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Here’s To The Democrats Who Brunch

With Proper Etiquette, Taking Tea is a Cakewalk

Photo by Sam Bleiberg

L to R; Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and City Councilmember Carlina Rivera were among the progressive politicians to attend the 60th Anniversary Brunch of the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club. See page 2.

Noise Complaints Heard Loud and Clear

Photo by Christian Miles

Residents who aired their concerns at a May 1 town hallstyle meeting have received assurances from Con Edison about changes to the disruptive construction schedule in the W. 33rd St. area. See page 3.

African Film’s Pioneers, Emerging Voices

Courtesy of the New York African Film Festival

Photo by Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett

Charles Battersby, right, seen here with Tea & Sympathy owner Nicky Perry, consults etiquette experts and takes you on a tour of “all things British and fancy” in advance of the royal wedding. See page 10. © CHELSEA NOW 2018 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Mahen Bonetti, founder and executive director of the New York African Film Festival, discusses a programming slate that pays tribute to pioneers and showcases emerging voices. See page 12. VOLUME 10, ISSUE 18 | MAY 10 – 16, 2018

Chelsea Reform Democratic Club, Still Evolving, Celebrates 60 Years of Progressive Politics BY SAM BLEIBERG Marking milestones and making a renewed commitment to uphold their progressive principles, the 60th Anniversary Brunch of the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club (CRDC) saw its members and elected officials from all levels of city, state, and national government in high spirits and good humor. Gathering at Bocca di Bacco (W. 20th St. & Ninth Ave.) on Sat., May 5, the brunch honored current and former New York City Council Speakers Corey Johnson and Christine Quinn, as well as club award recipients Kate Linker, an author, activist, and political organizer, and Elizabeth Holtzman, former four-term US Representative and NYC’s fi rst female comptroller. CRDC’s fi rst and founding president, Robert Trentlyon, also attended. Founded in 1958 to compete with existing Democratic clubs criticized for corruption and a lack of transparency, the CRDC has championed progressive policies through political

Photo by Sam Bleiberg

Sylvia Di Pietro (District Leader, 75th Assembly District, part A) introduced honoree and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

organizing, community service, and fundraising. “We have tried to keep on the progressive side of things,� said former club president (and current District Leader, 75th Assembly District, part

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A), Steven Skyles-Mulligan. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of time what we do to advocate is keep after elected officials and make sure theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re doing the right thing. That has not changed one bit.â&#x20AC;? Since its inception, the club has consistently advocated for environmental protection, economic equality, and access to healthcare. In Chelsea, they fought to establish public park space, protect local businesses, and ensure access to affordable housing in the face of rising rents. The CRDC has also contributed to numerous milestones for LGBTQ equality, having championed the legalization of same-sex marriage and supported candidates including Quinn and Tom Duane, a former state senator. Skyles-Mulligan explained how the club supports progressive policies locally, even in the absence of endorsement from the national platform. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have to keep pressure on local elected officials to keep looking at local solutions to what could be national problems,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our Assemblyman {Richard Gottfried] has been promoting single-payer healthcare in the state for a long time, so we have to push our other elected officials to get on board.â&#x20AC;? In her speech accepting the Esther Smith Award, Linker specifically mentioned that policies like Get Covered NYC and the statewide campaign for a $15 minimum wage started as local, community movements before achieving wider support. Direct community support has also remained central to the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mis-

sion. Skyles-Mulligan called for an emergency response to help vulnerable Chelsea residents in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Currently, club members volunteer at the food pantry of St. Peterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chelsea and were, at the time of the brunch, looking forward to hosting host an event to provide prom dresses for high school students who cannot afford them. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to be more involved than just backing politicians. We want to be a club that gives back to the community we live in,â&#x20AC;? said the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s VP of Community Affairs, Evelyn Suarez. Speakers at the event paid homage to the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history and continued relevance in the modern political landscape. Special Recognition Award recipients Quinn and Johnson pointed to the impact of the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s support for their successful campaigns, emphasizing the CRDCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role in community-based advocacy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have support in your hometown, nobody wants to give you support,â&#x20AC;? Quinn said. Congressmember Carolyn Maloney explained that support from clubs empowers politicians to take bold policy stances. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Leaders depend on clubs like the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club that give us the strength and support to stand up for the issues. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a tremendous legacy to the city of New York,â&#x20AC;? she told Chelsea Now. State Senator Brad Hoylman, who has received support from the club for his election as well as campaigns for state legislature, cited the club as an example of successful grassroots political advocacy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Top-down politics doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work in New York,â&#x20AC;? Hoylman told this publication. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about neighborhoods pushing upwardsâ&#x20AC;Ś Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the clubs that give politicians the backbone to be courageous. CRDC is a great example of that.â&#x20AC;? The eventâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s speakers issued calls to organize for the coming year. Johnson, Quinn, and others drew attention to Maloneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s campaign for re-election this fall. Johnson used his speech to urge members to make an impact on competitive political races outside of Manhattan. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Each one of us â&#x20AC;&#x201D; people who live and breathe activism and civic engagement in politics â&#x20AC;&#x201D; each one of us CRDC continued on p. 14



May 10, 2018

NYC Community Media

A Step Forward for Noise Abatement — And a Neighborhood’s Well-Being BY RANIA RICHARDSON Neighbors rallied in a campaign to minimize the highly disruptive noise from Con Edison’s overnight work that began last month on W. 33rd St., between Ninth and 10th Aves. Spearheaded by Julia Campanelli, the community initiative culminated in a town hall-style meeting organized by the District Office of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson for May 1, at which representatives from city agencies and other officials met with local residents to discuss their quality of life issue. Campanelli, an actress and filmmaker, lives in the rear of a building on W. 34th St. that overlooks the work site, and leaves her air conditioner on to drown out the sound. She has measured volume of up to 90 decibels (dB) from previous work in the area using the smartphone app, “dB meter.” According to US Department of Health & Human Services, long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 dB can cause temporary or permanent noise-induced hearing loss (for more information, visit The current complaint is one of many over the years, as the neighborhood is

Photo by Christian Miles

Seen on the evening of May 8, plates covered Con Edison trenches on W. 33rd St. near 10th Ave. Neighborhood resident and sound engineer Dave Lorentz asked, “Is Con Ed able to provide sound mitigation?” On a recent Sunday morning, he noted, “They were dropping metal plates!”

experiencing an astonishing amount of development and the associated aggravations. The Midtown central business region is growing westward with the creation of the Special Hudson Yards District (the result of a comprehensive rezoning in 2005), and this area, from W. 30th to 41st Sts., between Eighth and

