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June 14, 2018 • $1.00 Volume 88 • Number 24
Maloney, Patel spar in debate as June 26 primary vote looms BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
ongressmember Carolyn Maloney criticized her opponent Suraj Patel over his lack of ties to the 12th District during their first and only televised debate on NY1 Tuesday evening. The 13-term incumbent is seeking another term in the
12th District, which covers much of Manhattan’s East Side, as well as Roosevelt Island, Astoria and Greenpoint. Earlier this year, the race also included two other candidates — Sander Hicks and Peter Lindner — who were eventually knocked off the ballot. PRIMARY continued on p. 6
‘Keep the test!’ Asians slam de Blasio’s plan for elite high schools PHOTO COURTESY HARLEY FLANAGAN
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
eep the test! Vote them out!” The chant flowed through the crowd of AsianAmerican parents and their kids as they marched around City Hall Park at the end of a mass protest Sunday afternoon. Summing up their heir position
were two signs among the many being toted: “Don’t destroy elite high schools” and “Keep SHSAT. Fix K-8.” “SHSAT” refers to the Specialized High School Admission Test that students must pass to gain entry to New York City’s nine elite high schools, includTEST continued on p. 10 TES
Anthony Bourdain in April at Ray’s Candy Store, on Avenue A , with Ray Alvarez, center, and Harley Flanagan of the Cro-Mags.
Bourdain never lost his taste for the L.E.S. BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
he death of Anthony Bourdain is hitting home on the Lower East Side and in the East Village, where the celebrity chefturned-TV host had only just recently been filming for his “Parts Unknown.” In a devastating shock to those who knew him and to his millions of fans, Bourdain, 61, hung himself last Fri., June 8, in a hotel room in Alsace, in
Flower man’s spirit lives on...p. 17
northern France, where he was filming a segment for his popular CNN show. Bourdain was born in New York City, but grew up just over the George Washington Bridge, in Leonia, N.J. In April, he returned to his former stomping grounds, the East Village and Lower East Side, where he used to party and hang out in the 1970s and ’80s, when he was still a chef laboring in relative obscurity. After work, the hard-living Bourdain would
score heroin and cocaine there and rock out to hard-core punk bands. He was candid about his past substance abuse. In “Remembering Anthony Bourdain,” a special about him that aired on CNN Sunday night, he is shown recounting how, at one point in his life, the first thing he would focus on after waking up each morning was getting drugs. Eventually, though, he was BOURDAIN continued on p. 8
Vanguard’s Lorraine Gordon dies at 95............ p. 14 Village Apothecary is going strong at 35.......... p. 18 www.TheVillager.com
candidate was Leecia Eve, a Harvardeducated former policy adviser to Hillary Clinton when she was a senator whose father was a New York assemblymember. D.I.D. also backed City Councilmember Jumaane Williams over the incumbent, Kathy Hochul, in the primary race for lieutenant governor.
WHAT D.I.D. DID: The Downtown Independent Democrats recently voted to endorse Cynthia Nixon over Andrew Cuomo in the September Democratic governor primary election. We heard Nixon won like two-thirds of the vote, but D.I.D. is not confirming that. “For various reasons, we have a policy of not revealing those numbers precisely,” Sean Sweeney, a club leader, told us. “One reason is to avoid embarrassing someone who may have been clobbered. But I shall tell you that Nixon won it substantially.” The club’s vote for New York State attorney general was tight, though, with Public Advocate Letitia James besting Zephyr Teachout, who ran against Cuomo in 2014. “It was much closer between Zephyr and Tish, but Tish prevailed,” Sweeney related. “It was also a veritable love fest between them — and the third candidate, as well. They couldn’t say enough good things about their opponents.” The third
PHOTO BY RYAN MCGINLEY
Elsa Rensaa and Clay ton Patterson made the cut as one of 24 couples on alternate covers for the New York Times Magazine last weekend.
CORRECTION: We apologize for the item in last week’s Scoopy’s Notebook that said there would be a mental-health workshop at C-Squat on June 29 to help address recent suicides in the community. It turns out that is a private memorial for friends and family — not public. To be clear: C-Squat is not advertising it as a public event, and no one should turn up who is not invited. We regret the error and sincerely apologize. There is, however, a related event happening this weekend. A community mental-health workshop dubbed “A Celebration of Dangerous Gifts” will be held Sat., June 16, at 242 E. Second St., from noon to 8 p.m. Sponsored by the Institute for the Development of Human Arts, the event aims to use art, music, spoken word and more to recast “madness and creativity” in an understanding and positive light. The I.D.H.A. workshop is, in fact, being hosted by some friends of C-Squat, and some members of the former Avenue C squatter building will also be volunteering. For more information, see the event’s Facebook page at https://m.facebook. com/events/177343412981033. SCOOPY continued on p. 3
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June 14, 2018
Scoopy’s Notebook SCOOPY continued from p. 2
GOT IT COVERED: Congratulations to Clayton Patterson and Elsa Rensaa, who were featured on one of the multiple alternate covers of the New York Times Magazine last weekend for its feature “24 Kisses Around New York City in 24 Hours.” The portraits were shot by photographer Ryan McGinley. Patterson, who has documented the Lower East Side since the 1980s, was very honored, and took a moment to reflect on his relationship with Rensaa. “The moments are lasting — lasting for 46 years, that is,” he said. “Who could believe it? I thought there was too much salt and vinegar in my veins to get something romantic like this.” It wasn’t quite clear what the Times’s distribution strategy was, however, or if was just some sort of random scrambling of the magazines. The copy of the Sunday Times that Patterson bought in his neck of the woods had a different couple on the cover. CELEB FOOD PHONIES: Among the many outpourings of grief and reactions to Anthony Bourdain’s death, John Bredin, of the Village Independents, posted the following on Facebook, accusing our profits-crazed economy and its vapid foodie culture of contributing to the beloved TV host’s demise: “Anthony Bourdain was a victim of capitalism...a system
that kills in many ways,” Bredin posted, “directly, via war and poverty, or by slow boredom over time. Dear Anthony, who had a rebel spirit — I saw him call out political bulls--- and oppression more than once on his show — was caught up in the phony, empty world of food celebrity. It is my belief that the sheer meaninglessness of capitalism leads to psychological depression. Just yesterday I was at a cafe in super-trendy chi chi Greenwich Village — once home to artists, rebels and radical thinkers, now home to bankers and other boring types. Sitting next to me at one of those big community tables, a couple in the “food celeb culture” preened on and on (ad nauseam), and the sheer emptiness of their discourse was so evident to me. I almost turned to them and said: “Aren’t there more important things worthy of your attention, like poverty and wealth inequality and the threat of nuclear destruction?” But I didn’t. I held back in silence. I was polite. Then I awoke to the sad news of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. Lucky for me I could walk away from those two vapid, pretentious a--holes in the cafe. Poor Anthony had to be around them all the time. Until we create a new, less-alienating society based on the principles of love and peace and not capitalistic greed (to abolish capitalism like we abolished slavery), this monstrous system will claim even more victims. Rest in Peace, my dear brother Anthony.”
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June 14, 2018
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PHOTOS BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
On Sunday, Asian-American school parents, many with their children in tow, descended on City Hall Park for a mass protest against the mayor and schools chancellor’s plan to change the demographic makeup of the city’s nine elite high schools. Under the mayor’s plan, 20 percent of the schools’ seats would be set aside for students from schools in impoverished areas; those students would need to score just below or above the required score on the Specialized High School Admission Test and, plus be among the top 25 percent of students citywide. Asian-American parents and activists at the protest blasted the idea as a “quota” system, and said the problems with the city’s school system start at the kindergarten-through-eighth grade level, and should be addressed there. They blasted the mayor’s initiative as racially divisive, and protested that it “scapegoats” Asian-Americans for merely studying hard and testing well. It looks like the plan will not be voted on by the state Legislature during the current session, which ends at the end of this month, however. That’s just as well, the parents said, because the whole idea needs much more public debate.
