’t think that those 50,000 estimated riders would all be coming to Union Square since many commuters currently continue their route connecting to other trains and don’t just get off on 14th St. “Most people that take the L train don’t use it to come to 14th St.,” he stated. “They get to Union Square and change trains either going Downtown or Uptown.” Tomei said he believes the L train construction is just an excuse D.O.T. is using to radically reshape the streets how it sees fit. Similarly, Judy Pesin, a W. 13th St. resident and member of the W. 13th St. 100 Block Association, is not convinced that there will be an influx of people at Union Square. “They are not coming to 14th St.,” she scoffed. “They are coming to change LTRAIN continued on p. 16 TheVillager.com


So a menorah, a Christmas tree and a ‘fence’... ...walk into a park, and.... There’s a little of ever y thing in Washington Square Park right now for the holiday season. The “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors� public-ar t cage, by Ai Weiwei, under the Washington Square Arch is new this year, though, par t of a four-month-long cit y wide ar t installation on the theme of a new lack of American openness in the era of Trump.

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Our menu showcases theBETWEEN simple reflective food flavors of Spain. SERVED DAILY 12PM AND 3:30PM Using the best ingredients and implementing a simplistic Our menu showcases the simple reflective food flavors of Spain. technique in a clean,and dynamic presentation, creating Using the resulting best ingredients implementing a simplistic memorable dining experiences through presentation, passionately created technique resulting in a clean, dynamic creating culinary dishes, many of which are prepared in the wood-fire memorable dining experiences through passionately created oven, including our signature dish, Paella Valenciana.

culinary dishes, many of which are prepared in the wood-fire oven, including our signature dish, Paella Valenciana.




December 21, 2017


Tree-mendous lighting and singing in Tompkins


t was a holiday weekend in the East Village, starting with Santacon. O.K., enough about Santacon. The annual tree lighting ceremony took place on Sun., Dec. 10, in Tompkins Square Park, drawing about 200 neighborhood participants. The Mandel / Lydon Trio provided musical backup for the singers from the Theater for the New City

and the crowd, who happily sang along to Christmas carols and one Hanukkah tune. Veselka owner Tom Birchard was on hand to provide free hot chocolate and a birthday cake for Crystal Field, the executive artistic director for TNC, who has organized and sung at the holiday event since she started the whole shebang 26 years ago.

Cr ystal Field, Theater for the New Cit y’s executive and ar tistic director, belted out a holiday tune.

Advent & Christmastide at St. Luke’s





CHRISTMAS EVE | SUNDAY, DEC 24TH 5:00 pm — Christmas Pageant & Eucharist 9:30 pm — Prelude of Christmas Music 10:00 pm — Festive Choral Eucharist

CHRISTMAS DAY | MONDAY, DEC 25TH 10:30 am — Choral Eucharist

NEW YEARS DAY | MONDAY, JAN. 1ST 2018 FEAST OF THE HOLY NAME 12:00 pm — Choral Eucharist

The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields | 487 Hudson Street West Village (Hudson and Grove) New York, NY 10014 www.stlukeinthefields.org | 212.924.0562 8

December 21, 2017


Gathered in front of the Tompkins tannenbaum at the lighting event were all the singers, plus the musicians — Michael Lydon, with guitar, Ellen Mandel nex t to him and Ar t Baron with the trombone — and local kids who attended. Period clothing was lent by the Public Theater. One costume was from the original production of “Hamilton.” TheVillager.com

It’s key to beat Cornegy: S.B.J.S.A. advocates BY SHARON WOOLUMS


press conference was held earlier this month on the City Hall steps by community and business groups opposing Brooklyn Councilmember Robert Cornegy being elected City Council speaker. The protesters were not endorsing any of the other seven candidates — simply opposing Cornegy’s candidacy. The first speaker, David Eisenbach, a history professor at Columbia University, stated, “Councilman Cornegy, chairman of the Small Business Committee, was responsible for the well-being of small businesses; to address the crisis of skyhigh rents forcing long-established businesses’ closings in every neighborhood; to hold honest public hearings, and to find real solutions to save our businesses. Failing appallingly under his watch, doing absolutely nothing about it, the crisis has gotten dramatically worse,” Eisenbach charged. “New York City courts evicted, on average, 500 commercial businesses each month — a record of failure that can no longer stand, disqualifying him as a potential City Council speaker.” Ray Rogers, director of the Campaign to Stop REBNY Bullies, said, “Cornegy, a staunch ally of the real estate lobby, has been rigging City Hall for the past eight years to stop a hearing and vote on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, a bill giving all commercial tenants the right to remain in the business they built and to equally negotiate new fair lease terms. “REBNY [Real Estate Board of New York] wants only their landlord members to have all rights to dictate all terms to continue making windfall profits from exorbitant rent increases,” Rogers said. “REBNY’s pawn, Councilmember Cornegy, adhered to landlords’ dictates, forcing small business owners out of business.” Louis Tejada, founder of the Miraba Sisters tenants group in Upper Manhattan, also spoke. “I oppose Councilmember Cornegy because he does not care about small businesses’ jobs,” he said. “In our immigrant neighborhood, the majority of people work and depend upon small businesses for jobs to survive. Yet, as greedy land-

Activist and recent City Council candidate Marni Halasa as “Miss REBNY 2017” at Cit y Hall handing out cash and axes for the Real Estate Board of New York, por trayed by Elliot Crown, to cut deals with the new Cit y Council speaker.

lords force businesses to close, their jobs are lost. Nobody’s talking about this tragedy. Also, under his chairmanship, unlike past generations, immigrant-owned businesses can no longer leave their businesses to their families. Landlords take over the businesses for themselves, and after years of hard work and sacrifices, the families end up with nothing and everything for the landlords.” Ann McDermott, a longtime activist and co-founder of TakeBackNYC, supports what she and allies say is the best way to save small businesses, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. She said she was angry at Cornegy because, “The only real solution to save our businesses, the S.B.J.S.A., sits in Cornegy’s committee year after year and he does nothing. He has allowed, through his silence, for REBNY to control the Speaker’s Office and rig the system to never allow a public hearing on the S.B.J.S.A. or any real solution.

