Serving Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Seaport and the Financial District VOLUME 31, NUMBER 13
JULY 12 – JULY 25, 2018
Surrealist balloon sculptures take over Brookfield Place Photo by Milo Hess
Artist Jason Hackenwerth has taken over Brookfield Place with giant balloon sculptures for “Animal Soul,” a fi ve-day event from July 11 through July 15 featuring performances by professional dancers adorned in surreal, wearable balloon sculptures. For more, see page 12.
Stuy grads weigh in on SHSAT reform Page 2
Also in this issue: Seaport Report Page 10
1 M E T R O T E C H • N YC 112 0 1 • C O P Y R I G H T © 2 0 18 N YC C O M M U N I T Y M E D I A , L L C
Immigration activists ‘Occupy’ Foley Square Page 6
Stuy grads want more diversity, but cautious about scrapping test
BY SYDNEY PEREIRA As parents and politicians fight over Mayor de Blasio’s plan to scrap the standardized admissions test for this city’s specialized high schools as a way to promote diversity, some recent Stuyvesant High School grads are weighing in. Most agree that lack of diversity is a problem at their school, and that reforming the admissions system will be necessary to address it, but some suggest that an important first step would be to encourage more minority students to take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test in the first place. “I always thought it was ridiculous that my grade has a single number of black students,” said Matteo Wong, Stuyvesant’s 2018 valedictorian, whose graduation speech highlighted the need to diversify his school. Stuyvesant is around four percent Black or Latino — even though those
groups make up a combined 66.5 percent of the city’s public school students — and in his speech, recently published as an op-ed in Crain’s, Wong called that figure “unacceptable.” “To accept [those statistics] is to buy into a racist myth of Black and Hispanic inferiority that has very real, physical and psychological repercussions,” he said. “To accept these demographics is to make Stuyvesant a toxic environment for Black and Hispanic students.” Wong stopped short of wholeheartedly endorsing the mayor’s plan, but said something must be done. “The way forward is unclear,” he added, “but the status quo is broken.” The mayor proposes a two-stage plan. In September 2019, the city will expand the Discovery Program to set aside 20 percent of specialized high school seats for low-income students who miss the cut-off score for the SHSAT.
Associated Press / Mary Altaffer
Recent graduates of Stuyvesant High School agree that lack of diversity is a problem at their elite school, but they have mixed opinions on whether the mayor’s plan to radically remake the admissions process is the right way to correct it.
Eventually, de Blasio wants to replace the SHSAT with a new admissions process selecting students based on their class rank in their middle school and on statewide tests that all middle schoolers take. But that change would require a legislative fix from Albany. The mayor said expanding the Discovery Program would increase Black and Latino students admitted to elite schools from nine to 16 percent. If the SHSAT were scrapped entirely and admissions relied on class rank and statewide test scores, 45 percent
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TESTING Continued on page 14
of students would be Latino or Black, he said. “This new admissions process will give every student in every middle school a fair shot,” he wrote in an announcement of the proposal on Chalkbeat. For Maiko Sein, a recent Stuy graduate headed to Cornell University this fall, taking the SHSAT changed her life. “I am grateful for where I am,” said Sein, who was born in Japan and came
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July 12 â€“ July 25, 2018
To the barricades Preservationists plan strategy after developer buys Seaport lot BY JANEL BL ADOW Just days after the announcement that Howard Hughes Corporation was buying the block-size parking lot across from Peck Slip School, the South Street Seaport community rallied to voice its concern. More than 100 people turned up for an impromptu meeting of Save Our Seaport that convened on June 27. The overwhelming concern was renewed fear that the developer will again try to build a supertall skyscraper to loom over a community where most buildings are just four, five or six stories high. But HHC’s plans are, as always, a mystery. “’We don’t know what’s coming next’ is the only answer I can give you now,” said David Sheldon, a SOS steering committee member, who chaired the meeting. Community Board 1 has requested a marketing plan for the 250 Water St. lot and other sites that HHC own in the Seaport area, but board members
are not optimistic that the notoriously secretive developer will be any more forthcoming about its plans now than in the past. “We’ve been trying to get that from Howard Hughes Corporation since I had a full head of hair,” said Paul Goldstein, co-chairman of CB1 Waterfront and Parks Committee. Given the price HHC paid for the lot, however, many suspect that building a supertall residential tower would be the only way the developer could make the investment pay off. HHC bought the parking lot last month from a shell company controlled by the Milstein family – which also manages parts of Battery Park City – for $180 million. Milstein purchased the property in 1979 for less than $6 million, and after repeated attempts to build a high-rise were blocked, the owners just left the site as a parking lot, because smaller-scale projects weren’t economical. “HHC overspent on this property,”
Photo by Janel Bladow
More than 100 people showed up for an impromptu meeting that Save Our Seaport convened on June 27 to discuss concerns about the fate of a one-acre lot that Howard Hughes Corporation just agreed to purchase.
said SOS volunteer Michael Kramer, who expects the developer to try and push through a large-scale project HHC may try to transfer the air rights from its other Seaport properties, which combined would allow for a 70-story tower or two 35-story buildings at the Water Street site. The meeting was held in the community room of the Southbridge Towers complex and most of the people there were residents there, whose views of
the Seaport, Brooklyn Bridge and East River could be blocked by a high rise on the one-acre lot bordered by Peck Slip and Pearl, Beekman and Water Streets. Many residents from elsewhere in the Seaport neighborhood also turned out to seek answers and share concerns, as well as local business owners and parents with children at the two schools near the site — Peck Slip School and TOWER Continued on page 23
Burner Law serves the elderly with compassion 9PC8LI8?8EI8?8E From her ofﬁce on W. 34th St., Britt Burner is ﬁghting to make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers. The Long Island native is spearheading the Manhattan branch of her family’s eldercare law ﬁrm, Burner Law Group. Founded by her mother, Nancy Burner, in 1995 in Long Island, the ﬁrm has grown to become a leader in eldercare and estate-planning cases. When Britt and her sister Robin later joined their mom, it transformed the ﬁrm into an unstoppable, family-run operation. On top of that, the ﬁrm is made up entirely of women. “I watched it grow from when I was a kid,” Burner said. “It just slowly grew, but it almost feels like we blinked our eyes and it became this all-female powerhouse.” Now, with a team of eight attorneys and more than 30 support-team members, the ﬁrm is spread across three ofﬁces — two in Long Island and the newest one in Manhattan,
July 12 – July 25, 2018
which Britt Burner opened four years ago. “We have a great mix of people who work hard and support each other in a really wonderful way. It’s a pleasure to go work every day,” she said. For Burner, being able to work with her mother and sister has been extremely rewarding. “We get along very well anyway,” she said. “Plus, we have this common thing we’re working to build together. It’s great.” Britt Burner began her career in corporate litigation, but in 2008 her ﬁrm gave her the chance to work as an assistant district attorney for a year in the Sex Crimes Bureau of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Ofﬁce. “What I realized then is, I don’t want to be a corporate litigator and I don’t want to be in criminal law,” she reﬂected. “But I liked the human aspect of dealing with people and their problems and feeling like I was helping solve them.
