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

February 15, 2018 • $1.00 Volume 88 • Number 7

Reprieve for Ragbir as effort against ICE deports is heating up BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y

T

he tone Saturday morning started a bit lighter than had previously been expected as immigrantrights activists filled Foley Square at the “You Can’t Deport a Movement” rally in support of Ravi Ragbir. Ragbir was to have reported

for deportation at Immigration and Customs Enforcement that morning. But in a very welcome temporary reprieve, the federal government delayed this action while letting the courts decide if his rights have been violated. His lawyers had filed a First Amendment lawsuit in ManRAGBIR continued on p. 8

Chelsea bomber gets life in prison for blast that wracked 23rd St. BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC

A

hmad Khan Rahimi was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison for planting two bombs in Chelsea in 2016, one of which exploded on W. 23rd St., injuring 31 people and damaging buildings and property. Rahimi, 30, was found

guilty this past October of all eight federal counts stemming from that Saturday night bombing, and also for another device that he planted on W. 27th St. that did not detonate due to two men who disturbed the device, along with Chelsea resident Jane Schreibman’s TERRORIST continued on p. 4

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

After it stood under the Washington Square Arch for four months, workers this week disassembled Ai Weiwei’s “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” public ar twork. Dismissed as “The Birdcage” by some, the sculpture had a rough star t because it displaced the annual holiday tree, and just generally encumbered the view of the stately arch. But the installation — intended to highlight America’s new “lack of openness” — had perhaps its finest moments when immigrant-rights activists paraded through it on their prayer ful Jericho Walks against ICE depor tations.

‘Can’t take it!’ L plan is driving locals loco BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

A

bout 75 members of Village and Chelsea block associations — specifically, ones all located within a few blocks of 14th St. — gathered for a meeting at Lenox Health Greenwich Village last week, all of them with one pressing concern. As one woman from W. 12th St. put it, while addressing the room, “I have an e-mail list of 500 people — and we’re

The lady (and staff) in red .....p. 20

all angry about this.” “This” refers to the plan by the city’s Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Transportation Authority to close 14th St. to traffic during rush hours, and possibly beyond, during the upcoming L train shutdown, slated to start in April 2019 and last for 15 months. Residents complained that their one-way side streets “can’t take it,” as in, they are already overburdened and clogged

with traffic, and that the city’s scheme would be a disaster, ramming still more cars and trucks into their streets. The plan’s other main component — installing a protected two-way crosstown bicycle path on narrow 13th St. — is also causing a lot of concern for local residents. The ad-hoc coalition of block associations currently has no name, though they’re looking for one. They have no LTRAIN continued on p. 6

Man, oh, Manitoba: Says, ‘Bar is still open’........p. 5 What the L? ...‘Show us the data study!’........... p. 11 www.TheVillager.com


PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Tenants from 85 Bower y announced the star t of their hunger strike and campout outside H.P.D.’s offices last Thursday.

Tenants are camping out in cold and ‘hangry’

E

ight tenants from 85 Bowery started a sidewalk campout and hunger strike in the frigid weather on Thurs., Feb. 8, in front of the 100 Gold St. offices of the Department of Housing Preservation

and Development to demand that the city ensure repairs are made to the building, so that its tenants can move back home. The food-forgoing tenants range in age from 40 to 70. After the city recently evacuated the

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building, citing dangerously sloped stairs inside, the landlord, Joseph Betesh, was given two weeks to fix the conditions, so that the tenants could return. He has failed to meet the deadline, and tenants — who say he

has been trying to evict them for the past three years — have grown desperate. The hunger strike was temporarily called off so that the protesters could observe the annual Lunar New Year holiday.

AB37<6/@2B ;S\O\Re][S\eWbV^`SRWOPSbSa eO\bSROa^O`bWQW^O\baT]`<SeG]`Y C\WdS`aWbg2S^O`b[S\b]T<cb`WbW]\ O\R4]]RAbcRWSa`SaSO`QV^`]XSQb All participants receive a $20 Visa gift card and entry into a rafï¬&#x201A;e for an iPad! B]^O`bWQW^ObSg]ceWZZ\SSRb]Q][^ZSbS]\SabcRgdWaWb O^^`]fW[ObSZg$%[W\cbSab]bOZbW[S 2c`W\UbVWadWaWbg]ceWZZ\SSRb]Q][^ZSbSOaS`WSa]TP`WST _cSabW]\\OW`Sa]\g]c`RWSbO\R^VgaWQOZOQbWdWbg[SOac`Sa ]TVSWUVbO\ReSWUVbO\R]\S!\cbSW\bS`dWSe

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For more information, please call New York University, 631-268-6931 or email aml836@nyu.edu TheVillager.com


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Rent includes gas for cooking. Household size includes everyone who will live with you, including parents and children. Subject to occupancy criteria. Household earnings includes salary, hourly wages, tips, Social Security, child support, and other income. Income guidelines subject to change. Minimum income listed may not apply to applicants with Section 8 or other qualifying rental subsidies. Asset limits also apply.

How Do You Apply? Apply online or through mail. To apply online, please go to nyc.gov/housingconnect. To request an application by mail, send a selfaddressed envelope to: 524 E. 14 St. c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129. Only send one application per development. Do not submit duplicate applications. Do not apply online and also send in a paper application. Applicants who submit more than one application may be disqualified. When is the Deadline? Applications must be postmarked or submitted online no later than April 11, 2018. Late applications will not be considered. What Happens After You Submit an Application? After the deadline, applications are selected for review through a lottery process. If yours is selected and you appear to qualify, you will be invited to an interview to continue the process of determining your eligibility. Interviews are usually scheduled from 2 to 10 months after the application deadline. You will be asked to bring documents that verify your household size, identity of members of your household, and your household income. EspaĂąol

Presente una solicitud en lĂ­nea en nyc.gov/housingconnect. Para recibir una traducciĂłn de espaĂąol de este anuncio y la solicitud impresa, envĂ­e un sobre con la direcciĂłn a: 524 E. 14 St. c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129. En el reverso del sobre, escriba en inglĂŠs la palabra â&#x20AC;&#x153;SPANISH.â&#x20AC;? Las solicitudes se deben enviar en lĂ­nea o con sello postal antes de 11 de abril 2018

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ä&#x2021;Żä°&#x17E;nyc.gov/housingconnectŕľ&#x2DC;ă&#x201C;Żâ­Łä&#x2C6;§Ç&#x201E;ྲ㾱㧧ŕ¨&#x2020;áľ&#x153;á&#x2019;ŻŕŠşŕ§şŇ&#x2013;äś&#x2019;â­Łä&#x2C6;§ăş&#x2DC;Ⲵă&#x2020;°Ö&#x192;Ń?Ꭱ⥸Ë&#x2C6;ä&#x2C6;§á&#x2C6;śá&#x203A;&#x2DC;Ⲵŕ´&#x17D;ä&#x203A;&#x17E;Ř&#x2018;á&#x2C6;ąá&#x2021;´ä&#x2DC;ąă ŁË&#x2013;524 E. 14 St. c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129.Ř&#x2018;á&#x2C6;ąă&#x203A;źäś&#x2019;ä&#x2C6;§â­&#x2DC;㤥ä&#x2C6;?â&#x152;&#x2DC;á°žÄ&#x20AC;CHINESEÄ Ç&#x201E;á&#x2014;ľäşŤŕľ&#x2DC;Ô&#x2022;Đťá°&#x2022;áľ?ѝॽŕľ&#x2DC;ă&#x201C;Żá¨&#x20AC;Ó&#x201D;â­Łä&#x2C6;§áĄ&#x2020;ä&#x203A;&#x17E; á&#x2021;´Ň&#x2013;äś&#x2019;â­Łä&#x2C6;§á&#x2019;¤á´¸á°&#x2022;

Đ Ń&#x192;Ń Ń ĐşĐ¸Đš

     ,    : nyc.gov/housingconnect.                      524 E. 14 St. c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129        !"##$%&'  . (  )           (       )    11 Đ°ĐżŃ&#x20AC;оНŃ? 2018

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nyc.gov/housingconnectGă&#x153;&#x201E;ă&#x2030;?Gă?&#x153;⢰㢏㥰âŚ?Gă?&#x201D;㡥ä&#x161;&#x152;ă?Ąă??ă?&#x2DC;UG㢨Gáš&#x2026;á¸&#x201D;⹏ḰGă?&#x201D;㡥ă&#x2030;?ă&#x153;&#x201E;Gâ?´ä&#x161;?Gä&#x161;?ấă&#x203A;¨Gâśźă&#x153;Ąâ¸ŹăĄ¸Gâľ?ă&#x2122;¸â¸¨ă??âĽ&#x2DC;⎨Gâľ&#x152;ă&#x2039;&#x2022;ă&#x;?G⸽ä? ⪰524 E. 14 St. c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129 㥰âŚ?G⸨â&#x2021;¨ă¨°ă?Ąă??ă?&#x2DC;UG⸽ä? Gâ&#x2014;ŤâŽ¨ă&#x153;&#x201E;GË&#x2C6;rvylhuË&#x2030;G㢨⢰á¸&#x201D;Gă&#x153;ľă&#x203A;¨âŚ?G 㤾ă&#x203A;¨ă¨°ă?Ąă??ă?&#x2DC;UGYWX_â&#x2030;¸[ă &#x2C6;XX㢰㢰áž&#x20AC;㍴ ă?&#x153;⢰㢏Gă?&#x201D;㡥ă&#x2030;?⪰GăĽ?ăť?ä&#x161;&#x152;ᜤâ&#x2021;&#x152;Gă&#x2039;&#x20AC;㢏㢨Găľ äŁ&#x20AC;Gă?&#x201D;㡥ă&#x2030;?⪰G⸨â&#x2021;¨ă&#x161;°Gä&#x161;?â?źâ?&#x2DC;U

