Construction Wage Theft Charged 05
1991 W. Side Murder Reopened 10
Trump Jeered in NY Return 23
THE SHADOWS MEGATOWERS CAST ON A LIGHT-STARVED CITY BY SYDNEY PEREIRA As a marathon runner, Lisa Mercurio runs in Central Park as often as she can since she lives just a mile from the 840acre park. For her, Central Park is an escape from the city. Park-goers are surrounded by beauty, she said, and sometimes where you are in the city becomes unrecognizable. “I appreciate the fact that you can go into Central Park and have one of these open space experiences that it was intended for at the time of its creation,” Mercurio said. But that experience is changing as Manhattan’s skyline shapeshifts into something often unrecognizable, with megatowers reaching heights that historically were unfathomable. Mercurio, a board member of the East River 50s Alliance, and other community activists call megatower development the “creep” — the steady development of “supertalls,” especially in Midtown. New towers are considered supertalls when they exceed 984 feet (300 meters) in height. A particular hotspot for such development is just south of Central Park. “You see one crane right after another,” Mercurio said of her recent runs through Central Park. “It’s like a freefor-all in the spirit of real estate development.” In as-of-right zoning districts that sidestep any public review process whatsoever, Mercurio said, “that represents trouble for the people of New York.” The “siege” of out-of-context megatowers — as Mercurio describes the rush of development — has effects beyond changing the nature of the historic neighborhoods on the blocks they are built on. Advocates are concerned
Courtesy of the Municipal Art Society of New York
SHADOWS continued on p. 4
A rendering of a south view from Central Park of the shadows cast by currently proposed developments projected through 2025 (above) versus those cast as of 2014.
May 31 – June 13, 2018 | Vol. 04 No. 11
Pols Decry ‘L’-ack of Access for People with Disabilities During Subway Shutdown BY LESLEY SUSSMAN Politicians, L train riders, community group leaders and transit advocates converged in the rain at 14th St. and Third Ave. on the morning of Thurs., May 17, to demand that the MTA make the L train stations there and at Sixth Ave. fully accessible to people with disabilities, handicapped senior citizens and parents with infants ahead of a planned shutdown of the line next year for extensive renovations. These stations and others along the L line from Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn to Eighth Ave. in Manhattan are scheduled to be shut down beginning in April 2019 for 15 months in order to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy to the line’s Canarsie Tunnel under the East River. The L line serves an estimated 275,000 riders daily and is one of the busiest lines in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s subway system. Although all the L stations that would be affected by the shutdown Photo by Lesley Sussman
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Councilmember Carlina Rivera called it “disgraceful and shameful” that 75 percent of the city’s subway stations lack elevators. Assemblymember Harvey Epstein, standing behind her, accused the MTA of “poor planning” for not including adding elevators as part of its L shutdown plan.
are being upgraded as part of the project, at least five of these would not have handicapped elevator access and thus may not comply with the federal Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Two of these stations are along 14th St. at Third and Sixth Aves. The ADA is a civil-rights law passed in 1990 that prohibits discrimination based on physical disability. The politicians and transit advocates at last Thursday’s rally demanded that the ADA regulations be enforced immediately. New Assemblymember Harvey Epstein and state Senator Brad Hoylman opened the press conference by encouraging attendees to chant, “Let us ride!” “Where’s the plan?” and “Stranded by Cuomo!” Epstein then went on to tell the street-corner crowd of about 20 people that while there was a pressing need to make all the city’s 472 subway stations accessible to all New Yorkers, this re-construction project was the perfect time to bring the 14th St. stops up to par. “This is an opportunity to mod-
ernize some of the most heavily used subway stations” and get them into compliance with the ADA, he said. “This press conference is an attempt to bring the city’s attention to the issue of inaccessibility in our transit system,” Epstein said. “Millions of people have physical disabilities or have babies in strollers or are senior citizens with physical impairments and they all need access to our transportation systems, like everyone else.” “This is an example of poor planning by the city,” he accused. “The MTA is saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to close this subway down for a year and a half, and when we reopen it, it’s not going to be accessible.’ More importantly, this is a moral issue for our city,” he stressed. Hoylman attended the press conference with his daughter, Lucy, who was in a stroller. “There are so many New Yorkers who need access to subway transportation — from seniors to the disabled ACCESS continued on p. 19 NYC Community Media
Targeted and Towed, Midtown Motorcyclists Call for Permit Street Parking BY WINNIE McCROY Parking is always cutthroat in Midtown Manhattan — but earlier this month, say some local motorcyclists, parking officials targeted them with mass ticketing and towing on the day after motorcycle registration expires, while they were waiting for their new registration sticker to arrive in the mail. Now, they’re out hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines just for parking in their own neighborhood. And they’re asking the City Council to make some changes to protect the rights of resident riders. “They need to be corralled a bit from what they’re doing,” said Hell’s Kitchen resident Christian Miles about parking officials. “My motorcycle was towed for not having a license plate, but it does have a license plate, in compliance with the law. Then they towed it again on April 30, the day when all motorcycle registrations expire. I had renewed online, but I didn’t receive the sticker yet. But they had the ticketing agents ready to go. They were aware of that date and took full advantage of it, and anyone without a sticker was towed immediately.” Miles, who is a freelance photojournalist for Chelsea Now, said that his hands were tied, as he was waiting for the DMV to send him his renewal sticker. His motorcycle was towed from W. 44th St. between Ninth and 10th Aves. — a street very popular for motorcycle parking — to the NYPD Tow Pound at 12th Ave. and W. 38th St. Miles said he ended up forking out about $2,000 to get his bike back. He could have saved himself the trouble. According to him, when the NYPD first towed his bike for “miss-
Photo by Christian Miles
Christian Miles said he’s been towed and ticketed multiple times for no license plate, despite having one clearly affixed to the back of his bike (as seen in this photo, taken at the NYPD Tow Pound; plate numbers blurred for privacy).
ing plates” on Feb. 7, he went to the Tow Pound, and the supervisor verified that he did in fact have a license plate all along. But Miles said they had used a grinder to cut through the Caliper lock, inadvertently cutting through the brake rotors in the process. In a potentially life-threatening situation, he drove his motorcycle home, unaware that he had no brakes. That didn’t stop the NYPD from towing his cycle again on April 13 for
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the exact same reason. He paid $185 to retrieve it. Miles said that he renewed his registration online, and was given a temporary registration certificate verifying that he was in compliance. Still, on May 1 — the day after motorcycle registrations expire — he received two tickets, one for an expired registration MOTORCYCLISTS continued on p. 14
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SHADOWS continued from p. 1
how these towers will cast shadows onto Central Park and other smaller parks and playgrounds — stifling their usability and slashing the number of days it’s warm enough to enjoy them. Without sunshine, the very nature of a park can change. “It may well be too cold to be in the park,” said George Janes, the owner of George M. Janes & Associates, a planning firm that provides zoning expertise. “To me, that’s the most important reason to care about shadows in the park.” South of Central Park, one megatower stands out at 432 Park Ave. and E. 57th St. The slender supertall is 1,396 feet, completed in 2015 and developed by CIM Group. But another supertall to the west of it is catching up: the Steinway Tower at 111 West 57th St. had reached more than half of its eventual height of 1,438 feet as of March, according to JDS Development Group. The Steinway Tower was one of eight high-rises across the city where contractors were recently charged with a multimillion dollar wage theft and insurance fraud scheme (see page 5). Another high-profile building, owned by the Kushner Companies, 666 Fifth Ave., at E. 53rd St., has long been under discussion for redevelopment as a 1,400-foot tower. One 57th St. reaches more than 1,000 feet. Central Park Tower, also on W. 57th St., where just last week a security guard was killed by a fallen glass panel, is expected to rise above all of them to a height of 1,550 feet. The building, also known as the Nordstrom Tower, is being developed by Extell Development Company. Community activists are asking how these supertalls are even being allowed. Zoning experts including Janes point to loopholes, outdated zoning regulations, and a lack of transparency in any public review that takes place. One major loophole for supertall development involves technological advances as well as construction sleights-of-hand that allow devevlopers to better exploit the zoning limits on the “floor area ratio,” which is the ratio between the
Photo by Phil Davis/ Courtesy of the Municipal Art Society of New York
A 2012 view from the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art looking toward Central Park South overlaid with towers proposed through 2025.
