YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN
Memorable Wins for Local History BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC In a year that will be remembered as divisive and tumultuous, 2017 drew to a close with two hard-earned bright spots for the history books: a mural created in the 1950s was saved from demolition, and the only documented Underground Railroad site in Manhattan will be restored to its original height.
LOCAL HEROES Hudson Guild Honors Contributions to the Chelsea Community
PRESERVATION continued on p. 5
Chelsea’s Corey Johnson is City Council’s New Speaker BY DUNCAN OSBORNE One thing was said over and over again about Corey Johnson as the City Council convened to elect its new speaker — the 35-year-old works hard. “Everybody in this body cannot deny that Corey Johnson worked COREY continued on p. 2
OVER THE MOON FOR UNDER THE RADAR
See page 12
Courtesy Hudson Guild
The Community & Residents Protection Working Group (CRP) was given the Dorothy Epstein Community Service Award for its effective advocacy. L to R, CRP member Andra Mooney, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (who presented the award), and the CRP’s Pat Cooke, Phyllis Waisman, Dorothy Francoeur, and Pamela Wolff.
BY REBECCA FIORE In the waning days of 2017, as others were busy debating who would get an Oscar or Golden Globe nod, Hudson Guild got an early jump on awards season by recognizing outstanding examples of community service. Those honored at the 61st Annual Dr. Elliott Celebration were a group of Chelsea residents who exposed the illegal practices of landlords and develop-
© CHELSEA NOW 2018 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ers, a young woman from The Bronx who found a new purpose in Chelsea, and a former child piano prodigy who provided access to the arts for seniors in the community. Located at 441 W. 26th St. (btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), Hudson Guild is a multi-service community agency founded by Dr. John Lovejoy Elliott, whose mission was to provide education, work opportunities, and the most basic neces-
sities to all those in need (visit hudsonguild.org for more info). Arthur H. Aufses III, president of the Board of Trustees at the Hudson Guild and the event’s keynote speaker, noted that when Dr. Elliott was creating the organization in 1895, there was “no public assistance, no public housing and barely any public education. He HUDSON GUILD continued on p. 6
VOLUME 10, ISSUE 1 | JANUARY 4 - 10, 2018
As of January 3, Corey Johnson is the City Council’s New Leader COREY continued from p. 1
harder to be the speaker of this body than anybody else in this body,” said Laurie Cumbo, who represents parts of Brooklyn in the 51-member City Council, as she nominated Johnson to be the speaker on Jan. 3. Beginning with a field of eight candidates, the speaker’s race was winnowed to two by Jan. 3. The other contender, Inez Barron, who also represents Brooklyn neighborhoods, was reduced to nominating herself. Johnson’s nomination was seconded four times and the final vote was a lopsided 48-1, with two members not attending the Council’s first meeting of 2018. Members who took time to explain why they were supporting Johnson, who is openly gay and HIV-positive, talked about how he aided their campaigns or how he reached across the ideological spectrum to talk to them. “He came out and he helped me win my race,” said Daneek Miller, who represents parts of Queens. “He walked the walk with me.” When Ruben Diaz, Sr., a former state senator who now represents Bronx neighborhoods in the City Council, was
Photo by William Alatriste/New York City Council
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson moments after winning the near unanimous support of his colleagues to succeed Melissa Mark-Viverito.
in the hospital following major surgery, Johnson paid him a visit. Diaz is a well-known opponent of the LGBTQ community and voted against same-sex marriage in the State Senate in 2011 and 2009. “A man that doesn’t agree with what I say, this person, Corey Johnson, came to see me in the hospital,” Diaz said as
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he cast his vote for Johnson. Similarly, Fernando Cabrera, who also represents parts of the Bronx, traveled with Johnson to Israel in February 2017. Cabrera has a history of working with anti-LGBTQ groups and like Diaz is an opponent of same-sex marriage. Cabrera traveled to Uganda when that country was weighing a law that imposed the death penalty for homosexuality. During the Uganda visit, Cabrera made a YouTube video praising the nation’s anti-gay forces. Johnson also distributed a lot of campaign cash to his fellow councilmembers during the 2017 election cycle. He donated to 26 candidates who now hold Council seats. He did not donate to Diaz or Cabrera. He also supported a large number of city Democratic political clubs and donated to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign. Johnson arrived in New York City from Massachusetts in 2001. He was known then as the high school athlete who came out on national television. He held various jobs and volunteered for the political campaigns of Mark Green and Carl McCall. Johnson learned about the intricacies of city law on housing and development while serving on Community Board 4 in Manhattan. He eventually chaired the board. His knowledge of housing and development issues was apparent when he first ran for the City Council in 2013 for a Manhattan district that includes the West Village, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen. He defeated attorney Yetta Kurland in the Democratic primary, though that race was known for its
acrimony and one or two embarrassing conflicts between the candidates. Johnson faced no serious opposition in 2017 in the primary or general elections. The degree to which he has cultivated kingmakers and the politically connected was evident when he spoke following the vote. He acknowledged Congressmember Joe Crowley, who represents a Queens district in the House and chairs that county’s Democratic Party, and Keith Wright, a former member of the State Assembly who chairs the New York County Democratic Committee. Crowley and Wright were sitting in the balcony of the Council chamber watching the proceedings. They were joined by Yvette Clarke, who represents a Brooklyn district in the House. Also sitting in the balcony and recognized by Johnson was the president of New York City’s Central Labor Council, an AFL-CIO umbrella group comprised of multiple union locals, and the heads of three locals in the Central Labor Council. What has dogged Johnson’s race for speaker is that he is a white man heading a City Council that has a majority of members who are Latinx, African-American, and Asian. This matter came up when Barron nominated herself. “White men, a white woman, and a Latina have been speaker, but we’ve never had a black speaker,” she said. “I think you have to recognize that I am not white and I’m not male and I’m not going to get the blessing of the power structure.” Charles Barron, who represents a Brooklyn district in the State Assembly and previously served in the City Council, was in the Council chamber to support his wife. When it became apparent that she had lost the race, he noisily exited with a small group of friends. “My real view is that I am never going to compare my experience to that of a person of color in New York City because we all have our own unique experiences,” Johnson said during a press conference following the vote when asked about Baron’s comments. “I recognize the privilege in the color of my skin… I’m going to ensure that the leadership structure of the Council, that the committee chairs of the Council are represented by women, by people of color, by LGBT people, and ensure that all voices are heard.” NYC Community Media
Christmas Day Fire Displaces Chelsea Tenants BY REBECCA FIORE While many homes were preparing Christmas Day feasts, a three-alarm fire spread over the top floor of a Chelsea apartment building, displacing all 32 households. The fire, caused by an unattended candle, broke out on the sixth floor of the 144 W. 19th St. (btw. Seventh & Sixth Aves.), located next door to FDNY Engine 3/Tower Ladder 12/Battalion 7. A total of 33 FDNY units and 138 firefighters responded at 3:35 p.m., according to Sophia Kim, FDNY deputy press secretary. After spending Christmas Eve with her niece, Amy Marcs — who lives in apartment 3E — decided to curl up in bed and watch Netflix, when she smelled smoke. “It’s Christmas. People are cooking. I thought maybe someone burnt something,” she said. “Then I heard the alarms in the building. My neighbor screamed, ‘My apartment is on fire!’ ” Kfir Danieli, who lives a floor beneath Marcs, said he was sitting on the couch, relaxing from weekends of working on a performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ out on Long Island, when he heard his neighbors screaming.
