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The Paper of Record for ffo o r Greenwich Grrree G ee e e nw nwic iicc h Village, Viil V i ll l l ag age e,, East Ea ass t Village, Viill V i llll ag age e,, Lower L owe East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown o, Unio on S Sq qu ua a rre ar e , Ch C h iin na att ow o w n and own an a n d Noho, nd N o ho No h o , Since Sii n S ncc e 1933 193

May 10, 2018 • $1.00 Volume 88 • Number 19

Mixed signals by feds on L subway shutdown plan; Is E.I.S. needed? BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

D

id the Federal Transit Administration 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 F.T.A. did grant ex-

emptions, why is it now saying it did not? That issue was raised prominently last Tuesday in federal court in Foley Square on a lawsuit filed last month by the 14th St. Coalition — a broad-based group of Village and Chelsea block associations and homeLTRAIN continued on p. 8

Dwellers are kvellers after judge SLAPPs down defamation suit BY SYDNEY PEREIR A

T

he Lower East Side Dwellers have emerged victorious after a twoyear legal battle in which the bar No Fun NYC sued the Dwellers, its founder Diem Boyd, and another Dwellers member, Sara Romanoski, for $3 million. The lawsuit claimed

the Dwellers had defamed the bar — alleging that Boyd made false statements about No Fun that caused harm to the business. But on Tues., April 24, State Supreme Court Justice Lynn Kotler ruled otherwise — finding in favor of the Dwellers on SLAPP continued on p. 11

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

“Sex and the Cit y” star-turned-governor contender C ynthia Nixon spoke at a forum for candidates for statewide office at the Village’s P.S. 41 on Monday night.

Miranda warning: Cyn slams Andy in Village BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

A

forum for candidates running for statewide office in September’s Democratic primaries saw an enthusiastic crowd of more than 200 people pack the P.S. 41 auditorium in Greenwich Village on Monday night. Listed on the agenda for the event — which had a 6:30 p.m. start — were candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and

‘Farter’ blows his cover.... .......p. 3

comptroller. However, right as the forum was beginning, The New Yorker broke the shocking story online detailing Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s history of physical abuse toward multiple women. People in the audience were stunned to read about it on their phones. Within minutes of the forum’s ending around 9:30 p.m., Schneiderman issued a statement announcing his resignation from office. Erik Coler, the president of

the Village Independent Democrats — one of the 10 local political clubs that sponsored the event — was the forum’s co-moderator. Asked later if Schneiderman or a surrogate had been planning to attend, Coler said, “We had a rep [for Schneiderman] coming. Twenty minutes prior to the forum, I received an e-mail telling me he was unable to attend but did not give a reason. They must have FORUM continued on p. 6

Hoylman’s focus is state Senate, not A.G. ..........p. 2 Trader Joe’s set to open soon on Spring! ...........p. 5 www.TheVillager.com


TO BE A.G.: After the initial shock of the news about Eric Schneiderman had subsided slightly, our next thought was...Brad Hoylman. Namely, would the crusading state senator from the Village campaign to be New York State attorney general? The next day, Hoylman’s name was mentioned along with eight or nine others also said to be in the mix to be the state’s preeminent prosecutor. However, in an e-mail, Hoylman told us that, at this point, he doesn’t feel it would be the right move for him, for several reasons. “The revelations about Schneiderman were sickening and have really shaken Albany to its core,” the state senator said. “Disbelief was followed quickly by disappointment and anger at someone who publicly professed to be a champion of women, yet abused them in private. It’s hypocrisy on a grand scale. I hope they throw the book at him! The Legisla-

ture has the constitutional obligation to select a replacement attorney general. Since the Assembly has more members then the Senate, they’re driving the process. At the moment, though, there seems to be a standoff precipitated by the Senate Republicans on how to screen candidates for the position. At the end of the day, I hope there is an open process that provides for public and expert input. It’s flattering to have been mentioned as a candidate for a position that can fight Trump and do so much good for New Yorkers, but there are a lot of excellent candidates and the timing wasn’t right for me. I don’t want leave the Senate just when Democrats are a seat away from a majority and the midterm elections seem so promising.” Word has it that Public Advocate Letitia James may be the leading candidate to be appointed A.G.

ENOUGH BROKAW ALREADY: Veteran journo Mary Reinholz’s firstperson account in The Villager last week about Tom Brokaw abruptly trying to put the moves on her 50 years ago when both were working in news in L.A. definitely “went viral” — yes, we can use that term! In the midst of the current #MeToo climate, the story quickly became national, and was picked up by everyone from the Post’s Page Six, the Daily News and New York magazine’s The Cut, to Fox News, the Daily Mail and beyond. People.com asked us for Reinholz’s photo for a story they apparently were planning about

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it, but we haven’t seen anything from them online yet. “Inside Edition” asked Reinholz, 80, to be on its show, but she turned that offer down, feeling the TV “news magazine” to be “too gossipy.” At any rate, given all the interest, The Villager thought to ask the scrappy scribe to write another column on the whole experience of her piece being the “hot story of the moment.” But Reinholz ultimately thought better of it. In an e-mail to the paper, she said, “I think you should write a follow-up editorial on this extraordinary response to what was just a routine story by a reporter and long-ago bleeping columnist for the New York Daily News Sunday magazine covering the women’s movement in the 1970s. I really don’t want to milk my 15 minutes of fame on what I consider to be really boring and banal subject. I have to write a story for an L.A. area weekly about a man I care about very much who might die any time soon after suffering a stroke three years ago at City News Service after his female boss berated him once again and hinted he should retire. He was hospitalized and did retire but subsequently had a stroke-related fall at his apartment, fractured some vertebrae and is now in the hospital again after an infection set in. So I care a helluva more about him than Tom Brokaw. To hell with him and B.S.” Reinholz, in her column, said she was compelled to write it only because Brokaw “disparaged” Linda Vester and her account of how the news titan aggressively pursued her and forcefully tried to kiss her despite her obvious disinterest — and fear! “You can put some perspective into this whole crazy overreaction by a celeb-worshiping society,” Reinholz told us, dismissively, in saying we should write an editorial. “I don’t care that much and would be embarrassed to revisit this story.” The Villager and she “have done farmore important pieces,” she declared. “The current crop at the Daily News wouldn’t remember me,” she reflected, “but I wrote about domestic violence for them, plus gambling, prostitution in New York City and a bunch of profiles of prominent New Yorkers, like Donald Trump — after he renovated the Wollman Rink way back in 1986.” In other words, Reinholz has always been the real deal.

GOLES MARKS 40: Local tenants advocacy organization Good Old Lower East Side a.k.a. GOLES will be celebrating its 40th anniversary on Thurs., May 17, at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, at 172 Norfolk St. Honorees will include Councilmember Carlina Rivera, actress Rosario Dawson, who famously grew up in a squat on E. 13th St., and GOLES alum Shaheeda Abdush Shaheed-Smith, who is currently the program manager of the Department of Youth and Community Development, and Collective for Community, Culture & Environment. RING LOSS STINGS: Jessica Delfino, the edgy — some say “controversial” — Downtown singer, songwriter and comedian, lost her diamond ring on Tues., May 1, around 7:35 p.m., near Forsyth and Stanton Sts., but possibly anywhere in the wider area between Houston and Delancey Sts. “It was in my pocket after a manicure and I believe it fell out shortly after I left the salon,” she said. “It’s obviously of great sentimental value and I’m desperate to find it. I’m offering a big reward and no questions asked. It’s silver in color with one simple larger diamond on top and small diamonds on either side in a princess cut. The ring is vintage and has an Art Deco style. I have hung up some fliers and have been searching the area. I even got in touch with a great business called RingFinders, who come out with metal detecting equipment to try to help, but we had no luck. Next steps are to search the city grates using some high-tech camera equipment, and of course getting the word out and hanging more signs. As you can probably guess, I really want my ring back! I know it’s a long shot but I’ve got to try. I just celebrated my fifth anniversary on March, 10 years together with my husband — who I met on Craigslist; our story was featured in The New York Times Vows.” If anyone has any info about her ring, please e-mail us at news@thevillager.com .