total floor area of the building and the size of the lot upon which it is built. By building on only a small portion of the total lot, developers can maximize height — hence the super-slender buildings such as 432 Park Avenue and the Steinway Tower. In addition, Janes explained, the floor-to-floor heights in a building aren’t regulated under the 1961 zoning laws, which means that for any given building height the total floor area can be reduced by increasing the space between each floor. The effect is to maximize the allowable building height given the applicable zoned FAR limit. For apartment buildings, the taller the building the better for expensive luxury views, and increasing the floor-to-floor heights maximizes the luxury delivered. Some new towers are also creating “voids” of space worth hundreds of feet — some housing building mechanicals, others with stilts supporting the higher construction, but many far larger than necessary if necessary at all. According to Janes’ calculations, Central Park Tower has mechanical floors and voids making up 27 percent of the tower’s height, with one void 100 feet tall. Rapid construction technology change explains why existing zoning regulations have been unable to limit the development of supertalls. Since the 1960s, engineers have mastered
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the construction of taller buildings — aided in part by maximizing floor-tofloor heights ratios — while the costs associated with doing so have dropped sharply, according to Janes. “We never thought that that would ever happen, so it was never regulated,” Janes said. “So now we have this crazy market. You have important changes to building technologies that allow these things to happen in a cost-effective way.” In March, the Upper West Side’s Community Board 7 pointed out these loopholes and highlighted two supertalls currently in progress: at 200 Amsterdam Ave. and W. 69th St. and at 50 W. 66th St. The board wrote that these buildings and others are “jarringly out of context.” “Our community board said this is ridiculous,” said Sheila Kendrick, a member of Save Central Park NYC, which is focused on the dangers posed by the increasing breadth of building shadows. “Just because the technology allows developers and cost to developers [allows them] to do this — it doesn’t mean that we should roll over and take it.” CB7 noted “novel tactics” used by developers to skirt the original intention of the city’s zoning text, including large voids and mechanical spaces that are taller than necessary; apartment ceilings up to 20 feet high; gerrymander-
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ing open space to create a large single zoning lot that minimizes a building’s FAR; and transferring development rights across large distances within the city. They called on the City Planning Commission to amend zoning regulations and on elected officials to address this issue as urgent. “Thank God our community board put this resolution in place,” Kendrick said. Another concern — specific to the shadows issue across Central Park and other pockets of parks and playgrounds — is shoddy shadow and light studies carried out during any required environmental review process. These studies aren’t always adequate, in part because the reviews are fundamentally self-disclosure documents, according to some land use experts. Developers can create a certain narrative in these studies, and often their definition as to what’s “sun-sensitive” differs from what the community may believe. “You can always wordsmith it to say that, ‘Well, yes, there will be a shadow, but it won’t be on this particular area,’” said Thomas Devaney, senior director of land use and planning at the Municipal Arts Society. MAS released a report late last year detailing how extensive shadows from new high rises could become across the city, including in Central Park. The report described how just 10 percent of new projects go through a public review process; the rest are developed in asof-right districts. Even on those with public review, according to the report, developments slip through the cracks and end up being out of context with the neighborhood, drastically changing the streetscape and skyline. Devaney and Marcel Negret, MAS’ senior project manager for preservation and planning, emphasized that the group is not anti-development. Its report recommends closing loopholes and increasing transparency all while holding the city and developers accountable. “We’re just seeking a process that is more inclusive and reflects a public discourse or debate on how the city moves forward,” Negret said.
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Vance Targets Wage Theft in Manhattan Construction BY SYDNEY PEREIRA Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., has announced charges against a Queens-based construction company for stealing $1.7 million in wages and defrauding the state’s insurance fund by millions of dollars. More than 500 construction workers who helped build some of the best known new high-rises in Manhattan — including the Steinway Tower at 111 W. 57th St. and American Copper Buildings at 626 First Ave. at E. 36th St. — were scammed out of millions in wages, according to the charges. “Plain and simple — it’s stealing,” James Rogers, deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor, said at a press conference on May 16. “It’s stealing just like any other kind of stealing, and people that do it ought to face the consequences.” Parkside Construction worked with Michigan-based payroll processing company Affinity Human Resources to alter timesheets so drastically that one construction worker lost more than $50,000 in three years, according to the DA’s charges. The construction company used face-recognition technology to track workers’ hours, but allegedly lied on timesheets later submitted to Affinity. Workers were paid under “expense reimbursement” in some cases — rather than a typical paycheck — in order to evade taxes and unemployment insurance contributions, according to the charges. “These timesheets weren’t just a here and there kind of thing,” Vance said at the press conference. “This was the business model for these defendants… These alterations were purposeful, calculated, and consistent. And by doctoring their employees’ timesheets, the defendants were able to steal more than $1.7 million from more than 500 workers — workers who are principally immigrants, often undocumented.” The lengthy investigation began with a tip from a carpenters union, according to Diana Florence, assistant district attorney and lead attorney in Vance’s Construction Fraud Task Force. The non-union workers were often making $25-per-hour doing some of the most dangerous construction work in the city, according to authorities. Most were from Ecuador or Mexico. “The Building Trades thanks Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance for fighting against the egregious actions committed by these irresponsible contractors and looking out for hardworking New Yorkers,” Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, wage theft and insurance fraud are all too common — especially among nonunion contractors. Worker exploitation and abuse should never be tolerated and we applaud the district attorney’s commitment to ending wage theft and keeping unscrupulous employers accountable.” LaBarbera later told NYC Community Media that DA’s action has put contractors on notice. “The charges are a warning to all construction contractors that unscrupulous employers will face consequences,” he said. He also suggested that culpability could extend beyond contractors alone. “Developers,” LaBarbera added, “should be aware of what’s happening on their sites and accept responsibility for everything that happens on them. Ultimately, we NYC Community Media
Photo by Sydney Pereira
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. (at podium), with James Rogers, deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor, at a May 16 press conference announcing charges against a Queens construction company and a Michigan payroll services company for wage theft and insurance fraud in connection with $100 million in contracts for Manhattan construction projects.
