Serving Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Seaport and the Financial District VOLUME 30, NUMBER 26
DECEMBER 28, 2017 – JANUARY 10, 2018
Happy New Year!
From Downtown Express
Associated Press / Mark Lennihan
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At the corner of Church St. and Dey St.
1 M E T R O T E C H • N YC 112 0 1 • C O P Y R I G H T © 2 0 17 N YC C O M M U N I T Y M E D I A , L L C
Board games Guv signs bill requiring residents on BPCA board, but you shouldn’t expect changes anytime soon BY REBECCA FIORE Gov. Cuomo duly signed the bill reserving two seats on the Battery Park City Authority board for residents on Dec. 19, but it could be years before it has any effect. After many years of being blocked in the state Senate, the bill finally passed the legislature over the summer — but only after Cuomo appointed three new members to the seven-member board for six-year terms, none of whom were residents. Next time there is a vacancy, Cuomo will be obliged to tap a local, as with the next vacancy after that, but even after their terms expire, BPCA board members are not obliged to step down — and nor is the governor required to replace them. They continue to sit on the board until either they resign, die, or the governor appoints a successor. The board’s vice chairman, Donald Capoccia, has overstayed his term by six months. Chairman Dennis Mehiel will reach the end of his term in June. But
neither is obliged to step down unless Coumo wants them out. Since Martha Gallo stepped down last April, none of the 15,000 residents of Battery Park City are represented on the board. The issue of local representation on the BPCA board has been roiling for years, with residents echoing American patriots with complaints of “taxation without representation,” but successive governors have resisted. In fact, when Cuomo finally relented and signed the bill, he attached a so-called “Approval Message,” according to the Broadsheet, which read “There are technical concerns that would make it difficult to make sure the Battery Park City [Authority] board can function effectively. The Executive has secured an agreement with the Legislature to pass legislation in the upcoming session to address these concerns. On that basis, I am signing this bill.” The concern, apparently, is over
Photo by Milo Hess
Battery Park City Authority board chairman Dennis Mehiel will finish his sixyear term in June next year. If he steps down from the board then, the law now says Gov. Cuomo will have to appoint a BPC resident to fill his seat.
potential conflicts of interest from residents voting on matters affecting their property values or rents according to the Broadsheet.
Longtime BPC resident and Community Board 1 member Tom BPCA Continued on page 6
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December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
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December 28, 2017 â€“ January 10, 2018
A square deal Folk phenomenon The Washington Squares to renuite for one night only at City Winery BY COLIN MIXSON A Battery Park City resident is reuniting with his Grammy-nominated musical act, The Washington Squares, for a one-night-only performance featuring Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame at City Winery on Jan. 10, and he’s inviting locals to join him in reliving the folk sensation that swept Greenwich Village back in the day. “The music is really good. It really is!” said Tom Goodkind. “I think you’re really going to feel better at the end of the show than when you came in.” The Squares’ original lineup featured Goodkind, Bruce Paskow, and Lauren Agnelli, and the act was born out of the new wave music scene that swept the city in the late 1970s, when frizz met leather, and punk rock met synth pop in legendary venues like CBGB and The Electric Circus before New York got Disneyfied. Goodkind was best known at the time as a nightclub manager, running venues such as Irving Plaza, the Peppermint Lounge, and the Roseland Ballroom — although he also had his own pop act, US APE. Meanwhile, Goodkind’s best friend and inveterate prankster, Paskow, had played in a punk band called The Invaders, and Agnelli wrote a music column for The Village Voice and played in the synth-pop act Nervus Rex. The Washington Squares project was partly inspired by 1982’s “The Weavers: Wasn’t That a Time!” — a documentary about the iconic Greenwich Villagebased folk quartet blacklisted amid the Red Scare after members Pete Seeger and Lee Hay were identified as Communist Party members. But while The Weavers documentary served as an inspiration, the real urge to go folk was born from the desire to stand out. In the early 1980s, cookiecutter pop-punk acts were a dime and dozen, and the scene’s unharmonious vibes often blended into a deafening white noise, Goodkind said. “I remember going back to my apartment with Bruce, and I said, ‘we’re never going to cut it, because there’s four billion of these bands, we have to come up with something really weird,” Goodkind recalled. “That’s when we said, ‘Let’s try folk music!’” Agnelli, meanwhile, was white hot in the music scene. She was the punk rock
beauty queen whose voice, keyboard talent, and music cred — once interviewing Lou Reed under the pseudonym Trixie A Balm for the Voice — made her the heartthrob of would-be punk suitors the Village over, according to Goodkind. “We all went to see her play keyboard in the back of Nervus Rex,” he said. “We just went to look at her, and then talk to her, and she would tell us to fuck off.” But Paskow and Goodkind weren’t the only ones looking for a change. Agnelli was growing tired of the blaring high-tempo harmonics that often characterized the scene, and began looking towards the past for a sound that was a little more square. “I think first of all we’re pretty rebellious, but our ears got too used to a certain sound,” Agnelli said. “Punk rock came out of a reaction to that music that was just too homogenized and clean. We came out of a scene that was too loud and not tuneful.” The boys ultimately recruited Agnelli — much to their surprise — with the melodious, crooning promise of threepart harmony — an appeal that harkened back to her younger, churchgoing years. “They found me and said, ‘Hey, let’s do a harmony folk-type band,’” Agnelli recalled. “I love harmony. That’s what I heard growing up going to church. I’m a good harmony singer.” To bone up on the genre, Goodkind booked a ticket to Washington, DC, headed over to the Library of Congress, and there — much to the librarians’ surprise — inquired where to find the folk catalogue. “They hadn’t had a visitor in years,” Goodkind said. The Squares would practice for months before stepping on a stage, mastering old folks songs like “Samson,” “He was a friend of Mine,” and “Which Side Are You On,” while working up originals including “You Can’t Kill Me,” and “Be on the Lookout for the New Generation.” It was the band’s polish that in many ways helped the trio stand out, Agnelli said. “We put together a good repertoire and practiced a lot,” she said. “The hard work was the important thing.” The fact that the group appeared on
December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
(Above) Tom Goodkind during his trip to Washington, DC, for folk-music research at the Library of Congress. (Below) The Washington Squares with Joan Jett and Joey Ramone in 1986.