TakeBackNYC has begged and pleaded for a hearing for the S.B.J.S.A., lobbying for sponsors,” she said, referring to efforts to get even more councilmembers to back

the bill. “But Cornegy has stopped us at every turn. While he’s been head of the Small Business Committee, Cornegy has literally done nothing tangible to help stop the crisis.” The most passionate call against Cornegy becoming speaker came from Steve Barrison, spokesperson for the city’s Small Business Congress. “City Hall’s name should be changed to ‘REBNY Hall’ because of their control over lawmakers,” Barrison declared. “As head of the Small Business Committee, Cornegy served the lobby more than the small business owners and that has made their crisis much worse,” Barrison added. “Of the 51 councilmembers at City Hall, Cornegy’s record of failure should put him at Number 52 in consideration for being the new speaker. His record is so terrible, he shouldn’t even be in the Council, let alone be speaker. The only reason a chairman of a committee with a horrific record is considered for speaker — he served REBNY better than any other councilmember. In the corrupt political world at City Hall, serving REBNY matters.” At the press conference’s end, Cornegy walked out of City Hall with an angry face and refused to answer any questions from the media. He got the protesters’ message — but did the other councilmembers, who will be voting for a new speaker in early January?

Happy Holidays

For help in the coming year, please don’t hesitate to contact me via the information below.

NYS Senator Brad Hoylman (212) 633-8052 hoylman@nysenate.gov 322 8th Avenue Suite 1700 New York, NY 10001 TheVillager.com

December 21, 2017


Could gay seniors tip Elizabeth St. Garden battle? GARDEN continued from p. 1

friendly” senior housing. SAGE — the nation’s largest and oldest advocacy group for L.G.B.T seniors — would have an office and provide onsite services for residents in the proposed complex, as would the housing group Habitat for Humanity, which would move its New York City headquarters there. No doubt, the Mayor’s Office is hoping that the inclusion of such groups — along with its pledge to preserve about onethird of the site as green space — will tip public opinion in favor of the proposed “Haven Green” development. At a rally on Tues., Dec. 12, in support of the project, Councilmember Margaret Chin, the project’s lead sponsor, was quick to champion the needs of gay seniors. “We have an opportunity before us to do the right thing for our seniors, including L.G.B.T.Q. seniors of the Stonewall generation, the pioneers who fought in the face of insurmountable odds to make our city a place that welcomes all of us,” Chin told the crowd of about 30 supporters who gathered beneath the portico at City Hall to shelter from the rain. Behind her, a supporter held a sign that proclaimed: “Housing for L.G.B.T. Seniors is a RIGHT!” Given the legacy of gay-rights activism in Lower Manhattan, it’s clear that Chin — who nearly lost her Council seat amid the fury over this project — just gained some powerful allies. Whether the inclusion of SAGE and its community of advocates will sway those who support preserving the garden — including nearly every other elected official in Lower Manhattan — remains to be seen. Far from bending to the project’s critics, the city appears to making the Elizabeth St. site a showpiece for its new “Housing New York 2.0” agenda (which includes fast-tracking the creation of senior housing on “underutilized public lots”). “We are building a movement,” declared Michael Adams, SAGE’s executive director, speaking out at the rally with Chin. “This is how we are going to make our city a city of equity,” Adams said of the Elizabeth St. project. (SAGE is currently building the city’s first L.G.B.T residences in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and Crotona Park in the Bronx.) Jim Fouratt, who has been a fixture in the Downtown gay community for decades, congratulated Chin for standing up to opponents of the project. “I’m part of the creative community that came to the Village in the ’50s and ’60s,” said Fouratt, who took part in the Stonewall uprising and later co-founded the club Danceteria. “I live in a six-floor walk-up, and for the past year and a half, I’ve been in court with my new landlord. I’m putting in for this lottery!” he shouted, raising his fists. Also lining up alongside Chin were the


December 21, 2017


Jim Fouratt, center, with Councilmember Margaret Chin, right, and other suppor ters of a senior affordable-housing project slated for the Elizabeth St. Garden at a Cit y Hall steps rally last week.


The day before the Chin-led rally for the housing project, Downtowners — joined by Comptroller Scott Stringer, left, and other local politicians — rallied in greater numbers in support of saving the Elizabeth St. Garden.

heads of several nonprofit groups serving seniors, including LiveOn NY and Vision Urbana Inc., the latter which serves primarily low-income Latinos on the Lower East Side. All spoke to the pent-up demand for affordable housing. Jackie Wong, director of operations at Chun Pak LDC, a rental building for low-income seniors in Chinatown, said when his company opened the waiting list for apartments there last August, it received more than 7,000 applications. Clearly the need for more senior housing is urgent. The question, of course, is whether such housing should be built atop what is now a much loved, community-run park. “This is a false choice,” declared City Comptroller Scott Stringer, speaking out at a rally called the previous day by the two nonprofit groups fighting to preserve the Elizabeth St. Garden. “Affordable housing cannot come at the expense of green public space,” Stringer told the crowd of about 75 garden supporters gathered on the steps of City Hall. “I’ve tried to struggle with why this is happening,” Stringer continued, remarking on the city’s insistence on destroying the Little Italy garden in the face of broad opposition from local residents and the

