YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN
SPRING, SWEET SPRING, FINALLY IN SWING High Line’s Afternoon of Art Heralded New Season’s Start see page 10
Photos by Christian Miles
© CHELSEA NOW 2018 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
VOLUME 10, ISSUE 17 | APRIL 26 – MAY 2, 2018
Construction Begins on Observation Deck at 30 Hudson Yards BY WINNIE McCROY Earlier this month, the framework for the massive Hudson Yards Observation Deck made its way up the Hudson River by barge, to be bolted together 1,000 feet above the city in what will become the highest such deck in the Western Hemisphere, and the fifth highest in the world. “Seeing Hudson Yards reshape the Manhattan skyline has been exciting to us and our partners,” said Blake Hutcheson, Chair, Oxford Properties Group. “Now, with the construction of the observation deck, residents and visitors alike can be a part of the skyline. We’re excited to see New York from such great heights, through the eyes of Hudson Yards.” It will all happen at 30 Hudson Yards, the 2.6M-square-foot tower at the southwest corner of 33rd St. and 10th Ave., designed by Bill Pederson of Kohn Pederson Fox Associates (KPF). When completed in late 2019, the building will stand 1,296 feet tall, and offer state-ofthe-art commercial office space for tenants — including DNB Bank, Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts (KKR), Time Warner Inc., and Wells Fargo, as well as office space for Related Companies and Oxford
Photo courtesy of Timothy Schenck
The Hudson Yards Observation Deck journeyed down the Hudson River via barge.
Properties Group. The LEED Gold-designed 30 Hudson
Chelsea Reform Democratic Club is proud to celebrate its 60th Anniversary at its Annual Brunch, Saturday, May 5th honoring: Corey Johnson, Christine Quinn, Kate Linker, and Elizabeth Holtzman.
Yards will be the second-tallest building in New York; a fitting height for the 100th floor observation deck, which will jut out 65 feet, providing unobstructed views of Manhattan via the 28-acre Hudson Yards project. The building has direct access to The Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards and a direct connection to the No. 7 Subway station, facilitating a seamless interchange of commerce. “Hudson Yards has already been a contributor to the city’s economy and as it continues to progress, it will be an economic engine for the city, and region, by creating more than 55,000 jobs and contributing nearly $19 billion annually to New York City’s gross domestic product,” Jay Cross, President of Related
Hudson Yards, told Chelsea Now. Programming for the adjoining 101st floor will include a signature 10,000 square foot restaurant, bar and event space run by renowned hospitality group, rhubarb. The observation deck is scheduled to open in late 2019, shortly after The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, and the Public Square and Gardens and its centerpiece, Vessel, to open in March 2019. Included in that phase will be the inaugural season of The Shed, Hudson Yards’ arts and entertainment centerpiece located adjacent to 15 Hudson Yards, also bordering the Public Square and Gardens. OBSERVATION DECK continued on p. 19
Advance tickets only at www.crdcnyc.org $175 per ticket Sylvia Di Pietro and Steven Skyles- Mulligan: District Leaders 75 Assembly District Part A Francine Haselkorn and John Sharp- New York State Democratic Committee 75 Assembly District 2
April 26, 2018
Photo courtesy of Joe Woolhead
The steel framework made its way up 30 Hudson Yards, scheduled to open in late 2019. NYC Community Media
Banksy or Not, Seventh Ave. Street Art Successfully Provokes PHOTOS AND REPORTING BY CHRISTIAN MILES Passersby stopped in their tracks last week to contemplate the message, and origin, of street art that recently appeared on the newsstand across from the Fashion Institute of Technology (at Seventh Ave., near W. 28th St.). One side depicts a newsboy peddling papers, surrounded by text that seemingly refers to today’s divisive news coverage. The other panel addresses the need to communicate our human feelings while living in a concrete environment fueled, and ruled, by commerce. Valerie, who had just arrived in New York from Vancouver, proclaimed the work to be “beautiful,” noting that for her, it acknowledges “that feeling of wanting some kind of connection, wanting something despite all our fears, that’s universal.” “This is like a tribute entirely to Basquiat’s work,” said Sebastian, a native New Yorker living in Bushwick. “I appreciate that it’s actually put on the newsstand. I think street art that interacts with the thing it’s painted on is really interesting.” Sebastian expressed he felt there needs to be more work like this around the city — especially in Midtown, “like there used to be.” Chyann, a real estate broker from Harlem, said, “It’s a lot. I was drawn to the ‘Criticism Never Sleeps.’ ” She pointed out what was written on the newspaper the boy was holding (it reads “Banksy is in NY”) and asked, “Is this a Banksy?,” referring to the famous, and famously anonymous, graffiti street artist. When she walked around to see the second panel, Chyann laughed. “I love it. ‘This big concrete ATM’ — that’s exactly what it [the city] is.” (In its current form, the visual and written content appears to be the work of more than one voice, with others having added to the original art.) Three weeks ago, Pankaj Patel, the owner of the newsstand, was approached by a man who said a famous street artist, who has done work in several places including New York and Mexico, wanted to paint his stand. Patel agreed. Several days passed. Then, coming to work early the next Saturday morning, he found the work had appeared overnight. “People have been very positive,” he said of the reactions from curious customers and passersby. “They are very happy.” Patel never met the artist, and doesn’t know his name. NYC Community Media
Harlem resident and real estate broker Chyann was taken by both the visuals and the text, wondering it was the work of famous street artist Banksy.
Native New Yorker Sebastian approves, and wants more work like this around the city, “like there used to be.”