stage wearing beatnik-inspired getups, including striped shirts, berets, goatees and sunglasses didn’t hurt either. After a packed open-mic performance at a one-time McDougal Street folk club called Speak Easy — at which Goodkind bribed an organizer with $10 to go first before a long-line of aspiring folk stars — the Squares took off in popularity, and soon they were playing
to packed houses throughout the Village and beyond. The band would eventually go on tour with comedian Billy Crystal, and sellout major concert venues including Carnegie Hall and Ford Theater playing with acts including the Beach Boys, Peter, Paul and Mary, Judy Collins, Pete WASHINGTON SQUARES Continued on page 19
WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE City Planning Commission okays hated 200 Water St. arcade plan
BY COLIN MIXSON Come hell or high water, this plan was getting approved. The City Planning Commission approved on Dec. 13 a developerâ€™s scheme to convert public space along Fulton Street into market-rate housing and ground-floor retail, defying locals who condemned the deal as a land grab without â€œany compensating amenity,â€? according to the civic honchos at Community Board 1. â€œWe have the community board, every Downtown elected official and state elected official, and we have these other civic organizations, all of which say this is a bad idea,â€? said Paul Hovitz, vice chairman of CB1. â€œThis flies in the face of all of the interested parties, except for the one with the vested financial interest.â€? The commissionâ€™s vote gives Rockrose Development full permis-
sion to more-or-less eradicate the public arcades at 200 Water St. by filling them with 3,000 square feet of retail space and more than 1,700 square feet of second-floor luxury housing along Fulton Street, in exchange for modest pedestrian improvements, such as benches and tree planters, which Community Board 1 described as inadequate compensation for locals in a September resolution opposing the plan. The mixed-used towerâ€™s original builder constructed the arcades â€” called Privately Owned Public Spaces, or POPS â€” in the early 1970s as part of a deal with the city which permitted the developer to build taller in exchange for providing the public amenities. The 200 Water St. arcade was fĂŞted by critics at the time, and even graced the cover of Progressive Architecture Magazine shortly after completion.
via Google Streetview
The owners of 200 Water St. have received permission to fill in its pedestrian arcades along Fulton Street.
But the city failed to include provisions mandating the original developer and subsequent landlords maintain the privately owned arcades, which quickly lost their luster as the properties changed hands. In 2016, the Department of City
Planning, along with the Downtown Alliance, a local business advocacy group, championed a zoning text amendment intended to revitalize Water Street by encouraging landlords ARCADES Continued on page 19
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December 28, 2017 â€“ January 10, 2018
BPCA Continued from page 2
Goodkind did not mince words when asked about the conflict-of-interest worries. “To me, that is the most boneheaded thing I’ve ever heard — it’s dumbfounding,” said Goodkind. “You want people engaged and represented in the area. [The BPCA board] completely misunderstands the reasoning, or they are just not very bright, or they don’t care.” CB1 chairman and fellow BPC resident Anthony Notaro was more measured in his assessment. “Not to have a say in how you are represented was not appropriate. This is democracy at its purest,” he said, adding that when a conflict of interest arises there are protocols to follow, such as recusal. But the chairwoman of CB1’s Battery Park City Committee took issue with the very idea that resident board members voting on issues that affect them would be a confl ict in the fi rst place. “If there was a conflict of interest to serve on a board then you would have no one on a community board. This is about having a say in the goings on of your community,” said Tammy Meltzer. Meltzer’s predecessor at the helm of the BPC Committee pointed to Gallo’s
tenure to poke holes in the governor’s premise. “Martha was an appointee of the Governor,” said Ninfa Segarra. “The appropriateness of her participation was never challenged. As a matter a fact, her participation helped give a reality check to the board’s proposed actions.” Meltzer and Segarra both pointed to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, which is a state authority very similar to the BPCA, but is comprised primarily of people living or working on the island. Goodkind called even the two-seat plan “half-baked,” saying that the next, much more difficult step would be to have “active locals who are not corporate types for the board — not just yeswomen and yes-men. You need to find someone who will fight for the community interest.” But Meltzer hailed the new law as meaningful progress, though she said it was just the first step in pushing for more board representation. “It’s absolutely a first step,” she said. “It’s not a final answer. It’s good progress and a long time coming. I am delighted to have two. Is that the ultimate goal? No, but it is a great beginning. It will be fantastic to have residents have a say in what goes on in their own community like they can in every other area in New York City.”
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December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
Police say this guy stabbed two people inside the Fulton Street subway station on Dec. 17
UNDERGROUND GOON Some whacko slashed two guys inside the Fulton Street subway station on Dec. 17. The victims told police they were passing the turnstiles of the train station at Broadway and John Street at 5:15 pm, when the nut job socked one of them in the neck, and slashed the other on the left side of his face, before fleeing. Both victims were taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577–8477. The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. All tips are strictly confidential.
GUNPOINT KNIFE ATTACK Five crooks stabbed a 19-year-old man in a gunpoint robbery on South Street on Dec. 13. The victim told police he was near Dover Street at 12:20 am, when the pack of thieves suddenly piled out of a black SUV, and one of them pulled a gun on him. In an attempt to shield himself from the firearm, the young man grabbed one of his attackers to use as a human shield, but all that earned him was a blade in his shoulder after one of the crook’s accomplices attacked the victim with a knife, cops said. The thieves then stripped the vic-
tim — literally — taking his hoodie, pants, and shoes, in addition to his $610 cellphone, according to police.
BIKE BANDIT A thief stole a man’s pricey Mercier bike that he had locked on Pearl Street on Dec. 9. The victim told police he chained his bike to post near Hanover Street at 8 pm, and returned the following day to find that his $1,500 ride was stolen.
SLEEPING LOOTY Some crook nabbed valuables off a sleeping straphanger inside a subway train near Sixth Avenue and Broadway on Dec. 16. The victim told police he had dozed off aboard the train at around 1:45 am, and awoke 15 minutes later to find that his bag, along with his wallet, headphones, and even his prescription eyeglasses were stolen.