Kreyòl Ayisyien

Aplike sou entènèt sou sitwèb nyc.gov/housingconnect. Pou resevwa yon tradiksyon anons sa a nan lang Kreyòl Ayisyen ak aplikasyon an sou papye, voye anvlòp ki gen adrès pou retounen li nan: 524 E. 14 St. c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129. Nan dèyè anvlòp la, ekri mo â&#x20AC;&#x153;HATIAN CREOLEâ&#x20AC;? an Anglè. Ou dwe remèt aplikasyon yo sou entènèt oswa ou dwe tenbre yo anvan dat avril 11, 2018



+,-./3)%#45$6!579:;-<=> nyc.gov/housingconnect)*!!"#$%#&'( 9:%*3+,BC7;> 524 E. 14 St. c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129@A??.-=  11-'&C:7C/!"#$:#45:-:.A%; >DARABICD*E;! Mayor Bill de Blasio ÍťHPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer

TheVillager.com

Februar y 15, 2018

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Chelsea bomber is sentenced for life Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association News Story, First Place, 2015 Editorial Page, First Place, 2015 Editorials, First Place, 2014 News Story, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009

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Februar y 15, 2018

TERRORIST continued from p. 1

vigilance and law enforcement efforts. The sentencing, scheduled to start at 11 a.m. on Tues., Feb. 13, began a little later as U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, who has presided over the case since its start, waited for the bombing’s victims — many of whom testified during the twoweek trial — to arrive at court. “They certainly have the right — like everybody else — to be here,” he said. Victims — like Chelsea resident Helena Ayeh — had described what it was like that evening on Sept. 17, 2016, when a pressure-cooker bomb Rahimi placed on W. 23rd St., between Sixth and Seventh Aves., exploded and sent a 100-pound dumpster and shrapnel flying. Ayeh, who was initially feared she had lost an eye but did not, testified that the explosion was like “the heavens had opened and fallen down.” Berman explained the factors and sentencing guidelines that went into his decision. While he explained he was no longer obligated by mandatory sentencing, Berman nonetheless gave Rahimi the statutory maximums — life in prison for counts one through three, 40 years for count four, 20 years for counts five and six, all to be served concurrently. Rahimi was given an additional life sentence for count eight, plus 30 years for count seven, also to be served consecutively. Berman said the sentence was appropriate given the “the heinous and lifethreatening nature” of the crimes, and the “scheming and extensive preparation to kill innocent people.” There have been twists and turns since Rahimi’s conviction last year that led to a new attorney, Xavier Donaldson, being appointed his counsel. Prosecutors alleged in a letter filed with the court in December that Rahimi was trying to radicalize fellow inmates at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center with terrorist propaganda. On Dec. 29, federal defender Sabrina Shroff, who was Rahimi’s lawyer throughout the trial, cited an “unwaverable conflict” — she was at the time also representing the inmate Rahimi allegedly was radicalizing — and could no longer represent him, Berman explained. Donaldson argued in his letter to the court that Rahimi should get 180 months — 15 years — for counts one through six. Berman said there was no legal or factual basis to support that sentence. Berman also went through some aspects of Rahimi’s background. The Elizabeth, New Jersey, man was born in Kandahar, Afghanistan, came to the U.S. in 1995, and became a naturalized American citizen in 2011. After high school, Rahimi studied criminal justice at college with his eye toward becoming a police officer. But the married father of three dropped out of college and ended up at one point working 60 hours a week at Kennedy Fried Chicken and Dunkin’ Donuts. Prosecutors said Rahimi became radi-

The scene on W. 23rd St. the morning after the October 2016 terrorist bomb blast. More than 30 people were injured in the incident, and the blast also damaged businesses and residents on the block.

calized sometime in 2012, and a few years later began Internet searches for books on jihad and bomb-making techniques, and downloaded issues of Inspire — the English-language magazine of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — containing articles such as “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.” Berman noted that he had granted Rahimi’s request of religious observance for court to be cut short on Fridays during the October trial, and that “it appears during some of those prayer sessions” was when the exchange of terrorist propaganda happened. When it was his turn to address the court, Rahimi did not apologize. “I didn’t come here harboring any hatred toward anyone,” said Rahimi, who immigrated when he was 7. “I didn’t grow up hating anyone.” Rahimi commended his father, saying, “It was always work hard and educate yourself.” He also claimed his father went to law enforcement on multiple occasions and “did his best to quell everything down.” NBC New York reported the day before the sentencing that Mohammad Rahimi said he went to the F.B.I. in 2014 about “concerns that his son could be a terrorist” — a claim that an F.B.I. official disputed in a Sept. 23, 2016, Associated Press article. Rahimi said that once he became a practicing Muslim, he was harassed by the F.B.I. when he traveled. He also disputed that he was radicalizing his fellow inmates, saying that Sajmir Alimehmeti — a

Bronx man accused of providing material support to ISIS — was radicalized not in prison but by the F.B.I. Assistant U.S. District Attorney Shawn Crowley said, “Mr. Rahimi stood there and blamed everyone else for his actions. That is ridiculous.” She added, “He has shown no remorse. He is unrepentant. He feels no sympathy for his victims.” Rahimi “made light of his attacks,” prosecutors said in a letter filed on Jan. 16. “For example, during a call with a family member while trial was proceeding, the defendant bragged: ‘[Another inmate] asked me how are we going to watch the news and I told him I don’t need to watch the news because I am the news’ [Laughs]... .” Berman also ordered that Rahimi pay $562,803.03 in restitution to victims of the bombing, which include Ayeh, businesses on W. 23rd St. that suffered substantial damage due to the blast, such as Orangetheory Fitness and the Townhouse Inn of Chelsea, as well as Selis Manor, a residence for the blind, visually impaired and those with physical disabilities that was undergoing renovations at the time of the bombing. Rahimi also faces charges in New Jersey for a bomb he allegedly placed in Seaside Park before a charity race — that exploded but did not injure anyone — plus allegedly placing pipe bombs at an Elizabeth train station, and for a shootout with officers that took place when he was arrested two days after the bombing. TheVillager.com


Is punk-rock bar on the rocks after ‘assault’? BY TINA BENITEZ

I

t’s one of the last, true punk bars in the East Village, but the fate of Manitoba’s might be in question following an alleged domestic assault by owner Richard Manitoba (“Handsome Dick”) against his partner, Zoe Hansen, who has also managed and bartended the venue for many years. On the morning of Fri., Feb. 2, Manitoba, 64, was arrested and later arraigned on three counts of third-degree assault and one count each of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation and second-degree harassment. In the police report, Hansen, 51, claimed that Manitoba bit her, grabbed her neck and applied pressure. Manitoba told The Villager, “We are still open,” when asked about the bar but did not elaborate on the situation much more than that. “My friends know who I am... . If you believe 100 percent of everything you read, you’re a fool,” he said. The Yankees fan also added, “Baseball is right around the corner, and life is good.” The Bronx-born punk rocker is due in Criminal Court on March 26. Hansen initially moved out of the couple’s E. Sixth St. apartment, which they share with their 15-year-old son, Jake, but is now back with her son in the East Village apartment, while Manitoba is reportedly staying at a hotel in Brooklyn. The Feb. 2 fight, which led to the alleged assault, reportedly started over Hansen’s boyfriend, according to one of Hansen’s friends, who asked to remain unnamed. “He knew she had a boyfriend and considered the relationship [with Manitoba] over, but couldn’t accept it and was constantly snooping in her phone and computer,” her friend told The Villager. “My guess is that he found something sexual in her photos, showed it to his son in the middle of freaking out and...is now calling it porn to make himself look better.” The Villager reached out to Hansen for comment, but her friend said she is too shaken up and can’t talk right now. To complicate matters, on Sun., Feb. 11, Hansen allegedly smashed a plateglass window of the bar, reportedly demanding money, according to Manitoba’s lawyer Frank Rothman in a Page Six report. However, her friend said Hansen only argued with someone at the bar and did not break a window. Manitoba initially apologized for what happened on Facebook following the incident, but quickly pulled the post down, according to sources. But he has returned to social media to discuss the situation, and the impact on the couple’s son. “We have two different belief systems of what it takes to be in a relationship,” Manitoba said on Facebook on Feb. 13. “One is you stay true, and you’re in the TheVillager.com

COURTESY RICHARD MANITOBA

Richard Manitoba a.k.a. Handsome Dick Manitoba.

PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

Zoe Hansen with John Holmstrom of PUNK magazine in Manitoba’s bar four years ago. Holmstrom’s coffee-table book on the best of his PUNK magazine had just been published. Hansen was tending bar and came over to say hi.

family, and you take care of your son with all your heart. The other is I do what I want when I want even if I love you.” A local East Village source, who knows the couple and requested anonymity, told The Villager that he is not surprised by the incident. “Anyone who knows Manitoba fairly well isn’t surprised by this,” he said. He added he believes their son is still currently living with Manitoba. “When you combine his overall psychological instability with his massive

ego, anything’s possible,” the source reflected. “The only redeeming thing that I see in him is that he appears to be a very loving and devoted dad, and Zoe is an amazing mom from what I’ve seen and heard.” He added that although Manitoba and Hansen have lived together during their 16-year relationship, they have not been a couple for the past several years, yet remained together to raise their son. He also said that he has never heard of Manitoba putting his hands on Hansen before this alleged incident.