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May 10, 2018

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Ex-lax-clusive: ‘Village Farter’ blows his cover BY SYDNEY PEREIR A

T

he “Village Serial Farter” was spotted by this newspaper last weekend, and he’s ready to reveal his identity. Phil Boucher, a 35-year-old musician, spent Saturday afternoon circling the Washington Square Arch — pranking people, left and right, with a black rubber “Pooter” device. Locals’ interest in the self-described “Fart Fairy” has really blown up after people began recounting run-ins with him on neigborhood app Next Door, as The Villager reported last month. Boucher has been pranking unassuming urbanites for nearly a decade — and in New York, specifically, for the last several years. He plays drums in a band, Tribe Society, though right now the band is “dormant,” and for his day job, works for a food-delivery service. While waiting for delivery orders on the job, he spends his time mildly startling people with the farting device, often in Washington Square. Until recently, Boucher chose to remain anonymous, but Tuesday, he debuted a YouTube video of his pranks in the park. In an interview with The Villager, Boucher described his light-hearted, fake-gas-passing pastime.

Simple but effective: The “ Village Serial Far ter” ’s “Pooter” device.

start this particular prank? S.F.: Nine years ago. ... I’ve been here in New York for a little over three. I’ve been doing it intensely for three years. What other cities have you tooted your ‘Pooter’ in? I’m in a band and we tour all over the country, every major city — Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston. I’ve been to the 48 continental states, but I have mostly done this in New York and Boston.

V: So, ‘Serial Farter,’ when did you

So why do you do it? Because it’s funny. It’s funny and no one sees it coming. It’s something that can be dropped in out of nowhere. People get a laugh and then you move on with your life. And there’s no need to sign a written letter of consent. But after nine years, you still find it funny? What makes you enjoy pranking people in the park after so many years, particularly on your Saturday afternoon? I do it like five days a week. So, I work

for a food-delivery service. I walk and deliver food all over the city — 10, 12, 15 miles a day, about five days a week, sometimes a little more, sometimes less. Right now, it’s a nice day, so work is dead for us. The worse the weather, the busier my job is. So, I kill time by being here in the park because this is my favorite spot in the city to do it. Like, right by the Arch here. But normally with most people, I get them when I’m in transit — either going to pick up food or deliver food — and that’s when it’s just a random encounter down the sidewalk. This person just walks past and doesn’t say anything because I’m doing something else. This is just a fun little thing to do on the side. Has anybody ever gotten angry at you for pranking them? Oh, yeah! It’s almost always guys — just to put that out there. And some of them will get right in my face. A couple of them have demanded apologies, which I’ve never given for it, and I never intend to. I’ve been punched once — yes — but he wasn’t scary. He was just an idiot. There was one guy who went off. Once he saw red, he just turned into full-on monster pit bull. I was luckily with 10 or 12 other people, so I had defense in numbers. But if I was by myself, FARTER continued on p. 16

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May 10, 2018

PHOTOS BY SYDNEY PEREIRA

Johan Figueroa González was back in Washington Square Park last Saturday pitching his petition effor t to let him per form on the park’s Arch once again. On the ground in front of him were ar ticles by The Villager about his arrest and a profile about him from last year in The New York Times and a Lonely Planet feature.

‘Statue’ petitions to regain park perch BY SYDNEY PEREIR A

W

ashington Square Park’s “Living Statue” isn’t giving up on his Arch performances quite yet. After his arrest for climbing onto the park Arch in mid-April, Johan Figueroa González launched a petition on Change. org asking Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo to help him “get back to Washington Square Arch.” The peformer González returned to the park in full makeup on Saturday afternoon, speaking with passersby about his petition. “I believe that I need to be back to The Arch because my performance is unique,” Figueroa González wrote in the petition. “I am part of the spirit of New York City. This is a place for everyone, including any type of artist who performs with love and passion.” His petition calls on city officials to make an exception to the rule against climbing on monuments and let him climb 2 feet above the ground. As of Monday evening, his online petition had already received 2,744 signatures. “I want to grow old as a living statue on the Arch,” he wrote. “The future generations of New Yorkers and visitors deserve that unique experience while walking in the most diverse city in the world, and I am sure I also deserve to give that performance.” Saturday afternoon, Figueroa González returned to the park publicizing his petition. He stood in front of the Arch with information about his petition, as well as articles about him from The Villager and The New York Times and a description from Lonely Planet. In the wake of his recent arrest, rather then performing this

time, he spent the afternoon telling parkgoers what had happened and what they might be able to do to help show the city’s politicians why he should have a special permit to perform on the Arch. “I’ve always been a big fan of him since I saw him two years ago,” said Bennett Gershwin, a first-year film student at New York University. “He was one of the initial things that made me fall in love with New York City.” Gershwin was at the Arch the day of Figueroa González’s arrest and signed the petition in support of his return. There’s no question that the Arch, Gershwin said, is Figueroa González’s spot in the park. “I think he has more than a right to be there,” he added. “Clearly, he’s not doing any harm.” The New York City Police Department, however, disagrees. On Fri., April 13, police arrested the artist for disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration and criminal trespass, all misdemeanors. On Mon., April 16, he

was arraigned on only the first and third charges. He received an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, or A.C.D. The charges are expected to be dismissed if he is not arrested again in six months. Figueroa González counts some 70 performances of his climbing on the Arch last year, which begs the question why officers would arrest him in his first turn up on the Arch this year. Some artists’ advocates believe it is related to an ongoing court case, or possibly the Washington Square Park Conservancy’s efforts to crack down on park programming, as The Villager reported on last week. For his part, Figueroa González believes that graffiti that was recently spray-painted on the arch — “F--U” and “I DON’T NEED YOU” in large black letters — sparked increased security around the historic marble monument. Gershwin noted that after the graffiti incident, there was a police car parked in front of the Arch. Another frequent parkgoer — the increasingly notorious serial farter — also added that extra security seemed to spike just after the graffiti incident. The graffiti was still visible on the Arch, though faded from a cleaning effort, last Saturday afternoon. The specific regulation cited as the reason for Figueroa González’s arrest is in Section 1-04 of the Parks Depatment rules, which restricts parkgoers from climbing on structures not intended for climbing purposes in a manner that could damage the structure. “The landmark Arch is made of fragile marble and such is susceptible to damage through physical interaction,” a Parks spokesperson said last week. “People are encouraged to look at — not touch — the Arch, to ensure its preservation and structural integrity. TheVillager.com


JEEFFERSON MARKET GARDEN Childrens ldr d Music and Flower Festival Saturday May 19th 11 am - 2 pm (Rain Date Sunday May 20th)

PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

The finishing touches are being put on the new Trader Joe’s, at Spring St. and Sixth Ave., which is set to open in about t wo weeks.

Trader Joe’s-mania grips Spring St.; Opening soon

Crafts - Face Painting - Games Dave the Worm Guy Festive Cookies courtesy of Citarella

BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y

E

xcitement is building for the new Trader Joe’s supermarket set to open soon on the north side of Spring St. midblock between Sixth Ave. and Varick St. As of now, word is the opening will be Fri., May 18. Residents and workers in the west Soho / Hudson Square area have been curiously peering inside the space, where last-minute touches are being made and plenty of shelves are waiting to be stocked. One sign that is already up says bananas, organic ones no less, will be on sale for 25 cents apiece — that’s a bit cheaper than the usual jacked-up price at local delis for nonorganic bananas. And, of course, there will be a full selection of Trader Joe’s faves, like gluten-free frozen pizza, chicken tikka masala, “Unexpected Cheddar Cheese,” premium wild salmon burgers, cornand-chili tomato-less salsa, peanut butter pretzels, plumcots, spatchcocked chicken and much more, all featuring the chain’s affordable prices. The neighborhood has long been known as a supermarket desert, so this new shopping option is being eagerly welcomed — plus, well, it’s Trader Joe’s, which has a fanatic following among local foodies. Aaron Schneider, from Thompson St., is defi nitely psyched for this store. “They’re known for good quality, good prices,” said Aaron Schneider, whose routine has been to go up to the Trader Joe’s on Sixth Ave. and 22nd St. once or twice a week with his food cart or a backpack to lug back his goods. He kvelled about the prices. TheVillager.com

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Coming to Spring St.: Organic bananas for just a quar ter piece.