Several weeks ago, owner Pankaj Patel was approached by a man who said a “famous street artist” wanted to paint his newsstand.
Multiple artists seem to take credit for various elements of work on the newsstand — but is any of it actually a Banksy?
Valerie, from Vancouver, said the newsstand art speaks to “wanting some kind of connection.” April 26, 2018
MTA Misses the Bus on Switching to Electric During L Train Shutdown BY SYDNEY PEREIRA The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) plan to shuttle 70 buses an hour over the Williamsburg Bridge, and create a high-efficiency â€œbuswayâ€? on 14th St., during the proposed L train shutdown, offers the chance to bring the cityâ€™s surface-transportation system into the future. But critics say it wonâ€™t. Village and Chelsea community groups, joined by disability rights activists, recently filed suit against the cityâ€™s plan. In addition, some are critical of the MTAâ€™s missing the opportunity to use the 15-month shutdown, which would start in April 2019, as a testing ground for electric buses in place of diesel buses. More to the point, though apparently not studied as part of the L train mitigation plan, local air quality â€” and, thus, New Yorkersâ€™ health â€” could be improved by the use of electric buses. The cityâ€™s mitigation plan calls for turning 14th St. into a car-banning â€œbusway,â€? installing a two-way bike lane along 13th St., and adding ferries between Williamsburg and Stuyvesant Town. It also includes 200 new MTA buses â€” running in Brooklyn, over the Williamsburg Bridge, connecting to Downtown subway hubs and along 14th
File photo courtesy of The Villager
One of the 10 electric buses being tested in New York City right now by the MTA as a pilot program. Currently, there are reportedly just a few hundred electric buses being used in the entire country.
St. â€” to pick up the slack during the Lâ€™s closure. Yet, just 15 of those buses will be all electric. Those 15 are part of the cityâ€™s plan to purchase 60 all-electric buses by 2021. â€œDiesel is a scourge for the city and the state of New York,â€? said State Senator Brad Hoylman, who wrote a letter to the MTA in early February, asking why more electric buses were not included in the plan. The MTA launched a pilot program with 10 electric buses in January, but Hoylman called it â€œtoo little and not
fast enough.â€? According to the authority, the 10-bus pilot program will â€œhelp inform the planned purchase of 60â€? electric buses by 2021, and 15 will be used along the 14th St. busway during the Carasie Tunnel repairs. The beginnings of an electric bus fleet in New York may be evidence of some movement toward a sustainable transit system, but other cities are rapidly outrunning New York by leaps and bounds. Shenzhen, China, for instance, had more than 16,000 electric
buses in 2017 â€” nearly 60 times more than it had in 2012. Cost may be one obvious factor holding the MTA back. Electric buses cost, on average, $300,000 more than diesel buses, according to a 2016 report by Judah Aber, commissioned by New York City Transit. Aber conducted the study as part of Columbia Universityâ€™s environmental science and policy graduate program. But the healthcare cost benefits far surpass any upfront losses from buying electric buses. Aber found that $150,000 per year in healthcare costs could be saved with each electric bus. â€œThatâ€™s a lot of potatoes,â€? Aber said. Those costs illuminate just how pricey respiratory problems and heart disease that result from the chemicals that spew out the back of diesel buses can be. Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, and a general toxic stew of various chemicals known as particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) are just a few chemicals New Yorkers breathe in every day. Particulate matter has been linked to premature death, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and other respiratory ELECTRIC BUSES continued on p. 16
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April 26, 2018
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NYC Community Media
Images courtesy of MTA
Four entrances to Penn station are slated for upgrade.
Cantilevered canopies will be a beacon for new Penn Station entrances.
Six-Month Closure Coming for Several Subway Stations BY RANIA RICHARDSON Mysterious delays. Aging infrastructure. Shoddy conditions. Never-ending price increases. Years of frustration for subway riders reached a fever pitch last June, when an A train derailed as it approached the 125th St. station, injuring dozens of passengers in a smokefilled nightmare. Following the incident, and on the heels of several others, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency for New York City subways. A few weeks later, he unveiled the Enhanced Station Initiative (ESI) to make repairs and upgrades in select locations. Work would be staggered in four areas of the city, divided into â€œpackages.â€? Package #1, consisting of stations in Brooklyn, is complete â€” and Package #2, in Queens, is underway. Package #3 on Manhattanâ€™s West Side, is comprised of stations at 163rd St., Cathedral Parkway-110th St., 86th St. and 72nd St., B and C lines, and is in the midst of rolling closures through the spring season. Closer to home, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) presented plans for Package #4 at an April 18 meeting of the Transportation Planning Committee (TPC) of Community Board 4 (CB4). The stations that will be affected are 57th St. (F), 23rd St. (F, M), 28th St. (6), and 34th St.-Penn Station (A, C, E and 1, 2, 3). From July through December 2018, the stations in both directions at 57th St., 23rd St., and 28th St. will be closed. Due to the impossibility of closing Penn Station â€” the busiest transportation hub in the country â€” work will be phased during those months, with four entrances earmarked for upgrade to be closed one at a time. ESI program manager Bill Montanile, outlined the plan through a series of NYC Community Media
slides that illustrated the dual aspect of the project. First, a state of good repair will be implemented. Work will focus on fixing critical problems in the infrastructure and â€œfuture proof itâ€? with materials and design intended to reduce maintenance and costs going forward. â€œThis is not the flashy stuff. Itâ€™s the bread and butter,â€? Montanile said, adding that itâ€™s not what gets reported in the media â€” to the disagreement of TPC co-chairs Dale Corvino and Christine Berthet, who pointed to this reporter from Chelsea Now (seemingly the only member of the press in attendance, and indeed there to report). This â€œbread and butterâ€? aspect of the project includes aggressively cleaning the entire underground to remove debris and reduce fire hazards. Pervasive leaks will be injected with a polymer sealant to stop ongoing water damage. â€œConditions like these directly affect service to the point where we may need to stop trains,â€? Montanile noted. Corroding steel columns, crumbling ceilings, damaged stairs, and worn yellow platform edges will also receive attention. Paint and chewing gum will be sandblasted off concrete surfaces. Paint will be discontinued, as it tends to peel and become unsightly, and concrete can stand alone as a design element. The second, more captivating, aspect of the project involves upgrades that will improve aesthetics and enhance the customer experience to â€œleave the stations cleaner, brighter, easier to navigate,â€? Montanile said. Terracotta blue tile will introduce the ESI stations in an entrance redesign that includes cantilevered canopies to help keep out the elements. The antique green and red globes New Yorkers are familiar with will take a modern form as colored strips of light across digital â€œtotems.â€? These plinths will supply information,
such as countdown clocks that indicate the time the next train will arrive. The plan puts information where decision points are, allowing questions like, â€œDo I have time to grab a cup of coffee before I descend the stairs to the subway?â€? Totems are part of a â€œcoordinated and flexible familyâ€? of modular maps, signage, and rerouting and service delay information, with real-time (paperless) updates. Within the stations, they will be combined in a streamlined area that consolidates MetroCard Vending Machines.