“I hope for his sake that he’s getting some therapy, because aside from this I’ve heard that local musicians will not play with him anymore because of his ego, and that his grip on reality is slipping away,” the source added. “I mean a human biting another human, and it’s his baby mama to boot. That’s some dark, primal s--- right there.” As for Manitoba’s, it has already been on shaky ground during the past few years. In 2015, Manitoba questioned how much longer he would keep the bar running. Opened in 1999, Manitoba’s, at 99 Avenue B, near E. Seventh St., is a punk-rock archive, laden with memorabilia and a photograph gallery of punk’s past. “I don’t love the bar business,” Manitoba told The Villager in 2015. “I love having that bar. I love having that history. I love having that clubhouse.” Earlier that year, the bar also came close to shutting its doors after being hit with having to pay a settlement of $25,000 after Luigi Girotto sued Manitoba’s and 27 other nearby businesses for failing to meet wheelchair-accessibility requirements under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Time will tell how this all plays out between Manitoba and Hansen. Hansen, who is a writer, gave up bartending at Manitoba’s several years back and has recently been joining No Wave poet, singer and writer Lydia Lunch for spoken-word events during the past year. Meanwhile, Manitoba had the “Handsome Dick Manitoba” show as part of “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” show on Sirius XM, but has been off the air as of late last month. “Zoe is no saint, and she is not loved by hardcore Manitoba fans, but Richard fights dirty and she has to be careful now, especially as they were never legally married, so she has very few rights,” her friend told The Villager. “In the end, there is a really great kid stuck in the middle. Honestly, I was hoping that this was a bottom for Richard, but it seems like he continues to lead with his ego rather than any kind of insight. It’s sad.” On Facebook, Manitoba stated that his son will be fine through this all. “That’s the mother of my child, [and] he should respect her and love her,” he wrote. “I don’t believe in unconditional love among adults, I believe children must have unconditional love… .” He added, “Jake will be fine. I will see to that, that is my main concern —my other concerns I will take care of one at a time as I need to.” As for the future of Manitoba’s bar, it certainly isn’t being helped by his domestic-violence charges. “His bar has been struggling for years now, and this incident will probably be the final nail,” the East Village source said. “There is never a correct time to physically abuse a woman, especially now.” Februar y 15, 2018

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‘We can’t take it!’ L plan is driving locals loco LTRAIN continued from p. 1

president or officers, either. However, it was attorney Gary Tomei, “The Mayor of W. 13th St.” and father of actress Marisa, who spearheaded the idea of gathering local block associations together for a meeting. Both tubes of the L train’s Canarsie Tunnel under the East River need to be closed for repairs due to flooding by Superstorm Sandy back in 2012. As a result, the M.T.A. decided to suspend L train service during that time between Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn and Eighth Ave. in Manhattan to allow for the work. The L train’s daily ridership between Brooklyn and Manhattan is 225,000 people, while about 50,000 use the line each day for crosstown commuting in Manhattan, according to the M.T.A. But participants at the Tues., Feb. 6, meeting of Village and Chelsea block associations said the authority must fork over the “data study” upon which it is basing its proposal, and which it previously promised to supply. This data also reportedly includes figures for the amount of vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the affected area. Erik Bottcher, chief of staff for City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, told the residents at the meeting that Johnson was scheduled to meet two days later with M.T.A. and D.O.T. to discuss the plan. Johnson’s office subsequently told The Villager this week that, at that City Hall meeting, it was agreed that the data study would be provided shortly, and that once Johnson receives it, it would be shared with the community. Present at that high-powered sit-down were all the local politicians — or their representatives — whose districts include parts of 14th St., plus new NYC Transit President Andy Byford, D.O.T. Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and representatives of Mayor Bill de Blasio. In addition, D.O.T. and M.T.A. officials reportedly committed to holding ongoing meetings with the community regarding the plan, though these will be smaller meetings. “I think the idea is to have meetings where you can do a deep dive,” a source said. “It’s harder to do a deep dive with 50 people. This will be really where you can sit around a table. “We’re going to start these meetings as soon as possible,” the source said, adding, “But we want them to give the community time to review the data.” In addition, at last Tuesday’s community meeting of concerned block associations, Village Democratic District Leader Arthur Schwartz gave many hope when he announced that he intends to file suit over the plan unless the proper environmental reviews are done. Schwartz, who is a well-known attorney representing local labor unions and who previously served on Community

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Februar y 15, 2018

PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

Benita Berkowitz said her building on 14th St. needs to have streetfront access since some of its residents are disabled, but that the mitgiation plan for the L train shutdown — which calls for the street to be busesonly at cer tain times — would prevent that.

Board 2, said he would do the lawsuit pro bono. Basically, he said, for a plan of this sort, that would have this many farranging impacts — such as on traffic and commuting patterns, for example — under the law, a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) or a City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) must be done.

‘If you don’t start the environmental review, we’re going to court.’ Arthur Schwartz

He noted he has had success filing lawsuits like this in the past, such as one he did to block a Costco from coming into a development site where a state armory was formerly located; that location instead is now home to the McBurney YMCA, at W. 14th St. and Sixth Ave. Schwartz had argued, among other things, that the Costco’s impact on car and truck traffic would be too great. In addition, Schwartz said he successfully sued twice to block large projects from occurring at Pier 40, at W. Houston St. The activist attorney explained that, under law, environmental impacts from “large-scale projects” must go through the proper reviews.

These impacts include such things as those affecting “kids at school, ambulance and fire truck access to our houses,” he said. “There are supposed to be impact studies,” he stressed, “not cherry-picking from a few tables [of facts].” He noted that also factors that must be considered in cases like these are if the project is near a park — such as Union Square Park, for example — or a historic district, such as the Greenwich Village Historic District, which extends to within half a block south of W. 14th St. “That is a long, drawn-out process,” Schwartz said of SEQR and CEQR. “They could have started that a year ago, but they didn’t.” Schwartz added that he is currently using this legal tactic to fight the closure of the historic Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, at E. 16th St. and First Ave. “We have four months to go to court about it after they release their plan,” Schwartz told the meeting, regarding the L shutdown mitigation plan. “I’m going to send them a letter saying, ‘If you don’t start the environmental review now, we’re going to court to get an injunction,’” he announced, sparking applause in the room. In general, the meeting was a litany of concerns and fears about what may be in store for the two historic Downtown enclaves. A couple from 17th St. complained that after they met, hopefully, with M.T.A. representatives a year ago, the authority was now suddenly presenting the plan as a “fait accompli.” “Seventeenth St. is the first street north [of 14th St.] to go all the way through,” the woman said. “We have buses up the kazoo. Like everybody else, we can’t take the extra traffic.” They noted that the city — apparently

independent of the L shutdown plan — also wants to close Broadway at 17th St., to pedestrianize Union Square West, and make all traffic turn west onto the side street. “Don’t do this now,” they pleaded. Bill Borock, head of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations, said residents should volunteer to count cars on their own before and after the M.T.A. implements its plan, to verify the numbers. “We’re going to be inhaling poison,” Tomei warned, regarding the prospect of increased traffic on 13th St. “It’s going to be a disaster for our trees…noise pollution, air pollution.” Scott Moran, principal of City and Country School, at 146 W. 13th St., said the protected bike lane would go right through the K-through-12 school’s drop-off area. He said D.O.T. officials told him the bike lane would be installed not in April 2019, but earlier, in the late summer of this year. Sierra Vemeyer, representing Craig Lamb, a managing director for several residential buildings in the area, said Lamb supports a one-way bike lane on 13th St., but not a two-way one. Vemeyer later told The Villager that Lamb asked Trottenbeg at the recent open house about the plan at the 14th St. Y if the bike lane would be permanent, and that the D.O.T. commissioner responded, “I hope so.” Vemeyer and others also voiced concern about what a “protected” bike lane would mean for 13th St. Would it block emergency-vehicle access to buildings on that side of the street, for example, they wondered? D.O.T. has not been forthcoming about exactly what this barrier might look like. Making 14th St. buses-only to accomLTRAIN continued on p. 9 TheVillager.com


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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.

Februar y 15, 2018

7


Ragbir gets reprieve, but the effort against ICE Plaza.” Stalwart supporters of Ragbir, Congressmembers Nydia Velazquez and Yvette Clarke, Councilmember Brad Lander, former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Public Advocate Letitia James also spoke in support of immigrant rights and on his behalf.

RAGBIR continued from p. 1

hattan two days earlier. Ragbir is now to report to ICE on March 15. After an op-ed by Amy Gottleib, Ragbir’s wife, appeared in the Jan. 18 New York Times while Ragbir was in detention for a week, the law firm Arnold & Porter decided to take his case. In her op-ed Gottlieb wrote about how they had feared checking-in with ICE that Jan. 11 because, just a week earlier, ICE agents had detained another local immigrant-rights leader, Jean Montrevil, the day before his scheduled check-in. Montrevil, a co-founder of the New Sanctuary Coalition, was deported to Haiti soon afterward. Gottlieb wrote of other immigrantrights leaders who have recently been targeted, such as Eliseo Jurado in Colorado, who also was detained, and noted that a week after that, activist Maru Mora-Villalpando announced that she received a notice to appear in immigration court in Seattle. Gottleib commented on how these leaders posed no threat — yet were targeted because they lead their communities with dignity and courage. The Times op-ed was further argument that a First Amendment, freedom of speech issue was at stake, and Arnold & Porter got on board. They filed suit in the Southern District of New York, claiming that ICE singled out their client because he is an outspoken activist. A spokesman for ICE denied the charge that arrests were retaliation. Seeking a separate stay, Ragbir’s lawyers appeared in New Jersey Federal District Court, hoping to persuade a judge to vacate Ragbir’s original criminal conviction for wire fraud from 20 years ago. That judge said he would take advantage of the pending Manhattan First Amendment case to consider his own ruling. Meanwhile, Saturday’s Foley Square rally went on as scheduled with a full program of advocates, activists, clergy, electeds and a speaker from Ragbir’s legal team. They spoke of the pain of these deportations, the need to keep pushing back “and pushing forward,” of fighting to keep the DACA Dreamers here, and how ICE is “a rogue / gestapo agency” and how the movement has to heat up. Linda Sarsour, the well-known Arab-American and women’s activist, observed how this kind of support is needed everywhere in the country. A new chant was taught: “The movement united can never be deported.” City Councilmember Jumaane Williams was arrested one month earlier when Ragbir was initially detained. He noted that, had the stay not been granted, “We were going to make history today. It was going to be the showdown of showdowns — surrounding Federal

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Februar y 15, 2018

PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

A s his wife, Amy Gottleib, looked on smiling, immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir, above, addressed the suppor tive crowd at Saturday’s rally at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan.