“For example,” he said, “a 2.6-ounce bottle of powdered garlic costs $2 — elsewhere $4 to 6.” He, like everyone else in Soho, Hudson Square, the South Village and probably even Tribeca, too, is absolutely thrilled. “I don’t have to shop ahead of time for a whole week,” he said. “I can go and pick a few items as I need it. It’ll be so convenient.” And neighbors can choose times to shop there when it’s not that busy. This writer, for one, knows that a dozen eggs at Trader Joe’s are sometimes $2 to $3 less than at other local supermarkets and that the steel-cut oatmeal is $1.50 less than that at the closest supermarket. May 10, 2018

5


Nixon, Williams pound Cuomo at Village forum FORUM continued from p. 1

known that the article was going to drop about an hour before. No one else was running for the Democratic A.G. primary at that time.” Apart from that deeply disturbing news, the evening’s buzz was all about Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams, who are running for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively — and pointedly running to the left of the incumbents, Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul. Nixon, in her remarks, described growing up on the Upper West Side and in Yorkille as a public-school kid with a divorced single mother. Without going into greater detail, she said, “My father was very troubled and our home was often a very troubled place.” Her own three children all either attended or are still going to public school. She said it was her concern about school overcrowding — one of her kids, at one point, was being taught in a trailer — that led her to get involved with schools and sparked her activism, in general. Nixon started acting at age 12 and, of course, later went on to fame in “Sex and the City.” She slammed the New York school system for being “the second most unequal in the country,” noting that there is a $10,000 per-pupil funding gap between students in the wealthiest versus poorest school districts. She blasted Cuomo for being too much of a centrist — or worse — charging, “He has governed like a Republican and he has handed over power to the Republicans.” She accused the governor of allowing the Independent Democratic Caucus to “hijack the state Senate.” Early last month, Cuomo finally compelled the I.D.C. — which had caucused separately from the rest of the Senate Democrats — to dissolve and commit its members to caucusing with the rest of the Dems. Speaking more broadly, she said that, under Cuomo, New York’s infrastructure, cities, towns and rural areas have been “decimated.” While the governor’s $31 million campaign war chest is filled by “developers, landlords and big business,” only “0.1 percent” of his contributions are from small donors, she claimed. “We are not accepting a dime of corporate money,” she declared. “This is a campaign that belongs to the people of New York State. … We will take on the developers and landlords that make New York unaffordable,” she vowed. She also pledged, if elected, to pass single-payer healthcare for New York, and to commit to 100 percent renewable energy by 2015 at the latest. “We are going to legalize marijuana and stop the mass incarceration of people of color,” she promised. On the issue of undocumented immigrants, she said, “We are going to make

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May 10, 2018

PHOTO BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Councilmember Jumaane Williams said, if elected lieutenant governor, he would be an effective progressive foil to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

New York a real sanctuary state, not just rhetorically — with driver’s licenses for all.” She also said she backs closing Rikers Island, adding, “We need to reduce the prison population, reduce marijuana arrests and expunge records.”

‘This campaign belongs to the people.’ Cynthia Nixon

As for the subways, she said Cuomo “has done a lot of cosmetic things,” such as sprucing up stations, but that the M.T.A. must do more to increase handicap accessibility throughout the system. “When we renovate stations, we must make this a priority,” she stated. Jeannine Kiely, the founder of Friends of Elizabeth St. Garden, asked Nixon, if elected, if she could be counted on to save the Little Italy garden and stop an

affordable housing project from being built there, and if she would try to convince Mayor Bill de Blasio to drop the housing plan. Nixon actually is a neighbor, living a few blocks north of there. “I live on Elizabeth St.,” Nixon said. “It is a beautiful garden. I love to go by it. I don’t have a position on it.” She said the loss of green space is “a major change” that deserves careful review, “but it does have to be balanced with the need for affordable housing.” She noted that four years ago she stood with Village community activists and preservationists when they fought to keep New York University from being able to use strips of parkland along LaGuardia Place, Mercer St. and Bleecker St. for its superblocks expansion project. “I was part of the battle for [those] green spaces — we lost,” she said. Livvie Mann, of Rise and Resist and, more locally, the Bedford Downing Block Association, pointedly asked Nixon if she planned to back the “antiI.D.C. candidates” running against Simcha Felder and Co. “The I.D.C. members need to be challenged,” Nixon said. However, when pressed by Mann as to whether she would endorse their opponents, Nixon said she was not prepared to say if she would do that yet. Williams, the deputy leader of the City Council, started off by firing up the crowd by shouting into the microphone, “It’s time!” and having the audience shout back, “Let’s go!” “I am a community organizer by train-

ing,” the Brooklyn councilmember said. He noted he is the child of immigrants from Grenada, and that his brother had been an undocumented immigrant. He added that he also has Tourette syndrome, which causes him sometimes to make involuntary movements. “For the past nine years, I’ve been trying to cause as much as trouble as humanly possible,” he said. As for being lieutenant governor, he said he has “a completely different view. I don’t want to be a rubber stamp. I don’t want to be a parrot,” he said. “I want to be the people’s lieutenant governor. “This governor has a progressive cloak that he puts on when it’s convenient,” he said. “Now that’s it’s election time, that jacket is on tight!” Indeed, Nixon is being credited with pushing Cuomo to the left on the issues. “Someone has to shine a light on these things,” Williams stressed, clearly indicating, if elected, he would be a foil to the governor, whenever needed. “This position was created to be independent,” he explained. For example, in response to a question on fracking, he noted that, while having banned fracking here, Cuomo is still allowing fracked gas to be brought into this state from Pennsylvania. “I don’t want anybody to vote for me because I’m a black man,” he said at another point. “Identity politics is important, but I want people to vote for me based on my nine-year record.” That said, he added, “I do think being a black man is important, being a child of immigrants is important, having a brother whose brother was undocumented is important, having Tourette’s is important.” Williams said he has passed the second-most amount of legislation in the Council after only the Council speaker. Village District Leader Keen Berger praised Williams for protesting and getting arrested on Jan. 11 when immigrant activist Ravi Ragbir was about to be deported after a “check-in” with ICE down at Federal Plaza. “What can we do to stop the deportations?” she asked him. “If you are currently in your comfort zone, you are not doing enough,” he said, explaining why he refused to take an A.C.D. (adjournment in contemplation of dismissal) and instead is fighting the arrest charge in court. He chided any Democrats in blue states who supported Trump in the election and “allowed this ‘orange man’ to be put in place. .. Any blue just won’t do,” he stressed. In a candidate twofer, Lieutenant Governor Hochul spoke on behalf of both herself and Cuomo. She started off by noting the challenge of being a statewide politician in this state. “Representing the state of New York FORUM continued on p. 22 TheVillager.com


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Mixed signals by feds on L subway shutdown plan LTRAIN continued from p. 1

owners — 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 Sandydamaged East River tunnel. The suit’s defendants include the F.T.A., the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York City Transit Authority and the city’s Department of Transportation. The suit charges that under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, because the tunnel repairs would be federally funded, either an environmental impact statement, or E.I.S., or environmental assessment, or E.A., 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 E.I.S. or E.A. Finally, the suit asserts that under the Americans With Disabilities Act, L subway stations closed during the shutdown would have to be made fully handicap 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 F.T.A., with the M.T.A.’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 F.T.A. concluded that work on the L train line (including the Canarsie Tunnel work) would be covered by Categorical Exclusions (‘C.E.s’)... . However, since that determination, the plan for the Canarsie Tunnel work has undergone significant modifications. The F.T.A. 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 C.E. classification is still appropriate. Among other things, the F.T.A. has requested that the ‘appropriate environmental studies’...be prepared to allow the

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May 10, 2018

PHOTO BY SYDNEY PEREIRA

Dubbed the “L-pocalypse,” the city’s planned shutdown of the L train bet ween 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 are suing over the scheme, say the city’s mitigation plan for the subway shutdown would also cause an unprecedented impact — on their neighborhoods.