repeated condemnation of Community Board 2. “We have to go back to being a city that does community-based planning,” Stringer said, taking a swipe at the topdown way the de Blasio administration tends to go about siting new developments. “We are not accounting for the numbers of amazing children that are coming to Lower Manhattan,” Stringer said. “These kids need a place to play.” Public Advocate Letitia James was equally emphatic. “It is a false choice, it is a Hobson’s choice and it’s a false dichotomy. We can do affordable housing — in fact, we can do more affordable housing,” she declared, referring to the call by C.B. 2 to shift the project to an empty, city-owned lot on Hudson and Clarkson Sts. in Hudson Square, where they say five times as much housing could be built. Considering that, a month ago, James was rallying at City Hall for Chin’s reelection, her divergence from Chin on this issue is significant. “I’ve been to that garden and it is a peaceful place,” James told the crowd. “And I say, the fight is not over. Mr. Mayor, when I tell you the fight is not over, you know I mean it!” Also speaking against the city’s plan

was state Senator Brian Kavanagh, who said he had learned to value the importance of community gardens while serving as the assemblyperson for the adjoining district covering the East Village / Lower East Side. Also there was Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, who said the Little Italy area was already woefully underserved for open space. “Everyone supports affordable housing,” Niou said. “But we can’t be always asking for affordable housing to the point that we make it unlivable.” Niou also faulted the project for not being permanently affordable. Of course, none of the politicians now standing on the side of the gardeners will get to vote on the project as it goes through the city’s Uniform Land-Use Review Process, or ULURP. To move forward, the project must be approved by the City Planning Commission and the City Council, which tends to follow the lead of the councilmember in whose district the project falls — in this case, Chin. The community board and Manhattan borough president have only advisory votes, although the borough president can force a supermajority vote if she votes “no.” Thus far, Manhattan Beep Gale Brewer — who’s been a steadfast ally of Chin on other issues — has been noncommittal on the Elizabeth St. site. The city says its plan can deliver both housing and green space. In a press release, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development pledged to “recreate many of the existing features and layout of the site, including passive spaces, sculptures and art pieces, lawns, diverse plantings, space for gardening, and open seating.” But garden advocates say the current proposal, which places the seven-story residential complex on the Elizabeth St. side of the garden and shifts the open space to the Mott St. side, would result in a public lawn that’s mostly in shadow. “There will not be one blade of grass in the garden that’s proposed, so this is a sham” scoffed Kent Barwick, the former president of the Municipal Art Society, who lives on Mott St. “It’s another concrete slab with benches,” charged local mom Emily Hellstrom, one of the founders of Friends of Elizabeth St. Garden. “We’ve found a gravelstrewn lot could provide five times as much housing. Why are we being cast as the villains?” she demanded, prompting the crowd gathered at City Hall to break into chants of “We want both!” But so, apparently, does Chin. When asked why she can’t get behind the community’s push to shift the project to the vacant lot on Hudson St., Chin said she would happily support more senior housing there. “That’s not an alternative site, but an additional one,” she said. “The need for senior housing is so great. We need both.” TheVillager.com


Join Us This Christmas at St. Brigid - St. Emeric! 2017 CHRISTMAS CHILDREN MASS We will have a very special Nativity Mass for Children on Friday, December 15 at 8:00 pm ADVENT NOVENA MASSES (Aguinaldos) Every morning at 6:00 am, December 16-24, followed by breakfast in the church hall ADVENT RETREAT Conducted by Deacon Narciso Hernandez on Saturday, December 16 at 12:00pm to 6:00pm Confessions at 5:00 pm and Mass at 6:00 pm ALL ARE INVITED! RECONCILIATION MONDAY Archdiocese-wide event to help us be better prepared for the birth of Jesus. Monday, December 18, 6:00-8:00 pm CHRISTMAS VIGIL December 24 at 10:00 pm (Bilingual) Christmas Carols (Music) at 9:00 pm CHRISTMAS MASS December 25 at 10:00 am (English) and 11:30 am (Spanish)





NEW YEARâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S EVE December 31 at 10:00 pm (Bilingual) NEW YEARâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S DAY January 1, 2018 at 10:00 am (English) and 11:30 am (Spanish)

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas & a Happy New Year 2018!

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Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, Inc.

121st Annual Open Exhibition January 9 - 26, 2018 BeneďŹ t Reception Friday, January 19th, 5:30-8:00pm At the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, NYC BeneďŹ ts The Metropolitan Museum of Art Donation $25.00

Gallery Hours: Mon. - Fri., 10am - 5pm Sat. & Sun. 1-6pm (call ahead) Sculpture Gallery open daily 1-6pm

www.clwac.org TheVillager.com




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FREE PARKING December 21, 2017


True-blue heroes honored at chamber awards; BY REBECCA FIORE


hile working a street fair in September, Police Officer Thomas Sheehy witnessed a vehicle collision at University Place and E. Eighth St. involving a moving car that slammed into a parked one. As the Sixth Precinct officer approached the crash, he noticed the female driver in the front seat, bent over, unresponsive. After attempts to open the driver’s door and passenger doors failed, Sheehy used his expandable baton to break the rear driver-side window. Once the driver was extricated from the car, Sheehy called for an ambulance and began administering chest compressions to the victim. Backup officers arrived bearing a defibrillator, and Sheehy attached the electro-pads to the woman, gave two shocks, and she regained a stable pulse. Fire Department EMS arrived at the scene and the woman was transported to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, at E. 16th St. and First Ave. “I really have to thank all the officers who were with me that day,” Sheehy said in his acceptance speech for Officer of the Year at the 14th Annual Safe City, Safe Streets awards luncheon, held by the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. “It was teamwork that helped the girl get out of the situation that she was in. I’m really honored for this award.” Sheehy has been a member of the New York Police Department for six-and-a-half years and a member of the Sixth Precinct since 2013. Additionally, he volunteered to assist in the department’s field-training program, in which he trained 34 officers newly assigned to the Greenwich Village precinct. Robert Boyce, chief of detectives of the New York Police Department, was the event’s keynote speaker. Addressing the assembled officers, families and friends, Boyce said, in light of recent terror events — including two ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks in Manhattan, on Oct. 31, which killed eight people, and Dec. 11, which injured three — it’s a “dangerous environment to be an officer, whether uniformed or not.” Sheehy, along with six other officers and one sergeant from other Manhattan South precincts, were honored with Officer of the Year awards from their respective commands. The award was given for going above and beyond, demonstrating outstanding community policing, and keeping neighborhoods safe. In the East Village’s Ninth Precinct, Officer Antonio Arroyo, a 13-year department veteran, was honored. During his time with the department, Arroyo has been assigned to various details, such as the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit, or SNEU, Anticrime and Field Intelligence, racking up 280 arrests. As the Ninth’s assistant Field Intelligence officer, Arroyo has developed confidential informants