The demonstration was very emotional for many.

“We are here to celebrate this immigrant-rights leader being with us today,” said Bronx state Senator Gustavo Rivera, to loud applause and cheers. “Let’s all be clear: What is happening from this administration, the orange madness,” he continued. “There is an attack on the immigration-rights movement. They attempted to deport him but there are two, three, four people who have already been deported; we know of brother Montreveil, an immigrant-rights leader. “It is up to us,” Rivera stressed, “to us privileged enough to be citizens, privileged enough to stand here without fear, to defend those individuals. “We cannot allow our immigrantrights leaders to be taken from us.” New Sanctuary Coalition lawyer Steve Sacco emphasized how this is a nonviolent movement, but that ICE, in fact, is violent. “ICE agents should do the right thing and resign,” he stated. Brewer mentioned how a government worker in Montana resigned rather than give information to ICE. “We are nonviolent,” Sacco said, “especially our words. We are coming for ICE.” Ragbir’s wife, Gottleib, spoke from the heart of how just two days earlier, she had felt terrified, as she put it, that “Ravi would walk into that building and not walk out.” “March 15, we have to fight again,” she said. “We are not going to stop for Ravi or everybody else who has to deal with this. We’re behind you. And, we’re going to do this with love.” She thanked the many supporters, the legal team and the media. “This is a story, that needs to be heard, and it’s not just Ravi and it’s not just me,” she said. “There are thousands and thousands of people living this crisis every single day. And it is not O.K. We’re going to fight to make it not happen anymore.” After Gottleib, it was Ragbir’s turn to speak, and the crowd started chanting — “Ravi! Ravi!” — as he approached the mic and got ready to give his remarks. He was clearly moved by all the support. “Thirty days since Jan. 11,” he began. “What have we done in 30 days? We’ve had a movement build, a movement grow, a movement blossom and explode. We’re changing the courts. We’re changing the streets. “Today, we didn’t want to be here,” he RAGBIR continued on p. 9 TheVillager.com


deportations of leading activists is heating up RAGBIR continued from p. 9

said. “They asked us to be here.” He spoke about how the authorities wanted to make him invisible, like they did with Jean Montrevil, now in Haiti, “even though he has a court case [here] in two months,” he noted. Ragbir challenged ICE about why it is deporting people who are contributing to society: the doctor, the restaurant worker, the father taking his children to school. “Are they national security risks?” he asked. “Am I a national security problem? Am I colluding with Russia? “We are [a problem],” he said, answering his question, “because we’re challenging what is happening with a law that is immoral and wrong. People who stand up to laws that are wrong are a threat.” He pointed out that the deportation movement is removing people of color— “Latinos being sent back to their countries, people sent to their s---hole countries.” “Let’s be real about who he wants to be in this country: people from Norway. Why?” he asked, referring to President Trump. “They want to make America white again. America was never white in the first place!” Wrapping up, Ragbir said, “I’ve seen the explosion of love in the last 30 days. Don’t implode!” he cautioned. “Every person here is a leader who is standing up to what is happening.” Ragbir finished by leading an energetic chant: “ICE has got to go! ICE has got to go!” Then, to the chant of “Rise Up and Walk With Us,” clergy and activists walked through the crowd to begin another of their signature Jericho Walks, to “bring down the walls of ICE.”

Ron Kuby, the prominent civil-rights and criminal-defense attorney, right, was among those at the rally for Ravi Ragbir and immigrants on Saturday.

The rally ended with Reverend Billy, the performance preacher, sermonizing, “Stop shopping and start saving people — and save yourself! ” The crowd made its way across Lafayette St. to the singing of Reverend Billy’s Stop Stopping Choir. Silently, all from the rally joined the Jericho Walk. They circled the fed-

eral building at 26 Liberty Plaza three times. As if the feds were preparing for the building to be stormed, its Lafayette St. side was patrolled by forbidding-looking Department of Homeland Security police, including one with a mean-looking dog. Twelve groups sponsored the “You Can’t Deport a Movement” rally, includ-

ing the Bronx Immigration Partnership, MPower Change, Showing Up for Racial Justice-SURL NYC, DRUM-Desis Rising Up & Moving, Fight Unjust Deportations: Keep Ravi Home, UnLocal, Inc., 32BJ SEIU, Immigrant Defense Project, New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, the Interfaith Center of New York, and Detention Watch Network.

‘We can’t take it!’ L plan is driving locals loco LTRAIN continued from p. 6

modate rush-hour commuters would be a big inconvenience for residents of the street, some noted. “There are many people in our building that need vehicle access, who are handicapped,” said Benita Berkowitz, from 7 E. 14th St. Her husband, Jimmy Heller, the building’s treasurer, said the number of local residents in the surrounding blocks from river to river that the plan would impact exceeds the number of commuters that the M.T.A. is claiming must be accommodated during the L shutdown. “We represent a hell of a lot more than 50,000 people,” he said. “Somehow they are using that number to justify what they want to do to us.” “It is a common thread — skepticism TheVillager.com

of the M.T.A.’s figures,” echoed David Marcus, a board member at the Cambridge co-op, at 175 W. 13th St., who led the meeting. A spokesperson for state Senator Brad Hoylman agreed that, “The data study is the missing piece right now.” Another woman put it, “We know they’re going to be hurt twice a day,” referring to commuters. “We’re going to be hurt 24 / 7.” Indeed, the exact times when the M.T.A. would want to make 14th St. bus-only are not yet fully clear, the residents said. Bottcher, Johnson’s chief of staff, assured the community meeting, “We need a plan that is the best plan — not only for the L train but for the people that live in the community. Corey lives on W. 15th St.,” he noted.

Bottcher added that part of the plan is for ferries to link Brooklyn to Stuyvesant Town, where there would be a “bus depot” to take people crosstown. However, Marcus interjected, “But not everyone is going east / west at that point. Some are going north / south.” One Chelsea resident said a dedicated bus lane for Select Bus Service on 23rd St. “has been a disaster. Traffic is backing up on the street. That itself needs a constant review,” she said, warning the same thing could happen if buses are prioritized on 14th St. “The real answer to congestion is going to be reducing the number of cars in Manhattan,” Bottcher told the meeting. “Corey supports reducing the number of cars coming over bridges and through tunnels to Manhattan.” Wayne Kwadler, representing Lenox

Health Greenwich Village, confirmed that the comprehensive-care center was concerned about the bike lane blocking access to its new ambulatory surgery center on the fourth floor of W. 13th St. off of Seventh Ave. One young cyclist said she “would be so happy” if there were a crosstown bike lane on 13th St. But another cyclist said there are already plenty of one-way crosstown bike lanes, such as on Ninth St. going west and 10th St. going east. There is also a bike lane on Eighth St. The ad-hoc group of affected Village and Chelsea block associations plans to meet again this week. “There’s strength in numbers,” said Janet Charleston, from the W. 15th St. 100 Block Association, as their inaugural gathering ended. “This is just our first meeting. This is just the beginning.” Februar y 15, 2018

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Congestion exemption

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We cover “The Cube”!

To The Editor: Re “Why Downtown should back congestion pricing” (talking point, by Charles Komanoff, Feb. 8): Motorcycles and scooters are not mentioned anywhere in this opinion piece. They should be spotlighted as fuel-efficient, congestion-reducing vehicles. Therefore, motorcycles and scooters should be exempt from congestion pricing in New York City. Scooters can get more than 100 miles per gallon, and many motorcycles get more than 50 miles per gallon. They occupy a fraction of the space a car takes up in traffic, and an even smaller space when parked. Six motorcycles can park in the space occupied by one gas-guzzling SUV, and yet the current proposal would toll them at exactly the same rate as passenger cars. Two-wheeled vehicles should not be tolled at all in New York City, in the same way that congestion pricing was implemented in London. Incentivizing the use of fuel-efficient, congestion-reducing vehicles benefits all New Yorkers. Lauren Secular

Stamp of disapproval To The Editor: There are solutions to complaints concerning problems with delivery of mail. Congress needs to consider providing regulatory relief for reforms that could assist the U.S. Postal Service in providing better services. U.S.P.S. averaged quarterly losses of $550 million in 2017. This will now result in the price of a firstclass stamp going up by a penny from 49 cents to 50 cents later this year. One wonders why they previously first decreased the price of a first-class stamp from 49 cents to 47 cents, before bringing it back to 49 cents. Part of the problem is that Congress in 2006 mandated that U.S.P.S. fully fund 75 years of retirement benefits for employees. This has contributed billions to the Postal Service’s long-term debt. While many private and other public retirement plans are underfunded, the Postal Service’s is vastly overfunded. It is time for Congress to amend legislation and afford U.S.P.S. the ability to fund its retirement plan at a more reasonable level. There are other initiatives that could assist the

Postal Service in avoiding frequent postage stamp increases. The Postal Service should continue with more joint business ventures, like Amazon in expanding Sunday delivery. This could be the start of something big. Using underutilized assets and facilities on Sunday could generate badly needed revenues. This would assist in developing alternatives to the periodic increasing frequency of raising the price of a firstclass stamps every few years. Why not consider going after other available untapped potential revenue streams? Consider uses these untapped sources to reduce operating deficits and perhaps even turn a small profit. The Postal Service could sell advertising space on the sides of its mailboxes, and inside and outside of post offices, along with on the sides of its small jeeps, regular trucks and heavy-duty long-haul trucks. Also, U.S.P.S. could sell off some of its valuable real estate and move to lessexpensive locations. Why not join banks and fast-food restaurants that sublet space at Walmart and other big-box stores to open smaller post offices? Generate both revenue and customers by subletting excess capacity at underutilized post offices to other village, town, county, city, state or federal agencies, along with private-sector businesses. License corporations to sponsor stamps for a fee. Also, have members of Congress, the state Legislature, New York City Council and other local politicians pay the real, full costs for their annoying frequent bulk-rate mailings to constituents. These are nothing more than free re-election campaign brochures subsidized by taxpayers. Charge the full price for all junk mail. Future increases in the price of stamps should be directly tied to inflation. The Postal Service should apply free-enterprise solutions, including working with Amazon and other private-sector businesses, to provide a more costeffective product, reduce deficits and prevent more post-office branches from closing, thus keeping its commitment to serve the public well Larry Penner E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 MetroTech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.