11th Aves., is dense with construction. The most expansive project in the district, Hudson Yards, from Related Companies and Oxford Property Group, is “the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States,” according to the company’s press materials. Located west of 10th Ave., it is not

germane to the issue at hand. The May 1 gathering to discuss noise abatement included representatives from Con Edison, Community Board 4 (CB4), the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), Port Authority (including Lincoln Tunnel), as well as Brookfield Property Partners. The 10th Precinct was invited but did not attend. At the time, Con Edison was on site daily from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. — sawcutting, jackhammering, and digging trenches through the night. Daytime work is prohibited because City Knoll Middle School is on the block. Ironically, the school children who live within earshot of the racket may be going to class sleep deprived. With the gas work complete, the next phase is to reinforce the electricity grid to “keep the neighborhood energized” according to Con Edison project manager Michael Moccia. The work will also benefit the Manhattan West development from Brookfield (W. 31st to 33rd St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.) and Moynihan Station, the expansion of Penn Station into the James A. Farley NOISE continued on p. 16

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NYC Community Media

May 10, 2018


De Blasio Moves on Safer Consumption Spaces to Curb Overdoses BY NATHAN RILEY A multi-year push in New York City to offer drug users a safe place for consuming their drugs seems destined for success after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his support for “overdose prevention centers.” Public health advocates voiced enthusiasm as the news spread on May 3 that the administration had reached out to Dr. Howard Zucker, the state health commissioner, for a goahead to open four Safer Consumption Spaces in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. Brooklyn City Councilmember Stephen Levin, the chair of the General Welfare Committee who was arrested the day before in a sit-in on Lower Broadway opposite City Hall to push de Blasio to act, tweeted: “Where others look down upon our most vulnerable we will show love and a path towards recovery.” Thanking the mayor, Levin added, “This will save lives.” De Blasio’s action came in the wake of a city health department study of this approach toward curbing drug overdoses funded by the City Council in 2016 and completed this past

Photo by Donna Aceto

Demonstrators sat in on Lower Broadway near City Hall after a May 2 speakout on Safer Consumption Spaces called by VOCAL-NY, Housing Works, and the Drug Policy Alliance demanding that Mayor Bill de Blasio release the city report on this approach to curbing overdose deaths. The mayor acted the next day.

December. The mayor set conditions that likely will easily be satisfied. He sought support from the city’s district attorneys, and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr., and Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez immediately signaled their endorsements via Twitter.

“In the midst of an overdose crisis, we cannot sit by and let ppl die when there are proven interventions that can save live,” Gonzalez wrote, while Vance said, “We are proud to support the Mayor’s proposal to establish Overdose Prevention Centers. Thanks for your leadership.”

Darcel Clark, the Bronx DA, has held meetings on the intervention but remains hesitant unlike her peers, saying only that she has an “open mind.” Clark faces the voters for reelection in 2019, while Vance and Gonzalez won four year terms this past November. In a written statement, Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker who initially pushed the proposal in 2016 when he chaired the Health Committee and got $100,00 put into the budget to have the health department carry out the study, said, “We thank Mayor de Blasio for taking this brave, important, and necessary step.” Johnson, who is gay and HIVpositive, often expresses sympathy for those who have died from drug overdoses, mentioning his own history with alcohol and drug use, from which he has been in recovery for years. “Too many people have died from opioids and heroin,” he said. “These sites will save lives and connect addicts with treatment options and trained professionals that could lead them to recovery. This is an issue that has deep personal significance to me.” CURB OVERDOSES continued on p. 17




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May 10, 2018

NYC Community Media

Affordable Housing for Rent 435 WEST 31 APARTMENTS PHASE II 103 NEWLY CONSTRUCTED UNITS AT 435 West 31st Street, New York, NY 10001 HUDSON YARDS Amenities: Bike repair station, kids playroom, library, lounge, game room, laundry room (pay per load), â&#x20AC; storage, â&#x20AC; bike storage, â&#x20AC; fitness center, â&#x20AC; pet spa, â&#x20AC; arcade, â&#x20AC; golf simulator, â&#x20AC; sky lounge (â&#x20AC; additional fees apply). Transit: Trains â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1, 2, 3, A, C, E at Penn Station, Buses - M11, M34 No application fee â&#x20AC;˘ No brokerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fee â&#x20AC;˘ Smoke-free building This building was constructed through the Inclusionary Housing Program Development and Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program of New York State Homes and Community Renewal and is anticipated to receive a tax exemption through the 421-a Tax Incentive Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation. Who Should Apply?


Individuals or households who meet the income and household size requirements listed in the table below may apply. Qualified applicants will be required to meet additional selection criteria. Applicants who live in New York City receive a general preference for apartments.


A percentage of units is set aside for applicants with disabilities: R Mobility (5%) R Vision/hearing (2%) Preference for a percentage of units goes to: R Residents of Manhattan Community Board 4 (50%) R Municipal employees (5%)

Studio 1 bedroom

2 bedroom

Monthly Rent1

Units Available

Household Size2







Annual Household Income3 4

Minimum Âą Maximum

1 person $22,903-$29,240 1 person $24,549-$29,240 2 people $24,549-$33,400


Unit Size



Units Available

Household Size2







Annual Household Income3 Minimum Âą Maximum4

1 person $68,709-$87,720 1 person $73,646-$87,720 2 people $73,646-$100,200 2 people $88,355-$100,200




3 people $88,355-$112,680 4 people $88,355-$125,160


Rent includes gas for cooking and hot water. Tenants pay for electricity. Household size includes everyone who will live with you, including parents and children. Subject to occupancy criteria. Household earnings includes salary, hourly wages, tips, Social Security, child support, and other income. Income guidelines subject to change. 4 Minimum income listed may not apply to applicants with Section 8 or other qualifying rental subsidies. Asset limits also apply. 2 3

How Do You Apply? Apply online or through mail. To apply online, please go to To request an application by mail, send a selfaddressed envelope to: 435 W 31 Phase II c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129. Only send one application per development. Do not submit duplicate applications. Do not apply online and also send in a paper application. Applicants who submit more than one application may be disqualified. When is the Deadline? Applications must be postmarked or submitted online no later than July 3, 2018. Late applications will not be considered. What Happens After You Submit an Application? After the deadline, applications are selected for review through a lottery process. If yours is selected and you appear to qualify, you will be invited to an interview to continue the process of determining your eligibility. Interviews are usually scheduled from 2 to 10 months after the application deadline. You will be asked to bring documents that verify your household size, identity of members of your household, and your household income. EspaĂąol

Presente una solicitud en lĂ­nea en Para recibir una traducciĂłn de espaĂąol de este anuncio y la solicitud impresa, envĂ­e un sobre con la direcciĂłn a: . 435 W 31 Phase II c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129. En el reverso del sobre, escriba en inglĂŠs la palabra â&#x20AC;&#x153;SPANISH.â&#x20AC;? Las solicitudes se deben enviar en lĂ­nea o con sello postal antes de 3 de julio 2018.