“It was like a war zone,” he recalled. “I didn’t even know what to think.” Danieli said he was able to get out of the building with his dog before the windows exploded. “I was in the street, basically wearing nothing. It was insane,” he said. Marcs said she ran out of the building without a coat or socks. She was unable to grab her cat, who was scared and hiding under her bed, but took her phone, calling it her “lifeline.” “Freezing was an understatement,” she said — and while most stores were closed for the holiday, a Duane Reade located directly across from the building (corner of Seventh Ave. and W. 19th St.) opened its doors to the displaced tenants. According to the National Weather Service, it averaged 33 degrees on Dec. 25. “The fire was so wild and so vicious, it kept spreading and spreading towards the rest of the building,” Danieli said. Marcs said it was an incredibly windy day, which caused the fire to spread around more (wind can provide more oxygen to the flames). Danieli estimates that the firefighters FIRE continued on p. 16
Photo by Amy Marcs
A three-alarm fire broke out on Christmas afternoon on the top floor of 144 W. 19th St., located next to FDNY Engine 3/Tower Ladder 12/Battalion 7 (at right).
Instagram celebrity Louboutina (the “hugging dog”) was out for a walk with her owner, Cesar Fernandez-Chavez, when the fire began. NYC Community Media
Januar y 4, 2018
Feds: Chelsea Bomber Found ‘Attempting to Radicalize Fellow Inmates’ BY WINNIE McCROY The terrorist convicted last October and currently awaiting sentencing in connection to the pressure cooker bomb he set off on W. 23rd St. in 2016 was found allegedly attempting to radicalize other prisoners, federal prosecutors said. The jailed New Jersey man, Ahmad Khan Rahimi, reportedly distributed speeches by Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, literature on how to jihad and how to make bombs, and copies of Inspire, the online magazine published by Al Qaeda. These materials were found on the personal laptop of Rahimi, who now says he is on a hunger strike. Acting United States Attorney Joon H. Kim said that 29-year-old Rahimi was found “attempting to radicalize fellow inmates” during Friday prayer sessions at the Metropolitan Correction Center — including Sajmir Alimehmeti, a Bronx man charged with providing material support to ISIS, who is scheduled for a trial next month. Officials say that Alimehmeti, arrested in May 2016, also had a hard drive stored in a jail locker, to review his pre-trial discovery evidence in the jail’s law library. Instead, that evidence was partially wiped out to make room for ISIS propaganda materials from Rahimi. In a letter to the US Attorney’s Office, federal Judge Richard Berman said that after prosecutors learned of these “radicalization efforts,” the “MCC staff searched his personal property and located, among other things, an address book containing the names and inmate numbers of other defendants charged with terrorism offenses.” Among those names were Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, the Texan convicted of helping plan the 2009 attack on a US Army base in Afghanistan; and Maalik Alim Jones, a Maryland man who pled guilty to conspiring to support the Shabab in Somalia, as reported in a Dec. 22, 2017 New York Times article. Rahimi “has been attempting to radicalize fellow inmates in the Metropolitan Correction Center by, among other things, distributing propaganda and publications issued by terrorist organizations,” wrote Kim. According to Kim’s letter, Rahimi let other inmates view the items on his laptop and gave them electronic copies. Discs of the materials were found in two inmates’ possession. Defense attorneys
Januar y 4, 2018
File photo courtesy US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of NY
Video evidence from day five of Ahmad Khan Rahimi’s trial shows him on Seventh Ave. on the night of the bombing, carrying a suitcase containing what prosecutors said was a pressure cooker bomb.
for Rahimi have yet to respond to the allegations.
CONVICTED, AWAITING SENTENCING
File photo via NYPD
A photo of Ahmad Khan Rahimi, released by the NYPD before he was apprehended in connection to the Sept. 17, 2016 Chelsea bombing.
Video footage tracked Rahimi planting the pressure cooker bomb in Chelsea on September 17, 2016; more than 30 people were injured when the bomb detonated in a dumpster near the King David Gallery at 131 W. 23rd St. (btw. Sixth and Seventh Aves.), the blast shattering windows some 400 feet away. A second pressure cooker bomb was found on W. 27th St., but it did not detonate. Police have video of two men removing the W. 27th St. device from a suitcase, then leaving with the suitcase; those men were not involved in the bombing.