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June 14, 2018
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June 14, 2018
Maloney, Patel spar as June 26 primary looms PRIMARY continued from p. 1
Tuesday’s debate covered a myriad of other issues, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), marijuana legalization, Maloney’s record on a 1994 crime bill, and even the candidates’ positions on the oversaturation of bars in the Lower East Side. (Both Maloney and Patel said the local community board and the larger community, in general, should decide.) With less than two weeks ahead of the Tues., June 26, primary, both candidates believed they did well in the debate. “I actually thought the debate went really well for myself,” Patel said shortly after the debate aired at his debatewatch party at Mary O’s bar, on Avenue A at E. Third St. The 34-year-old N.Y.U. professor and president of a hotel company has raised more than $1 million for his campaign. But he has also been under fire for claiming tax deductions in Indiana, voting in that state as recently as 2016, and funding his campaign from out-of-state donations. “The congresswoman thought it was a great debate,” Bob Liff, her spokesperson, said in a statement. “She had the opportunity to highlight her progressive record on a whole range of issues and to point out the utter lack of any record on the part of her challenger, who seems unable to make up his mind on whether he is a voter in Indianapolis, the Hamptons or New York City.” Just hours ahead of Tuesday’s debate, Our Town published a report further highlighting Patel’s voter-registration flip-flop between Indiana and New York. Patel has suggested in old tweets that he was a constituent of Congressmember Lee Zeldin, the Republican repesentative from the First District in Suffolk County, where Patel owns an East Hampton vacation home. The candidate also previously suggested mounting a run for office against Zeldin, tweeting he needed help to “knock out” Zeldin from his seat, OurTown reported. However, shortly after the debate aired on NY1, Patel downplayed his Twitter history to The Villager, saying he tweeted extensively about the government and at local politicians in the early part of last year. “My only answer over and over is going to simply be, I’ve been a resident of the East Village for 12 years and moved here when I was 22 years old,” he said, adding he lived in four Craigslist apartments before buying a home on E. 12th St. in 2011. Maloney teed off on Patel for having claimed a homestead tax exemption for a home in Indiana. “How do you reconcile teaching ethics and what you say in your ethics class and what you do in your personal life?” she asked him.
June 14, 2018
Another report by the New York Daily News cited dozens of labor complaints against hotels that Patel’s company, Sun Development & Management Corp., operates or at least partially owns. “We are very proud of the family company we built,” Patel said. He explained that the labor issues were at the property-management level, and that his family’s company provided health insurance long before former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act was passed.
But beyond doubts about Patel’s ethics and connections to the district, the host of “Inside City Hall” on NY1 News, Errol Louis, who moderated the brief, rougly 20-minute debate, covered ground on numerous issues. During the protests at J.F.K. Airport last year in response to President Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries, Patel said he worked as a pro-bono lawyer for those detained at the airport. Patel also argued that the government should entirely defund ICE — the federal agency
that recently detained and threatened to deport a pizza deliveryman, Pablo Villavicencio Calderon, at the Fort Hamilton Army Base, in Brooklyn. “ICE has definitely lost its way,” Patel said during the debate. Yet Maloney contended that ICE is critical for combating sex trafficking, guns and drugs at the border. Immigration legislation should include a path to citizenship and protect Dreamers — the group of immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, legislation, she said. Both candidates support marijuana legalization. But Patel added that he supports retroactively releasing people who have been incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana crimes. Patel targeted Maloney for supporting former President Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill. “Many Democrats voted for it,” she countered, adding that Clinton himself admits he regrets certain decisions in the bill. “I think we have evolved as a nation and seen that it hasn’t worked,” she said. Patel blasted Maloney for testimony she gave in 2001 on the House floor, in which she wore a burqa — the garment that many Muslim women wear to cover their hair and face. Maloney defended wearing the burqa, explaining she was not originally planning to wear it. Once she was on the House floor, she said the idea came to her to don the burqa during her testimony against the Taliban in Afghanistan. “You couldn’t hardly breathe,” Maloney said during the debate. “We were very concerned over the fact that the Taliban was not allowing women to go to school and were literally killing them, if they did. If someone wants to wear a burqa, that’s up to them. I’m up for freedom of speech, freedom of action.” But, she added, after wearing one of the garments on the House floor, she could not imagine why any woman would choose to wear one. “I thought it was terrible to say,” Patel accused. “Don’t think you should wear somebody else’s culture’s outfit like that and accessorize with it. … There are women who choose to do this. Women choose to wear a burqa. They choose to exercise their religion. So I was disappointed in that answer — very disappointed in that answer.” The Villager and one of its sister papers, Manhattan Express, last month invited Maloney and Patel to participate in a debate that the paper’s editors would have moderated, and which would have been aired on Manhattan Neighborhood Network, the borough’s free, public-access cable TV network. Patel accepted, but Maloney declined. Her camp said she had already participated in a number of campaign forums, and that she now wanted to focus on the NY1 debate. TheVillager.com
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
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.
June 14, 2018
Tony Bourdain never lost his taste for the L.E.S.; BOURDAIN continued from p. 1
able to kick. “I looked in the mirror and saw someone worth saving,” he said. Among the local spots Bourdain hit in his return to the ’hood two months ago were Ray’s Candy Store, at E. Seventh St. and Avenue A — where he reportedly had an egg cream, and maybe beignets or fried Oreos, too, with Harley Flanagan of the Cro-Mags — C-Squat and MoRUS (the Museum of Reclaimed Open Space), both on Avenue C between E. Ninth and 10th Sts.; Veselka restaurant, on Second Ave. at E. Ninth St.; and John’s of E. 12th St. Italian restaurant, just east of Second Ave. He also spent a couple of hours interviewing Clayton Patterson, who has documented the Lower East Side for three decades through photography, video and books. They got two plastic chairs from inside Patterson’s place, at 161 Essex St., near Stanton St., and set them up on the sidewalk in front of his famed art-andgraffiti-covered front door. They didn’t eat anything, which Patterson said was just as well, so they could concentrate on their talk. “He wanted to do it in front of the door,” Patterson said. “He called me ‘The Godfather of Lower East Side Documentary.’ He knew a lot about me, I was surprised. He also talked about music, hard-core music, everybody he knew — the Cro-Mags, the Bad Brains. We talked about my dope-bag book, street gangs, the police riot” in Tompkins Square Park in 1988. Back when the Lower East Side was an open-air drug market in the ’80s, Patterson used to collect the empty heroin glassine baggies that junkies discarded on the streets after they shot up. The dealers sold different “brands” of dope, with the baggies bearing their various name stamps. “I showed him the real bags,” Patterson said. “ ‘Toilet’ — ‘Toilet’ was a really famous dope bag on the Lower East Side. That was one of the ones he asked for first, and I showed it to him. He knew ‘357.’ ‘DOA’ was another bag… . ‘Express.’ ” “I gave him a street gang book,” he added, referring to Jose Quiles’s a.k.a. Cochise’s book about leading the last street gang on the Lower East Side that “flew colors,” as in, wore their gang name — Satan’s Sinners Nomads — on the backs of their jackets. Patterson said Bourdain’s crew had initially reached out to him asking for interesting people to interview. “His people asked me to connect him to the Lower East Side,” Patterson said. “So, I thought I would connect him to the Lower East Side that was kind of the roots, the regular people, not the hip celebrities. It’s kind of cross-section of the Lower East Side.” Patterson recommended Jim Power, “The Mosaic Man,” whose tile-encrusted light poles beautify the East Village landscape; Pablo Vargas, of Stanton Tailor Shop; Spencer Fujimoto, a local skateboarder / jewelry maker; El Castillo de Jagua, the Dominican restaurant at 113 Rivington St. — “They had a very good experience with him” Patterson noted. “He was friendly with everybody, posed for photos with the waitresses” — photographer Alex Harsley, of the 4th Street Photo Gallery; and Overthrow boxing gym, in the former Yippie headquarters building at 9 Bleecker St. “Joey [Goodwin] and Power Malu came over from Overthrow to meet him,” he said. “I think his crew went over there to film.” Patterson said Bourdain also met with Dick Manitoba, the lead singer of the Dictators punk band, who took him to a White Castle — obviously, not in the neighborhood, since there aren’t any of the burger places there — indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch; and also, reportedly, performer Lydia Lunch, too.
June 14, 2018
PHOTO BY ELSA RENSAA
Anthony Bourdain, left, with Clay ton Patterson in April outside the front door of Patterson’s Essex St. home / Outlaw Ar t Galler y.
“He did just about everybody I liked,” Patterson said. “He did my kind of people.” According to Eater, Bourdain met with artists Joe Coleman and Amos Poe, too. The documentarian also directed him to filmmaker Dan Levin, who did a biopic, “Captured,” about Patterson. Patterson said that “Parts Unknown” will use footage from the film, as well as images from his photo archive.
