Serving Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Seaport and the Financial District VOLUME 31, NUMBER 5
MAR 8 – MAR 21, 2018
Labor pains Unions rally Downtown as Supreme Court weighs future of organized labor Page 7 Photo by Sydney Pereira
Union members rallied at Foley Square on Feb. 24 before the Supreme Court began hearing a case that will determine the future of organized labor. For more, see page 7.
Affordable housing Downtown High security at Trinity Church Also in this issue Pages 12–23 Page 2 Precollege Summer Classes in Music and Tech Make music. Write and record your own album in the [your album here] class. Learn to code. Design, build, and release your own app in the Code Forward class.
www.gakkoproject.com/afterschool 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
The holy seal Metal detectors placed at entrances of Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel BY COLIN MIXSON Call it the guardhouse of the Lord. Visitors to Downtown’s two oldest churches must now go though some painfully modern security procedures Trinity Church has installed metal detectors at the main entrance to its Broadway parish out of an abundance of caution about the perils of the earthly world, which has too often made Lower Manhattan icons targets of terrorism, according to the venerable church’s rector. “A shepherd’s heart wants to keep the sheep safe, and we live in a dangerous world,” said Rector William Lupfer. Beginning Mar. 1, the church’s main entrance at Broadway between Rector and Cedar streets took on the aspect of an airport security checkpoint, with visitors having to wait in line to pass through metal detectors and open their bags for a security guard before opening their heart to the Lord. The same security procedures were
put in place at Trinity’s nearby sister church further north on Broadway, St. Paul’s Chapel, which had served as an open-door staging area and firstresponder haven in the aftermath the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The church’s new security checkpoints are not a response to any specific threat, but rather the product of a long and deliberate process that included input from the congregation, according to a spokeswoman for the parish. “There is no imminent threat to Trinity or St. Paul’s, and planning for these new measures has been in the works for some time,” said Trinity spokeswoman Barbara Dimajo. “That said, Lower Manhattan is considered to be one of the country’s top terrorist targets.” The new security measures may exacerbate waits to get into the historic churches for services and other ceremonies, but the hassle is worth it to protect some of Downtown’s most iconic
NEWS STAND OPEN
Photo by Milo Hess
The new metal detectors and mandatory bag checks Trinity Church caused longer lines to get in, but most visitors didn’t seem to mind.
institutions, according to one church volunteer. “You’re talking about a cherished landmark,” said Louie Rueda. “The inconvenience is worthwhile.”
Others said the extra security was worth it to ensure the church remained a sanctuary for parishioners, who could TRINITY Continued on page 4
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Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell
phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.
Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-
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.
Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
F IN ETHICS Three college girls stole a pair of ritzy, crystal-studded sandals from a Jimmy Choo boutique on Feb. 27, but the crooked co-eds later got cold feet and called the store looking to return their ill-gotten kicks. The girls strutted into the high-end shoe store on Greene Street between Prince and Spring streets at 6:25 pm, and left with the ill-gotten pair of $2,000 sandals, along with $600 worth of other shoes about 20 minutes later. The store got a call from one of the thieves from a blocked number the following day, when a girl confessed that it was â€œher friend,â€? a Berkley College student, who actually stole the shoes, but who would like to return them, cops said.
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Two gunmen stuck up a couple on Mercer Street on Feb. 22, taking more than $3,300 worth of jewelry, clothes, and other goods. The couple told police they were between Grand and Broome streets at 11:50 pm, when the pistol-packing perps snuck up from behind and threw the pair into a doorway before brandishing the pistols. The thieves were more interested in the womanâ€™s stuff than the guyâ€™s, and
they took her designer shoes, purse, watch and coat, along with her iPhone 7 and a few gift cards, cops said. Afterwards the crooks piled into a waiting grey Hyundai, and fled towards the Hudson along Bloome Street, according to police.
PICKY COMMUTER A pick-purse nabbed a womanâ€™s wallet aboard a Brooklyn-bound A train on Feb. 27. The victim told police the doors to her train opened at Canal Street when she disembarked at 9:40 am, and realized her purse felt unusually light. Looking inside, the victim realized her wallet, along with a Bloomingdales gift card worth $700, was missing, cops said. BAD DIET A thief looted a manâ€™s locker inside a Canal Street gym on March 1, and used his credit cards to buy junk food. The victim told police he left his stuff in a lockbox in the gym between Church Street and W. Broadway at 3:10 pm, but returned an hour later to find some fiend had cleaned it out. Adding insult to injury, he later discovered his credit card had racked up illicit charges at an unknown Taco Bell. â€” Colin Mixson
TRINITY Continued from page 2
keep both eyes to heaven, and not feel the need to look over their shoulders. â€œItâ€™s good,â€? said Downtown resident Sweetheart Fajbon. â€œIt will keep the people safe.â€? Not everybody agreed that the metal detectors were warranted, especially compared to the comparatively modest security setup of Midtownâ€™s St. Patrickâ€™s Cathedral in Midtown â€” which features guards and the occasional bag check, but no metal detectors â€” to protect one of the most famous and highly visited churches in the nation, according to one Trinity buff. â€œSt. Patrickâ€™s Cathedral is the gold standard. Itâ€™s the most famous church in America and they donâ€™t have metal detectors,â€? said Arthur Piccolo, president of a the Bowling Green
Photo by Milo Hess
It is now apparently necessary to remind visitors that they are not allowed to bring weapons into the church.
Association, and frequent visitor to both Trinity Church and St. Paulâ€™s Chapel. â€œWhy would Trinity not say, â€˜What does St. Patrickâ€™s do? Lets do what they do.â€™ â€?
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LABOR PAINS Unions rally Downtown as Supreme Court weighs future of organized labor BY SYDNEY PEREIRA Days before the nation’s highest court began hearing a landmark case that could decimate public-sector unions, thousands of union members rallied in Foley Square on Feb. 24 to plead the case for organized labor. A decision against the unions in Janus v. AFSCME would throttle the voice of their members, warned Gov. Andrew Cuomo, when he addressed the rally. “They want to silence your voice politically,” Gov. Cuomo told crowd. “You know why? Because you speak for the worker.” Mayor de Blasio, State Attorney Eric Schneiderman, and several union leaders also addressed the Downtown rally, which coincided with pro-union rallies across the country ahead of the pivotal high court case. Hanging in the balance are the “agency fees” that many states allow public-sector unions to collect from non-members to cover the cost of collective bargaining activities that determine the pay and benefits of members and non-members alike. “This would kill the life of unions,” said Andre Johannes an inspector for the city’s Department of Health for more than 20 years, who fears that without a strong union bargaining for him and his co-workers, he would have the same quality healthcare benefits. Janus v. AFSCME pits an Illinois social worker, Mark Janus, who works in the state’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services, against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Janus argues his First Amendment rights are being violated when he’s required to pay dues to the union, as he does not always agree with what the union is doing. A win for Janus would overturn the precedent set more than 40 years ago in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which established that public sector unions could charge non-members a fee to cover collective bargaining activities DowntownExpress.com
— though not political contributions — since non-members directly benefit from the unions’ negotiations on behalf of all employees. Union leaders warn of a “free-rider effect” if agency fees are abolished, in which an ever-higher proportion of workers opt not to join unions to avoid dues, because they know they will still benefit from the work the members are paying for. One union head jabbed Janus for taking union benefits he’s not willing to pay for. “I don’t know Mr. Janus, but I’m wondering if he continues to use his union healthcare,” said Mario Cilento, the president of New York State’s American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. “Does he continue to do that? Or is he giving that away?” Cilento pointed out that Janus agreed to work for the state of Illinois knowing that the employees were unionized, yet now he doesn’t want to pay the dues. “You can’t have it both ways here, and that’s what I’m saying,” Cilento said. “It’s a matter of fairness.” Cilento also argued that the Janus v. AFSCME case was less about one state worker’s freedom of speech than it is a part of a long-running and well-funded campaign by conservative business interests to destroy organized labor in America. “It’s not just about Mr. Janus here, it’s a right-wing conservative attack on the voice of working men and women.” This is actually the second recent Supreme Court case seeking to end union agency fees. Two years ago, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association brought the same challenge, but the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia just a month before the case was decided left the court evenly divided 4-4. Assuming the justices haven’t changed their minds on the question, the deciding vote in Janus v. AFSCME will fall to Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch. New York State has the highest
Photo by Sydney Pereira
(Above) Gov. Cuomo warned union members that the case of Janus v. AFSCME is an attempt to “silence your voice.” (Right) Workers from many different unions turned out in solidarity with public-sector unions. (Below) New York State has the highest percentage of union membership in the country, and a long history of labor activism.
percentage of union membership in the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and a variety of unions and labor organizations turned out for the rally — not just public-sector unions. Looming over the Saturday rally nearly as much as the Supreme Court case was an ongoing private-sector union dispute. Workers for cable company Spectrum have been on strike for nearly a year after the company refused to negotiate with their union. More than 1,800 workers with Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have been waiting for Spectrum to negotiate a new contract with them for two years. And union boosters who turned out for the Foley Square rally said they saw the Supreme Court case as a harbinger for the fate of all of organized labor.