I have a woman I saw yesterday who’s 94 years old and she wanted to redo her will.” With an overwhelming number of aging baby boomers, Burner said the ﬁrm has seen an increase in cases for elderly clients. The ﬁrm is striving is to get out in front of any potential problems that generation might be facing through preventative education. Between the company’s three ofﬁces, Burner said, they host roughly 150 to 200 9i`kk 9lie\i _\X[j 9lie\i CXnËj seminars every year. DXe_XkkXef]ÔZ\% “I say in a lot of my seminars, if I try to Google someSo that was when I decided to thing, I’ll have trouble ﬁnding switch into elder law.” the answer — even if I already She began working for an- know it — so I can’t even imagother law ﬁrm but after a few ine if you’re a senior,” Burner years decided to join the fam- said. “You’re out there and ily business and made the you’re on the Internet and switch to Burner Law. The you’re trying to ﬁnd out how ﬁrm, Burner said, does estate you get Medicaid, how you get planning for every age. homecare, how you get nurs“I have clients who are in ing care, how do you take care their 30s who’ve just had a of yourself, how you take care baby and they need a will and of your spouse.” they want to name a guardian In general, Burner ﬁnds of their child if something hap- that most people are not aware pened to them,” she said. “And of the full range of services
— particularly homecare — available through Medicaid. Navigating these beneﬁts has become a large part of what Burner Law does. “I think people often don’t often realize how small details can make huge a difference,” she said. “It’s really important that people make an informed decision on how they want to proceed with the rest of their life and really take control of the rest of their life.” Outside the ﬁrm, Burner is ﬁghting for the rights of New York’s elderly population. She is a committee member on the elder law section of the Legislative Committee of the New York State Bar. “I’ve lobbied in Albany each year when the governor puts out the budget bill,” she noted, “both writing memos that will be sent up to Albany, but also going up to Albany to lobby with the staff of the Legislature and the Governor’s Ofﬁce.” Burner Law, 45 W. 34th St.; Call 212-867-3520 or visit burnerlaw.com . DowntownExpress.com
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OCCUPY FOLEY Immigrant advocates camp out at Downtown park in protest BY COLIN MIXSON A small band of diehard immigration advocates have maintained a 24/7 presence at Downtown’s Foley Square since June 27 as part of the Occupy ICE movement. The activists are evicted from the park proper when it closes each night, but promptly set up camp on the sidewalk just outside, and then move back into the park in the morning. They claim to have faced some harassment in recent days from the NYPD, but say they’ll maintain a constant presence at the small downtown park as both a symbolic protest and as a resource for immigrants coming from the nearby federal Citizenship and Immigration Services building. “We’re here 24/7 for immigrants and undocumented folk,” said Makela Duran Crelin. The Occupy Ice movement, which
takes its name from the Occupy Wall Street protests that sprang up at Downtown’s Zuccatii Park in 2011, found its spark on the West Coast on June 17, when protestors in Portland, Oregon, formed an encampment outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office there in an effort to frustrate the federal agency’s efforts to deport local undocumented immigrants, according to a report in the Guardian. The movement has since spread to numerous locations across the nation, including San Francisco, Atlanta, San Diego, Detroit, and Greenwich Village, where protestors managed to shut down the Varick Street Immigration Court for a day on June 25, in a bittersweet victory that is expected to delay the deportation of some immigrants, while also leaving them stranded in detention for several more weeks, according to a Gothamist report.
Photo by Colin Mixson
The small group of immigration advocates have set up camp at Foley Square in opposition of ICE and the federal agency’s attack on undocumented immigrants.
The Downtown advocates originally tried to setup their encampment directly outside the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services building at 26 Federal Plaza, but agents with the Department of Homeland Security gave the band of immigrant-rights crusaders the boot within minutes, according to Duran Crelin. “When we got here, we originally tried to occupy the grounds of the feder-
al building over there, but in 20 minutes a bunch of DHS guys came and were like, ‘you gotta f--king go,’ ” she said. So the group headed across Lafayette Street to nearby Foley Square, where they’ve occupied a small patch of grass using tarps and lawn chairs, and offered immigrants coming from the nearby federal building food, along with referrals to OCCUPY Continued on page 16
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July 12 – July 25, 2018
HAMMER TIME Cops arrested a man for allegedly assaulting another guy with a hammer at a Prince Street construction site on July 7. The victim told police he was arguing with the suspect inside the work site near W. Broadway at 12:20 pm, when the suspect allegedly grabbed a hammer and brought it down on his shoulder. The suspect was arrested later that day after the victim pointed him out for police, and he was booked on assault charges, cops said.
SNIDE PIPER Police busted a man for allegedly beating a straphanger with a metal pipe aboard a southbound 2 train at Chambers Street on July 7. The victim told police he was quarreling with the pipe-wielding suspect aboard the train near W. Broadway at 11:15 pm, when the guy allegedly smacked him across the face with the metal rod, opening up a nasty gash on his forehead. The suspect fled following the attack, but investigators managed to catch up with him two days later, charging him with assault, cops said.
BAD TIPPER Cops are hunting the reprobate who robbed a donut shop inside the Fulton Street transit complex on July 8, nabbing a measly $8 from the tip jar. The victim told police he was working inside the pastry store near W. Broadway at 5:25 pm, when the crook snatched the tip jar and the pair fought over the can and its meager contents. The victim suffered scratches on his arms as a result of the scuffle, which ended after the two-bit thief gave up on the jar and just grabbed cash and ran, cops said.
SNOOZE AND LOSE A thief ripped off a sleeping straphanger aboard a southbound E train on July 1, taking his bag.
The victim told police he boarded the train at Jamaica Center at 1:55 am, and quickly dozed off, only to wake at World Trade Center with his bag stolen, along with his wallet.
CASH GRAB Cops are hunting the fiend who nabbed a whopping $4 off a good Samaritan inside the PATH train station at the World Trade Center on July 1. The victim told police the crook asked him to lend a buck inside the train station off Vesey Street at 8:27 am, but that when he opened up his wallet, the jerk snatched four times what he asked for before pushing his would-be benefactor out of the way and fleeing.
EASY RIDER A thief drove off with a manâ€™s $11,000 Ducati motorcycle he parked on Third Place on June 25. The victim told police he left his import crotch rocket near Battery Place at 3:30 pm, and returned at 8 pm to find his pricey speed machine stolen.
APPLE PICKING Some crook nabbed a womanâ€™s iPhone X from her hands aboard an A train at Chambers Street on June 30. The victim told police she was on the train at Church Street at 12:15 am, when the thief snatched the cuttingedge Apple phone from her hand and fled through the doors into the station.