hope to see greater accountability and support all efforts to combat wage theft in the construction industry.” The DA’s investigation also alleges that Parkside hid more than $42 million in payroll from the New York State Insurance Fund. Premiums for workers compensation insurance are determined by the payroll and the type of work employees do. By allegedly hiding tens of millions from NYSIF, Parkside’s employee insurance premiums were fraudulently low. The fraud scheme netted $7.8 million for Parkside and Affinity, authorities say. The charges come as Manhattan’s streetscape and skyline are being reshaped dramatically. “Nowadays,” Vance said, “you look up, and everywhere there are buildings going up and coming down and our famous skyline continues to shapeshift with great speed.” Manhattan’s shapeshifting skyline can have grave consequences for workers, he added. Along with New York’s historic building boom, Vance said, “wage theft unfortunately remains one of the most pervasive and insidious issues facing tens of thousands of everyday New Yorkers.” The Department of Labor’s Rogers said it is difficult to quantify just how widespread wage theft could be. The department, however, each year helps workers receive 30,000 checks for money owed them and opens 8,000 wage theft cases. Parkside’s co-owner Francesco Pugliese was charged with insurance fraud, grand larceny, fraudulent practices, a scheme to defraud, and offering a false instrument for filing. Salvatore Pugliese, the other co-owner, was charged with insurance fraud, fraudulent practices, and offering a false instrument for filing. James Lyon, the company’s supervising foreman, Yenny Duarte, its payroll manager, Michael DiMaggio, an outside accountant, and Jerry Hamling, Affinity’s owner, were also charged. “We have known about this investigation for over a
year and look forward to showing the DA’s office and investigators why they are wrong in filing these charges against Parkside and the other individuals that were indicted,” Parkside’s attorney Scott E. Leemon said in a written statement. The company denies all wage and any other kinds of theft. Affinity did not respond to NYC Community Media’s request for comment. The multi-million-dollar schemes were allegedy carried out at construction ongoing at some of Manhattan’s most high-profile skyrises, including the Steinway Tower on the so-called Billionaire’s Row and the American Copper Buildings in Murray Hill — both developed by JDS Development Group. Steinway Tower is quickly coming online as the latest dramatic change to the skyline. As of March, the soonto-be 82-story luxury condo building passed the halfway point to its total height of 1,428 feet — the third tallest in New York and the most slender “supertall” building in the world, according to its developers. The DA’s charges against Parkside Construction involve $100 million in contracts for concrete and masonry work at buildings — beyond the Steinway and American Copper buildings — including, as well, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at 350 W. 40th St., the Hilton Garden Inn New York Times Square South at 326 W. 37th St., the Public Hotel at 215 Chrystie St. and E. Houston St., the Jarmulowsky Bank Hotel at 9 Orchard St. and Canal St., the Marriott Hotels at 215 Pearl St. and Platt St., and the Courtyard New York Downtown Marriott at 133 Greenwich St. and Thames St. Developers for the buildings have not been implicated in the case, but at the press conference, Vance said the charges against the construction and payroll companies were just the beginning. “What I can say is that this investigation is the beginning of a larger one, and I won’t predict where we’re going to go because that would be inappropriate,” Vance said. “But we are looking at all players in the business.” May 31, 2018
From Splintered Piers to Fancy Park of Today, We’ve Come a Long Way BY MICHELE HERMAN May 1985: My husband and I are young and unmarried; upper West Siders by address, budget and general affiliation — and we’re going to move in together. We’ve come to the Village because in the middle of our long, demoralizing apartment hunt a realtor has called out of the blue to ask if we’d like to see a little place on Jane St. Jane St.?! we say. Who wouldn’t? The apartment is in a recently converted warehouse a half block from the Hudson. The building has no lobby, the apartment is taller than it is wide, but it’s clean and has a little charm. On one side of the place is the derelict High Line; the three-block section between Gansevoort and Bethune Sts. was removed a few years later, despite our attempts to save it. On the other is the derelict waterfront, with a smokehouse and an abandoned building, soon to burn to the ground; we later watched transvestite prostitutes squatting their escape. A building-supply company and an SRO hotel are across the street. We shake the realtor’s hand and wander over to the river as the sun begins to set. It’s out by the mighty Hudson that
Photo by Tom Fox
Relaxedly straddling a concrete Jersey barrier, a Husky hung out by Pier 45 (the Christopher St. Pier) circa 1988. The West Side waterfront had really “gone to the dogs” after it ceased to be a working waterfront before its eventual transformation into Hudson River Park. Yet, many loved the area’s free and funky feeling back then.
we feel the entire orientation of our lives shift. This is ’85, four years after the demolition of the elevated Miller Highway and just four months before its proposed replacement, Westway, the sunken-highway-riverfront-development project, is abandoned. In other words,
there’s not much there but river. There is no raised planted median in the middle of West St., so it’s easy to see across to Jersey, where there’s no skyline to speak of. There are no trees and thus no shade. There’s no greenery, unless you count three small trees in concrete pots way down around
Christopher St. We wait for an opening in the traffic and cross West St. and its service lanes and the wide paved no-man’s land beside the river. Then we hike out to the end of the derelict pier that seems to go halfway to Hoboken. It’s surfaced with huge wooden planks, some sections laid straight, some diagonally, as if one shift of workers ignored what the previous shift had done. The planks are shrunken, shredded, worm-eaten, warped, sun-bleached, fire-charred, with whole sections missing or pried loose to reveal a lower layer of planks laid in the opposite direction. The pier is a thousand splinters and accidents waiting to happen. There is no barrier of any kind around the periphery. We don’t care. We feel as if we’re on a ship. A cool breeze blows. We look back at the city. The pier’s planks and low-rise buildings along West St. are bathed in golden twilight. The ragged edge of the Village looks breathtakingly beautiful. We are so astonished to be living on Jane St. that we set out to get involved, and what a first-rate educaPARK continued on p. 8
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HOP: Nabe Complaints Led to New Pride Parade Route BY DUNCAN OSBORNE On April 25, members of the Reclaim Pride Coalition presented Heritage of Pride (HOP) with a list of demands, including an “honest and transparent explanation for the dramatic route change” that has the city’s annual Pride Parade beginning in Chelsea, traveling south on Seventh Ave. to Christopher St., east to Fifth Ave., and then north to end at 29th St. At HOP meetings on May 14 and May 15, Julian Sanjivan, who heads the HOP March Committee, was ready with a PowerPoint presentation. One bullet point suggested that West Village residents had complained and there were “too many complaints to not take further action,” it read. Those residents might not agree. On Pride Sunday in 2017, there were 41 complaints made to the city’s 311 service concerning “loud music/party” or “loud talking” within Community Board 2 (CB2), which includes the West Village and is home to about 94,000 New Yorkers. On the Sunday before Pride last year, there were 12 noise complaints, and five noise complaints on the Sunday after Pride. Residents are not complaining to CB2.
Photo by Duncan Osborne
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, at a May 20 West Side Summit at the High Line, said he was not consulted on the parade route change.