EVAN FORSCH

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Februar y 15, 2018

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What would Jane do? Show the L shutdown study!

TALKING POINT BY DAVID R. MARCUS

H

ow ironic to be in 2018, once again embroiled with the city — albeit through the Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Transportation Authority — over the quality of life in our Downtown neighborhoods and streets. A mere 50 years ago, Jane Jacobs led the fight against master builder Robert Moses and his plan to level our beloved Downtown streets in favor of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, or LOMEX. The illplanned project was meant to facilitate the free flow of vehicular traffic though Lower Manhattan, at the expense of what would become many historic districts — a blend of residential and commercial use in neighborhood districts co-existing in peaceful harmony. Moses even proposed a traffic lane running south through Washington Square Park. How ironic, indeed, now to be faced with a city that would once again propose an ill-advised plan to upset that harmony, yet while suggesting a totally opposite tack: to ban the use of cars at all. Talk about extremes. Talk about ignoring the impact upon the neighborhood and the will of the local residents, many of whom have lived here all their lives and who will be impacted 24 / 7 by a dubious plan to mitigate the alleged commutation needs of an illdefined number of morning and evening commuters. Surely, there is a balance to be struck in attempting to solve the unsubstantiated and illusory problem that would result from the L train being shut down for repairs to its East River tunnel. Surely, there will be an impact — but what will that be? D.O.T. claims to have studied the effect, but has yet to release its promised and legally required “data study” to the communities that will be harmed by its proposed plan. And if and when that data is released, there needs be adequate time to study and debate and discuss the validity of these findings — not to mention, to entertain alternative suggestions. Doing that — considering alternatives — is something D.O.T. has demonstrated time and again that it is not willing to do. Instead its reputation is of dismissing any community suggestions in order to advance its own agenda. Jane Jacobs believed that city planning often did not respect the needs of most city dwellers. She disputed the traditional planning approach that relies on opinions and recommendations of outside experts, instead claiming that local expertise is better suited to guiding community planning. She based her opinions on experience and observation and opined on how government planning policies are usually inconsistent with neighborhoods’ real-life functioning. She was an advocate for thoughtful development and for empowering residents to trust their common sense and become advocates for their neighborhoods. So, with the teachings of Jane Jacobs in mind, we are once again faced with the challenges of creating an appropriate solution to a genuine and pressing urban problem. The L train shutdown is real. The magnitude of the problem is being portrayed by D.O.T. as catastrophic. However, absent any empirical evidence to support that claim, it is dubious that all L train riders will find their way onto 14th St. as part of their alternate commutes. The unsubstantiated rationale for the proposed traffic ban on 14th St. is the need to provide alternate options for the straphangers who will not have access to the L train during the tunnel repairs. The proof of TheVillager.com

PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

David Marcus, at last week’s meeting of Village and Chelsea block associations who are concerned about the L shutdown plan, showed a subway map while explaining what he called a serious flaw in the M.T.A.’s plan for 14th St. during the subway’s shutdown in 2019. “People will take the J and M lines instead of the L,” he said, pointing to a spot in Brooklyn. “That will dump them here,” he then added, pointing to the Little Italy / Chinatown area. In shor t, not ever yone will then want to continue from that point on up to 14th St., he noted.

that claim (i.e., the data study) is being withheld from the community in order to advance a dubious plan to ban vehicular traffic on 14th St. and promote the onesided agenda of Transportation Alternatives, which is to turn Manhattan into bicycle heaven. T.A. is well funded and well organized and does not know the meaning of peaceful co-existence. They hate cars and want to see them permanently banned. Talk about live and let live.

Tens of thousands of Village and Chelsea residents will suffer 24 / 7 under this plan.

We must see the required study that D.O.T. promised to release. Absent seeing that study, it is impossible and irresponsible to offer any solutions. Absent the L train, commuters will enter Manhattan at other points — not 14th St. Alternate transportation lines are then available at those points with no need to come to 14th St. However, the D.O.T. plan to bus people to 14th St. from those entry points exacerbates the very problem D.O.T. says it must solve, compounding the ill effects of the proposed closing of 14th St. to cars. The plan is flawed on its face. It will indisputably impact and burden the neighboring side streets, which

are already congested with traffic. It is wrongheaded to try to solve a perceived problem by creating other major problems. The Village’s and Chelsea’s narrow side streets are already currently overburdened with overflow traffic from 14th St. The side streets were never intended to be crosstown thoroughfares. Increased traffic congestion, noise pollution and air pollution will be an obvious and unacceptable consequence of this plan. In the case of traffic congestion on the 100 Block of W. 13th St., the street is already narrower than other blocks: just 28 feet at the block’s western end. There was a D.O.T. sign at 13th St. and Sixth Ave. prohibiting trucks on 13th St. — the intent of which was to alleviate congestion on this narrow street. Yet, the restriction was unenforced. We asked D.O.T. and it agreed to eliminate daytime parking on the north side of the street between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., also to reduce congestion. The Citi Bike station at the western end of 13th St. further narrows the roadway. Emergency, sanitation, Access-A-Ride, delivery and other vehicles are delayed — and because they must double-park, cause traffic to back up past Fifth Ave. throughout the day. That the currently proposed D.O.T. scheme will result in an increase of traffic going from 14th St. onto 13th St. will dangerously exacerbate those problems. And given all that, the proposed two-way bikeway on 13th St. makes no sense at all. The population of this neighborhood area well exceeds the commuter population that D.O.T. says it must transport; and yet it is we who will suffer 24 / 7, as opposed to those commuters merely during their morning and evening commutes. This is nothing more than a veiled plot to permanently alter traffic patterns to our detriment. We cannot and we will not stand for it. Marcus is an executive board member, W. 13th St. 100 Block Association, and treasurer and vice president for finance, Cambridge Owners Corp. Februar y 15, 2018

11


POLICE BLOTTER to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.

Hate-filled attack Police said that on Mon., Feb. 5, around 2:05 a.m., at Suffolk and Broome Sts., a man approached a 37-year-old male victim and yelled racial slurs at him, then punched him in the face. The victim fell to the ground and the individual slashed him on his right arm and leg with a knife. The attacker demanded the victim’s property and the victim gave him his cell phone. The assailant fled the scene on foot westbound along Broome St. The victim was removed to Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in stable condition. The Daily News identified the victim as Tomas Jaimez, a father of two young girls, who was returning home from his work shift at a restaurant. He was about a half-block from his home when he was assaulted. “He was trying to stab me in my stomach,” Jaimez told the News. “He tried sticking his knife through my jacket. He said, ‘Give me your phone and your wallet.’ I said, ‘I don’t have any money.’ “He said, ‘f---ing Mexican rat! Get away from my country.’ I still couldn’t breathe. He finally walked away.” The suspect snatched Jaimez’s $750 iPhone 7 and ran off. The attacker is described as black, 6

Meatpacking mauling

COURTESY D.C.P.I.

A police sketch of the alleged knife-wielding suspect who spewed hate at his victim during a Lower East Side attack.

feet 1 inch tall, weighing 190 pounds, 40 to 45 years old, and last seen wearing a black North Face parka with a fur-lined hood. Anyone with information is asked

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A man attending a company party at Bagatelle, at 1 Ninth Ave., in the Meatpacking District, on Sun., Dec. 10, of last year when he was assaulted by a security guy, police said. According to police, video of the incident, which occurred at 12:52 a.m., shows the 39-year-old victim being slammed down onto the sidewalk. The victim was then picked up by a security guard and held over a white partition while being shaken. Video shows the suspect with his hands around the victim’s neck before the suspect is pushed over a partition. The victim was left laid out on the sidewalk. When the patron’s boss emerged from the party, he thought his employee was lying on the sidewalk because he was drunk and called a cab and sent him home. The victim suffered multiple lacerations to the head, neck, knee and foot. Kalombo Kayembe, 40, was arrested Wed., Feb. 7 for felony strangulation. A LinkedIn page for Kalombo Kayembe lists him as “Guest Relations Manager” at Villa Bagatelle.

Car scratch attack A man parked his 2015 black Lexus in front of 303 Mercer St. on Wed., Jan. 17, at 10:50 p.m., and when he returned the next morning at 7:45 a.m., found a large scratch made around the vehicle. The value of the damages was $350. Police said video footage was available. Ricardo Gonzalez, 47, was arrested for felony criminal mischief on Wed., Feb. 7.

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Tisch School take A 20-year-old woman left her property unattended in a classroom at N.Y.U. Tisch School of the Arts, at 721 Broadway, on Mon., Sept. 18, last year, police said. When she returned, she discovered that her things were missing. She had multiple credit cards in the missing bag, but there were no unauthorized charges. The total value of the bag and missing items was $2,600. Richard Vasquez, 46, was arrested for felony grand larceny on Thurs., Feb. 8.

Mas(turbation) transit Police reported that on Wed., Jan. 10, at 10:15 p.m., a 22-year-old woman was inside the Chambers St. subway station on the northbound platform, waiting for the J train, when she heard someone calling over to her. When she looked up, she saw a stranger masturbating his exposed penis in public view. The individual then walked up the stairs and continued masturbating on the mezzanine as he continued to stare down at the woman. The woman then left the mezzanine and fled the station. The individual is described as a black man roughly in his 30s, with a medium complexion and a medium build. He was last seen wearing a black scarf, a gray hooded sweatshirt, a gray shirt, blue jeans and black sneakers. In a similar incident, on Thurs., Jan. 25, around 9:40 a.m., a 45-year-old straphanger was riding a southbound L train when an unidentified man boarded the train at 14th St. and Third Ave. and began to manipulate his exposed private parts. The woman was able to snap a photo of the man before he fled train station on foot. The individual is described as a male Hispanic, around age 25, 5 feet 11 inches tall, and last seen wearing a large backpack with all dark clothing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline. (See first item, above.)