December 21, 2017


With the police honorees, above, from left, Anthony Arias, president, Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce; Ken Jockers, executive director of Hudson Guild; Nichole Izzo, N.Y.U. communications assistant director; Maria Diaz, executive director of G.V.C.C.C.; Neil Bender of William Gottlieb Real Estate; Peg Butler, Nor thwell Health; Jennifer Goodstein, publisher of NYC Communit y Media (The Villager’s news group) and CNG; and Alex Hellinger, executive director of Lenox Health Greenwich Village.

The eight honorees of this year’s G.V.C.C.C. Officer of the Year awards.

and gathered valuable information that has helped lead to larger arrests. In the past year, he has taken numerous guns off the street and made several arrests of high-priority perpetrators responsible for violence and drug trafficking in the precinct. In the Fifth Precinct, covering Chinatown and Little Italy, Kharloz Ortiz was named Officer of the Year. A native of the Dominican Republic, Ortiz became a member of the N.Y.P.D. in 2008. After starting out in the Transit Bureau in the Bronx, he was assigned to the Fifth in 2009 and assigned to Patrol. Due to his hard work, he was assigned to the precinct’s Anticrime team. Ortiz is the recipient of a Meritorious Police Duty Medal and has more than 350 career arrests, 53 of them for major felonies. Sergeant José Morales became an

N.Y.P.D. officer in 1992. Seven years later, he was promoted to sergeant and assigned to the 13th Precinct — covering Manhattan east of Chelsea’s 10th Precinct — as the Conditions Unit supervisor. In 2007, he was made supervisor of the anticrime program. From 2007 to last Thursday, his team had made 1,380 arrests, including 359 felonies and 1,021 misdemeanors. In 2013, Morales was promoted to sergeant special assignment, which is only given to a select few sergeants out of more than 5,000 sergeants within the N.Y.P.D. “I’ve been doing anticrime since 2007,” Morales said in his turn at the microphone. “A lot of my guys have gone up to be some of the finest detectives throughout the city. Some of them have moved up the ranking — sergeant, lieutenant —

and I have one currently that’s going to be a captain.” Teamwork was the theme of the afternoon as two pairs of officers were awarded from the 10th and Midtown South precincts. Officers Matthew Powlett and Joseph Spector both became members of the force on Jan. 9, 2006. In February 2011, they became patrol partners. Since this past February, the pair has been assigned to Sector B of the 10th Precinct (between W. 29th and 21st Sts., west of Seventh Ave.) under the Neighborhood Coordination Officers program. During their sixyear partnership, they have made more than 150 arrests. Boyce saluted the department’s new N.C.O. program, calling it highly beneficial to officers and community members alike, allowing them to work better together. “Besides their arrest record, they exemplify the definition of an N.C.O. officer,” Justin McManus of Peter McManus SAFE continued on p. 13 TheVillager.com

Officers thanked for going above and beyond SAFE continued from p. 12

Cafe, at W. 19th St. and Seventh Ave., said of Powlett and Spector. “They both continually display leadership and mentoring qualities that are second to none within the 10th Precinct.” McManus bar / restaurant was a sponsor of the event. Another dynamic Officers of the Year duo, with a lot in common, accepted the award graciously as they are relatively new to the job. Midtown South Officers Nicholas Pastore and John Connelly were both raised on Long Island, in Deer Park and Garden City, respectively. They both come from a line of police officers and are also currently working toward their master’s degrees at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. They entered and graduated from the Police Academy in 2015, and shortly thereafter joined the Midtown South Precinct. Within six months, they successfully closed out two open assault cases and three robbery patterns. They even aided — while off duty — in arresting three wanted criminals. Chief Boyce has been in law enforcement for more than 35 years. “I’m at the end of my career,” he told the audience. “I’m 62 years old and I have to be out by my 63rd birthday. But I would switch with any one of those guys.”

Chief of Detectives Rober t Boyce was the awards luncheon’s keynote speaker.

Ken Jockers, Hudson Guild director, and The Villager’s Jennifer Goodstein, G.V.C.C.C. board members.

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December 21, 2017



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Keep it at two terms

Stone-Jones connection

To The Editor: Re “For three terms” (editorial, Dec. 7): The paper’s editorial supporting the extension of term limits is wrongheaded. Jumaane Williams has no principles, as he cut off his dreads to make himself more appealing to the electorate. So that reveals his character. He admits that the councilmembers desire being vested in order to obtain a pension, which is all well and good. But why give these deadbeats another term? Just lower — for councilmembers only — the time required to eight years (two terms) to become vested. No one could object to that, could they? And the excuse that it takes eight years to acclimate themselves to their roles is specious.