F.T.A. to evaluate whether the Canarsie Tunnel work is exempt from further review under NEPA. If the F.T.A. decides that the work is not exempt from further NEPA review, the F.T.A. may require preparation of an E.A. or E.I.S. ...” However, according to Arthur Schwartz, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, on May 1 in court, U.S. Attorney Jennifer Simon, representing the F.T.A., “stated that no C.E. had been granted.” “I pointed out that ran contrary to what was stated in the letter,” Schwartz said, “that there had been a C.E. and that it was being reconsidered.” This discussion was all duly recorded in the court transcript, Schwartz noted. Since the feds and M.T.A. 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 C.E.s were, in fact, granted. Further, he charged, if the F.T.A. did grant categorical exclusions, it would have been “illegal.” Basically, under NEPA, Schwartz ar-

gues, the decision whether to give a project a C.E. classification requires a study. As he 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 C.E. is being considered, then “F.T.A. is supposed to 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 M.T.A. and D.O.T. 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 the C.E. exemptions were granted illegally by the F.T.A. In addition, according to Schwartz, an attorney from the law firm Bryan Cave who was representing the M.T.A. told the judge that 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 handicap 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 M.T.A. and D.O.T. have not done an E.I.S. for the L shutdown plan, they maintain that sufficient environmental studies of one sort or another were done. In addition, Schwartz added, “D.O.T. is saying that due to the Public Authorities Law, they don’t have to do an E.I.S. This is the first time they’ve come up with that argument.” 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 F.T.A. “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. Otherwise, there is no way, in Schwartz’s view, the L shutdown project could start by April 2019. David Marcus, a leading member of the 14th St. Coalition, is an executive board member of the W. 13th St. 100 Block Association and a resident of the Cambridge apartment building, 175 W. 13th St. He said the court proceedings simply reinforce residents’ accusation that the required processes have been flouted. “We have always believed that the responsible state and city agencies did not follow proper procedures and protocols when formulating the plans to close the Canarsie Tunnel for repairs and for traffic mitigation for 14th St.,” he said. “Common sense and decency would dictate that any plan of this magnitude must evaluate the impact on the affected communities and on the local environment before moving forward — and based on recent court filings, to do otherwise is likely to be illegal. To argue otherwise is disingenuous, to say the least.” The M.T.A., D.O.T. and F.T.A. did not respond to requests for comment. TheVillager.com


ADVERTORIAL

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

TheVillager.com

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.

May 10, 2018

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Rue St. Denis owners ready to try a different road BY L AUR A HANR AHAN

A

fter 30 years in business, Rue St. Denis, a small vintage store tucked away on Avenue B at E. 11th, will be closing its doors. Named after one of the oldest streets in Paris, the boutique has engrained itself in New York’s vintage scene as one of the true hidden gems. With the decision having been a somewhat spontaneous one, co-founder Jean-Paul Buthier said there is no official closing date as of yet. “When the walls are bare,” he said with a laugh. “The idea is we don’t want to move it. We have 40,000 pieces here.” Prices are being slashed up to 75 percent for the going-out-of-business sale. Founded in 1988 by Buthier and his partner in both business and life, Riccardo Bonechi, the East Village store has become a staple in not only the city’s vintage scene, but as a supplier for TV, film and Broadway. Once they have closed up shop, Buthier and Bonechi plan to scale back, slow down and focus on that other side of the business. At a recent invite-only kickoff to the store’s closing sale, members of the press and longtime customers packed into the narrow shop. Racks of bold, printed ’70s blouses, sturdy ’80s leather jackets and timeless Mary Jane pumps lined the store from floor to ceiling, all leading to a back room packed with perfectly preserved men’s suits. With everything on sale, some buyers found themselves picking up as many pieces as they could carry. “This is so sad,” one woman exclaimed. “I remember coming here in high school with my friends to shop.” Buthier, however, was quick to point out that, for them, this is anything but sad. It’s the culmination of 30 years of passion, dedication and, ultimately, huge success. Originally from France, Butheir met the Italian-born Bonechi while living in London in 1985. The two moved to New York and worked as waiters while testing their hand at selling vintage clothing at flea markets. “I was O.K. with the flea market,” Buthier said. “But Ricardo was like, ‘You know what? Carrying things isn’t for me.’ So that’s when we started the store.” Bonechi runs the shop. Buthier works behind the scenes, scouting out suppliers and sifting through clothes. “You know how in a store if it doesn’t sell, you put it in the attic?” Buthier said. “And then you put more in the attic and you do that for 40 years? My job is to find those stores.” Rue St. Denis specializes in “dead stock” — vintage clothing that has never been worn — which quickly made them one of the most desirable stops

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May 10, 2018

Riccardo Bonechi, above left, and Jean-Paul Buthier, the business’s co-owners.

PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Looking through the racks at Rue St. Denis at the East Village vintage store’s recent launch par ty for its closing sale, which is ongoing, with no firm end date at this point.

Rocking a retro look while looking through the racks.

for costume designers. The place has provided wardrobe pieces for shows like “The Americans,” “Gotham,” “The Deuce” and “The Get Down,” and even for Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino’s upcoming film “The Irishman.” “There’s really not another shop that has this amazing amount of suits, especially dead-stock suits,” said Natalie Turturro, the assistant costume designer for “The Deuce.” “I’ll text them saying, ‘I’m looking for this, I have to come in five minutes, I have a fitting in an hour.’ They are so amazing. They never tell me no. They always pull racks for me and then I just come in and get it and that’s it.” Buthier, a self-described workaholic, said what he is going to miss most are the hectic, overworked hours. “I’m joking, but I’m not joking, in a way,” he said. “I never stop. So I’m a little bit worried, as much as I’m excited, to slow down.” But after three decades in the vintage trade, Buthier is hopefully optimistic about what is yet to come. “In this business, you meet a lot of older people because they’ve owned stores their entire life or for generations,” he said. “But the ones that are great are the ones that have moved on. They’ve created for themselves another life and I want to do that for myself. And 55 is the right age to make the change. If you wait a little bit more, then I think you have less of a chance to really open yourself to something else.” TheVillager.com


Dwellers beat bar’s suit SLAPP continued from p. 1

the basis that the case was a “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” otherwise known as a SLAPP suit. “This is a First Amendment case,” said Diem Boyd, the Dwellers’ founder and director. “It was to intimidate us, to tie us up in litigation, to basically silence us. Basically, their goal was to throw this at us and think that we were going to run away.” Referencing the national climate surrounding First Amendment rights under President Donald Trump, Boyd noted that the move by No Fun was a “Trump tactic — out of the Trump playbook.” On April 26, 2016, No Fun, which is located at 161 Ludlow St., filed suit, charging defamation. The original complaint said that the Dwellers petitioned against the bar’s liquor license renewal in 2013, spread fliers around the neighborhood with false information, and spoke falsely at a Community Board 3 meeting about the bar in 2015. The suit specifically alleged that the information the Dwellers were circulating was false — which the bar argued was defamation. “For No Fun, the legal action was about standing up to bullies who spout falsehoods with impunity. We believe the decision by the court is deeply flawed,” No Fun’s lawyer, A. Adam Mehrfar, said in a statement to The Villager. “We intend to appeal.” Mehrfar amended the complaint four times, and at least one of those times the complaint was significantly altered. For Boyd, the amended complaints revealed the gaps in the defamation suit’s fundamental basis. The Dwellers’ lawyer echoed that sentiment. “We are glad the court recognized the truth at the heart of this case: that No Fun’s claims were without legal merit,” said attorney Renée Paradis. “It’s telling that No Fun filed four different drafts of its complaint and couldn’t find a single viable claim. This is a good day for community organizing and free speech.” A critical factor in the judge’s decision was No Fun’s inability to prove that its business was significantly harmed by the alleged false statements. Kotler noted in her ruling that No Fun’s liquor license was renewed, and also cited that No Fun’s lawyer said the bar had public support. “The court finds that [No Fun] cannot establish by clear and convincing evidence that its business reputation or credit standing were harmed by the alleged defamatory statements,” Kotler stated in her ruling. The battle stretched over two years with dozens of affidavits submitted, much of which were in support of Boyd and the Dwellers. Nearby residents and community group leaders — as well as other bar owners and even bar owners’ lawyers — submitted statements deTheVillager.com