PICKED OUT A pickpocket stole a wallet off a 74-year-old woman inside a Broadway department store on Dec. 14. The victim told police that she had been shopping at the retailer between 299 Broadway for a few hours when she noticed her wallet, which contained nearly $300, was missing at around noon. The elderly woman recalled that a “suspicious” male had bumped into her earlier that day, according to police. — Colin Mixson DowntownExpress.com
Work halted on World Trade Center shrine Greek Orthodox Archdiocese fails to pay contractor amid financial scandal BY COLIN MIXSON The work to rebuild a Liberty Street church destroyed during 9/11 ground to a halt earlier this month, after the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America failed to pay its contractors. Skanska USA, which managed construction of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at 130 Liberty St., told its sub-contractors to immediately stow their gear, collect materials, and leave their posts in a letter dated Dec. 5th informing workers that the archdiocese had defaulted on payments. The archdiocese later admitted that “fi nancial difficulties” led to a temporary suspension work at the church, also known as the National Shrine at the World Trade Center, according to a Dec. 9 press release, in which the church reaffi rmed its commitment to completing the reconstruction project. The archdiocese’s press release portrayed the work stoppage as a “difficult yet necessary step” taken by the
archdiocese to ensure church funds are properly managed, but a spokeswoman for Skanska, Barbara Brancaccio, said that it was the contractor that ultimately made the decision to break their agreement after the church failed to keep up with payments. The “fi nancial difficulties” alluded to in the church’s statement may be caused by the mismanagement of funds under Archbishop Demetrios of America, according to a Pappas Post report, which cited an email from archdiocese treasurer Michael Psaros describing the church’s multi-million deficit and lack of “even the most basic internal controls with respect to expenditures, vendor and travel management, and other basic matters of basic corporate governance.” The Psaros email also alleged that funds were taken from restricted accounts, such as one used to fund construction of the National Shrine, in order SHRINE Continued on page 19
Associated Press / Mark Lennihan
Work on the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at the eastern tip of Liberty Park has halted because the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America defaulted on payments to its contractors.
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December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
O PI N I O N
(Above) Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus transit hub was $4 billion and 12 years in the making. (Below) But the soaring atrium was well worth it — at least according to the author’s daughter.
Westfield / Chance Yeh
BY JOSH ROGERS When my 4-year-old got her first glimpse of the World Trade Center’s Oculus transit hub, she ran to the balcony’s edge, looked up at the imposing ceiling and had an instant reaction: “This is awesome Daddy!” I imagined architect Santiago Calatrava smiling as he heard her enthusiasm for the design. Then I thought about what the critics of the train station might say: “Yeah, but is it worth $4 billion, little girl?” As we walked on the mezzanine overlooking the mall on our way to a free performance of “The Nutcracker” earlier this month, I kept close watch on my girl, but I also was on the lookout for any sign pointing to our destination — the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City. There were none, but I knew we were going in the right direction, and assumed the elevator would take us down to the underground passageway. It didn’t, so we went up and walked through the WTC Memorial and across the West Side Highway. I recalled the twists and turns in the old WTC underground that existed before the 9/11 attacks, and the many attempts I made before I found the most direct route from the subway to what is now called Brookfield, but was then the World Financial Center. After the ballet, we took the underground passageway in search of the WTC-Chambers Street A, C, and E subway stop, but we turned too early, and ended up having to ask a security guard for directions before we found our way to the E. I knew not to pay attention to signs for the A and C, because on a previous visit I ended up walking one stop out of my way by blindly following the signs down the underground passage all the way to Downtown’s “bargain basement” transit hub at Fulton Center (which cost “only” $1.4 billion). Both train hubs were built largely with federal 9/11 rebuilding money with the aim of making more sense of the confusing earlier network of underground stations — and to some extent they did. But in the case of the Oculus, there is a sense that there’s not been a lot of effort put into helping people find their way. In addition to having no A or C signs at all pointing to Chambers Street, the
Associated Press / Mark Lennihan
Reﬂecting on the Oculus
E signs there are tiny compared to the ones directing riders to Fulton Center — a place that happens to be filled with shops, which may have something to do with it. There’s room for the western elevator to go down to the main level, where there’s indoor access to nine lines, the PATH commuter trains — but it doesn’t. When I returned to examine things more closely, I was at this elevator for a few seconds when a mother with a stroller and three young children asked a security guard if it went down, only to be directed about a block out of her way — past a bunch of shops — to an
December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
elevator she could use. Someone wrote to Tribeca Citizen recently wondering whether the elevator inconveniences were meant “to force visitors to pass by as many shops as possible. That might be acceptable at a normal mall, but at a transportation hub?” Despite the problems, the mall’s openness is undoubtedly an improvement over the cave-like original. My daughter and, yes, even I, are not the only ones, of course, to be wowed by Calatrava’s design. Even Michael Kimmelman, the New York Times architecture critic wrote “that virgin view, standing inside the Oculus and gazing up, is a jaw-dropper,”
that “can almost — almost — make you forget what an epic boondoggle the whole thing has been.” The b-word (“billion”) is the one most often used by naysayers. Despite the pricetag, the Oculus serves a small fraction of the number of commuters who use Grand Central or Penn Station. Early in the planning, there was enthusiasm from Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg for connecting the WTC hub to the Long Island Rail Road and JFK Airport. That would have dramatically increased the number of riders, and probably would have provided a long-term boost for the Downtown economy, but the idea died quietly, in part because it would entail even more staggering costs. The Oculus may have cost $4 billion, but the JFK link alone would have cost $6 billion. Longtime Battery Park City resident and Community Board 1 member Tom Goodkind complained that the Port Authority didn’t pay much attention to what locals were asking for when designing the transit hub, such as more seating, better signage, and “escalators that actually went up instead of down.” But he admits that the final product is dazzling nonetheless. “Otherwise, the space is absolutely gorgeous. It’s one of the few places I’ve ever seen where the outcome was way more spectacular than the architectural drawings,” Goodkind said. “As far as the price tag goes, this is money well spent.” When Calatrava unveiled the drawings almost 14 years ago, the design received a standing ovation. It was the first WTC design to receive near-universal praise. “When you do a station, you are doing it for the next generation and even the next generation [after that],” he told CB1 in 2004. “The people who built Grand Central are not there, but you feel that they wanted to tell us something.” The Oculus could indeed last a century or more, which would make the costs acceptable. In the meantime, moving elevators and escalators now would probably be too expensive, but better and bigger signs wouldn’t. Now, it’s past my girl’s bedtime. Josh Rogers is a freelance writer and the former editor of Downtown Express. DowntownExpress.com