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CAUGHT AND CUFFED Cops busted a teenager for his alleged part in the robbery of a 22-yearold woman on Broadway on June 28. The victim told police she was near Murray Street at 3 am, when the suspect along with four other women allegedly forced the iPhone from her hand, throwing her to the ground in the process, causing cuts and bruises to her knees. Police arrested the suspect later that day, charging her with robbery, cops said. â€” Colin Mixson
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M`j`kljfe@ejkX^iXdXe[=XZ\Yffb July 12 â€“ July 25, 2018
E D ITO R IAL
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July 12 – July 25, 2018
BY LENORE SKENAZY Why didn’t the American men’s soccer team make it to the World Cup finals … or even the semi-finals? Simple: Because kids in America grow up playing soccer in shoes. Oh, that’s not the whole answer, of course. But after literally decades of coaching youth soccer, Carlo Celli and Nathan Richardson (language professors by day) had a revelation. It came on a morning when they were about to put some talented 9-year-old boys through the usual drills. But that day a couple of the boys happened to bring along their kid sisters. Another one had a friend with him who hadn’t played soccer before. The coaches’ plans went out the window. Instead, they threw up their hands and told the kids, “okay, just play.” They thought it would be a wasted session. Instead, it was Edison flipping a switch. The kids did “just play.” And in amazement, the coaches watched them becoming more creative in their moves than ever before. They were concentrating better. They were energized and excited. And when the hour was up, they didn’t want to leave. It was difference between practicing scales and jamming with friends. That morning changed everything, as the coaches write in their new book, “Shoeless Soccer: Fixing the System and Winning the World Cup.” After a few of these free-form sessions, “We no longer needed to set up goals or even pick teams,” they write. “The kids arrived, organized themselves, and started to play and create their own games. A couple of parents stood to the side, in case we were needed, which rarely occurred.”
Posted To LONGTIME LEADER OF BMCC TO STEP DOWN (JUNE 28) I have not known Dr. Tony Perez as long as most, but I know he is very concerned, hard working, and very involved with his students at work and after-hours — self-disciplined man, hus-
Celli realized that he should never spend “another minute lecturing the kids about strategies or running drills. As coach, I should let the kids play.” His goal was not just to see kids have more fun. He’s a coach, after all. He believes in the game, not just messing around. But through fun, the kids were getting the lessons he couldn’t teach them formally. “As the kids were left alone, the quality of play actually increased.” I spoke to Celli from his summer home in Italy last week. He grew up bouncing between there and the States. “When it comes down to it, I’m still that kid playing soccer in the street with my friends,” he said. “That’s where I really learned all I know about the game.” Playing on asphalt or a patch of scratchy grass far from any parent or coach is how most of the world’s kids start playing soccer. But in America, Celli has seen the rise of what he calls the soccer-industrial complex. At age three or four or five, kids are already in a league. As they grow older, the distances grow, too. “The amount of travel kids do to play in sports is insane. The kids are spending more time in the car than playing the game, and that’s just wrong.” What they’re actually learning, he said, is how to sit in the car. In many American youth soccer leagues, he said, the price tag can reach $700 for a season. There are the uniforms to buy. The shin guards. The tro-
band, father, and grandfather (actually he’s not old enough for the last part). Janet
THINK BEFORE YOU CALL 911 ABOUT THAT KID (JULY 5) Thank you so much for this valuable article, Lenore. The harsh treatment of these stressed, loving parents is overthe-top cruel.
phies. The team photos. The membership fees. And then there are the shoes, which Celli and Richardson have come to distrust. “Pele learned to play barefoot. His name was ‘The Shoeless One,’ ” said Celli. Not that he really expects kids to ditch their shoes, but when you’re barefoot and kick the ball with your toe, you don’t keep doing that for long, because it hurts. It’s basically just stubbing your toe. Instead, you instinctively learn to kick the ball correctly. But the less-is-more approach to coaching teaches kids skills that they can take off the field, too, like leadership, and self-control. “If you have a referee it kind of makes people think, ‘The game will be controlled. I don’t really have to behave myself,’ ” says Celli. When the kids have to decide among themselves whether someone fouled, they become the adults. Organized soccer is also strictly stratified by age, which makes no sense. “When you’re a kid, you naturally admire someone who’s two years older than you. The adults are like aliens.” In a gaggle of neighborhood friends, the younger kids copy the older ones. It’s a lot easier to try to keep up with a friend than to concentrate on a lesson. Even in Italy, Celli fears the old, free-form, spontaneous street soccer disappearing. “I went back to my elementary school and we saw all these afterschool programs for kids,” he said. They’re run by adults. The kids are wearing shoes. Watch out, Italy. When America goes shoeless, we’re coming for the Cup. Lenore Skenazy president of Let Grow, and founder of Free-Range Kids.
As the economy tanks for the 99%, more parents will be working two jobs, if they can fi nd them. For many that means distraction, anxiety, depression. You’re absolutely right. We are all in this together. Let’s think before we act, and above all, let’s be kind to one another. Kathleen Treat
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Supreme Consequences Or: How I spent my summer sobbing uncontrollably BY MAX BURBANK Monday night, President Trump ended the suspense and gave Brett Kavanaugh the rose. It’s hard to say just what about the young circuit judge Trump dug the most, except that it’s really not. The president’s “short list” was written by the Federalist Society — a cabal of noted, elderly, white male conservatives, tin foil-fedora-wearing Libertarians, and Skull and Bones spanking enthusiasts. You know everyone on that list was an Illuminati spite golem constructed of cruelty and mayonnaise. Just one, however, had written an article for the Minnesota Law Review in 2009 laying the groundwork for Rudy Giuliani’s claim that a sitting president could murder someone in the oval office and not be charged with a crime. Kavanaugh is on record, a New York Times article of July 10 noted, advocating that Congress “consider a law exempting a president — while in office — from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel.” Italics added by ME because that’s WHY TRUMP NOMINATED KAVANAUGH! When I first started planning this column, I intended to write about throwing toddlers in dog cages and how the phrase “Tender Age Detention Facilities” can only be explained by all of us being trapped in a simulation designed by a malevolent and insane supercomputer. Then on Wed., June 27, Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement. How many god-awful, soul-crushing “news items” can a person focus on? Well, all of them, really, if you don’t sleep — something I’ve mostly given up on, but my column is 1,000 words, give or take. I like to go with the most recent atrocity, always assuming Trump hasn’t Thanos-snapped his wee little fingers since I turned this article in, erasing half of all sentient life from existence, and yes, EVEN YOUNG PETER PARKER, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN! Should I have said spoiler alert? “Avengers: Infinity War” has been out for two-and-a-half months. I mean, who could have imagined this scenario (with the possible exception of anyone with a functioning brainstem and a junior high school knowledge of basic civics, which admittedly is about a third of registered voters)? I’m looking DowntownExpress.com
at you, Susan Sarandon! And it’s not just placing the president squarely above all law for the next 25 or so years that hangs in the balance. It’s Roe V. Wade, marriage equality, and a codified right to discriminate against people based on your totally undefi ned, yet deeply held, religious beliefs — not to mention asking three-year-
