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The Paper of Record for ffo o r Greenwich or Grr e G ee e en n w ic nw i c h Village, V i ll Vi l l ag age e,, East Eas E ass t Village, a V i llllla Vi Vill a g e, Lower East Eas Side, Soho, Unio Union Square, Chinatown o n Sq S q ua u a re r e , Chi Ch C h in ina atttow o wn ow n and an a n d Noho, N o ho No h o , Since 1933

February 22, 2018 • $1.00 Volume 88 • Number 8

Google just keeps gobbling up Chelsea; Takes more of Pr. 57 BY WINNIE MCCROY

J

ust a week after it was reported that Google plans to purchase the Chelsea Market building, the tech giant is in the news again, taking on the space abandoned by chef Anthony Bourdain at the RXR Realty and YoungWoo & Associates-run Pier 57 complex on

the Chelsea waterfront. Now that Bourdain Market has dropped out, the food hall space will be scaled back from 140,000 square feet to roughly 40,000 square feet. “The Bourdain plan was very ambitious, proposing one of the largest food halls in the world PIER57 continued on p. 8

C.B. 1 committee mulls putting breaks on locals’ traffic toll BY L AUR A HANR AHAN

G

overnor Cuomo’s Fix NYC congestionpricing plan received pushback from Manhattan’s Community Board 1 during a Land Use, Zoning and Economic Development Committee meeting on Monday night, Feb. 12.

The tentative 36-page plan, announced at the end of January, outlines several recommendations for battling Manhattan’s increasing street traffic, improving public transportation systems and reducing carbon emissions. Average traffic speeds in TRAFFIC continued on p. 3

PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER

Hmm, what to order?... Snacks Macaroni perused the menu with Alex Carpenter at Boris & Hor ton, a novel “dog cafe,” at E. 12th St. and Avenue A . See Page 4.

Lawsuit could delay ‘L shutdown express’ BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

A

n activist Village attorney has put the Department of Transportation on notice: Its muchhyped mitigation plan for the looming L train shutdown could be derailed — at least, for a while — unless the agency performs a legally required

Remembering Coach Ray.......p. 19

Environmental Impact Statement, or E.I.S. Arthur Schwartz, the Village’s Democratic district co-leader, who is also a top union and community lawyer, reported that last Wednesday he faxed a letter to Polly Trottenberg, the D.O.T. commissioner, and later that evening also personally presented

the letter to her at an “open house” on the mitigation plan that D.O.T. and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority were co-hosting at Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard Church, on W. 14th St., between Eighth and Ninth Aves. According to Schwartz, LAWSUIT continued on p. 6

Village dad envisions ‘Pier of Dreams’.... ......... p. 11 Skenazy: ‘Degrees’ of job readiness.................p. 12 www.TheVillager.com


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Committee mulls putting breaks on traffic toll TRAFFIC continued from p. 1

Midtown have been steadily decreasing by 0.3 miles per hour each year, according to remarks at a press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio in October 2017. “Five years ago, speeds in Midtown were around 6.5 [miles per hour], now we’re down to about 5,” Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said at the press conference. The Fix NYC recommendations, compiled by a panel commissioned by the governor, call for mass investments by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to improve the subway system, as well as implementing a zone pricing plan for all vehicles entering Manhattan below 60th St. If the panel’s recommendations are followed, drivers entering the tolled zone would see a charge of $11.52. There would be no charge for leaving the zone, and drivers entering through a tolled bridge or tunnel would not be charged twice. Taxis, ride-shares and for-hire vehicles would see charges of $2 to $5 added per ride, while commercial trucks and vehicles would be charged $25.34.

The toll zone is expected to raise more than $1 billion dollars in revenue annually, according to the panel’s report. Profits would be used to update and improve the currently crumbling subway infrastructure and for transportation improvements in the outer boroughs. The plan also calls for improvement of traffic law enforcement, an overhaul of the New York City governmentissued parking placards program, and reform of taxi and limousine commission regulations. C.B. 1 covers Lower Manhattan, with its northern border extending roughly from Canal St. to around the Brooklyn Bridge. During the board’s Feb. 12 committee meeting, there was a general consensus that steps needed to be taken to address current traffic issues, public transit conditions and environmental concerns. However, several points of contention were raised about the Fix NYC plan. The most prominent issue was the financial burden the fees would place on residents of the tolled district. Cities like London that have implemented congestion pricing in recent years excluded residents of the tolled area from being subjected to the fee. The Fix NYC panel does not

include this in its plan, however. Indeed, Charles Komanoff, a prominent transit planner and Tribeca resident, recently argued in a talking point in The Villager why he thinks zone residents should be charged — and would end up paying more than outer-borough residents — under the plan. Committee member Tammy Meltzer spoke to tolls being placed on residents who need to travel outside of the zone but for whom public transit isn’t an option. “You’d have to pay to get to the major cancer hospitals in New York City,” Meltzer said. “Mount Sinai, Lennox Hill, New York Presbyterian, Sloan Kettering. To me it’s unconscionable that it would be a part of this conversation.” Meltzer also expressed concerns over the fact that the plan would disadvantage long-time, working-class and middle-class residents who have owned cars for decades. “I’ve been down here 22 years with a car,” she said. “If you look at the way Lower Manhattan was developed, 22 years ago there was no subway near the West Side. If you wanted to go to grocery stores, there was no Whole Foods down here 22 years ago. Unless

you shopped at Gristedes, you would go shopping and cab back. There were a lot of cars, so a lot of the major residential developments have parking because it was a car place. Life changes, I understand that, but there’s no point in penalizing people for that.” Committee Member Tom Goodkind offered that the M.T.A.’s fi nancial mismanagement is now putting an unnecessary burden on the city’s residents, leading to severe measures like congestion pricing. “The M.T.A. is completely corrupt when it comes to accounting,” Goodkind stated. “We need to have them clean themselves before taxing car owners.” Following the discussion, Paul Goldstein, another committee member, proposed that the body draft a resolution that would state their strong concerns about adverse financial impacts on locals and ask for a toll carve-out for all Lower Manhattan residents. But with many of the committee members feeling it was too soon in their discussion to draft a resolution, Goldstein’s motion failed to pass, with seven votes in favor, six opposed and two abstentions. The issue will now be presented to the full board for further discussion.

