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Serving Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Seaport and the Financial District VOLUME 31, NUMBER 4

FEB 22 – MAR 7, 2018

Happy Lunar New Year!

Celebration at the Winter Garden Page 19 Photo by Milo Hess

Brookfield Place celebrated the Lunar New Year on Feb. 17 with a lavish production at the Winter Garden. For more, see page 19.

City may try to move Bowling Green’s Bull

Also in this issue:

1 M E T R O T E C H • N YC 112 0 1 • C O P Y R I G H T © 2 0 17 N YC C O M M U N I T Y M E D I A , L L C

Deal clears the way for WTC PAC


City may try to move Charging Bull statue BY COLIN MIXSON Mayor de Blasio is reportedly mulling an attempt to move Bowling Green’s iconic Charging Bull statue in order to accommodate a Boston-based investment firm’s wildly successful marketing gimmick — the Fearless Girl statue that suddenly appeared opposite the bull nearly a year ago. A recent report in Adweek cited multiple anonymous sources saying that both de Blasio and State Street Global Advisors have agreed to make the Fearless Girl statue a permanent New York City fixture — albeit someplace other than the narrow northern tip of Bowling Green. The Fearless Girl statue’s popularity has created traffic safety concerns around the plaza’s narrow, cobblestone tip, which is flanked by Broadway on both sides, and visited by hordes of selfie-seeking tourists every day, and officials are mulling whether to redesign the space, or move both Fearless Girl

and Charging Bull — now considered inseparable by the de Blasio administration — to another more safe location, according to Adweek. Artist Arturo Di Modica self-financed his 3.5-ton brass bovine to the tune of $360,000 and installed it outside the New York Stock Exchange without a permit in 1989, where it was meant to evoke America’s indomitable spirit as an encouraging message in the wake of the 1987 stock market crash. The statue was quickly removed by the authorities, but soon found a new home at Bowling Green thanks to the advocacy of Arthur Piccolo, the current president of the Bowling Green Association, who tracked Di Modica down to his studio in Lower Manhattan and convinced him that the nation’s first public park would be a perfect home for the now iconic statue, he said. “We had this wonderful plaza with no purpose, and Arturo — in this incredible act of generosity — agreed to

Associated Press / Mary Altaffer

The city may try and move Bowling Green’s iconic Charging Bull statue to a new location along with the Fearless Girl statue, whose position at the narrow northern tip of the park has raised safety concerns.

keep it here forever,” Piccolo recalled. Piccolo condemned any effort to move Charging Bull away from Bowling Green, while calling for Fearless Girl’s

removal from the public park, describing the feminist icon as little more than BULL Continued on page 7




Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018



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Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018


Immigrant advocates take a stand in Foley Square BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y The tone on the morning of Feb. 10 started a bit lighter than had been expected as immigrant-rights advocates filled Foley Square at the “You Can’t Deport a Movement” rally in support of activist Ravi Ragbir. Ragbir had been ordered report the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office Downtown for deportation that morning. But in a last-minute reprieve, the federal government delayed this action while the courts decide if his rights have been violated. His lawyers had filed a First Amendment lawsuit in Manhattan 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 with Ragbir of the New Sanctuary Coalition, was deported to Haiti soon afterward. Gottlieb wrote of other immigrant-rights 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

Photo by Tequila Minsky

As his wife, Amy Gottleib, looked on, immigrantrights activist Ravi Ragbir addressed the supportive crowd at the Feb. 10 rally at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan.

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, compared ICE to the Gestapo, and called for increased activism. 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 Councilman 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 Plaza.” Stalwart supporters of Ragbir, Rep. Nydia Velazquez and Rep. Yvette Clarke, Councilman Brad Lander, former Council Speaker Melissa MarkViverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Public Advocate Letitia James also spoke in support of immigrant rights and on his behalf. “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 immigrant-rights 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.” FOLEY SQUARE Continued on page 19

On the march for DACA, from NYC to DC

Photo by Eddy Martinez

The 11 DACA recipients marched from The Battery to the ICE offi ce at Foley Square before boarding a ferry to New Jersey to begin their march to Washington, DC.


Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018

BY EDDY MARTINEZ Eleven young men and women set off from The Battery on Feb. 15 for a march on Washington to demand action of protecting undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children. The men and women who gathered at the tip of Lower Manhattan within sight of the Statue of Liberty are currently protected from deportation under the Obama-era program called Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, but that protection will end as of March 5 — by order of President

Trump — unless Congress takes action, and the 11 DACA recipients will walk 250 miles to Washington, D.C., on a two-week-long journey to garner support for a so-called “clean” DREAM act — a broadly supported, bipartisan bill narrowly tailored to legalize those covered by DACA. The march, organized by immigrantadvocate organization Cosecha, comes as repeated attempts to pass an immigration bill have failed in Congress. Most recently, senators from both the Democrat and Republican parties rejected a compromise bill that would

have offered a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and also fund a border wall. It was the fourth failed attempt this year to pass a bill to protect so-called Dreamers — a track record that has made one marcher wary of relying on politicians and join the march as a way to take matters into his own hands by building support among the public at large. “I’ve lost faith in them, I stopped taking pictures with them, I stopped DACA Continued on page 11


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Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018


“More Parks Sausages Mom!” “Please!”

by Maurice W. Dorsey More than his ad, Henry G. Parks, Jr. was a man before his time. Pioneering in the American free enterprise system he embarked on a journey leading to a multi-million dollar industry. After many endeavors in business, The H.G. Parks, Inc. trading as Parks Sausage became a reality in 1951. With strong aggressive leadership, brilliant marketing and advertising, Mr. Parks build a business that never posted a losing year under his ownership. Park’s Sausage was the first African American owned business to issue stock publicly. Mr. Park’s success caught the attention of some of the leading corporate boards in this country along with national organizations, city, state, and federal leaders. They sought to bring him aboard to share his knowledge, leadership skills, and ability with other leading American business, government and non-profit leaders. This is the story of a businessman who was African American and was optimistic and determined while achieving ultimate success. Available on Xlibris.com or Amazon.com mdorsey10 @mdorsey10 Maurice W. Dorsey Maurice W. Dorsey