fending the Dwellers. The fight was watched by community activists around the city, including one group covering Washington Heights and Inwood that praised the ruling. “Moving Forward Unidos applauds the dismissal of the frivolous lawsuit filed by No Fun against L.E.S. Dwellers,” Nancy Preston, co-founder of the Uptown group, said. “This lawsuit exemplifies intimidation tactics at the extreme used to put fear in current and future neighborhood activists. The lawsuit hung over the heads of the L.E.S. Dwellers for two years, and considerable expense was required to respond.” Preston, who wrote an affidavit on the Dwellers’ behalf last September, added that she is encouraged by Kotler’s ruling, particularly for her group’s quality-of-life advocacy work in its own neck of the woods in Upper Manhattan. Others defended Boyd and the work she has spearheaded Downtown. “Diem has been a great ally to us,” wrote Jan Lee as a former property and business owner in Chinatown and part of the Civic Center Resident Coalition in his affidavit last September. “The Lower East Side has become a safer neighborhood because the L.E.S. Dwellers act as a watchdog group.” On Tuesday, Lee thanked the judge for upholding the First Amendment, saying by email that “residents in New York City should not have fear of lawsuits being brought against them, even if [the lawsuits] are frivolous and meant to intimidate block associations.” Lee, now the director of The Chinatown Coalition, a quality-of-life group, said community groups are currently exploring how “entertainment” should be defined — basically, it should be defined by residents and “not bar owners who exploit neighborhoods,” he said. Mayor Bill de Blasio recently appointed Ariel Palitz as the city’s nightlife mayor, which some community groups have criticized as a bad choice because of her history owning a bar that received noise complaints and her tenure on Community Board 3’s State Liquor Authority committee. Palitz’s office, managed within the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, is expected to make recommendations to the mayor and City Council on how to improve laws regarding nightlife through studying typical complaints, public safety, zoning and working conditions, among other nightlife-related issues. Since Palitz’s appointment, however, it has been MOME Commissioner Julie Menin who has met with various community groups Downtown at least twice, including The Chinatown Coalition and the Dwellers. “We plan on working closely with Commissioner Julie Menin, who has been extremely open and available to us by way of two recent meetings with SLAPP continued on p. 15 May 10, 2018

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Roll it! Three art houses are poised to expand BY GARY SHAPIRO

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reenwich Village has long been the embodiment of bohemia, and movie theaters are part of the Village’s cultural soul. An empty back lot or a loading dock hardly sound cinematic, but they are settings where change is afoot for Greenwich Village movie theaters. Greenwich Village itself has played a role in the history of film. Author Steve Massa noted that the Biograph Company moved to a brownstone at 11 E. 14th St., where D.W. Griffith began directing in 1908, introducing many actors, such as Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish. Ben Davis, author of the remarkable volume “Repertory Movie Theaters of New York: Havens for Revivals, Indies and the Avant-Garde, 1960-1974” (McFarland), has extensively researched the history of art cinemas in Manhattan. According to Davis, Robert Downey Sr. read the book in a single sitting, and its insightfulness is why. As Davis sees it, the rise of art houses began in the mid-to-late 1940s with the importation of Italian neorealist films. Urbane audiences were turning from the frothy artificiality of Hollywood films to the adult realism of foreign films. The 1960s experienced an explosion of avant-garde, experimental filmmaking, especially in New York and on the West Coast. From the 1970s to the mid-1980s, repertory movie theaters — consisting of nonprofits like Film Forum and Anthology Film Archives and for-profits like the Bleecker Street Cinema — flourished, mostly in the Village and on the Upper West Side. As Davis sees it, the soaring real estate prices of the late 1980s, however, caused most of the for-profit repertory cinemas to fold, leaving the nonprofits to carry on repertory programming. But as Davis notes, the commercial repertory cinema is on the rise again, such as at the IFC Center, Quad Cinema and Metrograph, some supported by wealthy owners, whom Davis says, “have the means to house their theaters in comfortable surroundings with amenities.” He said that smaller, edgier cinema programming is meanwhile flourishing largely in Brooklyn. At this moment, several art cinemas in the Village are actively expanding. Film Forum is turning an adjoining loading dock on Houston St. into a fourth movie screening room. It will offer more flexibility to its first-run indie and foreign films, as well as a repertory calendar packed with classics, retrospectives and revivals. Located between Sixth Ave. and Varick St., the theater recently closed for this project. It will reopen July 4, when it will aptly feature “Rendezvous in July” as part of its repertory programming.

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May 10, 2018

PHOTO BY GARY SHAPIRO

Film Forum on W. Houston St. recently closed for a renovation that will see a new screen added in the current site of a loading dock, fenced off with green construction fencing, above.

COURTESY ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES

Anthology Film Archives on E. Second St. plans a renovation that will include a new cafe, a publicly accessible librar y and a rooftop deck.

“The expansion will allow us to keep films on screen longer when interest is strong,” said Karen Cooper, Film Forum’s president and director.

‘We’ll be able to keep films on screen longer.’ Karen Cooper The film “I Am Not Your Negro,” notably, could have gone on for

months. Showing what a difference an extra screen will make, Bruce Goldstein, Film Forum’s director of repertory programming, was able to add 60 Ingmar Bergman screenings when a screen happened to have an opening in its schedule. More than $4 million of the $5 million needed for the construction has been raised, Cooper said. Matthew Broderick has recently joined the theater’s distinguished board. Keeping a theater going decade after decade requires determination. “The way you survive for 50 years is you keep putting one foot in front of another,” Cooper said. The renovation will also allow better sight lines, better raked seating and more legroom. “My husband is six two. You come to appreciate that taller people need to stretch out a bit,” Cooper explained. While some existing seats will be removed to create more legroom, thanks to the additional screen, Film Forum will see a net gain of 60 seats.

The additional screen may allow the theater to increase its “Film Forum Jr.” weekend youth programing. “They are our future,” Cooper said. “It shows them that cinema can be more than car crashes and Cinderella romance.” When comedian Bob Greenberg introduced a Three Stooges program in March, he warned the youngsters in the audience not to try antics like eye-poking, head-bonking or faceslapping at home. One kid piped up, “Why not?” The audience roared. Repertory programmer Goldstein, whom film critic J. Hoberman once called “New York film culture’s indispensable man,” told The Villager that he first saw an Ingmar Bergman movie at age 15, mistakenly thinking it was an Ingrid Bergman film. “Good programming connects with the audience and conveys passion for film,” Goldstein said. “I want the audience to realize that there are people running this theater, and we’re engaged in it as much as they are.” In a pamphlet about five years ago that celebrated Goldstein’s first 25 years as repertory programmer at Film Forum, one discovers that, in 1993, legendary Italian director Frederico Fellini illustrated and designed an illycaffè espresso cup to commemorate his retrospective at Film Forum. The cinema also hosted a Fay Wray screamalike contest to accompany the 75th anniversary of the 1933 premiere of “King Kong.” The Film Forum’s large poster-sized repertory calendar is so iconic it has been in movies itself. Film historian Foster Hirsch said that Film Forum sets the bar for all other repertory programming in the country. “It is the most distinguished and has the greatest track record,” he said. Goldstein over the years has presided over a cavalcade of actors, directors and archivists who come to participate in the theater’s programming, including the Coen brothers, Liv Ullmann, Eddie Bracken, Jules Dassin, Bette Comden and Adolph Green. Hirsch has interviewed Sidney Lumet, Fay Wray, Leslie Caron, Claire Bloom, Arlene Dahl, Tab Hunter and Jane Powell and others to sold-out audiences. Meanwhile, the IFC Center, at Sixth Ave. and W. Third St., owned by Friedland Properties, is also on its way to an expansion. The city’s Board of Standards and Appeals has decided to grant a variance to allow the cinema to expand onto its residentially zoned rear lot on Cornelia St. The IFC proposal would result in a total of 10 theaters. The exit on Cornelia St. would be an emergency egress only. However, unlike the Film Forum plan, the IFC one — located in a more residential area — has been facing opposition. Speaking at a B.S.A. hearing CINEMAS continued on p. 16 TheVillager.com


POLICE B L O T T E R Bad brew Police said a Village man met another guy in Washington Square Park and they struck up a conversation on Fri., April 20. The victim invited the man over to his apartment in the West Village Houses at 348 W. 11th St., at Washington St. On the way, the pair stopped to pick up two beers, and when they got to the apartment, the suspect opened them. The victim told police he believed the suspect put a substance in his beer because he doesn’t remember anything. When he woke up, the other man was gone, and so were the Village resident’s glasses, laptop computer and cell phone, all worth a combined $1,200. Kardo Korindt, 26, was subsequently arrested May 3 for felony grand larceny.