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December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
E D ITO R IAL
Resolutions for subway riders PUBLISHER
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BY LENORE SKENAZY As the new year kicks in, New Yorkers look mindfully inward and recognize, with much soul searching, the truth: The train is never coming. Got that? Never ever ever ever. It will never come. You will never get to work on time, never meet your friend at the time and place you promised, never get home before your dinner is not only burnt, it has turned into coal and is halfway to becoming a diamond. (Which is, I guess, the up side of late trains.) Instead of being shocked over and over by the unconscionable, soulcrushing, completely unjust lateness of all those late late late, slow, halting, sick-passenger-ahead, holding lights, signal problems trains, here are the: Resolutions for New York City Subway Riders in 2018 Just repeat to yourself: • When I get to the platform just as a train is shutting its doors, I resolve not to say anything out loud that would cause my grandmother to blush, faint, or come get me from her grave, whichever is most convenient. • If I manage to reach the platform seconds before the doors close, I resolve not to stick any part of my body in between them, especially not a part that would hurt if sheared off. • This includes my nose. • And your nose, if I was pushing. (Sorry.) • Nor will I, while waiting for the train, sigh as if the people around me have no idea how hard it is for me and only me to wait for the &@$*! train. • Excuse me, grandma. The tardy train. • If I cannot figure out how to buy a MetroCard, I will accept this with grace, rather than punching random
buttons for 10 minutes while the crowd behind me grows to the size of the Macy’s Parade. • When and if I get on the train, I will immediately place my backpack in the gunk on the floor, rather than keeping it on my back where it serves as a boxing glove to anyone trying to slip by me, whom I notice not one whit. • Speaking of which: When I do notice a woman who is eight or nine months pregnant, I will not immediately pretend not to notice her, if I am seated. (Unless I had a really long day.) • If I am watching a movie on my phone, I shall not make everyone within seven people of me listen to the movie on my phone, as enjoying a movie usually requires at least two senses. So I resolve to get those strange things everyone’s wearing these days. What are they called again? Ear-stick-ins? Yes, by golly, I’ll try some of those ear-stick-ins. • If I get on the train and there’s 7 inches of space on the bench I will not try to wedge into it. • Well, come to think of it, I will. I mean, why not? If everyone would just suck in their stomachs — or their thighs, actually — I swear four people would fit onto those three-person benches, no problem. • If I am man-spreading, I will cease to do this anymore, even if I am a woman. Even if no one else is on the train, I will keep my legs Velcroed together, to make up for all those other times before “man-spreading” became a thing (and a word!) and I
did it all the time. • If I am holding onto a pole I won’t pause to wipe my nose and then resume my pole-holding with my newly moist hand (or mitten, or glove). • When I am getting off the train, I won’t “accidentally” brush the idiot who is blocking the door just to express my displeasure. • Unless they know they should move but just don’t. You know who you are. • When riding the escalator, I will stand to the right if I am going to just stand there. • When riding the escalator behind someone on the left who is just standing there, I won’t roll my eyes, snort, start breathing into their hair, or make a big deal out of it. After all, I’ll still get where I’m going at almost the same time. • Except i’m already 17 days late, thanks to the “sick passenger” four boroughs ahead of us. • I will never be a sick passenger on a train. I promise. If I am sick, I will wait until the next stop and keel over once off the train and conveniently out of the way of passengers getting on. • I will never keel over on the left side of the escalator. • When exiting the station, I will not proceed through the turnstile a desperate commuter is trying to proceed into because they hear the train coming. • Unless — ha ha! — you missed your train! • Scratch that. I will be a Zen-like subway rider, patiently accepting that which I cannot change. • While quietly muttering “Where the @*&!# is my @!#&*%^ train?” Lenore Skenazy is author of “Has the World Gone Skenazy?”
state area) will be filling up the stores, concerts, restaurants, etc. etc. on a regular basis? The monied crowd from the burbs — which views public transportation with disdain but love their cars, SUVs and vans — can in all probability on
their own support the exclusive offerings planned here. The idea that tourists alone can support the businesses which will operate here is questionable based on history at the Seaport. Robert
Posted To PIER PRESSURE: LOCALS POUND SEAPORT DEVELOPER AT TOWN HALL MEETING ON PIER 17 PLANS (DEC. 15) Has the issue of “parking” been addressed in any of these scenarios? Without such, who (from the tri-
December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
O PI N I O N
9/11 victms must sign up Most Downtown residents and workers still not registered for 9/11 benefits BY MICHAEL BARASCH For New Yorkers who lived or worked Downtown after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there is no more important date than Dec. 18. That is because in just three years, on Dec. 18, 2020, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, the lifeline for the 9/11 community, will shut its doors to new applicants forever. This program provides compensation to people with 9/11 illnesses and to families who have lost loved ones to 9/11 illnesses. On the other hand, the WTC Health Program was extended for 75 years, underscoring that it is anticipated that people will continue to develop 9/11 illnesses long after their exposure. The WTCHP provides medical treatment when people become sick with 9/11-certified illnesses. Despite the fact that the VCF has awarded over $3 billion to 14,000 residents, office workers, teachers, students, and first responders, the reality is that only a fraction of those eligible have registered with the health program and filed a VCF claim. More than 320,000 people lived or worked in Lower Manhattan during and after the attacks. But so far, only 12,000 survivors have had
Attorney Michael Barasch
their illnesses certified by the health program. That means hundreds of thousands of eligible Downtown residents, office workers, teachers and students haven’t taken advantage of the medical and compensation benefits available to them. Most Downtown workers and residents are also unaware of the fact that doctors have linked 68 cancers to the WTC toxins. The WTCHP reports that the most common cancers are skin cancers, thyroid cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. So far, more than 7,000 people have been certified with WTC-related cancers and well over 1,000 have had their deaths linked to their toxic exposure.