“The parade was not changed due to complaints brought to the community board,” said Bob Gormley, the board’s district manager. Calls to 911 did go up on Pride Sunday last year. Residents living in the NYPD’s Sixth Precinct, which includes the West Village, made 221 calls to 911 on the Sunday before Pride last year, 435 calls
on Pride Sunday, and 163 calls on the Sunday following Pride. Whatever those taxpayers were calling about, it was not serious crime. There were no murders in the Sixth Precinct last year, nine rapes, 139 robberies, and 131 felony assaults. It is among the safest precincts in the city. HOP has responded by changing the
route and limiting all contingents to fewer than 200 people. The group is expecting 41,000 marchers this year as opposed to 55,000 last year and fewer floats and vehicles. For the first time, the post-parade pier dance, now called Pride Island, and fireworks have moved PARADE ROUTE continued on p. 11
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May 31, 2018
Photo by Michele Herman
Photo by Jonathan Kuhn
Looking northeast from the Bank St. Pier in 1985-86, above. PARK continued from p. 6
tion in activism, city government and preservation we receive. We join Save the Village, a new incarnation of Jane Jacobs’s pioneering preservation group, started by Pearl Brooder. We meet the cast of local characters, including the late, great Verna Small, Bob Oliver, Ben Green and Leslie Lowe, to name just a SERVING MANHATTAN AND THE ENTIRE TRI-STATE AREA
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of envelopes, attend countless meetings. All this volunteer energy is aimed at a perfectly sensible plan: a modest, green, self-sustaining waterfront park paid for with available funds left over when Westway died; no shadowy quasi-governmental city-state agency in charge; no non-water-dependent uses; no decade of waiting; no development “nodes” (a small word to denote some large tracts of land, most notably, Pier 40) to pay for it all. One of the tasks I’m most proud of is the hot June day in 1988 when we organized a tiny band of volunteers in the insane, impossible task of cleaning up the entire length of the Village waterfront in preparation for a big festival the Federation was running the following day. It clearly hadn’t been cleaned in years. Papers and candy wrappers had collected in every crevice. We worked from morning to sundown. I remember that, after a certain point, the sweat inside my gloves seemed more objectionable than bare hands; I was terrified of lifting a piece of yellowed newspaper and uncovering a rat family. I spent so many hours bent over that I split my ’80s jeans, the ones with the little zippers at the ankles. Now, as I think back over the enormous changes we have witnessed in our 33 years in the West Village, it takes some effort to call back into view that wild waterfront that was nothing but potential. Back then, you could do things out there with impunity. Some of these activities were benign, if not always G-rated, like the guy in short shorts who used to practice his baton twirling, and the sun worshippers out on the splintered piers in their leathery
Buttons recall the waterfront battles of the past by the Federation to Preserve the Greenwich Village Waterfront and Great Port. “The barge” refers to the Bobby Venture, a prison barge with nearly 400 beds that the city, in 1989, planned to keep berthed at Pier 40, at W. Houston St. The community ultimately defeated that idea.
birthday suits. Some activities were semi-sanctioned, like the guy who sold Christmas trees from a truck, who used our super’s bathroom for years. And some parked-car activities I don’t even want to know about, because I imagine they mirrored the things the Sopranos did in the dark on their side of the river. In 1986, fearing lawsuits, the city or state fenced off the piers to keep the Liberty Weekend crowds safe from the conditions caused by the city and state’s own neglect. In 1993 when the fences proved insufficient, the Hudson River Park Conservancy, the new entity in charge, chopped off the first 30 feet of the old piers, causing a huge outcry from those who wanted to save them. Meanwhile, my husband and two sons had the outlaw spirit. The boys learned to ride bikes on the concrete surface of Pier 54, up at W. 13th St. This was not allowed, but no one ever stopped them. They trespassed on the old fireboat pier at Gansevoort Peninsula and got invited in for a tour by the firefighters; they liked the sign on the bathroom door that said, “Beware: Toxic Gas.” When Hudson River Park, whose new Greenwich Village section opened in 2003, was being created, a staging area on the inland side near Jane St. filled up with a massive mound of building materials. Over many weeks, the boys built themselves a Belgian-block house with a plywood roof. My husband, the art historian, built a two-room cinderblock conceptual piece. They even brought out table settings. Six months went by and no one knocked their creations down, though the table settings did occasionPARK continued on p. 20 NYC Community Media
Community Activities: The Garage Sale & Food Fest Edition BY SCOTT STIFFLER BETTER BLOCK ASSOCIATION/ FRIENDS OF PIER 84 ANNUAL GARAGE SALE Theater programs, â€œPlaybillâ€? and otherwise! Old photos with personality! Amateur art worthy of hanging on your wall! Thatâ€™s the promise â€” worthy of those exclamation points â€” from the West 44th Street Better Block Association/Friends Of Pier 84, as to what will be up for grabs at their 42nd Annual Garage Sale. Nowhere in sight, they assure us, will be those â€œsmoking meats, tube socks, and sunglass vendorsâ€? you can (and will) find at any old street fair this summer. So come schmooze with your neighbors, pick up some funky stuff, and know that your money is going to help a 501(c)(3) and New York State nonprofit in their mission to beautify the area with tree guards, lamp posts, and flower beds. That support is more important than ever this year. As Ashley (the block associationâ€™s chairperson) told us, city and state agencies are â€œdemanding 20 percent of the monies we get from renting spaces to the folks that want to be involved [vendors]. Thatâ€™s 20 percent
Courtesy of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
WestsideEATS Food Festival makes its debut June 9 and 10, on Pier 86.
The West 44th Street Better Block Association/Friends Of Pier 84â€™s annual garage sale happens for the 42nd time, on June 2.
all the more reason to take the event organizers up on their offer: â€œTake a walk and see what the city has done to an old â€˜grassroots traditionâ€™ thatâ€™s now on the â€˜endangered speciesâ€™ list.â€? Not if you can help itâ€Ś and you can! Sat., June 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on W. 44st St., btw. Ninth and 10th Aves. For more info, visit west44nyc.com and facebook.com/west44nyc.
less we can donate to the charities weâ€™ve supported for over 25 years.â€? Moreover, the powers that be are making vendor licenses mandatory this year, resulting in a drop from last yearâ€™s 86 tables to a total of 26 (as we went to press). Thatâ€™s
THE WestsideEATS FOOD FESTIVAL A visit to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum always provides a feast for the eyes and food for thought â€” but by the time you leave this event,
Photo by Rudi Papiri
the good taste in your mouth will be figurative and literal. The Intrepid is gathering together more than 20 Hellâ€™s Kitchen area eateries and having them set up shop on Pier 86. Live music and fun activities promise to mix very well with the sights, smells, and tastes â€” making for a tradition in the making: The WestsideEATS Food Festival. Participants are too numerous to mention. No, wait, thatâ€™s not true. Hereâ€™s the list they sent us, and itâ€™s a pretty tasty one: The Marshal, What the Dillaz?, The Meatball Shop, The Sound Bite, Wafels & Dinges, Woops! Macarons and Cookies, Bar Gonzo, City Sandwich, Cupcake CafĂŠ, Delicacy Brigadeiros Craft, Guantanamera Restaurant, Hellâ€™s Kitchen Hot Sauce, Home Frite, In Patella, Knot of This World Pretzels, La Newyorkina, Macaroni Shoppe, Nano Ecuadorian Kitchen, Nuts4Nuts, Ousia, Perros y Vainas, PRINT. Restaurant, The Farmacy, Aviator Express, and more! Free admission. Sat., June 9 and Sun., June 10, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum (Pier 86; W. 46th St. & 12th Ave.). Intrepid Museum members will also receive 10 percent off food and drinks. For more info, visit intrepidmuseum.org/wse.