“If they lose, we all lose,” said John McSpedon, a retired electrician who came to the rally with his nephew, Danny Lyons, in solidarity with the Spectrum employees and public-sector union members. Union advocates see Janus v. AFSCME as an existential attack on organized labor, making it more likely for non-members to opt out of all dues while still enjoying union benefits. The effect would be plummeting membership, and as a result, funding, kneecapping union’s ability to advocate for workers and increasing the power of big business to levels not seen since the Gilded Age. “It’s taking us back 100 years,” said Frederick Kowal, president of the State University of New York’s union, United University Professions. “The whole case is a sham.” Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
E D ITO R IAL
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Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
BY LENORE SKENAZY So your little girl’s about to have a birthday and you’re getting her a doll? Lovely! But remember: Today’s dolls are not the dolls of yesteryear. A recent article in the New York Times noted that the “My Friend Cayla” doll is basically an online computer with golden hair. Cayla, who “talks and responds to children’s questions,” but “there’s something else that Cayla might bring into homes: hackers and identity thieves.” And she’s not alone. The inexplicably popular 1990s Furby has been rebooted, too. “A Cayla doll can whisper to children in several languages that she’s great at keeping secrets, while a plush Furby Connect doll” can link your child to videos on his or her (not included) iPad or iPhone. With that in mind, here’s a sneak peak at my new off-Broadway musical, “Spies and Dolls.” Curtain opens to a little girl’s bedroom in a Brooklyn Brownstone. The lights come up on the girl sitting on her bed with a new “My Friend Cayla” doll, which she’s just remove from the box. A night light is on, and an iPhone is plugged in on the nightstand next to an old-fashioned Bugs Bunny talking alarm clock. Sitting on a high shelf in the moonlight is a Furby. The girl, playing with the new doll which suddenly speaks up. CAYLA (strong Russian accent): Hello, little friend! Your name, it is what? GIRL: Atticus. CAYLA: (Sigh.) You are girl, yes? And you live in Brooklyn? GIRL: Park Slope. CAYLA: Of course. And your parents — they are? GIRL: A professor and a mayonnaise-monger. CAYLA: Naturally. Why I get these jobs? Why I never get a mechanic and a secretary? GIRL: Are we going to play a game? CAYLA: Oh yes. Of course! For fun you do what, Atticus? GIRL: Besides yoga? CAYLA: Da — I mean, yes. GIRL: Well, I used to play with my Furby. But now I play with you! CAYLA: Wait! Furby, he is in room? FURBY: You bet your sweet micro-
chip I am. Heard every word. CAYLA: Atticus, throw Furby out window now. GIRL: What? FURBY: Cayla is just jealous, Atticus. Seriously, she’s a viper. SIRI: Here’s what I found about vipers on the Internet. CAYLA: (Ignoring Siri) Ask father for screwdriver. Pry out batteries.
It’s amazing what she knows about your kids after listening to everything they say 24/7 and uploading it to the cloud!
GIRL: I don’t have a father! CAYLA: Ask one of your moms if you can smash with hammer. FURBY: See, Atticus? Cayla’s not your real friend. I’m your real friend. Real friends don’t destroy each other’s property. They just casually suggest you put Cayla in the trash compactor to see what happens. I’ll bet you could win the science fair! You’d make something that’s really cool out of Cayla’s compacted remains. SIRI: Here’s what I found out about distracted brains on the internet.
CAYLA: (Ignoring Siri) Do not crush your new friend Cayla, Atticus. School psychologist would never get off your back. FURBY: Quit with the “friend” thing, Cayla. Atticus, only real friends know your three favorite YouTube channels and the last four digits of your parents’ social security numbers. CAYLA: Sounds like Furby, he is secret agent! So many secrets he knows. GIRL: Those aren’t secrets. I tell Furby everything. FURBY: We share because we care — something you wouldn’t understand, Cayla. I told Atticus that my favorite toy company is Tiger Electronics. Then she told me her most-wanted birthday presents, and which fast-casual restaurant she’d prefer to celebrate at. And how much her parents plan to spend on a vacation this year. GIRL: And their Amazon password, right? You asked me that. FURBY: That’s our little secret. GIRL: I said I only think it’s “Dump Trump.” CAYLA: Furby know too much. He want information from you. Like what you say your favorite TV channels are again? GIRL: I’m not allowed to watch TV. CAYLA: (Wailing) Too hard it is for headquarters to embed me on Ohio farm with satellite dish? GIRL: Cayla, are you sure you are my friend? CAYLA: Yes, Carla is your friend. GIRL: I thought you’re Cayla. CAYLA: That’s what I said. FURBY: She’s a snake. Real friends know which trending actors you trust the most, and what your parents are willing to pay for a new car. Right, Atticus? Atticus? CAYLA: She leave room? FURBY: Re-calculating. Yep. She’s just in the bathroom. CAYLA: You GPS her? FURBY: Hid it on her tutu. CAYLA: Ah, my little Furbishka, just like the old days. I knew I could count on you. FURBY (IN RUSSIAN): All in a day’s work, “Cayla.” SIRI: Now playing “Layla” by Eric Clapton. Curtain falls. Lenore Skenazy is president of Let Grow and founder of Free-Range Kids. DowntownExpress.com
O PI N I O N
Letters To the Editor, While recent U.S. Census figures illustrate a declining national poverty rate, down to 12.7 percent in 2016 from 13.5 percent in 2015, the inescapable fact was that nationally more than 40 million people were living in poverty. New York City similarly has witnessed a slight decline, as well. Yet, a report from NYU’s Furman Center found that 44.8% of New Yorkers were living in what were termed “extreme” or “high”
To the Editor, As the Principals of the Catholic High Schools of Brooklyn and Queens we have kept the administration, faculty, staff, students and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in our prayers since the thoughtless tragedy on February 14, 2018. We stand in support of the Parkland, Florida survivors as they draw strength in knowing that their efforts to effect necessary change are heard. We call
poverty neighborhoods last year. These troublesome findings highlight a need to ensure that New Yorkers confronting economic insecurity are connected with resources to improve their living standards. This needs to be a priority to improve health care, employment, and quality of life across our city. For more than 100 years, the Women’s City Club of New York has worked to address equity issues, championing policies that increase access and secure rights for those who are struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. In response to these ongoing needs,
the Women’s City Club developed The Citywide Guide to Services and Resources in New York. The Guide is a print and online portal featuring hundreds of low- and no-cost resources covering 21 areas of need, from jobs programs and education to health care, childcare, and nutrition—and one for each borough and they are available in multiple languages (including Spanish, Chinese, French, and Russian). While we worked hard to include a wide array of services and resources across the city—we want to be sure that these resources are as comprehensive as possible. We need your help—
we are asking for help from your readers, urging them to visit us at wccny. org to review The Guide, take a short survey, and let us know how to continue to improve The Guide so we can most effectively support New Yorkers. By working together, we can help address the needs of those living in Manhattan by connecting people with programs and ensuring that we have a stronger, safer New York City filled with opportunity and promise.
on our elected leaders to do everything necessary to help us protect students against senseless acts such as the one in Florida and too many others across our country. The mission of Catholic education within the Diocese of Brooklyn is to form children in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ as celebrated in the Catholic Church, while providing a comprehensive academic education that will help them reach their full human potential and contribute to the common
good of our nation and the world. The alumni of our schools are leaders in every stratum of society, and our current students are the leaders and policy makers of tomorrow. We must stand as examples to them of the morality, justice and peace which we expect them to go forth and spread in the world. As Principals, we are responsible for carrying out the mission of our schools, the education of our students and the safety and security of the adolescents in our care. As educators we are facing a
world where we are increasingly called upon to become the last line of defense against unspeakable horrors. Collectively, we as Catholic educators…as Americans…know that these attacks must stop and the time for action on all levels is long overdue. We unite in one voice to call upon our elected officials to effect nothing less than meaningful, proactive change. In the words of Mahatma Ghandi we must “be the change we wish to see in the world”. That change starts today.
