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YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN

HELL’S KITCHEN SERVES A FULL PLATE OF LOCAL COLOR Neighborhood in Fine Form at the 9th Avenue International Food Festival (see page 6)

Photos by Christian Miles

HUDSON RIVER PARK @ 20 A Special Section see page 17 © CHELSEA NOW 2018 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

VOLUME 10, ISSUE 20 | MAY 24 – 30, 2018


At District 3 West Side Summit, Taking Stock and Making Plans

Photos by Sam Bleiberg

Residents crowded onto the High Line’s 14th Street Passage for a series of speeches, a community comment forum, and a catered lunch.

BY SAM BLEIBERG What a difference a day — and for that matter, a year — makes. While District 3 residents spent most of their Saturday dodging raindrops, it was blustery but bright on the afternoon of Sunday, May 20, as the community gathered on the High Line’s 14th Street Passage for the fourth annual West Side Summit.

Hosted by New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who at this time last year was addressed simply as “Councilmember,” the event delivered updates on the district’s most pressing issues, via Johnson’s State of the District address, then revealed the winners of District 3’s annual Participatory Budgeting process, based on voting by resi-

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Eddie Collazo, enthusiastic about the winning Participatory Budgeting proposal for tree guards, took a celebratory selfie with Speaker Johnson.

dents. Representatives from all levels of government — including US Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried — rounded out the lineup of those who took to the podium. “I’m so grateful to be able to reflect back on the year we’ve had and what we’ve accomplished together, but also to get critical feedback from people on what they think we need to do to make the district even better,” Johnson told Chelsea Now. “It’s nice to celebrate the wins, but also take stock in the other things that need to happen to continue to make the district even better.” Residents voiced their appreciation for having a forum to learn more about, and contribute to the governance of, the community. “It’s important for people to learn what’s going on in the neighborhood and participate. I had no idea this district was so big,” said Annie Katzman, who lives in Chelsea. Johnson told the story of District 3’s past year with numbers both celebratory (150 trees planted; 413 tenants served at housing clinics; 2,244 bags of fresh produce delivered to seniors) and tragic (5,000 women in domestic violence shelters nightly citywide, and two cyclists killed). He highlighted the fight for affordable housing, the preservation of historic landmarks, and efforts to install more public spaces. He praised community members for their activism and asked for sustained effort at the local and national level. “We need the West Side’s activist spirit more than ever,”

Johnson noted. “It is incumbent on all of us as engaged community members. Don’t be passive.” Gottfried mentioned the West Side’s legacy of activism as well. “The effort in the community to save the High Line began when Corey was just learning to walk, beginning to dance,” he said. “The fact we have it here today is a testament to how much of a community all of the West Side is. We get things done. We fight to preserve the community.” Multiple speakers, including Johnson, drew the connection between political activism at the national and local scale. Brewer encouraged civic engagement on both fronts. “This is a time of not just national challenges, but plenty that are local,” she said. Residents made their passion for neighborhood beautification known by the way they cast their votes for Participatory Budgeting. Johnson announced the grand winner, to receive full funding, is the proposal to install tree guards on neighborhood tree pits. Supporters of the project noted tree guards help keep neighborhoods verdant and save money in the long term by preventing tree deaths. Phyllis Waisman, who helped submit the winning proposal, explained the guards are necessary to make the most of the district’s investment in greenery. “They planted so many new trees. They’ll protect the new trees from dogs, elements,” she said. “It’s the best way to protect the tree pits.” District 3 resident Eddie Collazo also voiced his concern for tree safety. “I’m excited about the tree guards. SUMMIT continued on p. 8 NYC Community Media


Spar and the City: CRDC Sees Cynthia Nixon, Cuomo Proxy Trade Jabs BY CRDC MEMBER DONATHAN SALKALN Since March 19’s announcement of her run for governor, Cynthia Nixon, a lifelong NYC activist and star of the hit series “Sex and the City,” has forged a surprisingly effective campaign. While garnering support, she has also pushed Governor Andrew Cuomo to consider many important left-wing issues — including April’s trifecta of trying to get a Democratic majority in the NY State Senate, a ban on plastic bags, and the legalizing of recreational marijuana. To many, Nixon has become a superhero firefly in lighting heat under the incumbent, “Mr. Big.” On May 17, Nixon brought her battle for governorship to Chelsea by seeking an endorsement from the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club (CRDC). The bout was witnessed by a crowd who packed the Hudson Guild’s John Lovejoy Elliott Center (441 W. 26th St.), and there was much buzz before Nixon’s arrival. The CRDC is celebrating its 60th year of political activism that has helped shape Chelsea to be one of the most compassionate, diverse, and exciting places in the world — and its members take endorsement voting very seriously.

Photo by Donathan Salkaln

“I’m not an Albany insider, which means my chief of staff was not convicted on three counts of bribery,” exclaimed gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who described herself to the CRDC as “a progressive fighter who is not accepting any corporate donations, and therefore not beholden to any particular industry.”

Nixon faced off against New York State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (Assembly District 75), representing the corner of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Nixon, 52, at a svelte 5’ 7” (with a political reach also measured in feet and inches), was up against Gottfried,

71, shorter, maybe 150 pounds wet, and nearsighted (yet packing a political punch that crisscrosses the state). Gottfried is also a superhero to many. Since 1971, he has wielded the torch of human rights and healing in Albany and is currently pushing, among many bills,

his single-payer healthcare bill (New York Health Act -A. 4738). Nixon was first to speak: “I’ve long fought hard for LGBT, women’s rights, and for better schools. I know we can NIXON/CUOMO continued on p. 9

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POLICE BLOTTER A man walked into CVS (272 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 23rd & 24th Sts.) and stole $310 worth of pistachio packs. The incident occurred on Fri., May 18 at 3:15 p.m. The suspect bypassed all points of sale.