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Police Seek Info on 1991 West Side Murder Trish has copies of are a detailed study BY NATHAN RILEY about the movie â€œChinatown,â€? in which It started with a 2015 phone call he compared it to older films, particufrom New Zealand to the NYPDâ€™s Cold larly the Humphrey Bogart classic â€œThe Case Squad answered by Detective Bob Maltese Falcon,â€? as well as a draft of a Dewhurst. semi-autobiographical piece. Trish wanted to know if anything Bottiggi was a credentialed man, with could be done to find her brotherâ€™s mura bachelorâ€™s degree from the University derer from decades before. of Miami and a masterâ€™s in English Itâ€™s a case that touches on fears shared Lit from the University of Kentucky in by gay and straight people alike who meet Lexington. As a gay man, Manhattan a stranger and discover they want to have Photo courtesy of was a natural place to hang his hat. sex. For Bill Bottiggi, this scenario apparBill Bottiggiâ€™s family Even more so because â€œhe was kinky ently played out in the dead of night in The NYPD is seeking inas fuck,â€? according to a male friend Midtown and went terribly wrong. formation about the 1991 Bottiggi is described by friends and murder of Bill Bottiggi in who shared stories and intimate details. This often meant after-midnight cruisfamily as brilliant. He loved to listen to Midtown. ing and anonymous partners. a story and then recast it into a new tale Bottiggi found his niche editing Stag, a magazine by adding his own flourishes while sitting in his tiny that started by publishing menâ€™s adventure stories but kitchen smoking a joint and sipping a beer. In an email message, one friend wrote, â€œBill loved gradually turned into a stroke publication with pictures everyone. He had a welcoming attitude to people, a of women and articles about straight porn. It was one huge heart. He brought a dwarf to our house once, of many publications put out by Charles Goodman. someone heâ€™d recently met. He had a rare quality of Bottiggi also did freelance work for a wide array of other publications. His wages meant he could afford a walk-up empathy that you donâ€™t see much anymore.â€? According to Trish, when Bottiggiâ€™s parents held a at 916 Eighth Avenue, a few blocks below 57th Street, memorial service for their dead son in Cleveland, more and in the era before Mayor Rudy Giulianiâ€™s cleanup it than 500 people paid their respects. â€œI tell you, he was was sketchy and cruisy at night. Stag offered its own temptations. In the back of the well loved,â€? she said. If you were to mention films, Bottiggi would talk magazine, the personals were filled with letters from about the old black and white film noirs with both affec- prisoners looking for pen pals and benefactors who tion and detail. Among work completed by Bottiggi that were turned on by hot letters from sexy guys often
promising true love or incredible sexual fantasies. Bill, also known as Cha, followed these ads closely. Life was stressful in the late 1980s and the start of the â€˜90s. AIDS gripped the city and closed the backrooms and specialty sex clubs that had sprung up during the heady days of gay emancipation when the cityâ€™s financial crisis meant landlords rented to any tenant who could pay the rent. Bottiggi was one of the thousands of gay men and lesbians who marched in Gay Menâ€™s Health Crisisâ€™ annual AIDS Walk, and he reached out to his friends from college and his sister for contributions. He was last seen when he closed down a Midtown bar called McGeeâ€™s at 4 a.m. one spring morning. After not showing up for work, a neighbor entered his apartment on June 19, 1991 and found his dead body with multiple stab wounds. His parents in their 70s faced the grim reality that they had lived longer than their 40-year-old son, and Detective Dewhurst notes that his mom is 97 and still waiting to find out what happened to him. The NYPD collected evidence and had a suspect, but could not build a strong enough case to charge, and there the matter rested until Trish called Dewhurst. In the 27 years since the homicide, the ability of police to screen evidence â€” the precise nature of which the police are not discussing â€” has improved markedly, making Dewhurst eager to hear from anyone who knew Bill Bottiggi. If the information leads to the arrest and conviction, it would bring a reward of $2,500. The phone number is 800-577-TIPS.
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parade. HOP has agreed to that though it will be limited to 10 groups. HOP rejected the Coalition’s demand that members of the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) be required to march without uniforms or weapons. HOP effectively postponed any demands about limiting policing of the parade until a June 5 town hall with the NYPD that will be held at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (208 W. 13th St., btw. Greenwich & Seventh Aves.). A major theme of the Coalition demands, consistent with longstanding complaints about the Pride Parade, is that it has become disconnected from its history, from the place where that history began, and from the radical politics that emerged before and immediately after the 1969 riots. “This area is our home,” said Jay W. Walker, a member of the Coalition, referring to the West Village. Then speaking about the neighborhood’s current residents, he added, “I don’t really care about them.” For some Coalition members, limiting the size of community group contingents, instead of limiting just corporate groups, was especially troubling. “This really feels like a shrinking, a pulling back,” said Mark Milano at the May 15 meeting.
PARADE ROUTE continued from p. 7
from the West Village to Pier 97 on the Hudson River at the end of W. 57th St. PrideFest, which, like the parade, takes place on the last Sunday in June, has moved to University Place between 13th St. and Waverly Place. The theory is that the changes will make the Pride Parade shorter — it lasted just over nine and a half hours last year — and the crowd will use the greater access to public transportation in Midtown to travel to neighborhoods other than the West Village to celebrate. “We don’t want everyone congesting in the West Village,” Sanjivan said at the May 14 meeting. Discussions among HOP, the Mayor’s office, the NYPD, the city Sanitation Department, and other city agencies that are involved in the parade — which commemorates the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn that mark the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement — began in August 2017 and ended this past February when the NYPD selected the route from among those proposed by HOP. Asked if reducing the cost of organizing, policing, and cleaning up after the parade was part of the city’s discussion with HOP, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he had not been briefed on the topic. “If we have a route that can be shorter in terms of the impact it has on the surrounding communities, we should be looking at that, but I have not heard any of the details relating to this parade,” de Blasio said during a May 23 press conference at a Bronx school. “I would want to get briefed on it before I spoke to it… I think the impetus originally was as much about neighborhood impact, congestion, other factors as it was anything involving cost, but that began before this administration.” While most of HOP’s meetings are open to the public, the organization gave little notice of the change, if any at all, to the broader community until after the new route was chosen and HOP began announcing it on social media. Corey Johnson, who represents the West Village and Chelsea areas in the City Council and won the Council speaker’s job this year, was among those surprised by the new route. “No one asked me my opinion on this or included me in the process between the NYPD and the organizers at the Heritage of Pride,” Johnson told our sister publication, Gay City News. “I literally found out about this through seeing someone share it on Facebook, and I asked my staff to look into it.” Between May 14 and May 15, Sanjivan added a bullet point to his PowerPoint NYC Community Media
Photo by Duncan Osborne
Julian Sanjivan, the march director at Heritage of Pride.
presentation that read “Request from Corey’s office on route change.” That was the sole reference to Johnson or his staff. When Gay City News asked at the May 15 meeting if this meant that Johnson, who is openly gay, had not been consulted, one HOP member said that he was not the City Council speaker when the discussions started. Bruce Pachter, HOP’s community relations director, said Johnson’s CB2 liaison had attended some meetings though he did not say if those were CB2 meetings, which did not take up the route change, or meetings at which the route was discussed. “We didn’t have anything to do with the change in the route of the parade,” Gormley said. “It was not brought to the community board.” Johnson has reservations about the new route. “I personally like the route we’ve marched on for years,” he said. “I have some pretty serious concerns about the new route. I’m not sure it’s long enough, I’m not sure that the staging is in the right area.” The activists in the Reclaim Pride Coalition had multiple concerns. They wanted a resistance contingent in the
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May 31, 2018
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Walking Down the Street â€” Or Avenue
AFTER 30 YEARS
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May 31, 2018
MOTORCYCLISTS continued from p. 3
and another for no plate, despite the fact that registration stickers are affixed to the license plate. He contested the tickets, and is awaiting his fair hearing. By May 3, his motorcycle was again towed for an expired registration. He was forced to pay $60 for the Tow Pound to store his bike over the weekend until he could get to the DMV that Monday and secure the necessary registration sticker. And the towing inflicted yet more damages to his motorcycle’s electrical system. Miles said he spoke with two other men who park their motorcycles on the block, both of whom say they were also targeted while waiting for their new inspection stickers to arrive in the mail.
SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES Ibrahim Barrie was also parked on W. 44th St. between Eighth and Ninth Aves., when his motorcycle was towed. He too said he was waiting for the city to send him his inspection sticker when he was ticketed. “I renewed mine and was waiting for it in the mail, but I didn’t get it,” said Barrie. “I had to go in person and pay more to take care of it there. Between
the renewal and towing, I had to pay $2,000.” And Gabriel Solano managed to get out of this latest motorcycle crackdown for only about $300, but he isn’t thrilled at what he views as discriminatory treatment of motorcyclists, especially as the towing and storage rates Manhattan NYPD Tow Pound charges are the same for cars and trucks as they are for motorcycles. “I got my bike ticketed and towed, and I had a valid inspection through the end of May,” said Solano. “The city needs a solution to feasibly allow motorcyclists to park responsibly without worrying about their bikes being towed, knocked over or kicked down. We take only a quarter of the space of a car.” But Solano is less than optimistic. Before he even had a chance to affix his new registration sticker to his license plate, his motorcycle was towed again, despite the fact that all of his information was legal and up to date. Adding insult to injury, said Solano, is that when faced with a shortage of parking, motorcycle riders cannot always opt to put their motorcycle in a garage, as many don’t accept them. He would like to see the city mandate that parking garages accept motorcycles. For now, he tries to park near
other motorcyclists, saying it’s safer. Some of his neighbors have just given up, and found off-street parking at any price. “I found a monthly parking garage that I can pay $200 for,” said Barrie. “Motorcycles have only two wheels, and we’re often smashed up by cars trying to back out. I can’t leave it on the street because police are cracking down. And it’s a residential area, so police are cracking down on people who actually live in New York City. The city should give motorcycles the same deal as bikes have — a special parking section.” Miles was forced to invest in a similar option, paying $200 a month for a spot in a parking garage, saying, “They really keep hitting us below the belt. I just bought a new bike and after I get it, I will have to keep it in a garage,” said Miles, noting that many Midtown parking garages do not offer motorcycle parking. “Ultimately, it would be great if every street just had parking for motorcycles. For the length of two cars, you could fit 10 bikes.” NYC Community Media reached out to the NYPD DCPI for official comment, and shared information about the situation with Midtown North Precinct officer Anthony Bellantoni, who said he would look into it.
STANDING UP FOR MOTORCYCLISTS Community Board 4 (CB4) has a long history of advocating for the rights of motorcyclists. Back in a June 2010 letter, they petitioned NYC Department of Transportation Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione to create “three on-street motorcycle and scooter dedicated parking areas” in the area. Requesting a 12-month pilot, CB4 even recommended several ideal spots, based on the observations of the New York Motorcycle & Scooter Task Force (nymstf.org) and CB4’s Transportation Planning Committee (nyc.gov/html/ mancb4). After new bicycle lanes were completed, CB4 sent a follow-up letter in June 2013, again asking for dedicated motorcycle and scooter parking — in seven locations. Their observations revealed that providing this parking would prove more efficient, reduce motorcycle damage, reduce congestion and pollution and increase “daylighting” at intersections (i.e. removing large, sightobstructing vehicles), thus increasing pedestrian safety. And Miles was further encouraged by the proposal of recent City Council legislation Int. No. 848 that would
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May 31, 2018
NYC Community Media
require the DOT to implement a residential parking permit system in designated parts of the city (between 60th St. and Inwood) that reserves 80 percent of street parking for New Yorkers. In a statement, Manhattan City Councilmember Mark Levine said, “For too long suburban commuters have taken advantage of free street parking in Northern Manhattan and crowded out the people who actually live in our neighborhoods.” A second, similar bill that would cover all of New York City and would implement permit fees was introduced by Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, who chairs the Transportation Committee. Any such plan would need authorization from Albany. “I think the idea is to charge a small fee for a permit sticker or something, as a lot of communities do,” said Miles. “It would be wonderful to have access to those spots, and people driving into the city for the day can have access to parking garages. But right now, they are clearly targeting us.” Miles said that in some cases when your motorcycle is legally parked but ticketed with a Traffic Violations Bureau conviction, you can take a picture, and ask to have a DMV Appeals Board verify it. But you still have to pay a nonrefundable appeal fee, whether you’re in the right or not. If you’re penalized from a parking ticket, you must take your argument to the local court or parking violations authority. And if you’re towed, the tow yard charges you $185 for the tow plus a $20 daily fee, which can quickly mount up. Even if the DMV decides you’re in the right, good luck getting reimbursed. You’ve got to submit paperwork within 30 days, and wait a month and a half for a check. “Trying to get your money back is very difficult. It takes six weeks and many steps, and in most cases you have to go there, because it doesn’t work out very well doing it online,” said Miles. “You have to take the day off, appear before a judge, fight the ticket, and then if you win they give you a reimbursement form, which you have to fill out, send in, and wait six weeks before you hear a reply. It’s a daunting process, especially if you’re doing it six times a year.” Why six times a year? Miles said the supervisor at the Manhattan NYPD Tow Pound confided to him that if you live in New York City and park your vehicle on the street, you can expect it to be towed an average of six times a year. Said Solano, “The whole thing is very time-consuming. You go to court and hope for a refund back from the tow pound. You have to deal with the inconvenience of fighting it in court, and you still have to pay a daily fee for each day your bike is in the Tow Pound. Some people just don’t have that kind of cash lying around.” For now, Miles, Solano and Barrie are bringing this to the attention of their elected officials to help figure out a solution. They have several suggestions: paid parking permits for locals; street sweeping moved to after-work, off-peak hours; or dedicated parking on every block for motorcycles. Said Barrie, “The city should give us the same benefits as bikes have: a special parking section. Instead we have to squeeze into tiny spots that damage the bike, and our mirrors get all bent up because cars hit them. We’re asking for parking in the residential area we live in, because police are cracking down on us: people who actually live in New York City.” NYC Community Media
May 31, 2018
‘End’ Time: Memory, Aging, and Chekhov at Mabou Mines Visuals and veteran cast reconstruct ‘Uncle Vanya’
Photo by Brian Rogers
L to R: “This Was The End” cast members James Himelsbach and Rae C. Wright, with G. Lucas Crane (live sound score and video manipulation).