The statistics are frightening. A “cancer cluster” is how some doctors are describing the devastating revelation that over 2 dozen students who attended schools south of Canal Street during the 2001-02 school year have been diagnosed with WTC-related cancers. Contrary to popular misconceptions, the VCF and WTCHP are not just for first responders or Ground Zero cleanup workers, but for anyone who was exposed to WTC toxins in the days, weeks or months following the attacks. I cannot discuss the VCF without also talking about my heroic client, NYPD Detective James Zadroga. Detective Zadroga developed a deadly pulmonary disease called pulmonary fibrosis. He lost his health, his career, and ultimately his life in 2006. An autopsy revealed ground glass, asbestos, and other known carcinogens including chromium, lead and benzene in his lungs. Detective Zadroga became the namesake for the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, passed by Congress in 2010, signed into law by President Obama in January 2011, and then reauthorized in 2015 after an extensive lobbying effort in Washington, D.C. Survivors are entitled to free health are if they were exposed
Associated Press / Greg Semendinger
The dust cloud from the collapse of the World Trade Center affected as many as 320,000 people who lived or worked Downtown on or after 9/11, but only a small fraction of them have registered for the WTC Health Program or filed a claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
to the dust south of Houston Street, and have developed gastric or respiratory illnesses or cancer. People with certified 9/11 illnesses are entitled to compensation if they were south of Canal Street. I am honored to represent the 9/11 community. I know that our work is far from over. Please help us to spread the word to others who were exposed Downtown about the importance of enrolling in the health program. It’s simple. Either call 1-888-982-4748 or download an application at https://www.
cdc.gov/wtc/apply.html. My firm is happy to register you if you need assistance. Of course, you are always welcome to visit or call us at 212-385-8000 for more information. We are just 2 blocks from Ground Zero. You can also learn more about available benefits by visiting our website, www.wtclaywers. com. Michael Barasch is a managing partner Barasch McGarry, a law firm that works extensively with 9/11 survivors and their families and was instrumental in lobbying for the passage and renewal of the Zadroga Act.
For more news & events happening now visit www.DowntownExpress.com DowntownExpress.com
December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
Resolutions for the Rage-Filled Screaming Set BY MAX BURBANK If you’re anything like me, right about now you’re thinking, “What? How can it be almost New Year’s again? Didn’t we just have one?” If you’re really like me, you’ve also missed another meeting with your parole officer and you’re crouched down under your work desk, sipping off-brand booze out of a Fresca can.
BOILED EGG, and all you can do is wonder what the HELL that was in PREPARATION FOR? Okay! Maintain. We all have to get hold of ourselves. To stay calm, I recommend order — a routine, a plan to stick to; a set of “resolutions” if you will, for
HELPFUL PRO TIPS FOR THE NEW YEAR! #1: Crouching under your desk does not make you invisible, just like it said on your last performance evaluation. #2: Any beverage called “Southerner’s Comfort” that costs less than six bucks for a two-liter plastic bottle will certainly make you go blind. #3: Be less like me. How am I supposed to process 2017? I haven’t gotten over 2016 yet! Remember 2016? How it killed every single celebrity you ever loved, but left Scott Baio standing there totally unscathed, like some sort of person-sized, glazed ham with glued-on Googly Eyes and a slack jaw? And then, out of the more than 20 candidates running for president, the racist, shaved orangutan-looking, human practical joke won? And then Carrie Fisher died? And then Carrie Fisher’s mom died? And then it dawned on you that Carrie Fisher’s mom was the lady from “Singin’ in the Rain” and you cried for a solid week until you were as dehydrated as a strip of convenience store beef jerky? And then 2017 came along and was all like, “hold my beer” to 2016, which made you nostalgic for when the opportunity to use that joke structure was infrequent enough that it was still slightly funny? And that made you cry for another straight week? What the hell is 2018 going to be like? I mean, it could be better, right? Statistically speaking, it ought to be — but what if it’s more like a rabid wolverine that somehow has opposable thumbs, duct taping you to a chair and using a belt sander to take EVERY SINGLE HAIR OFF YOUR BODY until you’re as BALD as a HARD-
hold a pillow over your face, especially a spouse, significant other, or unknown intruder. That often ends badly. #2: BE LESS ENRAGED. You can’t feel a maximum amount of rage 100 percent of the time. Every athlete knows you have to pace yourself, and if rage isn’t a sport, then why is watching the news currently the best cardio workout ever invented by God? Try this: Instead of feeling mad, feel sad. Now bottle that sadness up, repress the hell out of it and shove it way down deep, where heat and pressure will transform it into a whitehot diamond of incandescent rage you can use later! Healthy, right? #3: GET FIT. Any doctor worth their salt will tell you good nutrition and exercise are the best medicines for depression, often while sobbing uncontrollably, presumably because the busy lifestyle of a doctor leaves them little time for either. Of course, with the recent passage of tax “reform,” chances are none of us will be able to afford health insurance in 2018, so the hypothetical doctor from whom I received
are James T. Kirk, they kick Klingons in the chest and have a fine time with the space ladies. Why is your Kirk crouching down under your space desk drinking Romulan ale out of a space-Fresca can and audibly sobbing? And oh GOD, I just realized none of my readers identify with my fantasy. My pop culture references aren’t even slightly topical, because I am SO OLD — bleeding gums, easily winded, too much hair in my hairbrush OLD; William Shatner, classic “Trek” OLD — and it fills their rippling, youthful bodies with REVULSION! #5: STOP IMAGINING YOUR READERS HAVE RIPPLING, YOUTHFUL BODIES. I know #4 was “Have More Cheerful Fantasies,” but there’s a fine line between “cheerful” and “delusional” — and in the world we’re living in, that line is very fine indeed; like the width of a single molecule, which (science fact) means that line is also dangerously, lethally sharp. So watch it, bucko. You’ll cut yourself real bad if you’re not careful. You know what? Throw Resolution #4 right out. Our current world is not a safe reality in which to get lost in pleasant daydreams! You need to stay on your toes, keep sharp, be wary, or you’re liable to end up in a dystopian re-education facility with a barcode tattooed on your forehead because you “cracked wise” once too often in a stupid little political satire column whose readers did not “get” your “references,” because you are ANCIENT! James T. KIRK? What the HELL, man? COME ON! #6: CUT THAT CRAP OUT RIGHT NOW. Seriously. This is why, when on the rare occasions you get invited to parties, everyone is scared of you.