LARCENY: Uneasy rider A man wanted to take a joyride on his motorcycle after work, but his license plate was stolen. The incident happened on Fri., May 18 just after midnight in front of 300 12th Ave. (in the emerging Hudson Yards neighborhood). The 33-year-old victim says he was coming out of work when he realized that the license was missing.

LOST PROPERTY: Wild night of the wallet After a great night at the club, a 26-year-old man noticed that his wallet was missing. The man didn’t come to this realization until until he left the club and was at the corner of W. 16th St. & 10th Ave. The incident occurred on Fri., May 18 at 4 a.m. The victim does not believe that he is a victim of a crime, he just thinks that the wallet fell out of his pocket. The Gucci wallet, worth $200, contained his New York State ID and a debit card.

PETIT LARCENY: Nutty criminal Pistachio nuts have a big fan in the Chelsea area.

PETIT LARCENY: Reunited, sans cash A man was having a great time at Marquee (209 10th Ave., btw. W. 22nd & 23rd Sts.) when he lost his wallet. The incident occurred on Sat., May 19 at 2 a.m. The wallet was returned to him by a security guard, who said another patron turned it in. Reunited with his wallet, the 34-year-old realized that $500 in cash was missing.

PETIT LARCENY: Cab crime A taxi driver had his Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) card removed from the back of his car. The incident occurred on Sat., May 12 at 11:30 p.m. on the corner of W. 16th St. & 10th Ave. The 32-year-old victim says he put the TLC card in the back so that passengers would know that he is a licensed driver. It is recommended TLC procedure. —Tabia C. Robinson

THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commanding Officer: Captain Paul Lanot. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-7418216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced. The Council breaks for the summer after their May 30 meeting, and resumes regular monthly meetings as of Sept. 26. MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Commanding Officer: Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney. Call 212-2399811. Community Affairs: 212-239-9846. Crime Prevention: 212-239-9846. Domestic Violence: 212-239-9863. Youth Officer: 212-239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-239-9836. Detective Squad: 212-239-9856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7 p.m., at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & 35th Sts.). Visit midtownsouthcc.org.



 

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The Quirks of the Game: Playing Penn South’s Concrete ‘Field’

Photo by Josh Rogers

Simultaneous games at Penn South’s Blacktop, between W. 26th and 28th Sts.

BY JOSH ROGERS I didn’t grow up with a backyard ,but I did have “The Back,” the concrete, rectangular play area behind my Penn South building. That’s what my closest friends and I called it. Our “Front” was Sandbox Park, on the same mid-block between W. 26th and 28th Sts. The Back was mostly silvercolored back then and often called the Silvertop, but I also remember a large, oddly shaped bit of black tar covering the area. Needless to say it was not the most important piece of property to Penn South, or “The Co-Op,” as everyone called it back then. Today, The Back is all black, and known as “The Blacktop,” though it’s officially part of the Active Recreation Area. This Chelsea rectangle was my main afterschool/weekend play area — and now that it has become my eight-year-old son’s favorite place to play, The Back’s memories have come flooding... well, you can guess. As a kid, it wasn’t fenced in. The rectangle doesn’t make a good baseball diamond for older kids, which is why right field was entirely outside the play space for our softball games. The NYC Community Media

right fielder typically stood on grass or the pedestrian path, navigating obstacles — although most of us were righty pull hitters so the ball didn’t go there a lot. Still, the field’s quirks were so ingrained in me that even in college intramural softball, I couldn’t help but call out, to puzzled looks, “Watch out for the tree” — the distraction tactic we used to use against outfielders trying to catch fly balls. No, there were not many sportsmanship lessons without adults around. After school in fourth and fi fth grades, it was usually two-on-two softball, which meant self-hitting and using only three bases: second, third, and home. Somehow, we managed to summon the patience that the game required, seemingly far beyond our 10 years. The long run from home to second allowed the shortstop/outfielder to play deep. Hits were hard to come by and base runners were rare opportunities that were best not squandered. It’s also where I played most of my touch football and street hockey, where I rode my bike, and later FIELD continued on p. 27

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Meat and Greet: Scenes PHOTO ESSAY BY CHRISTIAN MILES Hell’s Kitchen resident Christian Miles had an easy commute to his May 20 assignment: Go to the 9th Avenue

International Food Festival and return with a full plate of photos. For more info on this annual event, visit 9thave. org.