Another area of improvement will be wayfinding, knowing your location within the environment and how to navigate to other areas. Once complete, the MTA will evaluate the four Packages of work before strategizing for other stations. Community Boards that were affected by earlier areas of ESI work registered complaints that the MTA did not communicate with them fully ahead of SUBWAY CLOSURE continued on p. 15
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Photo by Pamela Wolff
IN STREET CORNER BOXES
A view north from the roof of Fulton Houses. In the center, in pink shirt, CB4 District Manager Jesse Bodine.
VISIT www.ChelseaNow.com Sign up through our website for eNewsletters and receive weekly news updates delivered to your email. FOLLOW US ON @chelseanow @chelseanownewspaper
WIN AN IPAD MINI Visit us Saturday, April 28, at the 8th Avenue street fair for your chance to win an iPad mini 8th Avenue, between 14th and 23rd Streets We encourage your opinions and feedback on what’s happening in your neighborhood, via firstname.lastname@example.org. 6
April 26, 2018
Walking Tour Schools Urban Studies Students in Development, Preservation, Gentriﬁcation BY SALLY GREENSPAN (BOARD MEMBER, SAVE CHELSEA) When Christopher Watson — an adjunct professor in the Urban Studies Department of Queens College, CUNY — viewed the documentary feature film “Class Divide,” he instantly recognized a teaching opportunity for the students in his Urban Studies Program. In its examination of gentrification in the West Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, the film addresses the impact on neighborhood housing and real estate resulting from the development of luxury properties in the former industrial zone around the High Line and throughout the Chelsea neighborhood. It also addresses the issue of rent-stabilized tenants forced out of their homes by unscrupulous real estate developers. In the film, Chelsea residents Cher Carden and Andrew Rai speak at a local rally where tenants are protesting the displacement of rent-stabilized tenants by devious developers who have lied on their permit applications. The opportunity for Watson’s Urban Studies class to tour Chelsea was initiated when he reached out to Ms. Carden and Mr. Rai, who are both board members
of Save Chelsea — a coalition of organizations and individuals concerned with preserving the integrity of the Chelsea Historic District and maintaining a varied mix of economic, social, and generational populations of that neighborhood. The group works to protect architectural treasures and insure a healthy gentrification that preserves housing and protects the health of the overall community. On Sat., April 14, Professor Watson and eight of his Urban Studies students explored West Chelsea on a walking tour themed around development, preservation, and gentrification as if affects West Chelsea, the industrial historic district, the High Line, and Hudson Yards. The tour was led by Laurence Frommer (President of Save Chelsea), and other members of the Save Chelsea board. Community Board 4 (CB4) Chairman Burt Lazarin also spoke to the group, as did Jesse Bodine, District Manager for CB4. The tour began with an introduction by Laurence Frommer, and a panoramic view of Chelsea and beyond, as seen from URBAN STUDIES continued on p. 8 NYC Community Media
NYC Community Media
April 26, 2018
Photos by Sally Greenspan
Laurence Frommer (foreground, right) led April 14 walking tour. In the center, with arms folded, is adjunct professor Christopher Watson. URBAN STUDIES continued from p. 6
the rooftop of Fulton Houses. Bodine provided handouts for the students and discussed The Special West Chelsea District (SWCD), and the Voluntary Inclusionary Housing Program (VIHP). The SWCD regulates the development of new com-
mercial buildings, encouraging mixed uses. The VIHP incentivizes the inclusion of affordable housing in new developments. It was particularly meaningful for the students to hear the challenges of urban planning in this neighborhood, while being able to visually scan the whole area from above.