L.E.S. muggers Police are looking for two young muggers who struck twice on the Lower East Side last month. In the first incident, police said, the pair — joined by a female sidekick — robbed a 62-year-old man in East River Park on Sun., Jan. 21, at 7:30 p.m. The trio punched and kicked the victim and stole $43 from him, then fled in an unknown direction. The victim suffered facial injuries and was removed to a local hospital for treatment. In the second incident, police said, on Tues., Jan. 23, at 4:07 a.m., in front of 654 Water St. in the Vladeck Houses, a 28-year-old man was approached by two of the hoods wearing ski masks, who punched him in the face and demanded his property. But the victim yelled for help and the attackers fled empty-handed. The victim was treated by emergency medics at the scene. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline. (See first item, above.)

Tabia C. Robinson and Lincoln Anderson TheVillager.com


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Faith unites sanctuary immigrant-rights fight BY CHARMAINE L AM

A

sea of signs calling for support for the sanctuary movement and for immigrant activist Ravi Ragbir’s fight against deportation flooded Foley Square this past Saturday. Among them were “You can’t deport a movement,” “Liberty’s Torch Will Melt ICE,” “I Stand With Ravi” and “I’m With Her,” with an arrow pointing at the Statue of Liberty. But what the placards did not reflect was the religious backbone of the New Sanctuary Coalition, the group behind the solidarity rally. The event opened with collective deep breaths before the crowd joined together in song to celebrate the present moment. Next followed the Hindu Gayatri Mantra, a Christian prayer and a verse from the Koran. “It’s all about the principle of forgiveness: If you did your crime and haven’t committed any other crime 20 years later, you should not be branded a criminal,” Reverend Donna Schaper, senior minister of Judson Memorial Church, said of Ragbir’s case, around which the rally was initially organized. Ragbir is the co-founder of the New Sanctuary Coalition, an immigrantrights organization based at Judson Church in Greenwich Village. He had been called to report to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation last month. His conviction of wire fraud was 20 years ago, and he did serve jail time for it. Only a day before this past Saturday’s rally, the federal government agreed to delay his deportation. Although Ragbir’s ability to remain in the U.S. at this point remains uncertain, his fight against ICE and his success so far are providing a sense of hope and unity for the members of the sanctuary movement. Sunita Viswanath, co-founder of Sadhana: the Coalition of Progressive Hindus, opened the rally in blessing. “Sanctuary is love,” she told the crowd. “There is no faith which isn’t sanctuary. Sanctuary is just love.” For Schaper, the moral values upon which religion is based unite the movement and give it its strength. “This principle of forgiveness is Christian, Jewish, Hindu – it’s consistent across all religions,” she said. “Religion’s role is like any other free institution in society. We have a right to say what we say. We can’t be forced to obey unjust laws.” Speakers from congressmembers to immigration lawyers denounced the Trump administration throughout the course of the rally. They called attention to the opposition between the government’s immigration policies, on the one hand, and religious values and morals, on the other. “We are coming together to say to TheVillager.com

PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

The New Sanctuar y Coalition is a movement comprised of numerous houses of worship around the New York region.

Saturday’s rally climaxed with a collective scream directed at the ICE offices at 26 Federal Plaza, across the street from Foley Square. Bill Talen a.k.a. Reverend Billy, the per formance-ar tist / activist preacher, left, and his wife, Savitri D, right, were among those protesting the administration’s crackdown on immigrants.

the administration, ‘We are not going to stand silently, and we will do what we need to do in order to protect every immigrant in this country,’ ” Congressmember Nydia Velázquez told the crowd. She then turned her focus toward President Trump, her words punctured by roars of approval from those at the rally. “And shame on you, Mr. President, when you lied,” she scolded. “You lied, Mr. President, when you told Dreamers, ‘Don’t be afraid of me, I have a big heart.’ … You are heartless.” Her expression softened as she then addressed the crowd, saying, “God bless all of you.” Following Velázquez’s remarks, Public Advocate Letitia James called for tangible action to follow prayer, urging the crowd not to grow complacent in religious belief. “After you get on your knees in prayer, you have to get up and fight!” she told the crowd, as their voices merged into one in a call to “Fight! Fight! Fight!” Although evangelical leaders have backed Trump both in the presidential race and since his election, speakers at the rally and members of the New Sanctuary Coalition pushed back against the perception that religion and the values of the current administration go hand in hand. Sadhana’s Viswanath said, “In this history of social-justice movements in this country, the vanguard is often faith leaders — from the abolitionist movement to the women’s rights movement.” In her remarks to the crowd, Viswanath urged the participants to “help... stand against the Republican Hindus,” referring to the 200-strong rally organized by the Republican Hindu Council that gathered in front of the White House to support the Trump administration’s immigration policies. “As a progressive Hindu, I refuse to cede Hinduism to people who are motivated by hatred,” she said. “Those who rallied in Foley Square – we’re saying that we refused to cede this country to those who are motivated by hate. That’s really the meaning of standing behind Ravi and against the current immigration policy.” The action culminated with Ragbir’s own address to the crowd. As the group enthusiastically chanted his name, he took the microphone. He thanked the rally’s organizers and everyone gathered for the love they had shown him since his detainment Jan. 11 following a routine check-in with ICE. “This is an explosion of love that we have seen in the past 30 days,” the activist said. “We have created leadership everywhere and we are standing up to what is happening. We want to continue this leadership. We want to stand firm on these grounds of love.” Februar y 15, 2018

17


N AT I O N A L C H I L D R E N ’ S D E N TA L H E A LT H M O N T H

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and building up on the teeth. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings also play a preventative role. Dentists have equipment that can effectively clean teeth in areas that can sometimes be difficult to keep clean with just manual brushing.

avities are a problem for adults and children alike. Some people seem more susceptible to cavities than others, and the pH of the mouth and other factors may play a role in the formation of cavities. The number of dental cavities increases with age. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, dental decay remains the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults, even though it is largely preventable. It may seem like children who love sugar would have the highest rate of cavities, but data actually shows that 92 percent of adults in the U.S. ages 20 to 64 have dental caries in their permanent teeth and an average of 3.28 missing teeth.

N_XkZXlj\jXZXm`kp6 Bacteria is the main culprit behind cavities. Bacteria migrate into the mouth and are constantly present on the gums, teeth, and tongue. Most oral bacteria are not harmful, but certain types can prove troublesome. Bacteria attach to the enamel of the teeth and eventually start to form a colony. Proteins present in saliva mix with the bacteria, which then forms a hard layer on the tooth known as plaque. Sugar plays a role in the process because the bacteria use sugar as

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:Xm`k`\jZXeY\cXi^\cpgi\m\ek\[YpYilj_`e^Xe[Õfjj`e^i\^lcXicpkfi\dfm\\okiXYXZk\$ i`X]ifdk_\k\\k_#Xe[gi\m\ek`e^k_\d]ifdXkkXZ_`e^Xe[Yl`c[`e^lgfek_\k\\k_% a food source. The sugar also helps them stick to the tooth surface, making it more difficult for bacteria to be cleared away with saliva. As bacteria eat the sugar, they produce waste, which is acidic. Over time, this acid can wear away at the tough enamel on teeth, making it porous. These holes can become bigger, eventually forming what is known as a cavity. It may take a while before you re-

alize you have a cavity because the enamel of the tooth doesn’t have nerve fibers. But once the cavity becomes large enough to expose the sensitive dentin within, pain ensues.

Gi\m\ek`e^ZXm`k`\j Cavities can be largely prevented by brushing and flossing regularly to remove extra bacteria from the teeth, and preventing them from attaching

Medications and biology can affect the pH of a person’s mouth and contribute to the formation of dental caries. When pH drops, demineralization of the tooth enamel occurs and cavities form. Some forms of bacteria contribute to tooth decay more than others. As mentioned, sugar feeds bacteria growth. Research by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has found that it’s not often the amount of sugar eaten at a given time, but the frequency of sugar exposure that can lead to cavities. Sucrose, it seems, is bacteria’s preferred energy source. Saliva production is important for keeping bacteria at bay. Individuals who produce less bacteria, due to medication or their physical history, may be more susceptible to caries (decay and crumbling of a tooth or bone). Dental cavities are a common health problem. Knowing what causes them can help with prevention.

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earning to brush their own teeth is a lesson all children must master. Although parents ultimately may have children who become proficient at brushing their own teeth, getting them to floss is generally more difficult. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 41 percent of children aged 2 to 11 had tooth decay in their first teeth. Dental caries are common among children, likely because they have not become proficient at taking care of their teeth. Soft, sticky foods are commonplace in young kids’ diets, and these can promote decay. Even well-intentioned gummy vitamins can be sources of dental decay. Oftentimes, these foods become lodged between the teeth or on the surface of molars. If left in contact with the teeth for too long, food particles become a source of carbohydrates for oral bacteria,

18

Februar y 15, 2018

and cavities may appear as a result. To remove food particles from between the teeth, children must floss, advises the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists. It is recommended that parents help their children to floss as soon as two teeth are touching and continue to do so until the child is around the age of 8, when a child should have enough dexterity to do it on his or her own. Flossing is essential to making sure children do not experience cavities at an early age, and it can establish practices that promote oral health throughout life. Despite being so important, many parents fail to encourage flossing or are at a loss as to how to make it enjoyable and effective. Although regular dental floss is one of the first tools for flossing, the dexterity required to wind the floss around little fingers and then thoroughly clean the teeth may discourage children. Parents can look into the wide ar-

ray of flossing helpers available at the store. In fact, many age-appropriate flossers are now available that feature fun designs and smaller profiles to fit into kids’ mouths more easily. Flossers may be attached to a handle to make back teeth more accessible and promote more effective flossing. Manufacturers such as DenTek, Butler GUM, Plackers Kids, Dr. Fresh, Oral-B, and Brush Buddies offer children’s flossers. Kids who shy away from flossing may be more likely to use a children’s water flosser. In lieu of string floss, a water flosser uses a pressurized stream of water to dislodge food from between teeth. Although a water flosser may be more messy, children may enjoy the opportunity to “play” with water and the cleaning sensation provided. To prevent the buildup of plaque and the development of dental caries, parents should educate children about proper flossing techniques.