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NYC Community Media


From the 9th Avenue International Food Festival

NYC Community Media

May 24, 2018

7


SUMMIT continued from p. 2

The other day I saw a tractor trailer hit a tree, and I sent a picture to the Parks Department,” he said. Additional allocation of funds for winning projects will include $250,000 for electronic bus stop signs with arrival times, $200,000 for library technology improvements, and $350,000 of investment in technology for schools. Attendees expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity to make a positive and lasting impact on their community through voting. “Participatory Budgeting is a great idea and should be something that happens all around the country,” said local resident Nat Johnson. “It connects the government to the people in real practical ways.” Many turned out not only to hear the results, but also to connect with neighbors and share their concerns with Johnson’s district office, whose staff put up posters for constituents to share their comments via messages on Post-It notes. Nearby, a long line formed to speak with Johnson. “It’s wonderful way of communicating between the government to the people,” Nat Johnson said. “It’s vital.” Others held doubts about the forum and expressed concern for issues they felt were not receiving attention. “I came here to see where the money is coming from,” said Hell’s Kitchen resident Ivan Figueroa. “Everybody is scared of police officers; people think they’re going to harm them. We have a problem with immigration [enforcement]. People run the other way when they see a police officer thinking it might be ICE [US Immigration and Customs Enforcement].” In his speech, Johnson did address the unreasonable enforcement of marijuana possession. When asked if he had left a Post-It note comment, Figueroa replied, “No, I don’t know if that’s going to help our situation.” There is still potential good news for those who found out their favorite projects did not receive Participatory Budgeting dollars. Johnson told

Photos by Sam Bleiberg

Nat Johnson of Chelsea, left, said the Participatory Budgeting process is important for connecting government to people, and hopes it will be adopted across the country.

Annie Katzman, a Chelsea resident, attended to learn what is going on in the neighborhood and participate in local decisions.

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Chelsea Now that in the past, his office has funded projects that did not win at the ballot box. His district office representatives noted an update on any additional funding for nominated projects will appear in the coming month. “The four projects that received the most votes this year were all district-wide projects,” Johnson said

in an email following the Summit, “meaning that every neighborhood stands to benefit. It shows that people really considered the whole community when voting. All the projects on the ballot were great, and we’re going to fi nd ways to fund some of the ballot items that didn’t win. Also, those projects that aren’t funded this year can always be funded in the future.” NYC Community Media


NIXON/CUOMO continued from p. 3

do better than we are now,” she began. “New York schools are the second-most unequally funded in the country. We’re going to fully fund schools by leveling the playing field for every part of the state without regard to that child’s zip code or skin color.” Her revenue stream, she explained, would come from taxing the rich for more of their fair share. Nixon would also fix “our broken subway,” as she finds subways deplorable, informing the audience, “I actually know that the governor is in charge of the MTA.” She also advocated for single-payer Medicaid, legalizing marijuana, and ending cash bail, adding, “We will hold fossil fuel billionaires accountable when they poison our people and communities.” During the gathering’s Q&A period, Nixon was asked questions from the CRDC’s well-informed membership. On the deterioration of NYCHA housing, she declared, “Like so many things that need funding, Cuomo likes to divvy up money and let people plant flower gardens rather than repairing roofs and replacing boilers.” On Trump’s $5,000 cap on homeowner tax deductions, which might spur another wave of foreclosures and an exodus of big-ticket taxpayers, Nixon said, “New York is one of the smallest contributors to things that are state and locally funded. The state needs to take over a bigger share of things for localities, and when we do that taxes will go down.” As for Governor Cuomo shutting down the investigation of Albany corruption by the Moreland Commission, Nixon exclaimed, “My first action as governor would be to reinstate the Moreland Commission! I’m not an Albany insider, which means my chief of staff was not convicted on three counts of bribery.” Describing herself as “a progressive fighter who is not accepting any corporate donations, and therefore not beholden to any particular industry,” Nixon, noted, “That’s what New York and rest of the country needs right now!” After Nixon’s jabs sent Andrew Cuomo to the canvas, to the cheers of many in the room, Assemblymember Gottfried rose from Cuomo’s corner

Photos by Donathan Salkaln

“You don’t get a lot done in a state with as much Republican and middle-of-the-road political power as New York has without a lot of experience, skill, and occasionally willing to be a son of a bitch,” Assemblymember Richard Gottfried declared, from the corner of incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“If elected State Senator I will never swim across the river [aligning with Albany Republicans],” promised Robert Jackson, who won the CRDC endorsement for NYS Senator, District 31, over former Independent Democratic Conference member and incumbent Marisol Alcantara.

like a Jedi feeling the force — from both Albany and his heart. “Chelsea politics are nowhere near the politics of most of the state, and it takes a lot more than being an amazingly articulate and effective speaker,” Gottfried said of Nixon, adding, “You don’t get a lot done in a state with as much Republican and middle-of-the-road political power as New York has without a lot of experience, skill, and occasionally willing to be a son of a bitch,” Gottfried exclaimed. He

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continued, adding, “People who are now earning $15 an hour instead of $10 an hour, or who can get married, or who are less likely to have somebody with a submachine gun break into their school, or who don’t have fracking going on under the farm next to theirs — they can appreciate what Cuomo has been able to accomplish.” Gottfried further rhapsodized on Cuomo with an effective barrage adding to the governor’s list of accomplish-