To The Editor: Re “Wait for it… Stand-up comic takes the Fifth in ‘Russiagate’ probe” (news article, Dec. 14): I must ask why all the news reports about this issue fail to mention that Roger Stone has been working with or for Alex Jones and Infowars? There was even an interview Stone did with Credico on the Alex Jones Infowars YouTube channel. Credico has to be aware that Jones was during the campaign and still is a fanatical Trump supporter and attacks the left every chance he gets. In a way, I feel sorry for Randy Credico since he got played by dirty trickster Roger Stone for Stone’s new supporter and media outlet, Alex Jones, and the Trump campaign. Now he is in very hot water because of it. In this latest article on all this by Lincoln Anderson, Credico goes on and on about how he hates Trump but never mentions Stone, who is the scumbag that got him in this mess in the first place. If I were him, I would say, “Yeah, I got played by Roger Stone” [this is Stone’s political M.O. for all his years of political right-wing ops] and say, “Screw Stone, Alex Jones and Trump.”

Bert Zackim

Your Community News Source

Sings Eve’s praises To The Editor: Re “Refinding my voice” (notebook, by Kate Walter, Dec. 14): I’m a member of this group, too. Eve picks the best standard / jazz repertoire, and Isaac accompanies us splendidly in jazz style. I’m having a great time — very freeing! That this class is inclusive and open to all is so rare in the average person’s musical experience in America. As Henry Fonda once said regarding his daughter Jane, “Funny, the more [we] practice, the more talented [we] get!” Walter Paul

Call 718-260-2516 or e-mail pbeatrice@cnglocal.com

We cover “The Cube”!

John Penley 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.

Keep being creative To The Editor: Re “Refinding my voice” (notebook, by Kate Walter, Dec. 14): Kate, I was so nostalgic reading about your past performing days. It brought me back to a time in my life where Dylan ruled, and I played guitar and piano. But art won my heart and I pursued that as my chosen path. I miss those days. Good for you to have such an opportunity to be active in something you love. Keep at it and enjoy your creativity.

Sound off! Write a letter to the editor news@thevillager.com

Camille Daunno



December 21, 2017


’Net neutrality and reclaiming the ‘last mile’ II regulation pushed consumer protections to the Federal Trade Commission and opened the door for the media conglomerates / ISP’s potentially to alter or block competing content or reduce its quality. Breaking the end-to-end principle breaks the Internet. It has the potential to marginalize and silence independent and individual voices, and amplify those that serve the corporate / political / economic interests of the conglomerates. It has the potential to shut down start-ups that could disrupt the markets captured and controlled by industry giants.



he Internet is neutral by design. What makes the ’Net special is the way it works. It’s based on the “end-to-end principle,” wherein any computer or device that connects to the network can send data to and receive it from one or many devices on the network. The network infrastructure acts only as a “dumb pipe” that passes data, unaltered, through routers and gateways from source to destination. With this design, any computer or device can act as client or server, or both. Any computer or device can act as producer or consumer. Be it a homeblogger on her tablet, or a team of coders and their server farm, a connection to the Internet gives them equal participation and opportunity. It’s this quality that made the Internet such a fertile space for human interaction and invention. The Internet’s decentralized, peerto-peer, many-to-many model is in stark contrast to the centralized, oneto-many broadcast / cable media business model. Broadcast and cable media were late to adopt the Internet, but came on in full force when broadband and faster infrastructure became the norm. Cable companies became ISP’s (Internet service providers), bundling cable TV with Internet and phone service; ISP’s, many of whom were also telephone providers, bought cable and media companies. (Comcast owns NBC. Verizon owns Yahoo and AOL. AT&T is vying to merge with Time Warner.) Once the line was crossed between content ownership and Internet service, these large ISP / media conglomerates, many of whom have monopoly territories, had a vested interest in selling their own content and services to their subscribers, and no interest in carrying competing content traffic that originates outside of their infrastructure. The business of providing dumbpipe connectivity alone did not satisfy their profit motives the way that monopolizing content does. The conglomerates want to turn your Internet connection into their version of cable TV and phone business. They’re in control and you’re not, and they can potentially affect which content and how much of the Internet you can access. This looming threat came to a head when Comcast began throttling its customers using peer-to-peer file sharing, such as via BitTorrent, which allows users to share large files, such as digital video clips of TV shows and music TheVillager.com


East Village Interet guru Paul Garrin says independent communit y-based Internet ser vice providers, like his WiFI-NY, are the key to preser ving ’Net neutrality.

videos. A class action lawsuit was filed against Comcast in 2007; Comcast settled for $16 million, but stood by its right to “manage” its network traffic. Consumer protections were limited, as in the Comcast case, and needed to be litigated in court. Advocates for “’Net neutrality,” a term coined by Columbia University law professor Tim Wu, used social media to raise awareness of the issue and how it threatened the Internet. In 2015 the Federal Communications Commission passed a ruling saying that the Internet should be regulated under “Title II” as a “common carrier,” meaning that Internet providers are required to carry traffic on a nondiscriminatory basis. Complaints and enforcement would then be referred to the F.C.C. The Republican action to repeal Title

Breaking the end-to-end principle breaks the Internet.