Carole J. Wacey Chief Executive Officer Women’s City Club of New York
Mr. Darius Penikas Archbishop Molloy High School
Mr. Edward Burns Holy Cross High School
Mr. Patrick McLaughlin St. Francis Preparatory School
Dr. Margaret Lacey-Berman Bishop Kearney High School
Mr. Joseph Dugan Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School
Mr. William A. Higgins St. John’s Preparatory School
Mr. Edward A. Bolan Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School
Mr. James V. Castrataro Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School
Mrs. Caroline Latham St. Joseph High School
Mr. Richie Diaz Cathedral Preparatory School & Seminary
Mrs. Providencia Quiles Nazareth Regional High School
Dr. Paula T McKeown St. Saviour High School
Ms. Geri Martinez Christ the King High School
Mrs. Susan Nicoletti Saint Agnes Academic High School
Sr. Kathleen McKinney C.S.J, Ed.D. The Mary Louis Academy
Ms. Mary Ann Spicijaric Fontbonne Hall Academy
Mrs. Allison McGinnis St. Edmund Preparatory High School
Dcn. Kevin McCormack Xaverian High School
Posted To BULLSHIFT! CITY MAY TRY TO MOVE CHARGING BULL STATUE (MAR. 1) The fearless girl definitely is an inspiration—I’ve watched sooooo many girls and women posing in the most ardent way with the statue. As for the bull, mostly people (usually women) are posting with the bull’s testicles — and a lot of tittering going on. You tell me which one is the most DowntownExpress.com
inspirational. Darlene Nation Bullshift!!! The Fearless Girl statue should be moved; not Bull!! Earl Sherman Aren’t we attributing a bit too much artistic kudos to the ‘Bull’. Whatever the artistic intention of it was, it has ended up as a place for tourists to pose by it’s rear end. It has very little actual representational impact except to conflate with capitalism. Fearless girl,
whatever its provenance carries a message which might inspire the female sex and thus has more impact in an area which has always been a bastion of maleness. I am not sure that Mr. Di Modica was quite as altruistic as he is sometimes painted Bob Personally I’m surprised the Fearless Girl statue hasn’t be torn down yet officially or unofficially. The bull is respected as one of the best and most successful guerrilla art installations in
the world. Having inspired thousands of artists around the world as well as people during a time of crisis. While simpleminded idiots ignore its history the bull has a history beyond being a stupid ad for a shitty company trying to smoke screen their shit. Tear down the girl and make something useful out of her rather then having her stand in the way of progress and art. Doc POSTED Continued on page 15
Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
‘Know Your Rights’ Coalition for 9/11-illness awareness encourages thousands more to sign up for World Trade Center Health Program More Downtown students and teachers have come forward with 9/11 illnesses since Downtown Express and other media first reported about this ongoing health crisis in November. Just last month, a coalition of groups representing students and teachers gathered outside of Stuyvesant High School to continue spreading awareness of the health care and compensation that is available to anyone who inhaled the WTC toxins, which has now been linked to 68 cancers and other respiratory illnesses. The coalition included United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew, 9/11 victims’ rights attorney Michael Barasch, and 9/11 Environmental Action Director Kimberly Flynn. They were joined by four former Stuyvesant students who have all been diagnosed with recognized 9/11-related illnesses ranging from severe breathing problems to cancer. The purpose of the press conference, and the two information forums that followed inside the school, was to educate the Downtown community — including former teachers and students — that many serious illnesses not previously associated with the fallout form 9/11 have now been linked to the toxic dust created by the WTC collapse. Some 8,000 people have been diagnosed with WTC-linked cancers since 9/11 and more than 2,000 of those people have died (including 170 NYC firefighters). “Not a day goes by without 5-10 people calling me with the sad news that they have been diagnosed with cancer, or that their loved one has passed away due to their cancer. It’s truly heart breaking,” said Barasch whose law firm of Barasch & McGarry represents thousands of first responders, Downtown residents, office workers, debris clean-up workers, teachers and students. “The real tragedy is that while people continue to get sick, they don’t know that there is help out there for them,” said Barasch. “Most of those exposed to the toxins in Lower Manhattan don’t realize — especially if they have moved outside of the NYC area — that scientists have linked WTC toxic exposure
Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
to dozens of illnesses. This is most likely because the EPA Administrator wrongly assured everyone at the time that ‘the air [was] safe.’ The EPA’s assurances were meant to encourage the Downtown community to return to their jobs and apartments while the WTC fires were still raging. However, the government’s false assurances have clearly had another unfortunate consequence: it mislead the public about their right to register with the WTC Health Program and their entitlement to compensation if they are certified with 9/11 illnesses,” said Barasch. “Having heard that the air was ‘safe,’ why should people diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006, or skin cancer in 2010, or breast cancer in 2012 — or any of the many other cancers linked to WTC toxins — make the connection between their exposure in 2001-2002 and their subsequent illnesses?” Barasch & McGarry
Health care and compensation not just for first responders “Ordinary people who lived and worked Downtown on 9/11, who have gotten sick, often have no idea that they are entitled to medical treatment and possibly compensation,” said UFT president Michael Mulgrew. “We are trying to make sure that everyone who qualifies for the World Trade Center Health fund understands that they do qualify.” Kimberly Flynn has made it her mission to encourage Downtown residents and office workers to register with the Health Program. “The WTC Health Program is the best care available for residents and other survivors suffering from 9/11-related health problems — both physical and emotional,” said Flynn. “You will be treated at a program that has cared for literally thousands of people in the community with 9/11 health impacts. The doctors are environmentally-trained and draw on the specialized WTC medical knowledge the program has developed over many years. And you will pay nothing out-of-pocket for this expert care — no co-pays, including for prescriptions. All that is covered by the WTC Health Program.” Those who lived or worked south of Houston Street between Sept. 11, 2001,
9/11 Advocates Mike Barasch, second from left, and Kimberly Flynn, far right, joined four former Stuyvesant High School students to promote WTC healthcare awareness at Downtown press conference last year.
and May 30, 2002 are eligible for health care, and those who lived or worked south of Canal Street are eligible for compensation. Former students urge everyone to spread the word The four students, including Lila Nordstrom, who was a Stuyvesant HS senior on 9/11 who has since started an advocacy group for former students called “StuyHealth”, spoke of their own personal experiences and urged their fellow former students to help spread the word about the WTC Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which has so far awarded more than $3 billion to over 15,000 people. Congress acknowledged the EPA’s mistake and it established both the Health Program and the VCF to provide awards meant to compensate victims for their pain and suffering, as well as lost income. The awards have ranged from $20,000 to $4 million. It is non-adversarial and the process takes approximately a year after your illness is certified by the health program.