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ä&#x161;?ấă&#x203A;¨ă&#x153;&#x201E;ă&#x2030;?Gă?&#x153;⢰㢏㥰âŚ?Gă?&#x201D;㡥ä&#x161;&#x152;ă?Ąă??ă?&#x2DC;UG㢨Gáš&#x2026;á¸&#x201D;⹏ḰGă?&#x201D;㡥ă&#x2030;?ă&#x153;&#x201E;Gâ?´ä&#x161;?Gä&#x161;?ấă&#x203A;¨Gâśźă&#x153;Ąâ¸ŹăĄ¸Gâľ?ă&#x2122;¸â¸¨ă??âĽ&#x2DC;⎨Gâľ&#x152;ă&#x2039;&#x2022;ă&#x;?G⸽ä? ⪰435 W 31 Phase II c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129 㥰âŚ?G⸨â&#x2021;¨ă¨°ă?Ąă??ă?&#x2DC;UG⸽ä? Gâ&#x2014;ŤâŽ¨ă&#x153;&#x201E;GË&#x2C6;rvylhuË&#x2030;G㢨⢰á¸&#x201D;Gă&#x153;ľă&#x203A;¨âŚ?G 㤾ă&#x203A;¨ă¨°ă?Ąă??ă?&#x2DC;UGYWX_â&#x2030;¸^ă &#x2C6;Z㢰㢰áž&#x20AC;㍴ ă?&#x153;⢰㢏Gă?&#x201D;㡥ă&#x2030;?⪰GăĽ?ăť?ä&#x161;&#x152;ᜤâ&#x2021;&#x152;Gă&#x2039;&#x20AC;㢏㢨Găľ äŁ&#x20AC;Gă?&#x201D;㡥ă&#x2030;?⪰G⸨â&#x2021;¨ă&#x161;°Gä&#x161;?â?źâ?&#x2DC;U

Kreyòl Ayisyien

Aplike sou entènèt sou sitwèb Pou resevwa yon tradiksyon anons sa a nan lang Kreyòl Ayisyen ak aplikasyon an sou papye, voye anvlòp ki gen adrès pou retounen li nan: 435 W 31 Phase II c/o Breaking Ground, PO Box 3620937, New York, NY 10129. Nan dèyè anvlòp la, ekri mo â&#x20AC;&#x153;HATIAN CREOLEâ&#x20AC;? an Anglè. Ou dwe remèt aplikasyon yo sou entènèt oswa ou dwe tenbre yo anvan dat jiyè 3, 2018.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo ÍťMayor Bill de Blasio ÍťHPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer Íť HCR Commissioner/CEO Ruth Anne Visnauskas

NYC Community Media

May 10, 2018


Feds Get Signals Crossed on L Subway Shutdown Plan

Photo by Sydney Pereira

The city’s planned shutdown of the L train between Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn and Eighth Ave. in Manhattan would create an unprecedented transit disruption for commuters, transit advocates say. Meanwhile, Village and Chelsea block associations who have filed a lawsuit over the plan, say the city’s mitigation plan for the subway shutdown would also cause an unprecedented impact — on their neighborhoods.

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Did the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant exemptions to New York transit and transportation agencies allowing them to forgo an environmental impact study for the L subway shutdown plan? And if the FTA did grant exemptions, why is it now saying it did not? On May 1, that issue was front and center in federal court in Foley Square, as part of a lawsuit filed last month by the 14th St. Coalition (a broad-based group of Village and Chelsea block associations and homeowners) along with disabled advocates, against the city’s plan to shut down the L train between Brooklyn and Manhattan for 15 months starting in April 2019. The shutdown would be done to allow for repairs to the L train’s Hurricane Sandy-damaged East River tunnel. The suit’s defendants include the FTA, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the New York City Transit Authority, and the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT). The suit charges that under the National Environmental Policy Act, or L PLAN continued on p. 19

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May 10, 2018

NYC Community Media

Visiting Neighbors Celebrates the Timeless Talent of Seniors

Jeffrey LeFrancois, 2nd Vice Chair of Community Board 4, presented the first prize to Lissa Joseph for her rendition of a song from the musical “Sunset Boulevard.”

BY LAURA SCHARF We haven’t had many picture perfect spring days this year — but on April 28, the weather gods were smiling for Visiting Neighbors’ 24th Annual Senior Talent Show, the highlight of the Chelsea Day Festival, which ran along Eighth Ave. from W. 14th to 23rd Sts. An enthusiastic audience gathered around the stage at W. 20th St. and cheered for their favorite performers. Emcee Danny Morris welcomed the crowd, and urged the audience to show their support for the performers. VN’s Executive Director, Cynthia Maurer, greeted the audience and encouraged them to get involved with Visiting Neighbors either as clients, as volunteers, or to tell their senior neighbors that help is available as they face the challenges of aging. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer thanked Visiting Neighbors for its longstanding commitment to seniors as they struggle to stay independent. She encouraged the audience to stay physically active, and to be involved in their community. She also urged the audience to support Visiting Neighbors, reminding them that VN relies on contributions and that every dollar helps. Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, who has been a longtime supporter of VN, congratulated the organization on its 46 years of service. An amazing array of talent kept the audience cheering for their favorites for hours. Some old favorites returned this year including Gloria Ortiz, who demonstrated her mambo skills, and Maria Correa, who danced to Bolero. NYC Community Media

The Jazzy Randolph Dancers are a professional troupe, and not in the running for competition — but they did take home the Congeniality award.

Photos by Laura Scharf

Third place winner Carmen Estrada sang “Viva La Vida.”

Julia Piters showed off her belly dancing skills — and longtime contestant Carmen Estrada sang “Viva La Vida.” Dancers from the Chinatown Senior Citizen Center, always a crowd favorite, added Asian flavor to the show as they demonstrated some traditional Chinese dances. The Jazzy Randolph Dancers, a jazz troupe from Harlem who participate in

the show every year, always amaze the crowd. They do not compete for prizes because they are professionals, but they were awarded the Congeniality award this year for their talent, spirit, and commitment to VN and the community. Newcomers to the show this year included Darlene Larson (who yodeled and sang “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart”), and Angie Villaneuva’s

Spanish Line Dancing Troupe. Another newcomer to the show, Lissa Joseph, captured first prize for her amazing rendition of “As If We Never Said Goodbye,” from the musical “Sunset Boulevard.” Second prize went to the dancers from the Chinatown Senior Citizen Center, and third prize was SENIOR TALENT continued on p. 15 May 10, 2018


POLICE BLOTTER LOST PROPERTY: Chanel number ‘500’ A 26-year-old woman went to Chipotle (149 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 17th & 18th Sts.) for a delicious meal, and when she was walking back to work along W. 17th St., she realized that her wallet was gone. The incident happened on Tues., May 1 at 12:50 p.m. When she checked her credit card account, there were no charges on the account. She does not believe that she is the victim of a crime. The Chanel card case that is missing is worth $500.