In an Oct. 5, 2017 Chelsea Now article, local resident Jane Schreibman spoke about seeing and reporting this second pressure-cooker bomb, which she said “had wires coming out of it and a white plastic bag attached to it.” “I was afraid it was a bomb,” she told the court, and proceeded to call 911 to report it — a call played back during Rahimi’s trial. On Sept. 30, 2016, Schreibman received a Proclamation declaring “Jane Schreibman Appreciation Day” in the borough of Manhattan. In what assistant US Attorney Andrew DeFilippis called a “cold and calculating” attack, Rahimi planted these bombs in various locations through New York and New Jersey, including one that went off at a Marine Corps 5K charBOMBER continued on p. 19 NYC Community Media
Preservationists Prevail, Protecting Hopper-Gibbons House and Binford Mural PRESRVATION continued from p. 1
REMOVAL OF FIFTH FLOOR AT HOPPERGIBBONS HOUSE At the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) hearing in May, it was fi nally decided that an existing fi fth-floor addition to the HopperGibbons House, located at 339 W. 29th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), was inappropriate and had to be taken down. More than six months after the commission’s decision, the controversial fi fth floor is in the process of being removed. The LPC approved the partial demolition and alterations, according to a permit issued in September. “We’re happy that the work at last has started,” Fern Luskin said by phone, calling Hopper-Gibbons House “a sacred treasure.” During a decade of advocacy that included court cases and appeals, Luskin and Julie Finch fought to preserve the row house’s historic roof. During the Draft Riots of 1863, rioters set ablaze the home of abolitionist and social reformer Abigail HopperGibbons — her row house, then known as 19 Lamartine Place, was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The family fled to safety via the roof. Having formed Friends of the Hopper-Gibbons House Underground Railroad Site, Luskin and Finch led the preservation effort with the help of community members, elected officials, Save Chelsea, the Lamartine Place Block Association, and the Historic Districts Council. Finch said the removal of the addition, which began on Dec. 12, has been “dragging” and it is “unbelievable,” asking, “What are they doing, working with teaspoons?” The city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) determined that that the row house needed to be stabilized while the fi fth-floor addition and the rear extension were being removed. The two tenants who were living there have been temporarily relocated as a safety precaution, according to the department. Marvin Mitzner, lawyer for the building’s owner, Tony Mamounas, NYC Community Media
Photos courtesy Fern Luskin
Hopper-Gibbons House, on Dec. 29. Work began Dec. 12 to remove the fifth floor.
“We’re monitoring this work closely and will continue to do so.” By the end of December, workers were removing what were the apartments on the fi fth story, Luskin said later by email. Finch said, “It has been all wearying but we have not given up. I look forward to when the fi fth floor fi nally comes down. Then it will be a historic building.”
JULIEN BINFORD MURAL SAVED At the end of December, workers were removing what were the apartments on the fifth story.
said by phone that the delay was due to the owner’s concern for the tenants’ safety. “He couldn’t begin [the work] until the tenants were relocated,” Mitzner said. He did not have an estimate on how long it would take the work to be completed, noting, “We have to be careful in doing the deconstruction.” Mitzner pointed out that the LPC had approved modifications to the
facade and the rear yard extensions. The property has had 108 complaints, and the DOB has issued 37 violations, 33 of which are still open, according to the DOB’s website. “DOB is requiring the building owner to remove illegal and unsafe additions to the top floor and in the backyard, and to make the building safe,” Joseph Soldevere, DOB spokesperson, said in an email statement.
A 1950s mural that long graced the walls of a former bank at W. 14th St. and Sixth Ave. was saved from demolition, and is safely in storage. The fate of Julien Binford’s “A Memory of 14th Street and Sixth Avenue” was uncertain when Andrew Cronson, a junior at New York University, saw the artwork through the building’s windows, and it “[stood] out prominently among the gritty rubble and dust,” he told Chelsea Now in November. Cronson contacted Laurence PRESERVATION continued on p. 19 Januar y 4, 2018
HUDSON GUILD continued from p. 1
collected nickels and dimes, sometimes quarters, which was [worth] a lot more in those days, to buy milk for children and their mothers.” Dr. Elliott provided vocational training classes and then later found jobs for the students he trained. He was in support of government-funded housing, culture programs, democratic participation, and access to affordable healthcare. Much of the organization’s funding comes from the federal government, including a program that educates more than 140 three- and four-year-olds daily, which Aufses said is in danger of being cut off. “Unfortunately not everyone these days agrees with our belief in the power of the government to do good,” he said. “In fact, at the federal level we are seeing a systemic effort to dismantle government and to deprive our citizens of the most basic necessities the government can provide, including health care, food, and social security.” Recently, the junior board members raised enough money to provide winter coats to every child in the Early Childhood Education program. “If the government turns its back on us, we will do what Dr. Elliott did, we will collect nickels, dimes, and quarters so we can provide food and clothing,” Aufses said. “There’s a little Dr. Elliott in all of us, or else we wouldn’t be here. There’s a lot of Dr. Elliott in the honorees, who show each of us we can change a life, each of us can make this community better. Do more than honor — follow their lead.” The Community & Residents Protection Working Group (CRP) won the Dorothy Epstein Community Service Award for their effective tenant advocacy, including work to alert the city, elected officials, and the media about the illegal and unethical practice of landlords and developers who make false claims to obtain permits, endangering the lives of many in the process. Landlords, who have claimed buildings were unoccupied for construction permits issued by the Department of Buildings (DOB), use these renovations as a form of harassment to drive out rent-regulated residents. CRP member Pamela Wolff traced the group’s origins back to when Chelsea residents — galvanized, noted other members, by the credentials and efforts of Council of Chelsea Block Associations president Bill Borock — became aware of buildings being cleared out in the neighborhood, as the property values increase. When they reviewed the sub-
Januar y 4, 2018
Courtesy Hudson Guild
Karen Marbury, director of Early Childhood Education (left), presented the Youth Service Award to Kimberly Mercado for her role as a teacher’s aide in the Early Childhood Education program at the Hudson Guild.
mitted files of the permits, displayed on the doors as construction was going on, they noted false claims that the buildings were vacant. “The DOB’s whole motto is ‘Safety First,’ and they just keep approving and issuing permits,” Wolff said in an interview with Chelsea Now at the Dec. 20 Hudson Guild event. “It’s a felony [to lie on the permit forms].” The issue, which occurs citywide, has been getting more attention because of the CRP’s efforts to expose this practice. By joining forces with local elected officials, Councilmember Helen Rosenthal’s office came up with the idea for a tenant advocate office, as part of the DOB staff — someone to be the liaison between tenants and the DOB. “The bottom line is, elected officials are legislators. They write laws, but it’s the enforcement of the laws, by the responsible agency, that will keep us safe,” Wolff said. “It’s not our job to learn the law — it’s DOB’s job not to issue the permits. We want Commissioner [Rick] Chandler to make his New Year’s resolution that he will never issue another permit with felony false occupancy certifications again.”