The group continued the walk by heading north toward 20th St., while Save Chelsea board member Pamela Wolff gave a brief history of the innovative Chelsea zoning plan. The zoning plan filed by CB4 in the late 1980s was the cityâ€™s first community-based proposal for zoning changes. The plan was proactively proposed by the Council of Chelsea Block Associations (CCBA), and set some limits on growth and building cap heights. CCBA advocates continue to monitor zoning, but development and zoning remain a constant challenge throughout Chelsea. The group soon arrived in front of 404 W. 20th St., the oldest house in the Chelsea Historic District. Save Chelsea board member David Holowka gave an informative talk about the architectural detail of this distinctive period house, and about what Save Chelsea views as an egregious and irresponsible ruling from The Landmarks Preservation Committee that has set the stage for the demolition
and demise of this historic, irreplaceable building dating from the 1830s. The tour ended in front of the Tenant Interim Lease (TIL) Buildings on Seventh Ave. and W. 22nd St. These affordable housing units have been boarded up and in a state of disrepair for decades. Save Chelseaâ€™s Greenspan and Wolff gave an overview of the TIL program and discussed the current status of this particular property. The Chelsea community and the District Office of Speaker Johnson have been involved in a long-standing effort to work with Housing Preservation and Development as well as CB4 for the restoration of these buildings for the existing TIL tenants, in addition to new tenants eligible for TIL housing. It was a great afternoon, and the weather fully cooperated. If your school is interested in participating in similar walks, Save Chelsea welcomes your interest. Contact Laurence Frommer at email@example.com. To learn more about Save Chelsea, visit savechelseany.org.
Looking west from the Fulton Houses rooftop, the tour group saw some of the ongoing construction surrounding the High Line.
April 26, 2018
NYC Community Media
POLICE BLOTTER before closing on Sun., April 15. When he returned the following Sunday, the closet door was unlocked and the laptop was missing. The device, an HP 15-ay000, is valued at $215.
PETIT LARCENY: Welding woes Someone stole equipment from a construction site at 401 Ninth Ave. (btw. W. 31st & 32nd Sts.) on Thurs., April 19 at 3:30 p.m. One of the workers reported missing equipment from the 36th floor of the site. Three 50-foot welding wires, a 100-foot cord, two welder transitions, and a 50-foot extension cord were taken. The equipment is worth $790.
PETIT LARCENY: BBQ food for thought
LOST PROPERTY: A concrete lesson learned Hereâ€™s a valuable lesson: If you trip and fall, make sure you check the ground youâ€™ve just made contact with. It might save you a world of hurt later on. A 23-year-old woman tripped and fell near Seventh Ave. and W. 19th St. on Thurs., April 19 at 3 p.m. She did not realize that her wallet fell out of her pocket. When she went back to retrieve the wallet, it was gone.
PETIT LARCENY: Crime drama plays at cinema A laptop was stolen from the CinĂŠpolis Chelsea movie theater (260 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). An employee told police he locked the computer away
Pay attention to your belongings when youâ€™re out to eat with friends, or you might have trouble digesting the result. A man failed to do so, and had his backpack stolen. The incident happened on Fri., April 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Dallas BBQ (261 Eighth Ave., at W. 23rd St.). The backpack had the 25-yearoldâ€™s Adidas shoes, a sweater, shin guards, underwear, an umbrella, and a soccer jersey. The total value of items stolen is $340.
CRIMINAL MISCHIEF: Solid swipe at water pipe Not happy with your hookah? Perhaps thatâ€™s why a woman destroyed property at Jubilee Smoke & Vape Shop (219 W. 14th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) on Sat., April 21 at 4:10 p.m. The owner reported that a woman came into the store and started to argue with her, and then she destroyed a water pipe worth $300, and a hookah worth $100. â€”Tabia C. Robinson
THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commanding Officer: Captain Paul Lanot. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-7418226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced. MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Commanding Officer: Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney. Call 212-239-9811. Community Affairs: 212239-9846. Crime Prevention: 212-2399846. Domestic Violence: 212-239-9863. Youth Officer: 212-239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-239-9836. Detective Squad: 212-239-9856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7 p.m., at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & 35th Sts.). Visit midtownsouthcc.org.
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NYC Community Media
April 26, 2018
‘Culture Shock’ Was a Blast, as All Kinds o
April 26, 2018
NYC Community Media
of Art Kicked Off High Line’s 2018 Season
PHOTO ESSAY BY CHRISTIAN MILES Music, art, performances, and plenty of hands-on activities were on hand when the High Line heralded the start of their 2018 season. Christian Miles captured these images of April 21’s “Culture Shock” event, which happened along Chelsea’s iconic elevated park, between Gansevoort and W. 26th Sts. For info on upcoming activities, visit thehighline.org.
NYC Community Media
April 26, 2018
Tales of Love, Longing, Icons, Pom-Poms What we saw, and liked, at the Tribeca Film Festival “NICO, 1988” REVIEW BY PUMA PERL I’ve been obsessed with everything Nico since I was a teenager. I wore out three copies of the debut Velvet Underground album, and closely followed her solo career. Her cover of Jackson Browne’s “These Days” was a brilliant choice to open this film, a biopic covering the last two years of her life. In the opening scene, a little girl (Nico) asks her mother about the beautiful, bright lights she sees in the distance. Berlin is burning, she is told. Next, we see the grown Nico, on vacation in Ibiza, telling her son she is taking what would be a fatal bicycle ride into town. The film then takes us to the beginning of the end. The film’s Nico, played by Danish actress Trine Dyrholm, is no longer a blonde beauty. She’s bloated, dissipated, regretful, distant, demanding — but can still be charming when the mood strikes. Men fall in love with her. She has huge appetites for drugs, cigarettes, food; the latter, she explains, is because she was always hungry as a child. The 49-year-old Nico instructs people to call her by her given name, Christa, and refuses to be defined by either her Velvet Underground fame or her Warhol era high cheek-boned looks. In interviews, she declines to discuss the Velvet Underground days, stating that her life in music began when she started doing her own. “I’ve been on the top, I’ve been at the bottom. Both are empty,” she states in a radio interview. She wears her age defiantly, clad in black leather pants and a studded bracelet she stole from Domenico, based on the Italian singer, Domenico Petrosino, who tells her he would have gladly given it to her. “But it was more fun to steal it,” she responds, to his amusement. The film is a road trip on a European rock and roll tour out of hell. She doesn’t believe in the record, and except for the violin player, looks with disdain upon the band, shoots heroin into her bruised ankle no matter who is watching, and throws tantrums in hotels and restaurants. The drugs
April 26, 2018
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
Trine Dyrholm as Nico in “Nico, 1988.”
