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The Paper of Record Re ecc o orr d for ffo o r Greenwich G r eenwich Village, e,, East e E as a s t Village, Vii llll ag V age e,, Lower L ow o w er East Side, Soho, Union Square, Soho h o , Un ho n ion i o n Sq io S q uare, Chinatown n and an a n d Noho, No N o oho h o , Since ho Sin Si ncc e 1933 19 1 9 933 33 3 3

April 26, 2018 • $1.00 Volume 88 • Number 17

24 / 7 or bust! Transit advocates say make 14th all-day busway BY SYDNEY PEREIR A


ith less than one year left before a potential shutdown of the Manhattan leg of the L train, critical details about the plan still remain unclear — including, notably, how many hours a day the mitigation plan for the shutdown would be

implemented. Transportation A lter natives and other transit advocacy groups are calling for a 24 / 7 plan — warning that, otherwise, the so-called “Lpocalypse” would also become a “carmageddon,” T.A.’s Paul Steely White said at a City Hall BUSWAY continued on p. 8

Comics spot Louis C.K. at the Comedy Cellar, ‘but he doesn’t go up’ BY GABE HERMAN


fter multiple accusations of sexual misconduct were reported against Louis C.K. last November, the comedian quickly admitted to wrongdoing, expressed remorse and disappeared from public life. He wrote that, after a long career

of saying anything he wanted, he would “now step back and take a long time to listen.” Half a year later, New York comedians say that Louis C.K. not only can come back, but his return to the stage is inevitable. Several comics said they have recently seen him at the ComC.K. continued on p. 4


Savitri D. and her daughter, Lena, high-fiving a fellow little easy rider, c ycled in a circle around Hudson Square near the ICE detention center as dad, Reverend Billy, helped lead the bic ycle anti-ICE protest. See Page 11.

Under fire, Landmarks leader readies to resign BY SYDNEY PEREIR A


hen Meenakshi Srinivasan a nnounced last Thursday that she would be resigning as chairperson of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, the timing struck many as peculiar. Less than a month earlier, a public hearing at L.P.C. over a proposed rules change for the agency was standing room only, and the overwhelming

Focus on Union Square..........p. 13

majority of those in attendance were opposed to Srinivasan’s proposal. A leading member of at least one group called for Srinivasan to resign from her post, as the audience applauded. Yet, Srinivasan denies that the hearing — and the outpouring of opposition to the proposal — had anything to do with her decision to resign. In fact, Srinivasan had been planning to leave the post for

months now, according to a spokesperson for the 53-yearold city agency. She plans to take a position at New York Law School’s Center for New York City Law to develop curricula for it, as reported by the Architect’s Newspaper. The TimesLedger of Queens, a sister paper of The Villager, broke the news about her resignation, which comes after four years as L.P.C. chairperson and 28 years in city govLANDMARKS continued on p. 6

Friends, family remember Soho’s ‘Roni’...........p. 17 Play ball! G.V.L.L. Opening Day a big hit ..........p. 26 www.TheVillager.com

EPSTEIN ROMPS: Although the result was never really in doubt, Harvey Epstein handily won the special election for the 74th District on Tuesday. Running on the Democratic and Working Families Party lines, he nabbed 90 percent of the vote versus three other candidates. The Republican got about 5 percent, while the Green and Reform candidates each took around 2 percent. Afterward the results had rolled in, Epstein and his supporters partied at David McWater’s dba on First Ave. He thanked his wife, Anita, for putting up with “a really tough six months,” warning, “It’s gonna get worse!” Among the fellow pols heaping praise on Epstein were Public Advocate Letitia James, Assemblymember Brad Hoylman and new City Councilmember Keith Powers. “There’s something special about Harvey,” James told the crowd. “He won’t be afraid to get his hands dirty, and

Har vey Epstein, center, celebrated his win in the A ssembly District 74 election at dba Tuesday night, with state Senator Brad Hoylman, left, and Councilmember Keith Powers. The East Side district stretches from the Lower East Side up to the United Nations.

speak truth to power. And he understands that the number one issue is that the rent is too goddamn high! We need a champion in Albany,” James declared. “This man is going to lead the way. He’s gonna put a spotlight on all the issues you love and care about.” Thoroughly riled up, the progressive crowd erupted in cheers of “Harvey! Harvey! Harvey!” He could a face a Democratic primary

in September and, of course, there will be a general-election race in November. Asked his take on Epstein’s win, McWater — who, like Epstein, is a former chairperson of Community Board 3 — said, “I think Harvey winning will be a win for the district. He’s got tremendous knowledge of how things work, and he’s in it for the right reason — he cares.”




Photograph by Layla Kovacevic



OPEN EVERYDAY 12:00-8:00 PM (212) 260-3388 170 AVENUE B, NEW YORK, N.Y. 10009 (b/w 10th & 11th st.)


April 26, 2018

We were voting Tuesday in the special election for the 74th Assembly District, when we realized the poll worker at our electoral-district table handing us the manila “sleeve” with our ballot inside looked familiar. That distinctive white mane of hair — wait a second?... We bent closer to look at his nametag. Yup, it was none other than Bob Contant, former co-owner of St. Mark’s Bookshop. He told us that since the East Village store closed for good two years ago, he’s been working elections to make some extra cash. Basically, he’s been looking for a job, in bookstores, but no one’s hiring. “When they see my age...I’m 75,” he said. He’s not a writer, so he’s not planning to write a book. Right now, he said, he’s basically living on Social Security. He and his wife have mulled leaving New York City in search of a more affordable lifestyle. She has property in Florida they could sell, but after all is said and done, it wouldn’t yield that much money. Plus, he added, disapprovingly “Florida is where you go to die.” Basically, he said, when you’ve lived half of your life in New York City, like he has, “nothing else compares.” He’s been in touch with the owners of Shakespeare & Co., who are opening a new bookstore in the Village, and is holding out hope of landing a job with them.

THE POINT OF NO RETURN: We hear from Tom Connor that he has not

been put back on the State Liquor Authority Committee of Community Board 2. As we previously reported, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who oversees the borough’s community boards, told us she spoke to Terri Cude, the C.B. 2 chairperson, and expressed to her — we assume it was maybe a bit stronger than a nudge — that Connor should be on the committee. However, Connor told us this week, “I am still waiting to be returned to the S.L.A. Committee. I have not heard from anyone.” Our article on the C.B. 2 “alcohol problem” and the flap over Connor was accurate for the most part, one board member told us. However, she said the part where it said that Connor is the board’s only gay man is not true. Indeed, as Joe Gallagher, a member of the board, posted in a reader comment: “Where do I go to register as a gay member of C.B. 2 Manhattan?” He added that he is “out and proud but was never surveyed for this article.” Sorry! Hey, that was what we were told by people who really should know better, including a few people who were quoted extensively in the article! Anyway, we are sticking to our statement that the board only has three lesbian members — until someone corrects us, that is!

DOORS OF MISPERCEPTION: Chelsea Hotel scribe Ed Hamilton notes there has been something missing from the reports on the auction of the place’s historic doors — namely, why the historic portals were all white and spraypainted with circles and such. “There is one part of the story that nobody is covering,” he told us. “The doors were whitewashed by the developer. People seem to think that the doors looked crappy and that’s why they were thrown out. The developers whitewashed and marked the doors so they would know which rooms to demolish.” TheVillager.com

POLICE B L O T T E R Busy burglar Police are hunting a serial burglar who they say has struck at least six times in the Village’s Sixth Precinct since January. In the first incident, on Sat., Jan. 20, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., the man entered an unoccupied apartment in the vicinity of E. Ninth St. and University Place, and removed jewelry worth $31,000. On Fri., Feb. 9, between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., the same guy allegedly entered an unoccupied apartment at W. 10th St. and Greenwich Ave., and removed $1,300 worth of jewelry. Also on Fri., Feb. 9, but between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 8:15 p.m., the same suspect entered an unoccupied apartment at W. 10th St. and Greenwich Ave., and removed jewelry worth $9,200. The Village burglar hit another home sometime between Tues., Feb. 6, at 8 a.m., and Sat., Feb. 10, at 10 a.m., again in the vicinity of W. 10th St. and Greenwich Ave., and swiped a $2,000 watch. On Wed., March 7, around 9:50 p.m., the busy burglar was spotted inside an apartment at Hudson and Barrow Sts. by its tenants. They watched him removing a black clutch bag, earrings and cufflinks worth $900 from their bedroom dresser. When he was confronted, he fled through the backyard and out through the side entrance toward Hudson St. No injuries were reported. In his latest caper, on Sun., April 1, the crafty crook struck it big. According to police, during the hours of 1:30 a.m. and 3:45 a.m., he allegedly entered a residential house through an unlocked door at W. 11th St. and Fifth Ave. while the owners were sleeping inside, and removed a jewelry box and jewelry worth $50,000. There were no injuries. The stealthy suspect is described as black, around age 30, about 5-feet-9inches tall and 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black / camouflage-pattern baseball hat. He has a tattoo on the back of his right hand with the letters “RIP” and another indistinguishable word. Video and photos of him were obtained in the April 1 burglary, showing him exiting the home. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.

iPad grab A 28-year-old man left an iPad on a TheVillager.com

Village Independent Democrats Erik Coler - President

You’re Invited to Meet The Democratic Candidates For:

An image from a sur veillance video from the alleged Village burglar’s last, and biggest, heist.