Without the Title II regulations, consumers are at risk of paying for a broken Internet. But, all hope is not lost. ’Net neutrality, as it turns out, is what is known as a “last-mile” issue. The last mile is the path from the Internet data center to the end user. It’s at the last mile that ’Net neutrality breaks down — or not. Fortunately, community wireless networks, like WiFi-NY, which I launched in 2003, are an alternative in urban areas. Many rural areas have independent wireless carriers that choose to uphold

the end-to-end principle. Citizen networks that deliver a neutral last mile are a proven and growing alternative. Our friends in the suburbs, though, may have a tougher time since many of them have only one option for Internet connectivity. While some of us have the privilege of building or supporting community networks, we all have the duty to protect the end-to-end magic of the Internet and keep it open for everyone. Some states are already working on measures to protect ’Net neutrality at the state level, and others have highlighted the antitrust jeopardy for companies that use their monopoly power to exclude others from their market. This is a long game and it’s far from over. As always, informed and active citizens will always have the upper hand. P.S.: ’Net neutrality is personal for me. The end-to-end principle was broken 20 years ago when the monopoly in charge of the DNS (Domain Name System) refused to route — as in, accept into the main Internet, as we know it — the top-level domain names of my company, Name.Space. Top-level domain names I created at that time included .nyc, .art, .chat, .food, .sex, .comics, .war, .peace, .tech, .fashion, .movies, .hotel, .weather and .gay. WiFi-NY was created because of this — as an alternative last-mile provider. I was fully cognizant of the threat to an open Internet and felt the only answer was to build another path for our community to access it without fear of censorship.

Garrin, a longtime East Villager, is founder, WiFi-NY and Name.Space

Two from Bread and Puppet


ounded on the Lower East Side in 1963, Bread and Puppet Theater recently was back in the ’hood, playing two different shows at the East Village’s Theater for The New City, on First Ave. at E. 10th St., through Dec. 20. One show was the “Overtakelessness Circus” while the other was “Seditious Conspiracy Theater.” In the first show, “Emily Dickinson’s overtakelessness rules a variety of themes and slapstick comedies that make up the circus. The overtakelessness of all that which runs its fatal or ridiculous course. The running of all aspects of modern life toward its highfalutin goals and pitfalls. The running itself is the subject matter.” The other show was described as “A monument to the Puerto Rican prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera.”


Bread and Puppet members per forming at Theater for the New Cit y earlier this month. December 21, 2017


Outrage at D.O.T. plan LTRAIN continued from p. 6

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December 21, 2017

transportation. They are not bringing people to 14th St. because that’s not the ultimate destination. I don’t believe, personally, that there will be tens of thousands of people on 14th St.” Pesin suggested switching the bike lane designated for 13th St. with the extra pedestrian room planned for 14th St. However, Trottenberg said in her testimony that the “sheer volume of buses that will be on 14th St. and the need for expanded pedestrian space will not mix well with the high cyclist volume we expect.” After a meeting with D.O.T. and the M.T.A. in July, Community Board 2 wrote the agencies a joint letter expressing their concerns. Not only did C.B. 2 encourage D.O.T. to repair three of the L train subway stations in C.B. 2’s district — including making the Sixth Ave. stop comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act — but they also asked that an Environmental Impact Study, or E.I.S., be done for areas that would be affected by the additional buses and car traffic. “Impacts also should be addressed on other crosstown streets besides 14th, e.g., 23rd, 34th and 42nd, since the project’s effects will spread beyond the immediate project area,” the board’s July 31 letter read. It is not clear if an E.I.S. was ever done, though, since no further information has been given to C.B. 2. But the proposal read that the Third and Sixth Ave. stations would receive platform repairs, A.D.A. boarding areas and track, wall, column and floor repairs. Asked if an E.I.S. had been done for the proposed changes, the D.O.T. spokesperson responded, “D.O.T. has worked with M.T.A. to incorporate the projected travel shifts during the L train shutdown into traffic analyses for all of the mitigation projects. Treatments including bus priority and bike lanes align with our overarching goal to keep people out of private cars and get them onto transit to the greatest extent possible during the temporary closure of the Canarsie tunnel. We believe that these alternatives will result in far less congestion and pollution than conditions during a subway shutdown without these D.O.T. projects.” The Canarsie tunnel — the L train tunnel under the East River connecting Manhattan to Williamsburg — needs repairs due to damage sustained during Superstorm Sandy, which is what is prompting the plan to shut down L train service east of Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn. Shirley Secunda, chairperson of the Traffic and Transportation Committee of C.B. 2, said that she noticed there doesn’t seem to be “real consideration of impacts on the side streets,” and that she isn’t sure why the “bikeway is on the side street rather than 14th St.” Beyond that,

though, she said the committee has to wait for more information to come out. Some groups, including Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit organization focusing on increasing nonpolluting forms of travel, released a statement in favor of D.O.T.’s proposal. In the release, Executive Director Paul Steely White said TransAlt was “pleased to see that street space has been set aside for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders.” TransAlt did stress, however, that alldoor boarding is “an absolute must for the shuttles that will carry transit riders who will be using L train-replacement bus shuttles.” TransAlt also said that while bike lanes that would be implemented on “Grand, Delancey, 13th and 20th Sts. are necessary, there must also be considerations made for cyclists on 14th St. Working cyclists, in particular, must use 14th St. since it is a commercial corridor that is home to dozens of restaurants.” The D.O.T. spokesperson said that, in addition to the new two-way 13th St. bike lane, new “bike facilities” planned for 20th and Grand Sts. are also “expected to be permanent.” Trottenberg ended her testimony before the Council committee last week by saying there would be new rounds of public outreach for these plans in the new year in January and February. The changes to 13th and 14th Sts. would start to be implemented in late summer or early fall of next year. Many questions remain unanswered. For example, W. 13th St. is a primary ambulance route for the new Lenox Health Greenwich Village stand-alone emergency department and comprehensive care center, at W. 12th St. and Seventh Ave., neighbors noted. Asked if the impact on ambulance routes was considered in the plans, the D.O.T. spokesperson responded, “All street design changes are vetted by the N.Y.P.D. and F.D.N.Y. for emergency vehicle access needs.” Also, it was not immediately known what sort of barriers would protect the proposed 13th St. bike lane. Asked if these would be bollards or cement islands, for example, the spokesperson said, “The project is still under development. We will be presenting the draft design to the community boards early in the new year.” Blindsided residents are now scrambling to express their concerns about the suddenly sprung proposal and, if possible, try to modify it. “I personally don’t know what the most effective step will be except to get people’s voices heard,” Pesin, of the W. 13th St. 100 Block Association, said. “I have about 100 e-mails from the block association. “We are trying to get voices heard so D.O.T. understands what is going on. Hopefully, this time we can make reasonable changes.” TheVillager.com