‘He was very accessible, not arrogant. You felt you had known him for a long time.’ Clayton Patterson
Patterson noted that, given how many people Bourdain interviewed in the neighborhood, it would probably take more than a single one-hour segment to show it all. The future of “Parts Unknown” is itself unknown, at the moment, though. According to The Wrap, the show airs between eight and 11 segments per season. Sunday
night, CNN aired Bourdain’s segment on Berlin — the sixth of Season 11. The blog reported that, according to “a channel insider,” a replacement host for him is currently being sought. Asked if Bourdain seemed down in any way — or, on the other hand, together and real, as he usually appeared on his show — Patterson said, the latter. “Yeah, [he was] totally on it,” he said of the globetrotting gourmand. “I certainly felt privileged to be talking to him. He was very accessible, not arrogant. He was one of those people, you felt you had known him for a long time. He’s a very good conversationalist, he put me at ease. It was just a very easy-flowing conversation. “He was my kind of guy. For me, it was a big loss,” he reflected on Bourdain’s death, though adding, “Not that we were pals or would go out together.” Showing Bourdain’s reach and influence, when the TV star’s Web site posted a photo of him with Patterson, it instantly registered a huge number of views. “When he put up the picture of me and him, it got over 52,300 likes on Instagram or Twitter,” Patterson recalled, “in like one f—ing day.” Just days before Bourdain’s death, the celebrity handbag designer Kate Spade committed suicide. The East Village’s squatter community is also grieving over a spate of suicides. Last year, Erin O’Connor, a longtime East Village squatter, hung herself at age 50 in her former squat on E. Sixth St. Two weeks before that, a woman named Emily killed herself at C-Squat. Just two weeks ago, Sequoia, O’Connor’s son, killed himself in the apartment he inherited from his mother. Like many others, musician and blogger Eden Brower, who formerly lived at C-Squat, was distraught over the onslaught of terrible news. “F—,” she tweeted, “#anthonybordain was just at C squat in April filming his new show. Nice guy and ex punk rocker. He also hung in Tompkins and visited @ RaysCandyStore. This sucks. Everyone please stop killing yourselves.” In response, a community mental-health workshop dubbed “A Celebration of Dangerous Gifts” will be held Sat., June 16, at 242 E. Second St., from noon to 8 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Institute for the BOURDAIN continued on p. 9 TheVillager.com
He was ďŹ lming in the â€™hood just two months ago BOURDAIN continued from p. 8
Development of Human Arts aims to use art, music, spoken word and more to recast â€œmadness and creativityâ€? in a positive light. Meanwhile, a makeshift memorial to Bourdain was set up at the now-shuttered Les Halles restaurant, at 15 John St., in Lower Manhattan, where he formerly worked as a chef. Les Halles went bankrupt nearly a year ago. In the â€œRemembering Anthony Bourdainâ€? CNN special segment, he is shown saying heâ€™s not a journalist, but a storyteller, and perhaps an â€œessayist.â€? Bourdainâ€™s 2000 book â€œKitchen Confidential,â€? about the sordid goings-on in upscale restaurants, was a bestseller, and launched him on the way to celebrity. But CNN anchor Don Lemon said of him, â€œHe was a better journalist than many of us, because he was a natural. He was a storyteller.â€? In his show, Bourdain would sometimes put himself in dangerous situations â€” such as in places like Libya and Myanmar â€” as well as interview individuals who were fiercely outspoken government critics. In one notable instance, a few weeks after he interviewed Russian dissident Boris Nemtsov, who was a leading opponent of Vladimir Putin, Nemtsov was assassinated. CNNâ€™s Anderson Cooper said Bourdain would
PHOTO BY MILO HESS
A memorial to Bourdain has grown on the gate of the closed Les Halles restaurant, on John St. in Lower Manhattan, where he worked as a chef. The restaurant went bankrupt nearly a year ago.
â€œinterestinglyâ€? often find himself â€œin the epicenterâ€? of these tense international scenarios. Another colleague noted that while Bourdain was featured so prominently
in the public eye, he was actually an introvert. As â€œReliable Sourcesâ€? host Brian Stelter put it, Bourdain â€œwas this largerthan-life handsome man who traveled
the world,â€? and people enjoyed having him take them along for the ride. Another CNNâ€™er recalled that it wasnâ€™t Bourdain who reached out to then-President Barack Obama to be on his show â€” but actually the other way around. The two were filmed congenially conversing over cheap noodles and beers in Vietnam during Obamaâ€™s final year in office. Obama noted how the basic yet powerful concept of Bourdainâ€™s show â€” travel and appreciating the food and customs of other cultures â€” shows â€œhow we are all alike.â€? To Randy Credico, the stand-up comic-turned-journalist who has been linked â€” wrongly, he insists â€” to Roger Stone in the â€œRussiagateâ€? probe, Bourdain unquestionably was a journalist. â€œHe was the most progressive guy on network news,â€? Credico said. â€œHe slipped it in. I watch him all the time. He had 7 million followers on Twitter, and his personality was bigger than life.â€? In addition, though his heart may have been on the Lower East Side, Bourdain was, until recently, poised to have a major impact on the West Side waterfront. In what would have been a new venture for him, he was, until late last year, set to lead the creation of a huge food-vendorsâ€™ market at Pier 57, at W. 16th St. in Hudson River Park. However, Bourdainâ€™s BOURDAIN continued on p. 25
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June 14, 2018
‘Keep the test!’ Asians slam elite schools plan TEST continued from p. 1
ing Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, Lehman and Staten Island Tech. Organized by the Coalition of AsianAmericans for Civil Rights, the throng filled the entire length of the sidewalk along the east side of City Hall Park. According to the organizers, there were more than 2,000 people. A police spokesperson said the department does not provide crowd estimates. Among the demonstrators was outspoken Chinatown activist Don Lee. Lee — who ran for Sheldon Silver’s former Lower Manhattan Assembly seat in 2016 — bluntly demanded that the city’s new schools chancellor, Richard Carranza, be canned for comments he made last week. “The chancellor should be fired for race-baiting,” Lee declared. He and others at the rally accused the mayor and the schools chancellor of “scapegoating” Asian-Americans for the city’s underperforming schools and the fact that so many students are unprepared. “We did not write the test,” Lee stated. “They’re scapegoating kids who study. They say, we’re ‘test robots.’ They’re completely marginalizing the tests and sacrificing the students. What is wrong with studying hard? We want everyone to succeed. The Asian parents, we nudge our kids a little harder — it’s not a crime.” Carranza, who was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio just two months ago, ignited a firestorm on Tues., June 5, when he said of Asian-Americans, “I just don’t buy into the narrative that any one ethnic group owns admission to these schools.” De Blasio and Carranza are pushing to “desegregate” the specialized meritbased high schools. Asian-Americans make up 16 percent of the city’s school population but 62 percent of the students in the specialized high schools. Meanwhile, black and Latino students comprise 70 percent of the school population but just 10 percent of the students in the elite schools. Whites make up 15 percent of the citywide school population and 24 percent of students at the elite schools. However, the mayor’s plan, the protesters said, merely amounts to a “quota system.” Under de Blasio’s current proposal — which was first announced on Sun., June 3 — one-fifth of the students at the elite high schools would come from schools in impoverished districts; they would also have to score just below or above the entry level for the Specialized High School Admission Test, while also being among the top 25 percent of students in the entire school system. The Assembly’s Education Committee narrowly approved the plan last Wednesday. The Assembly and state Senate would still need to approve the
June 14, 2018
PHOTOS BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
At the end of the rally, marching around City Hall Park.
From left, Blake Morris, who is running against Simcha Felder, along with three of the rally’s organizers, Phil Gim, John Chan and Bernard Chow.
measure, but time is running out on Albany’s current legislative session, which concludes at the end of this month. But the plan’s critics say there should be extensive community outreach and public discussion about the issue before such changes are even considered. In a statement, John Chan, chairperson of CAACR, the event’s organizer, said it’s wrong to think that many of the Asian-American students at the elite schools are not from low-income families, too. “More than half of the students in the specialized high schools qualify as poor,” Chan said. “Many are immigrants who rely on the objectivity guaranteed by [the S.H.S.A.T.] to compete on a level playing field for educational opportunities. Despite his denials, Bill de Blasio’s proposals target Asian-American kids and toss out their hard-won achieve-
ments. “We call on Bill de Blasio to respect students who achieve, no matter what their ethnicity; to stop pitting one disadvantaged minority against another; and to do something constructive instead: improve education for all communities, starting with the earliest grades!” One school mom from Staten Island, who just gave her name as Chen, has one son at Stuyvesant and another at Staten Island Tech. A physician, she and her husband, a software engineer, immigrated here from Wuhan, China. After paying for their graduate school, she said, they had “no money,” yet still managed to get their boys into the elite high schools. “People are using this as a political tool against us,” she said. “They’re trying to put one race against another one.” Politicians at the rally included As-
semblymember Peter Koo, state Senator Marty Golden and several Brooklyn district leaders. Also on hand was Blake Morris, who is running against state Senator Simcha Felder, with the Democratic Party’s backing. Chinatown activist Lee noted he took the admission test for Stuyvesant and the elite schools, but didn’t make the cut, so attended Seward Park High School on the Lower East Side. “Seward Park, all the way!” he said, giving an enthusiastic air punch. His daughter, meanwhile, fared better on the test, and currently attends one of the so-called “fine nine” schools for high-achieving students: the High School of American Studies at Lehman College. She gets up at 6 a.m. every school morning for her one-hour comTEST continued on p. 25 TheVillager.com
POLICE B L O T T E R
Punched and shoed A woman was attacked by a man outside 315 Sixth Ave. near W. Third St. at 2 a.m. on June 4, police said. The woman, 28, was punched several times in the face, according to her and three witnesses, two of whom were friends of the victim. The attacker then ripped off the woman’s left shoe and threw it at her, striking the right side of her face, causing bruising, pain and swelling. Roudy St. Fleur, 38, was arrested June 4 for assault.
COMMUNITY PHOTOS COURTESY N.Y.P.D.
One of the alleged Vapiano burglars.