Additionally, the CRP, at a presentation attended by a DOB representative, suggested an electronic link between the DOB’s own internal Property Profile Vacancy status with the submitted certifications regarding occupancy. That way, there is less confusion and fraud happening. The CRP said their requests have not been met. The DOB said it has not received any communication from CRP, but “we welcome their input and look forward to reviewing it.” “It has been more successful building-by-building, but it’s too damaging to have to fight building-by-building,” Wolff said. New York State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried presented the award to the CRP, echoing that this way of developing, with no regard for tenants, is a threat to housing across the city. “CRP has done extraordinary work in alerting the community and elected officials of the horrendous things landlords are doing to destroy affordable homes in this community and drive people out,” Gottfried said. In addition to the CRP, Kimberly Mercado won the Youth Service Award
for her role as a teacher’s aide at the Guild. The Hudson Guild provided Mercado with an opportunity to turn her life around, she said. After a personal tragedy that involved losing both her parents, Mercado was left on her own, sometimes even sleeping in stairwells. Mercado isn’t a Chelsea native. In fact, she still lives in the Bronx, but she attended Landmark High School (351 W. 18th St.), where she was recruited to work in the infant program. “I’d never changed a Pamper a day in my life,” she said, thinking back on her first days at the Guild. Chelsea opened its arms to her, she said, fostering a sense of community she has never had before. “I never felt safe in my community, in my neighborhood. Coming to Chelsea is amazing. You see a neighborhood that actually gets along,” she said in an interview with Chelsea Now. “You can know someone and recognize them every day and that means everything to me.” She said the Guild radically changed her whole idea of what education HUDSON GUILD continued on p. 15 NYC Community Media
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Januar y 4, 2018
POLICE BLOTTER PETIT LARCENY: Wreath reckoning rectiﬁes wrath Not everyone likes Christmas cheer and holiday decorations. A 45-year-old woman had her wreath stolen from her door on Fri., Dec. 29 at 1:50 a.m. The incident happened on W. 17th St. Police say the suspect walked up to the door, took off the wreath, and left it in the elevator. The total value of the wreath is $50. But it seems the Grinch had a change of heart (or at least it grew by a few sizes), because the wreath was eventually returned to the woman.
LOST PROPERTY: Kind cabbie punished for good deed Imagine giving someone your wallet and not realizing the mistake until it’s too late. This happened to a taxi driver on Thurs., Dec. 28 at around 10:30 p.m. The 27-year-old driver dropped off his customer at the corner of W. 29th St. and Seventh Ave. He noticed a wallet on the passenger seat side and before the customer walked away, the considerate cabbie handed it to him. Long after the passenger walked off, the driver realized that it was his own wallet. The black wallet contained his license and credit cards.
PETIT LARCENY: Stone cold thievery I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream — but some people protest too much when manhandling
the tasty treat. A 32-year-old male stole some Häagen-Dazs from a Rite Aid (195 Eighth Ave., at W. 20th St.) at 10:30 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 29. He put the ice cream in his backpack and walked out. When he was caught, he said, “I didn’t do nothing.” The righteously recovered frozen stuff is valued at $9.
THEFT OF SERVICES: ‘Ale’ be going to the tape on this one A man walked into Chelsea’s beloved Triple Crown Ale House (337 Seventh Ave., btw. W. 28th & 29th Sts.), ordered food and drinks, and left without paying. The incident happened on Fri., Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. The suspect left an ID, along with a credit card that does not work. The total value of the tab: $129. Workers at the venue told police that video of the incident is available.
IDENTITY THEFT Wawa charge not enough to make her cry A 72-year-old woman received an email and phone call about an attempted charge on her account. The woman, who lives on W. 16th St., says she received a call on Fri., Dec. 29 at 9:30 a.m., informing her of an attempted charge to her credit card: $100, at a Wawa convenience store in Elizabeth, NJ. The woman says she never lost possession of her card, and has since cancelled it to prevent further theft. —Tabia C. Robinson
YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY newspaper serving CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN PUBLISHER Jennifer Goodstein
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EDITOR Scott Stiffler ART DIRECTOR John Napoli
CONTRIBUTORS Lincoln Anderson Stephanie Buhmann Rebecca Fiore Dusica Sue Malesevic Winnie McCroy Colin Mixson Puma Perl Rania Richardson Tabia C. Robinson Paul Schindler Eileen Stukane
THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-7418226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced. MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Inspector Russel J. Green, Commanding Officer. Call 212-239-9811. Community Affairs: 212-239-9846. Crime Prevention: 212239-9846. Domestic Violence: 212-2399863. Youth Officer: 212-239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-239-9836. Detective Squad: 212-239-9856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7 p.m., at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & 35th Sts.). Visit midtownsouthcc.org. THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Brendan Timoney. Call 212477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-4777427. Crime Prevention: 212-477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212-477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30 p.m., at the 13th Precinct. CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawed-off shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Chelsea’s Unprotected Houses Need LPC’s Attention To The Editor: Re “Making a ‘Federal’ Case for Expanding the Chelsea Historic District” (news article, Dec. 6, 2017): How sad that these three irreplaceable Federal Style row houses are now lost. Although 345 and 347 had been substantially altered, they retained the original façade brickwork that might have served as an authentic base for replication of historic elements and restoration of the houses to their original appearance. Until very recently, Number 349 had a largely intact and characterful façade. The value of potential new luxury construction underlying Chelsea’s historic row houses all but dooms them to be treated as teardowns unless they receive urgently needed landmark designation. This was seen most painfully in last year’s proposal to replace the oldest house in the Chelsea Historic District, 404 W. 20th St., with a new building twice its size, retaining only the original
house’s brick street façade. The Landmarks Preservation Commission issued a permit allowing this, along with demolition of the house’s more significant wood-clad side wall and infill of its adjacent horse-walk side yard which exposed the wood siding to public view, historically telling features highlighted in the District’s 1970 Designation Report which made the house a staple of Chelsea walking tours. Save Chelsea hopes that the Landmarks Commission will make more informed decisions in the future and that they will recognize the importance of expanding the Chelsea Historic District to include vulnerable areas like the block of W. 19th St. The three-building hole knocked out of this historic street wall is an irreplaceable loss. It’s nearly half a century since the Chelsea Historic District was created. Chelsea’s unprotected Federal and Greek Revival Style houses are that much older, and sadly — as your coverage tells us — rarer and more precious. Board Member David Holowka on behalf of Save Chelsea