Illustration by Max Burbank
olds to serve as their own attorneys (and testify in a language they don’t speak) about being separated from their parents, maybe forever, and kept in DOG CAGES until the appropriate, Betsy DeVos-connected, “nonprofit” adoption agency gobbles them up and farms them out to deserving white, Evangelical Republicans who will presumably have them BLEACHED to avoid dangerously embarrassing situations when dining at the local WAFFLE HOUSE! Don’t fact check that last paragraph. Parts of it are not, strictly speaking, verifiable. You’d be surprised at how few parts. But hang on. Maybe things aren’t as dire as they first appear. Maybe it’s not time for-full on, brain-melting panic. Consider Senator Dianne Feinstein’s carefully argued tweet: “If the Senate needed to wait nine months when Justice Scalia died, then it surely needs to wait four months now. If the American people deserved to have their voices heard then, they deserve to have
their voices heard now.” Senator Cory Booker agreed that the Senate should abide by the rule set by majority leader McConnell, and furthermore, since the president was the subject of an ongoing investigation that could likely end up before the Supreme Court, any SCOTUS nomination should be “delayed until the Mueller investigation is concluded.” At very least, any Supreme Court Justice appointed by Trump would need to recuse themselves from cases involving the investigation, right? Any reasonable person would have to agree. Let’s take a brief pause and engage in a thought experiment: Suppose a work acquaintance discovered you loved chess, a passion he shares. He sends an email challenging you to a friendly game, but oddly attaches a PDF of the rules and asks that you read them thoroughly, as he is a real “stickler” about “proper play.” Your acquaintance arrives, sees no chess clock, and demands you produce one or forfeit. You have barely
begun to respond that chess clocks are only required for tournament play, when he produces a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire “Lucille”-style and smashes your chess set to bits. While you’re saying, “You watch ‘Walking Dead?’ ” he uses Lucille to break your jaw and, as you spit bloody teeth, informs you common civility requires you thank him for not killing you, and also, “Checkmate.” Dianne Feinstein and Cory Booker and a whole lot of thoughtful, well-intentioned Democrats who got all bent out of shape when an Oscarwinning actor used the F-word, and think Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked to leave the Red Hen without finishing her meal is why Trump is going to get re-elected, are all waiting for the Republicans to play chess by the rules, which is something that will never happen. Or it might — but your rules are on that PDF and theirs is a baseball bat named “Lucille.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceives of the Supreme Court, and all politics, as a chess game with two sets of rules, one of which is a contact sport. Quite likely he’s never watched “The Walking Dead.” But if he does find time in retirement, I think he’ll like it. I imagine he’ll find Negan a kindred spirit. And he’ll certainly understand how Lucille plays chess. Blues legend B.B. King had a guitar also named “Lucille’ — but he was, by all accounts, a lovely soul and never beat anyone to death with it. If I had to guess, I’d say it was unlikely an African American musician who lived through the civil rights era was a Republican, but he used to jam with Nixon’s master dirty trickster and Roger Stone mentor, Lee Atwater, so who knows what the hell anything means? Maybe King was laughing. ’Cause sometimes laughing in the face of power is all you can do. Maybe the devil plays a longer game than chess, a computer simulation, the rules of which can be rewritten on the fly. Cross your fingers and pray it’s open-source. July 12 – July 25, 2018
BY JANEL BL ADOW Our annual fireworks and party to celebrate the birthday of the U.S.A. rocked the Seaport on July 4, with Kelly Clarkson performing from Pier 17. Doesnâ€™t get more al-American than that! PEERLESS, PRICELESSâ€Ś Great event on Saturday, June 30, to launch Pier 17 and the summer season. The â€œColor Block Partyâ€? rocked the main floor (the rooftop opens to public later this month) with hundreds of celebrants dressed in their brightest and lightest. It was hot, hot, hot! And tahtâ€™s without the heat hitting the mid-90s even down by the water. With the music, drinks and good vibes the new Heineken Riverdeck and River Lounge marked its grand opening with a grand slam sweltering soiree. We caught up with Paola Castro from Columbia with her boyfriend Hugo Morales, who is from Mexico, drinking German beer on the Big Apple pier. Muy Americano! â€œWe love it here,â€? Castro said. â€œHaving a great time, even with the heat!â€?
The party started at noon with DJ Morsy and early birds flocked in wearing their florals, neons and glittering summer dresses and shorts. â€œBest dressedâ€? winners scored tickets for free drinks and even Rooftop concert. Brittany Sky took the stage at dusk and had the crowd doing the Cha-Cha Slide and a conga line snaking around the north deck. But the highlight was earlier in the evening when artist Geronimo â€” who created the techno-color decorations for the party â€” made her superlative grand entrance as DJs Cut Copy spun Daft Punk. Accompanied by the Brooklyn United Marching Band and human â€œballoonsâ€? decked out in hot pink, canary yellow, and cobalt blue inflated bubble suits, she danced and shimmied her way around the deck, dressed in a form-fitting white suit adored with fluttering butterflies. The parade twisted its way to the east end of the pier where her huge, newly commissioned balloon sculpture hung spectacularly overhead. â€œI was so excited to have my balloons here,â€? Geronimo told us. â€œWith
Photo by Brian Killian
Artist Geronimo wore a white suit adorned with colorful butterflies to the â€œColor Block Partyâ€? that showcased her art installation at Pier 17 on June 30.
the color and balloons, it looks like it can be summer forever. Weâ€™re celebrating colorâ€Ś a sea of color,â€? she added. â€œThatâ€™s not so New York,â€? referring to the local penchant for black, gray and white, â€œbut it is summer and itâ€™s so fun to enjoy some color on the pier.â€? The West Coast artist who has seen her creations displayed from Los Angeles to Dubai recently moved to the Lower East Side. â€œI love the energy of New York City â€” and I can see the pier from where I live.â€? The colorful cluster of giant balloons
will hang under the second story above the outdoor deck through September. MOVIES WITH A VIEWâ€Ś Midmonth, Pier 17 opens its rooftop and kicks-off its outdoor movie-screening series. â€œCinema Clubâ€? starts with the rom-com classic â€œYouâ€™ve Got Mail,â€? starring Meg Ryan at her cutest and the charming Tom Hanks, on Wednesday, July 18. Besides the film, there will be movie-themed snacks and giveaways and, of course, that amazing view. SEAPORT Continued on page 16
SUMMER FILM SERIES
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July 12 – July 25, 2018
More than a century BY SYDNEY PEREIRA One of the fi rst residents of Southbridge Towers celebrated his 105th birthday last weekend. Nathan Klienhandler was surrounded by nieces and nephews who had come from hundreds of miles away and his wife, Rena. They have lived at 90 Gold St. for 47 years, and been married for 49, and through that time, they have become what one of their nephews described as the “quintessential New Yorkers.” When they fi rst got married, Nathan suggested they buy a home in Westchester. “I said, ‘Westchester? Why would I want to live in Westchester?’” said Rena. As an amateur photographer, Nathan filled their Southbridge Towers apartment with his photos. Though an economics and history teacher by trade, he passed down his interest in photography to his nephew, Alan Markfield, who is now a professional photographer snapping pictures on movie sets. After Markfield’s first byline was published, his uncle was the first one he called. “They’ve always been the glue,”
Photo by Sydney Pereira
Nathan Klienhandler has lived in Southbridge Towers for 47 years, and been married to his wife Rena 49. He celebrated his 105th birthday on July 7.