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On June 4, just after 9 p.m., a woman in the CVS drugstore at 75 Christopher St. set down her 12-inch Apple MacBook Gold at a self-checkout counter and left the store, according to police. Soon after, the woman, 25, realized she had forgotten her computer and returned to the CVS to discover that the laptop, valued at $1,300, was missing. Video footage was available, and Rodney Jones, 51, was arrested June 5 for grand larceny, police said.
The alleged purse-and-walletstealing perp.
Pursue purse perp
A man shoplifted at the Burlington department store, at 40 E. 14th St., leaving with a shopping bag full of four handbags and two bookbags with a total value of $315, on June 6 in the midafternoon, according to police. A store security agent noticed the booster and was able to recover the stolen items. Paul Henderson, 47, was arrested for petit larceny.
A robber went on a wallet-and-pursestealing spree in the Village area last month, police said. In the first reported incident, on Tues., May 8, at 10 a.m., a 39-year-old woman discovered her wallet was missing and called the cops. Following an investigation, it was determined that an unidentified man removed the billfold from inside Le Pain Quotidien, at 52 Ninth Ave., between W. 14th and 15th Sts. The guy made several unauthorized charges on the victim’s credit card at various locations, totaling roughly $1,000. On Fri., May 18, the same suspect, according to police, stole a woman’s purse inside 123 W. 17th St. The 41-year-old victim noticed that her purse was missing at 4:45 p.m. The thief made several unauthorized charges on the victim’s card at various locations, totaling $300. The same suspect struck at Loring Place restaurant, at 21 W. Eighth St., on Sun., May 20, police said. There a 20-year-old woman at 6:30 p.m. found that her purse was gone, and contacted police. Again, the purse perp made unauthorized charges with the victim’s credit card, to the tune of $600. The individual is described as white, in his 30s, 5-feet-8-inches tall and 200 pounds, last seen wearing a T-shirt and shorts. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stop-
Capital offense A bank robber hit the Capital One branch at 347 Sixth Ave., at W. Fourth St., for $1,300 on Wed., May 30, police said. The man reportedly entered the place around 4:40 p.m., approached the teller and demanded cash, and after getting it, hightailed it westbound on W. Fourth St. He was described as white, about age 35, 6-feet-2-inches tall and 200 pounds, and last seen wearing a brown T-shirt, shorts and black shoes. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential. TheVillager.com
BLOTTER continued on p. 25 June 14, 2018
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June 14, 2018
Pride flags fly as March gets set to step off
PHOTO BY MILO HESS
Rainbow flags are flying proudly at Christopher Park for Pride Month, and as the annual Pride March, set for Sun., March 24, prepares to step off in st yle. The processionâ€™s numbers have been pared down a bit this year, plus the route will wend from Chelsea, through the Village and finish in East Midtown for the first time this year, instead of going in the other direction and finishing in the Village, as it has always done before. The direction change was made by the Police Depar tment, which felt Midtown was a better place for the March to disperse than in the Villageâ€™s tighter quar ters at Christopher and Greenwich Sts. The March had simply grown to big, police said. But the March will assuredly still pass by the hallowed Stonewall Inn, across from Christopher Park, the bir thplace of the modern gay-rights movement. Next year will be the 50th anniversar y of the Stonewall Rebellion, and New York Cit y will also be host to World Pride, which is expected to draw droves of additional people here to celebrate Pride.
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June 14, 2018
Lorraine Gordon, 95, Village Vanguard owner OBITUARIES BY GABE HERMAN
orraine Gordon, the owner and manager of the legendary Village Vanguard jazz club for almost 30 years, died June 9 at age 95. Gordon, who died from complications from a stroke suffered on Memorial Day, was passionate about jazz from her youth and a daily fixture at the club, at Seventh Ave. South between W. 11th and Perry Sts. The Vanguard was opened in 1935 by her late husband, Max Gordon, and has hosted legends like John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, to name just a few. Lorraine took over the club’s operations when Max died in 1989. Born Lorraine Stein on Oct. 15, 1922 in Newark, N.J., she first visited the Vanguard as a teenager. As part of her early passion for jazz, she was a member of the Newark Hot Club and loved the Blue Note record label, whose co-founder Alfred Lion she married in 1943. She would marry Max Gordon in 1949 and have two daughters, Deborah and Rebecca. Deborah is still involved in running the Village Vanguard. Deborah said that Lorraine passed on
her love of jazz to her. “Music was always in the house,” she recalled. This went beyond just jazz, said Deborah, as Lorraine loved all types of music, including classical and rock. “ ‘Light My Fire’ was one of her favorite songs,” Deborah said with a laugh. Lorraine brought her love of jazz to the Vanguard even before marrying Max Gordon, convincing him once to book a new artist named Thelonius Monk that she particularly liked. The room at the Vanguard is famous for its great acoustics. It’s a small, wedge-shaped space that holds 123 people and has stayed the same without remodeling throughout its run from the earliest days. “The sound at the Vanguard is so incredible,” Lorraine told the National Endowment for the Arts, which named her a Jazz Master in 2013. “There is no recording studio that can equal it and that’s why the musicians like to play there. They can relate to the audience because of the shape of the room.” Many albums have been recorded in the Vanguard, including some of John Coltrane’s greatest works, Lorraine noted. Her daughter Deborah said the key to the Vanguard’s success has been the focus on the jazz itself and not any distractions related to running a club.
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“Lorraine’s number-one focus was the music,” Deborah said. Lorraine Gordon was also a political activist in the 1960s, as a member of Women Strike for Peace and protesting the Vietnam War and nuclear testing. She was known for having a tough personality, which Deborah acknowledged was there but was complemented by another side of her. “She didn’t suffer fools at all…said what was on her mind,” her daughter said. “But whatever her sharp edge was,
was always tempered by her amazing humor.” Deborah noted that if you stuck it out through the intimidating side of Lorraine, “you’d get that other aspect of her, which was just really wry.” Lorraine Gordon told the N.E.A. in 2013 that in recent years some people would ask her if jazz was dead, but she said that it definitely was not. “There’s so many people coming here to hear jazz,” she said, “so it’s hardly dead.”
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June 14, 2018
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Ruth Berk, Village cabaret singer, dies at 94 BY ARTHUR SCHWARTZ
uth Berk, who would have turned 95 in August, died Fri., June 8, at Beth Israel Hospital. The cause of death was heart failure, complicated by a stroke. After an early career as an opera singer, Ruth Berk and her husband, Leo, ran the Waverly Lounge for many years, in what was then known as the Hotel Earle — now the Washington Square Hotel. Ruth became a cabaret singer, a fixture on the Village scene. She lived in a penthouse apartment at 95 Christopher St. beginning in 1957. Leo died in 1980, and for most of Ruth’s life thereafter, she was engaged in contentious lawsuits with her landlord, Lloyd Goldman of BLDG Management. In 1996, Judge Sarah Lee Evans awarded Berk $80,000 in rent abatements and attorneys’ fees, because of unaddressed but needed apartment repairs. In one of the more than 20 lawsuits, Judge Tanya Kennedy decided, in 2014, that Ruth Berk belonged in a nursing home. By late 2014, with the aid of Village attorney Arthur Schwartz, and some colorful courtroom appearances, Berk had been freed of the nursing home. Schwartz was appointed her guardian. The New York Post described one of the court appearances:
PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
Ruth Berk in 2015 singing at her piano with photos from her 1950s cabaret heyday.
“A 91-year-old former Broadway singer who was declared incompetent and tossed into a nursing home was returned to her Greenwich Village apartment — after wowing a Manhattan judge with her vocal talents. “Elderly songstress Ruth Berk sang the show tunes ‘Summertime’ and ‘My Funny Valentine’ to help convince
Justice Tanya Kennedy that she was still fit to live there. “At her hearing, ‘although the justice refused to allow her to speak, [Berk] interrupted the court and told the court that she wanted to go home. She then began to sing for Justice Kennedy,’ her lawyer, Arthur Schwartz, recounted in court papers. “Berk’s daughter, Jessica, said the judge was stunned at the impromptu performance…by her mom, whom she called ‘a cross between Bea Arthur and Elizabeth Taylor’ in her younger years. “ ‘[The judge] stepped off the bench, took [her] robe off and shook her hand and said, “Mrs. Berk, that was wonderful. Thank you very much for honoring me with that,” ’Jessica, 55, told The Post.” In 2015, after Schwartz was arrested for taking down hallway surveillance cameras that, he charged, BLDG had installed “to harass the Berks,” Ruth got to sing on NBC TV, and even RT (Russia Television) did a songfilled segment. Ruth Berk did eventually return to a nursing home, but only after her landlord paid her and Jessica $500,000 to leave. Right up to the end she regaled her fellow residents with “Summertime.” Ruth Berk’s funeral was Sun., June 9, at Greenwich Village Funeral Home, at 199 Bleecker St. She is survived by her daughter, Jessica, the founder of Residents in Distress a.k.a. RID.