Report Ducks Larger Issue To The Editor: Re “Report Ponders Pier 40’s Future” (news article, Dec. 6, 2017): The draft report by the Community Board 2 Future of Pier 40 Working Group is thoughtful and thorough, but stops short of fully confronting the contradictions of the park mandate as interpreted and implemented for the past 20 years. According to the Hudson River Park Trust, the future of Pier 40 and the entire park/esplanade requires a $1 billion commercial center to be built in the river, which will fully pay for its own construction, financing, developer fees and maintenance, plus $12.5 million dollars to the park annually. That’s a big project, reminiscent of the Hudson Yards and the Time Warner Center. The Trust needs to scale down its building plans and seek other models for maintenance and funding. The only way to keep the Pier 40 playing field protected from winds but still open to the sun and sky is to keep the existing donut structure. Adaptive reuse could fulfill most of CB2’s recommendations for park-compatible facilities, but probably not the Trust’s hopes for maximum revenue. Chris Gaylord
Weakness Invites Terrorism To The Editor: Re “After Attack, Blockers Installed to Broaden Protections on Narrow Bike Path” (news article, Nov. 16, 2017): This attack, like all Islamic supremacists’ attacks, was not meant to separate us from our values or undermine our way of life. It was meant to kill us. That more than 16 years after 9/11, more innocent people’s blood was shed just blocks from Ground Zero, where the dust of the collapsed towers fell, people who were teenagers then, massacred by the same death ideology, is an obscenity
and an affront to the dead of Sept. 11. And how do our elected officials react? With the same homilies. It’s an “attack upon humanity.” Great, now what do you plan to do about it, de Blasio? Let’s install barriers and more cameras, post more heavily armed guards, have more body searches. Our inaction, our weakness, our cowardice contributed to these deaths. We are so afraid of offending or cheating somebody somewhere — not of discounting our values or traditions — that we cheat these innocents, visitors to our city, of their lives. Weakness encourages terrorists, not a nonexistent intolerance on our part. Michael Burke
Onboard With Ferries To The Editor: Re “Ferry Increase Floated as Way to Ease West Side Congestion” (news article, Nov. 30, 2017): Older ferries can emit unwanted levels of air pollution. However, all new ferries must have low-pollution (Tier 3) engines, which are now powering the recently built citywide ferry fleet. Fortunately, there is no black smoke. Just like other methods of transportation, ferries are getting cleaner. More surface traffic would reduce alreadyslow speeds on Route 9A and probably add more pollution. Ferries will actually benefit children by giving them awareness of, and access to, our waterways. Many will become users (swim, kayak, sail), stewards and advocates for this incredible natural resource. Tom Fox E-mail letters to scott@chelseanowlcom (not longer than 250 words in length) or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to Chelsea Now, Letters to the Editor, NYC Community Media, One MetroTech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. Chelsea Now reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity, and libel. Chelsea Now does not publish anonymous letters.
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Community Activities: The ‘Treecycle’ and Gather Edition TREE AND WREATH RECYCLING IN CHELSEA Clement Clarke Moore, a founding father of Chelsea, famously wrote “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” That’s enough to cement his place in history — but the serene patch of neighborhood green that carries his name into the present day has a holiday tradition of its own that’s become written in stone. Through Sat., Jan.13, Clement Clarke Moore Park (W. 22nd St. & 10th Ave.) hosts its annual “Treecycle” program. Bring your trees and wreaths to the park’s pool (protected by those iconic seal fountains), and that festive decoration will begin life anew by becoming mulch for our community green spaces. What’s more, by not leaving your leafy things out for the sanitation trucks, you’ll be keeping our streets clean and less congested. Just please remove all of the lights and ornaments — those belong with you, to be recycled year after year.
SWAP MEET AND WINTER GATHERING The friendly folks in Hell’s Kitchen, who know a thing or two about how to keep the cold at bay, have two events they want you to know about. On Mon., Jan. 8, the West 45th Block Association/Hell’s Kitchen
Photo by Allen Oster
Mulch into history at Clement Clarke Moore Park by recycling your tree or wreath.
Commons invite you to their second (yes, now it’s officially “annual”) “Swap, Share and Schmooze” event. Held from 7-9 p.m. at Crossroads Community Church (410 W. 45th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), it’s a free event that’s open to all. Cash won’t do you any good here. Just bring things and take things (think clothing, kitchen stuff, art, plants, games, and books). Whatever remains at the end of the night will be donated to those in need. Then,
share your stories about the treasure you scored at Mon., Jan. 29’s 11th Annual Winter Gathering. From 7-9 p.m. at Landmark Tavern (626 11 Ave., at W. 46th St.), enjoy drinks and complimentary appetizers while
discussing local issues and brainstorming about new ways to bring the community together in 2018. For more info, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. —Scott Stiffler
Photo by Chana Widawski
Share, swap, and schmooze on Jan. 8 at Crossroads Community Church.
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Januar y 4, 2018
Head Over Heels for ‘Under the Radar’ Annual Jan. fest features 26 shows from here and abroad
Photo by Wang Chong
“Thunderstorm 2.0” has director Wang Chong setting Cao Yu’s early 20th century drama in a 1990s-era Beijing official’s home. Jan. 6-7 at NYU Skirball.
BY TRAV S.D. The year 2005 proved to be pretty earthshaking: North Korea went nuclear, Angela Merkel became the fi rst female leader of Germany, YouTube posted its fi rst video, and New Orleans was nearly destroyed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. But here in New York, Mark Russell, the popular longtime artistic director of PS122, launched his next glorious project by founding the Under the Radar Festival. The 2018 edition of Under the Radar, running from Jan. 4–15, will be the 14th one, and the largest and most ambitious one
Januar y 4, 2018
to date, with over 155 performances featuring artists from across the US and around the world, including Cuba, China, Canada, Italy, Japan, UK, Poland, and Slovenia. “I didn’t think it would go this long,” Russell said, with a self-deprecatory laugh. “Next year will be our fi fteenth festival. It’s pretty incredible. At first we were at St. Anne’s [Warehouse, in Brooklyn]. This begat our relationship with The Public [Theater] the next year. The Public liked it and we were able to continue it all these years through the support of foundations. Now the festival is fully integrated
into The Public’s core programming.” Under the Radar’s official mission is to “provide a high-visibility platform to support artists from diverse backgrounds who are redefi ning the act of making theater” and to be a “launching pad for new and cutting-edge performance.” “In the beginning,” Russell explained, “the agenda was to experiment to see if stuff that was under the radar of the mainstream could infiltrate the world of producers and presenters and regional theatre directors in the hope that artists could make more successful inroads into the culture.”