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Februar y 22, 2018

BY BOB KR ASNER

I

t’s definitely the Year of the Dog for Boris & Horton, the newest eatery in the East Village to allow your dog to sit inside with you while you eat. In fact, it’s the only one in New York City, and possibly the first of its kind anywhere. Here’s the deal: It’s not like those cat cafes, where the felines inhabit the premises: This is BYOD (Bring Your Own Dog). Created by Coppy Holzman and his daughter Logan Mikhly, the cafe opened on Feb. 2 at 195 Avenue A, at E. 12th St. (formerly Ost Cafe). It basically works like this: The cafe is divided into three separate areas. There is the main food-service section, where you can order food and coffee and sit comfortably without the presence of pups. Then there is the other half, accessible through a passageway, where you, your pet and anyone else can enjoy the menu. The third part of the equation is the side window, sheltered from the weather, where you can order whatever you’re going to bring with you and your dog to the other side. Keeping the animals out of the food-prep area satisfies the Department of Health, and having a place where you can drink coffee and be surrounded by furry cuteness makes a lot of other people happy. One woman, Mikhly related, had Googled “how to lift your spirits after having a bad day.” Apparently, the answer she found was that petting dogs was a remedy, so she came to B & H and left a happier person. The happiest of all may be the two owners, who are thrilled with the reaction to their venture and are already planning to open more venues. They recently received a liquor license for their new East Village spot. It all started about a year ago, when the two were walking their dogs. Hers is 8-year-old Horton, while he owns 2-yearold Boris, both rescues. Mikhly had to leave her dad outside a cafe with the animals while she went in to get coffee. That’s when, she said, her dad had “the light-bulb moment” and the idea started on its way to reality. Holzman’s previous life was somewhat different, having founded and run Charitybuzz, an enormously successful online celebrity-based charity auction house. He sold the business in December 2016 and moved to the East Village. Mikhly, who had been running an animal rescue operation in New Orleans, also moved to the city, and the two spent the last year working out all the details. Besides the obvious Health Department rules, they had their own parameters to set up. They were determined to use local sources as much as possible, along with providing healthy options. The food is all vegetarian, with vegan options. Even the dog treats are “gluten-free, grain-free, human-grade dog biscuits,” according to the owners.

PHOTO BY BOB KRASNER

Louie, an English bulldog, got a treat from Tim at Boris & Hor ton.

They list 20 local vendors as food sources and stuck with neighborhood contractors, speaking very highly of Space Architects on E. Seventh St., and Avenue Construction, another local business. Realizing the value of a brand, they have thoughtfully made available for purchase Boris and Horton hats, mugs, T-shirts, tote bags and dog carriers. But they wouldn’t mind if you took home something else once in awhile, as they plan on having adoption events once a week. The most recent was a Valentine’s Day “Pity Party” — with mostly pit bulls available, hence the catchy name. Employee Emma Apicelli noted that the dog walkers have already found the place and Holzman concurred, noting that one came in recently with 12 very well-behaved clients. Apicelli, who loves socializing with

dogs and dog lovers, proudly noted that the cafe was “created by people who really care about the community.” Alex Carpenter and Maegan Hayward, who live half a block away above their shop, the East Village Vintage Collective, are big fans of the place. “We couldn’t be happier about Boris and Horton,” Hayward said. “We’re always out and about with our recently adopted angel, Snacks, and it’s really nice to have a place where we can sit down and eat with her!” Several patrons came in after hearing about it in the Tompkins Square Park dog Run, a few blocks away. One of them was Tim, the owner of Louie, an English bulldog with extremely long legs. “This place is awesome!” he exclaimed. “What’s better than dogs and coffee?” TheVillager.com


Open houses one ‘L’ of a ‘token’ gesture: Antis BY LESLEY SUSSMAN

T

he atmosphere in the air was more electrified than the third rail at an open house last Wednesday night sponsored by the Department of Transportation and Metropolitan Transit Authority to discuss the proposed shutdown of the L subway line for 15 months beginning in April 2019. The open house for the Carnarsie Tunnel reconstruction, held at Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard Church, at 328 W. 14th St., drew more than 100 local residents from Chelsea and the West and East Village, including a slew opposed to the shutdown mitigation plan. Also at the event was Andy Byford, the newly appointed president of New York City Transit, who mingled with the crowd to answer questions. The plan has been sharply criticized by residents in Manhattan and Brooklyn alike who make daily use of the L train, which runs from Eighth Ave. in Manhattan to Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bushwick and beyond in Brooklyn. Roughly 225,000 commuters ride the train daily between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The city’s transportation agencies say the section of the subway line between Bedford and Eighth Aves. must be shut down because the East River tunnel connecting the two boroughs is in desperate need of repair after being flooded during Hurricane Sandy. The mitigation plan, which transit officials say is still in the making, calls for, among other things, increased service on nearby subway lines, such as the J, M, Z and G lines, to compensate for the L train shutdown, longer subway cars, extra turnstiles in some adjoining subway stations, and new and more frequent bus routes between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The scheme also calls for a car-free 14th St. during rush hours between Third Ave. and Eighth Ave. on the north side of the street and Ninth Ave. on the south side of the street. Also proposed by D.O.T. and the M.T.A. as part of the plan is a ban on the Williamsburg Bridge of vehicles carrying a driver only or a driver plus one passenger during rush hours; a new ferry route from Williamsburg to Stuyvesant Cove, at E. 23rd St., with a free transfer to the M14 crosstown bus; a new two-way bike lane along 13th St. between Avenue C and Horatio St.; and new pedestrian spaces with bike parking from 14th to 17th Sts. Byford, who previously served a five-year stint as the C.E.O. of the Toronto Transit Commission, North America’s third-largest transit system, took over the reins of the M.T.A. just last month. At the Feb. 14 meeting, he fielded some sharp questions from several Village-and-Chelsea-area and Brooklyn residents who wanted to know why there has yet to be a general meeting where people seated in an audience could ask questions of top M.T.A. and D.O.T. officials — instead of the current format, in which junior D.O.T. officials are spread around the room next to posters that detail various aspects of the reconstruction plan. Opponents of the current shutdown plan deride this current format as “show and tell,” and dismiss it as ineffective. Several residents also wanted to know why the tunnel repair work could not just be done on weekends only instead of totally shutting down this segment of the subway line, which they said would inconvenience local residents, students and interborough commuters, alike. However, Byford defended how the process has been conducted, and said there are other venues for the public to have input. “We have been going before community boards and will continue to do so,” he stated. “This is where TheVillager.com

PHOTOS BY LESLEY SUSSMAN

Outside last Wednesday night’s open house on the L train shutdown mitigation plan, Judy Pesin, a leader of the coalition of Village and Chelsea block associations fighting against the effor t, called on the M.T. A . and D.O.T. to end the “show and tells” and hold some true public meetings to hear community input and criticism of the plan.