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ments. “During my adult life in New York,” he noted, “I’ve experienced four Democratic presidents, five Democratic mayors, and five Democratic governors. But I don’t think any of those 14 has a list of positive achievements like Governor Cuomo. Getting marriage enacted? Getting the strongest gun control laws in the country enacted? Raising the age for criminal responsibility enacted? Establishing transgender healthcare under the Medicaid program and adopting regulations for transgender rights? Fighting for decriminalization of public marijuana possession?” Answering Nixon’s jabs on Cuomo’s NYCHA record, Gottfried said, “Governors and mayors have for decades done nothing about the New York City Housing Authority. Governor Cuomo has not just pounded the table, but done amazing work in providing money and strong mandates in getting a lot of things fixed.” As both speakers retired to their corners to await the CRDC’s decision, it was surprising to this writer that there was no mention of Governor Cuomo as a first responder to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. He brought money, supplies, and the know-how in aiding a devastated populace, while helping restore their electrical grid and pressuring President Trump for more federal aid. In the end, the scorecard delivered clear, undisputed results: Andrew Cuomo won the CRDC endorsement for Governor over Cynthia Nixon — by just three votes. Kathy Hochul won Lt. Governor over Jumaane Williams. Barbara Underwood (current acting AG) won NYS Attorney General over, in order of votes, Preet Bharara, Letitia James, Sean Patrick Maloney, and Zephyr Teachout. Also winning endorsements were Thomas Di Napoli for NYS Controller; Richard Gottfried for NYS State Assembly, District 75; Brad Hoylman, NYS Senator, District 27; Liz Kruegar, NYS Senator, District 28; and Robert Jackson, NYS Senator, District 31, over former Independent Democratic Conference member and incumbent Marisol Alcantara. CRDC programs are open to the public. Please visit crdcnyc.org.

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May 24, 2018

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Bringing Home the Humanity — and Inhumanity — of War Gallery exhibition further expands the Larry Burrows legacy

Image courtesy of Laurence Miller Gallery & The Larry Burrows Collection

An injured Marine tries to help a fellow soldier in “Reaching Out” (Mutter Ridge, Nui Cay Tri, October 5, 1966).

Image courtesy of Laurence Miller Gallery & The Larry Burrows Collection

“Operation Prairie” (Hill 484, October 1966), the cover photo of the book by Horst Faas, “Requiem: By the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina.”

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BY NORMAN BORDEN In the pantheon of outstanding war photographers, Larry Burrows easily ranks as one of its bravest. A native Londoner, he dropped out of school at age 16 and got a job in the darkroom of LIFE Magazine’s London bureau. After becoming a staff photographer for LIFE (covering conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, among other assignments), Burrows went to Vietnam in 1962 — and the rest is literally history. For the next nine years, until his death when the helicopter he was in with three fellow photojournalists was shot down over Laos in 1971, Burrows produced a series of searing, memorable long-form photo essays. His work brought home the humanity and inhumanity of the Vietnam War and, for that matter, all wars, as no other photographer ever did. By pioneering the use of color film in war photography, his pictures had more impact and mood. He stayed with GIs on the front lines during firefights, hitched rides on helicopters going into combat, and could spend days trying to capture a single image as part of a photo essay. Rather than depending on a chance incident, he was willing to wait until the right moment. This wasn’t typical wartime photojournalism — but it brought him enormous respect from his peers and many honors, including two Robert Capa Gold Medal awards from the Overseas Press Club. Just last year, many of his photographs were used in Ken Burns’ documentary, “Vietnam.” The new exhibition at Laurence Miller Gallery, “Larry Burrows Revisited,” is the gallery’s fi fth solo show of his work since 1985, and includes more than 50 color and black and white images that bookend his career. Among them are iconic Vietnam pictures such as “Reaching Out,” and nine images from his bestknown series, “One Ride With Yankee Papa 13,” that LIFE published as a 14-page spread in 1965. Work from the 1950s includes news coverage and candid portraits of Brigitte Bardot, Louis Armstrong, C.P. Snow, and T.S. Eliot, along with a memorable image of Winston Churchill from a different

point of view. In an interview at the gallery, Russell Burrows, the photographer’s son and Director of The Larry Burrows Collection, explained that the new show features 11 digital color prints that were made from the original transparencies. “We printed some before in other formats,” he noted. “We used to do everything as dye transfers since the color in the original dyes had an intrinsic richness. But this is the first time we seriously did these as digital prints from the original transparencies — and the color holds up in the new prints.” Recalling how the dye transfers were made for the first Laurence Miller Gallery show in 1985 (10 years after the war ended), Burrows said, “The people who worked on these in the lab were very committed to getting the colors right. But while we were struggling to explain to them how red the mud should be, a couple of sales people from the lab — Vietnam veterans — walked by and said they could smell it. So we called them in and from the beginning, we had a set of prints we could go back to.” Burrows related how, in 1985, he didn’t want to take it upon himself to decide what the color should look like. “The whole idea was to try and match the original picture,” he said. “You find people who see a picture reproduced somewhere else and they say, ‘Why isn’t the picture like that?’ Well, it’s the reproduction that’s wrong.” He explained that his father’s photos have very much of a “Vietnam look,” with colors that are recognizable. Some pictures were shot with Kodachrome, but most were taken with extra High Speed Ektachrome. The other photographers working at the time only shot with black and white film. In one of the new digital prints, “Relief of the Khe Sanh” (1968), the impact of color and Burrows’ wellregarded compositional abilities are very evident. The red flag becomes a framing device, separating soldiers on the left with the artillery piece and helicopter in the background. An army jeep in the lower right completes the picture, with a cloud of yellow dust NYC Community Media


Image courtesy of Laurence Miller Gallery & The Larry Burrows Collection

“Ammunition airlift into besieged Khe Sanh” (April 1968) is a stunning tableau of men in war.