GOVERNOR Cynthia Nixon *** Rep. for Governor Andrew Cuomo

LT. GOVERNOR Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul *** NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams

Candidates Will Speak, Followed by Q & A treadmill at Planet Fitness, at 22 E. 14 St., on Thurs., April 12, at 7 a.m., and when he went back to get it, it was gone. The Apple iPad is worth $300. Anthony Collado, 32, was arrested April 19 for misdemeanor petit larceny.

ATTORNEY GENERAL Rep. for AG Eric Schneiderman

COMPTROLLER Rep. for Comptroller Tom DiNapoli

Wasn’t invited According to police, a man entered New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, at 1 Washington Square South, during “a lawful assembly” and caused a disruption on Fri., April 20, at 3 p.m. He was there reportedly without the event organizer’s permission. When responding police searched the interloper, they found small bags of alleged marijuana in his pants pockets. Antonio L. Munoz, 36, was arrested for misdemeanor obstructing government administration. The report did not say the nature of the N.Y.U. event.

Monday, May 7, 6:30 PM- 10:00 PM; PS 41 116 West 11th Street VID’S free Tenants’ Clinic meets every Wed. at 6:00 pm at VID headquarters. Bring all necessary documents. No appointment needed. HOSTED BY

Dip at own risk A man was eating at Dunkin’ Donuts, at 75 Christopher St., just west of Seventh Ave. South, on Sun., April 15, at 12:30 p.m., when his backpack was stolen, police said. The bag contained his iPad Pro, iPad pencil, Kindle, phone charger, notebook and books, with a combined total value of $1,440. The man, 57, was able to track his iPad to W. 36th St. between Eighth and Ninth Aves. William Logan, 67, was arrested on April 22 for felony grand larceny. It was not immediately clear if all the stolen items were recovered.


Coalition for a District Alternative

Grand Street Democrats

Downtown Independent Democrats

Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club

Downtown Progressive Democrats

New Downtown Democrats

Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club Gay & Lesbian Independent Democrats

Progressive Action of Lower Manhattan

Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats

Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club

VILLAGE INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATS Tabia C. Robinson and Lincoln Anderson

26 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014 www.villageindendentdemocrats.org April 26, 2018


Louis C.K. spotted at Comedy Cellar Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association Editorials, First Place, 2017 Best Column, First Place, 2017 Best Obituaries, First Place, 2017 News Story, First Place, 2015 Editorial Pages, First Place, 2015 Editorials, First Place, 2014 News Story, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011


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April 26, 2018

C.K. continued from p. 1

edy Cellar, at 117 MacDougal St., though not performing. The notion of an entertainer being given a second chance by the public is nothing new in America. However, it remains to be seen how an attempted comeback could play out in the #MeToo era, especially for a stand-up comedian who interacts directly with audiences. Comedians recently interviewed in New York differed on how soon Louis C.K., who admitted to multiple episodes of masturbating in front of women, might be accepted back by the public, ranging from right now to several years or more from now. Some comedians noted the mixed feelings — the public’s, and sometimes their own — in trying to reconcile Louis C.K.’s actions while still being a fan of his comedy. “I think he could probably make a comeback. Definitely,” said New York comedian Melissa Diaz. “What is this, not the world? This is the world we live in.” Diaz thinks it could be four years before Louis C.K. is able to gain the public’s forgiveness and develop new comedy material. “It’s going to be a couple of years probably, but he’ll be back,” offered comedian Keanu Thompson on a recent night outside the Greenwich Village Comedy Club, at 99 MacDougal St. “I think a lot of comedians think that.” Thompson noted that Louis C.K. has a large fan base, and he added, “He’s not a Harvey Weinstein.” Thompson said Louis C.K. has been spending time lately at the Comedy Cellar, where he often performed throughout his career. “He hangs out with [comedian Dave] Attell at the Cellar all the time but doesn’t go up [on stage],” Thompson said. “We saw him walk by the other day. And that’s just in the past couple of weeks I’ve heard that.” Comedian Gene Getman, also interviewed on MacDougal St. outside the Greenwich Village Comedy Club, said he has spotted Louis C.K. at the Comedy Cellar but didn’t know whether he had been on stage. Getman said he thinks it helps that Louis C.K. admitted to wrongdoing immediately after The New York Times report. “I think people are willing to forgive,” said Getman, who has been a comic in New York for six years. “Especially if he comes back acknowledging it. He did apologize.” Getman said, in his opinion, the #MeToo movement affected how much Louis C.K. was penalized for his behavior. He said that some of Louis C.K.’s actions “crossed the line a little bit,” but that “in a lot of cases, it was mostly consensual, and what people are really criticizing is a fetish that he had. They’re essentially slut-shaming him about his sexual preferences.” Comedian James Camacho, speaking backstage at the Greenwich Village Com-


Despite his fall, Louis C.K.’s photo has not been removed from the Comedy Cellar’s “wall of comedians” at its entrance.

The entrance to the Comedy Cellar, underneath the Olive Tree Cafe, on MacDougal St.

edy Club right after performing, said Louis C.K. will definitely be back, adding he would pay to see him tomorrow if he performed. Camacho said that Louis C.K.’s actions were wrong, but not an abuse of power. “To me, it’s weird,” he said. “It was probably just a lapse of judgment. He came out and admitted it, so he knows he’s wrong.” However, for Jean Halley, a sociology professor at the CUNY Graduate Center who specializes in women’s, gender and sexuality studies, Louis C.K.’s actions, in fact, were an abuse of power and also not unusual. “He was just doing the most normal thing in the world for a man who had a little power,” she said. Halley has been a fan of Louis C.K., noting that “as comedians go, he’s somewhat feminist.” But she expressed conflicted feelings about a potential Louis C.K. return. “I would have a problem with it,” she said. “I’m mad at him about what he did. I think he did perpetrate something that is a big piece of the culture in which we live. I think all women have to face this. And yet, on the other hand, it’s so normal that are we going to wipe out everybody’s career?” Halley pointed to research showing that change is difficult for those who commit a

certain level of violence. “I don’t know about Bill Cosby. I don’t know about Weinstein,” she said. But she said that Louis C.K.’s actions did not rise to that level. “For me, I would draw a line with Louis C.K.,” she said. “I think what he did was wrong but I don’t think that should mean he shouldn’t have a career.” There needs to be space, said Halley, for nuanced discussion about the normalcy of what Louis C.K. did, and how society can change. “What he did, it seems to me, is not the same as raping someone,” she said. “So I do want us to have the space to think about doing things differently. That seems like the only way to a kind of healing.” For her part, Diaz said she thinks comedy will adapt as the culture shifts to less tolerance for sexual misconduct and more equal opportunities for women. After all, she said, the comedy industry is still a business. “It’s still going to be commodified at the end of the day,” she said. “What you’re seeing is changing, but its profit-driven model isn’t. It’s just entertainment adapting to a new group of people and what they want to see.” All of the comedians interviewed agreed that Louis C.K. would immediately have to discuss his behavior if he returned to the stage. “He’s going to have to address it, and he’ll make it funny somehow, and he’ll be America’s sweetheart again,” Thompson said, adding that she couldn’t help but have mixed feelings when discussing Louis C.K. “I like him,” she said. “I wanted to be angrier with him than I was, but it’s hard. It’s easier to be angry with someone you don’t admire so much.” TheVillager.com


