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Serving Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Seaport and the Financial District VOLUME 31, NUMBER 7

APR 19 – MAY 2, 2018

High impact Could ‘developmental impact fees’ help ease Downtown’s growing pains?

Associated Press / Mary Altaffer

When the 76-story residential tower at 8 Spruce St. opened in 2011, it brought 900 new households — and their associated stress on local infrastructure — to the booming Downtown area. Would “developmental impact fees” help the city pay for the necessary upgrades to accommodate future development? Downtown Express takes a deep dive into the issue. For more, see page 2.

Also in this issue:

Neighborhood policing comes to the First Precinct — Page 4 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 18 N YC C O M M U N I T Y M E D I A , L L C


Could ‘developmental impact fees’ ease Downtown’s growing pains?

BY SYDNEY PEREIRA Downtown’s population boom is off the charts, and to deal with it, Community Board 1 is thinking outside the box. Between 2000 and 2013, the number of Lower Manhattan residents increased by 77 percent — and by 240 percent specifically in the Financial District — but all that development imposes costs on the community, and CB1 is considering whether so-called “developmental impact fees” — a onetime tax on residential developers to fund community needs — would be a feasible way to pay those costs. CB1 hasn’t yet taken a formal position on the idea of impact fees — and there’s no proposal or specific request for city agencies or legislators to consider — but on April 9 two urban planners from the Fund for the City of New York’s community planning fellowship

presented to CB1’s land use committee the findings of a study on impact fees and how the money raised could be used to fund community needs in the district. “We know from the CB1 District Needs Statement that there has been a significant residential growth in CB1 communities, which has led to the increase in the need for schools, open spaces, and public infrastructure in the neighborhoods,” said Sarita Rupan, one of the fellows who presented the study, adding that the developmental impact fees “could help generate a large amount of revenue, which could be used by the communities to sustain growth.” There are 29 states that allow municipalities to charge impact fees, which require developers to pay a specific amount of cash per square foot or per unit into a fund earmarked for local

Photo by Tequila Minsky

Residential buildings such as the 900-unit tower at 8 Spruce street are free to put their garbage and recycling out on the sidewalk the day before collection any time after 4 pm — just in time for rush hour.

community needs, which could range from a new school to more green space. For instance, San Francisco’s Balboa Park neighborhood charges an impact fee of $10.70 per square foot of residential development, according to the presentation. If 2 Gold Street, a 51-story residential building that opened in

2005, was subject to the same impact fee, the building would have generated nearly $6.5 million for the neighborhood, the planners said. If New York City charged the same impact fee of $10.70 per square foot, IMPACT Continued on page 6




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Back on the beat


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Apr 19 - May 2, 2018



Battery Park












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Legend ET


NYPD Station House Street / Highway Precinct Boundary Sector Boundary Parks Water NYPD

The First Precinct has been divided into four sectors, each of which will be served by a pair of dedicated beat cops assigned to a new Neighborhood Policing program.

“Some people don’t want to talk right then and there, but they might want to email later,� the sergeant said. “The idea is that if they see something going on, they’ll call us directly.� Other patrolmen responsible for handling emergencies and responding to 911 calls will also be assigned beats within the precinct’s smaller sectors, and will be expected to spend portions of their shift getting to know locals as well, Cummings said. “We want 30 percent of their time dedicated to off-radio, but my NCOs, they’re all off-radio,� the sergeant said. In past years, the Lower Manhattan community’s main interaction with the First Precinct has been through once-a-month meetings of the Precinct Community Council, where locals have an opportunity to personally discuss issues facing residents and businesses with police brass. But that only offers locals a limited exposure to precinct leadership, according to the council’s leader, who expressed optimism that the new Neighborhood Policing model will give Downtowners a greater opportunity to forge personal connections with their local constabulary. BEAT COPS Continued on page 5






















BY COLIN MIXSON These cops are armed with a smile. New York’s Finest are hoping to make friends with Lower Manhattan residents and small business owners as part of a new program that’s reviving an old-fashioned policing strategy — the beat cop — which launched in Downtown’s First Precinct last week. So, if one of Downtown’s boys in blue walks up with a smile and an outstretched hand, just assume the best, according to the new program’s chief. “The new change of philosophy is we’re officially dedicating time to spend off the radio to talk to the people and get to know the community,� said Sergeant Eugene Cummings, ranking officer of the First Precinct’s Neighborhood Policing program. The precinct’s Neighborhood Coordination Officers, or NCOs, publicly unveiled the program during an April 10th meet and greet, where they hobnobbed with local civic gurus in





Community policing program comes to the First Precinct and effort to spread the word of the new policing strategy. The 11 new NCOs are divided amongst four sectors within the Downtown precinct, where they’ll spend their time shaking hands with locals, poking their heads into mom and pop shops, and getting to know their beat one block at a time, Cummings explained. “They should be out walking the street, but also going inside and engaging businesses and residents, saying ‘hi,’ and introducing ourselves,� Cummings explained. And if not everyone is ready to open their hearts to a new face with a badge, that’s okay, according to Cummings, who said his officers will be handing out their business cards in the hope that locals will come to recognize the NCOs as community fixtures — and helpers — who can give special attention to neighborhood concerns and quality-oflife issues.


First Precinct Neighborhood Coodination OďŹƒcers COMMAND Sergeant Eugene Cummings eugene.cummings@nypd.org Officer Jason Poirer jason.poirer@nypd.org Officer Arif Tasoren arif.tasoren@nypd.org

SECTOR A Officer Giocardo Bernabe giocardo.bernabe@nypd.org Officer Francis Ford francis.ford@nypd.org

SECTOR B Officer Miles Holman miles.holman@nypd.org Officer Adam Riddick adam.riddick@nypd.org

SECTOR C Officer Dina Bodden dina.bodden@nypd.org Officer Joseph Milone jospeh.milone@nypd.org

SECTOR D Officer Donald Dermody donald.dermody@nypd.org Officer Michael Erdman, michael.erdman@nypd.org DowntownExpress.com

NAILED Cops arrested a man for allegedly ripping off some guy’s fingernail with a metal pipe on South Street on April 15. The victim told police he’d been arguing with the suspect, who afterwards allegedly followed him to his car parked near the Battery and attacked him with the pipe at 12:51 pm. Later, the suspect fought with and cursed at police as he attempted to resist arrest, according to police although officers were eventually able to slap cuffs on him.