Markfield said of the Klienhandlers. “They’ve always been the quintessential New Yorkers.” Nathan was surrounded by his nieces and nephews last weekend, who traveled from Toronto, California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania for his 105th birthday. Though the Klienhandlers never had children of their own, the couple took in Rena’s siblings’ children as their own in many respects. Nathan even vetted their boyfriends and girlfriends growing up, taking then on a mandatory stroll BIRTHDAY Continued on page 23
Photo by Milo Hess
Creature feature ‘Animal Soul’ brings oddities to Brookfield Brookfield Place has been invaded this weekend by alien forms and surreal shapes. Artist Jason Hackenwerth brought his large-scale balloon sculptures to the Battery Park City waterfront for a show he’s calling “Animal Soul” — though you may be hard pressed to identify the creatures he’s created as any animal you might recognize. The three huge inflatable structures outside are abstract forms inspired by nature and mythology. The exhibition includes more human-scale creations as well — wear-
able balloon sculptures brought to life by professional dancers — which Hackenwerth calls “Megamites,” perhaps because the strangely shaped, multicolored, elaborate balloon costumes resemble microscopic organisms blown up — so to speak — to a massive scale. The large inflatable structures with be wobbling in the wind through Sunday, and the dancing Megamites perform in two-hour blocks at noon and 6 pm on Thursday and Friday, and from noon to 3 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
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TESTING Continued from page 2
to the U.S. in kindergarten. â€œIâ€™m grateful for the test.â€? Still, she said that one high-stakes exam shouldnâ€™t be the only factor determining admission. â€œI think there needs to be more than just a test,â€? Sein said. â€œI do think that one grade doesnâ€™t determine who you are as a person. But I know so many people that worked extremely hard to be able to do well on that test. My family invested a lot of money so that I could take the test and opportunities could be broadened for me.â€? Sein said that more could be done to encourage more students to take the test. She remembers being the only one who took the test on her block in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. But whether or not a student ever takes the SHSAT can depend a lot on what middle school or junior high they go to. At some schools â€” particularly those with selective admission â€” test prep is almost universal, according to Joyce Wu, another Stuyvesant grad, who was recently awarded the prestigious Milken Scholarship. â€œPrep was very, very rigorous,â€? said Wu, whose intermediate school, the Christa McAuliffe School, had the highest percentage of students admitted to
Milken Family Foundation
Stuyvesant grad Joyce Wu wants more diversity, but but doesnâ€™t think scrapping the SHSAT is the best way to achieve it.
an elite high school citywide last year. â€œI remember doing a lot of practice tests. It was classes every day during the summertime, all day long.â€? Admission to Christa McAuliffe â€” which Sien also attended â€” is selective, based mostly on a studentâ€™s grades in 4th grade and scores on state math and English exams. Its student body demographics reflect a similar lack of diversity as the elite high schools, with 67-percent Asian, 26-percent White, and just 7-percent Black or Latino. Wu said she disagrees with getting rid of the SHSAT entirely, but agreed that expanding the Discovery Program would improve diversity. The real solu-
tion, however, would be to address the educational disparities from Pre-K through middle school, she said, and encouraging more participation in the test in under-represented communities. â€œPeople simply donâ€™t know that the SHSAT exists or what specialized high schools are in a lot of communities,â€? said Wu. Last year, 34 percent of eighth graders citywide took the SHSAT, according to DOE numbers crunched by the New York Times, but the percentage of students who took the test varied widely between schools. At some schools, largely those with a majority Hispanic and Black students, only a handful took the exam. But an NYU Steinhardt study on specialized high schools found that even when they took the SHSAT, girls, lowincome students, and Latino and Black students were less likely to receive an admission offer â€” even when they received similar scores to admitted students on the stateâ€™s seventh-grade English Language Arts test. The report, from the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, found that guaranteeing admission to the top 10 percent of students from every middle school, as the mayor proposes, would have the largest effect on diversity, but the report also suggested
that students who reach a certain score on state exams could be automatically signed up for the SHSAT, and that free test preparation could improve diversity. But Seinâ€™s experience with free test prep left her skeptical that it could be an effective equalizer. She participated in the DOEâ€™s free DREAM program for low-income middle-schoolers, but when that program seemed inadequate, her parents paid for additional, private test prep at the Angel Advantage Center. â€œI didnâ€™t feel that DREAM was preparing me at all for whatever was to come [on the SHSAT],â€? Sein said. â€œI was with classmates that did not know how to multiply. That really opened my eyes to how privileged I was.â€? She said that if the test stays, programs like DREAM must be expanded and improved. Kevin Li, another recent grad, said the mayorâ€™s proposal has at least started a conversation about diversity and the admissions process â€” which he said can be difficult at Stuyvesant because it involves reshaping a system that some students have greatly benefited from. The proposal â€œdoes enough to start a conversation, especially at these high schools, to really talk about and challenge how we can increase diversity at these schools,â€? Li said.
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July 12 â€“ July 25, 2018
OCCUPY Continued from page 6
pro-bono legal and medical services. Initially, the police were content to allow the advocates to spend their evenings in the park, but recently have stepped up enforcement, and have begun evicting the demonstrators at midnight, forcing them onto nearby benches lining Lafayette Street until 6 am, when they’re allowed to return to the green space. A small force of NYPD and Park Enforcement Patrol officers descended on the encampment Jon uly 9 to confiscate the signs and flags the advocates had affixed to trees at the park, claiming the protestors were violating city ordinances, according to one occupier. “They took it down without giving us time to take
Photo by Colin Mixson
An occupier holds up some handmade signs in support of undocumented immigrants at Foley Square.
it down. They just left with our items,” said one advocate, who only gave his name as Luis, saying he feared
for his safety. The increased policing of Foley Square is due the growing number of occupiers now residing at the park, along with the fear that the movement could balloon to size of its namesake, which turned Zuccatti Park into a tent city for weeks, according to Duran Crelin. “They don’t want a repeat,” she said. “They’re very scared of another occupation movement.” But the nightly evictions have ironically steeled the resolve of the occupiers, according to Luis, who says spirits have never been higher at the small Downtown encampment. “Morale is actually extremely high, especially after they kicked us out,” Luis said. “It sounds strange, but there’s definitely a camaraderie amongst us. It felt like a physical attack.”