April 26, 2018


Under fire, Landmarks leader readies to resign LANDMARKS continued from p. 1

ernment. “I am proud of what we have accomplished —promoting equity, diversity, efficiency and transparency in all aspects of L.P.C.’s work, and working with the administration to make preservation a critical part of the city’s planning process,” Srinivasan said in a statement. “It’s been an intense, challenging and incredibly rewarding experience.” Her resignation was “surprising” to Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of the Historic Districts Council. “Just based on the history of the Landmarks Commission, typically, there have been changes in the chairperson when there’s changes in the mayoral administration,” he said. While news of Srinivasan’s departure came as a shock to some preservationists, her tenure was not without controversy. Preservation groups have been deeply critical of a myriad of decisions Srinivasan has made as the commission’s leader — most recently the rules change proposal, which, preservationists charge, would drastically reduce transparency and public oversight. Decisions by L.P.C. seen as developer-friendly in the Downtown area — such as approving “Gansevoort Row,” a major rebuilding project on Gansevoort St. in the Meatpacking District, and O.K.’ing a new apartment complex at a former garage site at 11 Jane St. in the Village — fall on the back of Srinivasan. Yet, some note that under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, there’s not much hope for Srinivasan’s replacement to be any better for preservation in the city. “While she has pushed the agency in many ways to be more inclusive, I think that she has, by and large, tried to loosen its regulatory powers,” Bankoff said. Srinivasan’s landmark designations, such as of the historic Stonewall Inn in 2015, and in underrepresented areas, like Brownsville, East New York and East Harlem, plus proposing landmarking the Coney Island wooden boardwalk, are just a few of the shining moments in her tenure — but they don’t outshine the seemingly pro-development decisions, her critics say. But the overarching power of the mayor could be to blame, as well. “This mayoral administration has been extraordinarily clear about its growth agenda and about attempting to deliver social services,” Bankoff said. That agenda, however, also is overly friendly to real estate developers, preservationists feel. In short, the mayor’s agenda, particularly in terms of development and growth, is fundamentally at odds with the core goals of the L.P.C. should be, according to Bankoff. “That’s not what the agency does,” Bankoff said. “It’s like asking the Fire Department to pick up garbage.” Srinivasan was appointed Landmarks commissioner by the mayor in 2014. She previously served as chairperson of the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals for a decade during the Bloomberg administration, and prior to that, worked at the Department of City Planning for more than two decades, rising to deputy director of its Manhattan office. Her time as L.P.C. chairperson focused on increasing transparency and expediting the lengthy process of applications for permits and landmark designations — including, in particular, what was dubbed the “backlog initiative,” an effort to winnow down applications that had been pending for years. It’s ironic then that, by and large, the most recent L.P.C. rules change proposal was accused of being anything but transparent — lessening public oversight


April 26, 2018

After four years leading the city’s Landmarks Preser vation Commission, Meenakshi Srinivasan will step down as its chairperson on June 1.


Most of those in the over flow crowd at the March 26 L .P.C. hearing were opposed to the proposed rule changes.

for certain applications and creating vague language for the criteria on decisions that would be made at the staff level rather than voted on by the commissioners. More than 100 pages of bureaucratic rule changes were released to the public in mid-February, and a public hearing was held March 27. The L.P.C. says the new rules would streamline the application process, leaving just the major architectural changes and developer applications for public hearings and review by local community boards. Additionally, the new rules are intended to increase the clarity of the criteria for staff-level decisions. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation testified at the March 27 hearing about several phrases in the regulations that were far from clear — but rather would leave many decisions dependent on staffers’ subjective opinions. But, for its part, the L.P.C. portrayed the rules changes as not major, saying they would simply make application processes go more smoothly. “For the most part,” said Andrew Berman, the society’s executive director, “people were not buying it.” One example of vague jargon in the rules was whether or not a proposed architectural addition calls “undue attention” to itself. How L.P.C. staff would even determine such a thing was not clear to preservation groups. On the contrary, they said, the public’s input would be best for answering such a vague question. “What can that possibly mean?” scoffed Christabel Gough, the secretary of the Society for the Architecture of the City, another group critical of the subjective phrases that G.V.S.H.P. flagged. Her group’s testimony — nearly 10,000 words long — pointed out that determing what the subjective phrase “undue attention” means in relation to an application would be decided by staffers behind closed doors. The “undue attention” phrase was just one of several that preservationists noted in their testimonies. Other changes that the L.P.C. says will make the process more efficient by way of staff-level approval include: allowing more options in restoration efforts to use substitute materials rather than original materials; creating a “standardized formula” for criteria for several storefront designs and windows, which could lead to design homogenization; and cutting the public out of the review of rooftop and rear-yard additions that — in staffers’ subjective opinion — don’t “significantly increase visibilty.” To its credit, the L.P.C. has indeed made other transparency improvements in the form of publicly available online databases and search tools. Of the 14,000 permit applications the L.P.C. receives each year, between 93 and 96 percent are already reviewed at a staff level, according to the commission. Only 3 to 6 percent of applications are reviewed by local community boards through a public hearing — and the commission says this would not change under the new rules. Looking ahead, Gough and others are now keeping their focus on the L.P.C., with or without Srinivasan. Focusing on Srinivasan and why exactly she abruptly resigned is largely a “distraction,” Gough declared, stressing that her group wants to focus on the rules change. Srinivasan’s last day is not until June 1, and the public comment period for the rules change ends May 8 — which gives the commission plenty of time to approve the rules change while she is still around. But Gough hopes the other commissioners will see fit to vote against the proposal. “It’s up to them to take a stand,” Gough said. TheVillager.com

New push for S.B.J.S.A.


he Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation joined Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez and other politicians and community groups Wednesday at a City Hall rally to call for passage of the longstalled Small Business Jobs Survival Act. The bill has languished for decades without a vote in the City Council. “More than half of private-sector jobs are provided by small businesses,” Rodriguez said. “Our small businesses are our economy’s backbone and a path to achieving the American Dream for immigrants. It’s time to get this done.” Added Andrew Berman, executive director of G.V.S.H.P., “The Small Business Jobs Survival Act is an absolutely essential measure to provide small businesses with a firm and fair footing, and to end the blight of empty storefronts being warehoused by greedy owners holding out for astronomical rents. This bill has been under consideration for more than three decades, and now is the time to finally act.” Advocates say the S.B.J.S.A. would “level the playing field” for all small businesses that rent commercial space — from working artists and small manufacturers to bodegas — by requiring: right to a lease renewal; right to a 10year lease renewal (to tenants in good standing); binding arbitration to establish a rent increase reasonable for both

landlord and tenant; and inclusion of all commercial tenants (not limited to storefront / retail tenants). Rodriguez introduced the bill last month with eight co-sponsors, including Councilmembers Carlina Rivera and Diana Ayala — who are both on the Council’s Committee on Small Business — and Margaret Chin — previously the bill’s main sponsor. Speaker Corey Johnson has promised to hold a hearing on the bill. But he has also stressed that it’s “not a silver bullet.” Also at the rally were Friends of the S.B.J.S.A., Take Back NYC, SaveNYC, East Village Community Coalition and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. However, the Small Business Congress, which has pushed for the bill longer than anyone, was not at the rally. Steve Null, the group’s executive vice president, slammed the event as a “charade of democracy.” Steve Barrison, another leading S.B.C. member, said his group is fearful the bill will be watered down, and was also disappointed at Johnson’s selection for the Small Business Committee’s chairperson. But Harry Bubbins, G.V.S.H.P. director of special projects, said unity is needed. “The coalition to support our small businesses continues to grow,” Bubbins said, “and it is a big tent that will require all stakeholders to work together moving forward to get this bill passed.”