don’t cut through her pain about her son, Ari, who is in the hospital as a result of his own addiction. There is a listlessness to the performances until they enter Prague. Crossing the border, they have, by necessity, left their drugs behind. Based on a show organized secretly by rock fans in 1985, before the Velvet Revolution, the concert takes place in a dark, underground space, and is the most exciting scene in the film. Dyrholm is also a singer and she’s able to capture the ways Nico’s monotone could turn to emotion as she performs a rebellious, charged rendition of “My Heart Is Empty” to an exuberant crowd. When the secret police break up the show, the band and their entourage flee out the back door. Italian writer/director Susanna Nicchiarelli brings a reality to the film by her use of vintage footage, including hand-held camera work by Jonas Mekas. The supporting cast, particularly John Gordon Sinclair as the de facto manager, and Sandor Funtek as Nico’s son, are especially noteworthy. Dyrholm’s commitment to the role brings us glimpses of the woman behind the iconic image, whose life takes a brief upswing towards the end
of her life. At times it felt like neither a biopic nor a documentary, but like places you’d visited with people you knew. I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, apparently. On my way out, a woman stopped short behind me. When I turned around, she said she’d thought for a moment that I’d stepped out of the film. Thurs., 4/26, 8:15pm at SVA Theatre (333 W. 23rd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), Fri., 4/27, 9pm (this screening is free w/ticket) at Regal Cinemas Battery Park (102 North End Ave., at Vesey St.; free with reserved ticket), Sat., 4/28, 7:30pm Cinépolis Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.), and Sun., 4/29, 8:45pm at Regal Cinemas. For tickets and more info, visit tribecafilm.com/festival. To order by phone, call 646-502-5296 ($23, evening/weekend; $12, matinee; service fees apply for web and phone orders).
“SLUT IN A GOOD WAY” REVIEW BY RANIA RICHARSON Teenagers experience love, sex, long-
ing, and heartbreak outside the gaze of adults in “Slut in a Good Way” — a Canadian romantic comedy written by Catherine Léger and directed by Sophie Lorain. With parents, teachers, and bosses absent from the story, the focus is on the adolescent mindset, along with the impetuous behavior and acute emotions that characterize their world. Set in a small town in Quebec, the French language film features an endearing cast of high schoolers who become entangled in misunderstandings as they pursue the opposite sex. Black and white cinematography enhances the fable-like tale. A sense of timelessness is heightened with old footage of diva Maria Callas singing “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” (“Love is a rebellious bird”), from the opera, “Carmen.” The original title, “Charlotte a du Fun,” translates into “Charlotte Has Fun,” and the drama revolves around her quest for fulfillment. Recovering from a broken heart, Charlotte (Marguerite Bouchard), a confident top student, is ready to live life to the fullest — until harsh judgment brings out her self-doubt. NYC Community Media
Photo by Laurent Guérin
Black and white cinematography enhances “Slut in a Good Way,” Catherine Léger and Sophie Lorain’s fable-like tale.
After she and two girlfriends see a number of appealing boys working at the Toy Depot, they decide to apply for part-time jobs during the holiday season. The big box store, navigated by skateboard, is a striking space that’s perfect for flirting in the course of a workday. Floor to ceiling shelves are filled with children’s products, such as oversized stuffed animals, that make it a playful environment. Charlotte begins her new life with liberated exuberance, becoming intimate with a number of boys. Meanwhile, Aube (Rose Adam) the naïve romantic of the three, is unable to convince the others that she has achieved the key milestone — losing her virginity. She develops a crush on a boy whose intentions may be opportunistic and who, painfully, was one of Charlotte’s conquests. In contrast, Mégane (Romane Denis) is a rebel and contrarian with a cynical view of love and an opinion at every turn. Despite their ups and downs, the three maintain a strong bond of adolescent friendship as they scrutinize items at a sex shop, get drunk on beer in the park, and walk through a minefield of potential boyfriends. Some of the teens appear years younger than their apparent ages, particularly Charlotte, a 17-year-old in the story. Canada’s age of consent — when a young person can legally agree to sexual activity — is 16 years. (In the NYC Community Media
US, the age of consent varies by state from 16 to 18, and around the world, it ranges from puberty to marriage.) A Halloween party reveals the personalities of the three friends — energetic Charlotte is a hockey player, feminine Aub is Wonder Woman, and politically minded Mégane comes as Che Guevara. Despite the sexually open milieu, Charlotte is horrified to learn that the boys have been bragging about sleeping with her and that she has developed a bad reputation, even with other females. The unfair double standard still exists, and she asks, “Am I a slut in a good way, or am I a slut in a bad way?” This leads to an audacious idea that takes the charity collection jars by the store’s cash registers to a new level. She decides to raise money to promote abstinence, and she convinces her friends to join her in a vow of chastity. When the end of the holiday season arrives, the clash of the sexes is resolved at the celebratory Christmas party. With humor and originality, “Slut in a Good Way” gets right into the hearts and minds of teenagers, in an authentic, contemporary style. Tribeca Film Festival screenings had concluded by the time we went to press — but for more info, visit charlotteadufun-lefilm.com/#accueil and search for the film’s title at search tribecafilm. com/festival.