The t wo Vapiano cash burglars were caught on sur veillance cameras but wore masks and hoods, obscuring their faces, above and below.

Pret A Pocket Police said a worker was arrested for stealing thousands of dollars from Pret A Manger, at 821 Broadway, near 12th St. She reportedly stole money from cash registers on multiple occasions, including $1,945 on March 23 and $1,859 on April 6. She admitted to the thefts in a written statement. The food shop said an additional missing $6,596 has not been accounted for. Sigourney Rodriguez, 29, was charged May 2 with felony grand larceny.

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.

Hack attack Pizza perps According to police, a pair of perps have twice targeted a local restaurant, stealing a cash register and a cash box. In the first incident, on Sun., Feb. 11, at midnight, the two entered Vapiano pizza and pasta restaurant at 113 University Place through the front door and removed a safe containing roughly $4,000. A 24-year-old employee who arrived at work at 8 o’clock the next morning noticed the safe missing and called police. Then, on Mon., April 30, around 2:20 a.m., according to cops, the duo struck the same place again, once more entering through the front door, and this time taking a cash box containing about $7,000. A 33-year-old employee who arrived at work at 8:40 a.m. saw the cash box was missing and called police. One burglar was “white or Hispanic,” according to the police description, and wore all dark clothing. His sidekick’s face was covered with a mask and he also wore all dark clothing. 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). TheVillager.com

Police said a man was riding his bike on W. 11th St. on Mon., April 30, at 9:05 p.m., when a taxi driver had a fit of road rage. The cabbie pulled over at the southeast corner of W. 12th St. and Sixth Ave., grabbed a crowbar out of his trunk and attacked the cyclist. The 25-year-old victim suffered a cut lip. Zaheer Akbar, 35, was arrested for felony assault. It wasn’t immediately clear why the driver turned violent.

Too hot to handle Police said a man walked into a car garage at 300 Mercer St. and stole a $1,700 heating fan on Wed., May 2, at 11:25 a.m. The suspect fled onto Broadway but was caught in Washington Square Park, where a garage worker identified him to police. During a search of the fan filcher, burglary tools were found. Edward Jones, 57, and Allen Gardner, 32, were arrested for felony grand larceny.

Tabia C. Robinson and Lincoln Anderson May 10, 2018

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Always tells it like it is

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To The Editor: Re “Tom Brokaw hit on #MeToo when I was a young reporter” (talking point, by Mary Reinholz, May 3): Same gutsy, great wordsmith I worked with at the prize-winning San Fernando Valley Times (deceased) in the 1960s. Mary always told it like it was and is. She was and is a true pioneer in the women’s movement. So, I was not surprised to see her go out and defend Linda Vester. Keep hitting those keys, Mary. Use that talent. Dave Wright

Thanks for stepping up

Your Community News Source

To The Editor: Re “Tom Brokaw hit on #MeToo when I was a young reporter” (talking point, by Mary Reinholz, May 3): Tom Brokaw lost much credibility when he unnecessarily disparaged Linda Vester’s many accomplishments — as if she never would have been deemed worthy of Brokaw’s even giving her a passing glance. It rang hollow. Thank you, Mary, for giving credence to Linda Vester’s testimony. Not many would have stepped up. But now that you’ve led the charge, so to speak, others may come forward. I don’t believe anyone wants to eviscerate Brokaw. But if NBC is serious about getting their house in order, they need to look at everyone — no matter how exalted or admired. Lisa Dabbs

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

We cover “The Cube”!

Who’s taking it too far? To The Editor: Re “Tom Brokaw hit on #MeToo when I was a young reporter” (talking point, by Mary Reinholz, May 3): This is horrible! Women sharing anecdotes like this 50 years after the fact does a gross disservice to women who have experienced true violation. Reinholz was clearly not that offended, and Brokaw imme-

EVAN FORSCH

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May 10, 2018

diately retreated once he recognized the feelings were not mutual. The effort to shame and sully a public figure under the guise of...whatever...makes me embarrassed to be alive in this season of feminism. Lisa Davis

Thought crimes To The Editor: Re “Tom Brokaw hit on #MeToo when I was a young reporter” (talking point, by Mary Reinholz, May 3): What Tom Brokaw did, most men have done this in their minds. Jesus said that adultery is committed in the minds of the people. Ramesh Gupta

Skateboarders gone wild To The Editor: Re “One over-Arching question in ‘Living Statue’ bust: Why?” (news article, May 3): In the last few days, I have seen several skateboarders using the base of some of the statues in the park for jumps and no one asked them to stop. That is far more annoying and benefits no one — except the selfcentered person on the skateboard. Anne Willow

Monumental mistake To The Editor: Re “One over-Arching question in ‘Living Statue’ bust: Why?” (news article, May 3): By accepting an A.C.D. (adjournment in contemplation of dismissal), Johan gave himself a new and worse problem. First, he pled guilty. Second, he accepted a conditional plea, which includes a promise not to commit any more “crimes” for the next six months. Should he be summonsed or arrested again in that six months, both the previous charge and any new ones would be active. Since he already pled guilty on the first charge, he can’t later plead not guilty; and if the subsequent LETTERS continued on p. 16

TheVillager.com


A perfect storm of eco action and pageantry

SCENE BY SAR AH FERGUSON

T

here’s a last-minute frenzy building across the Lower East Side, as performers and activists finalize their costumes and scripts for the Ecological City Pageant that’s happening Sat., May 12, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Orchestrated by local artist Felicia Young, this six-hour procession is like a roving theatrical production to dramatize our collective efforts to confront climate change. And like New York’s annual Village Halloween Parade, it’s always better to be in it than to spectate. “This is not a parade to watch, but a transformational experience,” said Young, who hopes that by enacting mythic dramas about our climate plight, we may engage more deeply in seeking common-ground solutions. Part passion play, part “eco pilgrimage,” the event’s aim is to help us envision a greener, more sustainable city. Young and her nonprofit Earth Celebrations have partnered with more than 50 community and arts groups to put on the pageant, but they are hoping to attract many more participants. They’re inviting people to show up on May 12 and throw on a garden sprite costume or help carry one of the giant puppet ensembles that volunteers and artists have created during the last three months. They’re also looking for people to help paint faces, marshal the crowd and videotape events. To sign up, go to earthcelebrations.com/volunteerecological-city-sign But it’s also fine to just dip into the spectacle anywhere along the route. Led by samba players and Afro-Dominican percussionists, costumed dancers and bicycle floats, the march will set off at 11 a.m. at Loisaida Inc. on E. Ninth St. between Avenues C and D. Some 20 different site performances will be

PHOTOS BY SARAH FERGUSON

Volunteers — like Lucrecia Novoa, with an “ear th spirit” head, above — made costumes and giant puppets at Loisaida Inc. for the pageant.

staged at various community gardens and street corners along the route, and at the closing ceremonies along the East River. Highlights include an “upcycling” performance, featuring dancers in plastic bags performing to Vivaldi’s “Concerto in F Major” (El Sol Brillante garden on E. 12th St. between A and B); a “mythic” battle between “pollution pirates” and garden river spirits at La Plaza Cultural (E. Ninth St. at Avenue C); and an “aria for climate solutions” sung by mezzo soprano Kat Hall (Parque de Tranquilidad, E. Fourth St. near Avenue C). Earth School students in handcrafted headdresses will stage a ceremony

to honor the green roof at their school, where giant paintings of vegetables will be strung across the facade. Folkie Stephan Said will sing an homage to the pond at Sixth St. and Avenue B Garden. The pageant will coalesce around 4 p.m. in East River Park. Vangeline Theater is doing a butoh dance about pollution runoff (near the park’s Sixth St. bridge entrance); and a group called Not Fog will stage an interdisciplinary work about sea-level rise (at the painted labyrinth near Houston St.). Members of GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) and LES Ready! are staging a play about surviving Hurricane Sandy beneath the Williamsburg Bridge, directed by Drew Vanderberg. There will also be a “water dance” by choreographer Jody Sperling and Art of Motion. At the finale, a goddess sculpture made of bio-remediating mud will be “sacrificed” to the river. In addition, Crystal Field has composed a tribute to the Ecological City, to be sung by the Theater for the New City Chorus. “It’s all about allowing people to really connect though making stuff,” said volunteer coordinator Christian Tandazo. “There’s a lot of concern about the environment. So, the idea is to use creativity to allow people to connect with each other in a more human and passionate way.”