FERRY BAD TRIP Someone ripped off a ferryboat passenger out of Marina Pier on South Street on April 16, taking his wallet. The victim, a tourist in from China, told police he disembarked from the Hornblower ship at a dock near Fulton Street, when he realized his backpack was mysteriously opened and that his wallet — along with his passport and visa — was stolen.

CELL OF A TIME A pick-purse stole a woman’s phone inside the Fulton Street subway station on April 11. The victim, 42, told police she was visiting family from out of town when she felt someone unzip her bag and turned around to see a man in a blue hoodie walking off with her cell into the station near Nassau Street at 4:50 pm. The victim gave police her email following the theft, but was too “distraught” to fill out a police report, cops said.

STAIRWAY TO CRIME A dastardly opportunist made off

BEAT COPS Continued from page 4

“We’ve always had the council, where often people don’t know how to navigate it, and it’s once a month, but by putting officers at a more local level, people can start building a better relationship, and that can always help,” said Anthony Notaro, president of the First Precinct’s community council. “We’re supportive of it, and I believe it will augment what the council does.” The NCOs have also been attending events in their individual sectors to get the word out and show their faces, and cops who showed up unexpectedly at a meeting of the Battery Part City School PTA on April 13 earned accolades from parents enthused by the idea of the oldDowntownExpress.com

with a man’s wallet after he fell down a flight of stairs inside the Fulton Street subway station on Mar. 29. The victim told police he dropped his wallet as he spilled down stairs at the station near William Street at 1:30 pm, and that some jerk snagged it and then dashed off in lieu of helping the man to his feet.

TEEN SNATCHER A teen pick-purse made off with a woman’s wallet on Broadway on Apr. 2. The victim told police the crook bumped into her between Prince and Spring streets at 7:45 pm, and that several passersby then alerted her that the young thief had nabbed her wallet. The woman attempted to give chase to sticky-fingered reprobate, but quickly lost sight of her in the crowd, cops said.

BEAT IT A man stole a pair of pricey Beats headphones from a woman at the Nassau Street subway station on Apr. 3. The victim told police the crook snatched the $300 headphones right off her head as she waited for a Rockawaybound A train at the station near Broadway at 7:20 pm before fleeing into the station towards parts unknown.

CELL OUT Five crooks looted a Broadway cell store on Apr. 2, taking $2,500 worth of electronics. A worker told police the thieves entered the store between Vesey and Barclay streets at 2:42 pm, and immediately snatched an iPhone 7, 8, and X, before hightailing it out of there. — Colin Mixson

fashioned beat cops, according to one member. “We didn’t expect them, and they got a lot of claps and ovations for coming,” said Tammy Meltzer. “I don’t think they were expecting it either, but it was fun.” Sometime this summer, the NCOs will begin hosting more formal community meetings, dubbed Build the Block, where they’ll get into the weeds with locals discussing specific public safety issues affecting their part of town. Until then, the NCOs will be shaking hands, making friends, and showing their compassion for the community, according to Cummings. “We’re mean, and tough, and strong, but we’ve got a sensitive side,” Cummings said. Apr 19 - May 2, 2018


IMPACT Continued from page 2

it would have generated nearly $250 million from new construction and residential conversions in the Downtown area between 2000 and 2016. During the meeting, committee members quipped how helpful that type of funding would have been for the community during the postSandy recovery in 2012 — as well as paying for the still-unfunded resil-

Associated Press / Mark Lennihan

The population of Downtown has exploded over the past decade, straining local infrastructure.

iency measures needed to protect Downtown from future superstorms. The potential benefits of impact fees go

beyond funding resiliency projects, according to the presenters. With the massive influx of new residents comes the need

for more schools, parks, public transit, and even sanitation trucks. As Dow ntow n Express reported in 2016, by next year, 19 more tons of garbage will be piled on Lower Manhattan’s streets every collection day. The money raised by impact fees could also go towards making subway stations accessible for the disabled and elderly — another necessity as the population of Downtowners aged 65-plus increased by 79 percent between 2000 and 2010. But CB1 members

were not yet convinced that impact fees would be the best way to address Downtown’s growing pains. “There’s a lot more information that we need to know before we can conclude that impact fees are something that is a feasible way for us to help defray the additional infrastructure costs of the increase of development in our area,” said Patrick Kennell, co-chairman of the CB1 land use committee. While any type of impact-fee proposal is still a long way off, Kennell said he’s glad



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CB1 is taking leadership on the issue by having the study conducted. But other city-planning experts have doubts on whether impact fees are even legally possible in New York — or at least worth the heavy lift of passing the necessary legislation. Vicki Been, former commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development, said developmental impact fees are constrained by a series of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, most recently Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District in 2013. The city would have to identify a specific purpose for an impact fee as well as whether the harm justifies such a regulation. In the 2013 case, St. Johns issued a permit to Coy A. Koontz to develop his property, on the condition that he make some of his prop-


IMPACT Continued on page 10

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Meet the hidden figures of fashion PUBLISHER

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Apr 19 - May 2, 2018

BY LENORE SKENAZY “Who are you wearing?” That’s a question Oscar contenders answer easily — their designers are sometimes as famous as they are. But it wasn’t always so. For instance, have you heard of Kiviette, or Zelda Wynn Valdez? Neither had I. But then I got, “The Hidden History of American Fashion: Rediscovering 20th Century Women Designers,” edited by Nancy Deihl, director of the graduate program in Costume Studies at New York University. Each chapter focuses on a now-forgotten woman who, often behind the scenes, designed the clothing that changed the way America dressed. Take, for instance, Staten Island’s own Kiviette. In her day, she went by that one name, like Beyoncé or Madonna. Born Yeda Kiviette in 1893, her career spanned the Jazz Age, two World Wars, and the rise of Hollywood. Her genius was to toggle between designing costumes for the stage and clothes for “real life.” Over the years, her costumes were featured in 88 productions, including “Vanity Fair,” a 1919 vaudeville review that she produced herself to get more exposure. “A Dazzling Display of Frocks, Frills, and Fascinating Femininity” by a “New Genius Designer” declared, well, Kiviette herself in the ad she took out. It worked. In fact, over time she became such a trendsetter that society women would go to plays with Kiviette costumes just to see what was chic and new. Then they’d tell their dressmakers: “Copy that!” But as Dilia Lopez-Gydosh notes in her chapter on the designer, Kiviette was always evolving. And even as she was bringing theatrical design to everyday clothes, she also started bringing everyday clothes to theatrical design. Before Kiviette came along, almost all