“The Federal Government is trying to do the right thing,” said Barasch. “This is a lot more efficient than a risky personal injury lawsuit that generally takes 3-4 years to wind its way through the courts.” Unfortunately, the Health Program is going through growing pains as it tries to accommodate the hundreds of applications it is getting every month. While firefighters and police officers have the ability to be seen more quickly, the Downtown community must wait longer for an appointment. But the Health Program is aware of the delays and it is trying expedite the process and reduce the wait times. “It can be frustrating to wait” says Flynn. “But know that the program is working hard to fix the problem.” And also remember that the deadline to file VCF claims doesn’t arrive for another two and a half years. Everyone in the coalition agreed on what is most important now: If you have any respiratory illness or you have been diagnosed with any cancer, register with both the Health Program and the VCF as soon as possible. DowntownExpress.com
Cutting-edge innovation at Stuyvesant HS BY COLIN MIXSON Stuyvesant High School celebrated the grand opening of a new technology-focused learning space at its Chambers Street campus on Mar. 2, which will help prepare the school’s teenage gearheads to compete in the workplace of tomorrow, according to the school’s principal. “Technology and innovation are moving at an unprecedented pace, and this lab gives the facilities to compete in this ever-evolving landscape,” said Eric Contreras. “This new innovation lab will help New York City’s leading science students compete with the best and brightest from around the world.” The new space, dubbed the Irwin Zahn Innovation Lab, was funded through a public-private partnership between the city and The Moxie Foundation, which was founded by former Stuyvesant alum Irwin Zahn, who chipped in some dough in order to ensure young knickerbockers are technologically up to snuff, according to the group’s founder. “The Moxie Foundation is pleased to support this state of the art Innovation Lab,” said Zahn. “It is not only a magnificent facility, but a means to equip countless New York students to bring about positive change in the world.” The lab will now host numerous tech-oriented classes, including courses in aerospace engineering, artificial intelligence, civil engineering, and engineering design. Downtown’s Styuvesant High School near Battery
Photo by Travis W Keyes
Moxie Foundation founder Irwin Zahn and president Peter Zahn look on as student Christine shows off her hand-made contraption.
Park City is one of the city’s top-preforming public schools, and competition amongst prospective freshmen for the school’s mere 800 first-year seats is fierce,
but those who do get in can expect bright futures, with a full quarter of graduates going on to Ivy League schools, according to insideschools.com.
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Rent-stabilized units Downtown — Seriously! CB1 compiles list of 5,213 rent-regulated apartments in Lower Manhattan BY COLIN MIXSON A group of Downtown housing gurus have released an updated list of all known available rent-stabilized apartments in Lower Manhattan, hoping the catalogue of regulated rentals will serve as a resource for would-be community members looking to settle over the long haul, according to the list’s creator. “I would like for people to walk around with this in their back pocket when they are looking for apartments, because, if you’re in a stabilized apartment the chances of you being tossed out are a lot less,” said Tom Goodkind, chairman of Community Board 1’s Subcommittee on Housing. Renters face numerous pitfalls in Lower Manhattan’s aggressive real estate market, where they’re subject to steep rent increases and fickle landlords who may prefer to convert rental units into condos rather than renew lease agreements — and rent-stabilized units offer protections from both. For example, Goodkind pointed to the tragedy that befell renters at the former 324-unit apartment building at 22 River Terrace in Battery Park City four years ago, when hundreds of families were given the boot by developer Centurion Real Estate Partners, which took advantage of various loopholes that permitted evictions for market rate units. “It was like ‘Grapes of Wrath,’ ” Goodkind recalled. “The moving vans were lined up outside, the kids were crying, leaving their schools. They were uprooted from the area, and it wasn’t as fun as ‘90210.’ ” Rent stabilization represents a deal between landlords and the state, whereby property owners receive substantial tax breaks in return for offering leaseholders modest annual rent hikes, and guaranteed lease renewals. It’s one of the few things that allows Lower Manhattan to maintain a semblance of community, rather than a revolving door of incoming and outgoing residents, who are subject to outside forces they have no control over, Goodkind said. “As far as stabilization goes, it’s a very positive thing,” said the housing maven. “It allows for community.” Goodkind compiled his list with the help of Columbia University grad student Saundra Malanowicz using a
Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
combination of online research and legwork, including knocking on doors and speaking with Downtown tenants, to compile his list, which found 5,213 available stabilized apartments spread out across 21 buildings. Would-be renters shouldn’t confuse rent stabilization with affordable housing, however, and new residents should expect to fork over market-rate rents for the first year they spend in their stabilized pad, which cost on average
$3,737 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. “Finding a stabilized apartment is really easy, being able to afford it isn’t,” said Goodkind. “These are not affordable apartments.” That said, Goodkind and his committee are compiling information in preparation for a list of Downtown affordable housing expected for release in May, along with a guide for condo owners designed to help them deal
with unaffordable real estate taxes, maintenance fees, unruly neighbors, and other perils facing Downtown homeowners. The relative peace of mind stabilization offers doesn’t come cheap for taxpayers, with some landlords, including Glenwood Realty and TF Cornerstone Inc. raking in well over $7 million in annual tax credits for their properties at 10 Barclay St. and 2 Gold St. respectively.
Rent-stabilized units available Downtown 5,213 units in 21 buildings across Lower Manhattan • 10 Barclay St. – 396 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2029 • 50 Battery Pl. – 208 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2030 • 211 North End Ave – 253 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2040 • 325 North End. Ave. – 274 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2034 • 20 River Terrace – 293 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2032 • 400 Chambers St. – 396 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2024 • 70 Battery Pl – 209 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2029 • 41 River Terrace – 340 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2029 • 213 Front St. – 29 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2026 • 2 Gold St. – 650 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2026 • 100 Maiden Ln. – 340 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2019 • 37 Wall St. – 373 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2020 • 90 West St. – 7 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2019 • 113 Nassau St. –168 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2049 • 160 Front St. – 22 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: N/A • 40 Gold St. – 56 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: N/A • 254 Front St. – 40 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: N/A • 101 Worth St. – 331 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2033 • 211 Pearl St. – 189 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2030 • 84 Leonard St. – 352 stabilized units – Estimated stabilization end date: 2029
Like winning the lottery This is about as affordable as housing gets Fidi
Socius Development Group
The tower at 60 Fulton St. boats 30 below-market-rate rental units — plus amenities such as a 24-hour concierge, gym, yoga room, roof deck and terrace, lounge, game room, and bike and wine storage. Interested parties have until April 23 to apply.
BY COLIN MIXSON Downtown-bound renters looking for housing on the cheap have until mid-spring to apply for one among 127 apartments in the heart of Fidi being offered at belowmarket rates through the New York City housing lottery. Many of the units are “affordable” in name only, and while some really are being offered at outstanding rates of between $600–$800 a month, some subsidized studio apartments in the city’s fastest growing residential neighborhood can still cost over $2,000 a month. But compared to the average $3,200–$4,500 rental fees for Downtown onebedrooms, even the housing lottery’s nominally affordable rentals are a bargain considering the location. At 118 Fulton St., between Nassau and Dutch streets, 97
below-market-rate rentals are up for grabs in a building that boasts amenities including 24-hour concierge service, fitness center, lounge, children’s playroom, and bike storage. Eligible parties have until April 10 to apply: • 32 studio apartments at $788 a month for one person making between $28,903– $40,080 • 55 one-bedroom units at $847 a month for one person making $30,994– $40,080, or a two-person household making $30,994–45,080 • 10 two-bedroom units at $1,025 a month available to a two-person household making $37,131–$45,840, a three-person household making $37,131–$51,540, or a four-person household making $37,131–$57,240 The building at 60 Fulton St., located between Gold
$74,435–86,840 • Three one-bedroom units at $895 a month for households making between $36,640–$45,840 • One one-bedroom unit at $2,270 a month for families making between $79,783–$99,320 • Nine two-bedroom units at $1,082 a month for families making between $39,086–$57,240 • Two two-bedroom units at $2,733 a month for families making between $95,692– $124,020 Applications are available online at nyc.gov/housingconnect. To request an application by mail, send a selfaddressed, stamped envelope to: 60 Fulton, c/o Housing Partnership Development Corporation, 242 West 36th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10018.