LOST PROPERTY: Reunited and it feels so good A man left his gray backpack on the Q70 bus coming from Laguardia Airport on Thurs., May 3 at 3 p.m. He was on his way to a hotel to begin his stay in New York. After filing a police report and contacting the MTA, the backpack and contents inside were found on the northwest corner of W.

34th St. and 10th Ave. The backpack, laptop, and air sofa are valued at $1,433.

PETIT LARCENY: Fled with flowers Spring is here and flowers are in bloom. We all love to give flowers, or even receive them as gifts — but it’s important that we pay for them. On Thurs., May 3 at 7:10 p.m., a man did not produce the requisite cash, or credit, for flowers at Treehaus MiMA (470 W. 42nd St., btw. 10th & Dyer Aves.) He took the flowers, worth $250, and fled.

LOST PROPERTY: Missing at Mission A woman was having a good time at Mission NYC (229 W. 28th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.), when she noticed that her wallet was missing. The incident occurred on Sun., April 29 at midnight. The 24-yearold’s Kate Spade card holder, MTA card, Chase credit and debit cards are all worth $85.



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.)


May 10, 2018

NYC Community Media

Safety First: Community Council Urges Awareness of Surroundings BY TABIA C. ROBINSON About a dozen Chelsea residents attended the 10th Precinct’s monthly Community Council meeting on Wed., April 25. Council President Larry O’Neill brought the meeting to order shortly after 7 p.m. by announcing that there should be no audio or video recording during the meeting. The policy, meant to address privacy concerns raised by past attendees, was later reversed when Chelsea Now raised the issue with O’Neill, and received his assurance that the meetings are open to the public and press, and will not subject to any similar limitations moving forward. Commanding Officer, Capt. Paul Lanot, presided over the meeting, and began by noting the precinct has seen an increase in crime in the past 28-day period, stemming largely from credit card and phone scams and other crimes that “professional thieves” are carrying out. On Thurs., April 12, there was a robbery at Penn South where an 80-year-old woman was followed to her apartment and a man pushed his way in behind her. Capt. Lanot told Chelsea residents that the sus-

Photo by Scott Stiffler

A resident thanked the 10th Precinct for persistent communication with the Department of Transportation, to facilitate this recently installed sign on the corner of W. 25th St. and Seventh Ave.

pect in that crime was arrested. “We put out a special team of detectives on that case and the person was identified and arrested,” he said. Capt. Lanot urged Chelsea residents to be careful when going in the vestibule of their buildings, and to

PETIT LARCENY: ‘Galaxy’ has left the building

Store surveillance shows a person talking on the phone and leaving the store with it. The Samsung Galaxy is worth $350.

While working at Staples (330 Seventh Ave., btw. W. 28th & 29th Sts.), a female employee was charging her phone in an upstairs room. When she went to check on the phone, she realized that it was gone. The incident happened on Fri., May 4 at 10:15 a.m.

PETIT LARCENY: Third floor dress mess An unknown person opened a box that was

be aware of their surroundings. “Don’t let just anybody go into your building,” he said. “Don’t just buzz everyone in.” Back in Chelsea after having spent the last several months serving the Sixth Precinct, Det. Mike Petrillo said on the topic, “When you’re in the elevator, press a bogus floor if you don’t feel comfortable.” During the question and comments period of the meeting, one resident was particularly excited about finally getting a “no right turns” sign on the corner of W. 25th St. and Seventh Ave. The resident said neighbors have been trying to get this sign up for over ten years. He thanked the 10th Precinct for their help in aiding the process, but they thanked him for being persistent with the Department of Transportation. The 10th Precinct is located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). The next Community Council meeting will be held on Wed., May 30 at 7 p.m. It is the final meeting before the Council goes on summer hiatus, from June through August. For more info, call the Community Affairs office at 212741-8226. delivered to a building on the 300 block of W. 21st St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), and stole its contents. The incident occurred on Thurs., April 26 at 6:30 p.m. The box contained three dresses worth $440. The package was left by a delivery service on the third floor of the building. —Tabia C. Robinson

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May 10, 2018


Learn to Take Tea Like a Duchess in Time for the Royal Wedding A Yank’s guide to fanciness without faux pas BY CHARLES BATTERSBY Any time there’s a royal wedding, a royal birth, or even a Brexit, Americans suddenly embrace their colonial roots and develop an obsession with all things British and fancy. Nothing is more regal than a tea party, complete with extended pinkies and refined manners. So, in preparation for the impending royal wedding (May 19!), I took it upon myself to learn the correct way one should comport oneself when “taking” tea. Although I fancied myself quite the refined lady at the start, my education in tea etiquette was swift and brutal — but delicious nonetheless. I immediately learned that Americans know nothing about tea parties. When calling Downtown tea parlors about their “high tea” service, I was informed that “high tea” is a hearty, hot meal served as an early supper. The fancy tea service with the multi-tiered tray full of sweets is actually called “afternoon tea.” I wanted to avoid further faux pas, so I consulted New York’s own etiquette experts. I began with Myka Meier, the founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette. She specializes in business and social etiquette, but also has a “Tea for Two” class on how to take afternoon tea. Meier’s school gets a massive surge in business when a royal event comes up. “We call it the Super Bowl of etiquette,” she joked, citing the additional “Duchess Effect” classes that had to be added to her school’s schedule. I asked Meier just how far one extends one’s pinkie when sipping their afternoon tea, and was surprised to learn that one does not extend one’s pinkie when drinking tea! As Meir told me, “The joke when I was teaching in London is that you can spot the Americans a mile away because they have always their pinkies out.” I also spoke to Patricia NapierFitzpatrick, founder and president of The Etiquette School of New York. She also has an entire class just on afternoon tea. Although there is a long list of rules to follow, she assured me that there are tangible benefits to knowing them. “Etiquette is the rules of socially acceptable behavior,” she


May 10, 2018

Photo by Clare Deegan-Kent

At Alice’s Tea Cup, the author peers from their perch behind a traditional three-tier tray piled high with goodies.