Andy By ford, the new head of New York City Transit, was also on hand to answer people’s questions — though only one on one, not in a large audience setting.

people have and will have the opportunity to ask questions. Many residents I’ve spoken to like this present format because they don’t have the confidence to speak up at a general meeting, and with this format they can privately ask M.T.A. representatives all the questions they want.” Clearly, Byford doesn’t know Village and Chelsea residents very well if he thinks they lack the confidence to ask such questions. This reportedly was the last open house, as the process now moves on to the community boards. The NYC Transit honcho also acknowledged to several residents and reporters that, yes, the repair work on the L line could have been done only on weekends. “[But] it would have taken much longer than 15

months to complete all the work,” he noted. “Many residents and business people have told me to just get the work done as soon as possible.” Despite holding 40 open houses since 2016 to discuss the plan — including a number of charrettes over the past two years that were called “informational meetings” — both the M.T.A. and D.O.T. have nonetheless been sharply criticized for a lack of clear communication about the plan to the public. Last Wednesday night’s open house did little to quell the outrage and concern that many riders and transit advocates feel about the plan. Residents who spoke to this newspaper said they remain frustrated that there still has not been a full and open discussion in a meeting room where senior agency officials could answer questions from the audience. They also said they continue to worry about the impact on West Village and Chelsea side streets, in terms of parking and detoured traffic, and for carowning residents on 14th St. where only buses will be allowed during rush hours. Adding to that concern is the M.T.A.’s interest in expanding the hours and the number of blocks included in these special bus lanes. “From the M.T.A. perspective, we’d like those dedicated bus lanes to work for longer hours to accommodate more riders,” Byford said at the open house. “We’re also looking at whether we should have these buses-only lanes start from Third Ave., or could they start further east on First Ave. We want more feedback on all of this to further refine our plan.” Several residents also expressed concerns about the new two-way crosstown bike lane planned for 13th St. West Village resident Mark Brenner said the bike lane would be dangerous, particularly for handicapped people living along that block. “This is especially true for handicapped people,” he said. “So many of these bike riders speed down the block and make sudden turns and pay no attention to who is crossing. These bike lanes are dangerous for pedestrians throughout the city.” Judy Pesin is a spokesperson for the new group, which was recently officially dubbed the 14th Street Coalition, comprised of block associations between 12th and 18th Sts. who are concerned with the plan. “We got together,” she said, “because independently our voices are not heard, and as a group of block associations, we might be able to show strength in numbers. We just want to have a two-way discussion with M.T.A. officials and we’re not getting that,” Pesin said. “These open houses are like a science fair — it’s all show and tell. And they’re junior people staffing them and they haven’t answered any of our questions.” Rosemary Goldford, an 18th St. resident, was angry to find out what the open house was actually like. “They misadvertised this meeting,” she said. “They totally mishandled it. We were led to believe this would be a general meeting with questions and answers.” Byford said he was aware of local residents’ many concerns about the mitigation plan. “The plan is not set in stone and changes can still be made,” he said. “The whole purpose of these sessions is to get feedback and refine the plan. I think most people understand, absolutely, that we have no choice but to do this work, and that we’re trying our best to make sure we get it right — not only along 14th St., but the proposed bike lane along 13th St., as well.” As to accusations that only “junior staffers” were at the event, a D.O.T. spokesperson noted that, in addition to Byford, D.O.T. Commissioner Polly Trottenberg attended, as did Ted Wright, director of D.O.T.’s citywide bike and Greenway program, Deputy Commissioner Eric Beaton and two assistant commissioners. Februar y 22, 2018

5


Suit could delay ‘L shutdown express’: Attorney LAWSUIT continued from p. 1

when he handed her the letter, Trottenberg replied, “I got this already, Arthur.” The missive is CC’d to Mayor Bill de Blasio, plus other local politicians Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Councilmember Carlina Rivera (who were among the pols whose representatives attended the coalition’s first organizing meeting two weeks ago), as well as Community Boards 2, 3, 4 and 6. Schwartz, who is a W. 12th St. homeowner, notes in the letter that he is representing “a growing coalition of block associations and community groups who stand united in opposition to the plan posted online by D.O.T. in mid-December.” That coalition currently includes nearly 10 block associations, with members spanning from W. 12th to W. 18th Sts., and also includes umbrella multiblock organizations, like the Council of Chelsea Block Associations. Schwartz e-mailed the coalition’s leaders last Wednesday, reporting that he had delivered his opening letter to Trottenberg. Leaving no mystery where Schwartz believes things are now headed, his e-mail’s subject line read, “The 14th Street Litigation Begins.” Basically, the D.O.T. chief now has less than a week to respond on the E.I.S. issue. As Schwartz put it to Trottenberg, “I will be sending a more formal letter... if we do not hear from you by Feb. 28, 2018. We will file [suit] within 30 days after that.” The M.T.A. intends to shut down L train service between Brooklyn’s Bedford Ave. and Manhattan for 15 months starting in April 2019. The authority is taking this hugely disruptive step in order to repair its Canarsie Tunnel tubes under the East River, which were damaged by flooding from Superstorm Sandy more than five years ago. The potential impact of the L shutdown on straphangers has been portrayed as the “L-pocalypse.” However, Village and Chelsea residents living on 14th St. and nearby blocks counter that the L mitigation plan will be “hellish” for them. Under the proposed shutdown plan, 14th St. would be reserved exclusively for buses and deliveries during rush hours — if not for possibly even longer periods of time — between at least Third Ave. on the East Side and Eighth and Ninth Aves. on the West Side. As another part of the scheme, a protected two-way crosstown bike lane would be installed on the south side of 13th St. From the sound of it, the bike lane could well be permanent. It’s unknown, though, what the future of the busesonly scenario would be after the com-

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Februar y 22, 2018

PHOTO COURTESY ARTHUR SCHWARTZ

Ar thur Schwar tz, right, with Bernie Sanders in New York in April 2016. Schwar tz was Sanders’s New York State campaign law yer during the Vermont senator’s presidential run.

pletion of the L repairs. “The plan, as posted, is not a ‘temporary’ plan,” Schwartz stated in his letter to Trottenberg. “It institutes permanent infrastructure changes to address a temporary problem. As such, it is a plan clearly subject to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).”

‘My phone is ringing off the hook with people who want to be plaintiffs.’ Arthur Schwartz

Making the plan definitely a “SEQRA Type 1 Project,” Schwartz added, is the fact that it involves physical alteration of 2.5 acres that are contiguous to a historic district and publicly owned parkland. The Greenwich Village Historic District stretches to midway between 13th and 14th Sts., and Union Square Park borders the north side of 14th St. for a block between Broadway and University Place. (Schwartz explained to The Villager: “Usually a project must involve 10 acres to be a Type 1 action. But if it’s in or contiguous to a historic district or a park, the threshold is 25 percent of the usual threshold. ... I do think that we

have them dead to rights on SEQRA because of the involvement of the historic district,” he added.) Schwartz noted he also sent a copy of the letter to Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. According to the litigious district leader, unless this public project receives a “negative declaration” — as in, it is determined that it would not have a significant environmental impact — an E.I.S. would be required. Yet, for this project actually to receive a negative declaration “would be an absurd finding,” the attorney scoffed. “Why do we need an E.I.S. process here?” Schwartz rhetorically wrote Trottenberg, before going on to answer the question: “For the same reason that our community is wholly united in opposition to the changes being proposed for 14th and 13th Sts. Your studies have not been transparent, public input has not been seriously considered or discussed, there is no public vetting of alternative means of ‘dealing with the problems’ caused by the L train shutdown, and there seems to be a lack of concern about the impact on our community.” Schwartz continued, pointing out that closing 14th St. to vehicular traffic “will cause horrific traffic jams” on the side streets from 12th through 18th Sts., as well as clogging the avenues from Third to Eighth Aves. In addition to more air pollution and noise pollution, “vibrations” from the increased traffic volume will “threaten the integrity of historic structures,” he warned. Schwartz meanwhile panned the M.T.A. / D.O.T. “open house” event about the mitigation plan that he attended last Wednesday evening as “a really sorry excuse for community input.”