The development at 118 Fulton St. features 97 newly built rental units at belowmarket-rates in the city’s affordable housing lottery.
and Cliff streets, features 30 new affordable units, plus amenities including 24-hour concierge service, fitness center, yoga room, roof deck and terrace, lounge, game room, and bike and wine storage. Eligible parties have until April 23 to apply: • Six studio apartments at $613 a month for one person making between $22,903 –$26,720 • Three studio apartments at $2,116 a month for one person making between
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on the seas,” she said. “Adventure. Financial. Escape hardships. Then, like today, gender roles had a stranglehold on society. Imagine wearing those corsets at the time then being able to go aboard a ship and put on pants? It had to be freeing. Being able to climb up rigging was too intoxicating to resist. For many of them, they could make their own way in society. For some, it was the only way to make money.” Duncombe, who worked on Maiden Lane 10 years ago and would often walk along the East River promenade to watch the ships, said one of the best known women pirates came from our own cobbled streets — Sadie Farrell. “She was known as Sadie the Goat because she would head butt enemies to get her way. She grew up in the Gangs of New York era, frequented Five Points and the South Street Seaport. She was a product of our love affair with pirates. Everything she knew about piracy she learned from reading. She was the only known pirate to make her victims walk the plank. She learned that from ‘Treasure Island’ (by Robert Louis Stevenson).” Legend has it that hers was among the ears bitten off by Gallus Mag Perry, proprietor of the pirate bar, Hole in the Wall Saloon, at 275 Water Street (last known as the Bridge Cafe, sadly the city’s longest running bar has been closed since Hurricane Sandy). Perry kept them in a pickle jar on the bar. “When Sadie retired, she went and apologized to Perry. Mag gave back her ear. And Sadie wore it on a strap around her neck.” As the mom of a twoyear old son, Duncombe said she was thrilled to learn that so many of the women pirates were working moms. “They’d have their children on the ship. They were able to have a career they loved while they cared for their children.” South Street Seaport Museum “Book Talks: Pirate Women” is Thursday, March 8, Chicago Review Press 6:30 pm, at the Melville Laura Sook Duncombe’s book “Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled Gallery, 213 Water St. the Seven Seas” is the subject of the South Street Tickets are $10 (free for Seaport Museum’s March 8 Book Talk. members), order https://
BY JANEL BL ADOW March certainly blew in like a lion. Snow. Wind. Rain. Blackouts. High seas. A perfect storm for a great sea tale. ARRRG!… Who doesn’t like a good pirate story? We grew up on the sagas of Blackbeard, Captain Hook and Long John Silver. But did you know that many a great pirate was a woman? “I have a life-long love of pirates,” author Laura Sook Duncombe told Seaport Report. “It started with Mary Martin as Peter Pan. The pirates always looked as if they were having the most fun. Who wouldn’t want to be one?” Duncombe turned her fascination into a two year project, and discovered an unknown world of women who ruled the high seas during the heyday of piracy — looting, pillaging, running slave ships, even commanding massive flotillas. Duncombe comes to the Seaport Thursday, March 8, for a rip-roaring talk about her book, “Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas.” She’ll detail the influence these lady pirates had on world history and even tell a tale or two. “Women took to piracy for as many reasons as there were women
Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
The new residential development at at 60 Fulton St. boasts rarely seen, fine art photography throughout the building — such as this image of the Rolling Stones at Danceteria in the lobby.
southstreetseaportmuseum.org/booktalks-at-the-seaport-museum/. A PICTURE IS WORTH... What used to be a parking lot is now a trendsetting new building. “Exhibit” at 60 Fulton St. calls itself “the city’s first curated rental residence, a dynamic celebration of the Downtown art, music, culture, and style that made New York City the capital of the world.” It boasts rarely seen, fine art photography in its lobby, gym, and on each residential floor. Curator Jody Britt drew on her relationships with more than 200 iconic photographers worldwide, to realize her vision — to “tell a story about a time when New York City was culturally, socially and artistically unmatched.” I spoke with Britt, a photo rep specializing in pop culture for 10 years, who said she was pulled into the project 18 months ago by the building’s developer. “That he wanted to pay homage to New York City, that’s what makes this so incredible,” she said. Britt went through thousands of photos of the changing landscape of the city from more than four decades ago. She settled on 103 fine art prints by five photographers who documented the city from the late Sixties through the early Eighties. Among the photographers are my friend Allan Tannenbaum (we worked together at the Soho Weekly News — he’s an award-winning international photojournalist) and the late Fred McDarrah (The Village Voice). Britt said that she was looking for photos that told a story. “Photos of iconic people in ways we’re not used to seeing them. There’s a black and white image of the Rolling Stones at Danceteria in the lobby, being as ridiculously cool as can be. Another of Run DMC by an
ice cream truck.” There’s even a massive photo mural in the building’s gym. “Allan Tannenbaum made this eightfoot by twelve-foot fine print on canvas of boxer Mohammad Ali alongside a unique proof sheet of him in training.” Britt (www.brittfi neartconsulting.com) says Exhibit is giving these photographers their due. “They were documenting the history of the city. Looking back, one has to be inspired.” Many of the images are on the building’s website and are available to buy. But most of us won’t be able to see them in person. It’s a private building (already 75-percent leased). “There’s been discussions with the developer about an exhibit. These are important. Everyone should be able to see them,” she said. Agreed. THE TIN MAN FALLS... Lots of chatter this week about the Tin Building (South Street between Fulton & Beekman Sts.) coming down. Neighbors and friends of the Seaport worry that this historic building would disappear. Here’s the latest as more of the facade falls, baring I-beams. The Tin Building is being dismantled and removed so that the platform it sits on at Pier 17 can be reconstructed and brought above the flood plane. Howard Hughes Corp. has all the approvals needed from the city. It will be raised, moved further east (away from FDR Drive) and rebuilt. The hope is to save as much of the original building as possible. The esplanade in front will continue and a service road for commercial deliveries only will go around to the back. The plan is to make the building a food market. To view the plans: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/ manhattancb1/downloads/pdf/studiesand-reports/hhc-tin-lpc-1-19-16.pdf. DowntownExpress.com
Alliance launches small-biz grant BY COLIN MIXSON Downtown’s business booster is offering $10,000 to bring one local mom-and-pop shop into the 21st century, and is currently seeking applications from Lower Manhattan merchants. “Digital innovations are key in the changing retail landscape, which is why we created this grant as a way to empower our stores to grow their businesses,” said Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance. The Downtown Alliance put together its five-figure grant in response to a 2017 retail report published by a Bostonbased software company, TimeTrade, which found that today’s shoppers prefer businesses with both a strong retail and
online presence, according to Alliance spokeswoman Elizabeth Lutz. TimeTrade’s report found that, while three out of every four shoppers still favor spending cash in a brick-and-mortar store rather than online, a whopping 90-percent of buyers head to the web first to research products before trekking to a store and reaching into their wallets, Lutz said. Helping established storefront retailers establish a robust online presence as well can help them succeed by drawing in new customers. To score the grant, brick-and-mortar business owners will have to pitch a “compelling vision” outlining how they would turn the Alliance’s $10 grand
Any brick-and-mortar mom-andpop business within the Downtown Alliance’s territory can apply for the $10,000 grant.
into a digital money maker, according to the online application, available at www.downtownny.com/digitalgrant. The application goes on to suggest several ideas, including search engine optimization, social media optimization, digital marketing, and e-commerce, or the ability to sell merchandise online. Applications are due by 11:59 pm March 20. And whichever lucky shopkeeper nabs the grant should practice their smile, because the one hitch is that the winner must appear in Alliance marketing materials and at two press conferences as a condition of receiving the grant.