Illustration by Max Burbank
the New Year, to keep from screaming all the time. Here’s a template you can crib from at will. #1: STOP SCREAMING ALL THE TIME. No one likes it. Stop. Now. Pull your upper and lower teeth together. Close your lips over them. Okay, now it’s just a super loud, scary humming. That’s worse. Try holding a pillow over your face. Do not ask someone else to
December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
the advice in the first place is purely imaginary, which might explain the sobbing better than their busy schedule. Lately, all my fantasies seem to escape control and end in sobbing. #4: HAVE MORE CHEERFUL FANTASIES. For God’s sake, exercise a little self-control. It’s your head; you’re allowed to do what you want in it! When other people imagine they
Okay, scrap everything except Resolution #6. Maybe if people only had one resolution on their list, they’d keep it longer than a week. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and other metaphors that are hard to keep in mind when you feel like your hair is on fire. Take a deep breath and look around. You’re not alone. Every halfway-decent person you see feels like their hair is on fire right now. Anyone who doesn’t is either a highly evolved Zen master or a big sack of jerk. There are way more jerk sacks out there than Zen masters, and the Zen masters will take your constant, rage-filled screaming in stride. DowntownExpress.com
From Reboots to Reckonings: The Best Films of 2017 Cinema delivered solace during a tumultuous year
Via Sony Pictures
Kinetic action sequences and a killer soundtrack jump-start Edgar Wright’s creative crime caper “Baby Driver.”
BY SEAN EGAN Well, we all thought nothing could possibly be as bad as 2016, but boy howdy did 2017 do its best to be worse. From Washington’s daily, anxiety-inducing developments to the stillactive sexual misconduct reckoning facing Hollywood, it seems everything that’s happened this year was calculated for maximum miserability. One area, however, where 2017 managed not to disappoint or depress, was at the movies. Through the year, filmmakers tackled hot-button issues, gave us hope in dark times, made us feel less alone, or simply provided some muchneeded escapism. Below is a list of my personal favorites — unranked, but loosely grouped. They represent some of the best the movies had to offer, or, at the very least, movies that made things better. DowntownExpress.com
WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE Really, there isn’t much new about Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age film chronicling the senior year of its titular high schooler, “Lady Bird.” You’ve seen the rites of passage unfold on screen time and again. And yet, it’s rare that a movie renders these archetypes and plot points with as much wit and specificity. It’s there in the antagonistic yet warm relationship between Lady Bird and her mother; there in the stumbling forays into romance that seem monumental to the precocious lead. That’s the movie’s greatest trick: You’ve met these characters before, because chances are you’ve been these characters at some point. The film effortlessly guides viewers through the emotional peaks and valleys encountered at the precipice of adulthood,
in ways at once hilarious, awkward, and honest. Ultimately though, it’s that honesty that makes “Lady Bird” a contemporary classic of the genre, and the year’s very best film.
AMERICA, ACROSS THE POND If nothing else, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” solidifies Irish playwright-turned-filmmaker Martin McDonagh as cinema’s resident master of dialogue — his characters are never at a loss for words, lobbing acerbic digs at one another like Molotov cocktails, while still feeling fully lived in. Following the quest of Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand, at her best since “Fargo”) to get answers from her local police department about the brutal rape and murder of her daughter, McDonagh
has created a decidedly non-didactic, humanist character study that taps into something resonant about small-town America in ways only an empathetic but honest outsider could. After years of trouble breaking it in Hollywood, cult UK-director Edgar Wright (beloved flop “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”) finally connected with American audiences in earnest by crafting a supremely fun crime caper. From the word “go,” “Baby Driver” wastes no time delivering some of the most creative, masterfully edited action setpieces in recent memory. With its tinnitusafflicted protagonist behind the wheel, cars speed along in time to a carefully curated soundtrack in an exhilarating union of drag race and ballet. With equally sharp comedic timing, the YEAR IN FILM continued on p. 14
December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
YEAR IN FILM continued from p. 13
movie’s a cinematic sugar rush that’ll hopefully grant Wright the keys to more expensive Hollywood vehicles moving forward.
SUPERSUBVERSIONS Functioning as a send-off for Hugh Jackman’s venerable Wolverine and Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier, James Mangold’s moody, moving “Logan” expands the scope of what a superhero movie can be by going admirably smallscale and adult. A dusty neo-western, the film focuses on the rapidly-deteriorating super duo grappling with morality and their legacies as they try to help an 11-year-old mutant raised in captivity escape to safety. It’s heavy stuff (and the R-rated violence throughout is resolutely not of the wham-bang variety), but it builds to a climax as evocative and poetic as any movie, comic book or otherwise. If “Logan” expanded on what a superhero movie could be, “Thor: Ragnarok” may well be the perfection of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) formula. Bringing in Kiwi indie darling Taika Waititi to perk up Marvel’s most staid franchise was an inspired move; his excitement behind the camera is palpable. Largely a Thor/Hulk buddy movie, Waititi sets “Ragnarok” in Marvel’s underexplored, candy-colored cosmic universe, bringing in ringers like Jeff Goldblum (nonchalantly nibbling the scenery throughout) and composer Mark Mothersbaugh (basically in fullon DEVO mode) to keep the humorous galactic road trip chugging along. It adds up to 2017’s giddiest blockbuster, breathlessly charging through offbeat action and deadpan banter like it’s getting away with something.
The year’s very best film: Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” is an exceptional coming-ofage tale, produced with heart and specificity.
The world is random and cruel, pain is inevitable, and we’re all culpable. Ha, ha.
REJUVENATED REBOOTS Via Fox Searchlight
Frances McDormand rivals her iconic “Fargo” turn in Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
NOTHING TO FEAR BUT LIFE ITSELF Good horror filmmakers know little separates laughter from horror; excellent horror directors know little separates horror from reality. “Get Out,” Jordan Peele’s feature debut about a black man’s sojourn to meet his white girlfriend’s parents, proves the sketch comedy maverick has the makings of a top-tier genre director. The uneasy humor is there in early, cringe-worthy conversations between Daniel Kaluuya’s Chris and his microaggression-oblivious hosts. The horror comes when you realize the truly nightmarish scenario the movie’s got waiting in the wings is not all that different from how black Americans are
Via Marvel Studios
Director Taika Waititi breathed new life into the “Thor” franchise by focusing on character, comedy, and Marvel’s candy-colored cosmos.