EARLY NOTICE OF A PROPOSED ACTIVITY IN A 100-YEAR FLOODPLAIN LOWER East River PARK COMPOSTING FACILITY LOWER East Side PARK NEW YORK, NEW YORK th April 26 , 2018 To All interested Agencies, Groups, and Individuals: This is to give notice that the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR), an office of the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HTFC), has received an application from City of New York Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency to fund Lower East River Park Composting Facility (hereinafter, the “Proposed Activity”) and is conducting an evaluation as required by Executive Order 11988 and Executive Order 11990 in accordance with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Renewal (HUD) regulations (24 CFR Part 55). There are three primary purposes for this notice. First, to provide the public an opportunity to express their concerns and share information about the Proposed Activity. Second, adequate public notice is an important public education tool. The dissemination of information about floodplains and wetlands facilitates and enhances governmental efforts to reduce the risks associated with the occupancy and modification of these special areas. Third, as a matter of fairness, when the government determines it will participate in actions taking place in floodplains or wetlands, it must inform those who may be put at greater or continued risk. Funding for the Proposed Activity will be provided by the HUD Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program for storm recovery activities in New York State. The Proposed Activity would entail the construction of a stormwater treatment garden, shade garden, compost bins, outdoor education pavilion, leachate collection system, drainage improvements, and water supply at the existing Lower East Side Ecology Center composting facility located within East River Park, Manhattan, New York. Approximately 16,000 square feet of asphalt would be laid for access to and from the composting bins. The installation of leachate treatment system would formalize the current composting operations to adhere to requirements of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for sewer discharge. On the south side of the property, a 4,300-square foot shade garden would be planted. Along the west side of the property, a 2,200-square foot stormwater treatment garden would be installed to collect and treat stormwater. A drainage system would also be installed providing small catch basins throughout the site to direct runoff to existing storm sewers. The Proposed Activity will result in temporary impacts to 0.30 acres of 100-year floodplain. The Proposed Activity will result in permanent impacts to 0.65 acres of 100-year floodplain. The permanent impacts are associated with the deck, pavilions, asphalt around the outdoor education pavilion, composting bins, and leach collection system. The shade garden and stormwater treatment garden will provide additional permeable surface to reduce the quantity of stormwater and flood waters that would otherwise collect on the composting facility. No impacts to wetlands are anticipated would occur through the implementation of the Proposed Activity. Floodplain maps based on the Effective and Preliminary FEMA and Base Flood Elevation Maps are available for review with additional information at http://www.stormrecovery.ny.gov/environmental-docs. Any individual, group, or agency may submit written comments on the Proposed Activity or request further information by contacting Lori A. Shirley, Certifying Officer, Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, 99 Washington Avenue, Suite 1224, Albany, NY 12260; email: NYSCDBG_DR_ER@nyshcr.org. Standard office hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. For more information call 518-474-0755. All comments received by Saturday, May 12, 2018 will be considered.

Elder Law, Estate Planning, Guardianships, Trusts & Estates

Medicare vs. Medicaid May 8 at 2:00 pm

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River Room Stuyvesant Town 545 East 14th St. (off Ave. B)

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April 26, 2018


Transit advocates: Make 14th St. all-day busway BUSWAY continued from p. 1

rally on Tuesday. The city has announced a slew of planned alternatives for L-train straphangers, including new bus routes, bike lanes and ferries running across the East River. But the greatest change would be the transformation of Downtown Manhattan’s 14th St. corridor into a “busway.” The city, however, has yet to determine if 14th St. would be a buses-only corridor during peak rush hours or other times, as well. Transportation Alternatives, the Rider’s Alliance and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign are all calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to implement the proposed alternatives on 14th St. for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The transit-advocacy groups are also asking that another part of the mitigation plan — high-occupancy-vehicle lanes with a minimum of three people per car on the Williamsburg Bridge — be implemented 24 hours a day, as well. “New York City is not a part-time city,” Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said at Tuesday’s rally, which was attended by around half-a-dozen people. “People are active all hours of the day, all days of the week.” L train riders are scrambling to figure out their commuting plans come April 2019, when, under the city’s plan, the subway would stop running west of Bedford Ave. Under the shutdown scenario, some straphangers might opt for for-hire and ride-sharing car services, such as Uber or Via. But a 24 / 7 L train mitigation plan would prevent the extra car trips to Manhattan — which transit advocates say otherwise could create a “nightmare scenario,” with 40,000 additional car trips each day. “We have to preempt that tendency for people to leave the transit system, and the city must send a very clear signal to all New Yorkers that the alternative will be robust,” White said. “Otherwise, in addition to the ‘L-pocalypse,’ we will have a ‘carmageddon.’” However, Village and Chelsea block associations and community groups that are part of the new ad hoc 14th Street Coalition are vehemently opposed to the 14th St. busway — and a 24 / 7 busway would only make matters worse, in their view. “It’s one-sided. It’s very inconsiderate,” said David Marcus, who helped create the coalition, which recently sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other agencies over the L train shutdown and mitigation plan. Marcus, who is on the executive board of the W. 13th St. 100 Block Association, said the transitadvocacy groups are not considering all of the traffic that would be pushed off 14th St. and onto the one-way, historic side streets. Crosstown corridors, including 14th St. — as opposed to side streets — were designed to handle all types of traffic, he added. Even if 14th St. is off limits to cars, he said, people will continue to use cabs, Uber, Lyft and other for-hire and ride-sharing cars and flood the side streets north and south of 14th St. Marcus added that emergency vehicles, delivery trucks, personal cars and Access-a-Ride should be able to access the crosstown corridor. But the transit-advocacy groups argue that cars flooding the side streets would be worse if the busway along 14th St. isn’t an all-day affair. There are around 50,000 daily L train riders in Manhattan alone, according to the M.T.A. Those riders would be accommodated by around 400 bus trips along 14th St., according to a Transportation Alternatives report released in January. If those people traveled by private car instead, however, the worst-case scenario could result in some 42,000 extra cars pouring into Manhattan each day.


April 26, 2018


John Raskin, executive director of Riders Alliance, spoke at Tuesday’s Cit y Hall rally, with other transit advocates, including Paul Steely White, executive director of Transpor tation Alternatives, second from left. They stressed that 14th St. should become a full-time no-cars “busway” if the L train is shut down in Manhattan in a year from now, as the cit y currently plans to do. However, the shutdown plan is being challenged by a communit y lawsuit.

“If we don’t take aggressive, ambitious action to take care of L train riders, we are going to have a true ‘L-pocalypse’ that is going to paralyze neighborhoods throughout Lower Manhattan and in Brooklyn, and cause hundreds of thousands of daily commuters to have to spend extra time, hours, frustration and money just trying to get to work,” John Raskin, the executive director of the Rider’s Alliance, said at the rally. But Marcus argued that 14th St., in fact, would not be swamped with former L train riders if the subway is shut down, since 70 to 80 percent of L riders would use other subway lines, according to M.T.A. estimates. Additional service is expected along the J, M, G and C lines, and the L train would still run on the Brooklyn part of the line between Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway and Bedford Ave. Marcus called the transit advocates’ justification for a 24 / 7 14th St. busway “fallacious” and “ridiculous,” adding that Manhattan-only L train riders would seek other means to go crosstown. Similarly, Julianne Bond, co-chairperson of the coalition, said the transit advocates are simply trying to ram their vision through. “I continue to be struck by the one-sided view of this on their part,” Bond said. “They’re turning the heat up and trying to see if they can bully their way through this,” she added, referring to Tuesday’s rally. The 14th Street Coalition questions the entire basis of the M.T.A.’s and the city Department of Transportation’s mitigation plan. The proposal for a 24 / 7 plan from transit-advocacy groups is difficult to respond to, considering there are still unanswered questions about the original peak-hours mitigation plan and its impact

on the Downtown area, Bond said. She said she has yet to see data to support the need for such a dramatic change of use on 14th St., the Williamsburg Bridge and beyond. “We understand they want what they want,” Bond said of the M.T.A. and D.O.T. However, she added, “We would like to have a voice in this. … This is our home and we have a right to understand what’s happening.” Under the city’s scheme, the L train would shut down starting in April 2019 for 15 months. The city plans to add four new bus routes running over the Williamsburg Bridge, including a route on the 14th St. “busway.” Along 13th St., a two-way, protected bike lane would be installed. Ferries would run between North Williamsburg and E. 20th St., and the Williamsburg Bridge would have more lanes for vehicles with three or more people only a.k.a. HOV-3. In the view of transit-advocacy groups, the top priority is for improved public transit that benefits all New Yorkers. But the time to hammer out the details of this particular plan — along with incorporating community input — is running short. “I’d like to instill a sense of urgency that, if we act now, we can try out some of these bus-related measures to study and make sure that traffic is moving — that commuters are moving and that people aren’t using streets like 14th St., 13th St. and beyond as parking lots, [while] people that are trying to get around [are] frustrated,” said Chelsea Yamada, the Manhattan organizer for Transportation Alternatives. “By getting people where they need to go and putting transit first, we can actually stymie some of the negative repercussions that will manifest if we don’t act.” TheVillager.com

Wiring sparks E.V. ďŹ re BY MARY REINHOLZ


two-alarm fire that swept through Yakiniku West, a trendy two-level East Village restaurant on Saturday afternoon, has been deemed by fire marshals an accident due to wiring on the ceiling of the first level of the four-story building, 218 E. Ninth St., that includes residential tenants, a New York Fire Department spokesperson said Monday. There were no further details immediately available. The fire, which officials reportedly said left the building “unlivable,� broke out around 3:30 p.m. at the restaurant, a venue that provides diners with grills on their tables for cook-it-yourself Japanese and Korean barbeque. More than 100 firefighters arrived as smoke billowed out to nearby Third Ave. Neighbors reported they first heard an explosion that apparently blew out windows on the second floor. One tenant on the block told CBS New York: “When I opened the window, I smelled, like, electrical wiring burning and then I saw trucks arriving, kind of chaotic. Then I saw smoke obviously pouring out. They pulled out a dog — pretty cool to see.� Police and Fire officials at the scene said there were no injuries. Two families were said to occupy the


The scene at Yakiniku West shor tly after the fire.

upper floors but were not there when the Red Cross arrived, according to spokesperson Michael de Vulpillieres. The Villager spoke briefly to the owner of Yakiniku West on Sunday evening, shortly after he emerged from the building’s blackened first floor with several associates. Asked when his restaurant would open, he said, “in two months,� and abruptly walked away, declining to give his name.