“People listen and nod their heads,” he shrugged of agency representatives at such affairs, “then they do what they want to do anyway. Like that little meeting they had — they let you fill out cards.” However, he stressed, “You have to go through the E.I.S. process. You can still do what you want to do anyway — but at least you have to show alternatives. They have to discuss alternatives and how they’re doing it better [than those].” In other words, at the end of the day, the M.T.A. and D.O.T. still could do the exact same plan that they are currently pushing — but they must first conduct a full E.I.S. As for how long an E.I.S. takes to complete, Schwartz said, “It depends on the complexity of the problem and how many people you want to put in your study.” The attorney enthused to The Villager that local residents are rushing to join the potential lawsuit. “My phone is ringing off the hook with people who want to be plaintiffs,” he said. As of Tuesday night, Schwartz reported that 15 groups are already on board for the lawsuit and that “more co-ops and condos are coming.” Asked by The Villager what an E.I.S. lawsuit’s potential impact could be on the entire L shutdown project — and if it could even delay the closing of the East River tunnel for repairs — Schwartz said, it really all depends on the M.T.A. and D.O.T. and how they respond. “If they fight all the way and lose, they could slow the whole plan down,” he acknowledged. “Or they can compromise and reach an agreement with community leaders.” While the L shutdown is slated to happen in a little more than a year from now, D.O.T. reportedly wants to install the 13th St. bike lane even earlier — as soon as this coming summer — so maybe the lawsuit and E.I.S. could potentially affect that timetable, too. Schwartz recalled a similar case in 1997 where he sued to block a large project at Pier 40, at W. Houston and West Sts. In that instance, Ben Korman and Meir Cohen had gotten a contract to upgrade their parking operation at the pier; but local youth leagues had been fighting to get playing field space on the pier. “At Pier 40, where I sued to void a $14 million contract, once the judge denied a motion to dismiss, we settled,” Schwartz recalled. “They did a quick process, and we got our fields.” Like other residents and politicians, too, Schwartz is waiting for the “data study” from the M.T.A. and D.O.T. that allegedly justifies the mitigation plan. So far, the agencies have failed to publicly release the study, however. But Council LAWSUIT continued on p. 17 TheVillager.com


POLICE BLOTTER Facade fatality A Garden City, Long Island, man died last week after he was struck early Friday afternoon by a metal step that fell from a fire escape on Howard St. in Soho, police said. Police found Ricahrd Marchhart, 58, lying unresponsive on the street. A woman, 24, also suffered a minor head wound. Police initially reported that both victims were in stable condition and not likely to die, but Marchhart expired Saturday afternoon. Police said the stair came lose around 1:40 p.m. when an engineer who was inspecting the building stepped onto it and it came lose under her weight. NBC News said it was “part of a regular check” of the nine-story building that, under law, is required for city buildings more than six stories tall. The Daily News reported the step weighed 150 pounds and was four-anda-half-feet long. Marchhart, a father of three who worked in lighting and ran triathalons, may have been in the area on a business visit, it was speculated, the News wrote. NBC reported that the inspector, who does not work for the Department of Buildings, slipped through the opening a bit but was able to catch herself and pull herself up. A deputy Fire Department chief said the step had dislodged under the woman’s own weight. NBC reported that the building’s last facade inspection report, filed in 2013, found its exterior safe as long as periodic maintenance is performed, and that D.O.B. found the fire escape had no unsafe conditions.

PHOTO BY MILO HESS

Police responded and a crowd gathered at Howard St. and Broadway after a fire-escape step fell, striking two pedestrians below. One of the victims died.

ny grand larceny.

Mr. Plastic

E. 4th mugging Police said that on Sun., Jan. 28, around 10:40 p.m., a man approached a 47-year-old in front of 40 E. Fourth St. and grabbed him from behind. The attacker punched the victim in the face, threw him to the ground, and threatened to stab him while demanding money. He took $105 in cash from the victim and fled. No weapon was displayed. The victim sustained a bloody nose, but did not seek medical attention. The suspect was described as a young black male wearing a black-and-yellow parka with a yellow hood. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential. TheVillager.com

Retail robbery On Wed., Feb. 14, around 5:08 p.m., a guy entered a retail clothing store at 66 E. Seventh St., and spoke to an employee under the pretense of making a purchase. The man then approached the store counter, displayed a firearm and demanded money from the cash register. He took $500 in cash and a cell phone and fled. Police described the suspect as black, in his mid-20s, around 5 feet 10 inches tall, and last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, red jacket and black pants. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline. (See item above.)

Screwed himself Police said a man got into a verbal dis-

pute with another man at the McDonald’s at 136 W. Third St. on Tues., Feb. 13, at 11:40 p.m. and it escalated to the point of potential violence. The suspect allegedly pulled out a screwdriver, pointed it at the 24-year-old victim and warned, “You’re gonna get this.” James Johnson, 44, was arrested for felony criminal possession of a weapon.

Thief gets burned A 38-year-old woman’s handbag was stolen when she left it unattended at Pommes Frites, at 128 MacDougal St., on Wed., Jan. 24, at 12:15 a.m. while she went to pay for her food, police said. Unauthorized transactions were made on her credit cards. The total value of the victim’s purse and its contents were $4,480. John Livigni, 48, was arrested for felo-

A 28-year-old man reported that his credit card number was being used without his permission at Mr. Dennehy’s, at 63 Carmine St., police said. The suspect was pointed out by staff and apprehended by police at the bar / restaurant. A search of the suspect produced “forged instruments.” Ray Mondelle, 28, was arrested for felony grand larceny.

Headed for a fall A man fell from a fire escape at 190 Waverly Place on Sun., Feb. 18, at 6:40 p.m., according to police. The 21-yearold was questioned and determined not to live in the building or know anyone who lives there. After a canvass by police, a 29-year-old woman in one of the apartments reported that the suspect had been trying to enter her apartment from the fire escape window. Lorenzo Daiz, 21, was charged with felony attempted burglary.