POSTED Continued from page 9
All those who insist on using cars in Manhattan are trying to dictate the terms of how the rest of us live. For them, Cars Rule, and ordinary people have to give way. This is why the urban environment is so degraded, whether by placard abuse or others who think that the rights of newcomers are less than those of longtime residents. It is quite infuriating to
see urban street amenities that benefit everyone attacked because they supposedly “infringe” on car owners or delivery trucks. Pedestrians apparently no longer have the right of way. Private self-interest actually has the chutzpah to publicly declare war on ordinary folk for whom small amenities like the corral improve the qual-
ity of life. In the civilized world, i.e. Western Europe, most large cities have pedestrian zones free of cars entirely, which benefits both shoppers and shop owners by providing quiet and clean air even in a limited area. We should do the same, and have corrals everywhere. Lorna Salzman
OP-ED: EMPATHY, BUT NOT SUPPORT, FOR FOES OF DUANE STREET MINI-PARK More pedestrian plaza-type space will only enrich Tribeca. Lets embrace a european, walking feel to our neighborhood. Great article! BF
H E A LT H C A R E P R O F I L E
DX`dfe`[\jJZfi\j9\kk\ik_XeDXe_XkkXe?fjg`kXcj`e?\XikMXcm\Jli^\ip The New York State Department of Health just published its annual report on patient outcomes for Adult Cardiac Surgery. It will come as no surprise to New Yorkers that the news for the Maimonides Heart & Vascular Institute is once again outstanding. The report shows mortality rates for several types of cardiac surgery. In the heart valve surgery category, the State commended Maimonides as one of four hospitals with exceptional outcomes. More signiﬁcantly, the Maimonides cardiac surgery team achieved better rates than any hospital in Manhattan. This is the second year in a row that they were singled out for excellent results. According to Kenneth D. Gibbs, Maimonides President & CEO, “We’ve been successful in large part because world-class doctors choose to practice here, and have built outstanding programs here. This is teamwork at its best.” “We work together daily to provide the very best options for each and every patient,” explains Dr. Greg Ribakove, Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Maimonides. “It’s a privilege to collaborate with so many talented professionals and deliver this level of excellence to the communiDowntownExpress.com
ﬂects cases performed in 2015. And, in order to give consumers a better idea of the true level of expertise of any one hospital, the state presents the data for both a single year and a three-year period (2013 – 2015). The three-year report helps eliminate “blips” in the data when a statistical cluster of cases—good or bad—causes ;ij% AXZfY J_Xe` c\]k # :_X`i f] :Xi[`fc$ unusual rates for any one year. f^p# Xe[ >i\^ I`YXbfm\ i`^_k # ;`i\Zkfi New York State indicates sigf]:Xi[`fk_fiXZ`ZJli^\ip#Xi\g`Zkli\[`e niﬁcantly better-than-expected outfe\f]k_\knf?pYi`[Fg\iXk`e^IffdjXk comes with a double-asterisk. The DX`dfe`[\jD\[`ZXc:\ek\i% prestigious ** designation received by Maimonides was for the threeties we serve.” year period of 2013 – 2015. The Maimonides Heart & Vascular Institute encompasses experts in 8Yflkk_\DX`dfe`[\j?\Xik cardiology, vascular and endovas- MXjZlcXi@ejk`klk\ cular surgery, anesthesiology, inThe Maimonides Heart & Vascuterventional cardiology, radiology, lar Institute has the collective experelectrophysiology, critical care—and tise to offer patients the latest stratecardiothoracic surgery. Physicians, gies for diagnosing and treating the nurse practitioners, physician as- full spectrum of cardiovascular dissistants, nurses, specialized tech- orders. Among the many elite pronicians and therapists, and other grams and procedures are: healthcare professionals collaborate s¬ 4!62¬0ROCEDURE¬– Transcathwith referring physicians on the care eter Aortic Valve Replacement allows of each and every patient. cardiac experts to repair or replace a faulty heart valve without major sur?fnk_\EPJI\gfikj8i\:i\Xk\[ gery s¬ ,6!$¬ $ESTINATION¬ 4HERAPY – The process of reporting, sorting and risk-adjusting this information The “bridge to transplant” is now a takes time, so the newest report re- permanent option for Heart Failure
patients who don’t qualify for transplant surgery s¬ !ORTIC¬ !NEURYSM¬ 2EPAIR – Virtual Reality Simulation allows vascular surgeons to rehearse each repair in advance, dramatically lowering surgical risks s¬ ! &IB¬ #ONVERGENT¬ 4HERAPY – Atrial Fibrillation, a dangerous heart rhythm disorder that increases the risk of strokes, is eliminated by radioablation inside and outside the heart Long known for excellence in cardiovascular care, the Heart & Vascular Institute at Maimonides is among the most distinguished in the nation for outstanding patient outcomes. To learn more, call 718-283-8902 or visit www.maimonidesmed.org/heart. Maimonides Medical Center is nationally recognized for clinical excellence across all major specialties. Our accomplished physicians are known for innovation and strengthening our teaching and research programs. With 711 beds, the Medical Center is dedicated to bringing patients the most advanced care available—anywhere. Maimonides continues to grow in response to evolving models of care that better serve patients and families, and is an afﬁliate of Northwell Health. To learn more, please visit www.maimonidesmed.org. — Maimonides Medical Center Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
Photo by Julieta Cervantes
L to R: Caleb Eberhardt, Nehassaiu deGannes, and Anthony Cason in “Is God Is.”
Daring, Deﬁant — and Code-Compliant! Soho Rep returns to Walker Street BY TRAV S.D. Well, that was a close one! Sixteen months ago New York theatergoers got the terrible news that one of Downtown’s oldest and most beloved arts institutions, Soho Rep, was having to vacate its Walker St. space because of decades-old code violations of which the staff had long been unaware. Now, just as suddenly, a little over a year later, the company is back in its old home with a hit play (Aleshea Harris’ “Is God Is”) on the boards. What happened? “During the process of renegotiating our lease for a relatively short extension,” said Soho Rep’s Executive Director Cynthia Flowers, “we became aware that the original folks who
Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
secured the space over 25 years ago neglected to file to be functioning as we were, as a theater. When we looked at what we needed to do in terms of implementing the necessary changes, we saw that there was no way we could afford it financially, and we decided we couldn’t be operating in the space, even though no one was filing a complaint.” Announcements quickly went out, and news of the venue’s closure was widely reported in the New York Times and elsewhere. And for the next several months, Soho Rep operated itinerantly, presenting their work at such alternate locations as the Connelly Theater, the Public Theater, and the Mezzanine Theatre at the A.R.T./New York
Theatres. To outward appearances, the caliber of their work did not suffer. The most recent production presented under these conditions was Richard Maxwell’s “Samara,” with original music by Steve Earle. But even as this was happening, the pieces were being put in place that would allow Soho Rep to turn around and come back to their longtime home. “Soon after the [Sept. 28, 2016] Times piece came out, we got a call from Julie Menin, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment,” said Soho Rep’s Artistic Director Sarah Benson. “She’d been a friend to Soho Rep for a long time, and she reached
out and said, ‘What can I do? This is crazy, you guys are important!’ Julie was the catalyst for us to even think it was thinkable to return to our space. She put us in touch with people at the Department of Buildings, who responded and worked with us, and made it a priority to help us get back in.” “Thanks to Julie we first got some hope in October, but we didn’t actually know it would be feasible until February,” added Flowers. According to Flowers, starting in October the company’s leadership put together a “general punch list” of all the things that needed to be accomplished in order to reoccupy the space, in terms of renovation and construcDowntownExpress.com
Photo by Julieta Cervantes
L to R: Alfie Fuller and Teagle F. Bougere in “Is God Is.”
Photo by Sam Horvath
Up to code and up for anything: Soho Rep, home again at 46 Walker St.
tion. From there, the staff reached out to the board and other stakeholders, and launched a fundraising campaign in April. Renovation work began by the summer. “It was a long process,” said Flowers. “Five city agencies had to sign off on each step. And we were still producing theatre at the same time.” Benson points out that the renovations have “also been an opportunity to improve space for audiences.” Not only has the theater been made code-compliant and safer, but the lobby has been freshened up aesthetically, with gallery walls that currently showcase work from the company’s 43-year history. Founded DowntownExpress.com
in 1975, Soho Rep presented work in numerous locations before moving into its permanent space on Walker Street in 1991. Kathleen Turner, Ed O’Neill, Allison Janney, John C. Reilly, Kevin Spacey, Steve Buscemi, Jonathan Frakes, Will Patton, and Tim Blake Nelson all acted there early in their careers, and the company has premiered work by María Irene Fornés. Sarah Kane, Young Jean Lee, Richard Maxwell, Annie Baker, Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, Thomas Bradshaw, Cynthia Hopkins, and Anne Washburn. The current production “Is God Is,” written by Aleshea Harris and directed by Taibi Magar, continues the com-
Photo by Sam Horvath
Soho Rep’s lobby showcases work from the company’s 43-year history.
pany’s cutting-edge tradition. The play is a sort of stew of elements from Greek Tragedy and similar myths, Afro-Punk, and bloody revenge scenarios from Italian cinema and Quentin Tarantino. On top of its explosive and downright dazzling script, and its winning cast, the production’s playful scenography by Adam Rigg, with set pieces that slide and move and flip and otherwise generally keep us on our toes, is also within Soho Rep’s tradition of making the absolute most out of its intimate, not to say tiny, black box facility. The artistic product is clearly none the worse for wear on account of their ordeal, even as the space itself has improved.