AB37<6/@2B ;S\O\Re][S\eWbV^`SRWOPSbSa eO\bSROa^O`bWQW^O\baT]`<SeG]`Y C\WdS`aWbg2S^O`b[S\b]T<cb`WbW]\ O\R4]]RAbcRWSa`SaSO`QV^`]XSQb All participants receive a $20 Visa gift card and entry into a rafďŹ&#x201A;e for an iPad! B]^O`bWQW^ObSg]ceWZZ\SSRb]Q][^ZSbS]\SabcRgdWaWb O^^`]fW[ObSZg$%[W\cbSab]bOZbW[S 2c`W\UbVWadWaWbg]ceWZZ\SSRb]Q][^ZSbSOaS`WSa]TP`WST _cSabW]\\OW`Sa]\g]c`RWSbO\R^VgaWQOZOQbWdWbg[SOac`Sa ]TVSWUVbO\ReSWUVbO\R]\S!\cbSW\bS`dWSe

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April 26, 2018


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR ‘Thanks for believing’

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To The Editor: Re “Real news! Ex-publisher Butson endows award” (news article, April 19): Thank you, Ms. Butson, for believing in my innocence. This award can help other wrongfully convicted people, because facts do matter, as they fi nally did in my case after more than 18 years in prison for a crime I didn’t commit. Mr. Solnik is one of my heroes for his unwavering pursuit and exposure of the truth in my case. You have my support, respect and deepest appreciation for what The Villager’s reporting has done and continues to do! Fernando Bermudez

Hotel doors auction ironic

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To The Editor: Re “Chelsea Hotel doors auction bidder sweet” (April 19): Very good piece, Cary, comprehensive and wellwritten. I hope some of the Chelsea magic rubs off on the purchasers of these famous doors to nowhere. I can’t help but think of Ed Sanders’s satire on the cult of celebrity — pubic hairs of the poets, which were sold at the Peace Eye Bookstore in small plastic packets. How sadly ironic that the Hotel Chelsea doors drew big bucks while our fellow artists, musicians and poets continue to starve or must slave at unwanted, energy-consuming day jobs if they are not celebrities. Thelma Blitz

Call 718-260-2516 or e-mail pbeatrice@cnglocal.com

We cover “The Cube”!

Why arrest ‘arch artist’? To The Editor: Re “Police chase our ‘living statue’ from park perch” (news article, April 19): If the questions is “Why suddenly arrest this performer after two years of leaving him alone?” the answer may be in a New York State Supreme Court case now pending. The park rules are being challenged on equal-protection grounds relating to the enforcement of the rules against visual artists as compared to performers. The last time this disparity was brought


before a court was in 2011. As soon as oral arguments were about to be held, the city defendants went to Washington Square Park and issued summonses to all the performers, and arrested some, so as to make it appear they were doing equal enforcement of the park rules. Performers may find themselves under pressure once again as the city tries to create new fake evidence of equal protection being in effect. Ironically, based on the May 2013 amendment to the 2010 revised park rules, performers are exempted from the requirement that they be 50 feet from a monument. In other words, this performer was not guilty of violating the park rules they arrested him for. On Page 1 of the park rules for visual artists and performers, you will see that performers in Washington Square Park are exempted from all the restrictions, including the required distance (50 feet) from any monument. Robert Lederman Lederman is president, A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics)

‘No’ on membership clubs To The Editor: Re “C.B. 2 alcohol problem: Committee in ‘bar brawl’” (news article, April 12): The reason I vote against establishments like those listed in this article are because they are anti-nightlife. As private clubs, they seek to completely isolate themselves from the community. They allow the elite to pay a hefty sum for membership, in order to segregate themselves from the masses outside. We have tons of restaurants and bars in the neighborhood (open to the public, no less!) that are desperate for the dollars that are being siphoned away by these playgrounds for the rich that impose strict membership requirements. That is against everything that I believe a community should be. And, for the record, while I was not at the Board 2 State Liquor Authority Committee meeting in question, the only intimidation or threatening behavior I saw during this process was from a supporter of this application for the Groucho Club. At the full board meeting, I watched as he harassed a volunteer board member, took photos of him, and pestered him while the meeting was in session. Those are bullying tactics I would expect to see coming out of Albany. It is disappointing to see them LETTERS continued on p. 12

News flash! Could Sean Hannity go to jail?! 10

April 26, 2018


‘Freedom riders’ against cycle of deportations SCENE BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y


t 5 p.m., on Thurs., April 19, cyclists started gathering at the southwest corner of Houston and Varick Sts., outside the federal building that is a first detention stop on a deportation trajectory. The goal of the “Ride for Freedom” was to demand that ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) “get out of the courts and show support to immigrant communities,” according to its Facebook posting. The ride, the posting continued, is “in the tradition of the New Sanctuary Coalition’s weekly vigil at ICE’s deportation machine at 201 Varick St.” On the building’s 11th floor is the ICE processing center. From there, immigration detainees are usually transferred to one of several county jails in New Jersey and New York. Every third Thursday over these last few months, bicyclists from the metro area have convened there and ride around or near 201 Varick St., in an effort to highlight what goes on inside. About 20 cyclists, including one in a pedicab, plus a skateboarder, circled the block to the north of the federal building three times, going clockwise with traffic — on Houston, Hudson, Clarkson and Varick Sts. — getting engulfed in rush-hour traffic each time they merged into Varick St. (If they had ridden around the federal building’s actual block, they would have had to go against traffic at least part of the way.) No stranger to activism as an environmentalist, bicycle enthusiast and co-founder of Transportation Alternatives, Charlie Komanoff rode for the first time last Thursday in this ongoing pro-immigration action. “I found that slowly riding bikes for a reason, a cause, making others aware, is inspiring and positive,” he reflected afterward. “We helped remind hundreds of New Yorkers what the government is doing, what’s at stake.” Bill Talen a.k.a. Reverend Billy, bullhorn in hand, and Father Juan Carlos Ruiz, co-founder of the New Sanctuary Coalition movement, kept guard at the metal gates of the loading dock of the ICE building.


Activists Zack Winestine, left, and Charlie Komanoff — with Savitri D, wife of Reverend Billy, in the middle behind them — circled the block nor th of the Varick St. federal building at last Thursday’s anti-ICE action. The activists later dismounted and held up rectangular pieces of white sheets with large black letters on them spelling out “ABOLISH ICE.”

“We are a sanctuary city!” Reverend Billy shouted up at the 11th floor, hoping detainees and their guards could hear — and as a reminder to the New York Police Department officers who were keeping an eye on the bicyclists — partly for the cyclists’ own safety — that they should not assist ICE. With U.S. Department of Homeland Security officers and other federal officers in abundance, at some point, the gates rose and Reverend Billy stood his ground in front of a van with a detainee inside as it inched forward. Behind him, cyclists chanted, “Stop the deportations! Not one

more!” The van backed up and paused momentarily. Eventually, one detainee was walked into a van parked on the street and whisked away. “We’ll be back!” the demonstrators shouted as the rally wound down. They will return in May.

Visit our booth at the free

Bike Expo May 4 and 5 at Pier 12 in Brooklyn.

During the action, an ICE detainee in handcuffs was walked out of 201 Varick St., possibly on his way to being depor ted. TheVillager.com

April 26, 2018


Letters to The Editor LETTERS continued from p. 10

being used against volunteer board members of C.B. 2. Joseph Gallagher Gallagher is a member, Community Board 2

Jackie, Hank, unity To The Editor: Major League Baseball honoring the 71st anniversary on Sun., April 15, of Jackie Robinson integrating the sport reminded me of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Ebbets Field and Hank Greenberg. It was a time working- and middle-class men and women of all ages, classes, races and religions commingled in the stands rooting for Jackie Robinson and his teammates regardless of ethnic origin, game after game. Ordinary Brooklyn residents could ride the bus, trolley or subway to Ebbets Field to see their beloved Dodg-

ers. Everyone could afford a bleacher, general admission, reserve or box seat. Hot dogs, beer, other refreshments and souvenirs were reasonably priced. Just as Jackie Robinson fought racism in the 1950s, the Detroit Tigers’ Hank Greenberg had to do the same with anti-Semitism in the 1930s and ’40s. Robinson and Greenberg both document the long-lasting relationship between African-American and Jewish athletes and fans standing together for decades in support of each other. Larry Penner E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager. com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 MetroTech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.