SEAPORT Continued from page 10
Doors open at 6:30 pm. Bring a blanket and get there early to secure a spot. It’s free, but limited capacity, so you need to RSVP for tickets, www.pier17ny.com, go to the “What’s On” tab. WATER FUN FOR EVERYONE... Celebrate “City of Water Day” on Saturday, July 14, as the Seaport turns into a free waterfront festival. Tour the tall ships, take a PortNYC boat tour, enjoy a Con Edison Cardboard Kayak Race and join Disney Children’s Activity Fair Theater and dance performances. The activities include tours of the historic South Street Seaport, street music, food trucks and booths for fun things to do. You can paddle a kayak or learn to canoe, and learn more about the area’s more than 700 miles of wetlands and waterways. City of Water Day is a free annual festival organized by the Waterfront Alliance to get people down to and into New York Harbor. More info: www.waterfrontalliance.org. CALLING TEACHERS, YOUNG SAILORS… The South Street Seaport Museum, along with the Flagship Niagara League (FNL) which operates the historic 1893-fishing schooner Lettie G. Howard, is seeking proposals for its live-aboard sail-training programs this fall. The Lettie G. can hold up to 14 students. Programs can be of any length, from five days up to 12 weeks and will take place between October and December along the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic coast. Both school teachers and informal educations can apply and final decisions will be made by Aug. 1. Day programs can be for kids 10 years and up, while voyaging trips are for students 14 and older. Programs need to emphasize traditional seamanship skills and good ocean stewardship. FNL has offered educational sailing training for 30 years. Past programs included a five-day camp for 10–14-year-olds aboard the Lettie G., and a two-week environmental study at the college level onboard the U.S. Brig Niagara. Contact Marines Operations at (814) 452-2744, ext. 214, for information or to submit a proposal. BUSY AS A BARNYARD… The new Chick-fil-A at 44 Fulton St., had them clucking like crazy on July 10. For 14 years, the national fast-food chicken chain has celebrated its annual Cow Appreciation Day. That meant that anyone wearing cow-related clothing got a free entrée between opening and 7 pm. So if you saw a lot of cowhide spots around the area on Tuesday it wasn’t from drinking too much moo-juice. Going to have to get an Elsie the Cow bandana for next year!
July 12 – July 25, 2018
Where Counterculture and Counterpunching Share the Card Overthrow bridges boxing, Yippie legacy, Generation Z
Photo by Danielle Levitt
Joey Goodwin says this team photo describes them to a T.
BY PUMA PERL Back in 2010, two friends and I initiated a poetry/performance series at the Yippie Museum Café. Every week, we chanted and burned sage in a losing battle against the smell of the feral cats that lived upstairs. Ibogaine enthusiasts trooped down to their basement meetings, cheerfully ignoring the boundaries being broken onstage. For 40 years, the building, eventually known as 9 Bleecker, was home to countercultural characters and free thinkers of all kinds. (The Youth International Party, known as the Yippies, founded in 1967, was an anti-authoritarian, youthoriented offshoot of the anti-war movement.) On February 8, Photo by Clayton Patterson 2014, following years of court Joey Goodwin in the Overthrow office, holding a piece of Yippie hearings, Yippie archivist Alice Torbush was the last to leave. history from the Alice Torbush archives. DowntownExpress.com
“And yes,” she told me, “I turned out the lights.” Eight years later, I’m back at 9 Bleecker, sitting in the upstairs office of Overthrow New York with its founder and CEO, Joey Goodwin, and our mutual friend, Clayton Patterson. The vibe is warm and friendly. A bear-like dog lies under the table and a second one wanders around. Staff members pop in and out — one’s a Golden Gloves winner, another is described as the “worst boxer in the world.” As Goodwin explained, “It’s a boxing gym, but it’s also a community, a throwback to the spirit of CBGB and the Mudd Club. How do we,” he asked, “take the past and all that shit people say doesn’t exist anymore and translate it? How do we create a fresh script for Generation
Z, written by Generation Z? I know it sounds weird. It’s a boxing gym — but at the end of the day it’s a birthplace for culture, a training ground for a new youth revolution.” Clayton added, “It’s the authenticity factor, a real connection from the past. This place is an old-style gym with old school boxing.” “Yes and no,” Goodwin countered. “I’m more focused on learning from people like Clayton and Alice,” whom he described as “shepherds and mentors.” “World champions train here,” Goodwin noted, “but we’re different. We almost disrupt everything. If I hold on to the authenticity thing, I get stuck in it.” World champions do indeed OVERTHROW continued on p. 18 July 12 – July 25, 2018
OVERTHROW continued from p. 17
both train and teach at the gym — top tier fighters include head trainer Alicia “The Empress” Napoleon, currently the WBA Super Middleweight Champion, with a 9-1-0 (win, loss, draw) record. Two of the other female trainers are Ronica Jeffrey, International Boxing Federation World Super Featherweight Champion (15-1-0), and Haitian American super featherweight Melissa St. Vil (10-3-4). The gym is split into two basic groups — classes, which are primarily female, and people who come to train, a more mixed group of community members, friends, and family. Monday night classes donate to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU; also available are classes aimed at the transgendered community, and for those with Parkinson’s disease. Goodwin, 33, grew up between Palm Beach, Florida, and the Lower East Side. He described himself as always feeling like “a bit of an outsider,” the main benefit being that he never felt confined to just one world. As a kid wandering the Downtown streets, he discovered the basketball courts at West Fourth St. and Sixth Ave. (which he described as the “embodiment of New York City rhythm”). “It’s the thing that’s so great about New York,” Goodwin said. “You can go there when you’re 10, 16, or 80, and still feel like you can wind up in Madison Square Garden, whether it’s playing, coaching, heckling, or ringside seats. Clayton gets on me every day — you can still have the hope of doing something magical, because it’s New York City.” Realizing that his desire to become a basketball player was genetically impossible, he originated other ventures in untraditional ways. A clothing line started when a basketball court friend, Curtis Rose, created a prep-meets-Downtown sensibility, but it tanked during the 20062007 recession. Through Craigslist, they met artist John Gagliano, who is currently the Overthrow Art Director, and with whom he began a marketing company. It was during this period, 2010-2012, that Goodwin’s passion shifted to boxing. “I’d become close to this guy from the courts named Magic [Sidney Smith], probably the best basketball player out of the Lower East Side. He was obsessed with boxing. One day he took me over to East River Park, got some gloves, and we started messing around.” From there, they started going to boxing rings. Along the way, he learned about the underground boxing parties, known as Friday Night Throwdowns, that were happening Downtown. Like raves, they moved from place to place, building makeshift rings. He later found his way to Mendez Boxing, on E. 26th St., where he met
July 12 – July 25, 2018
Photo by Clayton Patterson
Queens, 2016: Alicia Napoleon, right, earned a WBC championship belt. The current WBA Super Middleweight Champion, she trains and teaches at Overthrow New York.