:_`c[i\ej_flc[c\Xiek_XkÕfjj`e^`jaljkXj`dgfi$ kXekXjYilj_`e^% TheVillager.com


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What’s full of news and red (and read) all over?

T

he staff of NYC Community Media and Community News Group took the National Wear Red Day campaign hyperlocal, naturally, sporting the health-oriented hue on Fri., Feb. 2. The effort is intended to raise awareness

about women’s heart health. The company’s initiative was led by Jenn Goodstein, The Villager’s publisher, seen proudly holding the special Feb. 1 “red issue” of The Villager in front row, at right.

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Bands of every feather flock to Tom Clark’s Treehouse Sunday gathering champions singers, songwriters, musicians BY PUMA PERL Tom Clark’s Lower East Side apartment contains all of the accouterments you’d expect from a musician: guitars, vinyl, amps, posters, and a candy dish filled with freshly baked cookies. Well, that’s what you’d expect from Clark. The hometown boy from DeKalb, Illinois, renowned for his all-night Thanksgiving dinners and jam sessions, is a former Brooklyn neighbor of “The Basketball Diaries” author Jim Carroll, current ringmaster of the Treehouse, and a guy who lives for music. You don’t hear many stories like his these days. We no longer live in the city that drew small town kids in from the cornfields. “What brought culture to DeKalb,” he said, “was Northern Illinois University. The first real show I saw was there. The Ramones. I was about 13 and blown away. I’d never even smelled marijuana before. I was already in a band and we started doing Sex Pistols songs after that but we were too young to be angry about anything.” Some friends had moved to New York and he wanted to join them. He sought the counsel of a favorite musician, Marshall Crenshaw. “It was the first and only fan letter I ever wrote,” Clark recalled, who still has the letter in which Crenshaw advised him to “Go for it.” In 1986, at the height of the crack epidemic, he and his two friends found an apartment on 103rd St. and Manhattan Ave. “Every morning I’d walk all the way Downtown because I couldn’t afford the 90 cent subway fare. I’d play in Washington Square Park and on the street.” One day, the owner of Astor Place Hairstylists asked him to play in the shop, taking requests from customers. “I played eight hours a day, seven days a week, for 20 dollars a day plus tips, and looked for gigs at night.” Even after finding gigs three or four nights weekly, he kept to that schedule. He was eventually signed by EMI, befriended by Lenny Kaye (who was designated to produce the album), began opening regularly for Patti Smith, and, through all sorts of divine coincidences, worked closely with Jeff Buckley, Hank Wedel, and many more, most of whom became friends. Including Marshall Crenshaw. “Every day I worked so hard and long, TheVillager.com

Courtesy the artist

A long way from DeKalb, IL: Tom Clark at home in his Lower East Side apartment.

that when I got home I didn’t even want to touch a guitar. I love Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and Eddie Cochran, but I realized I’d been listening only to guys who’d been dead for 30 years or more.” A chance meeting with Kevn Kinney, whom he describes as “one of the top five greatest songwriters in the world” led to an invitation to play shows across the South, a collaboration that “put the wind back in my sails.” Back in New York, he began frequenting the bar 2A and eventually started a Sunday night venue on the upper floor. July 10, 2011 saw the debut of the Treehouse. Ivan Julian, Lenny Kaye, Andy Shernoff, Kevn Kinney and Clark all played that night. “I love the bands that play here. I never leave the soundboard and the Treehouse has really great sound. I love that it brings people together; bands and friendships have formed here. Some of the regulars should be superstars, like Monica Passin aka Li’l Mo. She’s played here more than I have,

and she produces incredible shows. Emily Duff is another great one. I try to make everyone feel like superstars because when they’re here they are my stars.” The love is returned. As per Li’l Mo, “In addition to the monthly Field of Stars (a songwriter’s circle) I came up with The Great Harmony Swap, a show so big I do it only once or twice a year. I couldn’t be more grateful to Tom for these opportunities. He has been my champion for years now. He is a champion.” Added Emily Duff, “Tom curates the best music night in NYC. I fell madly in love with him the moment I met him because he embodies everything that I love about this stupid city and rock and roll: He’s up all night and never satisfied.” Andrea Kleiman, a regular attendee, knows why people keep coming back. “Tom greets everyone as if you were walking into his home. Every Sunday Tom has a new surprise waiting, from regulars who play often to bands I never heard of. It’s an eclectic mix that never disappoints.”

One January Sunday I was introduced to the PI Power Trio, led by guitarist Pat Irwin, a seminal part of the No Wave scene and a touring member of The B-52s. Drummer Sasha Dobson and bassist Daria Grace complete the trio. After a rock and roll set that blended instrumental tradition with their special brand of power, Irwin announced that he looked forward to the next set, the Velveeta Underground, a bluegrass band that plays Velvet Underground covers. This sounded either incredibly awful or really awesome. It turned out to be the latter. The six-piece band features “Thirsty” Dave Hansen and The Crusty Gentlemen and consists of lap steel, upright bass, two guitars, banjo, and percussion. They describe themselves as what would happen “if Andy Warhol had taken the Velvet Underground’s ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable’ show to the Grand Ole Opry.” The following week, I TREEHOUSE continued on p. 22 Februar y 15, 2018

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TREEHOUSE continued from p. 21

returned for The Great Harmony Swap, the theme of which was musicals, ranging from “Purple Rain” to “The Sound of Music.” Over 35 musicians were curated and directed by Li’l Mo. My favorite of these amazingly authentic events was “Summer of Love: Songs of 1967.” Complete with bell-bottoms and Afros, you’d swear you smelled incense as you listened to Jimi Hendrix songs. Some of Clark’s favorite Treehouse memories include The Animals’ guitarist Hilton Valentine and his eight-piece skiffle band, and Dave Davies of the Kinks in the audience for the first Spoonful of Lovin’ night, a Lovin’ Spoonful tribute that included Craig Chesler, Clark, Dennis Diken, Sal Maida, Andy Riedel, and C.P. Roth. His stories take you to Patti Smith’s house when she told him she loved his band, The High Action Boys, and to the recording studio, with Jeff Buckley laying down harmonies under Lenny Kaye’s direction. The most vivid was a November morning, right after Thanksgiving. His mom, visiting from DeKalb, was resting on the couch when Jim Carroll, wearing an Elvis T-shirt, stopped in. The sun was streaming down. They chatted for a long time. She had no idea who Jim was, but said he seemed like a very nice boy. “Jim just wanted to talk to a mom, and in my opinion my mom was a bigger rock star than I’ll ever be.” And future memories? “I’m really sentimental about my hometown and would love to do a record about it. And I have about one day’s work to finish the record I started 10 years ago. It will definitely be out by the fall.” A lot to look back on, and even more to come. Tom Clark presents the Treehouse upstairs at 2A (25 Ave. A at Second St.) every Sunday, 8:30pm–?. Live music, no admission or cover, 21+. Feb. 18, featured performers include Azro Cady and The PI Power Trio. For info, visit facebook.com/treehouseat2A.

The PI Power Trio at the Treehouse. L to R: Sasha Dobson, Pat Irwin and Daria Grace.

Photo Bob Krasner

Courtesy Dina Regine

L to R: Crystal Durant, Dina Regine, Sherryl Marshall, Monica Passin (aka Li’l Mo) and C.P. Roth from the Treehouse “Summer of Love: Songs of 1967” program, July 2016.

Theater for the New City • 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net

Or Current Resident ~Squeaky Bicycle Productions~ Written by Joan Bigwood Directed By Brandi Varnell

Limited Engagement Thurs. - Sat. 8:00 PM Sun. - 3:00 PM $18.00 22

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One Drop

Josh: The Black Babe Ruth

“The story of a young man held back by hate, but led forward by love...”

“An intimate look into mid-century sports, society and politics”

Written By Andrea Fulton Directed By Sabura Rashid

Written By Michael A. Jones Directed By Bette Howard

Limited Engagement Thurs. - Sat. 8:00 PM Sun. - 3:00 PM $18.00

Limited Engagement Thurs. - Sat. 8:00 PM Sun. - 3:00 PM $18.00

Photo by Alan Rand

L to R: Lenny Kaye and Tom Clark at the Treehouse, June 2017. TheVillager.com


More than the sum of its month Black History celebrated in plays, performances, tours BY SCOTT STIFFLER On Sun., Feb. 18, Save Chelsea board members Cher Carden and Laurence Frommer lead “Retracing Black History Through Chelsea and The Tenderloin.” The two-hour walking tour, which begins at 1pm, brings attention to an often-overlooked period. “Chelsea played a significant role in New York’s African American community and its history, particularly in the second half of the 19th century. Churches, schools, and music served a vibrant community,” said the organizers of the event, which will retrace how African Americans shaped northern Chelsea, the district once known as The Tenderloin, and New York City. The cost is $30, $20 for members of Save Chelsea. To register, visit savechelseany.org. Several notable productions are currently on the boards or upcoming at Theater for the New City (aka TNC; 155 First Ave., btw. E. Ninth & 10th Sts.). Through Feb. 25, Brandi Varnell directs Joan Bigwood’s “Or Current Resident.” This production from TNC resident theater group Squeaky Bicycle Productions chronicling the multi-generational, Silicon Valley-based Finch family “throws the covers off an eccentric little universe that has survived on fortitude and self-deception and now lies shivering in the cold glare of unexpected, untenable revelations.” Also through Feb. 25, Bette Howard directs Michael A. Jones’ “Josh: The Black Babe Ruth.” This production, returning after an acclaimed run last year, dramatizes the life of Josh Gibson, a standout home run hitter in the Negro Leagues whose Major League ambitions are complicated by family matters, personal vices, and institutional racism. In the final installment of playwright/ director William Electric Black’s powerful and provocative “Gunplay” series (dedicated to addressing the epidemic of gun violence), “Subway Story (A Shooting)” centers around the character of Chevonn, an African American teenage girl who turns her nonfiction writing assignment into a highly stylized composition experienced by the audience as “a fantastical mashup of literary images that are part Lewis Carroll and part queasy reality, revealing issues affecting our children including alienation, discrimination, bullying and the easy availability of firearms.” The play runs Feb. 22 through March 18. For tickets and info on other proTheVillager.com

Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Sarah Q. Shah (foreground) and the cast of “Subway Story (A Shooting),” Feb. 22–March 18 at Theater for the New City.