Mark of Distinction Rylance shines as a crazed king soothed by the healing powers of music BY DAVID KENNERLEY A stunning dual highlight of the 2013 theater season was “Richard III” and “Twelfth Night” in repertory, imported from London’s Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and starring the wily virtuoso Mark Rylance. Aside from the spot-on performances, what made those works so exquisite was the obsessive attention to historical detail, with sumptuous periodperfect costumes, bearded musicians playing Baroque instruments, and a stage lit almost exclusively by candlelight. Select theatergoers even got to sit in a gallery onstage, much like they did in the Globe Theatre back in the day. If you wish to recapture the magic, hie thee over to the Belasco Theatre where Claire van Kampen’s new play “Farinelli and the King” has taken residence for a strictly limited engagement. Director John Dove has repeated those authentic touches to enhance van Kampen’s atmospheric drama (the playwright, by the way, happens to be Rylance’s wife). But there’s an added treat. In this retelling of Philippe V, the notorious maniacal king of Spain, and the efforts to cure his manic-depression with the aid of famous castrato Carlo “Farinelli” Broschi, the play features haunting Handel arias sung in Italian by countertenor Iestyn Davies (the vocals are so taxing that James Hall covers select performances). It should be noted that Sam Crane, the actor who plays Farinelli, does not sing; Davies stands beside him, “Avenue Q” style. The triumph of “Farinelli and the King” is showcasing the distinct pleasures of these magnificent vocalizations, transporting theatergoers back in time. As mesmerizing as it is magical, it’s easy to see how Farinelli drove adoring crowds wild — the way, say, Tom Jones did in the 1960s or Harry Styles does today. The shaky plot, as it happens, would seem contrived if it weren’t true. Set mainly in the Madrid palace circa 1737, Philippe’s behavior has become so erratic — staying awake through the night, fishing out of goldfish bowls, TheVillager.com

Photo by Joan Marcus

L to R: Sam Crane and Mark Rylance in Claire van Kampen’s “Farinelli and the King,” directed by John Dove, at the Belasco Theatre through March 25.

talking to clocks — that he no longer can govern, and his chief minister, La Cuadra, schemes to have him dethroned. But when his wife Isabella brings the beautiful, angel-voiced Farinelli to court to perform a kind of music therapy, Philippe is entranced and indeed becomes stabilized. For his part, the young maestro is grateful to be of service and to leave behind the pressures of being a slave to his rabid fans. He never performed in public again. Although the big draw is triple Tonywinner Rylance, who renders Philippe’s abrupt mood shifts utterly convincing, the rest of the cast is equally fi ne. As the great yet tragic Farinelli, the highly appealing Crane expresses a superstar’s self-assurance while avoiding narcissism. We admire his fortitude — Farinelli long ago accepted that

his brother castrated him at age 10 to make money. Or has he? Melody Grove’s Isabella radiates an inner core of strength as she is torn between love of her husband and duty to their subjects. Edward Peel is extraordinary as La Cuadra. His nearcomical, exaggerated facial expressions are so telling that his dialogue is almost superfluous. Rounding out the cast are Huss Garbiya as the royal physician, Colin Hurley as the opportunistic theater manager, and in other supporting roles. Nearly as remarkable as the historical details is Isabella’s progressive stance on treating mental illness. Most experts at the time believed afflicted people were mad or possessed and treated them with exorcism or bloodletting or imprisonment. The good

queen knew that Farinelli, with his unearthly vocal range of nearly three octaves and his ability to hold a note for two-and-one-half minutes, might cure the king. Modern clinical studies have proven that certain music releases mood-lifting chemicals like dopamine and endorphins within the brain. In fact, Handel has often been compared to the mythological Orpheus in his ability to profoundly move audiences with music. Surely van Kampen had the well-known quote from the period in mind, “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast.” Through March 25, 2018 at the Belasco Theatre (111 W. 44th St., btw. Broadway & Sixth Ave.). Tues. at 7pm; Wed.-Sat. at 8pm; Wed. & Sat. at 2pm; Sun. at 3pm. For tickets ($32-$169), visit telecharge.com or call 212-2396200. December 21, 2017


Photo by Trevor Sumner

Sing along as The Rob Susman Brass Quartet plays traditional carols, Dec. 24 in Washington Square Park.

Photo by Bill Westmoreland

Cabaret’s must-see Christmas dream team convenes at Birdland, Dec. 22–25.

All About Eve Two tuneful things on the night before Christmas BY SCOTT STIFFLER

CHRISTMAS EVE CAROLING What a year for freedom of assembly in Washington Square Park. That setting saw crowds gather to refuse fascism, support the rights of women, workers and immigrants, and protest a tidal wave of Trump-prompted federal policies that fly in the face of the public park’s wellearned reputation for progressive politics. So it’s no accident that the Washington Square Association’s press statement promoting their Christmas Eve caroling event included this tactfully understated chestnut: “The words are in the songbooks distributed by the Association, but many will know them by heart; ‘Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men’ resounding with special meaning this season.” Taking place in the shadow of a 45-foot Christmas tree located just south of the iconic arch (its usual resting place, displaced this year by Ai Weiwei’s public art installation), this annual tradition gives you one last chance to “fa-la-la-lala” before Santa completes his annual trek across the globe, and visions of New Year’s Eve revelry begin to dance in heads previously preoccupied with sug-


December 21, 2017

arplums. As always, The Rob Susman Brass Quartet provides the instrumentation — and you, along with friends and convivial strangers, will, the Association heartily asserts, “lustily sing out the familiar tunes.” Bonus holiday treat: The tree will remain lit for the season, between 4pm and 1am. Free (songbooks provided). Sun., Dec. 25, 5pm near the Washington Square Arch (at the foot of Fifth Ave., one block south of Eighth St.). For info, visit washingtonsquarenyc.org or call 212-252-3621.