SEX ED A 59-year-old home-tutor from Long Island was arrested for allegedly attempting to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex in Lower Manhattan on Feb. 14. The suspect engaged in sexually explicit text and email conversations with undercover agents posing as a 13-year-old girl between Jan. 30 and Feb. 14, where he discussed various kinky sexy acts and made plans to meet the phantom youngster at a diner in Manhattan, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. NYPD detectives arrested the Seaford, LI, resident at the diner on Feb. 14, and U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman charged the defendant with attempted enticement, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. “A home-school tutor who has constant interaction with children, made arrangements through text messaging and emails to meet with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity,” said Berman. “Thankfully he was corresponding with an undercover law enforcement officer and not a young girl, but his alleged intentions are no less insidious.” Police released a photo of the defendant in an effort to locate possible additional victims who may have come in contact with him.

EYE FOR EYE A man and woman allegedly maced a cop in a failed attempt to flee arrest on Church Street on Feb. 12. The suspects were among four graffiti artists allegedly caught tagging a commercial building between Walker and Lispenard streets at 9:15 pm, when the arresting officer announced himself as a cop and moved in to cuff them, according to police. The cop managed to bag two of the suspected vandals, but not before they allegedly caught him with a can of mace, earning themselves a felony assault rap, cops said.

Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018

from a woman’s hands on State Street on Feb. 16. The victim told police the pint-sized perp nabbed her cell near Battery Place at 10 pm, but that she was able to run him down and recover her property from the rascal. The woman victim declined to press charges, cops said.

WELCOME TO NEW YORK A foreign exchange student woke up from a drug-induced fugue to find his cash and credit cards missing outside the Fulton Street subway station on Feb. 6. The victim told police he had been at a bar hanging out with three strange men, who may have drugged him, because he fell asleep shortly after leaving and awoke to empty pockets outside the station near Broadway at 1:30 am.

BIKE BANDIT PANTS PERP A shoplifter nabbed a whopping 17 pairs of pants from a Broadway retailer on Feb. 17. An employee told police the crook grabbed more than $1,300 worth of denim before hightailing past the register of the shop between Maiden Lane and Liberty Street at 3:35 pm.

CHILD’S PLAY A 12-year-old boy snatched a phone



Police released a photo of this Seaford, NY, man after he was arrested within the 1st Precinct on Feb. 14 by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force on charges including attempted rape and attempted acting in a manner injurious to a child, in an effort to locate possible additional victims that may have come in contact with him.

A thief rode off with a man’s motorcycle which he had parked on Thompson Street sometime before Feb. 2. The victim told police he left his KTM Super Duke locked up tight — with a chain fed through the back tire and secured around a fence — between W. Houston and Prince streets at 8 am one day, and returned nearly a week later to find his $7,000 speed machine stolen. — Colin Mixson DowntownExpress.com

Deal of a century Cuomo clears way for WTC PAC with 99-year lease of site for $1/year from Port Authority BY COLIN MIXSON The show must go on! Work has resumed on the performing arts center planned for the World Trade Center campus after Gov. Cuomo reached a lease agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site. Cuomo announced on Feb. 15 an agreement clearing the way for construction of a world-calibre cultural attraction at what’s already one of the city’s most heavily trafficked tourist destinations. “With this new performing arts center, Manhattan will cement its reputation as an international hub for the arts,” Cuomo said. “This new facility will secure New York City’s status as a premier cultural destination while supporting tourism, jobs and economic growth for the entire Empire State.” Under the deal, the bi-state agency will lease the 200,000-square-foot site to the preforming arts center for $1 a year for 99 years. The arrangement

includes an option for an additional 99-year lease extension, and the possibility that the Port Authority could then sell the site to the center for the bargain price of a buck. But the deal also includes some serious money changing hands. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation will also fork over $48 million to the Port Authority to fund below-ground construction necessary to support the massive new cultural space. Renderings of the REX-designed theater complex released in 2016 depict a grand, cube-shaped structure sheathed in thin sheets of translucent marble — to be sourced from the same quarry as the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. — which will permit light to flood in during the day, as well as create a glow from the building at night. The three-floor center — dubbed the Ronald O. Perelman Preforming Arts Center after the billionaire philanthropist donated $75 million to the project — will include three auditoriums located in the structure’s upper levels that


Work on the Ronald O. Perelman Preforming Arts Center had stalled late last year while Gov. Cuomo and the Port Authority haggled over a lease arrangement for the site.

are capable of seating 499, 250, and 99 people respectively, with an additional rehearsal space that can also double as a theater. Lower Manhattan was promised a performing arts center back in 2002 as part of a “master plan” for redevelop-

BULL Continued from page 2

a commercial for an out-of-state investment firm. “It’s a marketing tool!” he said. Indeed, a plaque once prominently embedded in the cobblestone beside Fearless Girl marketed State Street’s “SHE” fund, which the investment firm launched in 2016 to track the performance of US companies with the highest levels of gender diversity in their sectors. The statue also generated an estimated $7.4 million in free marketing for State Street in the first 51 days after it was installed, according to a Bloomberg report. Piccolo also called State Street hypocritical for its own abysmal record when it comes to gender diversity — only three of State Street’s 11 board members are women, and among its 28 top executives, only five are women. Furthermore, the multi-billion-dollar investment firm was forced to pony up $5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by female employees who accused State Street of paying women less than men, according to a Fortune report. “De Blasio is dealing actively with this multi-billion company up in Boston, DowntownExpress.com

Photo by Milo Hess

The hordes of selfie-seekers the Fearless Girl statue draws to the narrow tip of Bowling Green has led the city to want to move it — but since the sculpture derives most of its intended meaning from its position opposite the Charging Bull statue, the city may try to move them both together.