adding another element to the spectacle. Burrows’ talents raised conflict pictures to the level of fi ne art. In fact, he was the only photographer allowed to take the doors off a fighter-bomber so he could lean out and take pictures. When other photojournalists asked why they didn’t get the same privilege, the Vietnamese authorities replied, “Mr. Burrows request was granted not because he is a photographer, but because he is an artist.” His editors and colleagues all agreed. Russell Burrows feels many pictures have a cinematic quality, as in a frame from a movie, noting, “There are people coming and going in them.” Perhaps the best example is Burrows’ iconic image entitled “Reaching Out” (1966). It shows an injured Marine, a bloody bandage around his head and supported by fellow Marines, gesturing as if trying to comfort his wounded comrade, who is lying in the mud, his hand grasping the remains of a tree. Other soldiers seem oblivious; it’s just another day of war, and the photographer fi lls the frame, edge to edge, with the story. However, when it was later discovered that friendly fire had caused the casualties, “Reaching Out” helped fuel antiwar sentiment. “This tableau,” Burrows’ son observed, “has been described as representing the American war in Vietnam.” NYC Community Media

In his heartfelt introduction to thebook “Larry Burrows: Vietnam,” David Halberstam’s wrote, “From the start, the best photos from Vietnam were his. He had a feel for the war and the people fighting it, for the special texture of it, and he understood as well that if you were going to be a photographer for a great photo magazine, this was the ultimate assignment, demanding the ultimate risk, for the two could not be separated, opportunity and risk.” As this exhibition demonstrates so vividly, Larry Burrows made the most of the opportunities and took enormous risks. With images including “Puff the Magic Dragon” (a machine gunner aboard a C-47 over the Mekong Delta), ARVN soldiers loading captured guerillas onto a boat, and Secretary of Defense McNamara at rallies in Saigon, his work is truly monumental, and a poignant reminder of a divisive time in US history. Today, when cable news and the Internet have become the main source of news for millions of people, this show can give a new generation a better appreciation of the permanency and power of a single news photograph. Through June 29 at Laurence Miller Gallery (521 W. 26th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.–Fri., 10am–6pm and Sat., 11am–6pm. Visit laurencemillergallery. com or call 212-397-3930.

Image courtesy of Laurence Miller Gallery & The Larry Burrows Collection

In “Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Biggin Hill RAF Station, 1954,” Churchill waits for Mendes-France, Prime Minister of France, to deplane. May 24, 2018

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Shakespeare’s Last is Another First for EPIC Players ‘Tempest’ is the neuro-inclusive troupe’s latest BY SCOTT STIFFLER Having put their stamp on cabaret, musical theater and modern drama, the latest project from EPIC Players is a first-class case of postage due, as the neuro-inclusive company (EPIC stands for “empower, perform, include and create”) adds that mandatory Shakespeare credit to their body of work. Founded in 2016, the young but prolific group is currently an “Anchor Partner” at Tribeca’s Flea Theater. Their 40+ members take part in theatrical productions, workshops and showcases, while also sharpening necessary skills such as on-camera acting and auditioning. Many are on the autism spectrum, working alongside those with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and vision or mobility impairment. Determined to present adaptations of stand-alone artistic merit, but also dedicated to creating work that draws upon their unique life experiences, Shakespeare’s final play is a fitting choice for their first excursion into his challenging realm. “There’s an ‘otherness’ about it that we wanted to explore,” noted artistic director Aubrie Therrien, of “The SERVING MANHATTAN AND THE ENTIRE TRI-STATE AREA

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Tempest.” Therrien, who shares directing credit on this production with Travis Burbee and Meggan Dodd, explained why the work resonates with EPIC. “Our Prospero is played by a fellow living on the spectrum,” she said, of lead actor Anton Spivack, “and I think he really encompasses the character’s struggle. Prospero was excommunicated from his social hierarchy by his brother and his peers, and banished to this island where he created his own world, his own magic. Now his relatives are coming onto shore, and he has to decide if he wants to forgive them or not.” “I relate to his feeling of isolation and alienation, and his desire for vengeance,” said Spivack of Prospero. “There have been times in my life where I felt excluded, particularly when I was younger and had a hard time getting along with my classmates… There have been times when others made me want to get back at them,” he noted, but also cited Act 4, Scene 1 as his personal favorite — a telling nod to how the play’s notions of revenge and forgiveness intersect. “In the scene,” Spivack explained, “Prospero blesses the union SAME DAY SERVICE AVAILABLE

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Anton Spivack as Prospero in EPIC Players’ neuro-inclusive adaptation of “The Tempest.”

of Miranda and Ferdinand and makes the pageant appear, only to have it end. It’s a strong emotional shift, going from joyous to deep and contemplative, with one of Shakespeare’s all-time best monologues.” With its tongue-twisting language and layers of emotional complexity, Shakespeare has proven a daunting task to actors of every level of experience — but Therrien noted that in raising their bar to embrace the Bard, the adaptation created by her directing team is comprised largely of “cuts for time/length… and we shifted some minor dialogue around to accommodate the speech needs of our actors.” Audiences familiar with EPIC’s recent work (the Peanuts-themed musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and play, “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead”) will see a much different cast, Therrien said, noting that in addition to Spivack, those who play “Miranda, Ferdinand, Ariel and Caliban have not had lead roles with us in the past.” This production, she said, has EPIC’s largest cast so far: 20. Somewhat more modest num-

bers, and new faces, await their upcoming productions, with adaptations of “The Little Prince” and “Little Shop of Horrors” on the horizon. “We are a teaching company,” Therrien said, “so we want to teach actors they might not get the lead in every play.” As for what Spivack would like us to learn from observing the events on Prospero’s newly populated island, he told us, “I hope the audience sees what people with neurological disorders are capable of doing, that we can bring Shakespeare to life and get the audiences to identify with us — and our characters.” May 31–June 10. Thurs.–Sat. at 7pm and Sun. at 2pm. At The Flea Theater (20 Thomas St., btw. Broadway & Church). Runtime: 1 hour, 40 minutes w/10-minute intermission. For tickets, visit theflea.org ($25 general, $55 for reserved). Opening night tickets ($55) include admission to the reception, with food and open bar. More info about EPIC at epicplayersnyc.org. Social Media: facebook.com/epicplayersnyc, instagram.com/epicplayersnyc, and twitter.com/epicplayersnyc. NYC Community Media