fetishized, commodified, and mistreated daily. It’s required viewing not just for horror hounds, but for anyone looking to take the pulse of race relations in 2017 America. Despite the unimaginable, horrific acts of violence, what’s most disturbing about “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is just how darkly funny it is. In this meta, modern-day riff on Agamemnon,
December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
Yorgos Lanthimos’ all-seeing, clinically gliding camera follows characters who converse in stilted monotone (think Wes Anderson calibrated to “creepy” rather than “quirky”) until they’re finally pushed to the breaking point and forced to do the unthinkable. Riffing on moral culpability and parental neurosis, Lanthimos nonetheless delivers his bleak thesis with a madman’s chuckle:
Following up a film as iconic as 1982’s “Blade Runner” after decades could have been disastrous. Fortunately, Denis Villeneuve was more than up to the task, building on the original’s themes and adding some of the stealth humanism found in his last feature, “Arrival.” Gorgeously shot by Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049” is the sort of movie that marinates in its Big Ideas and envelops you in its meditative atmosphere over an expansive running time. It’s the kind of heady but rewarding sci-fi one can only hope to see more of in the mainstream. “Alien: Covenant” is 2017’s most welcome return to form, with original “Alien” helmer Ridley Scott returning the series to its dark, weird, creepy roots. Keeping what worked from his prequel “Prometheus” (specifically Michael Fassbender, turning in a homoerotic dual performance here that must be seen to be believed), Scott dives headfirst into exploring the metaphorically-rich origin story of the Xenomorphs. The result is a gonzo, gothic creation myth that treats its philosophical influences as sly jokes and cultural touchstones as pulp fodder. YEAR IN FILM continued on p. 15 DowntownExpress.com
Via Lucasfilm Ltd.
The narrative subversion and moral ambiguity thrill as much as the battles in Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
Colin Farrell is rendered a modern-day Agamemnon in Yorgos Lanthimos’ darkly humorous “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.”
YEAR IN FILM continued from p. 14
Though it delivers what may well be the most show-stopping lightsaber fight to-date, the most dynamic battles of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” are the internal struggles its characters contend with deep in the heart of war. While some have been hesitant to embrace the film’s more subversive, comedic tone, by focusing on human flaws and stressing a spectrum of gray in a series known for black-and-white morality, writer/director Rian Johnson pushes the “Star Wars” saga and its characters into uncharted, rewarding directions. Plus, come on, those space battles are awesome too!
THEY CAME FROM THE DEEP The humanoid sea creature at the heart of “The Shape of Water” — Guillermo del Toro’s wonky Cold Warera interspecies romance — may well be the director’s most gorgeous grotesquery so far. Much of the credit belongs to actor Doug Jones, who brings him to life with
a deft touch, capturing the character’s animalistic and alluring qualities simultaneously. The whole affair plays out like a storybook come to life (granted, one punctuated with graphic violence and the occasional bout of sea monster/human coitus). Delightfully strange and strangely touching, “The Shape of Water” can stand proudly amongst del Toro’s previous masterpieces. Okay, yes, “Monster Trucks,” the movie about monsters that live inside of and operate trucks, was conceived of by the four-year-old son of a now-fired Paramount executive — but doesn’t that sound kind of great? Unsurprisingly, the movie bustles along with childlike enthusiasm, as it follows teenager Tripp and his newfound monster buddy Creech, as they attempt to protect Creech’s habitat from a greedy oil-drilling bureaucrat (played to perfection by a Twizzlermunching Rob Lowe). This loopy slice of Americana/quasi-environmentalist fable is the kind of live-action cartoon that recalls the goofy, good-hearted Amblin family films of yore. There’s really no way to explain
“Colossal” simply and succinctly that does it justice. In broad strokes, Nacho Vigalondo’s singular sci-fi dramadey concerns an alcoholic 30-something (a career-best Anne Hathaway) whose rock-bottom trip to her hometown coincides with the appearance of an enormous kaiju in South Korea. Though it delivers laughs and the requisite monster movie goods, the film ultimately ends up an effective meditation on addiction and abuse, without betraying its own unique vision or slipping into sentimentality.
JOY AMONG THE HARD TIMES Let’s make one thing clear from the jump: “Girls Trip” is stone-cold filthy, likely the raunchiest comedy to come out of a major studio this year. It’s almost definitely the funniest (and most heartfelt) as well. While special mention must be given to Tiffany Haddish — her live-wire performance and commitment to the act of “grapefruiting” finds her nearly walking away with the movie — Malcolm D. Lee’s girls-gone-wild flick is
buoyed by the crack timing of its entire, game-for-anything cast. It’s just a bonus their chemistry comes so naturally and its third-act pathos lands so effectively. Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” chronicles the dog days of summer at the Magic Castle, a low-rent motel in Florida with a shocking-purple paint job. Its denizens include hard-on-herluck Halle, her young daughter, and the eminently decent manager, Bobby (a gentle Willem Dafoe). As hardscrabble and unflinching as it is full of life and exuberance, this film recognizes the monumental importance of small acts of kindness and captures all the beauty present in everyday life. Make no mistake, there are trials and tribulations aplenty — things painful to watch. But its euphoric ending is one of the most affecting scenes of the year, a moment of pure, escapist joy amongst all the tumult and pain of reality, and a stirring act of friendship to boot. While it might not be perfect, and it might not make everything okay, it’s a hard-earned bit of hope — something we all might have earned at the end of 2017.
The sprawling purple motel becomes a character unto itself in Sean Baker’s lively and moving “The Florida Project.”
The star-studded cast of Malcolm D. Lee’s “Girls Trip” bring the raunch (and heart), in the year’s funniest comedy.
December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
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 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 212-620-5000 or visit rubinmuseum.org.
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.).
December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
The immersive, site-specific installation “Le Corps Sonore” was composed for the museum’s iconic spiral staircase. DowntownExpress.com
Do we even have to tell you it’s L to R? Liza Minnelli sits with Rick Skye (do we even have to tell you they’re both Rick?).