Some of the well-known artists who gained more widespread recognition through their involvement at Under the Radar over the years have included Elevator Repair Service, Young Jean Lee, Mike Daisey, Taylor Mac, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, and international companies like Italy’s Motus Theatre Company, Belarus Free Theatre, and Gob Squad, which is composed of British and German artists. “A lot of the work in regional theatre is playwright-driven, or New York RADAR continued on p. 14 NYC Community Media
Just Do Art BRAINS AND WITS AT CAVEAT
BY SCOTT STIFFLER
HOTSY TOTSY BURLESQUE After gleefully indulging in the November through December bounty of buffets, high-calorie drinks, and mustgobble baked goods, just be grateful that our recent cold snap provides a practical reason to dress in layers that camouflage the consequences of holiday gluttony. For the hard bodies of Hotsy Totsy Burlesque, however, the plate of cookies left for Santa and the leftovers in the fridge have retained their integrity. See the result of this heroic commitment to proper nutrition and exercise when the clothing comes off and the flesh is exposed — all for your viewing pleasure. That’s to be expected, of course, at any self-respecting burlesque show. But what sets this series apart is its seamless mix of skin and satire, always with a new narrative hook (popular themes have included Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who). With the first show of the 2018 comes the series’ third foray into the world of horror novelist Stephen King. The plot reads as if it’s been ripped from an undiscovered King page-turner: Squeaky-voiced Cherry Pitz (veteran comedic performer Cyndi Freeman) gets the good news that dear friend Carrie will be paying a visit. Having shaken off the shame of a high school prank to become one of her small town’s best burlesque entertainers, Carrie is determined to make it in the Big Apple — but macabre mojo seems to stick to her like pig’s blood on a prom dress. The show features a cast including Candy Apples, Cubby Hall, Fem Appeal, Matt Knife, and Rosie Cheeks — and is presided over by Cherry Pitz and Handsome Brad. “As performers and writers,” Pitz and Brad said in the guise of their “real-life” alter egos, “we have grown as a troupe and as friends and are happy to move into our 11th year. Every month you are invited to The Home For Wayward Girls and Fallen Women. The residents of the home need money to keep their hotel open, and to buy G-strings and glitter.” Other than the murder and mayhem worthy of a Stephen King novel, what could possibly go wrong? Thurs., Jan. 11, 8pm. At The Slipper Room (167 Orchard St., at Stanton St.). For tickets ($15), visit slipperroom.com. Visit hotsytotsyburlesque.com for artist info. Upcoming show themes include Ladies of Disney (Feb.), Star Trek (March), and Westworld (April). NYC Community Media
Photo by Ben Trivett
Cherry Pitz and Handsome Brad take a “shining” to Stephen King in the Jan. 11 installment of Hotsy Totsy Burlesque.
Caveat’s Kate Downey is seen here holding the squishy thing with a starring role in Jan. 5’s “Drink ‘n’ Draw Brains” event.
Courtedy Harmon Leon
Fearless comedian Harmon Leon infiltrates Trump’s America — and your heart — Jan. 7 at Caveat.
We’ve all heard the one about the priest, minister, and rabbi who walk into a bar — or at least we’re familiar with the set-up. But what about the recovering theoretical physicist, the renegade museum tour guide, and the one-time Moth StorySlam champion? They walked into a room, saw the potential for something different, and came up with a buzz-worthy slogan: “Join us for drinks and go home smarter.” Since then, Caveat has carved a niche for its highly intelligent, alcohol-friendly series of science talks, storytelling, concerts, trivia competitions and live recorded podcasts, most of them in the awesomely affordable $10-$20 range (with $8-a-glass beers, wine around $10, and grub from $3-$12). Coming up on Fri., Jan. 5 at 6pm, the “Drink ‘n’ Draw Brains” event is everything it sounds like. “Attending neurosurgeon” Anna Kasdan will give you the lowdown on what each part of the brain does, as you use that “creative” part of the noggin to draw the (real!) cranium-based tenant on display. A friendly neighborhood art teacher gives you tips (including, one supposes, how to compensate for your increasingly poor motor skills as the drinks flow). Feel free to bring drawing supplies, but know that the bare basics (pens and blank paper) will be provided. This event is free with advance RSVP, and $5 at the door. Then, on Sun., Jan. 7 at 6:30pm ($12 tickets), “Harmon Leon Infi ltrates Trump’s America” has the razor-sharp, media-surfi ng cultural critic (and author of “Meet the Deplorables”) taking you on a trip through his investigative infi ltration of extremist groups. Serious enough to be grim but smart enough to be goofy, Leon told us this upcoming gig’s main song “is called ‘Terrorist Love Hummus.’ It fits in with a story about an anti-Muslim hate group I infi ltrated… The crux of the song is that during the Iraq War, the US government would track the sale of hummus at grocery stores because they came to the astute conclusion that terrorist love hummus — and if they followed the trail of hummus they would fi nd some terrorists; because terrorists, as we all know, love hummus.” Caveat is located at 21 Clinton St. (at E. Houston St.). For info, visit caveat.nyc. Januar y 4, 2018
RADAR continued from p. 12
or LA actor-driven work that adheres to Equity regulations as far as building three weeks of rehearsal time, and so forth,” Russell noted, “and lots of good theatre is made that way. But other people use different strategies. But it’s often about us presenting material and contemporary voices that Americans are not used to yet, but are getting more used to all the time. We are trying to fi nd the other voices that are not being heard yet.” A few highlights from the 2018 festival include British lip synch performer and “drag fabulist” Dickie Beau; New Yorker scribe Adam Gopnik performing “The Gates: An Evening of Stories” as directed by The Moth’s Catherine Burns; Split Britches’ “Unexploded Ordnances (UXO),” an anxiety-prone meditation on aging and doomsday developed through conversation with elders and artists; “Thunderstorm 2.0” is acclaimed Chinese director Wang Chong’s dismantling/reassemblage of Cao Yu’s early 20th century drama; Cuba’s Teatro El Público does a version of “Antigone” mixing elements of fashion, spectacle, cabaret, theater, and drag; and free concerts by Canadian sing-along flash mob experience Choir! Choir! Choir! and faux “basement get-down party” celebrity Shasta Geaux Pop. The venues are The Public Theater and Joe’s Pub, La MaMa, NYU Skirball, Japan Society, and Brooklyn’s BRIC. In addition there will be several post-show discussions, panels, and symposia featuring the artists in conversation about their work. “When Under the Radar started [in
Photo courtesy GlassWorks Multimedia
Havana-based provocateurs Teatro El Público present “Antigonón, un Contigente Épico,” Jan. 10-14 at The Public.