Elaine Young, 75, a ﬁghter for her community BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
laine Young, a member of Community Board 2 and a leader in the fight to preserve the Gansevoort Historic District, died on Sun., May 27. She was 75. The cause of death was cancer. Young was a longtime resident of 61 Jane St., where she served as president and a board member. When the Meatpacking District morphed from a working meat market into one of the city’s hottest entertainment zones in the 2000s, Young was among the most vocal local residents protesting that traffic and noise spilling over from the new nightlife zone was impacting the surrounding area. She also advocated for residents to be included on the board of the new Meatpacking District Business Improvement District, when it was forming around five years ago. Three years ago, she initially expressed concern about the new Whitney Museum of American Art, on Gansevoort St., specifically its outdoor terraces, fearing they would be used for loud entertainment and events. But she was eventually reassured that the museum would be a good neighbor, and that the number and type of outdoor events there would acceptable and not overly intrusive to local residents. More recently, she was a co-leader with fellow activist Zack Winestine of Save Gansevoort, an ad-hoc group dedicated to defeating the “Gansevoort Row” project that will demolish and build up parts of a rustic low-scale block of Gansevoort St. in the landmarked historic district. The group sued in court to stop the project, and was able to temporarily block it from proceeding. However, the New York State Court of Appeals — the state’s highest court — recently refused to hear Save Gansevoort’s lawsuit, so the project is now going forward, and 70-74 Gansevoort St., the building at the block’s western end, has already been demolished, and is now set to be replaced with a new TheVillager.com
multistory building. Young was a member of C.B. 2 for the past 12 years. Terri Cude, the community board’s current chairperson, said, “Elaine Young was a valued colleague and friend. It is both painful and difficult to say goodbye to her. She was a strong, steadfast voice for her neighborhood and for the needs of the entire community. Since being appointed in 2006, Elaine filled many roles on C.B. 2: She served as an officer, a committee chairperson and member on five different committees over her years on the board. We are all saddened by her passing and send our sincere sympathies to her wife, Ginny, her family and the many friends she made throughout her years on the board and as a passionate advocate for her area. She is already missed.” Mary Johnson, a former C.B. 2 member, praised
Young for her independence. “She was a great asset to C.B. 2 and the district community,” Johnson said. “She was respected and admired for her practicality. Elaine reviewed every important issue thoughtfully and independently before stating her commonsense opinions. She was a refreshing, independent voice on important community matters and a fierce advocate for our neighborhoods. I was privileged to work with her on the board and call her friend.” Elaine Young was born in Chicago, Illinois, on July 3, 1942, to the late Irving Adler and the late Helen Heda. She graduated from the University of Chicago, majoring in history. Young began her career as an educator and taught in the New York City public schools in Harlem and the South Bronx. She later moved into real estate and became a broker and partner in Patton Young Properties in New York City. A world traveler, she was not just a tourist but immersed herself in the culture of places she visited. Her passions included politics, classical music, art, gardening and cooking. Young’s memorial, at 632 Hudson St., was attended by 120 people, and was led by Rabbi Gloria Milner. A friend who spoke summed up Young’s dedication and commitment to the community by saying, “Elaine was the last real soldier for our cause.” She is survived by her beloved spouse of 30 years, Virginia “Ginny” Syron; her brother Jack Adler, his wife Judith Adler, her nephew Matthew Adler, and her nieces Sharon Adler, Anna Adler and Danielle Witchel. Young spent holidays and weekends with Ginny’s family and will be deeply missed by Judy and Kees Schuddeboom, Greg Khost, Jackie O’Brien, Peter Khost, Aida Izadpanah, Alex Khost and Amanda Wilder. Elaine Young’s family has asked that donations in her memory be made to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, www.gvshp.org/elaineyoung. June 14, 2018
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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Promulgation vs. preservation
To The Editor: Re “A landmark moment” (editorial, June 7): Thank you to The Villager for giving voice to people who really understand how the Landmarks Preservation Commission operates and how it should operate if the Landmarks Law is to have real meaning for our city and our sense of place, neighborhood to neighborhood. Particularly in these times of rapid demolition , development and construction of luxury towers throughout the city, for the faux cause of “affordability” (while actually displacing New Yorkers), the L.P.C. needs the right leadership. We need someone who cares about the oldest house in a historic district and shows leadership in not allowing it to be gutted, someone who aims to encourage a developer to use original materials in construction, and someone who generally steers development toward preserving rather than gutting and glassing over — even when there are powerful real-estate forces pressing L.P.C. for green lights. We need an L.P.C. that is not controlled by more backroom deals, lobbyists, paid historic experts for the applicant, and other influence that nonprofit preservation groups, the community and neighbors cannot possibly overtake. The Landmarks Preservation Commission should be chaired by a person recommended by expert preservation groups. That recommendation would consider whether the person is likely to be a good leader of a city agency, how he or she treats people and whether that person will lead with an aim toward fair outcomes. Please, City Council, do the right thing.
To The Editor: Re “Elizabeth St. Garden groups unite to sue city” (news article, June 7): Affordable senior housing is laudable and necessary, but respect for process, long-term policy and objectives, and the need for open space is, too. Though it may be politically expedient to ram through a housing project without community knowledge or consideration for a citywide P.R. opportunity out of concern that community input or opposition may interfere, that approach deprives not only the community but the promulgators of the project of the opportunity to consider legitimate countervailing objectives, suggestions or alternatives that laws, regulations and land-use procedures are designed to provide. Elizabeth St. Garden is a unique oasis of green and tranquility, punctuated with delightful sculptures and artifacts, that provides a free, egalitarian place of recreation and repose for a neighborhood that is otherwise devoid of such spaces. It undoubtedly serves many more people than the proposed housing project, for which better alternate sites are available. Furthermore, the housing project — apart from being poorly configured to maximize damage to the garden — is way out of scale for, inconsistent with and destructive of the Little Italy Historic District.
To The Editor: Re “Tenants claim win on right of return at Bowery building” (news article, June 7): Since the protesters admit that de Blasio never met their demands, and since the landlord states their demands were not met, how can they claim a “win”? It’s more like a “defeat.”
Days gone by’s quieter high Call 718-260-2516 or e-mail email@example.com
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To The Editor: Re “L.E.S. bars and a little trip down memory lane” (talking point, by Clayton Patterson, June 7): Clayton got this right, and I add...things were much quieter when the main products in the area to get high on were coke and dope. John Penley
Susan Caraeff E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 MetroTech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.
De Blasio and the Dept. of Ed. aren’t allocating charter schools space. 16
June 14, 2018
Not a statistic: A father, husband and patriot GLOBAL VILLAGE BY BILL WEINBERG
o me, Mohammed Akkas Ali was one of the many faces we New Yorkers see near daily for years, taken for granted as the background to our lives. Whenever I walked down to East Village Farm grocery at E. Fourth St. and Second Ave. for a late-night seltzer, he would be sitting under the awning, minding the flower stand and chopping mangos for fruit salad. We’d nod at each other but rarely exchanged words — except once when I was passing with a friend who speaks Bengali. She spoke to him in his native tongue, and his face lit up as he replied in kind. I thought of him as a sweet old man. Then, on June 19, 2013, came the horrific news that in the predawn hours a car speeding down Second Ave. had smashed into the grocery’s facade. Ali was in Bellevue hospital, comatose, his recovery uncertain. A coworker was also injured, with broken bones. The Villager reported at the time that the motorist, Shaun Martin, then 32, was actually drag racing at around 80 miles per hour. He was also found to be high on PCP. He had a prior DWI and a bust for cocaine possession. Over the following months, I’d check in with the folks at the grocery about Ali’s status and prospects. In early July, they said he’d opened his eyes for the first time — although he didn’t talk. This proved a false hope. Ali died on Jan 1, 2014. He was 62 years old. I recently sat down with Rukanul “Rinku” Islam, Ali’s son, who works at a Soho restaurant. He lives in Alphabet City with his mother, Ali’s widow — although she now spends much of the year in the land of her birth. “A lot of memory comes to her mind, so she goes back to Bangladesh frequently,” Islam told me. He related how the family arrived in the neighborhood. Ali was the first to come, from their home in the city of Sylhet, in northeast Bangladesh, after winning a lottery visa in 1991. Before that, Ali worked in a fertilizer plant in Sylhet — a job he got through “a government program for veteran freedom fighters,” Islam said. Ali served as a soldier in the Bangladesh War of Independence from Pakistan in 1971 — an incredibly brutal struggle. Reprisals against the Bangladeshi civilian population by Pakistan’s military are now thought to have constituted genocide. Not surprisingly, Islam said his father spoke little about his time as a fighter. He would sometimes mention the hardships, how he “struggled to survive with no food, going hungry for days.” Islam recalled the happy times growing up with his three siblings. “He would surprise us with toys and new shoes when we were kids,” he said of his father. “He tried to make us laugh.” Ali brought his wife and children to New York in 2000. Islam was 12 then. He has two brothers (both also working in the food trade) and one sister (married and raising children). Ali was a devout man who prayed five times a day, and attended the Madina mosque at First Ave. and E. 11th St. every Friday. In 2006, he made the pilgrimage to Mecca with his wife, Rushna Begum. “He brought dates and water back from Mecca to share with friends and family as a blessing,” Islam recalled. TheVillager.com
Mohammed Akkas Ali wearing an Arabian burnoose during his haj j, the pilgrimage to Mecca all Muslims are expected to make at least once during their lifetime.