Posted To JOIN THE CLUB: DOWNTOWNERS FORM NEW POLITICAL GROUP (APRIL 11) I missed the April 11 meeting. How can I learn more and be in touch with this new Democratic club? Maryanne Braverman You can get more information about joining up with the New Downtown Democrats at: http://www.newdown-

plays were an excuse to dazzle the crowd with sequins, feathers, and frippery, no matter what the play was about. It was Kiveitte who declared that, “Costumes must adhere to the time, place, and character of the play.” Enough with the feathers! Besides, there were other, newer ways to get attention. Kiviette scandalized society by outfitting the chorus girls in a comedy about a country club in shorts. Shorts! Until then, shorts were considered proper only for tennis or the beach. Kiviette made them a “look.” Be grateful! As successful as Kiviette was downtown, Zelda Wynn Valdes was uptown, in Harlem. Wynn, Deihl writes, moved easily between costume design and high fashion, too, creating gowns for A-list celebrities including Josephine Baker, Mae West, Eartha Kitt, Ruby Dee, Gladys Knight, and Aretha Franklin. Of course, no one starts out famous. Wynn was born in 1905 and grew up in small town Pennsylvania. Her first job was in her uncle’s tailoring shop in White Plains. By the age of 30 she had her own dress shop there, advertising in The Amsterdam News as a “Colored Designer of Fashions for Men and Women.” So busy was she with customers from the city that in 1948 she moved her shop to Harlem — 158th and Broadway. The neighborhood was bustling and so was her business, employing nine skilled seamstresses. It was that same year that Nat King Cole was getting married — a media event so enormous, writes Deihl, that it “momentarily seemed to suspend the barrier of racial segregation.” Wynn made the dresses for every-

one in the bridal party, including seven bridesmaids in ice-blue satin gowns so spectacular that even the New York Times, which rarely wrote about anything “uptown” back then, took note. As for The Amsterdam News, it reveled in the sheer gorgeousness of the event, noting that, “It made you feel very proud indeed, because it isn’t often that the folks downtown get the opportunity to see Harlemites in a smart, social light.” One of Wynn’s earliest celebrity clients was Ella Fitzgerald. While Ella became a loyal customer, she did not come in for fittings, so, Wynn later told a reporter, “I’d just look at the papers and say, ‘Gee, she’s gotten larger,’” and adjust accordingly. By then, Wynn had relocated her store to West 57th Street near Carnegie Hall, and named it “Chez Zelda.” Her super-tight gowns had made her — and some of her clients — even more famous, including the singer Joyce Bryant, whose dresses were so tight she reportedly could not sit down in them. But Wynn was making news on another front, too — civil rights. She was a co-founder of the National Association of Fashion and Accessory Designers. “NAFAD” mentored young African-America designers, provided scholarships, and held conferences in an effort to connect with the larger American fashion industry. At age 65, Wynn began designing for the Dance Theatre of Harlem — a job she continued for almost 30 years. One initiative of hers: Dyeing the tights to match the skin tone of each dancer, “an aesthetic departure from the standard pale pink of ballet,” writes Deihl. Talk about making a statement with fashion. And those are just two of firebrands in this book. Wow. Lenore Skenazy president of Let Grow and author of “Has the World Gone Skenazy?”

towndems.org, or email Glenn.Luk@ newdowntowndems.org. Editor

ganza, rather than say, a humble and honest commemoration of Sept. 11. Michael Burke



A large part of these tourist busses, if not the driving force behind them, is the fact that we weirdly had to turn our WTC Sept. 11 memorial into a massive, billion dollar tourist extrava-

Imagine allowing parents to make decisions for their own children. Don’t they know it takes a village. And to the village we must answer. Harry DowntownExpress.com

Beware the Coarsening BY MAX BURBANK Fair warnings: First, the column you are reading is about bad behavior, moral blindness, and filthy language. As such, we need to spend a moment discussing the rendering of cuss words; a matter I have given perhaps more thought to than strictly necessary. Used for decades in newspaper comic strips, I considered the classic #!*@&%!! — but that offered no way to indicate specific nuggets of potty-mouth parlance, and I’m going to need to reference more than a few. I toyed briefly with alternate spellings, like “phuck” or “azwhole” — but that seemed a tad too twee and precious, the sort of tawdry literary trick a man who described things as “a tad too twee and precious” might use. I’ve settled on inserting random hyphens into bad words, because you can still totally tell what they are and, also, that’s how CNN does it. Hey, CNN! That’s a swell f---ing idea! Second, I’m aware that since the FBI raid on Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, we have entered into a moment of unprecedented political volatility. By the time you read this, the world I wrote it in might be irrelevant. The president could’ve fired Special Counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, or forgone actual firing and literally set fire to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Maybe, instead, we rained fire and fury on Syria, presumably after warning the Russians so they could leave whatever strategically insignificant field we selected as a target so that none of their soldiers got an owie — but who knows? Oh, hey, look, we did do that, WHILE I WAS TYPING! Are we under martial law yet, or have America and western democracy themselves been saved by the timely actions of a porn star and her super-badass (sorry, bad---) lawyer? Let me check TWITTER! In any case, I won’t be writing about any of that, except maybe just a little at the end to tie all my themes together like a for-real writer. Everybody else will cover it anyway, from the New York Times to your disgraced Uncle Bernard who, after a longish stint in the pokey, has only just discovered social media. I can’t, because at this point in my career as a pundit, unwritten law requires me to write a column on The Coarsening of America. We’ve all done it since Elvis Presley first lewdly waggled his leatherpantsed pelvis at the youth of America. It’s simply my turn. “I’m not answering your f---ing quesDowntownExpress.com

tions!” That’s what Corey Lewandowski didn’t get held in contempt of Congress for shouting during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. It’s a little unusual to say “f--ing” to members of Congress during a hearing, but is it significantly indicative of cultural decline? Lewandowski’s just a minor player after all, one of the many folks president Trump barely knew, who worked for him briefly doing small menial tasks like fetching coffee, running his campaign, or paying porn stars and Playboy models hush money. There’s an old saying: “A fish rots from the head down.” Michael Dukakis used it to describe the Reagan administration when he ran against Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1988. He lost, but the point remains. The reason a man can say “f---ing” to Congress is because his boss, a hulking toddler with zero impulse control and a mound of burning garbage for a soul, says it frequently. And yes, I know Lewandowski works for CNN these days, but Trump is still the boss of his heart. Everybody knows it. It’s difficult to get accurate citations for all the sh-t our president has talked, because papers of record are loath to print it verbatim. You know the biggies: “Grab ’em by the p-ssy,” “Sh-thole countries,” “Get that son of a b-tch off the field right now.” There’s plentiful video evidence he said way worse, repeatedly, on the campaign trail and at rallies since. When the leader of a country sets the bar that low, there are consequences. Every dark thought and filthy utterance you knew better than to let seep out of your brain and tumble out your chow hole? The leader of the free world has already tweeted it multiple times, probably in the last week, so go for it!