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April 26, 2018


A s p e c i a l V i l l a g e r s u p p l e m e n t , P a g e s 13 - 15

Commercial strength leads to new investments


s a growing hub of food, technology, culture and cutting-edge businesses, Union Square is one of Manhattan’s most dynamic districts, with more than $450 million in new investment flowing into the neighborhood for site acquisition and development in the last year alone. “We’ve seen a flurry of activity as businesses are lining up to locate in Union Square,” said Jennifer Falk, executive director of the Union Square Partnership. “The area’s unparalleled transportation access and its vibrant mix of shops, restaurants, fitness studios and other amenities around Union Square Park, has been a magnet for job growth and innovative retail concepts. New companies continually tell us they are drawn to the area’s vibrant community and creative culture that helps them retain talent in a highly competitive market.” The past year has seen countless reports of major commercial tenants securing new office space in Union Square. Last month, Discovery Communications — fresh from its $12 billion acquisition of Scripps — announced its move into 250,000 square feet of space at 230 Park Ave. South, a TF Cornerstone property on 19th St. News reports highlighted that Discovery selected Union Square over sites in Midtown and in Hudson Yards. In the same building, e-commerce mattress purveyor Casper also signed a lease for nearly 32,000 square feet. Union Square’s very own Danny Meyer recently reaffirmed his commitment to the neighborhood by signing a new, 15,000-square-foot lease for Union Square Hospitality Group, just a few blocks away from their current office space, at 853 Broadway, which is owned by the Feil Organization. Additionally, Clarifal, an artificial intelligence company, has just leased 17,555 square feet at 215 Park Ave. South. The strength of the neighborhood’s economy has spurred new development initiatives, like the forthcoming $250 million Union Square Tech Training Center poised to rise at 124 E. 14th St. The new 21-story center, dubbed the “Tech Hub,” is designed to expand tech training and career development to neighborhood residents that are currently underrepresented in the tech economy, and take advantage of the neighborhood’s proliferation of new jobs. Programs at the center will be run by Civic Hall, a nonprofit organization with a proven track record of increasing access to tech jobs in New York City. “With its history and also as the center of New York’s burgeoning innovation community, Union Square is the perfect location for a new 21st-century civic institution,” said Andrew Rasiej, founder and C.E.O. of Civic Hall. “When Civic Hall opens at the tech center, it will provide any New Yorker regardless of age, color, gender, economic ability or background, with digital-skills training and access to the jobs of the future. And it will contribute to Union Square’s proud and continuing status as the apex of New York City’s civic life.” On the district’s east side, Mount Sinai Downtown is set to build a new facility on Second Ave. between 13th and 14th Sts. The 70-bed mini-hospital will stand adjacent to the existing New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, which will continue to see patients during construction and get upgrades of its own. TheVillager.com


A new Mount Sinai Downtown Beth Israel mini-hospital at Second Ave. bet ween 13th and 14th Sts. will anchor the eastern end of the Union Square Par tnership business improvement district. Over all, the district is experiencing a ver y low commercial vacanc y rate.

“Over the next four years, we will be transforming Mount Sinai Beth Israel in major ways by expanding access, improving quality and preserving jobs for the Downtown community,” said Dr. Jeremy Boal, who serves as chief clinical officer of Mount Sinai Health System and president of Mount Sinai Downtown. On the district’s west side, Extell Development purchased four adjacent buildings at 14th St. and Sixth Ave. Industry observers say the site could accommodate some 126,000 square feet of new residential space. Across the street, developer Gemini Rosemont is seeking permission to build a 13-floor, 45-unit condo project at 101 W. 14th St.; if green-lighted, the project would open in 2020. These two projects alone will lead to a complete transformation of the intersection of 14th St. and Sixth Ave. In an effort to maintain the neighborhood’s streetlevel vibrancy amidst all this new investment, the Union Square Partnership continues to market retail opportunities and has driven the storefront vacancy rate down to an enviable 2.7 percent. More than 50 new businesses opened their doors in Union Square over the last year. Noteworthy openings include the first permanent Kellogg’s Café, at 31

E. 17th St.; Boucherie, at 225 Park Ave. South; UNTUCKit, at 103 Fifth Ave.; Spiderbands Fitness, at 12 E. 14th St.; the national Frye apparel brand, at 144 Fifth Ave.; and the American Eagle / AE Studio, at 19 Union Square West. Retail is expected to benefit from the changing pedestrian activity that would result from the 15-month closure of the L train. The shutdown, planned to start in April 2019, would affect Union Square and 14th St. more heavily than almost any community citywide. While transit would be disrupted and various mitigation measures would be required, it’s expected the closure would add 50,000 pedestrians along the street that would otherwise travel underground to make a transfer at Union Square station. This new foot traffic would be a boon to retailers along the corridor. “While we understand the L train closure will put unprecedented strain on our neighborhood, we are encouraged by the strong demand for the retail opportunities within our district,” Falk said. “More companies are investing in Union Square than ever before. There’s never been a better time to set up shop in Union Square.” April 26, 2018


Food to fitness: Community events all year long


ast year’s extensive public programming drew thousands of New Yorkers and visitors to Union Square, and this year, the Union Square Partnership is building on the momentum of the events’ successes. “We’re constantly working to expand our programs to showcase a wide range of neighborhood partners — both brand new to the district and seasoned,” said Hannah Swerdloff, U.S.P. director of marketing and events. “We’re expanding the offerings at our marquee programs this year, so you can come out and experience even more of what the business community has to offer.” In March, U.S.P. teamed up with the Flatiron Partnership to introduce neighborhood businesses and residents to Carlina Rivera, the new city councilmember for District 2. At the event, Rivera addressed a myriad of topics, including public space, small businesses and gender equality in city government. The discussion was led by Michael Scotto, NY1 Spectrum News’ Manhattan reporter, and was guided by crowdsourced questions from attendees. To kick off summer community programming, the Partnership is expanding the annual It’s My Park! Day celebration, bringing partners together to volunteer and celebrate Union Square Park. This year’s event will center on themes of sustainability, celebrating “Living Green in Union Square.” In addition to volunteering to clean the park, attendees will learn how to bring sustainability from the park into your home, through herb planting, composting, cooking demonstrations and “green” story time for kids. As summer approaches, U.S.P. is also gearing up for Citi Summer in the Square. Presented in partnership with sponsor Citi and 30 local partners, these community events extend over three months, every Thursday from June 14 through Aug. 9. While last year’s program of more than 135 activities attracted some 17,000 participants, this year’s Citi Summer in the Square schedule is packed with more than 155 free programs for all ages, spotlighting Union Square Park and neighborhood partners. In addition to Citi Summer in the Square, classics like Karma Kids Yoga, outdoor fitness with Paragon Sports and New York Health & Racquet Club, and lunchtime performances from The New School Jazz Trio, U.S.P. is bringing exciting new programs to the 2018 schedule. “Union Square is the fitness hub of New York City,” said Bruce Blank, owner of Paragon Sports. “Paragon has been part of this neighborhood for over 100 years, and we’ve watched the com-


April 26, 2018


Last month, Jennifer Falk, the Union Square Par tnership’s executive director, right, introduced new City Councilmember Carlina Rivera, center, to local residents and the BID’s business members at an event moderated by NY1 repor ter Michael Scotto, left.


Ever y season, thousands of people find Summer in the Square’s free exercise and yoga classes ver y moving. There are plenty more free and fun activities on the bill for this summer.

munity transform and really embrace the health and wellness scene.” In celebration of the 2018 World Cup, new partner Super Soccer Stars will host a brand new weekly program of soccer lessons and drills for children. U.S.P. is also adding new programming for Union Square’s seniors with weekly tai chi classes on the shaded George Washington Lawn provided by the 14th Street Y. And for residents and visitors of any age, U.S.P. is adding L.G.B.T. Pride this summer, with a special performance featuring “Dueling Drag Queens” during New York City Pride Week.