said. “When we know the rules, we’re more confident. When we follow the rules, people are more likely to want to be around us.” When I asked her if people will be silently judged on their behavior when taking tea, she didn’t hesitate. “They

will absolutely be judged,” she laughed, but clarified: “Just like they would when they go for a dinner. They’re always judged... On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with asking.” Once properly educated on how to dress for the affair (yes, a lady may

wear a decorative hat at the table), and how stir sugar into my tea (back and forth, not in a whirlpool circle), and how to cool it (wait and make conversation, rather than blowing on it), and how to sip it correctly (look into the cup, not over the rim), I felt NYC Community Media

Photo by Charles Battersby

Lady Mendl’s five-course service begins with a hearty soup.

ready to take my fi rst afternoon tea — and yes, one “takes” tea, rather than “has” it. I searched the Downtown neighborhoods for places to modestly fl aunt my new manners. An exquisite location for afternoon tea is Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon, which is discretely nestled in Gramercy Park. Ladies will defi nitely need to loosen their

corsets before the end of this fivecourse meal. The affair begins with a soup course, before proceeding on to the traditional fi nger sandwiches, scones, cake, and cookies. Our server also had a separate pot of tea for each course, with a selection intended to compliment each dish. The fi nger sandwiches came in a wide assortment of styles, and the scones were

Photo by Lizzie Pepper

The exquisite detail at Lady Mendl’s extends right down to sugar cube art.

particularly delightful. The historic building and furnishings made the experience feel like I was living a scene from a Jane Austen novel. For those celebrating their un-birthday, and who prefer their tea parties a bit mad, there is Alice’s Tea Cup. This chain has three restaurants in New York, but a white rabbit led me to their E. 64th St. and Lexington location. At Alice’s, things are bit less formal — the staff will sprinkle glitter on customers, and diners can even wear fairy wings at the table (and bloody well should). Alice’s “Mad Hatter” Tea for Two service came on the traditional threetier tray, along with two bottomless pots of tea. It’s not only a photogenic affair, but the meal proved to be another corset-loosener. The three courses of sandwiches, large scones, and sweets left us with a surprisingly heavy doggie bag of cake and cookies. I also visited Tea & Sympathy, a West Village restaurant that serves English comfort food, in addition to their afternoon tea service. It was early on a weekday, but the restaurant was already boisterous and busy. Their gift shop was rapidly selling out of Royal

Wedding gifts even two weeks before the wedding. Over some toast and scones, I spoke with the owner, Nicky Perry. She assured me that I needn’t put on airs in terms of etiquette at her restaurant. “It doesn’t matter if you drop the beans on the side of the table. It doesn’t matter if you scrape the plate and eat every single mouthful,” she said. “The only manners I expect in here, I expect you to have respect for us, and to not be rude or pushy or entitled. Because if you are, you don’t get in.” As proof of their liberal views on etiquette, I was not only was permitted to dunk my biscuit in my tea, I was actually encouraged to do so! The most important lesson learned is this, as Meier noted: “Etiquette is not about being fancy. It’s not about being stuffy. It’s actually all about warmth, and to show respect to the person you’re eating with... People think it’s for the one percent of the world, but anyone can learn it.” For more information, visit,,, alicesteacup. com, and

Photo by Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett

Tea & Sympathy’s vestibule is designed like a British phone booth. It’s bigger on the inside.

NYC Community Media

May 10, 2018


Pioneers and Emerging Voices Merge New York African Film Festival presents features, shorts, discussions BY ALEXANDRA SIMON The New York African Film Festival returns on May 16 and is celebrating its 25th anniversary starting with screenings at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. This year’s festival puts a special focus on African filmmakers instrumental in introducing a wave of classic movies into the African film industry. To commemorate that, a new addition to the festival will bring veteran and upcoming filmmakers together for a discussion on how classics stood the test of time, and how the current generation is poised to take African film into new creative territory. “In this program,” festival founder Mahen Bonetti noted, “we’re going to be paying homage to the pioneers. We’re bringing the filmmakers in transition and still with us… together with the emerging filmmakers,” said. Honoring influential voices from the past — while they are still active — is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for early career artists, who can learn from their predecessors, she added. “It’s going to be an intergenerational

Photo by Apolline Traore

The film “Borders,” by Burkinabe filmmaker Apolline Traore, will kick off the opening night of the New York African Film Festival on May 16. The film follows four Malian women on a journey to Nigeria as they encounter a series of challenges.


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May 10, 2018

conversation taking place through the work and we really want them to pass on that baton and show the ropes to young filmmakers,” Bonetti said. “We have to be mindful a lot of trailblazers are passing on and we need to record them and their work, because we are fortunate to have them share their stories on film.” The two-day intergenerational discussion kicks off May 21-22, featuring the film “The Wedding Ring” by Nigerien director Rahmatou Keïta. Her daughter, filmmaker Magaajyia Silberfeldk, will show her short film “Vagabonds,” and the two will lead a discussion about their films. The next day, another discussion will take place between Senegalese director Safi Faye and Ghanian-American filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu. There will also be a free town hall event on May 13, which will present a conversation between young artists and how they use their art for activism, according to Bonetti. The festival’s lineup has over 60 films hailing from over two dozen countries, with a large number of them by creators from Burkina Faso and South Africa. Some of the films include the New York premiere of award-winning Burkinabe film, “Borders,” a film documenting one of Africa’s most famous filmmakers — Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako, and a film highlighting the con-

tinent’s first film festival — the Carthage Film Festival, according to Bonetti. The festival kicks off with the May 13 town hall, and screenings begin at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center on May 16. It will continue at BAMcinématek, and conclude at Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem with showings of shorts. Bonetti said she wants people to explore African filmmaking and participate in the conversations that come after a film, because they are integral to understanding a variation of contexts each film analyzes. “I would like people to come in and see the films and engage and see not only what’s on screen, but to stay for conversation — not just seeing the film, [but also] every post-screening, [to see] that they are just as rich as the film,” she said. “I want people be part of that conversation and just welcome the filmmakers.” The New York African Film Festival happens May 16-22 (144 W. 65th St., btw. Amsterdam & Columbus Aves.). Screenings also take place May 22-28 at BAMcinématek at Brooklyn Academy of Music (30 Lafayette Ave., btw. St. Felix St. & Ashland Pl. in Fort Green) and June 7-10, at the Maysles Documentary Center (343 Malcolm X Blvd., btw. W. 127th & 128th Sts.). Tickets are $15 ($12 for students/seniors). Call 212-3521720 or visit NYC Community Media

Photo by Scott Stiffler

Frankie Portugal’s menu has offerings that are unique, even by Chelsea standards.