Tabia C. Robinson and Lincoln Anderson Februar y 22, 2018

7


Google keeps gobbling; Leases more pier space PIER57 continued from p. 1

— over three times the size of Eataly,” said Seth Pinsky, executive vice president / fund manager for RXR Realty. “Unfortunately, in talking to the Bourdain team and other operators, we repeatedly heard that a food hall of this scale was simply not financeable, with many plans evolving during discussions into ‘Vegas-style’ event spaces, which were not appropriate for this site.” Google had already announced an agreement for a 15-year lease as the anchor tenant for the Pier 57 redevelopment project, occupying 250,000 square feet of space. Now, it will add another 70,000 square feet of office space. In addition, Google will now take over the programming at the W. 15th St. pier of 50,000 square feet of public space for cultural events and educational programs, including 24,000 square feet for studio rehearsal space for local performing-arts organizations, such as The Atlantic Theatre Company. In addition to this community space dedicated to culture and education, Google will provide a dedicated “Winter Gardenlike” public space of an additional 5,000 square feet where members of the public can sit and enjoy the river view. “In essence, it’s 70,000 square feet for office space and 50,000 square feet that is either 100 percent ‘true’ public space or public-facing space,” said Madelyn Wils, president and C.E.O. of the Hudson River Park Trust. “Before, we had only 20,000 square feet of true public space, so there is a lot more now, because basically when Google wanted more space, we made a point of saying that we wanted to improve the quality of it. What was considered public space before was actually just retail space. So, in essence, Google is taking some of that retail space.” The original plan for the long, mint-green pier-shed building had always been to repurpose it as a multiuse complex with retail, food, cultural programming and public space. When YoungWoo & Associates and RXR Realty won the requests for proposals, or R.F.P., for it back in 2009, they projected there would be 425,000 square feet of retail, in addition to more than 100,000 square feet of public space. And Pinsky noted that their updated plan leaves in place the public amenities of the original plan, including 110,000 square feet of outdoor open space, but now also includes 70,000 square feet of additional pure office space that will be occupied by Google. “This makes possible significantly more truly public, indoor open space,” he said, “exciting cultural, educational and community space; an updated program for the pier’s historic caissons that will ensure significantly more public access; new waterborne transportation serving the West Side community; and a right-sized food market that will still be among the largest in New York. Last but not least, the revised plan will generate nearly $20 million in additional revenue for Hudson River Park, providing the Trust with additional resources with which to operate this one-of-a-kind public amenity.” Wils said that the team at the Trust were pleased that the south side of Pier 57, which was previously slated for retail outlets with south-facing windows, will now be public seating. “You won’t have to buy anything: You can just come in, sit down and read the paper,” she said of this space. Google also confirmed that it is seeking the Trust’s approval to fund construction of a landing for waterborne public transportation, such as water taxis or trans-Hudson ferries. The landing would be fully funded by Google, which is in the exploratory stage, investigating options with different operators to select a certified operator. The Trust will assess that plan when it is presented, and will hold a “significant action”-man-

8

Februar y 22, 2018

IMAGE COURTESY HUDSON RIVER PARK TRUST

A rendering of the design for Pier 57 from a presentation in Februar y 2016. Once Pier 57 is redeveloped and opens in 2019, it will feature 110,000 square feet of outdoor space, including a green roof.

dated public hearing for people to comment before any determination is made. Wils said that the Community Board 4’s Waterfront, Parks and Environment Committee seemed to take the news in stride.

‘Google’s employees will be working directly above two public parks.’ Dave Holowka

“The current operating plan does more good for the community than the previous Bourdain plan,” said Lowell Kern, the committee’s co-chairperson. “There are more open public spaces, as well as more community and educational elements in this latest plan, the cost for which is being underwritten by Google. When Pier 57 is complete, Chelsea will have gained another valuable public space, and the fact that it was paid for by Google will be irrelevant.” “The community board obviously wants to see the details, but they were pretty positive about it,” Wils said. “I can’t possibly say that every single person feels the same way. But, in general, a lot of people are happier that it’s not going to be such an intensive retail space.” Some, like Save Chelsea’s Dave Holowka — who is a member of the C.B. 4 Waterfront, Parks and Environment Committee — were less thrilled about the prospect of what he called Google’s “multiple-block technology corridor” taking over this public space. He wondered whether the Trust was doing its job to pro-

mote waterfront-related amenities. “Google is known for their employee perks,” Holowka said, “and if they are allowed to build out their development rights directly about the High Line and Pier 57, they will be sending their employees to work directly above two public parks. Talk about perks!” But Wils believes that the new Google plan would actually mesh better with the pier’s planned 3.1 acres of outdoor open space. “The whole footprint of Pier 57’s roof is a park,” she said, “and the whole perimeter of the pier is a public walkway. You can walk around the entire pier. So that’s already a considerable amount of public space.” The Trust president was pleased that Google would be footing the bill for the additional 24,000 square feet of classroom space, exhibition space and theater rehearsal space, saying that the tech company would be responsible for making sure that space is fully built out, well-run and nicely maintained. Over all, Wils said, the Pier 57 complex with Google as the largest tenant will be better for all facets of the operation. “We are very interested in having a quality market there, and we think we’ll get a better operator than before,” she said, confidently. “Bourdain was a great idea, but it never jelled. We think this will get us a betterquality market.” C.B. 4 Chairperson Burt Lazarin also felt that the updated plan would better serve the area and the whole 4.5-mile-long Hudson River Park, in general. “Pier 57 is an important pier for both the park as a money generator and the community at large,” he said. “Any plan for this pier must support the operation of the park, but more importantly, be both an asset and accessible to the community. Google’s financial backing of this project will not only provide desperately needed revenue for the park, but it will also create new assets for the community. With this commitment, Google is showing us the kind of good neighbor they want to be in our community.” RXR Realty and YoungWoo & Associates have affirmed that they are on schedule to finish construction and open the redeveloped Pier 57 to the public by the end of 2019. TheVillager.com


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Februar y 22, 2018

9


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR two street-cleaning tickets at $45 each — unless street cleaning is suspended for holidays or snow.

Naming Jane in vain?

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We cover “The Cube”!

To The Editor: Re “What would Jane do? Show the L shutdown study!” (talking point, by David Marcus, Feb. 15): Jane Jacobs — and many other residents of the Village, Soho and the Lower East Side — fought against the Lower Manhattan Expressway because its construction would have meant the razing of hundreds of buildings, the displacement of thousands of residents, and would have promoted more car traffic in the area, needlessly exposing residents and workers to dangerous exhaust and traffic violence. Those who fought the expressway championed neighborhood-centric ideas, which retain the urban fabric instead of bending or breaking it. To compare, on the one hand, eliminating private vehicles from a single street and adding a bikeway, to, on the other hand, the maelstrom of destruction that displaced 250,000 New Yorkers to build highways that gashed our neighborhoods apart, is to make a mockery of the work of Jane Jacobs. Brian Howald