which had to settle a case where they discriminated against women,” Piccolo said. If the city does end up deciding to

move the statues, it may find itself in a fight with Di Modica, who has already filed a lawsuit against State Street claiming damages for its co-optive placement

ment of the WTC site in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but construction of the sprawling $4 billion Oculus Transportation Hub stalled the project by preventing the demolition of the temporary PATH train station, which occupied the theater’s future site.

of Fearless Girl opposite his Charging Bull, which he says makes it derivative of his capitalist icon and is an attempt to change the bull’s meaning into a symbol of misogyny. “The inescapable implication [of Fearless Girl] is that the ‘Charging Bull’ is the source of that fear and power, and a force against what’s right,” Di Modica’s attorneys wrote to the investment firm last spring. Despite an attempt in 2004 to sell the statue to a donor, who would then turn over ownership of the bull to the city, Di Modica still retains ownership of the statue, and may choose to pull the bull from the city altogether if de Blasio continues his push to make his work subordinate to the girl, Piccolo said. “The mayor of the city has no right to move the bull,” said the Bowling Green advocate. “I would strongly advise him not to put up with that girl being permanently in front of it — it destroys the purpose of the bull to serve a private company.” Di Modica could not be reached for comment before deadline, and a lawyer for the artist did not return calls for comment. Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018



Why college is a big waste of money PUBLISHER

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Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018

BY LENORE SKENAZY It was not a whole lot of fun to interview Bryan Caplan, as my husband and I have two kids in college right now and the bills just keep on coming. But Caplan is an academic I respect, he’ll be in New York soon for a big debate at the Soho Forum, and he just wrote a book that will undoubtedly get a lot of people talking: “The Case Against Education: Why The Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money.” “I see myself as a whistle-blower,” Caplan said. Though he enjoys tenure as a professor of economics at George Mason University, “I feel an obligation to tell people that the system seems dysfunctional to me. What students learn is not relevant in the real world. Most of what they’ll need to know is just to pass the final exam.” This resonated a bit uncomfortably for me as I tried to recall what I’d learned in my Modern Russian History class at college, and, for that matter, my French Revolution class. And physics. And English Literature from Milton to, um, someone else. And… Ahem! Back to Caplan. As an economist, he naturally thinks about this issue in economic terms, starting with the “puzzle” of why college grads earn more than those without a degree. Many employers seem to be paying not for any actual skills or knowledge students have accrued at college, but simply for the “stamp of approval.” “It’s a lot like going to a concert you want to see where one person stands up,” said Caplan. “If everyone stands up, no one can see any better. And if everyone has a bachelor’s degree, then no one does.” Or rather, a college degree becomes the baseline for getting a job interview. This makes it take

Posted To U.S. SUPREME COURT CLEARS WAY FOR SILVER RETRIAL (JAN. 25) Glad to see there’s another chance to get this crook behind bars. Gordon Lee

PROTECTING DOWNTOWN SCHOOLS IN THE AGE OF ISIS (JAN. 26) I would like to bring attention to the hazardous conditions on the South side of Canal Street beside the Holland

longer and cost more to start earning a decent living. It wasn’t always thus. In his book, Caplan looks at different occupations going back to the 1940s: How much education did waiters have back then, or hotel concierges? “Since 1940, the education for the same job is up by three years — the education you need to be considered worthy,” he says. And it’s not that the jobs have become so much more intellectually demanding. Some have, of course, but some are easier now. For instance, waiters in the 1940s had to add up the bill at the table. Today, a computer does that. And yet, today the job demands more “education.” Meanwhile, this education keeps getting more expensive. For this, Caplan blames, in part, the availability of student loans. “If students had to pay out of savings or earnings, the demand wouldn’t be there” for expensive schooling. But with loans readily available, demand is artificially high. In turn, the schools use this new pool of money to become ever more alluring, creating a sort of educational arms race: Who has the newest health club? The biggest auditorium? Caplan is pretty adamant that the system is bloated and wasteful. But he’s not just down on college. He is down on high school too. “Kids are so bored!” he exclaims. And, he adds, so many classes are pointless. Take, for instance, language instruction. The typical American takes two

Tunnel between Hudson and Varick Streets. If ever there was a street that needed bollards, this is it. I feel that it is an accident waiting to happen the way the cars and trucks zoom along. There is hardly a differentiation between roadway and sidewalk in some areas. Over the years, I have seen evidence of numerous vehicular accidents along this stretch. I see car parts, signs down and sometimes bits of clothing and shoes. I would hate to see a similar scenario occur like the one on West Street on October 31, 2017. Patricia Donohoe

years of foreign language in high school. But what percent say they really learned to speak that language? “Is it 15 percent?” I venture. Nope. “Five percent?” Nope. “A bit under one percent claim to have learned to speak a foreign language very well in high school,” says Caplan. Ask if they learned enough to at least get by, and more people will say yes. “But you can’t get a job being able to speak a slight amount of Spanish.” If instead of spending so many years in high school learning so many things they’re not going to use, students could be learning a trade instead, he said, many would be better off, Caplan says. Vocational ed should not be a dirty word. I agree! Vigorously! And I’m thrilled some New York City high schools give kids a real-world skill. But the CUNYs change lives too. I’ve seen it. Students from Azerbaijan and China and Ecuador somehow make it to America, learn the language, work a part-time job or jobs and become the first in their family to get a college degree. It changes the trajectory of their lives. And on the way to becoming an accountant or a teacher, some of them stumble into a computer class or Arabic or biology, and voila: their lives change again. It’s true that not every class in high school or college is memorable, practical, or even good. And it’s true we shouldn’t dismiss anyone without a degree as unworthy of hiring. But it’s also true that the education system can be something other than a pit. It can be a door. Lenore Skenazy is president of Let Grow, and a contributor to Reason. com.