2005], we presented eight or nine shows. This year it’s 26!” Russell enthused. “I wanted to go all out this year and include a lot of people. Old fogeys, young fogeys, music theatre pieces. The diversity of it has been exciting.” Under the Radar Festival runs Jan. 4–15. Prices start at $25. For tickets and the schedule, visit publictheater. org/Under-the-Radar.
Photo by Joseph Fuda
Toronto-based Choir! Choir! Choir! invite you their sing-along, Jan. 13 in The Public Theater lobby.
Photo by Setty McIntosh
Photo by Matt Delbridge
Shasta Geaux Pop delivers a free-flowing (and free) performance, Jan. 10 and 12 in The Public Theater lobby.
Is Doomsday looming? Conversations with elders and artists helped Split Britches develop “Unexploded Ordnances (UXO),” Jan. 4-21 at La MaMa.
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NYC Community Media
HUDSON GUILD continued from p. 6
means. She always thought she was going to work in a coffee shop, recalling how her failing grades in high school made college seem out of reach. The 20-year-old was promoted to a fulltime teacherâ€™s aide position in the Early Childhood Education program, and just finished her first semester at Borough of Manhattan Community College. â€œGetting to know a classroom, and the kids, really opened my eyes to how important it is to instill education in their lives,â€? she said. â€œTo show them what life is really about. Some kids come from homes that are rough. I definitely want to give back to a community for those kids who are having a hard time at home, being verbally or physically abused. I want to help the system to get better.â€? Lastly, Sondra â€œSunnyâ€? Bianca Landin was presented with the Senior Service Award for her work on the Ticket Club Committee at the Guild. Because of her efforts, the ticket club brings in about $10,000 in contributions each year in support of the Adult Services program. The 87-year-old Penn South resident said she has always admired the Hudson Guild. â€œThe enrichment, the enhancement, the pleasure they have brought to so
Courtesy Hudson Guild
Sondra â€œSunnyâ€? Bianca Landin accepted the Senior Service Award from executive director of the Hudson Guild Ken Jockers (left) and State Senator Brad Hoylman (right).
many people,â€? she told Chelsea Now. â€œWe try to contribute in our small way by getting theater, ball games, and concert tickets.â€? Landin has always been a part of the arts, working as a concert pianist and recording artist when she was a
child, she said itâ€™s â€œin her blood.â€? At nine years old she performed Mozart for the New York Philharmonic. Later, she would appear as a soloist for the orchestra. â€œI started when I was four at the piano. I started when I was 40 getting
interested in theater,â€? she said, noting it is never too late to become involved. Regarding her award, Landin said, â€œNot even one inch of me said, â€˜Well itâ€™s about time.â€™ I really feel as if Iâ€™ve been well-respected and approved of. This is just a feather in my cap.â€?
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Januar y 4, 2018
FIRE continued from p. 3
worked on battling the flames for two hours. Kim said the flames were under control by 4:44 p.m. Two people were injured — one civilian who refused medical attention, and one firefighter who was transported to Bellevue Hospital. That night, the American Red Cross took the residents to St. Peter’s Chelsea Episcopal Church (346 W. 20th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). According to Michael de Vulpillieres, communications officer for the Greater New York Red Cross, 16 households, of whom nine adults required emergency housing, were registered with the organization. “Red Cross also provided families with emergency funds for food and clothing,” he said. Not every person chose to accept the funds or the offer to be put up in a nearby hotel, de Vulpillieres noted. Both Marcs and Danieli stayed with friends and plan to either couch-surf or sublet for the next few months. Danieli didn’t accept help from the Red Cross because he has people to rely on. “I had a good friend to crash with. I wanted to help other people who have it worse and don’t really have anybody. Leave it for the people who really need it,” Danieli said. Marcs said that around 6 or 7 p.m. on the evening of the fire, residents were allowed into their apartments for just a few minutes, to gather some belongings. Marcs said she knew this was her only opportunity to get her cat. “There was no electricity. It was a smoky, pitch-black building. My priority was getting my cat back,” she noted. Marcs said a “sweet, young cop named Eddie” helped her collect her cat. She then headed off to a friend’s house for dinner and “a lot of wine.” “It’s a lot of people who now have to find a place to live,” Marcs said.
Photo by Rebecca Fiore
All residents from the 32-unit apartment building were forced to vacate after excessive water damage and have been told it may be months before they can move back home.