Choresh Wald

Adios, Ragbir To The Editor: Re “Reprieve for Ragbir as effort against ICE deports is heating up” (news article, Feb. 15): I object to your reference of Linda Sasour as being an activist. You know damned well she is an anti-Semite, and a fraud. Ravi what’s his name is a convicted criminal. He ought to have kept a low profile. I do not, as many, give a rat’s ass if he is shipped off to Trinidad. He committed crimes, was convicted and ought to be packed off. I look forward to your paper, which could replace the Village Voice, which ran itself into the ground. I hope your paper does not do so with too much leftist crap. You did not ask me, but oppositional ideas might make your paper even more relevant. Bert Zackim

A parking paradise To The Editor: Re “What would Jane do? Show the L shutdown study!” (talking point, by David Marcus, Feb. 15): There is no “live and let live” when one person in a motor vehicle takes up so much space on a narrow 28-footwide street that could be used by so many others employing more efficient modes of travel, such as bicycles. When I carry my two children on my 24-inch-wide cargo bike, I deserve a space on the road that is safe and separated from moving motor vehicles. If a driver of a motor vehicle will not “share the road” with me, I will be hurt or die. People riding their bicycles carrying their children are as vulnerable as people pushing strollers — they can’t mix with motor vehicle traffic. The practice of storing motor vehicles on the street for free needs to stop. I biked with my kids last Saturday on the block of W. 13th St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves. Forty vehicles were parked on the south side of the street. Twenty-seven of them had New York license plates. Under the current situation everybody has access to leave his or her car on the street for $90 a week — that’s

IRA BLUTREICH

Council wheeler-dealers To The Editor: It is with great hope and trepidation that I watch the very likable Cory Johnson’s meteoric rise to political power. It reminds me of another councilmember from our district who did the same and who ultimately gave away our hospital and nursing home to the real estate industry, resulting in the loss of livability and the unique character of our historic neighborhood. For instance, while we do need affordable housing, we cannot afford to lose any more open space in this area that currently has so little. The loss of the Elizabeth St. Garden is a travesty, as would be the loss of the proposed alternative site for the senior housing project, at Hudson and Leroy Sts., which has also long been slated for open space use. Time will tell what deals have been made. (And I cannot help but wonder who the “dealmaker” behind this is.) Lynn Pacifico LETTERS continued on p. 19

De Blasio puts on a happy face. 10

Februar y 22, 2018

TheVillager.com


Pier with a purpose: Reuse, eco are way to go TALKING POINT BY CHRIS GAYLORD

D

own by the water, time and life seem to move a little differently. This year brings the 20th anniversary of Hudson River Park. My son was once a boy, playing the inaugural game on Pier 40’s roof. Now, he and his wife play at the pier after work. Soon there may be grandkids to take for a stroll. Last year’s Community Board 2 online survey and report on the “Future of Pier 40,” which produced some contradictory results and a somewhat confusing mélange of “findings,” got me thinking about the trajectory toward office use of the pier, the ingredients needed for community support and the world beyond pier and park. Keep it low: Sixty-two percent of respondents to the C.B. 2 survey prefer not to have taller buildings on the pier. Keeping the existing “normal” pier height would be a good starting place for community support. We’ll still have the 40-story towers of the St. John’s Partners development, with its 1,600 apartments, to admire across the street. Keep it reasonable: Offices will bring more people to the pier and adjacent park — potentially too many. The pier may be a “commercial node,” but the Hudson River Park Act says its uses should be reasonably compatible with the purpose of the park, one of which is relaxation and relief from inland congestion. In biology, a “node” is a “small discrete mass of tissue, either normal or pathological.” The former would gain more support than the latter. Keep it public: The pier should not be privatized into a corporate campus. It’s a public park and public property. All its current uses are open to the public. Even the idea of the pier’s future is public, debated in community meetings and the pages of this newspaper. Shared civic space, places and purpose all contribute to the city’s social health and cohesion. The public should not be alienated from the uses within the pier, but engaged and invested in them as much as possible. If there are to be offices at Pier 40, why not use them purposefully to serve public interests, to create public value and entwine the pier with the aspirations of the surrounding community? What if the pier could do good while doing well for the park? Why not be really audacious and devote a large portion of the pier’s available space to one of the biggest, most unifying challenges facing our children and grandchildren? The Climate Alliance Center at Pier 40 / offices for the public good: New TheVillager.com

VILLAGER FILE PHOTO BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL

A Little Leaguer swung for the fences — or at least for one of the historic rooftop gantries — on the cour tyard playing field at Pier 40, at W. Houston and West Sts.

York has scores of organizations meeting the challenge of climate change. What if a critical mass of rent-paying government agencies, nonprofits and clean energy companies were gathered collaboratively on the water’s edge? What if Pier 40 were home to offices for the U.S. Climate Alliance? Formed in 2016 by the governors of New York, California and Washington State in response to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, the U.S. Climate Alliance has grown to 15 states, all committed to achieving the goals of the Paris accord. These states represent 41 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, enough to be the third-largest world economy. What better way to answer the idiocy of the Trump administration and engage with the world than a prominent public building on New York’s waterfront supporting the Paris accord? One of Governor Cuomo’s initiatives is the New York Green Bank, part of a $5 billion state fund supporting technical innovation and mobilization of private investment in sustainable energy. The Green Bank is linked to a global network fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange across state lines and national borders. Sixty-five years ago, New York welcomed the United Nations and went on to build Lincoln Center, the World Trade Center, the Javits Center and other projects, ensuring the city’s global standing. Climate change deserves at least a modestly similar concentration of resources and political will. Solar, wind and electric parking: A partial canopy of solar panels above the roof of Pier 40 would make it one of the largest solar generators in the city. A major obstacle to wider use of electric / hybrid vehicles is the dearth of recharging stations. If roof parking had charging

connections, and gas cars paid a supplemental carbon tax, the pier would become an influencer toward adoption of clean transportation. Automakers are increasingly focusing on electric and could lease a ground-floor showroom displaying next-gen vehicles. Though more decorative than productive, vertical or helical wind turbines (not those with massive blades) combined with the existing stadium-style lighting towers or historic gantries would add a dramatic 21st-century kinetic feature reminiscent of the ship masts that once lined the waterfront. Financial, educational and political ecologies: If initial construction were underwritten by a public-private-philanthropic partnership, the viable tenant base would be extensive. Besides taxsupported city and state agencies, the clean-energy industry and environmental nonprofits account for billions of dollars in revenue and spend significantly for office space in the city. New York has a high concentration of individual and corporate donors, foundations and philanthropists. Why not recycle those contributions and the aforementioned tax dollars into support for the park, thus acting “globally” (as in, environmentally) and locally? Hope and change can be tangible, contagious and scalable. A clean-energy consortium at the pier could accelerate a shift to sustainability. An ancillary educational facility engaging schools, colleges and the public in an ecosystem of information and advocacy could build momentum and provide a talent pipeline for sustainability in science, technology, engineering and policy. If Pier 40 displayed the name and logo of the Climate Alliance and was fitted with solar and wind generators, what shifts in thinking and voting might be provoked in some of the thousands of tourists visiting the