PÉTAIN STAIN WILL REMAIN (FEB. 5) DeBlassio is actually right about this, hard to believe as that is. Don’t know how we learn from history by censoring it. Very instructive that Petain, a genuine hero of WWI deserving of a parade, could, by probably trying do the right thing, be so completely wrong twenty years later. A little effort by people. and nowadays all it take is quick search on a smart phone, is not unreasonable to ask. Harry DowntownExpress.com

O P- E D

(Above) Sculptor Arturo Di Modica, at left, and Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, at right, at the arrival of the iconic Charging Bull statue at Bowling Green on Dec. 20, 1989. (Right) The Fearless Girl statue appeared opposite the bull in March last year. Now the city may try to move both statues someplace else.

for Arturo Di Modica, Charging Bull or what it stands for if Mayor Bill de Blasio has his way. Rather, Charging Bull will become a very sad symbol of the blatant misuse of power by a major government official. Working hand-in-hand with Bostonbased financial company State Street Global Advisors, Mayor de Blasio has allowed this company to turn Charging Bull into a promotion for State Street by recasting Charging Bull as symbol of male power that oppresses women. Mayor de Blasio gave State Street a oneyear permit to place a statue of a young girl only feet away and confronting the “menacing” bull in their view and that

Photo by Milo Hess

BY ARTHUR PICCOLO Dec. 20, 1989, is a notable date in New York City history. America’s oldest public park, Bowling Green Park in Lower Manhattan, received a very special holiday season a gift that would become and is today legendary as a symbol of New York City known around the world. In a notable act of civic pride and personal generosity, Italian-American sculptor Arturo Di Modica made a memorable gift to the City of New York. It was the iconic 3.5-ton bronze Charging Bull which has stood at Bowling Green Park in Lower Manhattan near Wall Street for over 28 years. In that time, tens of millions of visitors from around the world — as well as many, many New Yorkers — have flocked to Bowling Green to see, touch, and photograph Charging Bull. In those 28 years, Bowling Green has proven the prefect site. Mr. Di Modica is so self-effacing he has not even wanted any sign there identifying him. Arturo Di Modica’s purpose in creating Charging Bull and gifting it to the people of New York was to symbolize New York City as the capital of the financial markets — but specifically in response to the stock market crash of 1987, as a symbol of an optimistic future for America for everyone in an inclusive capitalism for the future as represented by his very friendly Bull. Sounds like a perfect story with a happy ending that goes on and on in which Charging Bull continues to delight all, especially children, and inspire millions for generations to come at Bowling Green, as does the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor not far away. Well think again. This will not have a happy ending

Photo by Arthur Piccolo

No good deed goes unpunished in de Blasio’s New York

of Mayor de Blasio. Was Mr. Di Modica consulted or even advised about this? Absolutely not. He was told nothing. The little girl statue was secretly placed there in the middle of the night. Now the story is about to get worse.

Mayor de Blasio, at the urging of this Boston company, is planning the give this other statue permanent status while destroying the purpose and meaning of Mr. Di Modica’s wonderful gift of Charging Bull to New York City. Possibly even moving Charging Bull from Bowling Green where it has stood magnificently for 28 years and placed somewhere else along with the State Street promotional statue. On what authority would Mayor de Blasio do so? Should Mayor de Blasio be allowed to destroy the very meaning of Mr. Di Modica’s gift to New York City in order to please a billion-dollar corporation at Arturo Di Moidica’s expense and to serve the greed and power a Mayor who ignores what is right and fair by any standard? What do you think? You should be outraged by this act of ingratitude by Mayor de Blasio. If Mayor de Blasio wants to give the State Street Global Advisors statue a useful, meaningful permanent home he should place that little girl on Broad Street facing the famous facade of the New York Stock Exchange where many of those notable companies that do not treat women as equals with men are listed and where their stocks are bought and sold. There Mayor de Blasio and State Street Global Advisors would be confronting real power and influence not abusing Charging Bull who has brought so much joy to so many for so long. Arturo Di Modica’s epic sculpture Charging Bull has nothing to do with abusing women. Shame on Mayor de Blasio and State Street Global Advisors. Arthur Piccolo is head of the Bowling Green Association.

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Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018


REVOLVING DOORMEN Gateway residents demand return of beloved concierges BY COLIN MIXSON More than 700 residents of a Battery Park City residential complex have signed a petition protesting their landlord’s decision to separate them from two beloved concierges who between them have guarded their doors for more than half a century. “These are people who have our overwhelming support,” said Jill Furillo, a five-year resident of the Gateway Plaza residential complex. “We love them, and everybody is really upset about this.” Gateway’s management relocated doormen Felipe Dominguez and Wilton Germosen from their posts at the joint entrance of 375 and 385 South End Ave. — each more than 30 stories tall and together home to roughly 1,200 tenants — to a smaller, five-story building within the Gateway campus on Feb. 12, according Nancy Chambers, a Gateway resident who has tangled with her landlord over other issues in


Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018

the past. “Management is very mean towards tenants, we pay them and they treat us like we’re crap,” said Chambers. And the pair of doormen’s combined 50 years experience helping with groceries, directing visitors, and keeping out the riff-raff makes them irreplaceable in the eyes of tenants, many of whom have formed strong relationships with their faithful servants, according to Furillo. “Everyday there’s something they do for us,” she said. “The fact that they’re being removed, from our perspective, seems retaliatory to the residents.” The separation may be hard on residents’ hearts, but it hits the doormen right in their wallets, according to another resident, who said the loss of tips from their move to the less populous building constitutes a substantial demotion. “Besides the fact they have deep

Photo by Milo Hess

Dozens of Gateway Plaza residents gathered on Feb. 20 to protest the removal of beloved doormen Felipe Dominguez and Wilton Germosen from their posts at the joint entrance of 375 and 385 South End Ave.