Photo via facebook.com/nancygilesofficial

Photo by Jonathan Slaff

Nancy Giles, host of “The Mosquito” at Dixon Place. The next installment of this free monthly series happens Feb. 19.

L to R: Perci Percival and Dave Roberts in “Josh: The Black Babe Ruth,” playing through Feb. 25 at Theater for the New City.

ductions, visit theaterforthenewcity. net. Inspired by the success of last year’s “Black Herstory Night,” iconic experimental theater and artistic incubator Dixon Place is teaming up with the International Human Rights Art Festival for “Black Queer Night” — a celebration of experiences meant to

“move hearts and remove obstacles.” Featured artists include Nia & Ness (the dance/poetry tales of two women in a committed relationship). Oxana Chi and Layla Zami’s “Feeling Jazz” is a “dance-music-dialogue between a body and a saxophone.” Additionally, there will be excerpts from Layla Zami’s spoken word piece “Homesong,” Oxana

Chi’s “Through Gardens” (a blurring of her own biography with that of Tatjana Barbakoff, a famous dancer, muse and political resistant from 1920s/30s Europe), and “(re)SOURCE,” Maria Bauman’s solo dance exploration of lineage and resilience performed to a Haitian electronica-percussion soundscape created live by Val-In. It all takes place Wed., Feb. 21, starting at 7:30pm. Also at Dixon Place: Mon., Feb. 19, 7:30pm in the front lounge (free admission!), it’s this month’s installment of “The Mosquito” — a regular series hosted and curated by the very funny, always acerbic but rarely acidic Nancy Giles, who’s always the best thing about “CBS Sunday Morning” on the all-toorare times she appears as a commentator (and has been known to sling more than one cutting zinger as a news channel pundit). Among the rotating cast of storytellers, stand-up comedians and musicians, frequent guests include Pat Candaras, Cynthia Kaplan, Peri Gaffney, Kathryn Rossetter, Sheila Head, Susan Burns, Sue Giles, and Nancy Shayne. Dixon Place is located at 161 Chrystie St. (btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.). For info, visit dixonplace.org. Februar y 15, 2018

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Positively Quilca St.: Lima losing alt culture GLOBAL VILLAGE BY BILL WEINBERG

W

hen Lutxo Rodríguez recalls the local punks and social outcasts of the downtown district he habituates “dressing in black in the ’80s,” I smile wryly, remembering the Lower East Side of my own youth. But the urban decay that allowed for the florescence of bohemia and an anarchopunk scene in this small enclave of a South American capital came “in the context of political violence,” he says. This is Jirón Quilca, a narrow street just off downtown Lima’s Plaza San Martín. Follow it west, and the stately old hotels and restaurants around the plaza quickly give way to dusty secondhand bookstores, where surviving murals on the exterior walls speak to a recent past of oppositional culture. Quilca, with the warren of small streets surrounding it, was long the haunt of Lima’s “poets, punks, writers and marginalized people,” Rodríguez recalls. A veteran leading figure in the scene, Rodríguez himself looks like he’s changed little. He’s still dressed in a black-and-red color scheme, with long partly dyed hair, black beard and nose ring. “But Quilca is not the same,” he says. “It is full of lumpen, as well as bohemia. There are still lots of bookstores. People still gather in the evenings to drink and talk. But it isn’t a focus of resistance the way it used to be.” In the ’80s and on into the ’90s, Peru was wracked by the Shining Path and other guerilla insurgencies. Lima suffered a lawless atmosphere, and much property was abandoned, especially in the downtown area. In outlying areas, there was massive colonization of vacant land, as peasants fleeing violence in the countryside established squatter communities and “informal” barrios, creeping up the rugged slopes that overlook the city. As in North American cities in the ’70s and ’80s, crime and insecurity were endemic. Rodríguez is keeping alive a stubborn remnant of alternative Quilca’s heyday — El Eskupitajo (an alterno-spelling of the Spanish word for “expectoration”), a little stall in a pedestrian mall off Jirón Camaná, one of Quilca’s feeder streets, selling punk records (yes, vinyl) and regalia, along with fanzines and some anarchist literature. Much of this latter is published by Rodríguez’s own imprint, Editorial Anarcrítica. Its most recent effort is a Spanish translation of Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience,” with an introduction by Rodríguez. “DesTheVillager.com

PHOTOS BY BILL WEINBERG

Lutxo Rodríguez at his Barricada Discos, in Jesus Maria, near Quilca, with a record by Autonomia, the legendar y Lima anarcho-punk band.

Counterculture murals were still on the outside of El Haberno communit y center back in 2013, when this photo was taken. They have since all been painted over.

obedencia” is also the name of the anarchist zine he has sporadically published since 2001. He also peddles anarchist lit at Barricada Discos, the record stall he runs at Galerias Brasil, a mall in the nearby working-class neighborhood of Jesús María. Downstairs, traditional bookbinders work alongside Internet connection points, while one flight up, punk and metal blare from numerous stalls that now constitute the city’s principal magnet for “rockero” youth. Punks (especially the more political ones) are also called “subtes” in limeño argot — short for “subterraneans.” Rodríguez poses for my camera in Barricada Discos while holding aloft a slab of vinyl from Autonomía, the most iconic band of Lima’s subte scene. The sleeve sports a black cat and a black flag with the anarchist circle “A.” The changes to Quilca were clear to me when I passed through and met with Rodríguez in November. I had last been there four years earlier, in 2013. Back then, a hub of the scene, El Haberno

community center, had just recently been evicted. But the colorful and whimsical murals on its exterior walls were still intact. One read, “14 years of counterculture,” an obvious epitaph for the center, painted with eviction impending. Today they are all painted over — but the building remains vacant, “Se vende” (For sale) scrawled on the bare streetfront. The lifespan of El Haberno (“The Devil’s Pit”) is telling. When it opened in 1999, the property was disputed pursuant to its abandonment years earlier, allowing the activists and artists to move in, paying little or nothing in rent. It was a sort of hippie-punk hybrid entity, attracting subte and DIY culture, as well as followers of musica folklorica. One mural was a portrait of El Jilguero del Huascarán (real name Ernesto Sánchez Fajardo), the folksinger from the mountainous Áncash region who was also an advocate for the peasants, and was part of the constituent assembly that crafted Peru’s new constitution after the end of the military dictatorship in 1979.

And when dictatorship briefly returned in 1992 — as President Alberto Fujimori declared his “self-coup,” suspending Congress and the constitution — Quilca had been a rare outpost of open defiance. After democracy was restored a second time and Fujimori was put on trial for corruption and ghastly human-rights abuses, El Haberno pressed the question, with, as Rodríguez recalls, “murals and concerts openly opposed to Fujimori.” The demise of El Haberno is, of course, the bitter fruit of Lima’s “recovery.” With stability restored, property values are rising, and disputed titles are being cleared up. Space for alternative culture is fast shrinking. Another great loss was the closure of the Boulevard de Cultura Quilca, the enclave’s biggest pedestrian mall, filled with stalls selling books, zines, political or psychedelic T-shirts and other such alternative accoutrements. Rodríguez tells me how the mall used to host an annual “Anti-Patriotic Festival” every July, when Peru celebrates its Independence Day. The site was owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Lima, which in 2016 finally evicted the peddlers. It is now a parking lot. Space has been closing more rapidly since Lima’s 2014 mayoral election. When I visited in 2013, the city was still under the progressive administration of Susana Villarán. One of her more visible programs was encouraging the painting of murals on the city’s blank walls, bringing a community touch, and often political and ecological themes, even to busy commercial districts. Now, the conservative Mayor Luis Castañeda has had nearly all of the murals painted over and is aggressively touting a cleanup of the city — much in the style of New York’s Rudy Giuliani a generation ago. Even if it lacks for meeting space, Lima’s anarchist scene survives. Rodríguez tells me it is divided between a “more conventional” current and an “anti-todo” (“anti-everything”) tendency — meaning “anti-intellectual, antiorganization.” As I write, in the closing days of 2017, Lima is exploding into protest following the pardon of Alberto Fujimori by the scandal-embattled sitting president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. After a decade behind bars, the ex-dictator has been transferred from his prison cell to a private clinic, in what looks like a sleazy deal with the hard-right fujimorista bloc in Congress to keep Kuczynski in power. Rodríguez tells me by Internet that an emergency assembly has been called by the city’s anarchist networks to respond. With Peru plunging into political crisis, Lima’s anarchist survivors may be looking at an opportunity to test their mettle —eviction, property squeeze and “cleanup” notwithstanding. Februar y 15, 2018

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Mount Sinai Heart • 10 Union Square East 646-568-5964 mountsinai.org/unionsquare

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