park and viewing the pier from cruise ships and river excursions? A piazza on the pier and more: Adaptive reuse of the pier’s existing buildings would be the most environmentally responsible, most cost effective and fastest way to revitalize the pier, plus would allow the courtyard playing field to remain in constant use and the rooftop parking to produce income during renovation. Above the waterline, the pier-shed structure is structurally robust, offering a long, useful life. The center courtyard, protected from the wind, is already a sort of grand piazza, its perimeter galleries waiting to be filled with activity. If expanded to include the cantilevered balcony, the midlevel promenade could accommodate play areas, seating, a fitness course and other outdoor amenities overlooking the games on the field. Up on the roof, where the views are sublime, there’s a newly installed concrete deck and a large vacant area almost ready for skates, hoops and dogs off-leash. On fair-weather weekends, especially in summer when park usage peaks, much of the roof parking area is vacant, seemingly ripe with potential for seasonally expanded recreational space and continued revenue. Personally, I like the building’s lowslung profile and clean, modernist lines. It needs work but doesn’t require “starchitecture” to be a special place; with the river at hand, it already is. Though the structure’s interiors require extensive upgrades and alterations, the facade walls, basically garage doors, would be easily replaced with new surfaces, glass, recessed balconies or loggia. Interior recreational areas might have exterior walls with transparent “French” or overhead doors, seasonally opening to the outside. PIER40 continued on p. 12 Februar y 22, 2018

11


Reading, writing and really a waste of time? RHYMES WITH CRAZY BY LENORE SKENAZY

I

t 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, he said, “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 longer and cost more to start earning a decent living.

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Februar y 22, 2018

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 said. 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, he noted. 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 exclaimed. And, he added, so many classes are pointless. Take, for instance, language instruction. The typical American takes two years of foreign language in high school. But what percent say they really learned

to speak that language? “Is it 15 percent?” I ventured. Nope. “Five percent?” Nope. “A bit under 1 percent claim to have learned to speak a foreign language very well in high school,” said 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,” he pointed out. 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 said. 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 CUNY’s 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.

A pier with a purpose PIER40 continued from p. 11

Preserving the buildings may not sit well with the organized sports leagues and open-space advocates. But leveling and rebuilding the pier into a grassland peninsula, often abandoned in winter and inclement weather, would add tremendous publicly funded costs in the form of taller, more-expensive structures on the pier, increased commercialization elsewhere in the park, or new “air rights”-enhanced high-rises on the other side of the highway. In the increasingly crowded park, the advantages of a multilevel, year-round facility, and the potential for significant cost savings, should be given a good hard look. Adaptive reuse of the existing pier shed could accommodate eateries, beer gardens, art and performance space, extensive year-round indoor sports and play areas, a weekend farmer’s market, the community boathouse, aerialists and even some parking. But why not also a community senior center serviced by Ac-

cess-A-Ride? It would be a good place to watch the tides rise while my grandkids play on the field. My personal Pier of Dreams would also include a small museum, with permanent and changing exhibits dedicated to the history of the waterfront and the Village; “Fulton’s Folly,” the R.M.S. Carpathia and S.S. Rotterdam, the bygone times of Greenwich Village art, literature, music and affordable rents, the saga of Westway, the strange true saga of the pier’s corroded piles, the miraculous discovery of “saleable air” above the river, the rise of the St. John’s Twin Towers, and enough Pier 40 designs and Villager essays to mount an exhibit and fill a book. Gaylord’s talking point “Could ecosloop, Pier 40 make sweet music together?” — in which he discussed the environment, the Clearwater organization and “a possible marriage” at Pier 40 — ran in the June 16, 2010, issue of The Villager. TheVillager.com


Call me by your new name Horse Trade joins the nonprofit FRIGID stable

Courtesy Mary Stucchi Photography

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 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.

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

FRIGID continued on p. 14

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?).

TheVillager.com

Februar y 22, 2018

13


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. FRIGID continued from p. 13

Those sources are of particular importance, since, Ziv noted, “The FRIGID festival is not curated. That puts us out 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 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.

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).

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).

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

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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!

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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 TheVillager.com

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!!!” Februar y 22, 2018

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Could lawsuit delay L shutdown? LAWSUIT continued from p. 6

Speaker Johnson’s Office told The Villager they expected to receive it this week and would then release it to the community. The M.T.A. says that 50,000 straphangers use the L train daily just to ride in Manhattan, and that the mitigation plan must thus accommodate that number of riders. But Schwartz said, “I don’t really believe the study they did that says 50,000 people would be affected.” He’s not the only skeptic of those figures. Indeed, the coalition members likewise are demanding to see the data. So, Schwartz was asked, what kind of alternative solutions, for example, would the community like to see, as opposed to what the city is currently proposing? Offering up one idea that he said was purely his own, he suggested that parking along 14th St. could be banned during rush hours, so that buses could run in the parking lanes. Wrapping up his letter to Trottenberg, Schwartz wrote, “You must stop, pause and do what is right and what is required by law. This is a plan being foisted on a community wholly without genuine input, supported by political forces who have no interest in and no base in the affected community.” For the record, he noted that he is not anti-bike, and that his wife even has a cargo bicycle. “My wife bikes everywhere,” he said. “We have a Yuba parked in front of our house. She is furious at the plan.” However, the two agencies currently do not feel that an E.I.S. is

required. In a statement to The Villager this Wednesday, a D.O.T. spokesperson said: “The 15-month closure of the L train is an unprecedented challenge. D.O.T. and M.T.A. have been doing extensive analysis and planning, and we expect to release more information shortly. The city is complying with its environmental statutory obligations with regard to its L train shutdown mitigation plans. “Despite assertions by Mr. Schwartz, no E.I.S. is required and D.O.T. will respond to his letter in a timely fashion. D.O.T. and M.T.A. will continue our ongoing work in engaging, reviewing and evaluating the mitigation plans prior to, during and after the L train shutdown.” Schwartz said that, as of Tuesday night, D.O.T. had not yet formally responded to him regarding his letter. Transportation Alternatives — a nonprofit group that advocates for increasing walking, cycling and mass transit in New York City — is among the biggest supporters of the city’s plans for 14th and 13th Sts. The group, in fact, coined the term “PeopleWay” for what it hopes will happen to 14th St. during the L shutdown. Thomas DeVito, TransAlt’s director of advocacy, called the current plan by the D.O.T. and M.T.A. “a good first step,” but said that TransAlt actually would like to see six or seven more steps added to make it even better. First off, he said, they would like to see 14th St. made “exclusively for bus operations” 24 / 7. In addition, the “shuttle buses” on 14th St. — the M.T.A. buses — should be made free, to speed things up.