Illustration by Max Burbank

Language is always the tip of the spear. It seeps into the public sphere and changes the way we feel and behave; words become concrete actions, and then legislation. If the president can talk like that in public, what else is okay? For instance, once upon a time if you were a convicted criminal, you’d be too ashamed to run for office. Now, as long as you’re white, male, old and Republican, a rap sheet is an asset! Three out of the four convicted criminals currently running for Republican congressional seats are citing their crimes as reasons you should vote for them! Rotting fish head or no, Trump can’t be entirely to blame. He isn’t dragging a nation into the gutter single-handedly; he’s nowhere near that strong. The very system he’s working so hard to tear down has grown weak enough to actively enable its own destruction. The incessant assault on cultural norms may

have begun with words, but it’s far more than speech now. The immobility in the face of Russian aggression; the almost daily executive orders stripping away environmental protections and workers’ rights; the genuflecting to the gun rights lobby; the kleptocracy of presidential golf trips and hotel chains; the nepotism; the promotion of the astoundingly unqualified; the vast transfer of wealth: They all lead to an unsupportable level of chaos. When we normalize the language, we normalize the behavior, and invite all this. Nixon fell, but only when his own party had enough of him. The current iteration of the Grand Old Party doesn’t seem so inclined toward profiles in courage. It’s nice to dream of being rescued by Stormy Daniels and, god save him, Robert Mueller — but this isn’t a movie about plucky, misfit heroes. This is reality. We all have to consciously decide to step away from the precipice. Apr 19 - May 2, 2018



How to conserve energy this summer Energy bills tend to be high in summertime, when many people crank up their air conditioners in an attempt to combat the heat. For some households, higher energy bills might be stretching their budgets, while others might be looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprints. Conserving energy can help homeowners save money and help the planet at the same time. And reducing energy consumption in the summer does not require men and women to sacrifice comfort in the name of conservation. In fact, various strategies can help homeowners and apartment dwellers reduce their summertime energy consumption: Stop cooling an empty home. A cool home might be the ultimate necessity during summer heat waves, but there’s no reason to cool a residence when no one is home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, operating thermostats more efficiently can help homeowners trim their cooling costs by as much as 10 percent. One way to


Ceiling fans can reduce reliance on costly air conditioners in summertime.

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ing units turn on shortly before residents arrive home, ensuring the house is comfortable and no energy is wasted. Narrow the gap between indoor and outdoor temperatures. The DOE notes that the smaller the difference between the temperature indoors and outside, the lower cooling costs will be. While it may be tempting to set thermostats to room temperature (68-degrees Fahrenheit) on days when temperatures reach 90 degrees or above, that’s an enormous temperature gap that will result in a high energy bill. Instead, the DOE recommends setting thermostats to 78 degrees whenever possible. Open the windows at night. Daytime temperatures, particularly during the dog days of summer, may necessitate the use of air conditioners. But men and women who live in climates where temperatures drop considerably at night can sleep with their windows open. This reduces energy consumption and saves money, and can be a great way to introduce fresh air into a home during a time

IMPACT Continued from page 6

erty a conservation area and did mitigation work in surrounding areas. The high court ruled 5 to 4 in favor of Koontz, writing that the government cannot conditionally approve permits in this way, unless the fees requested are directly associated with the impacts from the proposed land use. “There would immediately be a lot of legal questions,� said Been, who is now a faculty director at New York University’s Furman Center, which researches housing and urban policy. She also pointed out that New York already has indirect fees and requirements that function in a similar way to developmental impact fees. Affordablehousing requirements for developers are an indirect way the developers invest in the community. New York’s environmental impact reviews through the city and state require certain mitigation efforts on the part of developers before projects are even approved. “How much more could you force developers to bare without shutting down development?� Been said. “That’s a tough question.� Another question, she said, is what legal constraints exist with fees imple-

of year when air can become stagnant. Do not set air conditioner thermostats at lower than normal temperatures when turning them on. The DOE notes that setting thermostats at lower than normal temperatures when turning air conditioners on will not cool homes any faster than setting them at typical temperatures. Such a strategy will only lead to excessive energy consumption and higher energy bills. Install ceiling fans. Ceiling fans can improve cooling efficiency in a home. According to the DOE, ceiling fans allow men and women who use air conditioners to raise the thermostats on their AC units about 4 degrees without adversely affecting comfort levels. Men and women who live in temperate climates may find that ceiling fans are enough to keep rooms cool without the need for air conditioners. Homeowners can combat high utility bills and excessive energy consumption during the summer with various eco- and budget-friendly strategies.

mented in coordination with environmental reviews? Pinpointing who is impacted by developments can also be difficult. Those who work and go to school in the district could be affected, but they don’t live in the community the funds would be going back into. “There’s kind of a myth that you can say this building is built in my community district, therefore all of its harm must be in my community district,� Been said. Developmental impact fees or no, CB1 is looking for ways to deal with to the rapidly changing face of Lower Manhattan. “We’re not going to stop development,� said CB1 chairman Anthony Notaro. “I think we all recognize that.� The goal, he said, is developing the neighborhood in a way that benefits everyone. The next step for the board is to get all the players at the table to discuss the possibilities of whether impact fees could work in Lower Manhattan. “We know there’s a problem, and we want all stakeholders to be able to review it and have some input,� he said. “Our study is just one piece of the puzzle.� DowntownExpress.com