Photo by Jack Schwaesdall
The Chargerettes perform in “Sidelined.”
TFF REVIEWS continued on p. 14 April 26, 2018
TFF REVIEWS continued from p. 13
“SIDELINED” REVIEW BY CHARLES BATTERSBY In television sports coverage, it’s called a “honey shot” when they point the camera at one of the cheerleaders instead of the players. For most of the 20th century, cheerleaders were just on the sidelines of sports coverage — but in the ’70s, the exploitation of NFL cheerleaders became big business. The filmmakers behind the short documentary “Sidelined” pin this on the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, who rose to mainstream awareness thanks to a convenient honey shot, and their skintight short shorts. Most other cheer teams, like the San Diego Chargerettes and Chicago Honey Bears, got caught up in the rush. When Playboy magazine capitalized on this trend, and did a spread with cheerleaders, it destroyed at least one squad. “Sidelined” looks at this scandal from a variety of perspectives to explore just how much the “girl next door” can be sexualized before going too far. “Sidelined” shows old footage of TV news reporters in front of disgraced cheerleaders walking out of stadiums. There are photos from newspapers that had an excuse to run racy pics of girls in skimpy uniforms. To be fair to the newsmen of the ’70s, this really was the perfect scandal for salacious headlines. Among the women interviewed for “Sidelined” is a former Chicago Honey Bears cheerleader who posed for Playboy, and was a police officer too — a trifecta of fetishization. Others include a Chargerette who feels that her spread in the magazine was directly responsible for the team being disbanded. The filmmakers also provide the perspective of Playboy’s staff and photographers, including archival footage of Hugh Hefner addressing the topic back when the events were unfolding. Framing all of this is a reunion of the scandalized cheerleaders, 40 years after-
Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival
“Tiny Shoulders” mines the origins of Barbie, and follows her evolution according to contemporary demands.
wards. Through these present-day interviews, the film provides a retrospective on the hypocrisies of the mainstream media in the ’70s. The NFL wanted to simultaneously project an image of the girl next door, but also provide as much sex appeal as they could get away with on network TV. Meanwhile, Playboy wanted as much of the girl next door as they could get, while still being overtly sexual. In one of the 40-year-old interviews with Hefner, he even proposes that what the NFL was doing is essentially the same thing as what Playboy did. It’s an argument that “Sidelined” presents quite compellingly. While the filmmakers demonstrate the overt exploitation of ’70s media, it can’t be overlooked that a documentary about sexy cheerleaders is readily marketed in the present as well. “Sidelined” includes plenty of its own honey shots of the cheerleaders in their sexy uniforms, along with the occasional nude or topless picture. This creates a mixed message that can’t be entirely dismissed under the guise of thoroughly documenting the scandal. The cheer squad members themselves look back on the incident with the “I was young and needed the money” viewpoint. They talk about their joy at being part of a sisterhood, but ended up being haunted by their inclusion in the roster of women who
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April 26, 2018
have been in Playboy — something that Playboy’s photographers warned would be an inescapable sisterhood of its own. Even four decades later, this remains true, as evidenced by the very existence of this documentary. Fri., 4/27, 6:30pm (this screening is free w/ticket) at Cinépolis Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.; free with reserved ticket), and Sat., 4/28, 6:30pm at Cinépolis Chelsea. For tickets and more info, visit tribecafilm.com/festival. To order by phone, call 646-502-5296 ($23, evening/weekend; $12, matinee; service fees apply for web and phone orders).
“TINY SHOULDERS: RETHINKING BARBIE” REVIEW BY CHARLES BATTERSBY The Barbie doll has been a feminist boogeyman (or boogeyperson) for decades. As an inanimate object, she’s an easy target — but there are real people behind the doll. The documentary “Tiny Shoulders” looks at Barbie’s journey from groundbreaking toy, to cultural lightning rod, to her most recent redesign for 21st century sensibilities. Although Barbie is often cited as a poor role model for girls due to her slender build and ample bosom, Barbie’s origin was actually quite progressive for her time. “Tiny Shoulders” spends the first half of its 91-minute runtime examining Barbie’s creation and the life of her creator, Ruth Handler. There is much talk of Handler’s struggle to convince the conservative toy industry that a market existed for such a product. Back in the ’50s, when most dolls looked like babies and were intended to teach girls how to be nurturing, Barbie’s adult body was considered inappropriate. Not only was she a busty grownup, but also an independent career girl who had uniforms and outfits suitable to her occupations.