Dwellers beat lawsuit SLAPP continued from p. 11

block associations from the most troubled areas Downtown,” Lee said. “With Ariel Palitz and Julie Menin we plan to define the ‘culture’ and ‘entertainment’ that is Downtown, and it will include a responsible residentcentric point of view.” In addition to dismissing No Fun’s case, Kotler ruled that the Dwellers’ counterclaims remain, which means the case will continue on as the watchdog group seeks a settlement for financial, emotional and psychological damages over the two-year legal battle. The court will hold a preliminary con-

ference for the countersuit June 26. “This is the first time we’ve been sued,” Boyd said. “I hope our last, honestly. I don’t want residents to ever feel that pressure again — that they can’t complain.” Regardless of the ongoing legal troubles, Boyd said the lawsuit hasn’t swayed the Dwellers from their mission. “We’ve continued our work,” she said. “Was it great to have this hanging over our head? No. But we were not deterred from doing what we think is important to make this a better, more liveable community for everyone. So we will continue as we always have.”

Sound off! Pedro Alomar showed off one of the “climate change spirit” costumes he helped sew and paint at the workshop space at Loisaida Inc. TheVillager.com

Write a letter to the editor news@thevillager.com May 10, 2018

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Roll it! Three art houses are poised to expand CINEMAS continued from p. 12

in March, attorney Stuart Klein, representing the Friends of Cornelia St. Coalition — a group fighting the expansion — said IFC had not answered a number of questions, including why it needed to expand in the first place. The IFC proposal also calls for adding four residential apartments on the Cornelia St. side, which would be on the second through fifth floors. Dan Leigh, co-chairperson of the Central Village Block Association, predicted the units’ small size would likely cause higher turnover. But Marjorie Perlmutter, the B.S.A. chairperson, said at the March hearing that they are in the size range of other apartments in the Village. Leigh raised a larger concern when he asked, “If the IFC ever vacated, what would we be left with?” The fear of a potential future big-box store on the site looms large. A statement by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation that was read at the hearing noted, “If the Cornelia St. side were to ever be used for anything other than emergency egress, the proposed development would have a profoundly negative impact.” Perlmutter responded that any change granting access to Cornelia St. other than an emergency egress would have to come back to the B.S.A. for approval. Leif Arntzen, a leader of Friends of Cornelia St. Coalition, said, “IFC has had every opportunity and all the community support it could ever need to develop the property and still respect the residential zoning on Cornelia St. — but has only gone so far as to do that when they are left with no other choice by the B.S.A.” Nevertheless, according to Leigh, C.V.B.A. is satisfied with the decision that allows for residential apartments on Cornelia. “We have always said that IFC is an important part of the neighborhood,” he said. The process heads next to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission since the site is within the South Village Historic District, designated in 2010. I.F.C. had no comment for this article. Upcoming shows at IFC in June include a documentary on fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, a screening of “The Big Lebowski” and much more. IFC is also the home of the Split Screen Festival which celebrates the art of television. In addition, IFC is a hub for the DOC NYC festival, at which Hillary Clinton, Eric Clapton, Martin Scorsese and Susan Sarandon have participated in previous years. IFC offers educational outreach with free tickets for school groups and

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K-12 teachers. At Anthology Film Archives, a café and a library are part of renovations designed by Bone / Levine Architects. According to its Web site, Anthology will begin renovations in spring 2019 and then rededicate its building at E. Second St. and Second Ave. in fall 2020, to coincide with the organization’s 50th anniversary. The name “Anthology” in metal mesh will run across the front side of the top of the building. When complete, the ground floor will have a new Heaven and Earth Cafe, and the fourth floor will hold its public library, above which will be a rooftop terrace. Last August, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the cafe and library plans. Anthology also plans to add a new elevator and new areas for archival holdings. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.” No one fits this more aptly than Jonas Mekas, Anthology’s 95-year-old Lithuanian-born founder, probably the most consequential cineaste in the Village in the last halfcentury. “Anthology remains forever eclectic, presenting historic and contemporary works that range from canonical to completely unknown,” said filmmaker Andrew Lampert, Anthology’s former archivist. “They offer first-run features, thematic series that lean more on conceptual ideas than auteurist overviews, and decidedly avant-garde programs of short films where the artists are often in person.” Lampert added that no other cinema shows “such stamina” in accomplishing what Anthology does. Want to see the famed Orson Welles “Citizen Kane” shooting script? You’ll be able to step into Anthology’s library that will allow access to a trove of holdings relating to figures such as avant-garde filmmaker and Village resident Maya Deren and mystically eccentric filmmaker and musicologist Harry Smith. Anthology has artistic help in high places. Its Friends of the Completion Project includes arts luminaries Patti Smith, Peter Bogdanovich, Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass. Quad Cinema, on W. 13th St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves., reached its first anniversary in its new incarnation on April 14. Quad Cinema in its new incarnation reached its first anniversary on April 14. But this past July, it also opened a popular adjacent bar on the site of a former light-fi xtures store. The ambiance reflects Quad Cinema owner Charles S. Cohen’s desire to create the experience of a 1950s Greenwich Village diner. “A lot of old-timers fully see this,” said bartender Jon Peacock. It has a

tin ceiling and tiled floor bearing the words “Quad Bar.” One can only enter from the cinema, not from the street, giving it an intimacy. C. Mason Wells, the Quad’s director of repertory programming, said, “The social aspect of moviegoing is as important as the movies themselves.” Added Peacock, “The Quad Bar is a place where people discuss the movie they’ve just seen, the movie they’re about to see, or just film in general.” In one recent loss of an art house, Landmark Sunshine Cinema, which opened in 2001, closed on Jan. 21. East End Capital and K Property Group bought the building last May for $31.5 million. Plans for the site, formerly home to a church, sports club and nickelodeon, are for a nine-story office building. Land-

mark Theatres has opened another cinema, though, at the west end of W. 57th St. called The Landmark at 57 West. How unique is Greenwich Village as a movie market? A report by the Motion Picture Association of America in 2017 found that overall attendance at U.S. cinemas was at a 23-year low. Yet, Film Forum’s Goldstein said that every time a new technology has come along, such as radio, TV or VHS, many have thought it would be the end of moviegoing. “That hasn’t happened,” he said. What makes art houses enjoyable, he said, is that “you can find kindred spirits.”

Letters to The Editor LETTERS continued from p. 14

charge is the same, he would likely be found guilty on both. Add to that, he now has a record. Contrary to the nonsense the court or a lawyer told him, the record is never sealed. This is how the city screws artists, performers and vendors. All are offered an A.C.D., even in cases where they committed no crime or where they are charged with something that is not even a law. To add insult to injury, the Parks Department has previously allowed artists to hang things on monuments. Contrary to all park rules, the Parks Department allows the Greenmarket vendors to hang merchandise on monuments, plus allows the Holiday Markets to completely encircle, obstruct and prevent access to monuments in Union Square Park and Central Park at Columbus Circle. All of these points could have been used in Johan’s defense. Robert Lederman Lederman is president, A.R.T.I.S.T.

(Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics)

Saved from ‘Statue’ To The Editor: Re “One over-Arching question in ‘Living Statue’ bust: Why?” (news article, May 3): Crime busters in action. Thank goodness we are safe from performance art, at last. Now, on to the mimes! Lawrence White

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.