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HUDSON RIVER PARK @ 20 Celebrating 20 Years! A special Chelsea Now supplement Pages 17 to 25

NYC Community Media

May 24, 2018

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HUDSON RIVER PARK @ 20

Friends Bring in Funding, and Also the Public BY SYDNEY PEREIRA The nonprofit fundraising arm of the Hudson River Park Trust began in 1996 as an independent watchdog group known as the Hudson River Park Alliance. In 1998, that group morphed into the Friends of Hudson River Park. In the past two decades, the group has transformed into a multimilliondollar fundraising venture and recently was redubbed the Hudson River Park Friends. The Friends raked in some $8 million in Fiscal Year 2017, much of which was raised through its annual gala where a table of 10 guests can run from $25,000 to $50,000. Despite the millions the Friends has brought in over the years, it’s still only a sliver of what the Trust — the state-city authority that operates and is building the park — needs to finish construction of the waterfront park. But the Friends also functions as a way to engage the neighborhood with the goal of reaching the park’s eventual completion. “In addition to the money that Friends raises, there’s also a public engage-

Photos by Lincoln Anderson

At the Friends of Hudson River Park’s gala in October 2016, among the highpowered stars walking the “green carpet,” were Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. Others included Martha Stewart and Padma Lakshmi.

ment component,” Connie Fishman, the group’s executive director, said. “People become ‘Park Friends.’ We have a program that they become members of and they get involved. They volunteer.” Community engagement and advocacy by residents is part of what keeps the park going, which Fishman said became

DUSC Congratulates Hudson River Park on its 20 Year Anniversary

readily apparent after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the playground at Tribeca’s Pier 25. The following spring after the hurricane, the playground was reopened with much fanfare. But there have been ebbs and flows of the organization’s fundraising efforts. For example, the Friends raised nearly $3 million more in Fiscal Year 2017 than the year before. Plus, when a local councilmember whose district includes the park is the speaker of the City Council, the Friends typically sees more government funding, Fishman said. Based on precedent, the Friends hopes to see more government contributions with Councilmember Corey Johnson as the new speaker. (His predecessor in representing District 3, as well as serving as speaker, was Christine Quinn.) Though not government funding, but possibly impacted by current government policy, individual private donations could be affected by President Donald Trump’s recent tax overhaul passed late last year. This could particularly impact people who donate to chari-

ties primarily for tax deductions. “Nobody really knows what the effect is going to be, so we’re trying to be fairly conservative,” Fishman noted. How Trump’s tax plan affects the Friends’ fundraising likely won’t be seen until December, when many people scramble to donate to nonprofit groups, the executive director said. Besides the Friends’ fundraising efforts — which focus on initiatives like public programming, public events, playgrounds and landscaping — the park is financed through myriad sources, from public and private funds to revenue generation from specific piers. “It’s a unique situation relative to other parks in New York City,” Scott Lawin, vice chairperson of the Friends’ board of directors, said of the park’s public-private partnership model. “The main thing that we’re constantly focused on is just getting the message out about the needs of the park and making people aware that the park does need their support. It’s easy for people FRIENDS continued on p. 22

Senator Brad Hoylman Congratulates Hudson River Park On Its 20th Anniversary!

DUSC Summer Camp June 11–August 31 Pier 40 in Hudson River Park www.dusc.nyc 18

May 24, 2018

Proud To Be A Part Of This Park And Its Community... NYC Community Media


HAPPY 20TH ANNIVERSARY

Chelsea Piers congratulates Hudson River Park on its 20th Anniversary. We are proud to be a part of the park and the community. Here’s to another 20 years!

NYC Community Media

chelseapiers.com

May 24, 2018

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HUDSON RIVER PARK @ 20

Downtown’s Sports Pier Caught in Squeeze Play BY SYDNEY PEREIRA Thirteen years ago, tens of thousands of square feet of artificial-grass turf was rolled out inside the courtyard of Pier 40. Downtown families rapidly transformed the new playing field into a Village fixture for children’s sports. The courtyard field followed a smaller rooftop field that had been installed around five years earlier. In 2018 — 20 years after the creation the Hudson River Park — the kids who grew up playing sports on Pier 40’s fields are now nearing adulthood, on the way to college, and even coaching the next generation of young athletes. One of those teens is Katharine Fox, a 17-year-old rising high school senior, who fell in love with soccer on Pier 40. She played nearly two hours daily with Gotham Girls Football Club, and later the Downtown United Soccer Club (DUSC). The pier became integral to her family’s weekends together. Her dad, Paul Fox, a board member of the DUSC who coached her soccer and softball teams, recalls Saturday mornings meandering through the Village to

Photo courtesy of DUSC

Downtown United Soccer Club players hone their skills and teamwork on Pier 40’s FieldTurf artificial-grass playing field in the pier’s huge courtyard. The capacious pier is in sore need of repairs, but work has started to fix up its corroded steel support piles.

the mammoth W. Houston St. pier with two kids in tow. “It’s a great way to share the neighborhood with your children,” he said. Without the pier — just a scooter ride away from the Foxes’ Village home — Katharine doubts that she would have been as involved with sports throughout her childhood.