Photo by Chris Carlisle
Set Your Sights on ‘A Sequined Variety’ Rick Skye and friends do it at Don’t Tell Mama BY SCOTT STIFFLER Short of the real McCoy, the best way to see the mighty Minnelli on stage is to spell “Liza” with an “S” — as in Rick Skye. In a world of drag show lip-synch acts, YouTube parodies and petty impressionists, no version of Liza Minnelli hits the heights and sticks the landing quite like the one Skye has spent years sharpening and polishing (in shows such as “A Slice of Minnelli” and “Judy and Liza Together Again”). As fascinatingly idiosyncratic and hell-bent on entertaining you as Minnelli herself, Skye’s take on The Great One cleverly melds what we know and love (and are loathe to admit) about Liza May with timeless zingers and contemporary observations that have little or no relation to the source material — making for a reliably unpredictable evening. Now, monthly at the iconic Midtown Manhattan cabaret space Don’t Tell Mama, “Bazazz! A Sequined Variety” finds our man Skye is joined by the topshelf eye candy unit known as the Kit DowntownExpress.com
Kat Boyz, along with special guests and, of course, Skye in Liza mode (singing in his own voice and presenting personally penned parody lyrics to beloved Minnelli standards). In this month’s waning days, “Bazazz!” does double duty — first, on Dec. 29, with songwriter/Broadway performer Rick Crom and pop songstress Karen Wyman; then, on Dec. 31, with alt-cabaret artist Lykken and three-time MAC Award-winning comedian Nancy Witter, in a special New Year’s Eve show. See “Bazzaz!” now, before they ban glitter and turn their gaze to our precious sequins! At Don’t Tell Mama (343 W. 46th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). For the Fri., Dec. 29, 7pm performance, $20.00 cover/two-drink minimum (cash only; visit donttellmama.com for reservations). For the Sun., Dec. 31, 9:30pm performance, $160 tickets include a 3-course prix-fix dinner and champagne flute toast. To make reservations for this special New Year’s Eve performance guests must email Manuel@donttellmamanyc.com.
Being sick and hungry is an urgent crisis no one should face. Help us deliver hope, compassion and love, all wrapped up in a nutritious meal.
Volunteer. Donate. Advocate. godslovewedeliver.org
December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
December 28, 2017 â€“ January 10, 2018
WASHINGTON SQUARES Continued from page 4
Seeger, Richie Havens, and Joan Jett. “People went nuts,” said Goodkind. “They said ‘these guys are dressed as beatniks with bongos and they’re playing real folks songs.’ It was this goofy idea.” The band’s Grammy nod came with their eponymous first album release, “The Washington Squares,” in 1987 which they followed up with “Fair and Square” in 1989. The group split ways after Paskow died in 1994. Agnelli eventually fled the city after 9/11 for Connecticut, where she works in recreational therapy for seniors, and still plays with a jug band called Washboard Slim and the Bluelights. For Goodkind, however, the death of his friend was like the day the music died, and the goof-ball bandleader of The Washington Squares decided to cut his hair and commit the most unspeakable of crimes — going normal. “It’s the worst thing if you’re a beatnik and you go normal, it’s like turning coat,” he said. But Goodkind, now an accountant, still looks back and marvels at the success of his almost nonsensical idea, and wonders at his achievement in the folk scene of the 80s. “Everybody has goofy ideas, but 99-percent of them fail,” said Goodkind. “But this one worked. And I was like beside myself thrilled. I was like, ‘holy shit, you can have an idea and it can actually work.” The Washington Squares 25th Anniversary Show, with Special Guests Richard Barone, Michelle Shocked, Anne Waldman & more. City Winery, 155 Varick St. Jan. 10, doors open at 6 pm. Tickets $25– $35. http://www.citywinery.com/newyork/tickets/ the-washington-squares-1-10.html
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to transform the arcades at 17 properties into retail space, and Rockrose is the first business to take advantage of the new rules. But Rockrose’s proposal, which sought to fill-in what many describe as among the most handsome and best utilized of the affected POPS, faced strong pushback from CB1 and local elected officials. It also drew criticism from many non-profit organizations — including The Municipal Art Society, Friends of the Upper East Side, Landmarks West, Tribeca Trust, Upper East Side Historic Districts, Friends of POPS, Civitas, and City Club — which all sent letters protesting the plan well in advance of a Nov. 13 hearing of the
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to pay administrative costs, and Pappas cited an anonymous source alleging that $3.8 million was diverted from the St. Nicholas fund to pay for the Archbishop’s DowntownExpress.com
(Above) The Washington Squares performed with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary at Irving Plaza in 1984, and the group’s surviving members — Lauren Agnelli, far left, and Tom Goodkind, second from right — will perform again with Yarrow on Jan. 10 at City Winery for a one-night-only. (Right) Tom Goodkind, always the jokester, gives folk legend Pete Seeger a hammer, saying, “Okay already — here’s your damned hammer!”
City Planning Commission. But those letters were only delivered to commissioners on the weekend before the Monday afternoon hearing, and were only vaguely mentioned in testimony provided by Department of City Planning rep Richard Suarez during the meeting, leading opponents of Rockrose’s scheme to accuse the city agency of actively promoting the landlord’s redevelopment scheme. The fact that city planning director Carl Weisbrod was the former head of the Downtown Alliance — the Water Street text amendment’s biggest cheerleader — made many locals feel like the fix was in, according to one Downtown architect. “The text amendment was written based on the Downtown Alliance’s inter-
ests, which was run by Carl Weisbrod, who became head of city planning,” said Alice Blank. “It’s very disheartening.” At the vote to approve the proposal, City Planning Commission Chairwoman Maris Lago took the unusual step of providing comments justifying her decision to approve the proposal, claiming that, while the developer does stand to benefit, it’s community members who are the real winners. “With the proposed changes, the public will benefit from greatly improved open spaces that create a vibrant and attractive link among Water Street, Fulton Street and South Street Seaport,” said Lago. Lago touted the 200 Water St. proposal as an example of exactly the type of change the text amendment was writ-
ten to achieve, and said she hopes other developers will take advantage of the zoning change in the near future. “We would hope to see this vibrancy spread along the Water Street corridor in future applications under the 2016 text amendment,” she said. The chairwoman’s words were no comfort to fans of the plazas, said Blank. “When you have this kind of public outcry — overwhelming, obvious interest in not seeing this public space filled in — from experts, urban designers, architects — not just your average Joe — and then you have all your elected officials and the entire community board, you have to ask yourself what is good about this?” Blank said. “I feel very pessimistic.”
travel costs and other expenses. The church has created a special investigative committee — which includes Battery Park City Authority board chairman Dennis Mehiel — and empowered it to hire outside council
and conduct audits in an inquiry into the St. Nicholas construction project, and the use of shrine funds to pay for the archdiocese’s general operating costs, according to a separate press release from the archdiocese.
Skanska remains open to renewing its partnership with the church, and is optimistic that the archdiocese will obtain the funding necessary to revive construction, according to a statement released by the contractor.
December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell
phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.
Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-
December 28, 2017 – January 10, 2018
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.
December 28, 2017