‘Farter’ blows his cover FARTER continued from p. 3

I probably would have been beaten to a pulp by this guy because he was jacked. He was legit scary. Since then, I really have to look people in the eye and make sure that they don’t have that ready-toflip-off kind of look in their eyes. Do a lot of people stop and watch you and talk to you about it? Every day. In a situation like today

— Saturdays in the park — I’m kind of in one spot here in the park, so people can start to watch. When I’m working, I’m in motion and it just happens. The only people that I don’t get are people who are alone. You need someone to have to turn to and laugh with — like, “Did he fart? Did that guy fart?” I don’t even think about getting people who are alone because they’re gonna feel alone and targeted and isolated. I’m trying to keep this positive. TheVillager.com


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 TheVillager.com

Photo by Clare Deegan-Kent

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

Via beaumontetiquette.com

Beaumont Etiquette founder and director Myka Meier cited an upsurge in business when a high-profile royal event is on the horizon, calling it the “Super Bowl of etiquette.”

of socially acceptable behavior,” she 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.” TAKE TEA continued on p. 18 May 10, 2018

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Photo by Charles Battersby

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

Via etiquette-ny.com

Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder and president of The Etiquette School of New York, gave our author the confidence to take their first afternoon tea.

TAKE TEA continued from p. 17

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 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 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 three-

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May 10, 2018

Photo by Lizzie Pepper

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

Photo by Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett

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

tier 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 beaumontetiquette.com, etiquette-ny.com, ladymendlsteasalon.com, alicesteacup. com, and teaandsympathy.com. TheVillager.com


Pioneers, emerging voices merge at the New York African Film Festival Fest’s 25th edition 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,â€? 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,â€? 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 conversation taking place through the work and we really want them to pass on that baton and show the ropes to young filmmakers,â€? 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.â€? The two-day intergenerational discussion kicks off May 21-22, featuring the film “The Wedding Ringâ€? by Nigerien director Rahmatou KeĂŻta. Her daughter, filmmaker Magaajyia Silberfeldk, will show her short film “Vagabonds,â€? 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 TheVillager.com

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.

Courtesy of NY African Film Fest

Founder and executive director of the New York African Film Festival, Mahen Bonetti.

from Burkina Faso and South Africa. Some of the films include the New York premiere of award-winning Burkinabe film, “Borders,â€? a film documenting one of Africa’s most famous filmmakers — Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako, and a film highlighting the continent’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 BAMcinĂŠmatek, 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 conversa-

tion 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 BAMcinÊmatek 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 212352-1720 or visit africanfilmny.org..

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

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Nixon, Williams pound Cuomo at Village forum FORUM continued from p. 6

is very much like representing the state of Texas and San Francisco at the same time,” she noted. When Cuomo backed marriage equality or the SAFE Act — the country’s toughest assault-weapons ban — after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, he lost votes Upstate, she noted. “Five years later, there are still anti-SAFE gun signs on the lawns,” she noted of Upstate communities. As for fracking, she said, “A lot of people Upstate saw this as their ticket to prosperity.” “I am a fighter,” she declared, adding that, as the only woman currently in a statewide political office, she is a strong advocate for “equal pay for equal work.” On abortion rights, she noted, “I am a champion for choice — that’s not an easy thing to do outside of New York City.” Under Cuomo, New York has the “most generous” family-leave program in the country, she noted. Kathy Slawinski, another V.I.D. member, challenged Hochul on a statement she made in 2007, when Hochul was Eerie County clerk. Then-Governor Eliot Spitzer had proposed giving illegal immigrants driver’s licenses without their having to produce a Social Security card. Hochul responded that if illegal immigrants applied for drivers’ licenses in her jurisdiction, she would send them to the sheriff’s office for questioning. “This was over 11 years ago,” Hochul answered Slawinski. “We had a threat of terrorism. We had just come off 9/11. That today is not a position I would take again.” Asked by a questioner if there were issues she differs on with Cuomo, Hochul thought for a second, then said he could have focused earlier on the problems besetting public housing. Nat Johnson, also from V.I.D., noted that Cuomo shut down the Indian Point nuclear reactor, yet “then gave $250 million to reactors Upstate.” “Indian Point was too close to New York City, it was dangerous,” Hochul said. “It was aging, it had too many leaks, it time to shut it down.” Meanwhile, the Upstate reactors are not near large population centers, she noted. “By the year 2030, we will have 50 percent renewable energy,” she noted. “I am proud that New York State is leading on this issue.” State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli told the crowd he had driven down from Albany just for the Village town hall. “The key issues we’re facing today are transparency and accountability,” he said of government, in general, adding that the comptroller’s office was created “to follow the money.” He stressed his independence, noting that the comptroller is “the most independent position in state government,” and that his office does up to 600 audits of state agencies each year. The comptroller’s office also does reports, having recently done ones on the opioid crisis as well as obesity. It’s also the trustee for the state’s pension programs, which he noted, are “over 90 percent funded,” one of only four states that can boast that. He added that was why he opposed New York having a constitutional convention — which could have resulted in changes in the state’s pension system — stating, “I’m glad it went down.” A member of the Grand Street Democrats club asked DiNapoli if the state has reimbursed former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for any of his legal fees in his ongoing corruption court trials, and DiNapoli bluntly answered, “No.” Ann Heaney, a V.I.D. member, asked if the state pension fund is being divested from fossil fuels, and

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PHOTOS BY TEQUILA MINSKY

Jeannine Kiely asked C ynthia Nixon if she could be counted on to save the Elizabeth St. Garden, which is currently slated for a cit y-backed affordable housing project. But Nixon — who is a political ally of Mayor Bill de Blasio — said while green space is critical,, affordable housing y p is also needed.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said the goal is to divest the state’s pension funds from fossil fuels but that it must be done gradually and sensibly, so as not to affect pensioners’ securit y.

DiNapoli said that’s the goal, but it has to be done gradually, so as not to hurt the fund. “Short-term, it would hurt pensioners” to sell off fossil-fuel funds, the comptroller explained. “We have to balance it. I’m going to approach it in a very deliberate way. The average pension in New York is $22,000. We can’t just do what feels good.”

Current Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said governing New York State is a challenge because of the Upstate / Downstate political dichotomy.

Afterward, one veteran V.I.D. member, remarking on the candidates’ performances, said they all did very well. Nixon and Williams, though, are definitely “long shots” in the primary elections, in his view. As always, it will boil down to the turnout at the polls. “We’ll see how the Left comes out,” he said. TheVillager.com


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Volume 2 | Issue 1

The Pulse of

Lenox Health Greenwich Village

Make no bones about it – prevention is key: 5 tips for maintaining strong and healthy bones Osteoporosis makes bones more susceptible to fractures and breaks. Bones naturally lose density with age, but you can still help keep them strong. May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, so it’s a great time to take action. 1. Boost calcium consumption. Calcium helps give bones their strength. Maintain the recommended daily intake of 1,0001,200 mg with good sources of calcium including low-fat dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables and soy products such as tofu. 2. Don’t forget about vitamin D. For best absorption, pair calciumrich foods with those high in vitamin D, such as salmon, milk and orange juice. Adequate sunlight also provides your body with vitamin D. 3. Pump up the protein. Protein is one of the essential building blocks of bones. Eat plenty of protein-rich foods like eggs, Greek yogurt, lean chicken, beans and nuts. 4. Cut back on the alcohol and avoid smoking. Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption restrict your body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients, which can decrease bone density and increase the chance of fractures.

Did you know…

52 million Americans are affected by osteoporosis and low bone density. If you think you may be at risk, see our specialists, who offer bone density tests to assess and diagnose this condition. Did you know…

Only 35 percent of American adults consume the recommended daily intake of calcium. If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, consider taking a calcium supplement.

5. Make exercise a priority. People who spend a lot of time sitting have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Combine strength training, weight bearing and balance exercises (such as walking, running, skipping rope and stair climbing) to benefit bones.

Our advanced Imaging Center is dedicated to meeting the radiology needs of the entire Greenwich Village community. Learn more at Northwell.edu/LenoxHealthImaging or call (646) 846-1452.

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