“I’m lucky that I’m a New Yorker, so I know a lot of people. There are people who don’t know as many people as me. Everyone is putting the word out to help me find a place to live, because I don’t have one.” Marcs, a writer and comedic performer featured by Chelsea Now in 2015 as part of an article about solo shows based on breast cancer experiences, said she would have to replace almost everything in her apartment due to water damage. “I am out of my apartment for a long time,” Marcs said. “I have every intention of coming back once they renovate and gut my apartment. I want to come
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back. I’ve lived here for 20 years. I want to come home.” To help Marcs recover, Whitney Malin started a GoFundMe campaign for her friend (gofundme.com/help-my-friendrecover-from-fire). By Jan. 3, the total amount raised was $8,038. Marcs isn’t the only one with a GoFundMe campaign. A notable resident, Louboutina, the Instagram-famous “hugging dog” (@louboutinanyc), lives on the top floor of the building. The dog and owner Cesar FernandezChavez were out for a walk, according to reports from the NY Daily News, when they turned the corner and saw the flames. Set up by Chavez’s friend Loni Edwards, gofundme.com/loubie has surpassed its goal of $20,000, with a total of $74,890 as of Jan. 3. The building is partially rent-stabilized. Nicole Woodall, who lives in apartment 5A with her partner and cat, was out for Christmas celebrations that day. She said she was told it would be a minimum of three to four months for repairs. Woodall is terminating her lease and plans to look for a new place. Woodall isn’t sure what her next move is, but she said she is trying to find a new place. Marcs noted that the gas had been shut off in the building for about two
and a half months after a leak was discovered. Con Ed confirmed the gas service had been shut off due to a leak in the riser, the pipes that carry the gas up and down the building in the walls (the building uses oil for heat). “I actually think that’s a miracle,” Marcs said, wondering, “Who knows what would have happened if the gas was on?” Stephen Charles Lincoln, a longtime Chelsea resident and owner of The Protein Bakery (located at the storefront of the apartment building; proteinbakery. com), said his friend texted him about the fire at 5 p.m. on Christmas Day. “I looked through the window and it was raining in my store,” he said. “It was pouring sheets of rain.” Since Lincoln doesn’t have a sprinkler system in the store, none of the baking is done on site; the water went through the lighting. He said water poured out of the recessed lighting. Toward the back of his store is the cash register and computer system. He said miraculously, the water damage didn’t reach his electronics. “I’m really, really lucky,” he said. “All my lighting needs to be replaced, but the good news is that the next day, around 3 p.m., the power came on and we were able to open for business.” NYC Community Media
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PRESERVATION continued from p. 5
Frommer of Save Chelsea and others in late October. Preservationists and Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office worked with the developer, Gemini Rosemont, to ensure that the mural would be preserved. The building at 101 W. 14th St. had been sold in April, according to city property records, and demolition permits were fi led in October, New York YIMBY reported. A 13-story building with 45 condominiums is slated for the site, YIMBY reported on Dec. 21. Frommer commended Gemini Rosemont for its efforts. “We’re certainly elated if the murals are properly preserved and protected,” he said by phone. “In this case, we were lucky that the principal decision maker, i.e. the property owner, was quite willing to do the right thing.” Frommer also gave credit to another Save Chelsea member, Paul Groncki, who also worked on fi nding a home for the mural. Cronson said by email, “It is delightful to see that the mural has been removed from the bank site for permanent future preservation. The developer, Gemini Rosemont, has been very receptive to the efforts so far.” The Binford mural, as Cronson described it in November, “depicts a jovial street scene in panoramic form of what this area would have looked like in the late 1800s back when there was an elevated train and riders used horses as a mode of transportation.” Johnson, in an email statement on Dec. 13, said, “It is with great joy I report that Gemini Rosemont, the building site’s developer, has successfully removed the mural from the site’s
BOMBER continued from p. 4
ity run near Seaside Park, New Jersey. That bomb was set to go off at the start of the race, which was delayed, preventing any injuries from the blast. After a two-week trial, Rahimi was convicted on Oct. 16, 2017 of eight federal charges including bombing a public place, use and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, destroying property by means of fire or explosive, and using a destructive device in the furtherance of a violent crime. Rahimi also faces separate charges in other jurisdictions for the pipe bombs found by a homeless man and his friend near a train station in Elizabeth, NJ, and the shootout he had with police before they took him into custody. “The Chelsea bombing was an attempt to bring our city to its knees. Instead, NYC Community Media
File photos by Christian Miles
Preservationist fought to restore the Hopper-Gibbons House (seen here in May 2017) to its original height.
An effort to preserve artist Julien Binford’s mural, which dates back to the 1950s, proved successful.
our NYPD, FBI and federal prosecutors have brought Ahmad Rahimi to justice,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio about Rahimi’s conviction. “His evil was met with the bravery and resiliency of a beautiful neighborhood and an entire city. New York City will never be intimidated. We remain vigilant, resolute and safe.” On Jan. 2, Councilmember Corey Johnson (elected Speaker on Jan. 3) told Chelsea Now, “I have full confidence that the prosecutors of this case will continue to hold Mr. Rahimi accountable for his actions and that justice will be brought when Judge Richard M. Berman sentences Mr. Rahimi on January 18.”
HUNGER STRIKE Rahimi declared that he began a hunger strike on Dec. 8, 2017 because his
family members were not allowed to visit him. In a letter to the judge, he reportedly wrote that he was angry that he has not been permitted to see his family, or to call his lawyer. Rahimi complained that he has been prevented from seeing his wife, whose visa application is being held up, as well as his younger brother, who apparently is no longer on his list of permitted visitors. He said that his defense attorneys had not raised the issue of visitation since his outburst during the Oct. 2017 trial, when he complained to Berman about not having been able to see his wife or three children. “I am on a short time because my sentencing date is on January 18, 2018. Because of this short time and the frustration, I have decided to go on a hunger strike,” Rahimi wrote in a handwritten,
walls and safely placed it in storage, while long-term plans for the artwork can be determined.” Brian Ferrier, vice president of development for Gemini Rosemont, said through a spokesperson, “We’re pleased to announce that the Julien Binford mural that was located at the 531 Avenue of the Americas building has been removed from the wall by an art reclamation group, has been packaged and is now in storage.” He added, “We continue to consider what will be the best home for the mural for the long-term. We are gathering information and evaluating all options for a permanent solution, and we expect it could be up to a year until a decision is made.”
undated letter that Berman received on Dec. 21, 2017. Berman has ordered attorneys for both the government and defense to respond, according to court documents. “I am extremely frustrated and physically tired and mentally drained of the continuous runaround they are giving me,” wrote Rahimi. His public defender, Sabrina Shroff, who is also representing Alimehmeti, has declined to comment on either the letter from Rahimi or the one from the government. CNN noted that Kim’s office, which also declined to comment, wrote to Berman asking for a hearing to make sure Rahimi “has knowingly waived the potential conflict of interest that exists between [Rahimi] and his attorneys,” because the same defenders office is involved in all three cases. Januar y 4, 2018
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January 4, 2018