Photo by Elsa Rensaa
L to R: Joey Goodwin, Mukunda Angulo and Clayton Patterson.
Carlito Castillo, an “older, gruff man” who started teaching him. “Carlito made me fall in love with boxing,” Goodwin recalled. “At first, I wanted to go to a bar and kick someone’s ass. But it’s like chess, an exercise in mindfulness. You’re always just fighting yourself. I started to loosely formulate the idea that if you could take boxing parties and apply them to the boxing club and create the class aspect, you’d really have something.” He described his thoughts as “a vision to create the supreme of boxing — turn it into a cultural center.” In April 2014, while riding his bike to play basketball, Goodwin noticed a realtor sign on 9 Bleecker. He’d never heard of the Yippies or taken note of the building before. With no clear intention in mind, he called the number. “There was graffiti all over the window, and it was near the holy grail of culture, CBGB. When I was shown the site, my first impression was the overwhelming smell of cat shit. When I saw that honeycomb window, I envisioned a boxing ring right there. The
basement looked and smelled like a crack house. On the third floor, I found two stacks of newspapers — Yipster Times and Overthrow. When I saw the name ‘Overthrow’ I began to imagine the gym as a bigger idea, a foundation for a movement.” He started asking questions and looking into countercultural history. Goodwin signed a lease in May 2014. With the help of friends and one handyman, he began cleaning up, salvaging what he could. “Everything was covered in cat shit, like crazy old typesetting machines, tables, etc.” There was no question that the newspapers would be preserved. He moved into a space that is now the bathroom — and to help pay expenses, his father and his fight club friend, Charlie Himmelstein, rented office space. He ran a marketing business on the first floor and a group called Bridgerunners rented the basement. Alicia Napoleon, not yet a champion, taught the first test class in January 2015. They recruited by hiring Dan Perino, the “looking for a girlfriend” guy, to post
fliers all over the area. They opened as Overthrow Boxing New York in May 2015, with a huge party. Today, there are 60 staffers and a second location in the former Trash Bar, in Williamsburg. He’d scouted out that location the same way, riding his bicycle through the streets. Recruitment is more sophisticated, but some outreach methods don’t change. “I spend a lot of time sitting outside on the bench,” he said. “People stop, take photos, talk about the facade, want to know more.” In fall of 2015, Goodwin noticed a lady with a purple hat and Navajo braids was gazing at the building. “I used to live here,” she said. It was Alice Torbush, and they formed a friendship. He was especially curious about the newspapers. “It was almost this political offshoot where in my mind the punk scene was more romantic, and now the political side was mixed in.” Torbush began sending him underground zines and papers that she has archived and managed to rescue from the building. There was also a tremendous amount of material she had collected that was stored a the house of a friend, Gilbert Baker (designer of the LGBT flag). When he passed away, the archives were moved to the gym. There are now 45 boxes of literature to be preserved. Clayton has served as a liaison in the mission, which includes a plan to scan digital files. “The Museum of the City of New York has come down,” he said. “The papers give a broad overview of underground politics of the day.” Torbush is pleased about the venture. “We published ‘Overthrow’ through the nightmare years of Reagan and Bush #1. Now this generation is stuck with Trump,” she wrote me. “I’m glad Joey is keeping up the tradition of rabblerousing. Humor is especially needed now. Pick your friends well and continue the struggle.” My take is that Joey Goodwin has indeed picked his friends well. “I didn’t want to obliterate what was here before. I wanted to encompass and create our own sound where the past meets the future,” he said. “This is what makes Overthrow a cultural institution as well as a gym,” Clayton added. “It contributes to all levels of wellness: mind, body, and soul.” And that’s one way a movement begins. Overthrow New York is located at 9 Bleecker (btw. Bowery & Lafayette). Call 646-705-0332. Overthrow Brooklyn location is at 256 Grand St. (btw. Roebling St. & Diggs Ave.). Call 718233-3480. Visit overthrownyc.com. On Facebook and Instagram: facebook.com/ OverthrowNewYork and instagram.com/ Overthrownewyork. DowntownExpress.com
Humanity Found, From Working Class to Upper Crust Dan Weiner gets to the heart of vintage New York
Courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery, NY
Dan Weiner: “Waiters, El Morocco, New York City” (ca. 1954; Vintage gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1954 9 1/16h x 13 7/16w in.).
BY NORMAN BORDEN Despite his death in a plane crash in 1959 at the age of 39, Dan Weiner had an outsize influence on photographers and photography. Steven Kasher Gallery is currently presenting an impressive exhibition of vintage black and white prints spanning nearly 20 years of his work. “Dan Weiner: Vintage New York, 1940 –1959” offers ample evidence of the artist’s lasting impact by revealing his interest in photographing people from all walks of life, his ability to capture them in unguarded moments, and his deep affection for the city where he was born. In 1940, after having some of his pictures published in DowntownExpress.com
newspapers and magazines, Weiner joined the Photo League, a cooperative of socially conscious photojournalists and photographers that included Paul Strand, W. Eugene Smith, Aaron Siskind, Dorothea Lange and League co-founder, Sid Grossman. It was a place where like-minded photographers could meet and share their creative and sociological interests. The League provided lowcost darkroom facilities and gallery space for exhibitions. It published the influential newsletter “Photo Notes” and operated a school that gave Weiner the opportunity to both teach and learn. The school’s “learn by doing” approach in Sid Grossman’s
documentary class led Weiner and other members to take their cameras into the streets. Weiner, a fi rst generation American, chose to photograph life on the Lower East Side. He captured Orchard Street’s bargain basement ethos with his photo of shoppers crowded around a storefront with an awning that proclaimed, “You are missing plenty if you don’t buy here.” Weiner would later become involved in a long-term project centered on Yorkville, a working class neighborhood on the Upper East Side — part of a larger project, “Neighborhoods of New York,“ that was championed by the League. With residents hanging out windows and on
the streets instead of in their cramped apartments, the photographer had ample opportunity to record the everyday lives of residents, young and old. A good example is 1950’s “East End Avenue, New York City” in which two women in frumpy dresses converse while their two dogs turn their backs on each other. The old car (maybe 1930s) across the street adds an historical perspective. In another slice of old New York, three women look out of their open ground floor window, as a man and young girl stand nearby on the front steps. The scene feels intimate without being intrusive. As a street photographer, Weiner must have been drawn to the
faces in 1950’s “Two Women, New York City” — no doubt the subjects wouldn’t have liked the picture. Well, it was honest. Weiner found humanity everywhere. In fact, as an original “Concerned Photographer” (a term coined by International Center of Photography founder Cornell Capa to describe a humanitarian perspective meant to educate the viewer and bring about change), he would have surely been pleased to see his work alongside photographs by André Kertész, Robert Capa, David “Chim” Seymour, and others in a 1967 exhibition at the Riverside VINTAGE NY continued on p. 20 July 12 – July 25, 2018
VINTAGE NY con. from p. 19
Museum — “The Concerned Photographer,” organized by Capa. Weiner had numerous solo shows in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1984, for example, the International Center of Photography exhibited his photographs of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery, Alabama boycott. In 1989, his images from the book “America Worked: The 1950s Photographs of Dan Weiner” was shown at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1998, The Howard Greenberg Gallery presented the solo exhibition “American Photo.” This current exhibition at Steven Kasher Gallery is the fi rst solo show of his work in over a decade. Weiner seemed comfortable cutting across social classes to show how the other half lived. He spent nights at the legendary nightclub El Morocco and days at Coney Island; he visited smoke-fi lled poolrooms and celebrated New Year’s Eve in Times Square. In his remarkable 1955 photograph, “Poolroom Player, New York City” there’s so much atmosphere, you can almost smell the smoke. It’s a great character study, with a cigar hanging from the player’s lips as he sets up the shot. Other players in the background add to the atmosphere. For something completely different, Weiner probably needed a coat and tie to spend nights at El Morocco (located on E. 54th St. at the time of Weiner’s work from this exhibition). What’s amazing about the 12 El Morocco-themed pictures here, which include boldface celebrities of the day such as Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, Milton Berle, and Sid Caesar, is that all seem oblivious to Weiner’s candid camera. One picture I found revealing is “Waiters, El Morocco.” Three tuxedo-clad waiters stand behind one of the club’s iconic zebra-striped seats, with just the female diner’s face visible. One picture, two social classes. Some of the Coney Island pictures here are quintes-
July 12 – July 25, 2018
Courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery, NY
Dan Weiner: “East End Avenue, New York City” (1950; Vintage gelatin silver print, printed ca. 1950, 14h x 11w in.).