BY TRAV S.D. Seven and a half years. That’s how long Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) thought people would still be interested in reading his writing after he died. Chekhov never dreamt that 114 years after he passed, millions would still be savoring his work. As a case in point, his play “Uncle Vanya” has been in circulation for nearly 120 years — and not only is the play still being produced, it has become enough of a well-known classic that fairly radical interpretations and deconstructions have been undertaken over the years. Such is
May 31, 2018
Restless NYC’s “This Was The End,” being presented at the Mabou Mines Theater, June 7 to 16. Created and directed by Restless NYC’s Mallory Catlett, “This Was The End” features live sound score and video manipulation by G. Lucas Crane, and an all-star Downtown cast that includes the Ridiculous Theatrical Company’s Black-Eyed Susan, Paul Zimet (Open Theater and Talking Band), Rae C. Wright, and James Himelsbach. It is part of the inaugural season of Mabou Mines’ space in the newly renovated 122 Community Center (formerly
known as PS122). Technically, the production is a remounting. It was originally developed from 2009 through 2011 as part of Mabou Mines’ Resident Artists Program, then presented at The Chocolate Factory in Long Island City in 2014. The original set, the long classroom wall with sliding chalkboards from the old Mabou Mines space, was salvaged prior to the 2013 renovation. In this multimedia presentation, the cast interacts with video and audio elements. Analog audiotape containing lines from Chekhov’s text is mixed live,
allowing the performers to improvise with earlier incarnations of their own characters. A video image of the set is projected onto the set itself, creating a visual blur of past and present. According to Catlett, the roots of the project go back to the late 1990s, when she was a graduate student at the School for Contemporary Arts of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. “The germ of it came to me when I was saw my own father have a late-midlife crisis and enter a sort of massive depression,” she said. Not knowing any age-appropriNYC Community Media
Photo by Brian Rogers
A video image of the set is projected onto the set itself, creating a visual blur of past and present.
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After shelving the project for nearly a decade, â€œThis Was The Endâ€? creator/director Mallory Catlett found her age-appropriate Sonya in Black-Eyed Susan (seen here on swing).
ate actors at the time, she shelved the project, and then picked it up nearly a decade later when she was working on a production called â€œRed Fly/Blue Bottleâ€? with Black-Eyed Susan, and realized that she would be right for the part of Sonya in â€œUncle Vanya.â€? (Susan, like her three fellow cast members, is over 60). Sonya is the niece and helpmeet of the title character (Zimet), the caretaker of a country estate. Himelsbach plays their neighbor, Dr. Astrov; Wright plays Yelena, wife of the estateâ€™s owner, whose taste for luxury means disaster for Vanya. â€œItâ€™s about time, memory, and aging,â€? Catlett said. â€œVanya is stuck in the past. He thinks heâ€™s still 45. Heâ€™s locked in a loop.â€? In addition to Chekhovâ€™s original text, Catlett noted that the proNYC Community Media
duction was heavily influenced by Marcel Proust, whose masterwork â€œIn Search of Lost Timeâ€? plays with shifting memory â€” or, as she put it, â€œthe convergence between now and remembering. Proust said that if you canâ€™t transform your griefs, they can kill you. Memory gives people, gives characters, an opportunity to reclaim and revisit the past. The video and audio elements weâ€™re using allow us to explore that.â€? â€œThis Was The Endâ€? is performed Thurs.â€“Sat, June 7â€“9 and June 14â€“16 at 8pm, and Sun., June 10 at 3pm. Runtime: 65 minutes, At the Mabou Mines Theater, at 122CC (150 First Ave., corner of E. Ninth St.). For tickets ($25, $15 for students with ID), visit maboumines.org or call 866-811-4111. Also visit restlessproductionsnyc.org. May 31, 2018
The Good, the Bad and the Groovy Rediscovering the music of Hugo Montenegro BY JIM MELLOAN It was sometime in 1966 when Hugo Montenegro went into an RCA studio with some session musicians on a Saturday to do a cover of the theme from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” Italian director Sergio Leone’s third installment of his “Dollars Trilogy” of spaghetti westerns. All three of the fi lms had been scored by the prolific Italian composer Ennio Morricone. The opening theme for this third fi lm was particularly haunting — a two-note melody sounding like a whistled call across a desert landscape, followed by a variety of instruments evoking tumbleweeds, desolation, and violence. Montenegro added a stronger beat with strummed guitar chords to give the tune a poppier feel, with the opening melody played on an ocarina, and the response on a harmonica, with hand movements producing the wah-wah sound. Montenegro’s own voice supplied the grunting Indian sounds, and famous whistler Muzzy Marcellino did his thing. The recording was released in 1968, and after a slow build, and much to Montenegro’s surprise, it became a pop hit, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 1, 1968 — 50 years ago this weekend. It is a joy today to bathe in the music Montenegro created. He was born in New York City in 1925, and served in the Navy for two years, mostly as an arranger for the Naval Station Newport (a base in Rhode Island). After the war, he studied music at Manhattan College. His fi rst recording was with the Glen-Spice Orchestra, arranging and conducting Dion’s fi rst recording, “Out in Colorado” and “The Chosen Few,” pre-Belmonts, with backing by a group called The Timberlanes. The entire record had been recorded before Dion was chosen as the lead singer. In 1960, Montenegro recorded several albums for Time Records (no relation to Time Inc., the magazine publisher). The fi rst was a blast of energy heralding the new decade, called “Bongos + Brass.” This and many albums like it from that era were designed to show off new stereo recording technologies (in Time Records’ case, something called Process 70), and boost sales of hi-fi equipment. It was clearly meant to
May 31, 2018
The synthesizer-infused “Moog Power” includes a killer version of the fast middle part of “MacArthur Park.”