relationships going back decades with tenants, they’re going to lose a lot of money,” said Susan Davis, a Gateway resident, who also happens to work as a labor attorney. “The impact on their income in terms of Christmas bonuses from tenants is in excess of $10,000.” It’s unclear what prompted the move on management’s part, and a spokes-

woman for the LeFrak Organization, which owns the building, said the company would not comment regarding internal staffing decisions. But there’s a common theory among residents that the landlord is diverting the blame for a poorly implemented DOORMEN Continued on page 19


Falling debris kills man in Soho BY COLIN MIXSON Falling debris from a Soho fire escape struck and killed a Long Island man on Feb. 16, and severely wounded a woman. A privately contracted engineer was working her way down to the seventh floor of the fire escape as part of a routine inspection at 434 Broadway between Grand and Howard streets at 1:37 pm, when a loose tread broke off the metal stairway and plummeted to the sidewalk, striking 58-year-old Garden City resident Richard Marchhart and another passerby, according to police. Paramedics rushed both wounded pedestrians to Bellevue Hospital for treatment, but were too late to save Marchhart, who perished at the Kips Bay medical center, cops said. The other victim was in serious but stable condition, according to police.

The engineer suffered minor injuries as a result of the accident, according to a spokesman for the fire department. Inspectors with the city’s buildings department descended on the nine-story commercial structure following the incident, and issued the owner a violation for failure to safeguard the building, according to Department of Building’s spokesman Andrew Rudansky. The building’s owner ordered a sidewalk shed built beneath the fire escape over the weekend, and hired engineers who on Saturday found an additional three loose treads, which they secured, and removed some unstable railing, according to Rudansky. The engineer involved in the accident was inspecting the building’s facade and fire escape for faults as required by city law for all buildings over six-stories tall, the buildings spokesman said.

Photo by Milo Hess

Falling debris dislodged from a fire escape in Soho struck and killed 58-yearold Garden City resident Richard Marchhart on Feb. 16.

DACA Continued from page 4

Thurs., Feb. 22–Wed., Feb. 28

ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES ARE IN EFFECT ALL WEEK Lower Manhattan will be jam-packed all weekend with a labor rights rally in Foley Square and a Lunar New Year event Saturday, followed by the “Granddaddy of Them All,” Chinatown’s annual New Year’s parade Sunday celebrating the Year of the Dog. Brooklyn Bridge Alert! Lafayette St. from Worth to Reade Streets is likely to close around 9 a.m. Saturday for DC 37, the ALF-CIO, and other unions to rally, reopening in the late afternoon. Broadway, Park Row and the area around the Brooklyn Bridge will also be affected until about 3 p.m. Nearby, lion and dragon dancers will be out on Chinatown side streets like Mott and Bayard, prompting temporary closures from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Late that night, Mott St. will start to close again in preparation for the Sunday parade, from Worth to Kenmare Streets. By late morning Sunday, East Broadway from Chatham Sq. to Forsyth St. will close, as will parts of Elizabeth, Hester, Forsyth and Eldridge Streets. Dispersal will be on Broome and on Forsyth Streets. Canal, Grand and Delancey Streets, Bowery and the Manhattan Bridge will all be affected as well. Streets should reopen by 6 p.m. I’d avoid the Downtown bridges this weekend during the day, but if you have to DowntownExpress.com

take one, the Williamsburg is probably best on Saturday, and the Brooklyn on Sunday because Foley Square will be clear. The Manhattan Bridge is a must to avoid, particularly Sunday. Mailbag: Dear Transit Sam, I don’t agree with Gov. Cuomo. Congestive charging is not the way to go. Uber is the problem. It seems everyone is afraid to clamp down on Uber. More people should take public transportation again. Bob Dear Bob, The problem is too many vehicles, too little street space. So, what do you do when demand for a precious resource (in this case space) far exceeds supply? My answer is price it appropriately. I think all people entering Manhattan’s Central Business District (the area south of 60th St.) should have to pay. That includes subway riders, Uber and Lyft passengers, taxi riders, truckers, drivers of private cars and others. I agree app-based car services, that only appeared this decade, have contributed significantly to congestion. You cite Uber in your letter; interestingly enough,, Uber is a supporter of congestion pricing even though they will be charged directly. The money raised from congestion pricing will help repair and expand mass transit, which will get more people riding which is correctly your final point. Transit Sam

talking to them, and I’ve seen that we get better responses from the community,” said Li Adorno. His attitude toward even sympathetic politicians mirrors that of other disenchanted DACA recipients who have recently protested against Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. A young marcher named Cata Santiago said that she is taking the extraordinary action of walking to the nation’s capital in order to help make the only country she has ever known a place where she and her family can feel safe again. “This walk is about home. It’s about a right to stay home and, home is where my family is, it’s also where I can open the door and have a good night’s sleep,” she said. Zac Montiel explained that the decision to start the march in front of The Battery’s World War II memorial was not a coincidence.

“It represents the fighters that fight for this country and for liberty, and it’s the same thing that we do,” he said. “We’re fighting to stay in this country and we’re fighting for our liberty.” The marchers fi rst walked from The Battery to City Hall and then paused at Foley Square, where they placed roses on the ground near the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, in honor of the many immigrants who were arrested and deported. The marchers then made their way past the World Trade Center and onto a ferry that took them to New Jersey. While only 11 people from New York City gathered to begin the trek, they will be joined by other marchers from around the country as they head south. They are expected to arrive in Washington by March 1st, just a few days before the scheduled end of DACA.

Photo by Eddy Martinez

The DACA marchers joined hands and laid roses in front of the ICE offi ces at Foley Square in honor of the many immigrants deported from there.

Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018


Max’s magnificent torch for the dreadful Olympics The perfect metaphor for whatever burns forever bright BY MAX BURBANK Oh lord, it’s here! The Winter Olympics! That magical time when everybody pretends to be wildly passionate and knowledgeable about figure skating, despite the fact it’s the only time they ever watch it. I mean, between cable, Dish, and the Internet, you could watch figure skating if not constantly, certainly weekly. People who hate baseball but get giddy over figure skating watch more baseball than they do figure skating. Baseball fan or not, you know the basic rules, right? But you only pretend you know what a “triple Lutz” is. Aren’t you ashamed that until you read this sentence, you thought the maneuver known as a “Salchow” — a jump featuring a backward takeoff from the backward inside edge of one skate to the backward outside edge of the other, with one or more full turns in the air, requiring the use of the word “backward” THREE TIMES just to describe it — was called a “sowcow?” Didn’t you wonder why a particularly difficult jump taking years to master would be named after some sort of hideous bovine/pig hybrid? You did not. That is the kind of hold the Olympics has over people. It’s so magical it makes us stupid. And that’s my point. The Olympics is the pinnacle of human physical achievement and a cesspool of doping, institutional corruption, and color commentary so god-awful it could make you wish someone would pull your brain out through your nose like the ancient Egyptians did — but at least they had the decency to wait until you were dead. It’s everything and nothing, the best of times and the worst of times, just like America! Or your life. Or poutine. If you don’t know what that last one is, Google it. Because the Olympics is totally poutine. The Olympics is the perfect metaphor for… well, everything involved with the human condition. Like life itself, the Olympics is simultaneously magnificent and dreadful. “That’s an interesting thesis, Mr. Burbank. Would you care to support it with evidence from childhood memories?” Gladly, and also I’m not entirely sure I care for your tone, imaginary reader’s voice in my head. 1968, Grenoble, France. The first Olympics I remember. I was six years old, watching it in black and white. Jean-Claude Killy was my hero. Suave, debonair, quintessentially French, the


Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018

Illustration by Max Burbank

son of a Spitfire pilot for the FreeFrench during the Nazi occupation, he dominated the alpine events, taking home three gold medals and, yes, the parts of my confused child’s heart not already committed to Peggy Fleming, America’s figure skating sweetheart. Killy’s reward? In 1972 he starred in the movie “Snow Job,” a heist flick wherein a French ski instructor skis a lot and also pulls off a very complicated bank robbery to impress his co-conspirator/ girlfriend — but in the last minute of the film, you find out it was a con job and Killy splits the money with the insurance agency detective who’s been pursuing them but turns out to have been in on it all along. How awful a film is it? Well, Killy only acted once more, in the 1983 Jim Carrey/Alan Thicke buddy comedy, “Copper Mountain, A Club Med Experience.” Killy played himself, and his screen time was mercifully brief. That same winter Olympics, the captain of the US women’s ski team and a favorite for the gold, Suzanne Stevia “Suzy” Chaffee, finished a disappointing 28th in the downhill. Her life after

retirement was in every way exemplary and inspiring. She championed Title IX legislation, demanding equal opportunity for women in school sports. She was the first woman to serve on the board of the United States Olympic Committee, and co-founded the Native Voices Foundation, and advocacy organization seeking to develop Olympians from Native American tribes. So how is Ms. Chaffee best remembered? From an ad campaign wherein she ponders the possibility of changing her name to “Suzy ChapStick.” And remember Peggy Flemming? She was the spokesperson for Robitussin’s “Last Names Giveaway” campaign. Because her surname sounds like phlegm. Think it was just my first Olympics that leaned so heavily on pathos and irony? Try Googling this string: “Olympics embarrassments disappointments god-awful scandals crimes.” From geopolitics to doping to the ritual humiliation we inevitably visit upon our heroes, it has always been thus. It’s human nature that bearing witness to excellence thrills us briefly and then compels us to transform it into a giant

slalom of excrement. There can be no doubt — the Olympics inspire. But about half of what it inspires is reprehensible. Fox News had to take down a column written by executive editor John Moody arguing that the US Olympic Committee wanted to change their motto from “Faster, Higher, Stronger” to “Darker, Gayer, Different.” Okay, A) That’s terrible writing. The adjectives aren’t opposites or even slightly parallel, and B) How ugly does a sentiment have to be for Fox News, the network that thought Roy Moore might make a pretty okay Senator, to officially state it does not reflect their views and values? And hey, where’s President “America First!” in all of this? As of press time, team USA had five gold medals. Wouldn’t you think there’d be a “Failing fake news media won’t report most gold medals won under any presidency!” tweet? My god, he tweeted about NASCAR the day I wrote this, but aside from some generic boilerplate about the opening ceremonies obviously written by Hope Hicks, nothing. Honestly, there’s not much he can tweet about it. What would he tweet? “Congratulations on half-pipe gold, Chloe Kim! Hope you love ICE as much as snow! So convenient Olympics in South Korea, feel free to stay! Why can’t our immigrant athletes be from Norway? They win most medals!” “Adam Rippon let America down, didn’t individual medal, only team. Many people are saying lifestyle choice. Should have chosen to be Norwegian. So much more manly. So glistening white.” Trump himself is too one-dimensional to be like the Olympics, but the games are a perfect metaphor for the American presidency — an office that has been home to the unmatched genius of Jefferson, the heart, passion, and courage of Lincoln, and Obama’s eloquence and steady hand is now occupied by a boy king who makes George W. Bush look like that uncle who’s kind of fun at Thanksgiving as long as it’s the only time you see him. Remember when you thought there could never be a president that damn teeth-grindingly stupid? Sweet, sweet, nostalgia. Ivanka is scheduled to attend the closing ceremonies. That should finally draw our president’s attention. “About time Olympics got good! Forget Darker, Gayer, Different. Gimmee Whiter, Blonder, HOT!!!” DowntownExpress.com

Call Me by Your New Name Horse Trade joins the nonprofit FRIGID stable

Photo by Benjamin Davis

In “Lenny Bruce is Not Afraid,” the last two “normal” people in the world have an especially uncomfortable first date as they negotiate the streets of zombie-filled NYC on the way back home to one of their apartments (and kisses for two?).