This part of the documentary is accompanied by footage from Handler’s home movies and personal photographs, with several shots of a guntoting Handler surrounded by her exclusively male peers. “Tiny Shoulders” also gives audiences a look inside Mattel’s “Barbie Vaults” of classic dolls, and vintage advertising footage. The second half follows Mattel’s staff as Barbie’s latest design team begins working on a new look for her. The filmmakers document Barbie’s previous re-designs, which happen about once a decade — but this latest revamp was implemented specifically to address current views on female body image. There are interviews with the team, including at least one person who opposes the new direction. Not to mention frustrated toy designers who point out the complications of making a functional toy that matches the desired aesthetics (Barbie needs a “thigh gap” in order for her legs to move). This gives a well-rounded view of a brand facing a dilemma that has no clear solution. While the filmmakers and staff are positive about the social and political message of the new dolls, it is clear that anti-Barbie bullies were compelling Mattel to cater to the very people who hate their brand. One scene shows the PR team preparing for the launch of new the dolls by holding a mock social media storm, complete with simulated snarky tweets, and hostile blogging. The movie conveys the reality that Barbie will receive intense backlash from someone, no matter her designers do. Fans who have always loved Barbie will get to see the people behind the new direction, complete with rare footage, pics, and interviews from the old days. People who never cared for the doll will learn a lot about the good intentions Mattel has had from the beginning. Early on in “Tiny Shoulders,” Ruth Hander mentions that the first Barbie was deliberately designed to be “not too beautiful” precisely so that girls wouldn’t feel she set an unattainable goal. Ironically, this intention was overlooked by generations of detractors, right up to the release of the new dolls. The final scenes of “Tiny Shoulders” show one of Barbie’s critics holding the new “curvy” Barbie and lamenting that she’s still not curvy enough. Thurs., 4/26, 5:30pm at Regal Cinemas Battery Park (102 North End Ave., at Vesey St.). For tickets and more info, visit tribecafilm.com/festival. To order by phone, call 646-502-5296 ($23, evening/weekend; $12, matinee; service fees apply for web and phone orders). NYC Community Media
Courtesy of MTA
Subway stations will close for repair and upgrades in the Enhanced Station Initiative program.
Courtesy of MTA
In the 23rd St. F station, work includes fixing what looks like a “high school science project,” noted ESI program manager Bill Montanile. SUBWAY CLOSURE continued from p. 5
Courtesy of MTA
Digital screens will include maps, countdown clocks, and rerouting information in modular form for recombination.
time, so it is in the MTA’s best interest to be open to input from the neighborhood. At the TPC meeting, board members raised the question about the lack of enhancements to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Montanile’s response was that a citywide study for this is underway, to be handled through a different program. Cate Contino, from New York City Transit’s Government & Community
Relations team, discussed alternative service options during the subway shutdowns. She said that there are one to three stations within a three to five minute walk from those that will be affected, and the areas are well-served by buses. More buses may be added if there is a significant increase in ridership as they monitor passenger flow. Upgrading one of the oldest, largest, and most used public transit systems — one that runs round the clock every day of the year — is imperative, and this ambitious plan is just the start.
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New York City Transit’s Cate Contino (standing), at the April meeting of CB4’s Transportation Planning Committee. NYC Community Media
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Outrage at Union Busting Gay-Owned Adult Boutique By Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union n June of 2017, the employees of Pleasure Chest stores voted unanimously to join the RWDSU. But their owner, a wealthy gay man who lives in L.A., has fought them every step of the way, dragging out ﬁrst contract negotiations for nearly a year and refusing to agree to even the most basic safety provisions and trainings for his largely LGBTQ workforce to choose union representation. He’s gone so far to hire one of the most notorious and expensive anti-union law ﬁrms, Jackson Lewis, to ﬁght his workers’ contract needs. It’s a shocking blow to workers who are seeking much more than just improved wages and beneﬁts. The sex toy industry is rife with workplace issues, including sexual harassment and even physical assault. A union voice can make a huge difference toward making workers in adult toy stores safer and more secure. One has to look no further than the case of Babeland – another queer-owned chain of adult toy stores in New York City – to see the difference. Babeland workers won RWDSU membership in 2016, and have secured a strong ﬁrst contract that not only improves wages and beneﬁts, it created safety protocols in the workplace that address the many issues these retail workers face, and workers have won increased pay and hours. The workers at Pleasure Chest want the same kind of protection, they are demanding it, but it’s also their right. They’ve continued ﬁghting, by protesting and even engaging in a Black Friday work stoppage. Their boss responded not by addressing his workers’ safety needs, but by ﬁling a frivolous charge at the National Labor Relations Board that would have allowed him to ﬁre workers who participated in the strike. The ﬂimsy charges were soon dismissed by the regional labor board, but Pleasure Chest has now appealed his charges to the Trump-controlled NLRB in Washington, D.C. Union-busting is always troubling, but in this case, it is even more so. It’s an outrage that a gay man running a supposedly inclusive non-judgmental sex toy shop would appeal to the Trump administration for help in repressing the rights and potentially ﬁring his own employees, who are mostly low wage trans and gender non-conforming people of color, just because they wanted to be safe while doing their very difﬁcult and emotionally intimate jobs. The workers aren’t going to stop ﬁghting, and neither is their union. Like so many other workers, their ﬁght for justice is all of our ﬁght – for fairness, for justice, and for equality.