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Tangible and Social Virtual Reality Tribeca Immersive 2018 is much more than goggles BY CHARLES BATTERSBY The stereotype of Virtual Reality (VR) is an isolated person sitting alone in a room, their head sealed within a helmet, master of a lonesome utopia. Early efforts at VR often met this cliché — but the “Tribeca Immersive” programming at the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF; tribecafilm.com) aims to make virtual reality a more tangible and social experience. Tribeca Immersive includes a Virtual Arcade of VR experiences (Apr. 20-28), along with a festival of films shot in 360 degrees. Both are running at the same time at TFF this month (Apr. 18-29), and will give even hardcore VR users an excuse to leave home and experience these site-specific installations at the festival’s headquarters. Almost any smartphone can be converted to a VR rig, but the top-end hardware continues to grow more elaborate. In the last two years, Tribeca Immersive had experiences that used motion-sensing controllers, and digital cameras that recorded the user’s movements around a room. This year, the event goes even further, with VRs that stimulate the senses using scent, heat, and elaborate physical set pieces. Loren Hammonds, Senior Programmer of Film and Immersive at TFF, pointed out that at the Virtual Arcade, “We like to offer audiences a sense of immersion before they put on the headset. So we give all the artists the opportunity to craft their own spaces to speak to the experience you’re about to have before you put on the headset.” A prominent project is “Hero,” which unfetters the user by putting all of the VR equipment in a backpack, and allows users to move around freely in a simulated Syrian neighborhood. We spoke to the co-creator of the project, Navid Khonsari, who said that “Hero” will “push VR to be as immersive as possible, but also to be a project that has real impact to show people what it’s like in another part of the world.” Another VR experience that addresses social themes while still pushing the use of technology is “The Day the World Changed,” which takes place in a recreation of Hiroshima. Gabo Arora, coDowntownExpress.com

Images courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival will have an early look at the recently announced “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” game.

“Into the Now” is more than just sharks — but it has those, too.

creator of the project, said it is a “social interactive Virtual Reality documentary” which addresses nuclear weapons and allows users to experience life in Hiroshima the day of the atomic bombing at the end of World War II. Rather than being a passive, lonely experience, Arora pointed out that this is a rare example of a VR experience for multiple simultaneous users. “You’re doing this with three other people, so the whole concept of going through a documentary inside the documentary with other people who are also avatars gives it a

whole new relationship of what a shared experience with history can be.” New Yorkers can also get a look at their hometown with several projects set in New York. “Fire Escape” puts users on a simulated fire escape in Crown Heights, but the installation at Tribeca will use a real fire escape so that it will feel authentic even when users are inside the helmet. New York’s theater community helped inspire “objects in mirror AR closer than they appear.” It’s based on a show at the New York Theatre

Workshop, and uses many aesthetic elements of the theatrical set. It also has “Augmented Reality” features that superimpose digital objects over the real set. Graham Sack, one of the creators of the piece, noted that many VR festivals “have a binary nature. You’re either in the headset or not in it… We wanted to create something that was the exact opposite of that.” The experience, Sack noted, “has this open floor plan, so many people can interact with this at once, both with headsets and without the headsets.” “BattleScar” is set in the 1970s, so modern people can walk the streets of the Lower East Side as it was 40 years ago. It is about an immigrant exploring the punk scene when this was a new subculture. Because of the interactive nature, users can experience this from a more personal point of view. Fred Volhuer, CEO of Atlas V, the company behind “BattleScar,” explained to us, “From a creative perspective VR allows [users] to identify more with the character, and put the user in a position they could never be in with a flat screen.” Another perspective that people rareTRIBECA continued on p. 16 Apr 19 - May 2, 2018


Tribeca’s Rich Offering of Queer Cinema Terrence McNally, Robert Mapplethorpe among films on tap BY GARY M. KRAMER Unspooling at half a dozen Lower Manhattan venues April 18-29, the Tribeca Film Festival (tribecafi lm. com) features several LGBTQ fi lms and fi lmmakers. While not every queer-focused title was available for preview, a handful of features, documentaries, shorts, and special programs were. One of the highlights of this year’s fest is the world premiere of Jeff Kaufman’s “Every Act of Life” (Apr. 23, 8pm; Apr. 24, 5pm; Apr. 25, 6:15pm; Apr. 26, 4pm), a lovingly made documentary about the esteemed playwright Terrence McNally, tracing his life growing up in Corpus Christi in the 1950s through his extraordinary success in the theater. McNally candidly discusses his failed relationships with playwright Edward Albee, closeted in the 1950s when they were together, and actor Robert Drivas, as well as his drinking — and how Angela Lansbury told him to stop. McNally also shares his thoughts about his intensely vulnerable characters and the themes of invisibility and connection that were the basis of plays of his such as “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune,” among others. “Every Act of Life” highlights many of McNally’s gay productions, including “The Ritz,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!,” and “Mothers and Sons. Though the fi lm skimps on detailing the controversy surrounding McNally’s 1998 “Corpus Christi” and generally rushes through his late career work, it features fabulous photographs, letters, and archival footage. There are also wonderful interviews with a who’s who of theater, including Nathan Lane, Audra McDonald, Tyne Daly, Billy Porter, John Glover, John Benjamin Hickey, and many more. Though it may seem a hagiography, “Every Act of Life” clearly demonstrates that McNally deserves the genuflection. On the phone from Europe, where he is working on a play, out gay actor Hickey described McNally as “one of the biggest influences in my life as an artist. He is a writing and theatrical hero of mine. I’m so proud to be part of the fi lm.” Hickey also appears on screen at Tribeca as Sam Wagstaff, benefactor, mentor, friend, and lover to


Apr 19 - May 2, 2018

Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

Forrest Goodluck, Sasha Lane, and Chloë Grace Moretz in Desiree Akhavan’s “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.”

the provocative gay artist Robert Mapplethorpe (Matt Smith) in Ondi Timoner’s eagerly awaited biopic, “Mapplethorpe” (Apr. 22, 9pm; Apr. 23, 8:45pm; Apr. 24, 6:30pm; Apr. 27, 9:30pm) — one of the titles unfortunately not available for preview. Loving the challenge of playing a real person, Hickey said he researched the role by reading Philip Gefter’s biography and seeing the documentary “Black White + Gray.” “You get to go to school,” he said. “Research helped open doors for me to learn about the art world in 1970s New York. It was exploding. Sam’s collection presaged the idea of photography as fi ne art. I’m a huge fan of his taste. His eye was downright intimidating.” Hickey acknowledged, however, that he didn’t identify closely with Wagstaff. “I don’t feel we have that much in common other than being gay New Yorkers,” he explained. “He was such a huge influence and cultural force in the arts in the later part of 20th century. It was daunting because Sam was so incredibly handsome. He had extraordinary hair. I had Charles LaPointe make me a wig, which I loved wearing.” As part of Tribeca TV, the festival is hosting the world premiere of Melissa Haizlip’s and Samuel Pollard’s “Mr. Soul” (Apr. 22, 8pm; Apr. 23, 5:45pm; Apr. 25, 9:15pm; Apr. 26, 6:30pm), a terrific documentary about the landmark late 1960s/early ’70s WNET-TV series “Soul!,” which was made by, for, and about African Americans.