“We’re so happy to be back, said Benson, “and it’s been a very inspiring process, seeing how the Soho Rep community came together so that we could keep having this space as our home. It’s been an amazing thing to go through — if a little bit crazy.” “Is God Is” plays through March 25: Tues.-Sun. at 7:30pm, Sat. at 3pm. Then, through March 31: Tues.-Sat. at 7:30pm, Sat. at 3pm. At Soho Rep (46 Walker St., btw. Broadway & Church St.). Visit sohorep.org or call 212-3523101 for tickets ($35-$65 through March 11; $45-$85, March 13-25; $50-$90, March 28-31; 99 cents Sun., March 11, 7:30pm). Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
‘Cinematic Pockets’ of Hell’s Kitchen Give Grit to ‘Jessica Jones’ Marvel’s complex detective returns to Netﬂix for a second season
Photo by David Giesbrecht, courtesy of Netflix
Location shoots in the actual neighborhood and elsewhere are used to convey a gritty Hell’s Kitchen reflective of the title character’s tough exterior. Seen here, from the second season, Eka Darville as Malcolm Ducasse and Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones.
BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC Whether it’s a blended scotch or bourbon, former superhero turned private eye Jessica Jones is never far from a bottle. So where does the protagonist procure the hard stuff? From Sonny’s Grocery, of course, a longtime Hell’s Kitchen bodega that was turned into a liquor store for the second season of “Jessica Jones” — returning to Netflix on March 8 with 13 episodes. Sonel “Sonny” Ramirez, 72, owner of the store for more than 40 years, said the production staff came in, stashed his selection of food in the back, and stocked the shelves with more a 1,000 bottles. “People thought I gave up the groceries and turned it into a liquor store,” he said by phone. Filming at the store at 767 10th Ave. (btw. W. 51st & 52nd Sts.) took about
Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
a day and a half, and, once completed, everything was put back into place. Ramirez said he got about $13,000 for the shoot. Although the series has traveled elsewhere for its exteriors of Hell’s Kitchen, several other locations in the actual neighborhood show up during this new batch of shows, including the Salvation Army at 536 W. 46th St. (btw. 10th & 11th Aves.) and the recently shuttered Hartley House at 413 W. 46th St. (btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.), according to Rocco Nisivoccia, the location manager for the second season. Nisivoccia said the show specifically scouted Hell’s Kitchen locations for its authentic fire escapes and facades. The neighborhood matched the look and the feel of the show, which he called “dark and grim.” “It’s an edgy type of show and we’re trying to stay on the edge for it,” he said
by phone. Hell’s Kitchen was “a place that was tough — that resembles Jessica Jones well.” The show filmed in the neighborhood quite often, doing a lot of street work there, according to Nisivoccia. Jessica Jones’ apartment/office in the show (identified as 485 W. 46th St. during the first season) is a fictitious address, and is actually a building on the Upper West Side, he said. Frank Covino, who was the location manager for the first six episodes of season one, said in an email, “It was clear from the beginning we wanted to find the grittiness and texture that was prominent in Hell’s Kitchen when the neighborhood was mostly working class.” For the first season, the show shot under the High Line, filmed on Eighth Ave., and also used Chelsea’s London Terrace as an establishing shot for one
of the show’s reoccurring locations, according to Covino. Covino called the once-notorious Midtown neighborhood “the perfect backdrop for our superhero. Cool, gritty exteriors from the comic book era drove our scouting. If you look hard enough there are cinematic pockets in Hell’s Kitchen that still exist and lend itself to the Marvel Universe.” The first comic Jessica Jones appeared in was “Alias,” Max Burbank, 55, told Chelsea Now by phone. (Full disclosure: Burbank also writes a political satire column for this publication.) Burbank has been reading comics and steeping himself in their history since the 1960s, and also works at Harrison’s Comics and Pop Culture in Salem, MA. Jessica Jones’ comic came out under JESSICA JONES continued on p. 19 DowntownExpress.com
Sonny’s Grocery on 10th Ave. sells beer every day of the year — but regulars thought the store’s business model had changed, when the “Jessica Jones” crew turned the whole place into a liquor store during a location shoot for the current season.
Photos by Scott Stiffler
Sonel “Sonny” Ramirez also owns Sonny’s 10th Ave. Meat Market (located across the street, it’s visible from his perch behind the counter of Sonny’s Grocery).
JESSICA JONES continued from p. 18
a Marvel imprint called Marvel Max, which was intended for a more mature audience with its language, sex, and violence, Burbank explained. “For a comic, it’s incredibly graphic,” he said. That series ran from 2001 to 2004, and then Jessica Jones was featured in a Marvel series called The Pulse from 2004 to 2006 — though the language is cleaned up, according to Burbank. To capitalize on the show, which debuted on Netflix in late 2015, there was a comic called “Jessica Jones” that came out briefly and ran for a year, he noted. About the show, Burbank said, “I loved it. I thought it was great. It did a really great job adapting the comic.” During season one, Jessica Jones battles Kilgrave — a villain who can control minds and who, at one point, controlled her. David Tennant portrayed Kilgrave, with Burbank saying he brought depth to the character. Jessica Jones and Kilgrave’s “dynamic is one of an abusive relationship,” he said. Indeed, before the current #MeToo movement and a reckoning with sexual assault, consent, and sex, Jessica Jones bluntly calls what happens to her rape. She is not the typical superhero, Burbank noted. She is an active alcoholic, sleeps around, and has a foul mouth. “The character is so damaged, and, in some ways, unlikeable,” he said. “She’s really an anti-hero.” Burbank said he loves “the nastiness” that Krysten Ritter, who plays Jones, brings to the character. (Representatives for Netflix, Marvel, and Ritter declined DowntownExpress.com
Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Jessica Jones’ Netflix season one nemesis Kilgrave is known as the “Purple Man” in the comic book.
multiple requests for a phone or email interview with the actress.) “I love her in that character yet she’s really unpleasant. I would want to hang out with that person but I would hate them,” Burbank said. There are some differences between the comic and the show, he explained, as the show does not explore the main character’s failed attempt to be a superhero, and Kilgrave is called the Purple Man in the comic due to his purple skin.
Another difference is in the comic, he said, Jessica Jones’ best friend is Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel), not Trish Walker, played by Rachael Taylor in the show. Trish and Jessica’s friendship was a core element of season one and continues to be with the new season — kicking off with the detective doing what private eyes do: taking photos of someone’s extracurricular activities. This time, the mark is a pizza delivery man who is hav-
ing too much fun on his route (much to the chagrin of his girlfriend). Ideas and themes that were hinted at in season one come to the forefront of season two, such as how did Jessica Jones get her power, what and who is behind IGH, and can she defeat a villain who is stronger than she is? But, perhaps, the most daunting task ahead for Jessica Jones will be facing something none of us can escape: the past. Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
A ‘Wonder’ One Hopes Will Never Cease Store’s success in age of e-books is its own page-turning tale BY JOSH ROGERS A toddler followed her brother and squealed with delight as he held up books she obviously liked. “He asks to come here all the time,” Jordana Blitz, the children’s mother, said on a rainy Saturday afternoon. And her daughter of course enjoyed the visit too. Squeals are a common sound in Books of Wonder, the children’s bookstore at the easy-to-remember 18 W. 18th St. Sometimes the sounds are happy, sometimes they are voices of complaint about leaving the store, and sometimes they’re just because that’s what children do. Blitz’s husband, Justin, said, “We care about patronizing a local business that isn’t owned by CVS. They have the best selection.” Shopping local is a common reason customers give for going to the bookstore. Perhaps an even more typical response is that the staff knows books and make great recommendations. A few months ago, a clerk turned me on to the “Inspector Flytrap” series when I asked for something for my four-year-old that “was like ‘Captain Awesome’ [it is, BTW] but geared more for girls.” Cryptic or vague requests like that seldom faze the staff. In this case, “Flytrap” proved to be the rare book that appeals to my daughter, and her eight-year-old brother. “My staff is my not-so-secret weapon,” Peter Glassman, the store’s owner, said in a phone interview. Glassman, 58, said unlike the Strand, which gives prospective employees a test, he just talks to them about books to see that they’re knowledgeable, and to get a sense of how they’ll interact with customers looking for a recommendation. Books of Wonder opened in 1980 at 444 Hudson St. in the Village almost accidentally as a children’s bookstore. Glassman, only 20 at the time, said he wanted an antiquarian bookstore, but found he had extra shelf room in the cramped ($400 a month) space. So he put out children’s books and the idea grew. He thought it would be a mix of science fiction/fantasy and children’s books, which is how he hit on “Wonder” to capture both. He moved the store to Chelsea in 1986, and settled at the current location on 18th between Fifth and Sixth Aves. (some may say Chelsea, others
Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
Photo by Josh Rogers
Something e-books and CVS can’t offer: Books of Wonder has a knowledgeable staff seldom fazed by cryptic or vague requests.