“I think they’re expecting up to 70,000 people to use this corridor,” he said, “which would make it among the busiest bus corridors in the world.” In addition to 50,000 subway riders who use the L train intraborough — meaning only in Manhattan — De Vito noted that 30,000-plus riders currently use the crosstown M14 bus daily. DeVito said it’s his understanding that it would be less efficient for the M.T.A. to continue to fix the Canarsie Tunnel only on weekends — as it is currently doing — because that would involve constantly loading construction materials in and out, as opposed to just shutting the whole thing down for 15 months and getting it done. “It’s the shorter, ‘rip the band-aid off’ approach,” he noted. If the PeopleWay isn’t enacted, it would just mean that the side streets would be flooded with for-hire vehicles, like Ubers, he added. Asked if TransAlt would like to see the proposed changes for 14th and 13th Sts. made permanent, he basically said they should be implemented first and then assessed. “Broadly speaking, bike lanes are good for all sorts of reasons,” he said, “for safety and for small local businesses. We’ve seen there can be initial growing pains with them, but ultimately people want to keep them. The same can be said for busways.” Asked about the lawsuit that is possibly pending, he didn’t really want to get into specifics. “Ultimately, this is a crisis,” he said of the L shutdown, “and you have to deal with that first, and deal with it appropriately.”

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news@thevillager.com Februar y 22, 2018

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Ray Pagan, 65, supercoach of Dapolito Center OBITUARY BY JUDITH STILES

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f the Supergirls have their way with the New York City Parks Department, the gym at Tony Dapolito Recreation Center will be renamed after their beloved mentor and coach, Ray Pagan, who died this past Sept. 26 after a valiant struggle with complications related to Parkinson’s disease. He was recently retired and a month shy of 65th birthday. Emily Mojica, a former Supergirls basketball star of the 1980s, joined with her former teammates to create iplayedforray.com, a heartfelt memorial Web site with more than 500 beautiful photographs that tell the story of how Pagan touched the lives of so many people. For more than 39 years, from 1976 to 2015, he worked at the Tony Dapolito Rec Center, at Clarkson St. and Seventh Ave. South, as youth director of the Greenwich Village Basketball League. “There is no coach in the universe who gave so much of his time and love to the game and his players. The team was his family,” recalled Mojica, an allstar point guard who received a full basketball scholarship to Iona College, with help and guidance from Ray. In the early ’80s, as a young teen, Mojica pleaded with Ray to start a basketball and softball team for girls. “At first he said, no, because he had three jobs at the time,” she said. “But then he said, ‘Find me the players and I’ll coach you.’” At the time Pagan, was also working midnight to 6 a.m. at UPS. In the mornings, he would sleep a little before he went to work part-time at a dry cleaner,

Ray Pagan.

and then, from 2:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., he would work at the Carmine Recreation Center, now known as Tony Dapolito Recreation Center. At the rec center, he worked for the Parks Department, but everyone knew he really worked for the kids. The players were his children. “Ray knew just how to communicate with all different kinds of players from different backgrounds,” recalled Ernesto Bustamente, who coached and refereed alongside Ray at Dapolito for more than 10 years. “He was a kind of poet, in that he knew how to deliver the right message in very few words. He was a big brother to me.” Unlike many youth sports directors, Pagan wasn’t stingy about sharing his players nor did he hoard his top-notch

referees. In 1994, when Harry Malakoff, founder of the Greenwich Village Girls Basketball League, was building teams and recruiting players, Pagan sent him girls who were playing co-ed, and not getting enough basketball passes from the boys. He also connected Malakoff with the best referees in town. “I never heard Ray yell at the kids,” remembered Ralph Washington, a coworker at the front desk of Dapolito. “If there was a problem, he would take the kid aside and talk. He had a big heart.” Pagan was a neighborhood legend, a father figure, a mentor, “a life-changer,” a community leader and a friend to hundreds of boys and girls who played sports in Lower Manhattan. When his friend Rich Battaglino was asked how

many people showed up for the memorial service for Ray this past Oct. 14 at Dapolito, he answered, “It was a full house! As many people as you could hold, and then some!” At the service, when friends and former players shared memories with each other, there was a common thread about how Ray was such a “fair” coach. He gave all levels of players decent playing time, and there were not a lot of benchwarmers. Yet, at the same time Pagan was known for a fierce competitive streak, coupled with his uncanny ability to win games. One way he solved the eternal coach’s conundrum of equal playing time versus winning, was to save his strongest players until the end, and them put them in the game all at once. It was a coaching secret that he was not reluctant to share. Roberta Cunningham a.k.a. Poochye, the registrar who worked alongside Pagan for decades, remembered him fondly as someone who “was always willing to do a favor for anyone without expecting something in return.” Shaking her head, she lamented, “Nobody will be able to fill the shoes of Ray.” However if the iplayedforray.com Web site is any indication, Pagan’s wisdom about life and his sharp skills as a coach will surely be passed along to more youngsters for years to come. As Ann Topper, a Supergirl, wrote in remembrance of Pagan, “Because of you Ray, we will never skip steps. We will reach out to others and we will do everything with love and passion, just the way you taught us. You were a man that went above and beyond. You brought out nothing but the best in people, and you never asked for anything in return. You were one of a kind.”

Letters to The Editor LETTERS continued from p. 10

Folded on Franken To The Editor: “#MeToo is going too far for some veteran feminists” (news article, Feb. 8): Good article. I agree that Al Franken was an unfortunate casualty; the Dems caved on that one. As far as I know, the comment about Al Goldstein is accurate. He was obnoxious but I never heard of him being labeled as abusive. Jared Rutter

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Plan is ‘Harley’ fair To The Editor: Re “Why Downtown should back congestion pricing” (talking point, by Charles Komanoff, Feb. 8): We all want to reduce congestion in Manhattan. One of the primary tools that London’s planners implemented in their successful congestion-pricing plan was to incentivize motorcycles and scooters with free passage into their congestion zone. They recognize what everyone already understands in most European cities, which is that two-wheeled vehicles are fuel-efficient, congestion-reducing transportation, and they actively encourage a mode shift from car driving to motorcycle riding.

Why wouldn’t our small, lightweight vehicles be exempt from the proposed toll here in New York City, just as they are in London? Small scooters can weigh as little as 160 pounds and achieve as much as 132 miles per gallon. Average fuel consumption for two-wheeled vehicles is less than half that of the average car, and six scooters or motorcycles can park in the space occupied by one SUV. Yet, the FixNYC plan lumps our vehicles in with passenger cars and SUV’s. All would be tolled the same $11.52 per trip. Not only are two-wheeled vehicles not mentioned in the FixNYC plan, we’re also completely absent from the otherwise comprehensive Balanced Transportation Analyzer. Why would such a useful tool, which measures every other form of transportation, including bicycles and

pedestrians, fail to include two-wheeled vehicles? Fuel-efficient, congestion-reducing two-wheeled vehicles are part of the solution, and we therefore should be exempt from the congestion-pricing toll. Cheryl Stewart 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. Februar y 22, 2018

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ADVERTORIAL

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

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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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February 22, 2018

The Villager  

February 22, 2018