The show’s producer and frequent host, Ellis Haizlip, was a gay man who provided both a showcase for and a celebration of African-American singers — Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder, and Al Green among them — as well as poet Nikki Giovanni and writer James Baldwin. Interviewing Louis Farrakhan on the program, Haizlip dared to ask the leader of the Nation of Islam about homosexuality on air. “Mr. Soul” is an astonishing collection of interviews and archival footage of a program that was both of its time and ahead of its time as one talking head suggests. PJ Raval’s riveting documentary “Call Her Ganda” (Apr. 19, 6pm; Apr. 20, 5pm; Apr. 21, 5:30pm; Apr. 24, 9:15pm; Apr. 29, 8:30pm) chronicles the 2014 death of Jennifer Laude, a transgender Filipina who was murdered by US marine Joseph Scott Pemberton. The fi lm, which features gender-nonbinary journalist Meredith Talusan following the case, addresses issues of transphobia, US colonialism, and justice — including some interesting wrinkles — to show how Laude’s death exposed some painful truths about gender-based violence. “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” (Apr. 22, 8 pm; Apr. 23, 6:45pm; Apr. 24, 9:30pm; Apr. 26, 3:15pm) is bisexual fi lmmaker Desiree Akhavan’s (“Appropriate Behavior”) bittersweet adaptation of Emily M. Danforth’s novel about forging one’s independence in the face of repression. Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) is a teenage lesbian who loves Coley (Quinn Shephard). When they are

caught having sex, Cameron is sent to God’s Promise, a gay conversion therapy center. Of course, Cameron knows there is nothing wrong with her, and her same-sex desires — which she sometimes acts on — remain unabated. It is only through the friendship of fellow “disciples” Jane (Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck) that she fi nds a way to maintain her authentic, true self. As Cameron measures herself against her teen peers, she learns that weakness — she experiences a series of hardships — can in the end provide strength. “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is a somber drama, and Moretz gives a compelling performance as the fi lm builds to a quietly powerful conclusion. Another lesbian-themed fi lm involving religious oppression at Tribeca is “Disobedience” (Apr. 24, 8pm; Apr. 25, 7pm), co-written and directed by Sebastian Lelio, who adapted Naomi Alderman’s novel. When her father, Rav Krushka (Anton Lesser) dies, Ronit (Rachel Weisz) returns to London and the Orthodox Jewish community she abandoned. When she reconnects with Esti (Rachel McAdams), the childhood friend she loved, the women rekindle their forbidden romance. Alas, despite some heat in the bedroom scenes, “Disobedience” is top-heavy with didactic speeches and obvious symbolism. The actresses do their best, but Weisz’s performance smacks of self-importance and McAdams is woefully miscast. As part of the Tribeca N.O.W. Showcase, which features independent online work, the comedy web series “Driver Ed” (Apr. 19, 8:30pm; Apr. 21, 5pm) has the title character (co-creator Jacob A. Ware) signing up for driving lessons because he is “living a lie.” He told his online girlfriend that he is a professional racecar driver — but he does not even have a license. When he meets Sweet Jody (Eddie Diaz), sparks fly as they put on their seat belts and Ed realizes he may be lying about more than just driving. This deadpan series offers three segments in its 10 minutes. Viewers will likely be curious to see where “Driver Ed” goes next. The Tribeca Immersive entry “Queerskins: A Love Story” (daily, CINEMA continued on p. 17 DowntownExpress.com

We Are The Champions Documentary compels us to respect the art of industrial musicals BY SCOTT STIFFLER Powered by a personal journey as eccentric and endearing as the show business subset it plumbs with the precision of a forensic investigator, the documentary “Bathtubs Over Broadway” — Dava Whisenant’s quirky and compassionate directorial debut — wants you to see the world of industrial musicals through the eyes of a cynic who blinked in the face of sincerity. It’s not a tough sell. If you don’t know what an industrial musical is, you’re far from alone. In the three decades or so during America’s post-World War II economic boom, the relentless quest for profit meant companies like GE, Pepsi, and Ford needed a way to train employees and keep the sales staff motivated. Musical theater extravaganzas designed to entertain and inform could have budgets that exceeded what it took to mount an actual Broadway show — and became a place where composers, lyricists, choreographers, and performers honed their skills (including Sheldon Harnick, Susan Stroman, Martin Short, and Chita Rivera, all of whom appear in the fi lm to contribute pithy, heartfelt observations). While the careers of many flourished beyond the industrial musical circuit, some its greatest contributors remain unsung — an injustice the fi lm and its evangelizing protagonist are driven, by moral obligation as much as artistic appreciation, to correct. With catchy music and productspecific lyrics (one song was tasked with working in dozens of uses for silicone), these shows were often performed only once, to a highly select audience, and then forgotten. But a fraction of the souvenir LPs and ephemera survived. Sometimes, an album made its way to a used record shop — and that’s how the industrial musical was rescued from the scrap heap of history by an unlikely champion. In the early part of what would become a 25-year career writing comedy for David Letterman, Steve Young was tasked with digging up oddball audio clips for a 1980s bit called “Dave’s Record Collection.” One of Young’s fi nds, the title track to the show “My Insurance Man,” DowntownExpress.com

Photo by Nick Higgins

Steve Young makes the soul-nurturing trip from ironic detachment to sincere belief in “Bathtubs Over Broadway.”