“We have been participating in Summer in the Square for more than five years, and have enjoyed every minute of it,” said Julie Gayer Kris, director of member experience at the 14th Street Y. “From family yoga, to partnering with Pop Fit Kids and PJ Library, we’ve been able to connect with hundreds of families each week.” This fall, the 23rd annual Harvest in the Square will return to Union Square Park on Thurs., Sept. 20. This highly anticipated food and wine extravaganza features more than 50 local restaurant partners and more than a dozen wineries and breweries, last year drawing

more than 1,200 attendees. Since its inception, Harvest has raised in excess of $6 million through the generosity of the community to support U.S.P.’s integral work to maintain, beautify and improve the Union Square neighborhood. Among this year’s participants are esteemed chefs from the district’s best restaurants, who will showcase signature dishes with fresh ingredients from the Union Square Greenmarket. Event guests will also be able to sample wines and microbrews, and several local distilleries. Last year’s high-profile proprietors included Harvest co-founder Danny Meyer and Chef Carmen Quagliata of Union Square Cafe, restaurant chairperson Gadi Peleg, and Israeli top chef Meir Adoni. This year, U.S.P. is proud to welcome the reimagined pavilion restaurant, Bocce Union Square, with its Italian fare alongside an outdoor bocce court on the square’s north plaza. Bocce Union Square is a full-service restaurant slated to open in the Union Square Pavilion this May. Under the new management of Jason Leeds, Chris Johnson and Tim Meyers, the pavilion space will undergo a top-to-bottom redesign and welcome an entirely new team of hospitality professionals to the park. This fall, U.S.P. will introduce a new series of small business forums in partnership with Citi. Each forum will cover a significant issue faced by neighborhood businesses and will range from emergency management and neighborhood development, to hospitality and food waste. Finally, the winter marks the fifth anniversary of U.S.P.’s popular Union Square Sweat Fest. Produced in partnership with FIT + LOVE, Sweat Fest celebrates the abundance of gyms, fitness studios, athleisure retailers and healthy eateries that make up the neighborhood’s innovative health and wellness scene. Last year’s six-day program hosted 750 attendees. The festival featured new brands like Spiderbands, New Balance, SWERVE Fitness, 30/60/90 and Paragon Fit Club at Paragon Sports’ reimagined shoe department, Dept.1908. The excitement of new and returning community events keeps pace with the dynamism that pulses through the Union Square district year round. Stay in the know about Union Square events by following @UnionSquareNY on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and sign up to receive their monthly newsletter at unionsquarenyc.org. U.S.P. would love to hear from you anytime through these channels, and hopes to see you at all of their events in the coming year. TheVillager.com

A greener, cleaner, more sustainable district


or more than 40 years, the Union Square Partnership has invested in beautifying and maintaining the neighborhood’s public spaces and sidewalks, as well as in Union Square Park, the district’s crown jewel. U.S.P.’s Clean Team works seven days a week throughout the year, sweeping sidewalks, emptying waste receptacles, painting street furniture, powerwashing high-traffic corners, and maintaining the plazas surrounding Union Square Park. With spring’s arrival, the team is out daily setting up popular seating areas in and around the park with U.S.P.’s signature lime-green bistro tables and chairs. This past winter, the team cleared crosswalks, bus stops, catch basins and areas around fire hydrants of snow, ice and slush to keep the streets unobstructed for the hundreds of thousands of pedestrians visiting Union Square. With more than 178,000 bags of trash removed from the district’s streets last year, U.S.P. is turning its attention to reducing waste in the park and in the 125 public trash receptacles the organization maintains throughout the district, and to engaging local businesses, residents and employees on a host of sustainability issues. “An essential role of the Partnership has always been to keep Union Square Park, as well as our district’s sidewalks and pedestrian plazas, clean and vibrant,” said Monica Munn, U.S.P.’s director of economic development. “Building on that legacy, we are well-positioned to demonstrate how business improvement districts can catalyze waste reduction in public spaces and help both businesses and residents make more environmentally friendly choices in their daily operations and lives.” Earlier this year, U.S.P. kicked off a partnership with Columbia University to take a literal deep dive into the district’s trash. The goal was to examine what is being thrown out in Union Square, and identify potential solutions to help reduce how much is thrown out in the first place, and then divert recyclable materials and food scraps from landfill. A team of graduate students from the Sustainability Management program at Columbia’s Earth Institute rolled up their sleeves and conducted the district’s first-ever waste-characterization analysis, revealing what kinds of items are thrown in Union Square’s public trash cans. The team also researched best practices in sustainable waste management that are being implemented in cities across the country and around the world. Finding new ways to reduce waste and educate New York City residents and businesses on these issues will go a long way toward supporting citywide goals to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2030. Insights and recommendations from this research will be released this summer. In addition to these efforts, the Union Square Partnership continues to push the needle on how to reduce waste at its own events. For 21 years, U.S.P. has donated surplus food from its annual food and wine fundraiser — Harvest in the Square — in cooperation with City Harvest, the nonprofit organization that has rescued more than 500 million pounds of good, nutritious food in the city since 1982. Following last year’s Harvest in the Square, 500 pounds of food was donated to City Harvest. Eight hundred pounds was donated the year before. U.S.P. is now exploring how to increase the use of recyclable materials at the event and collaborate with Harvest TheVillager.com


The Union Square Par tnership’s Clean Team helps keep the district looking great. So does waste reduction and food-rescuing initiatives by local restaurants, among other things.

chefs to incorporate dishes that leverage more parts of ingredients, such as the green carrot tops. Several Union Square chefs and restaurants are already leading the way in sustainability by donating surplus edible food, thereby decreasing waste in their operations, as well as by procuring locally. Breads Bakery, for example, is working to reduce waste throughout its operations, and donates surplus food through Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, a national nonprofit food-rescue organization headquartered here in New York. Based in Lower Manhattan and founded by three N.Y.U. graduates in 2013, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine is devoted to “making food rescue sustainable and universal, and food hunger a thing of the past.” “Rescuing Leftover Cuisine proudly partners with Breads Bakery and several Union Square offices to pick up their excess food and deliver it to nearby human services agencies, where these generous donations are distributed to those who are homeless and food-insecure,” said Robert Lee of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine. Home to the renowned Greenmarket, Union Square has long been a destination for chefs seeking to connect with local farmers and shop for seasonal produce. Dig Inn, which launched a redesigned location near Union Square Park, works directly with local farmers to procure nutritious and sustainably produced products. Local procurement reduces transit time, keeping vegetables fresher longer and reducing waste. Whenever possible, Dig Inn’s chefs also make use of ingredients that are commonly wasted. Other quick-service eateries, such as Cava Grill and Sweetgreen, focus on reducing post-consumer waste by separating food scraps at busing stations and waste

receptacles in its restaurants. Increasingly, the park itself is being leveraged to connect, educate and inspire Union Square residents on how to “go green” and reduce waste in their daily lives. Already the park is home to a drop-off point for food scraps sponsored by GrowNYC and the Lower East Side Ecology Center, helping local residents turn food scraps into valuable compost. To welcome summer, the Union Square Partnership will host its annual community-oriented It’s My Park! Day on Sat., June 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This year’s event will have a special focus on helping residents make their homes greener and more sustainable. In addition to sprucing up the park, planned activities for all ages include take-home herb gardening, a composting exhibit, a sustainable cooking demo, and a science-themed reading corner for kids. “We all have a role to play in making our neighborhood more sustainable and keeping our streets and public spaces clean and green,” U.S.P.’s Munn urged. “From helping residents undertake simple changes that reduce their waste, and connecting restaurants with zero-waste and food-donation experts, to piloting innovative projects that divert public trash from landfill, U.S.P. is excited to lead the way and show what a ‘zero waste’ business improvement district can be.” Awareness and engagement are unmistakably on the rise. In the years ahead, one can expect to see organizations, businesses and households throughout the Union Square community expand their commitment to waste reduction and other critical strategies in support of a healthy and sustainable urban environment. April 26, 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


April 26, 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.


Remembering Roni BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y


he downpour the morning of April 16 did not keep friends and family of Veronica (“Roni”) Ivins away from the Greenwich Village Funeral Home to remember her. For most of those in the overflow crowd, her tragic death on March 8 still makes no sense. Roni was killed in her sleep by the roommate she took in after her adult daughter died. Roni, 92, had lived in her Sullivan St. walk-up more than 50 years. Ruth Halberg, a longtime neighborhood friend who spoke at the memorial of the good times, said, “It’s like a nightmare, and I keep waiting to wake up.” Friends, her nephew and cousin all shared remembrances to a backdrop of photos and a recording of Roni singing “My Funny Valentine.” But there was a big surprise for most, mainly seniors from the day centers at Our Lady of Pompeii Church and 20 Washington Square North, where Roni enjoyed singing. The first speaker, a younger man, Kevin Hogan, revealed he had been adopted and that, in fact, Roni was his biological mother. When adoption records were opened, the two connected, and had a great relationship for 17 years, he said. While those closest to Roni knew this, for most of her senior friends, it was a revelation. Hogan said Roni kept this private, but told him when she was gone, it could be revealed.