Cultivate a Passion for Pastries at Frankie Portugal BY PAULA ROSENBERG Joey Batista is modest about his role in co-founding Frankie Portugal, one of Chelsea’s most unique cafes. “I’m not the baker,” he noted, “and I am not the genius behind the food. I’m simply the passionate one.” Batista is from Ludlow Massachusetts, a town in the Berkshires with a predominantly Portuguese-American demographic. He grew up speaking Portuguese before learning English. “I’m really proud of my family’s background and heritage,” he said. Since New York prides itself on being a city of international foodies, Batista was surprised at the lack of Portuguese food options when he first arrived here five years ago to work in IT and sales. “As cliché as it sounds, New York is an extremely inspiring city,” noted the East Village resident. He witnessed many of his friends and colleagues takNYC Community Media

Photo by Paulo Miguel Salud

Pastéis De Nata — a custard tart, which is served warm — is a popular draw at Frankie Protugal, and via Joey Batista’s summer street fair appearances.

ing on side hustles around their passions, which lead him to wonder if there was a market for the dishes he grew up loving.

Under his brand name, Joey Bats Sweets (since renamed Joey Bats Café), Batista tested his passion project last summer by selling pastries at events like

San Gennaro Festival, Monday Movie Nights at Bryant Park, and Queens Night Market. He did well — but winter was coming and he didn’t have a place to sell his products. He tried an outpost at Broadway Market in Soho, but found that venue, primarily a clothing market, wasn’t as good for his business as he expected. He knew that the 114 10th Ave. location of Artichoke Basille’s Pizza had space around the corner, on W. 17th St., that they weren’t using — so he reached out to the owners. “As it turns out,” Batista recalled, “one of the owners, Francis Garcia, is part Portuguese.” Garcia’s father was half Italian and half Portuguese and, since he grew up in a predominately Italian neighborhood in Staten Island, his neighbors referred to him as “Frankie Portugal.” So when Batista PORTUGAL continued on p. 17 May 10, 2018


Photos by Sam Bleiberg

Christine Quinn, center, with microphone. To the right, Sylvia Di Pietro (District Leader, 75th Assembly District, part A) and David Warren, CRDC’s current president. CRDC continued from p. 2

needs to spend the next couple months in swing races,” Johnson said. “No one should feel that because in Manhattan we don’t have swing races, that there isn’t work to do. You can hop on Long Island Railroad and in 30 minutes be in a swing district in Long Island.” The topic of presidential impeachment also surfaced throughout the program. Holtzman, winner of the club’s Thomas K. Duane Award, served on the House Judiciary Committee that recommended impeachment against Richard Nixon, and called for action to remove Donald Trump from office. “We can’t be sitting down. We can’t sit back now,” she said. There was a significant audience for these comments in the room. In attendance was Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, a current member of the House Judiciary Committee who would stand to become the committee’s chair if the Democrats were to

take the House majority in upcoming elections. The event’s programming captured both the CRDC’s legacy over the past 60 years and its impact moving forward. According to club members and elected officials, transparency and autonomy are instrumental to the club’s longevity. “The independence from local politicians is really significant,” Hoylman said. “That’s why the reform political movement is as important today as it was when it began. We need to ensure that our political clubs aren’t just vehicles for elected officials. They have their own voice. Nobody owns CRDC and that’s what makes it so effective.” District Leader Sylvia Di Pietro reaffi rmed the club’s openness to member input: “We rule in this club from bottom up.” Despite its storied history, the club’s leadership is committed to ongoing evolution.

L to R: State Senator Brad Hoylman, City Councilmember Carlina Rivera (holding Hoylman’s daughter), Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, and former State Senator Tom Duane were just a few of the elected officials who attended to support the club.


May 10, 2018

CRDC founding president Robert Trentlyon, left, pictured with district leader and former president Steven Skyles-Mulligan.

L to R: Judge Mary Rosado, Justice Nancy Bannon, and Judicial candidate Hilary Gingold.

“You have to show people what you’ve learned about the way things are, and you have to listen to them about what could be different,” said Skyles-Mulligan. “There’s always the tension between, ‘It won’t work

because we tried this in 1968,’ and, ‘Let’s take a fresh look at this and try something new.’ ” The club actively recruits youngCRDC continued on p. 19

Elizabeth Holtzman (center) received the Thomas K. Duane Award, presented by Duane himself (left) and New York State Committeemember Francine Haselkorn (right). NYC Community Media

Stay Connected to Chelsea, Hudson Yards and Hell’s Kitchen with Photos by Laura Scharf

An enthusiastic crowd gathered to cheer on the performers. SENIOR TALENT continued from p. 7

awarded to Carmen Estrada. Laura Scharf is Director of Community Development at Visiting Neighbors, Inc. — a nonprofit organization that provides support services to help seniors stay independent. Services include friendly visiting to relieve isola-

tion, help with shopping and errands, escorts to medical appointments, health advocacy, and referrals to needed services. VN is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. VN does not charge for services. Contributions are tax-deductible. For more information, call 212260-6200 or visit their website:

Your local source for news, politics, development, theater and entertainment, small business features, jobs, and more.



Second place went to dancers from the Chinatown Senior Citizen Center.

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Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer urged the audience to support Visiting Neighbors, reminding them that the organization relies on contributions, and that every dollar helps. NYC Community Media

We encourage your opinions and feedback on what’s happening in your neighborhood, via May 10, 2018


Courtesy of Brookfield Property Partners

At left, an aerial view of W. 33rd St., between Ninth and 10th Aves., near Dyer Ave., the short thoroughfare midblock used primarily for Lincoln Tunnel traffic. At right, the view of W. 33rd St., between Dyer and Ninth Aves. NOISE continued from p. 3

Post Office Building. Dave Lorentz, a neighborhood resident and sound engineer asked, “Is Con Ed able to provide sound mitigation? On Sunday morning they were dropping metal plates!” Attendees agreed that eliminating weekend work would provide at least some relief. A few days after the May 1 meeting, Con Edison, with a permit approved by the DOT, removed weekend work from the schedule and extended weekday hours to begin at 8 p.m. The original end date of June 15 was moved to July 7, although the remaining work will be revisited and an earlier finish is possible. The goal is to ensure reliable service in the area before the summertime heat. Matt Green, who serves as Johnson’s Deputy Chief of Staff, District Director, facilitated the meeting. In reference to future issues, he said to the local residents, “The first step to take is to call 311 or use the 311 app ( if you have a smartphone. We need an official complaint to be lodged in order to track and follow-up with the city agencies.” Communication through 311 will often trigger an inspection. At the suggestion of the attendees, executives from the DEP had a postmeeting discussion with Con Edison regarding noise mitigation measures to be used by their contractors. Most complaints are for “rock chopping,” and it is a challenge to reduce the sound. The options include mufflers on jackhammers, blanket material around the equipment to shroud noise, and portable


May 10, 2018

Photo by Christian Miles

Con Edison is a major presence in the area around W. 33rd St., where residents have been dealing with nighttime construction noise. Here, a truck heads west on 33rd St., near Dyer Ave.