was appraised on air by Letterman as “actually more annoying than my insurance man.” When heard in small doses as the set-up for dismissive comedy snark, such clips are, Young admits, “bizarre and hilarious.” But those, he notes, “are only the beginning layers” — and that’s where the fi lm pivots to a place of unexpected emotional depth. “I did take great glee, from the beginning, in enjoying something that I wasn’t supposed to hear,” Young told this publication in a recent phone interview. “I couldn’t wait to tell people about it, and show people what I found. I still feel that way now,” he said, of what he declares in the fi lm to be a “hyper-American art form.” With few friends outside of the Letterman show and a self-diagnosed case of “comedy damage” that denied him the ability to consume humor in the manner the masses do with ease, the world of industrial musicals — similar to his day job in many respects (a tight-knit community serving the general population, yet cut off from it) — was a perfect match for Young’s off-kilter outlook and obsessive nature. But a funny thing happened as songs from “Diesel Dazzle” (a 1966 show from the Detroit Diesel division of General Motors) played in

constant mental rotation. He became a passionate collector who was smitten by, as he told us, “the weird, unexpected beauty; programs, tickets, playbills — the wonderful professionalism of it all.” Soon, Young was able to distinguish, and happy to celebrate, the nuances between genre greats. “It varies,” he told us, regarding those who worked in teams and those known for solo efforts. “Some of my great heroes were purely the music and lyric people, and somebody else was writing the book.” (Hank Beebe and Bill Heyer created “Diesel Dazzle,” while, for example, Sid Siegel penned all aspects of 1969’s “The Bathrooms are Coming!,” an ode to new fi xtures from American Standard.) “Some especially talented and ambitious people really had the vision for the whole thing and could carry it off,” Young noted of Siegel, while “Hank Beebe’s late partner, Bill Heyer, was a great talent in comedy and would write the whole show, not the lyrics… but by the time they had been working for, not too long, they seemed to really mesh and be great for each other, and turn out this very unified thing that would seem like a solid vision.” As for picking a favorite, Young referred to another

fruitless quest to declare a winner among disparate styles. “Beebe and Heyer vs. Sid Siegel? This is like in the ’60s, the kids would say, ‘I’m a Beatles fan.’ ‘Oh, yeah? I’m a Rolling Stones fan.’ ” By the ’90s, hooked for life on industrial musicals and emboldened to seek a stronger fi x, he began to cold call cast members and creators — leading to a series of face-to-face meetings. Some are genuinely overwhelmed, even a bit uncomfortable, to be validated as artists of worth and integrity by an insistent Young. But they return the goodwill by sharing a treasure trove of anecdotes, insights, and rare items that have languished for decades in storage. As this happens, we see Young’s evolution into a (slightly) less socially awkward fellow with a growing circle of associates. Captured on fi lm as he drives en route to visit the great Sid Siegel, Young invokes the old “don’t meet your heroes” warning, his voice trembling as he asks, “But what if we just don’t click?” It’s a watershed moment that’s tremendously satisfying to watch; a one-time connoisseur of the seemingly odd who’s crossed the Rubicon into a realm where sinBATHTUBS continued on p. 17 Apr 19 - May 2, 2018


TRIBECA continued from p. 13

ly get is a close-up view of sharks. “Into the Now” is a documentary of ocean wildlife, but director Michael Muller was quick to point out that it’s much more than just sharks. It’s his way of encouraging people to learn about the ocean and the environmental problems facing it. In his words, “People only protect what they love.” Penrose Studios has made some of the longest VR experiences at previous Tribeca Immersive events, and this year they return with “Arden’s Wake: Tide’s Fall,” which has a running time of a whopping 30 minutes. Eugene Chung of Penrose said of it, “When making narrative VR experience it is crucial never to forget that you are creating for the viewers. We are always thinking about the consumer experience here at Penrose, and with a 30-minute experience, we are currently pushing the limits and the boundaries of VR stories.” Among these lofty projects are some outright silly uses of VR, too. People who come to the Virtual Arcade will find the farcical “Vacation Simulator,” by Owlchemy Labs. Alex Schwartz of Owlchemy Labs is well aware that their comical games are oddballs at Tribeca. “It doesn’t fit in with the other content, and that’s by design,” he said. “At Owlchemy, we’ve always sprinted in the opposite direction of the expected... We’re using this limitless, incredible technology to simulate a satirical vacation with a bunch of floating robots.” More traditional games are also being honored for their narrative and design at TFF this year. The Tribeca Games line of programming is giving an early look at the upcoming “Shadow of the Tomb Raider,” as well as a talk with the creators of recently released “God of War.” Both franchises have recently been rebooted with exceptional results. Many of these projects, like “Arden’s Wake: Tide’s Fall” and “The Day the World Changed,” are premiering at Tribeca Immersive. Others use new hardware and tech that’s debuting at the festival, too. It promises an experience that people won’t get at home just putting their smartphone into a Google Cardboard VR headset.


Apr 19 - May 2, 2018

Photo by Max Gordon

Note the clever capitalization in the Augmented Reality experience “objects in mirror AR close than they appear.”

Image credit: Nico Casavecchia, Martin Allais

“BattleScar” recreates the New York of the 1970s.

The new God of War game has a greater focus on the father/son narrative.

Photo via godofwar.playstation.com


CINEMA continued from p. 14

Apr. 20-28 at the Tribeca Festival Hub, fi fth fl., Spring Studios, 50 Varick St., just below Canal St.) is a virtual reality experience that has viewers sit in the back of a vintage 1986 Cadillac Sedan DeVille driven through a Midwestern landscape by the parents of Sebastian, who died of AIDS. As objects along the route come into focus, so too does Sebastian’s life. Illya Szilak — who co-created the interactive fi lm with Cyril Tsiboulski, an out gay man — hopes viewers “create their conception of who Sebastian was through a box of objects.” The creators chose the VR format because, Szilak said, they were “interested in exploring the dynamic of embodied, material, historical, political, and social realities, and the human desire to transcend that.” The interactive storyteller explained that the nearly two-dozen objects in the box include items such as 3-D models of vintage Tom of Finland drawings. Viewers get to see nine of those objects in a 15-minute short. “The box changes and acts as a

BATHTUB continued from p. 15

cere admiration and anthropological curiosity get along like gangbusters — but that capacity, said “Bathtubs” director Dava Whisenant, was always there. “Steve has this outlook and perspective on comedy that I hadn’t ever seen before,” she told us, recalling her years as an editor on “Late Show with David Letterman.” Whisenant often found herself “laughing out loud at his [Young’s] juxtaposition of these things that weren’t supposed to go together.” Although she recalled he had “a really cynical attitude” during his early years of consuming industrial musicals, he would later “talk about the people he was meeting, and he’d get teary — and I’d go, ‘What’s going on here? This isn’t the Steve I know.’ ” Whisenant knew a good story when she saw one, though. So when Young and co-author Sport Murphy released their comprehensive 2013 tome — “Everything’s Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals” — she chose Young’s journey as the narrative hook for her fi rst fi lm. “The documentary,” she noted, “is the perfect storytelling medium for editors. You get to really explore and create the story arc in the [editing] room, as opposed to getting a script and putDowntownExpress.com

Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz in Sebastian Lelio’s “Disobedience.”

placeholder for Sebastian’s character,” Szilak explained. “The objects are randomized, so each viewer gets a different set, and their responses to them will differ based on the objects and the viewer’s own personal history. You come up with your own

ting it together. You get to delve into some new world that otherwise you would not get to live in.” Whisenant does just that, effectively enmeshing the viewer in a realm where worlds often collide, and always inform one another: fellow collectors (including Dead Kennedys singer/songwriter Jello Biafra), bit players from golden age industrial musicals, and Young’s own family (once befuddled witnesses to his knack for these strange songs, his daughters emerge as aware appreciators of dad’s role as the genre’s champion). “I love blurring the lines,” Whisenant said, of her own fi lm, as well as those she admires — including “Wormwood,” “King of Kong” and “Casting JonBenet.” You can use the medium, she noted, “to tell an amazing story. Ours is kind of like a musical, in a certain sense. We’re using the lyrics from these industrial show tunes to tell Steve’s story.” And with the documentary’s notoriously small footage-shot-to-footage-used ratio, the director told us, “There’s still so much amazing stuff left on the floor. He [Young] has over 2,000 examples of these songs, and they are so fantastic. It was really hard not to include everything.” Pressed for a tidbit that didn’t make the cut (fodder for the inevitable DVD bonus footage?), Whisenant recalled

conception of Sebastian. If you are Catholic, you may have a relationship to a vintage statue of Mary with a broken nose. As the viewer, you put on a costume and enter someone’s reality. We recognize your own history, bias, and perceptions con-

Courtesy of Dava Whisenant

Dava Whisenant’s directorial debut is quirky and compassionate.

the story of “Michael Brown, one of the composers, who did so well, he was able to fund his friend, Harper Lee. He gave her the money so she could write ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ So that’s a kind of untold industrial musical story.” Of Whisenant, Young said he “knew she was a great editor and had a great comedic sense,” but learned, over the four-year process of working with her, “what fi lmmakers do. It was a range of skills I was only dimly aware of.” Still evolving since “Late Show with David Letterman” ceased production (a process we see glimpses of in the fi lm), Young’s quest to spread

struct the story. It is the real playing against the virtual, the imaginative, and memory.” “Queerskins: A Love Story” should provide a heady experience one can only have at the Tribeca Film Festival.

the gospel of industrial musicals has compelled him to embrace a variety of roles — including live stage show producer, journeyman fi lm historian, guitar-plucking accompanist, and, in the fi lm’s immensely satisfying fi nal scene, a… well, they asked us not to spoil it, and we won’t. Let’s just say the whole thing ends on a high note, and farm equipment is involved. But will modern audiences be able to make, as Young did, that great leap from ironic detachment to emotional investment? “Since I started out in the ’80s,” he said, “there’s now more of a readiness to look at supposedly disposable cultural things and at least try to understand them in context… I do think people are ready to learn about, and to assess the value of, stuff — more, maybe, than they were a generation or two ago.” As of press time, most Tribeca Film Festival screenings of “Bathtubs Over Broadway” were sold out. Tickets were still available for the Sat., Apr. 21, 2pm premiere at BMCC Tribeca PAC (199 Chambers St.). The screening is followed by a Q&A with members of the cast, including Susan Stroman and Sheldon Harnick, as well as a live performance inspired by the film. To purchase Rush Tickets to sold-out screenings, visit tribecafilm. com/filmguide/bathtubs-over-broadway-2018. Apr 19 - May 2, 2018


Thurs., Apr. 19 – Wed., Apr. 25

ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES IN EFFECT ALL WEEK Joggers will have the run of Downtown’s West Side Sunday morning and the East Side in the evening. The Nike Go NYC 5k run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. will have the larger traffic effect. Runners take the Manhattan Bridge’s Manhattan-bound outer roadway to Canal St., to Allen St., to Pike St. and Pike Slip, to the northbound side of South St. from Pike to Montgomery St. to Basketball City on Pier 36. That morning, the 9/11 Memorial 5K Run/Walk is 7 to 11 Sunday and includes the Battery Park City esplanade, Greenwich St. between Battery Pl. and Trinity Pl. and between Edgar and Rector Sts., and Trinity Pl. between Morris and Edgar Sts. Immigration rights activists will march over the Brooklyn Bridge walkway Friday around 10 a.m., head west on Chambers St. to Church St., to Sixth Ave to Times Sq. The marchers will mostly be on the sidewalks but at least one traffic lane is likely to close along the route until about 3 p.m. The evening rush on the West Side

Highway near Chambers St. and the WTC will be busier for the Tribeca Film Festival this week and next, particularly Friday night, when there are over a dozen screenings at Regal Battery Park and the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. It could also slow entry to the Brooklyn Battery (Carey) Tunnel, which has one tube closed from 8 p.m. Friday to 5:30 a.m. Monday, and the same times weeknights. Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro are speaking Saturday at 6 p.m., at the fest’s hub, Spring Studios near Varick, Canal, Sixth Ave. and the Holland Tunnel, and Spike Lee and Alec Baldwin are there Tuesday 8:45 p.m. David Duchovny and his band are playing at the Public hotel on Chrystie St. near Houston St. Sunday at 7 p.m. The M, J, 2 and 3 trains are not running to Brooklyn this weekend, so take the A, C , L, or 5 instead. Careful driving Friday afternoon, it’s “4/20,� a day of heavier marijuana use, in homage to California teens who regularly inhaled at 4:20 p.m. in the ‘70s. A recent JAMA Internal Medicine study found that fatal crashes go up by 12 percent on April 20, and by 38 percent for people under 21.


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Apr 19 - May 2, 2018



Apr 19 - May 2, 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


Apr 19 - May 2, 2018

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

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

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

Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

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

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

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


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Downtown Express - April 19, 2018  

April 19, 2018

Downtown Express - April 19, 2018  

April 19, 2018