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“It probably would have been a hard pass,” Fox said of the possibility of traveling daily as a 7-year-old to Randalls Island, Roosevelt Island or beyond. “In the city, it’s so hard to find space — ridiculously hard.” “It allowed me to become the athletic person that I’ve become now,” she said of the park’s “family sports pier.” But looming over local youths’ ongoing enjoyment of Pier 40 is the challenge the Hudson River Park Trust faces in keeping the aging structure afloat. The pier’s corroded pilings — the steel columns upon which the pier sits — have long been in desperate need of repair. In late April, repairs began on the pier’s pilings using $100 million that the Hudson River Park Trust received last year for selling 200,000 square feet of air rights from the pier to the St. John’s Partners development project across the West Side Highway. The pilings’ repairs are expected to cost $104 million, according to Madelyn Wils, the Trust’s president and CEO. The repairs needed at Pier 40 go far beyond the pilings, though. In recent years, the Trust has completely redone or replaced the entire sprinkler system and fire alarms, plus added a new firesuppression system, along with new lighting in the garage — just to name a few. Bricks are sliding off the north side of the pier-shed building, which also needs to be repaired, according to the Trust. “I’m talking millions and million and millions of dollars,” Wils said. “This is just current work.” Under the Hudson River Park Act of 1998, the park is expected, “to the extent practicable,” to generate its own

revenue and be self-sustaining, paying for its own maintenance and operations. This year, though, the government took a larger role in funding the park’s completion — Governor Andrew Cuomo allocated $50 million for it, so long as the city matches it. Pier 40 generates around 25 percent of the 4-mile-long riverfront park’s operating funds. But that doesn’t include how much is spent on Pier 40 each year. In the past six years, the pier’s maintenance has cost around $40 million, Crain’s reported. “It brings us income,” Wils said of Pier 40, “but we end up spending a lot of money on continually fixing the pier.” The long-term revenue problem of Pier 40, Wils believes, could be solved through the development of office space on the pier. “It’s the least impactful of all commercial uses,” she explained. The original Park Act doesn’t allow that type of use at Pier 40. “We need a legislative change,” Wils said. But some leaders of Downtown sports leagues fear that development plans for the 14-acre pier could wind up meaning less field space for future generations of young players — at least in the short run, if not longer. “If Pier 40 were to close [for its redevelopment], it would be a disaster,” Isaac-Daniel Astrachan, another DUSC board member, said. “What probably would happen is, we would have to either shut down our operations or reduce the players.” Last year, a Community Board 2 (CB2) working group tasked with evaluating the future of the pier, recommended that any legislation change to allow currently unpermitted commercial uses — such as office space — must “be balanced by changes that maximize public open space and assure public control of the park.” “Commercial offices may be reasonable if their high value reduces the total floor area of a project, but other commercial uses that enhance the park and support important community needs should also be included as part of any redevelopment,” the CB2 working group concluded their November 2017 report. Those uses should include park- and community-enhancing uses, like small restaurants, performances PIER 40 continued on p. 24 NYC Community Media


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HUDSON RIVER PARK @ 20

Keeping Cool On The West Side, 1940s Style Long before the Hudson River bikeway was created and became a favorite way for people to catch a breeze, there was another, more direct way to do cool off and have fun: taking a plunge right off a pier into the river.

Copyright 1981 Ruth Orkin

“Boy Jumping into Hudson River, NYC, 1948,” by Ruth Orkin.

FRIENDS continued from p. 18

to say, ‘I pay my taxes, so it should be covered by that.’

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May 24, 2018

“That, unfortunately, doesn’t get anything done,” Lawin not. The playground at Chelsea Waterside Park — a major effort funded by the

Friends — was another example of connecting park to neighborhood. “We were able to really explain to folks the current state of playgrounds

and what the vision was for repairing and upgrading that facility,” Lawin said. “That was kind of a textbook case of ‘give where you live.’ ” NYC Community Media


NYC Community Media

May 24, 2018

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HUDSON RIVER PARK @ 20

Photo by Bob Krasner

A worker on the Pier55 project walks under the steel arch, the only remnant of the former head house of Pier 54, the pier where the S.S. Carpathia brought the Titanic’s survivors. The historic Pier 54 was demolished by the Hudson River Park Trust and is being replaced by the new and stylish Pier55.

Stayin’ Alive at Pier55 aka ‘Diller Island’ The Pier55 project is back underway after Governor Cuomo intervened last year and got The City Club of New York to drop its legal challenge, in return for the governor’s promise to complete the park’s construction in his next term, if re-elected. This Tuesday, a massive W526 crane arrived at the site of the planned Pier55 public park and performing-arts space, which is planned to open in Hudson River Park, off of W. 14th St., in 2020. The crane — seen in the background, above — will be used for pile-driving and installation of the project’s signature

concrete “pots” that will sit atop the traditional piles and hold up the landscaped park’s deck. The pile-driving will start in June and continue until wrapping up in October, when the seasonal construction moratorium begins, and will then resume next May. Pile-driving is expected to be complete by fall 2019. The pot installation is expected to be complete by March 2020. Construction is already underway on the two access bridges that will lead out to the park from the “upland,” or shore-based part, of the park. —Lincoln Anderson

A design rendering for Pier55, at W. 14th St., shows how the piles would be topped by organic-shaped-looking “pots.” Starting next month, a lot of pounding and positioning with an enormous crane will be going on to install the piles, and then the pots will be attached to the top of the piles. Construction has already been ongoing on two bridges to connect the island pier to the land-based part of Hudson River Park.