Photo by Rania Richardson

At the May 1 meeting, Con Edison project manager Michael Moccia addressed overnight work in the vicinity of Manhattan West.

sound barriers wherever and whenever possible. In addition, CB4 District Manager Jesse Bodine and Johnson’s District Office will be organizing a construction coordination meeting for community input on development in the Midtown West area, in the near future. To opt in to Con Edison’s email distribution list to receive work notices, customers can call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633). Concerns can be directed to their Manhattan Regional & Community Affairs (RCA) by sending an email to ManhattanRCA@conEd. com. For issues related to Manhattan West, Brookfield has a hotline: 917-2617225, and voice mail is retrieved several times per day. Email Manhattanwest. NYC Community Media

son. Her desserts are incredible. “Everything in here is Portuguese,” said Batista, during a tour of the cafe. “We were the fi rst place in New York City with this coffee brand, Delta, which is the most popular there,”

Batista said with pride. Delta coffee is giving him a model of one of their machines that takes capsules, so he’ll be able to offer beverages at the street fairs and festivals at which he sells his pastries.

The baked goods at Frankie Portugal include the most popular dessert in Lisbon, Pastéis De Nata — a custard tart, which is served warm. In addition to desserts, the cafe sells traditional rolls, Papo Secos, and pâté spreads. The dishes seem to be a big hit. Batista said he wouldn’t be surprised if they open more Frankie Portugal locations soon (he no longer manages the store, but supplies their pastries). These days, Batista is commuting between Manhattan and Ludlow, where he’s in the construction stage of his own cafe, Joey Bats. The hometown flagship location will be used to test out the concept before opening one in Manhattan by the end of the year. He also plans on participating in as many of NYC’s summertime street fairs and festivals as possible. “Those are great for brand exposure as well as trying out new items. I like to keep things exciting.” he said. Frankie Portugal is located at 457 W. 17th St., at 10th Ave. (right around the corner from Artichoke Basille’s Pizza). Open daily, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Visit,, and

priate health care and social services.” A letter to de Blasio from Charles King, president of Housing Works, the AIDS services group, demonstrates the quiet persuasion — that was coupled with loud protests from advocates, as well — that got city leaders behind this project. King was writing in his capacity as chair of Research for a Safer New York, Inc., a consortium of syringe exchanges that have found themselves treating overdoses and assisting clients who have injected in their facilities’ bathrooms. This consortium will be the contractor managing the overdose prevention centers, with Dr. Holly Hagan, an epidemiologist at NYU, overseeing the research effort. NYU has agreed to have its Institutional Review Board evaluate the study design. The mayor acted after the four city councilmembers where the initial four overdose prevention centers will be sited had already endorsed the idea. Johnson and Levin, in particular, had voiced considerable frustration with de Blasio’s slow pace of acting on the issue. In Upper Manhattan, the Washington Heights Corner Project has agreed to sign a contract with the consortium. Liz Evans, a founder of the Vancouver Needle Exchange in Canada that opened in 2003, is on staff there. Mark

Levine, the chair of the City Council Health Committee and a supporter of SCS, represents the district that includes the Corner Project. St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction, where this writer was formerly chair of the board, participated in the Bronx Opioid Community Summit on April 21. At the meeting, Councilmember Rafael Salamanca, who represents the district where St. Ann’s is located, gave a moving talk about growing up in the Bronx where drug use was common and visible. He emphasized the opportunity to bring change to people’s lives through love and compassion. His remarks, which included his endorsement of Safer Consumption Spaces, drew a standing ovation. The other participating needle exchanges are run by Housing Works, in Midtown West, in Johnson’s district, and VOCAL-NY, which has space within walking distance of Atlantic Avenue-Barclay Center subway complex. Levin is the councilmember for that district. In testimony before the Council’s Budget Committee in February, Dr. Mary Bassett, the city health commissioner, said the scientific evidence that these facilities stop fatal overdoses is “clear.” Drug users, especially those taking opioids, frequently overdose, but in Safer Consumption Spaces they receive

assistance in breathing with doses of naloxone, a public health wonder drug. A plastic nozzle is used to squirt the medication into a user’s nostril and the opioid is inhibited and normal breathing is restored. In Safer Consumption Spaces worldwide — located in more than 100 cities — there have been no reported fatalities. In upstate Ithaca, Mayor Svante Myrick and the City Council have already approved a Safer Consumption Space. Philadelphia and San Francisco are also moving forward on this approach, though no such facility is yet in operation in the US. According to Politico, the number of overdose deaths in New York City hit a record 1,441 in 2017, with 80 percent of them from opioids. Even as Housing Works’ King lauded de Blasio, he expressed frustration about how long it took to get to this day. “Housing Works is thrilled that Mayor de Blasio has stepped up to do the right thing, and given the skyrocketing rates of overdose in New York City, we only wish this administration’s support for an intervention that we have long known to save lives had come sooner,” he said in a written statement, adding, “One thing we have learned from years of fighting the AIDS epidemic is that harm reduction works.”

PORTUGAL continued from p. 13

approached Artichoke about the space, Garcia mentioned that he had been wanting to put a coffee shop there. Since he was familiar with Batista’s pastries he suggested they open something together. That was in October — and by mid-December, the doors to Frankie Portugal were open. When it comes to running a business, Batista draws on the strength of excellent role models. Back in Ludlow, Batista’s father has owned JB Meats, a butcher shops, since 1987 (having taken it over from his father-in-law, who established the business in 1976) — and his uncles recently opened a restaurant that was inspired by the cooking Batista’s mother, Isabel Fernandes, does for the family on Sundays. Batista described what his family dinners are like: “We always eat together. We’d bring friends over and before you know it there would be 15 to 20 people. It was like Thanksgiving every day of the week.” His uncles named the restaurant Come e Cala-te, which translates into “Shut Up and Eat.” Isabel seems to be the family muse, and with good rea-

CURB OVERDOSES continued from p. 4

The US Justice Department has issued quasi-official opinions that Safer Consumption Spaces are illegal, but the mayor, by establishing the sites as temporary research programs, believes Zucker has the legal authority to approve their operation. In the de Blasio administration’s letter to Zucker, Dr. Herminia Palacio, the deputy mayor for health and human services, asked “for immediate steps under Public Health Law to license a pilot research study.” The license would “include the possession of controlled substances.” She cited as precedent the pilot research that authorized needle exchanges whose distribution of sterile syringes brought dramatic reductions in new HIV infections among injection drug users. In examining the city’s request, Zucker can count on the strong support of Chelsea State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, who chairs the Health Committee. “The Mayor’s announcement is an important step and a testament to the hard work of public health advocates on this issue,” Gottfried said in an email to our sister publication, Gay City News, adding, “Supervised injection facilities are an effective harm reduction strategy and a place where people can be connected with approNYC Community Media

Photo by Scott Stiffler

Frankie Portugal on W. 17th St., with sister space Artichoke Basille’s Pizza visible on the corner of 10th Ave.