His life centered around home, family and work. “He would never hang out with friends outside,” his son said. After being run down, Ali was at Bellevue in a coma for two months. Then, with some improvement, he was transferred to a facility in New Jersey. “He would whisper to me to take care of my mom,” Islam recalled his father telling him back then.
He fought in the Bangladesh War of Independence
He was later transferred to a facility in Queens, where he died unexpectedly. At Martin’s trial, Islam said he avoided looking at the defendant. “I try to keep my anger down,” he said. “I wouldn’t look at him because it would make me angrier.” Today he says he is trying to keep his word to his father that he would study and work for a better life. He
has ambitions to become an engineer. “But it is difficult,” he said, “because I have to look after my mom.” Last year, Islam married in Bangladesh, but is still waiting to bring his wife, Bushra, to New York. Martin was charged with vehicular assault, which was upgraded to murder after Ali’s death. In July 2016, he was convicted, and that November was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In announcing the sentence, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. pledged Ali’s death “will not be in vain,” that his office would “continue working to reduce traffic fatalities by holding criminal drivers accountable for the harm that they inflict.” Charles Komanoff of Right of Way, an advocacy group for pedestrians and bicyclists, is skeptical that Vance has kept that pledge. “Has there been a substantial change in the prosecution of killer driving in New York County in recent years?” he asked, rhetorically. “The answer is clearly, No. There have been some welcome but lonely exceptions, like the prosecution in the Akkas Ali case.” At the same time, Komanoff emphasized, “There has to be a solution other than throwing people in prison, which is loathsome.” But he is still aghast at the situation. “We’re basically in the same place as 20 years ago,” he said. “People still have a gut feeling when they get behind the wheel that there is some kind of immunity for their reckless behavior — social immunity, judicial immunity.” According to the city’s Vision Zero Web site, there were 218 traffic fatalities in New York last year, including 105 pedestrians. As of the end of this March, there had been 43 fatalities so far this year, with 26 of them pedestrians. June 14, 2018
Apothecary expands yet keeps personal touch BY GABE HERMAN
he Village Apothecary has been a West Village fi xture since opening 35 years ago. Its ownership is proudly independent, and the store is known for its personalized care and being on the frontlines in battling H.I.V. and AIDS since the 1980s. Now the pharmacy, at Bleecker and W. 10th Sts., is trying to continue that legacy as it expands to offer new health programs, remodels its store and tries to evolve with the times. The business boasts a staff of about a dozen, and several of them have been there for decades and become reliable faces in the neighborhood. “There’s a definite connection,” said pharmacist Norman Saban, who remembers the exact day he started at the Apothecary: May 14, 1985. Saban recalled recently running into several customers at a concert and everyone saying hello. “Back in the ’90s, I remember I was once on a beach in Spain and somebody came over and said, ‘Hey how are you!’ recognizing me from the store,” Saban said. “The Village is just a small, little enclave, so everyone gets to know one another.” When Saban first started at the Village Apothecary in 1985, it was the early days of the H.I.V. crisis in the Village. He remembers hundreds of people coming to the pharmacy for AZT, the new drug that many other pharmacies wouldn’t carry. Saban said the store’s founder, Michael Konnon, wouldn’t turn anyone away. The pharmacy ordered the drugs through the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program (A-DAP), a program the store still works with to ensure that people can afford and receive medication. Saban remembers opening hundreds of boxes of AZT medication from A-DAP every day in the ’80s. “It was scary,” he said. “A lot of sick people.” In the decades since, the Village Apothecary has continued to provide medicine and personalized care to H.I.V. and AIDS patients, often coordinating with local doctors and hospitals. For this and its general health services to the community, Mayor de Blasio issued an official proclamation this Jan. 18, dubbing it “Village Apothecary Day.” The Apothecary’s latest effort to continue its tradition of helping those with H.I.V. and AIDS is involvement in a new state initiative called PEP 4 H.I.V. Prevention. This pilot program allows people who fear recent exposure to H.I.V. to go to their local pharmacy for prevention medication, which must be started within 72 from possible exposure. The pharmacy can then give seven days’ worth of medication and refer the person to a local doctor for consultation and longer-term treatment. John Kaliabakos, the Apothecary’s director of pharmacy services, said that although people can already go to walk-in clinics for such treatment, the idea of the new program is that some may be uncomfortable going there, or unwilling to wait many hours, or might feel embarrassed. Going to a local pharmacy may be an easier and more comfortable experience. The program, run through the state Department of Health and the AIDS Institute, just started a couple of months ago and will run through September. Its success will then be assessed to see if it should be continued and expanded. Kaliabakos, who has been at the Village Apothecary for 25 years, said the goal now is to spread the word about the program because awareness is still lacking. He said word of mouth can help, and the program is also advertising to increase awareness. “It’s very early,” Kaliabakos noted of the pilot program. “There have only been a very small amount of
June 14, 2018
PHOTO BY GABE HERMAN
Village Apothecar y staff members, from left, Arnel Molina, Shaili Patel, Norman Saban, Eric Lora, Alex Chavez, John Kaliabakos and Himanshu Patel.
people that have come in for that. But even if you prevent one case, it’s a success.” Kaliabakos hopes the program will show good results and be able to expand to many pharmacies, just as syringes are now widely available, including at the Apothecary. The pharmacy has participated in the state’s Expanded Syringe Program since its start in 2000. Kaliabakos is proud of the Apothecary’s legacy of fighting H.I.V. / AIDS. “We’ve always been on the frontlines in the sense that we were one of the first places to stock AZT,” he noted. “As soon as a new H.I.V. drug is available, we have it that same day. We’re coordinating with doctors that are always trying to get the newest thing out there, so any doctor that prescribes that knows that if there’s 30 H.I.V. drugs out there, we have it on the shelf, no matter what. If it’s available, we have it. So in that sense, we always try to be ahead of the game.” The Apothecary worked with the nearby St. Vincent’s Hospital until it closed eight years ago, and still coordinates with Bailey House, a Village-based nonprofit that provides housing and care for people living with H.I.V. and AIDS. The pharmacy checks up on people to make sure they have the medication they need and are taking it. They also deal with insurance companies to ensure people can get their prescriptions. “A lot of our stuff is fighting with insurance companies for people, unfortunately,” Kaliabakos said, with a laugh. This can include any customer, but Kaliabakos noted that costs can be especially high for H.I.V. patients. “We’ll try to either get them covered with supplemental A-DAP, or we’ll try to deal with the manufacturers to get them coupons, or some kind of supplemental coverage,” he explained. “We try to take the cost out of the equation, to make sure they get what they need.” The Apothecary’s bond with the neighborhood includes relationships with the Police Department’s Sixth Precinct just around the corner and the Bomb Squad. The pharmacy has been there through 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy, when it continued to provide medications and stay open, even without power. Just across the street on W. 10th St., Todd Rigby and Catherine McClarin have co-owned the flower
shop VSF (Very Special Flowers) since 1983 and have been regular customers of the Village Apothecary. “It’s very personal service,” said McClarin, who adds that compared to chain pharmacies in the area, “there’s no comparison. It’s integral to our lifestyle.” Rigby said the pharmacy handles all of his medication needs, including Kaliabakos doing battle with Rigby’s insurance company. “If I need something filled, they will call the doctor for me and get it filled,” said Rigby, who is also a neighborhood resident. “I can’t remember a time they weren’t here.” He added that the Apothecary even takes care of his two cats, providing insulin for the diabetic one and showing him how to use the needle. Vijay Desai has owned the Apothecary since 2012 and is intent on maintaining the shop’s values. “We want to keep that family, community-owned presence here in the Village,” he said. Desai discussed recent expansions that include a new location in Chelsea, called the Chelsea Apothecary, and medication delivery available anywhere in Manhattan below 110th St. The deliveries started during the pharmacy’s recent renovations, when people couldn’t come into the store. Even though people can now come inside as the remodeling continues, the deliveries are expanding and Desai sees them as a permanent part of the business. Even with all the changes on Bleecker St. that have included soaring rents and vacant storefronts, including several next door on the pharmacy’s block, Desai said the Apothecary is in good shape thanks to great community support. “I’m feeling good about us,” he said, “but what’s going on around us is disturbing.” The Apothecary’s renovations are nearly complete, including not just a dark wood aesthetic inside but an expanded pharmacy area and upgrades to all systems, from fridges to computers. Keeping the business open during construction was a challenge, Desai admitted. “It made it tough on us and also our customers. But they’re so loyal to us that, we got to this point, we’re good,” he said, laughing. “I’m very happy with how it’s looking, and I think it sets us up for the next 30 years of the Village.” TheVillager.com