PIER 40 continued from p. 20

it’s a disaster,” Astrachan said. Meanwhile, kids spend their weekends dribbling soccer balls up and down Pier 40’s fields, Little Leaguers are learning how to throw their first baseball, and Stuyvesant High School students are practicing football, among the pier’s many athletic uses at any given time. Even though there are acres of field space, every sport, league and age group is vying for a spot. “It has become apparent that field space is one of the most challenging things we have to deal with as a club,” DUSC’s Astrachan said, likening the

lack of field space to school overcrowding in the city. In fact, each season, some kids have to be turned away after tryouts because of insufficient playing-field space, according to Astrachan. And as more families move Downtown, field space becomes an even bigger issue. For all of Pier 40’s challenges and uncertain future, however, parents still say it’s the best sports space for their kids. Greenwich Village Little Leaguers even have the added benefit of indoor space on the pier — including batting cages — for year-round practice time. “I don’t know of any other facilities

venues, commercial recreation or arts uses, such as rehearsal space, galleries and artisanal manufacturing, the working group said. Before any legislative change in Albany, though, there will be ongoing discussions about the pier’s future at CB.2. And even if the Trust, community residents, the youth leagues and other stakeholders agree on a development plan, the pier would likely need to be closed, at least partially. “If a generation of kids loses fields,

24

May 24, 2018

Courtesy of Pier55 Inc.

that have this space,” Courtney Ozer, a Hell’s Kitchen parent whose 10-yearold daughter, Oakley, has been playing baseball and softball for five seasons. Most of the time, the girls teams have to play at Chelsea Waterside Park, at 23rd St. and 11th Ave. Ozer noted. Pier 40 is a better facility for her daughter, though. Practicing year-round with the indoor space helps her daughter be more competitive and keep her skills up. “Already, it’s hard because we live in the city,” Ozer said. But with Pier 40, she added, “I always marvel how it feels like we are in the suburbs.” NYC Community Media


The Durst Organization is proud to support Hudson River Park and Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

NYC Community Media

May 24, 2018

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May 24, 2018

NYC Community Media


Photo by Josh Rogers

Near Eighth Ave., this well-maintained plant area behind Sandbox Park is fenced off from residents, and could be converted to a grassy play space for kids. FIELD continued from p. 5

learned Ultimate Frisbee. The end zones were the small patches of grass/dirt that sloped up. The Back was redesigned perhaps two decades ago, with new fences cutting off the old end zones, our right field, and the home plate for what we called fastball, akin to stickball. The pitcher threw a tennis ball to the strike zone, a chalk square drawn on Building 7’s brick wall. The game’s constant pounding under people’s windows, I’m sure, was one of the reasons for adding the fences — which, lucky for me, happened when I was an adult. The new space, still roughly about 120 by 60 feet, works, and is better for residents, although it’ll never be as good as I remember it. The large, unsupervised softball games aren’t coming back, now that there are fences. We worked out our confl icts, which doesn’t happen enough in today’s helicopter parenting world.It was only as an adult that I learned that sometimes some kids got upset when they were picked last for teams. I didn’t notice that, and I was picked in the bottom half a fair amount, depending on how old the other kids were. I always saw it as a fair meritocracy. You almost always got picked where you belonged on the talent scale, and then you played the game. I remember once a teen, several years older than me, knocked me down trying to score. Although it hurt, it also felt good because I held onto the ball and he was out. My son and his four-yearold sister are too young to play NYC Community Media

there by themselves, but I am pleased to see small handfuls of middle schoolers and slightly younger kids playing without adults. On the plus side, the 12-and-under set is able to coexist with confi ned-space baseball, soccer, bikes, scooters, and skateboards. That’s what my son and his sister use it for. I’m sure there have been space confl icts from time to time, although I can’t recall witnessing one. I’d also like them to be playing on grass more, but that has been mostly taboo in Penn South. I have many memories of being chased off the grass as a kid, although we were mostly tolerated near The Back, and they are allowed there now. But there are walkways and benches right there, so play is limited. There are other places that could be opened up. Five years ago, a few fellow parents tried to get another grass area opened for use — the north side of W. 28th St. between Eighth and Ninth Aves. I counted 20 grass areas in Penn South that could be seen and not touched, but there was no interest in adding play space. Near Eighth Ave. and W. 27th St., behind Sandbox Park, there is a sizable plant and grass area that is well-maintained, even though it is fenced off from enjoyment by anyone. It wouldn’t take much to open the Sandbox Park fence and let it be “for unprogrammed play,” if there was a will to do so. I made it on concrete, though, and maybe I was better off working with the limits. As the story goes, I used to crawl from grass to concrete as a baby. Maybe The Back was where I was meant to play. May 24, 2018

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NYC RESIDENTS! SAVE UP TO 40% ON ADMISSION* PIER 86, WEST 46TH STREET & 12TH AVENUE

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May 24, 2018

  

            

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