May 10, 2018



May 10, 2018

NYC Community Media

L PLAN continued from p. 6

NEPA, because the tunnel repairs would be federally funded, either an environmental impact statement (EIS), or Environmental Assessment (EA), must be done. Additionally, the suit argues that the State Environmental Review Quality Act, or SEQRA, and City Environmental Quality Review, CEQR, also require an EIS or EA. Finally, the suit asserts that, under the Americans With Disabilities Act, L subway stations closed during the shutdown would have to be made fully handicapped accessible, such as by adding elevators, as part of the project. Yet, on April 25, in a letter to Paul Engelmayer, the judge on the case, the FTA, with the MTA’s concurrence, stated that “categorical exclusions” previously were granted for the transportation megaproject — but that now the agency actually is not so sure this was the correct thing to do. “In 2015 and 2016,” the letter states, “based on information available at that time, the FTA concluded that work on the L train line (including the Canarsie Tunnel work) would be covered by Categorical Exclusions [CEs]… However, since that determination, the plan for the Canarsie Tunnel work has undergone significant modifications. The FTA has not received a final version of the current Service Plan [L train shutdown mitigation plan], and has not made a final determination at this time as to whether the CE classification is still appropriate. Among other things, the FTA has requested that the ‘appropriate environmental studies’… be prepared to allow the FTA to evaluate whether the

CRDC continued from p. 14

er members to join those who have been involved in politics for decades. Executive committee-at-large member Wyatt Frank represents a new generation of member at the club. “I know there are a lot of people my age who feel this new pressure to get involved,” Frank said. “Listen, it’s one thing to post on Facebook and retweet things. This is a community of leaders

be far more public about what it is doing.” Specifically, the lawsuit states, there are supposed to be “public notice procedures; publication in local newspapers; notice through other local media; notice to potentially interested community organizations, including small business associations; [and] direct mailing to owners and occupants of nearby affected property,” among other legally required steps. The L train shutdown mitigation plan, specifically, is what has sparked fierce opposition by Village and Chelsea groups. Indeed, the MTA and DOT acknowledge that no area would be more impacted by the shutdown plan than 14th St. The city’s scheme would include transforming the major Downtown crosstown artery into a buses-only “busway” for much of the time — if not the whole time — while also adding a two-way protected crosstown bike lane on 13th St. Local residents fear the no-cars restriction on 14th St. would merely push traffic onto their often already-congested narrow side streets, plus that the busway plan would be permanent. Thirteenth St. residents are also battling the plan for the two-way bike lane. In addition, Lower East Side and Soho residents are extremely concerned about the mitigation plan’s call for adding scores of additional diesel-spewing buses running over the Williamsburg Bridge and through Downtown streets every hour to connect to area subway hubs and 14th St. After the May 1 court date, the judge granted Schwartz several days to amend the lawsuit, and he did so — adding that

and a community about democratic policies and getting the right people elected. It’s that simple.” Asked about what motivates young people to get involved in politics today, Holzman summed up the same mission that sparked the club’s founding 60 years ago: “They’re impatient and they have the dreams. They’re willing to try to make the world better.” For more information on the CRDC, visit

Political organizer Kate Linker received the club’s Esther Smith Award. On the right, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler.

PUBLISHER Jennifer Goodstein


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the C.E. exemptions were granted illegally by the FTA. In addition, according to Schwartz, an attorney from the law firm Bryan Cave who was representing the MTA told the judge the authority planned to wait until after the L tunnel repairs and station upgrades were done before going back and making all the affected stations handicapped accessible. That didn’t exactly sit well with the disabled advocates who were there in court with Schwartz. “I had people there in wheelchairs,” Schwartz said. “They were very angry afterward.” As for the lawsuit’s SEQRA/CEQR claim, while the MTA and DOT have not done an EIS for the L shutdown plan, they maintain that sufficient environmental studies of one sort or another were done. Schwartz said that, if the lawsuit “gets past hurdles,” and is still going by August, it will be looking very good for the plaintiffs. However, he said, if the FTA “pulls” — as in, removes — the allegedly previously granted categorical exclusions now, there would still be time for the transit and transportation agencies to conduct the legally required environmental studies. But if the CEs aren’t pulled, and the agencies don’t start doing the environmental studies right now, then there is no way, in Schwartz’s view, that the L shutdown project would be ready to start, as planned, in April 2019. The MTA and DOT did not respond to requests for comment. The FTA could not immediately be reached for comment.

Canarsie Tunnel work is exempt from further review under NEPA. If the FTA decides that the work is not exempt from further NEPA review, the FTA may require preparation of an EA or EIS…” However, according to Arthur Schwartz, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, on May 1 in court, US Attorney Jennifer Simon, representing the FTA, “stated that no CE had been granted.” “I pointed out that ran contrary to what was stated in the letter,” Schwartz said, “that there had been a CE and that it was being reconsidered.” This discussion was all duly recorded in the court transcript, Schwartz noted. Since the feds and MTA are giving conflicting information on this matter, Schwartz said he now plans to file a Freedom of Information Law request to obtain documents to verify whether or not any CEs were, in fact, granted. Further, he charged, if FTA did grant categorical exclusions, it would have been “illegal.” Basically, under NEPA, Schwartz argues, the decision whether to give a project a CE classification requires a study. As Schwartz put it, “It seems to require some study about whether the plan will have a significant environmental impact, is the subject of substantial controversy on environmental grounds, or has an impact on a National Historic Preservation Act area — which Greenwich Village and Union Square are.” Also, the Village attorney added, under NEPA, if granting a CE is being considered, then “FTA is supposed to

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May 10, 2018


THE 9TH AVENUE International Food Festival 2018 Saturday and Sunday May 19th & 20th 2018 9th Avenue 42nd to 57th Streets 11am until 6pm


May 10, 2018

We proudly present our yearly celebration of Food, Fun and some really Fabulous things........... All the Best The International community has to offer. Two days.... Unlimited Options.

Food and Beverage Artisans from Around the World. Small Batch Crafts, Culinary items, Art, and Entertainment and so much more.............

Brought to you by: The 9th Avenue Association 630 9th Avenue (212)581-7029 9thAve.Org

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Chelsea Now - May 10, 2018  

May 10, 2018

Chelsea Now - May 10, 2018  

May 10, 2018