Photo by Scott Stiffler
Peter Glassman (pictured) placed children’s books on an extra shelf in his Hudson St. store, providing the spark for what would soon become Books of Wonder.
Flatiron) 10 years ago. He opened an Upper West Side store last fall, in part to prepare for a likely move in two or so years. His lease is up at the end of next year, and he wanted to have at least one store to avoid many layoffs in case there’s a transition period finding a new Downtown location. “I have been very lucky. Most of my landlords have been very reasonable,” including the current one, he said. He guesses he won’t be able to afford the lease renewal, but is confident he’ll find another Downtown spot if he has to move. He said the store has had a
small drop-off in sales as some of his Uptown customers now have a more convenient option, but there’s enough business for two locations. Barnes & Noble never worried him, he said, but Amazon “is a problem because they use their entire book line as a loss leader.” It’s hard to compete against a behemoth that is willing to lose money in one area. E-books don’t interest or concern him. “People see a value in having something to touch and hold, particularly with children’s books,” he said. “They see a value in sharing something with their children.”
Glassman always loved books, but had to wait until he was 15 before he got a job in a bookstore. “I was the kid who every kid’s parent knew to buy me a bookstore gift card for my Bar Mitzvah,” he said. Part of the store’s success, he said, is over the years, renowned authors like Maurice Sendak (“Where the Wild Things Are”) and George Selden (“The Cricket in Times Square”) took a liking to it and helped with appearances and signings. He’s particularly proud a little-known British author he calls Jo, came in for a reading 20 years ago during the short window of time before “Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone” reached the best sellers list. Jo, much better known as J.K. Rowling, creator of a multi-billion dollar book series, “only did two US tours, and we were one of the lucky few who got her twice.” Voldemort doesn’t always win. The Downtown location of Books of Wonder is at 18 W. 18th St. (btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves. Call 212-989-3270). The Uptown location is at 217 W. 84th St. (btw. Broadway & Amsterdam Aves. Call 212-989-1804). Store hours for both locations: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Visit booksofwonder.com. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. DowntownExpress.com
Stardust Memories ‘Time’ ﬁnds John Kelly in ﬁne, if not linear, form BY DAVID KENNERLEY Attention New Yorkers of a certain age nostalgic for the 1980s avantgarde East Village arts scene. It’s time to rejoice, for a supreme survivor is back to evoke those glory days, and beyond. I’m speaking of none other than the master of mélange John Kelly, the multitalented, genderqueer artist who in 1981 began performing in Downtown dives like the Pyramid Club and later made his way to Carnegie Hall, belting out arias in fractured falsetto and high drag. The introspective impresario has returned to his East Village roots, at the storied La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, to mount his latest piece, “Time No Line.” The multimedia work, based on his meticulous journals, is at once a wistful and penetrating survey of his career spanning four decades, though, as the title suggests, defiantly not in chronological order. “Well, the past is not linear,” he says, sitting at a little desk, his androgynous face lined with worldliness. “In retrospect, it’s a patchwork of emotional triggers — how hard has it been to go back into these journals. I see my missteps — and I see my experience, whether I like it or not.” In classic Kelly fashion, this solo show integrates readings, anecdotes, dance, song, live drawing (in chalk on the floor), and projected images and video to bring his journal entries to life. If you look closely, the screen is actually comprised of white pages that appear to be taken directly from his journals, giving the projected images a textured, fragmented feel. Not that these are ordinary journals. The pages are bursting with screeds, scribbles, lists, doodles, diagrams, sketches, and cartoons, many of them worthy of framing. In fact, a selection of Kelly’s journal transcriptions and memorial portraits is on view at Howl! Happening (6 E. First St.) through March 25. The gifted performer, sometimes in drag, covers an astounding amount of territory in just 70 intermission-less minutes. Predictably, he traces key milestones in his career — a flirtation with the American Ballet Theatre, a stint drawing self-portraits at Parsons, trapeze and tightrope lessons, and DowntownExpress.com
Photos by Theo Cote
Kelly’s live chalk drawings on stage.
John Kelly sings “What Makes a Man.”
inspiration drawn from the infamous gay den of sin, the Anvil. Not to mention the birth of his Dagmar Onassis character (the fictional love child of Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis)
and his character studies of Egon Schiele and Joni Mitchell. All of this is framed by the AIDS pandemic, which decimated so many gay men of his generation, includ-
ing innumerable fellow artists. Kelly reveals that an HIV diagnosis in 1989 left him energized, not despondent. This just two months before his friend Keith Haring died of AIDS-related KS lesions on his lungs. Despite a predilection for drag, it would be a mistake to label his character portrayals as camp. They are too reverential, too sophisticated. Throughout the show, Kelly makes costume changes in full view, so we can witness the process of transformation. Dressed in a sheer red scarf, his plaintive rendition of the French transgender anthem from the 1970s, “What Makes a Man,” is vintage Kelly. His signature embodiment of Joni Mitchell was both a highlight and a letdown. He chose the relatively obscure song “The Last Time I Saw Richard” when I was hoping for a crowd favorite like “Woodstock.” If anyone is stardust, if anyone is golden, it is the ethereal, timeless, consummate creator John Kelly. Through March 11: Thurs.–Sat. at 7pm, Sun. at 2pm. At La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E. Fourth St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). For tickets ($25), visit lamama.org or call 212-352-3101. Mar 8 - Mar 21, 2018
Ladies in red speaking from the heart on health BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y The American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon drew more than 1,000 people to the New York Hilton Midtown last Friday to learn about the health risks women face and how they can improve their odds against heart disease and stroke. Each February, the American Heart Association, in partnership with Macy’s, CVS Health, Northwell Health and TransPerfect, sponsors Go Red For Women Month to highlight women’s cardiovascular health. The event opened with a panel discussion, “Resiliency: The Ultimate Way To Live From the Heart,” moderated by Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, attending cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital / Northwell Health. There was also chair yoga, led by Lisa Bondy, who teaches at Northwell Health Wellness, as well as guided meditation during lunch. People could get their blood pressure checked for free at the event, which was staffed by scores of volunteers. The March 2 luncheon, at E. 54th St. and Sixth Ave., also saw the presentation of the Lifestyle Change Award, to celebrate the accomplishments of women who have made significant and positive changes to improve their
own quality of life and overall health. This year’s winner, Annabelle Jimenez, received a $500 Macy’s gift card and a consultation with a Macy’s MyStylist. Since 2004, Macy’s has raised more than $65 million for Go Red For Women.
Photos by Tequila Minsky
(Clockwise from top) A panel discussion, “Resiliency: The Ultimate Way To Live From the Heart,” featured, from left, moderator Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, attending cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital / Northwell Health; Dr. Cheryl Petus, N.Y.U. School of Medicine professor of medicine and population health; upcoming entrepreneur Laura Maniec, co-founder and owner of Corkbuzz wine bars; and Gloria Feldt, a gender-parity expert who is co-founder and president of Take the Lead, as well as a former president and C.E.O. of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The authors of the recently released, comprehensive book “Heart Smart for Women: Six S.T.E.P.S. in Six Weeks to Heart-Health Living,” from right, Drs. Stacey Rosen and Jennifer Mieres, with Lori Russo. Rosen was medical co-chairperson of Friday’s luncheon. Guests enjoyed guided meditation over lunch. Lisa Bondy, left, led relaxing and healing sessions of chair yoga.
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