be played in plush living rooms with ultra-modern décor and furnishings, as background to cocktail parties where the martinis flowed freely and the people were beautiful and sexy. This one starts off with a killer version of Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” The Who, Rick Wakeman, and many others before and after would adapt this number, but this one puts them all to shame. There are also stellar versions of “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue,” “Take the A Train,” and “Laura.” This one was followed in short order with a trio of albums: “Cha Chas for Dancing” (whose tracks include “Tea for Two” and “Mack the Knife”), “Boogie Woogie + Bongos” (“Peter Gunn,” “Begin the Beguine”), and “Arriba!” (which shows Montenegro getting into the Hispanic/Western style later reflected in his Morricone covers). In 1961 Time released “Montenegro in Italy,” featuring classic Italian songs suffused with sounds purportedly from the streets and canals of Italy. Montenegro arranged Harry Belafonte’s orchestra in the early ’60s. His work can be heard on “Belafonte
at the Greek Theater” (1963), and “In My Quiet Room” (1966). By 1965 he was well-known enough that “Bongos + Brass” was re-released as “Montenegro and Mayhem.” At that time it was clear that Montenegro was destined for the business of spy music. Though he had no hand in the composition of the music for “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (those duties were performed by Jerry Goldsmith and others, including Lalo Schifrin, who would later write the famous “Mission Impossible” theme), RCA released two successful albums Montenegro arranged and conducted with music from that show. The music on the albums was much more high fidelity and punchier than anything people were going to hear on their televisions at the time. He also came out with an album of music from spy movies and TV shows called “Come Spy With Me.” Around this time he wrote the new, sprightly theme for “I Dream of Jeannie,” used in seasons 2 through 5, a welcome replacement for the tired waltz that was used in the fi rst season. (That theme also has lyrics, written by Buddy Kaye, although they were
never used.) His fi rst real fi lm scoring job was for “Hurry Sundown,” a 1967 Southern racial drama set after World War II, produced and directed by Otto Preminger, a critical flop. But after that Montenegro was back in his wheelhouse. There’s James Bond, there’s Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin, there’s Maxwell Smart, there’s Derek Flint — but for some of us, the ne plus ultra of secret agents is Dean Martin’s Matt Helm, the boozing, babe-loving, hedonic hero of four fi lms. Montenegro scored the last two, “The Ambushers” and “The Wrecking Crew.” In my recollection both really got my adolescent juices flowing when I saw them in the theater in London, doubtless due in part to the soundtrack. (The theme song for “The Ambushers” was written by famed Monkees songwriters Boyce and Hart.) Montenegro went on to score “Lady in Cement,” a 1968 thriller starring Frank Sinatra and Raquel Welch, “Charro!,” a 1969 western starring Elvis Presley, “The Undefeated,” a 1969 John Wayne western, and “Viva Max,” a 1969 comedy western starring Peter Ustinov. He also continued to churn out albums, notably 1969’s “Moog Power,” featuring the synthesizer. The album cover of that one shows his bearded, mephistophelean face with a patch board in his forehead, and Day-Glo electric rays zapping from his visage. It includes a killer version of the fast middle part of “MacArthur Park.” In the ’70s, Montenegro scored several TV shows, notably “The Partridge Family.” His last score, for a 1977 thriller called “The Farmer,” is apparently lost. It is said to be chilling electronic music. The fi lm was given an X rating until the director succeeded in screening it before the ratings board again, without the score, and it was re-assigned an R and distributed by Columbia for 17 years. But it was never released on DVD because the music rights could not be found. Montenegro suffered from severe emphysema in his later years, and died in 1981 at age 55. An Australian label called The Omni Recording Corporation released a compilation album of Montenegro’s works in 2008 called “Mr. Groovy.” Good title. NYC Community Media
ACCESS continued from p. 2
— and they’re being locked out,” he declared. “Less than a quarter of our subway stations are accessible,” he added. “Less than a quarter have elevators. The MTA needs to do better. There are many [subway station] elevators not working throughout the city and they all need to be repaired. “We’re here today to tell the MTA that they need to do better. We need elevators here on Third Ave. and also in my district on Sixth Ave.,” Hoylman said. “What they’re doing is spending millions on sprucing up subway stations. That’s like spending money to put down carpets in your house when you don’t have a roof.” District 2 City Councilmember Carlina Rivera also spoke at the press conference. “It’s disgraceful and shameful that for more than a decade an entire community has been overlooked,” she said. Echoing Hoylman, she said, “We have less than 25 percent of subway stations handicapped accessible. “We’re here to demand in writing from the MTA and from all of their partner agencies that they will take advantage of this unique opportunity to install elevators at L stops at Third and Sixth Aves.,” Rivera said. “The First Ave. [L subway] stop is getting brand new elevators. Why are we being overlooked? A public transportation system is no good when it is not accessible to 100 percent of the entire public.” Also attending the press conference were members of various activist groups, including the Riders Alliance, the Straphangers Campaign and the 504 Democratic Club. The Regional Plan Association was also represented, and several local community board activists also attended. Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, a wheelchair-bound member of the Elevators for Everyone campaign, said the MTA is guilty of dragging its feet for decades on this issue. “Subways are a civil right,” he proclaimed, “and for more than 30 years, the MTA has violated the civil rights of handicapped people.” The MTA’s shutdown proposal outlines enhancements that would be made at four stations along the L train’s Manhattan leg. The First and Third Aves. stations would be closed for the duration of the 15-month shutdown, while portions of the Union Square and Sixth Ave. stations would also be under construction to implement planned station improvements. However, as Rivera noted, only one station — First Ave. — is slated to become ADA accessible, with the installation of new elevators. The Eighth Ave. station already has an elevator, while Union Square has an elevator from the street level to the station’s mezzanine level — but only to some of the platforms within the station. A lawsuit fi led by attorney Arthur Schwartz against the MTA and three other agencies on behalf of Village and Chelsea residents and disabled advocates charges that, under the ADA, all the stations in the shutdown zone must be made fully handicap accessible. The lawsuit also argues that the agencies have failed to do a legally required environmental impact statement, or EIS, for the shutdown plan. NYC Community Media
Photo by Lesley Sussman
Disabled activists at the rally outside the Third Ave. L subway station said the city is denying them fair and equal access to transportation.
May 31, 2018
PARK continued from p. 8
ally get rearranged. For a long time, there was a block-long depression in the paving on the outboard side. When this became a semi-permanent puddle and froze one winter, the intrepid trio mounded up snow at one end to create a hill and slid across in milk crates. Not all our family activity was subversive. I remember a joyous spring when all it took was a last-minute phone call to reserve the magical space way out at the southern end of Pier 40 for a bunch of us PS3 parents. The park supplied a roof, a grill, picnic tables, tetherball and basketball hoop, and we brought food. We also spent a lot of happy hours down at the old Pier 25, at North Moore St., where there was a shack that served cheap burgers and blasted great music, and we were allowed to play mini golf to our heart’s content, and then cool off in the sprinklers. One of the lessons you learn when you try to fight City Hall, not to mention the governor’s office, is that it’s just as hard as they say it is. I love having Hudson River Park and I use it hard, particularly the bike path. But the park we got is pretty much the opposite of the one we fought for: After 15 years we ended up with a fancy park in need of complex maintenance. It’s run by
Photo by Jim May
The view along the bulkhead — the Manhattan seawall — looking south from Christopher St., with Pier 40 just to the south, and the World Trade Center in the distance, in 1979-80.
a quasi-governmental city-state trust, with nodes of development, non-waterdependent uses, and even paid advertising in the form of banners. To pay for it, there’s a ton of high-rise development still to come — across the highway from the park — through a complicated process of air-rights sales. Harold, of the children’s book “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” always knew he was home when he saw the moon outside his bedroom window. I know I’m home when I see the Hudson River just ahead. Just as it did before the Europeans arrived, the mighty river — because it’s a tidal estuary — still flows both ways. When the wind blows just the right way, I breathe in deep the salt tang of the sea. I watch the river cycle through its many moods, just like us; sometimes it sparkles, sometimes it just lies there, as if it couldn’t be bothered; sometimes it gets all whipped into a frenzy. In 2012 it memorably overflowed its banks, ruining a lot of buildings and some lives; and though we aren’t praying people, we pray it will not do this again. As I look back, it seems nearly inconceivable that no one stopped us in 1985 when we walked to the end of that old broken-down Jane St. pier. We could have sued! But we didn’t. Instead, we became lifelong Villagers.
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May 31, 2018
May 31, 2018
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Trump Jeered in Hometown Return PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO In his first visit to New York City since Dec. 2 of last year, President Donald Trump on May 23 met a throng of protesters — including immigration rights activists and members of Rise and Resist, Gays Against Guns, Revolting Lesbians, and Refuse Fascism — as he arrived at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel on Madison Ave., between E. 50th and 51st Sts., for a fundraiser. Curiously, though the State Republican Party was holding its annual gala right across town at the Ziegfeld Ballroom on W. 54th St., the president did not hop over there. A state party spokesperson insisted to the New York Post that Trump was invited but begged off “to ensure the spotlight remained on our candidates.” What spotlight you might well ask. Trump also kept another Midtown stop off his itinerary — a sleepover at his penthouse in Trump Tower. Duties in Washington no doubt beckoned. Or perhaps his DC Twitter machine.
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May 31, 2018
TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell
May 31, 2018
phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.
Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-
haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.
Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and
chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at
a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.
Reading Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.
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May 31, 2018