A SWINGING BIRDLAND CHRISTMAS Snow on the ground would certainly be nice, but its absence isn’t enough to quash the deal — but Christmas without the three cool cats sporting plaid scarves and warm smiles in the above photo? That’s non-negotiable — and for good reason. What began as an affectionate tribute to old school showbiz TV holiday specials of yore from the likes of Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, and Carol Burnett has sung, danced, joked, and otherwise amiably wormed

its way into the very heart of Midtown Manhattan’s Christmas consciousness. Now, the trio with triple-threat-talentto-burn is back at Birdland Jazz Club for another run of the holiday-themed show we once said (having attended multiple times) is “dripping with sophistication and refreshingly free of cynicism.” But don’t take our archived words for it. “Klea, Billy, and I are overjoyed to bring our ‘Swinging Birdland Christmas’ back to the stage of our favorite music room for the eighth year in a row,” said Jim Caruso, in an email to this publication’s arts editor. As host of Birdland’s weekly lines-out-the-door “Cast Party” open mic shindig, Caruso knows how to sell an act to the audience (but had to be prodded for this quote, modest chap that he is). “It seems fitting to present feelgood, old-school entertainment during these anxious times,” Caruso continued. “It’s become a happy tradition for lots of audience members, to say nothing of our own family and friends!” Joined by his frequent musical collaborator Billy Stritch (no grounds for impeachment when these two collude), Caruso trades quips and pitch-perfect sustained notes with the brassy, tacksharp, beyond-likable Klea Blackhurst. Swinging, Stritch-penned arrangements

of tunes including “Christmas Waltz,” Kay Thompson’s “Holiday Season” and “Sleigh Ride” give this cabaret feast its cheeky goose — but it’s the camaraderie and charisma that will make your season bright, and send you out the door well-insulated from any Scrooges you might encounter on those busy city sidewalks dressed in holiday style. Bonus track: For these December shows, the trio will be joined by Steve Doyle on bass and Daniel Glass on drums. Easter Egg: Dec. 28, 6pm at Birdland, Billy Stritch is joined by Tony Award-winning actress/singer Christine Ebersole for their “Snowfall” show, set to rain down classic seasonal material, new songs, and lively chatter. “A Swinging Birdland Christmas” happens at 6pm, Fri.–Mon., Dec. 22–25, at Birdland Jazz Club (315 W. 44th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). For reservations ($30 cover, $10 food/drink minimum), visit birdlandjazz.com or call 212-581-3080. A CD based on the show, of the same title, is available on Birdland Records, via the Birdland website or iTunes. Artist info at jim-caruso. com, billystritch.com, and kleablackhurst.com. For these December shows, the trio will be joined by Steve Doyle on bass and Daniel Glass on drums. TheVillager.com

Buhmann on Art ‘The World Is Sound’ BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN Employing sound in new ways, the Rubin Museum of Art’s “The World Is Sound” exhibition aims to animate and intensify the experience of the museum’s stunning permanent collection, which is particularly focused on Tibetan art. It is organized cyclically, tracing themes from creation to death and rebirth, to explore how the different dimensions of sound have played a key role in Tibetan Buddhism. By featuring a selection of works by a variety of contemporary artists, including Christine Sun Kim, Ernst Karel, Hildegard Westerkamp, Pauline Oliveros, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Samita Sinha, among others, this exhibition aims to bridge the past with the present. In fact, the juxtaposition of these contemporary positions and historical objects makes for both an unpredictable and inspiring experience. Hoping to encourage visitors to reflect on how we listen in general, curator Risha Lee succeeds in transforming the Rubin into one large instrument and vehicle of sensatory transformation. In this context, the “Le Corps Sonore” (Sound Body) — an immersive, sitespecific installation composed for the museum’s iconic spiral staircase by the pioneering electronic sound artists Éliane Radigue, Laetitia Sonami and Bob Bielecki — serves as the centerpiece of the exhibition. Here, ambient drone sounds inspired by Buddhist philosophy are “tuned” to the building and will ascend and descend as visitors wind their way up or down the staircase. For many, the subtlety and ephemeral quality of sound should prove an ideal catalyst for understanding music as a metaphor for constant change and hence, impermanence. Through Jan. 8, 2018 at the Rubin Museum of Art (150 W. 17th St. btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). Museum Hours: Mon. & Thurs., 11am–5pm. Wed., 11am–9pm. Fri., 11am–10pm (free admission to galleries after 6 p.m.). Sat. & Sun., 11am–6pm. Closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day. $15 general admission ($10 for students/seniors; free admission for seniors on the first Monday of the month; free for kids 12 and younger, and RMA members). Call 212-6205000 or visit rubinmuseum.org. TheVillager.com

Courtesy Rubin Museum of Art

A ceremonial conch trumpet (dung kar). Tibet; 19th century (?), made of conch shell and metal with gilding (9.75” h. x 14.625” w. x 2.625” d.).

Photo by Filip Wolak

Monks recording for the museum’s “The World Is Sound” exhibition.

Photo by Filip Wolak Charlotte Feng Ford Collection, courtesy Elizabeth Dee, NY

John Giorno: “Words Come From Sound” (2016. Rainbow silkscreen; 40 x 40 in.).

The immersive, site-specific installation “Le Corps Sonore” was composed for the museum’s iconic spiral staircase.

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TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell


December 21, 2017

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

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

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

Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

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

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

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


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December 21, 2017

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December 21, 2017