April 26, 2018
Courtesy of LA Metro
One of the 295 Near Zero natural gas buses that run on renewable natural gas (RNG) fuel purchased by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (aka LA Metro). ELECTRIC BUSES continued from p. 4
issues, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Regular cars also emit these toxins. In New York City alone, particulate matter emitted from buses and trucks causes 170 premature deaths a year, according to a 2016 study published in the scientific journal Environmental Health. Cars’ particulate matter emissions are attributable to 100 deaths per year. The study also found that emissions from buses and trucks result in 360 emergency room visits, while cars were responsible for 190. For Hoylman, however, the upfront cost of electric buses is not what is holding the MTA back from adding more of them. “I don’t think it’s the dollars that are blocking the MTA,” he said. “It’s a lack of vision and bureaucratic inertia that prevents our transit system from being a world leader on this issue.” In response to a request for comment from our sister publication, The Villager, an MTA spokesperson said, “Since electric buses are a relatively new technology in the New York transit world, they still require field testing, which is the MTA’s reasoning for the low number of electric buses so far.” “We always seem to be the last to adopt improvements,” Hoylman noted. “We should be the California of the East Coast on the environment.” Hoylman also said the potential L shutdown is a missed opportunity for a massive electric-bus pilot program. Beyond the buses’ cost, there are other major infrastructure hurdles that would have to be addressed to create a long-lasting, sustainable bus fleet, said Aber, the Columbia report author. One of those challenges involves electric bus batteries. Batteries, similar to those in electric cars, degrade differently over time, depending on the weight of the vehicle and its load, hills and climate
conditions. The current pilot program of 10 electric buses, Aber said, will help to figure out what kind of battery and electric bus works best in New York City’s conditions. There is also still a lack of standardization between electric bus companies, in terms of how the buses are charged. Plus, since it takes more time to recharge an electric bus than to refill a diesel tank, a new bus system would need to be designed. In short, in a city where buses should be running 24 hours a day, taking a bus out of service overnight, or even for several hours at a time, would require a larger fleet. “They’re being, I’ll say, a little bit on the conservative side, but for good reason,” Aber said of the MTA’s small-scale electric-bus pilot program. Revamping the L train mitigation bus routes with an all-electric fleet might well have been possible at one point, but considering the preparation time needed to make those infrastructural changes, Aber now has his doubts. “Is it a hill that can be climbed?” he asked. “It was a missed opportunity, but at this point, it may be too late to head down this particular path.” A “small army” of people trained to manage a 200-bus electric fleet would be necessary, he added. But there are other options the MTA could have taken for the fleet of 200 new buses. Joanna Underwood, chairperson of the environmental nonprofit Energy Vision, recently argued in a talking point in The Villager, for using buses powered by renewable natural gas — which, she noted, have lower emissions than diesel buses, but are less expensive than electric. Diesel “is a choice of the past,” Underwood said. “We’re going to have to bite the bullet and get off petroleum,” she stated. “Whatever goal we set, the sooner the better. Every place in the world where you replace a diesel bus or a diesel truck, you’ve made a difference.” NYC Community Media
Music in Chelsea Chelsea Musica — the NYC-based woodwind chamber ensemble with the name that’s easy to love — is returning to St. Peter’s Chelsea for another series of imaginative programs. The ensemble is comprised Photo by Rich Pollak of Carolyn Pollak (oboe, oboe d’amore), Chelsea Musica, left to right: Cara Tucker, Karen Robbins, Denise Koncelik and Carolyn Pollak. Denise Koncelik (keyboard, flute), Karen Robbins (flute), and Cara Tucker (bas- stpeterschelsea.org and chelseamusica. soon). For the first concert, they’ll be nyc. The “Music in Chelsea” series premiering a new work written for the ensemble by NYC-based composer returns to St. Peter’s for three May Robert Perretti. The guest artist is concerts, all at 4pm. On May 6, there countertenor Tyler Wayne Smith, who will be a special guest performance will sing Bach arias written for singer from contemporary accordion ensemand oboe d’amore. Elsewhere on the ble Bachtopus. On May 13, a Mother’s program: Works by Purcell, Weelkes, Day celebration will feature works Mozart, and Vivaldi. Sunday, April by past and present female compos29, 4pm at St. Peter’s Chelsea (346 W. ers. The May 20 program marks the 20th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Music in Chelsea debut of New York Your suggested donation of $10 ($5 Kammermusiker — a double reed for seniors and students) will ben- chamber ensemble (oboes, English efit the Food Pantry at St. Peter’s. For Horns, bassoons). —Scott Stiffler more info, call 212-929-2390. Visit
Visit our booth at the free
Bike Expo May 4 and 5 at Pier 12 in Brooklyn.
NYC Community Media
April 26, 2018
April 26, 2018
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Courtesy of Joe Woolhead
Photo courtesy of Timothy Schenck
Workers raised the framework for the observation deck — which at 1,000 feet will be the highest in the Western Hemisphere.
The framework arrived on a flatbed truck. In the background is Vessel, the 150-foothigh steel monument that will form the centerpiece of a five-acre public square in the sprawling development.
OBSERVATION DECK continued from p. 2
“Construction of the observation deck is the next major milestone in bringing Manhattan’s newest neighborhood to life,” added Cross. “When it opens, the Hudson Yards Observation Deck will serve as the new focal point for the West Side skyline. Whether you’re interested in a cocktail, a celebratory dinner, or just want to see what the city looks like from 1,000 feet up in the sky, the Hudson Yards Observation Deck will offer a truly unique New York experience.” The Hudson Yards Observation Deck is made up of 15 primary sections, each weighing between 35,000 and 100,000 lbs. Bolted together and anchored to the east and south sides of the building, the 765,000 lb. observation deck will create a 7,500-square-foot outdoor viewing area. A nine-foot tall angled glass wall will encircle the deck, and a window in the floor will provide a once-in-a-lifetime look at the neighborhood below. The 15 steel pieces of the deck were fabricated in Italy, with the structural glass made in Germany. The pieces of the deck were fully assembled in Italy before being broken down again into its constituent sections for the boat trip to New York City. Granite paver stones quarried in Virginia were cut and finished in Quebec, making the construc-
Courtesy of Related-Oxford
An architectural rendering of the Hudson Yards Observation Deck that will stand at the 100th floor of 30 Hudson Yards.
tion a truly international endeavor. “The design of our two towers at Hudson Yards is based on our intention of making overt responses to all aspects of the surrounding urban landscape,” said
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April 26, 2018
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