BY SCOTT STIFFLER A brush with the law. A bounty on your head. A credit rating beyond repair. Cruel schoolyard taunts that still sting after all these years. There are many good reasons to change your name — but perhaps none so noble as the mission to make sure the show goes on. In such a case, who among us would deny one’s right to be called FRIGID? Those caps aren’t just for dramatic effect. They’re part of a wintertime tradition that has Horse Trade Theater Group turning over its two East Village performance spaces to the anythinggoes FRIGID Festival — half of whose 30 participants are culled from firstcome email submissions, with the remaining half determined by pulling names out of a plastic trick-or-treat pumpkin at the stroke of midnight on Halloween. A chancy acceptance policy, yes. So kudos to FRIGID for taking that leap of faith, then backing it up with free rehearsal and performance space, tech support, PR outreach, and the promise that each festival participant will walk away with 100 percent FRIGID continued on p. 14

Photo by Jenny Rubin

Courtesy Mary Stucchi Photography

Brooklyn-based artist and clown Mélissa Smith’s “The Magician’s Assistant” is an awe-inspiring show especially suitable for kids. DowntownExpress.com

Hide your prescription pills and cash! “Molly’s World” finds nacho-eating security guard/poet Molly “Equality” Dykeman (the sidesplitting alter ego of Andrea Alton) looking for a lady to go home with (and promoting world peace).

Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018


Photo by Jody Christopherson

Addressing elements of PTSD and the stigma of seeking psychiatric treatment, Megan Bandelt’s “what she found” puts central character Fiona through a Lewis Carrollike looking glass journey after she unearths a lost gift left by her deceased grandmother.

Courtesy FRIGID

From brothers Zach (pictured) and Joey Stamp, “Life in 60 Minutes” takes that amount of time to tell the story, rock show-style, of a Marine Corps veteran’s journey from high school to boot camp to Afghanistan (and from addiction to recovery).

Courtesy FRIGID

From Sour Grapes Productions, “As He Likes It: A Shakesqueer Comedy” is an LGBTQ adaptation of you-know-who’s “As You Like It.” And we like that! FRIGID continued from p. 13

of the box office proceeds from their show. But that’s a difficult business model from which to eke a profit, so Horse Trade is trading in its trademark name and rebranding all future endeavors under the umbrella of a nonprofit named… FRIGID. “Horse Trade was created 20 years ago to be an entirely self-sufficient organization,” said managing artistic director Erez Ziv. “It’s become clearer over the years,” he deadpanned, “that independent theater needs funding.” With their flagship Kraine Theater seating 99, and a 45-seat capacity at the basement space UNDER St. Marks, “Those numbers are just not enough to create a situation where artists are getting paid anything near what they should be.” Nonprofit status, Ziv said, “opens all of what we do [sans rentals] to fundraising” as well as grants and taxdeductible donations from individuals. Those sources are of particular importance, since, Ziv noted, “The FRIGID festival is not curated. That puts us out


Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018

of play with private foundations that have certain opinions. They won’t fund a thing that goes against those opinions, so an open-access [uncensored] festival could easily offend.” There’s an up side to that too, however, in that annual festivals with a special focus — like June’s Queerly (LGBTQ-themed) and November’s Gotham Storytelling lend themselves to financial support from likeminded or otherwise sympathetic sources. “This year,” Ziv said of January’s Obie-winning The Fire This Time Festival (featuring early career African and African American artists), “we got a grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and a nice grant from the Time Warner Foundation.” Having spent the last few years bringing more and more of its monthly shows, co-productions, and annual festivals into the nonprofit FRIGID fold, they’ll make it official at a multitasking March 4 event. “Horse Trade is turning 20 this year,” Ziv said wistfully, “and since the Oscars moved from our middle weekend to our last, instead

Photo by Jody Christopherson

Ilsa Jule admits to occasional small deceptions, but the title “I Lied to Marianne Williamson” hints at larger transgressions (including fibbing to a guru and the titular NYT bestselling author).

of an Oscar party for our mid-festival party, we just decided to do a variety show with FRIGID participants doing material specifically not from their festival show. Then, in the summer, we’ll have a 20th anniversary party for Horse Trade. Starting at the end of this season, it’s all going to be FRIGID on the front end.” Consider that a head start on the challenge of adaptive language as it applies to FRIGID becoming a way

to describe all of the in-house productions. Meantime, though, for a taste of what’s in the offering for this year’s FRIGID festival (now through March 4), see the captions in this article. For the entire schedule and to purchase tickets ($5 to $20; three-show pass for $30), visit FRIGIDnewyork.info. The Kraine Theater is located at 85 E. Fourth St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave. UNDER St. Marks is located at 94 St. Marks Place, btw. First Ave. & Ave. A. DowntownExpress.com

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, 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 DowntownExpress.com

Courtesy the artist

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

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 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 eightpiece 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+. For info, visit facebook.com/treehouseat2A. Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018


The Best of Yesterday, Fun to Play Toy Fair brings nostalgic wonderland to New York BY CHARLES BATTERSBY New York is home to lots of fun events at our convention centers, but the annual North American International Toy Fair is off-limits to the general public. Only industry pros and press are allowed to experience its whimsical wonders. We were lucky to have access to this secret toyland during its Feb. 17–20 run at the Javits Center, and played with some of the new toys that will be delighting kids and grown-ups in the months ahead. Among the flashy Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets, we were pleased to learn that the simple teddy bear is still a mainstay of the industry. The Toy Fair (toyfairny. com) had booths showing the latest designs from classics like Beanie Babies and Gund, along with a relatively new addition to the plush market: Rilakkuma, a Japanese bear character who is popular with teens and adults. Pillow Pets fell out of fashion for a few years — but they’re back, and they even have a certain nostalgia for millennials who have grown into adults. A new line of baby-sized Pillow Pets are out now, so that parents and kids can have matching pets without the grown-ups having to share. Nostalgia, on the whole, has always been a part of the toy industry. Middleaged people might be surprised to learn that the ’80s are now a source of nostalgia, especially thanks to the TV show “Stranger Things” and the upcoming movie “Ready Player One.” At the Toy Fair, the company World’s Smallest had mini recreations of classic ’80s toys: everything from a miniscule Stretch Armstrong (who really stretches!) to arcade cabinets with postage stampsized screens that played working versions of Pac-Man and other ’80s games. Nearby, another company, My Arcade, was promoting a slightly larger set of retro arcade cabinets — which had bigger screens and controls, but were less portable. A form of nostalgia that should hit New Yorkers particularly hard is FAO Schwarz, whose iconic flagship store closed down in 2015. A new flagship store is coming back to New York later this year. In the meantime, FAO Schwarz has re-emerged as a brand, with some of their products for sale at other retailers and online. The giant piano from the movie “Big” was available to play at the Toy Fair, and a full-sized Zoltar the Fortune Teller was there, but was not granting wishes. Their website currently sells a smaller version of the piano that is


Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018

Photos by Charles Battersby

FAO Schwarz is returning to NYC, and their website currently sells a smaller version of the playable piano keys popularized in the Tom Hanks film “Big.”

Behold, the World’s Smallest working arcade cabinet.

Pillow Pets are back, for young and old.

more suitable for playing at home. A tiny home version of Zoltar is on the way. Another strong theme at this year’s Toy Fair was how to get kids away from their electronic screens. One way is through board games. Iello was showing

an extensive lineup of board games that were suitable for various age groups. Of note for New Yorkers is the giant monster game “King of New York.” In it, players take on the roles of giant monsters and compete against each other to

do the best job of destroying the city. Kids who want to rampage for real will want to grab some “Battle Bunkerz.” These are aren’t toys — they’re inflatable set pieces for creating life-sized battlefields for laser tag and Nerf fights. DowntownExpress.com

Barbie can now add “beekeeper” to her resume.

They look like slabs of concrete, old tires, rusty barrels: the exact kind of debris that kids would see in a video game or action movie. They deflate for easy storage, and have a relatively low price point. The larger packs come with instructions for how to create organized games with rules and objectives. Edible toys are a trend that comes and goes. What kid hasn’t blown soap bubbles with a bubble wand, then tried to eat one of them? In the primitive years past, this resulted in nothing but a mouth full of soap. Candylicious has solved this age-old problem by making edible, candy flavored bubbles. These come in small pouches for single play sessions, or parents can invest in electric bubble blowers that shoot a constant stream of edible bubbles. Also at the fair was a more practical edible product: Magic Straws. These straws have flavored filters built into them, so that any glass of milk becomes chocolate flavored (or strawberry, and others). They also have a line of straws for water that add flavoring and carbonation. It’s a clever solution to getting kids to drink more milk, and stay hydrated. Barbie, of course, remains a constant presence in the toy industry. This year, Mattel adds “beekeeper” to Barbie’s absurdly long resume. But she’ll have some more fashionable outfits, too. We found other dolls, including My Ballerina Dolls, a company founded by two retired ballet dancers. Co-creator Tiffany Koepke was in full fairy costume at her booth and told us that her dolls are unique. “They have 22 points of articulations,” she noted, “so they easily go to all of the classical ballet positions.” Koepke adjusted a dancer doll into a proper arabesque as she elaborated, “They are great learning tools for children. A lot of the ballet schools purchase them to teach children hands-on in the classroom.” Among the other dolls were the Tonner line of high-end collectible dolls. DowntownExpress.com

Battle Bunkerz are inflatables for your backyard battleground.

The giant monster game “King of New York” allows you to destroy your most (or least) favorite borough.

Suitable for children but targeted at adults, Tonner products are larger and more elaborate than most fashion dolls made specifically for kids. Several are based on pop culture icons, but a new addition to their line is a doll based on Jazz Jennings, the teen reality TV star who has been openly transgender since her early childhood. The Founder of the company, Robert Tonner, explained that he reached out to Ms. Jennings because, “As a gay man, I didn’t really think about transgender issues. I thought of it as another degree of being gay. With her, I realized that’s not true... Sales or not, I knew that this was the right time to bring something out like this. Why shouldn’t a transgender kid be recognized in the toy store?” A sign of changing attitudes mixed in with the nostalgia of this year’s Toy Fair.

Transgender teen Jazz Jennings gets her own fashion doll.

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Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018



Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018


Lunar New Year at the Winter Garden Photos by Milo Hess

Brookfield Place celebrated the Lunar New Year on Feb. 17 with a lavish production at the Winter Garden. (Clockwise from above) Adorable moppets — dressed up as dogs to celebrate the start of the Year of the Dog — delighted the audience. A huge crowd packed the Winter Garden, and were dazzled by the Lion Dance. Performances included martial arts displays and traditional Chinese dance.

FOLEY SQUARE Continued from page 4

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,”

DOORMEN Continued from page 10

package-management system on the two doormen, who struggled to accommodate the torrent of holiday deliveries that flooded in for residents last year, according to Davis. “There was a massive influx of packDowntownExpress.com

he 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.” 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 federal 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 meanlooking dog. Twelve groups sponsored the “You Can’t Deport a Movement” rally, including 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.

ages during the holidays, and they were completely understaffed to deal with this influx,” Davis said. “When package trucks would pull up with 60 to 100 packages, some residents were just pulling them off the dolly. It was crazy!” But residents don’t really care what caused the breakup, they just want their

doormen back, according to resident and petition signer Tom Goodkind, who said the real value of the concierges’ long years at the building lay in one simple service — gossip. “These guys, seriously, are excellent at holding court,” Goodkind said. “They’re like bartenders. They know

everything that’s going on!” Dozens of gateway residents even held a rally in support of Dominguez and Germosen on Feb. 20, chanting a waving signs declaring “Reinstate our doormen now!” Dominguez declined to comment, and Germosen could not be reached. Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018



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


Feb 22 – Mar 7, 2018

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

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

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

Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

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

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

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


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Downtown Express  

February 22, 2018

Downtown Express  

February 22, 2018