Love wedding music? Why don’t you marry it? An engaging look at songs that get a good reception BY JIM MELLOAN Fifty years and a couple of months ago, Sly & the Family Stone’s “Dance to the Music” peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. And so, in March and April, I was playing that one on my “50 Years Ago This Week” radio show (on radiofreebrooklyn.org). I had dinner with my dad a while back, and he remarked what a classic it was. He had heard it played at a wedding reception recently. He suggested I should write about it. I told him great idea, but my editor, Scott Stiffler, wanted my column to concentrate on acts with New York connections — and Sly & the Family Stone were from San Francisco. Dad said, “Well, you could write about the fact that they still play it at New York area weddings.” I thought this was funny, and I related it to Scott as an amusing anecdote. Much to my surprise, he liked the idea, and what with it being wedding season in June, suggested I do a column on the stuff they play at wedding receptions around here these days. So this is that column, and that was the intro to this column. Now here’s the part about that song and Sly & the Family Stone: It was the first Top 40 hit for the group. It pioneered a genre that became known as psychedelic soul, and soon major acts such as the Temptations, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and the Four Tops started churning out hits with a similar sound. It led to the development of funk. CBS Records executive Clive Davis had asked the band to come up with a poppier sound than was reflected on their first album, “A Whole New Thing.” Sly rose to the occasion with “Dance to the Music” (which also served as the second album’s name). The band wasn’t crazy about going in this direction. Saxophonist Jerry Martini said it “was such an unhip thing for us to do.” But it did the trick of launching the band into the pubic consciousness, and the band’s unusual combination of four lead singers, rock guitar riffs, gospel organ, and horns seemed plenty hip to the record-buying public. The song takes the hoary format of introducing members of the band and letting each one do a lick so we can hear how the whole sound comes together. Archie Bell & the Drells had a number one hit a couple months later with a song with a similar structure, “Tighten Up.” The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band sent up the format in 1967 with “The Intro and the Outro,” in which a couple dozen fanciful characters are introduced as members of the band, including John Wayne on xylophone, Adolf Hitler “looking very relaxed” on vibes, and the Count Basie Orchestra on triangle. “Dance to the Music” may have gotten a boost in popularity in the 21st century with its inclusion in “Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party,” a DVD extra for the 2001 movie “Shrek.” I haven’t been to any weddings in years. So I realized, to paraphrase The Martian, I’m gonna have to report the shit out of this column. That was easily enough done thanks to crowdsourcing via a Facebook query and an TheVillager.com
Courtesy of Code Bleu
The Long Island-based band Code Bleu (with singer Pamela Lewis, third from the right) questions the bride and groom, then sets up a crowd-pleasing playlist in advance.
interview with a local contemporary expert, a singer with one of Long Island’s most successful wedding bands. Through these we can piece together what the musical fare at a New York metro area wedding reception in 2018 might consist of. Weddings are, of course, multi-generational celebrations, so we can expect that music from every era that attendees might have witnessed will be represented. The cocktail hour will feature the jazzier stuff: Kenny G, “Wave,” by Antonio Carlos Jobim. As the guests file in and sit down to dinner, the music will continue to be low-key: Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye, Sade, Anita Baker, and the soft side of Amy Winehouse. There will also be contemporary love songs of the unabashed variety, like John Legend’s “All of Me” or Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” Pamela Lewis is a singer with Code Bleu, an 8 to 11-piece Long Island band that does about 100 weddings a year (details at skylineorchestras.com/codebleu). She explained how the outfit combines a rigorous process of determining what particular songs and genres any given couple is interested in with the skill of reading the room at any given time and deploying an instinctual knowledge of what is going to work best at that time. Bandleaders Sean and Donna Gillen send out a questionnaire to the bride and groom and then meet with them personally to make sure everything they want is covered. The couples are often already familiar with Code Bleu’s work, and they have the option to see them at regularly scheduled showcases. The Gillens then send out a CD to all the band members that contains all the
songs they need to know for the week’s upcoming gigs. After dinner may be the time when the parents and grandparents have a few drinks under their belts and are ready to cut loose, so a ’50s and early ’60s set might be in order: “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Rockin’ Robin,” “Heat Wave,” a couple of twist numbers, and (generally a must) the Isley Brothers’ “Shout.” “I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock ‘n’ Roll)” serves up the neat trick of being event-specific and evoking nostalgia for both the late ’70s, when it was written by Nick Lowe, and performed by both him and Dave Edmunds, and the ’50s rock ‘n’ roll style it’s written in. The ’70s and ’80s brought out a number of wedding warhorses, many of which are still practically de rigeur today: Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration,” KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight,” Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” and “Last Dance,” and the standard Barry White half-dozen. There may be the part where the groom is blindfolded and has to find and remove the bride’s garter with his teeth, often while a recording of Yello’s 1985 electronica number “Oh Yeah,” featured in the film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” is played (or alternatively, says Lewis, the band plays Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”). Cake-cutting ceremonies have recently often featured “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, an anthemic paean to the pleasures of, yes, home. WEDDINGS continued on p. 21 June 14, 2018
Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER THE ARC SIZZLIN’ SUMMER RECORD + CD SALE Whether it pops, rocks, swings, or just plain sizzles — one stop at this jam-packed brick and mortar music sale will secure many, many selections destined for heavy rotation on your summer playlist. So before the sun sets on June 24, make a covenant to visit ARC — Tribeca’s ARChive of Contemporary Music — a nonprofit archive, library, and research center “dedicated to saving and digitizing copies of all popular music recordings worldwide.” And do they ever. With a collection numbering in the millions and donations pouring in all the time from music labels and private collections, this record and CD sale offers up tens of thousands of their redundant stock at ridiculously discounted prices, plus a sweet selection of music-themed books, posters, DVDs, and memorabilia. Cheaper than downloading, it’s also a lot more fun (the tactile experience of flipping through rows and rows of those wooden bins always yields a few unexpected items utterly necessary for your collection). So get it while it’s hot — and become an ARC member while you’re there. That way, you’ll secure an invite to the preview night of December’s sale, where dedicated music lovers commune, scoop up the stock before it’s available to the general public, and enjoy free food and drink (at the summer sale’s preview, it was compliments of Two Boots Pizza and City Winery). Free admission. Open to the public daily through June 24, 11am–6pm at the ARChive of Contemporary Music (54 White St., btw. Church & Broadway). Visit arcmusic.org, call 212-226-6967, or email email@example.com. THE WASHINGTON SQUARE MUSIC FESTIVAL Taking place in one of the city’s great alfresco concert settings, and with an equally iconic rainspace at the ready, the Washington Square Music Festival has two more free nights of dynamic performances, as part of their 60th season celebration. On June 19, Music Director Lutz Rath conducts the Festival Chamber Ensemble in a program ranging from baroque (Jan Dismas Zelenka’s “Hipocondrie” quintet) to classical (Joseph Haydn’s “Der Geburtstag,” aka “The Birthday)” to 20th century (selections by Bohuslav Martinu and Heitor Villa-Lobos).
June 14, 2018
Courtesy of the ARChive of Contemporary Music
Daily through June 24, the ARChive of Contemporary Music’s summer sale raises funds for the nonprofit by allowing you to peruse, and purchase, their considerable supply of redundant stock.
Photo by Sally J. Bair
The Frank Lacy Sextet (fronted by Kuumba Frank Lacy, seen here) and guest vocalist Liz Torres will close out the Washington Square Music Festival’s 60th season on June 26. TheVillager.com
The series closes on June 26 with the Frank Lacy Sextet. Fronted by Kuumba Frank Lacy and featuring guest vocalist Liz Torres, the Sextetâ€™s eclectic set list includes free form jazz, â€œupdated arrangements of modern expression in jazz today,â€? and the world premiere of a composition by Lacy. Seating at these free concerts is on a first come, first served basis. Tues., June 19 and 26, 8pm in Washington Square Park (Fifth Ave./Waverly Place, btw. W. Fourth & Macdougal Sts.). Rainspace: Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South, at Thompson St.). For more information, visit washingtonsquaremusicfestival. org, call 212-252-3621, or email info@ washingtonsquaremusicfestival.org. THE RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL With a ticket price as free as the air you breathe â€” and a geographic breadth that allows audiences to experience some of the best dance, music, theater, and visual art Lower Manhattan has to offer â€” the 17th annual River to River Festival delivers 10 days of eyeopening (often genre-blurring) activities taking place at over 40 indoor and outdoor venues. Here are a few definite destinations that caught our eye when we scanned the meaty menu presented by event producer LMCC (the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council). On Thurs., June 21, 6â€“9pm, â€œTribeca Art + Culture Nightâ€? delivers on its name by showcasing the neighborhoodâ€™s vibrant gallery district. Over 20 fine art and design galleries, university and institutional art galleries, nonprofit art institutions, and performance spaces will stay open well into the night â€” allowing you to stroll from place to place, experiencing a high volume of openings, talks, workshops, and performances. On Tues., June 19, â€œNight at the Museumsâ€? is a likeminded event, with free admission to Downtown cultural institutions and museums. On Fri., June 22 at 5:30pm and Sat.,
WEDDINGS continued from p. 19
The 21st century kicks in with a few songs that have become classics: OutKastâ€™s â€œHey Ya!,â€? BeyoncĂŠâ€™s â€œSingle Ladies (Put a Ring on It)â€? (a prime example of todayâ€™s musicâ€™s total disregard for the importance of melody), and Pharrell Williamsâ€™ â€œHappyâ€? (a welcome exception to that trend). Two others with which I was not at all familiar: Mark Ronson and Bruno Marsâ€™s â€œUptown Funkâ€? (which has, holy shit, more than three billion views on YouTube), and Walk on the Moonâ€™s â€œShut Up and TheVillager.com
Courtesy of Namoi Goldberg Hass and Laura Nova
The LES Citizens Parade, part of this yearâ€™s River to River Festival, happens June 22 and 24.