Kevin Hogan, Roni Ivins’s son, spoke at her memorial. He was adopted by a family as a young child, but he and Ivins finally reconnected 17 years ago and had a good relationship.

Halberg recounted Roni’s love of travel. Poet Tom Savage recalled a backstage tour of the Apollo when Roni got a chance to sing from its legendary stage. Novac Noury spoke of Roni’s love of singing from Our Lady of Pompeii’s social-hall stage. Bill Warren shared a spicy anecdote, to many chuckles, of Roni and a young beat cop. During the hour memorial, cell phones sporadically went off. One person quipped, “It’s Roni and her presence.” Near the end, the sun came out. Roni Ivins exuded a zest for life, and this sense of her energy filled the room through the tears. As one person said, “Roni would have loved this!”

Josh Vogel, 91, lawyer


oshua S. Vogel, the husband of former City Councilmember Carol Greitzer, died April 12. He was 91. Greitzer said his death was sudden. A New York native, Vogel was in the Navy during World War II, after which he attended Baruch College, earning an accounting degree. He later earned a law degree from St. John’s University. Vogel practiced tax-and-estate law and was a certified public accounted. He later developed low-income rehabilitation housing projects in the city, according to an obituary in The New York Times. He loved music and was a prolific songwriter and sometime performer, the Times obituary noted. He was a member of ASCAP and the Nashville Songwriters Association. He was also a passionate Mets fan. Vogel and Greitzer wed in 1990. Both of their first marriages ended in divorce. Prior to marrying Greitzer and living with her in the Village, Vogel lived Uptown. Greitzer was a councilmember, representing the Village and other parts of Manhattan — and even Staten Island, at one point — from 1969 to 1991 Vogel is survived by his wife, Greitzer; three children from his first marriage, Laura (Barry Farber), David and Rob TheVillager.com


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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 fi lm then takes us to the beginning of the end. The fi lm’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 defi ned 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 fi lm 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 TheVillager.com

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Trine Dyrholm as Nico in “Nico, 1988.”

in hotels and restaurants. The drugs 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 fi lm. 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 fi lm 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 fi lm. 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, longing, 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 fi lm features an endearing cast of high schoolers who become entangled in misunderstandings as they pursue the opposite sex. TFF REVIEWS continued on p. 20 April 19, 2018


Photo by Laurent Guérin

Black and white cinematography enhances “Slut in a Good Way,” Catherine Léger and Sophie Lorain’s fable-like tale. TFF REVIEWS continued from p. 19

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 fulfi llment. 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. 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 fl irting in the course of a workday. Floor to ceiling shelves are fi lled 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


April 19, 2018

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 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?”

Photo by Jack Schwaesdall

The Chargerettes perform in “Sidelined.”

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-lefi lm.com/#accueil and search for the film’s title at search tribecafilm.com/festival.

“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 TheVillager.com

the 20th century, cheerleaders were just on the sidelines of sports coverage â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but in the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;70s, the exploitation of NFL cheerleaders became big business. The filmmakers behind the short documentary â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sidelinedâ&#x20AC;? 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. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sidelinedâ&#x20AC;? looks at this scandal from a variety of perspectives to explore just how much the â&#x20AC;&#x153;girl next doorâ&#x20AC;? can be sexualized before going too far. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sidelinedâ&#x20AC;? 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 â&#x20AC;&#x2122;70s, this really was the perfect scandal for salacious headlines. Among the women interviewed for â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sidelinedâ&#x20AC;? is a former Chicago Honey Bears cheerleader who posed for Playboy, and was a police officer too â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 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 fi lmmakers also provide the perspective of Playboyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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 afterwards. Through these presentday interviews, the fi lm provides a retrospective on the hypocrisies of the mainstream media in the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;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. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an argument that â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sidelinedâ&#x20AC;? presents quite compellingly. While the fi lmmakers demonstrate the overt exploitation of â&#x20AC;&#x2122;70s media, it canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be overlooked that a documentary about sexy cheerleaders is readily marketed in the present as well. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sidelinedâ&#x20AC;? includes plenty of its own honey shots of the cheerleadTheVillager.com

Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tiny Shouldersâ&#x20AC;? mines the origins of Barbie, and follows her evolution according to contemporary demands.

ers in their sexy uniforms, along with the occasional nude or topless picture. This creates a mixed message that canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be entirely dismissed under the guise of thoroughly documenting the scandal. The cheer squad members themselves look back on the incident with the â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was young and needed the moneyâ&#x20AC;? 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 have been in Playboy â&#x20AC;&#x201D; something that Playboyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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 CinĂŠpolis Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.; free with reserved ticket), and Sat., 4/28, 6:30pm at CinĂŠpolis Chelsea. For tickets and more info, visit tribecafilm.com/festival. To order by phone, call 646-5025296 ($23, evening/weekend; $12, matinee; service fees apply for web and phone orders).

â&#x20AC;&#x153;TINY SHOULDERS: RETHINKING BARBIEâ&#x20AC;? REVIEW BY CHARLES BATTERSBY The Barbie doll has been a feminist boogeyman (or boogeyperson) for decades. As an inanimate object, sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an easy target â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but there are real people behind the doll. The documentary â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tiny Shouldersâ&#x20AC;? looks at Barbieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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, Barbieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s origin was actually quite progressive for her time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tiny Shouldersâ&#x20AC;?

spends the fi rst half of its 91-minute runtime examining Barbieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s creation and the life of her creator, Ruth Handler. There is much talk of Handlerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s struggle to convince the conservative toy industry that a market existed for such a product. Back in the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;50s, when most dolls looked like babies and were intended to teach girls how to be nurturing, Barbieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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 Handlerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home movies and personal photographs, with several shots of a guntoting Handler surrounded by her exclusively male peers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tiny Shouldersâ&#x20AC;? also gives audiences a look inside Mattelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Barbie Vaultsâ&#x20AC;? of classic dolls, and vintage advertising footage. The second half follows Mattelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s staff as Barbieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s latest design team begins working on a new look for her. The fi lmmakers document Barbieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s previous re-designs, which happen about once a decade â&#x20AC;&#x201D; 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 â&#x20AC;&#x153;thigh gapâ&#x20AC;? 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 fi lmmakers 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 â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tiny Shoulders,â&#x20AC;? Ruth Hander mentions that the fi rst Barbie was deliberately designed to be â&#x20AC;&#x153;not too beautifulâ&#x20AC;? precisely so that girls wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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 fi nal scenes of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tiny Shouldersâ&#x20AC;? show one of Barbieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s critics holding the new â&#x20AC;&#x153;curvyâ&#x20AC;? Barbie and lamenting that sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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 646-5025296 ($23, evening/weekend; $12, matinee; service fees apply for web and phone orders).

Theater for the New City â&#x20AC;˘ 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net

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Who were those masked men...and woman? The Rangers, that’s who!

Another pitch-perfect G.V.L.L. Opening Day


utting the “fun” in baseball fundamentals, the Greenwich Village Little League kicked off its 2018 season with Opening Day festivities at Pier 40, at W. Houston St., on April 12. Proudly toting colorful team banners, the youths — ranging from T-ballers to Majors Division players — and their parents and parent / coaches filled the sprawling turf field in the capacious courtyard of the former shipping pier. They were joined by Scooter the Holy Cow, the sland Yankees’ Yankees mascot, and local loc politicians, Staten Island

including state Senator Brad Hoylman, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Borough President Gale Brewer. Also among the Opening Day all-stars were Madelyn Wils, the president and C.E.O. of the Hudson River Park Trust, and Community Board 2 Chairperson Terri Cude, plus some real heavy hitters — a lineup of G.V.L.L. presidents from through the years, who have kept the league running at a high level, and with a high level of enjoyment. Batter up! PHOTO BY HOWARD BARASH

The Comets came marching in — with Scooter the Holy Cow!


A future Little Leaguer grins and “bears” it with yet another mascot.


April 26, 2018



Showing impressive form, state Senator Brad Hoylman tossed out G.V.L .L .’s first hardball pitch on Opening Day.

Madelyn Wils, the Hudson River Park Trust president, flung in the first softball pitch to help star t the G.V.L .L . season. TheVillager.com

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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.


www.rwdsu.org TheVillager.com

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