Courtesy of Tribeca Art + Culture Night
Part of River to River, June 21â€™s Tribeca Art + Culture Night showcases the neighborhoodâ€™s vibrant gallery district.
June 24 at 4pm, The LES Citizens Parade (as in, Lower East Side) is an activist processional and a series of performances taking place in Seward Park (Broadway between Essex & Jefferson Sts.). Co-created by choreographer and Dances for a Variable Population artistic director Naomi Goldberg Haas and visual artist Laura Nova, the work, they assure us, â€œcreates a celebratory, visual
Danceâ€? (nice enough, but I prefer the hard-rocking 1980 song of the same name, by the very obscure San Francisco new wave band Pearl Harbor and the Explosions). Lewis reports that in the past five years country has gotten much more popular, with couples requesting songs such as â€œCountry Girl (Shake It for Me)â€? by Luke Bryan, and â€œThe Fighterâ€? by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood. So that is my report. Now, before the month is out get yourself a decent suit or a fine new dress, get invited to a wedding or just crash one, and celebrate: get down tonight, shut up, and dance to the music!
journey that honors the experience of long-term residents of the Lower East Side, examining the community through lenses of movement, performance, and visual art. Performers create literal and figurative routes through a neighborhood of disparate and intersecting traditions including Eastern, Western, and Latin American modalities of grace, balance, and beauty.â€?
Sun., June 17, 7pm in Rockefeller Park, â€œNaamahâ€™s Arkâ€? is an epic oratorio that looks at the Noahâ€™s Ark story from the viewpoint of Noahâ€™s wife. Mon., June 18 through Fri., June 22, â€œItâ€™s Showtime NYCâ€? finds one of the cityâ€™s largest street dance companies doing their thing on the steps of Federal Hall (all performances at 4pm). On Fri., June 15 and Sat., June 16 at 7pm (and again, 5pm on Sun., June 17), the Brookfield Place Winter Garden is the setting for choreographer Catherine Galassoâ€™s â€œOf Granite and Glass,â€? a site-specific modern dance work that uses the venueâ€™s marble staircase as â€œa dramatic backdrop for a performance evoking failed spring breaks, ecstatic dance rituals, and sacred StairMaster routines.â€? The River to River Festival takes place June 15â€“24. All events are free. Visit rivertorivernyc.com. Facebook: facebook.com/LMCCNYC. Twitter: @ LMCC. Instagram: @LMCC_NYC.
Theater for the New City â€˘ 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net
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Police Blotter BLOTTER continued from p. 11
Back for more Burglars had another helping at Vapiano pizza and pasta restaurant, at 113 University Place, on Tues., May 29, at 3 a.m. Police said a man forced open the place’s front door, then forced open a safe inside and removed around $10,000 in cash from it. Another individual, a woman, remained outside as a lookout. Both fled on foot westbound down E. 13th St. The man is described as lightskinned, last seen wearing a darkcolored baseball cap, a gray shirt, blue jeans and tan work boots, and carrying a dark-colored backpack. The woman is said to be lightskinned, last seen wearing a black hooded sweater, dark-colored pants and white sneakers. She carried an orange bag with “Time Warner” on its side.
Burglars previously robbed Vapiano in the early mornings of Feb. 11 and April 30, making off with $4,000 and $7,000, respectively. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline.
Phone phony Between May 2 and June 4, an employee of Russell Cellular, at 71 University Place, scammed the store by creating six fraudulent transactions that included nine iPhones totaling $9,090 in value, police said. The employee authorized and completed the transactions using fake accounts to hide the charges. Police said they arrested Katerin Soto, 26, on June 6 as the dishonest employee. The phones have not been recovered, and it is not known who her accomplices were since fake accounts were used.
Gabe Herman and Lincoln Anderson
Slam elite H.S. plan TEST continued from p. 10
mute to the Bronx. David Lee, a friend of Don Lee, said that, back in 1978, when he graduated from Brooklyn Tech, there was a higher percentage of black and Latino students there. He attributes the decline to the city’s cutting, in 2000, the number of Special Progress classes, which helped prepare students for the admission test. Many Asian-American students take outside classes to drill for the test, parents noted. They added that other states, like New Jersey, have similar admission tests for elite high schools. However, there also have been legal challenges mounted around the country against such admission tests. Joe Chan, a Lower East Side
parent, said the problem is that the New York City school system, as a whole, needs to be improved, and that just changing the student body’s composition at the specialized high schools won’t necessarily fix that. “They’re masking the problem,” he said. A Stuyvesant alumnus and Tribeca resident who supports keeping the test, who requested anonymity, said his kids currently attend Nest and Bard high schools on the Lower East Side, which are both highperforming schools. “There are a lot of good schools,” he shrugged. A petition on change.org for Keep SHSAT — to retain the elite high schools admission test — had garnered more than 15,000 signatures as of Sunday evening.
Bourdain came back BOURDAIN continued from p. 9
plan was deemed “financially unfeasible,” though few details were given at the time explaining why. Google has since been brought in to develop an office complex on
the Chelsea Pier and be its anchor tenant. According to the Hudson River Park Trust, Google will have a 15-year lease, and the deal will pay the Trust $1 million more in rent per year than the previous plan — which sounds like the reason it’s “feasible.”
For more news & events happening now visit www.TheVillager.com TheVillager.com
June 14, 2018
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School’s new mural helps rock students’ world BY SYDNEY PEREIR A
utside the P751 high school on E. Fourth St., the walls are now covered with a brightly colored and three-dimensional mural. Just last month, a team of teachers and students partnered with the public-art organization Artolution to paint it. “This beautiful mural represents love and unity,” said Ewa Asterita, the principal of P751. Artolution brings art around the world — from Syrian refugee camps in Jordan to poor communities in India — to address critical global issues and provide a creative outlet for children who have been through traumatic events. Bringing these projects to the Manhattan School for Career Development, Asterita hopes, will further the goal of teaching the students about global citizenship. “The amazing part is that Artolution goes all over the world — to different refugee camps, to different communities that are in need of art and collaborative work,” Asterita said. “And we feel like we connected to the world through that art.” The District 75 school, which is the city’s school district for students with disabilities, worked with Artolution co-founders Joel Bergner and Max Frieder to create “The Grand Mural,” which focuses on students with special needs and L.G.B.T.Q. youth. A second mural was also painted at Harvey Milk High School on Astor Place, a high school designed as a safe haven for L.G.B.T.Q. students. “It symbolizes the strength and beauty of our students and community,” Assistant Principal Yakeen Dinmahamad said of the project. Recycled materials, such as buckets, keyboards,
Helping “drum up interest” in global citizenship, Joel Bergner, co-founder and co-director of Ar tolution, with the new mural at the P751 high school, at 113 E. Four th St., between First and Second Aves.
computer monitors, bottles, drumsticks and pieces of wood, created a 3-D effect on the mural. The drumsticks bring the piece to life, making it possible to “play” the sculptural mural like an instrument. “It’s something that lives on in their schoolyard,” said Joel Bergner, one of the founders and directors of Artolution. “They actually came up with all of the ideas in the mural. We had an initial workshop with all of the students, and we guided them through the process of coming up with themes and imagery. “And through that process, they decided what are the things that are most important to them and the messages they want to send to the community and what they want to say about themselves,” he added. Though Artolution’s public-art projects have been organized around the world, Bergner himself is based in Brooklyn. For him, it is important to do local projects, as well. Global citizenship is one of the pillars of the E. Fourth St. school. Asterita and Dinmahamad emphasize that value, as well as arts and theater and digital technology, in particular. Those principles will soon be applied to P751’s new location at 75 Morton St., which will fill a longstanding need for Downtown middle school students with disabilities. The murals at P751’s East Village high school location are a part of those goals — to get students to think globally. “Artolution — being a part of that organization, being affiliated with that organization — allows our students to think globally,” Dinmahamad said, “which goes back to our theme of global citizenship.”
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