sen-tial Weiner — candid moments of dancers in the surf, an old woman sleeping on the beach and another showing a jumble of bodies with a girl’s legs on top of her boyfriend’s chest, with her feet touching the guy next to
them. It looks very intimate and feels honest. Weiner’s career as a freelance photojournalist, as short as it was, took him around the world on assignment for Life magazine, The New York Times, Collier’s,
Fortune, and other major publications of the day. Over the last 20 years, his work hasn’t received the recognition it deserves — but this exhibition is a fitting tribute to a concerned photographer who made a difference.
“Dan Weiner: Vintage New York, 1940–1959” is on view through July 28 at Steven Kasher Gallery (515 W. 26th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10am-6pm. Visit stevenkasher.com or call 212-966-3978. DowntownExpress.com
Photos by Marco Hartmann, via mummenschanz.com
Vignettes address human relationships, but often seem to be just as much about the natural world.
Fans of their tried-and-true silent routines will not be disappointed, but “you & me” also experiments with sound, in the form of musical instruments.
You & Me and Mummenschanz Invigorated troupe’s vignettes, old and new, captivate and amaze BY TRAV S.D. If you’re like many people in my social media feeds, you periodically retreat from the sturm und drang of world affairs in these troubled times to seek solace in the refuge of GIFs and videos capturing cute baby animals and the like. Right on schedule, a certain beloved mime troupe has returned to New York City from their native Switzerland to remind us that the theatre can serve a similar purpose. Mummenschanz are performing their current show, “you & me,” at John Jay College’s Gerald W. Lynch Theater through July 22. Since 1972, Mummenschanz has been delighting audiences from 1 to 100 with their revues of silent vignettes mixing elements of mime, mask, puppetry, and dance. Their name, the German word for “mummery,” is essentially a statement by the company that they are latter-day “mummers” — traveling troupes of multi-skilled performers who crisscrossed Europe during the Medieval era. But this quality of traditionalism is balanced with a modern visual sensibility; the company has always favored props, puppets, and costumes of bold bright colored synthetics and plastics, often DowntownExpress.com
molded in abstract shapes that anchor them in the space age. The company’s official nickname is “The Musicians of Silence.” The original troupe consisted of three performers who’d studied under famed mime instructor Jacques Lecoq: Bernie Schürch and Andres Bossard, both Swiss, and Floriana Frassetto, from Italy. Their success was rapid. Jim Henson was a fan, and featured the company both on “Sesame Street” and “The Muppet Show.” From 1977 through 1980 they enjoyed a successful run on Broadway. Since their founding 46 years ago, there have of course been some changes. Bossard died of AIDS-related complications in 1992. Schürch retired in 2012. Since 2016, Frassetto has led the company in its present incarnation. Their current production has toured throughout Europe and North America for over two years; this is its New York City premiere. The show is a mix of some of Mummenschanz’s popular numbers alongside new things they are trying out. Fans of their tried-and-true routines with giant hands and an enormous balloon will not be disappointed. But they
will also get to enjoy new experimentation with sound, in the form of musical instruments like the cymbal, viola, and violin. The company also experiments with a live video feed. But the bulk of “you & me” is populated with an imaginative realm of beings that suggest everything from clams to tubeworms to frogs to jellyfish to seahorses. Sometimes, personality is given to pure abstraction, simple movement by geometric shapes in space. The vignettes themselves often suggest traditional mimoplays about human relationships, but often seem to be just as much about the entire natural world, from microscopic single-celled organisms to the cosmic shifting of celestial bodies. Audiences are often vocally amused by the mischievous happenings onstage, yet the real pleasures of the show are aesthetic and contemplative just as much as they are comic. And there’s a universality to it: “you & me” would not be inaccessible to the “Teletubbies” crowd, but there’s a subtly profundity that ought to seduce any adult. Simple themes emerge — chaos vs. order, attraction vs. repulsion — that mimic the ebb and flow of the universe.
An egg is always more than an egg for those who can see beyond breakfast. It’s impressive to learn that at age 67, Frassetto is one of those tumbling, spinning, physical performers inside those crazy costumes. “When Bernie retired after 40 years with the company I was confronted with the question ‘What do I do?’ ” Frassetto said. “Do I close the door and burn the costumes? Or do I continue? I’m an artisan. I love to construct things. I love to travel. And my two friends and collaborators, choreographer Tina Kronis, and playwright Richard Alger helped me out, and we worked together. And our four new cast members have brought lots of energy and enthusiasm and their own dreams. It’s too early to say where we go next. But we enjoy being together. We enjoy laughing. And that’s important.” At the moment, it seems like the most important thing in the world. Through July 22 at Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College (524 W. 59th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves). Tues.Sat. at 8pm, with Sat. & Sun. matinees at 3pm. For tickets ($29-$85), visit mummenschanz.com. July 12 – July 25, 2018
July 12 â€“ July 25, 2018
Photo by Janel Bladow
Howard Hughes Corporation is buying this parking lot at 250 Water St. for $180 million, and locals fear that the only way the purchase price makes sense if the developer plans to build a supertall tower on the site.
TOWER Continued from page 4
Blue School, across Water Street — who feared that extensive construction of a major development would disrupt and even endanger students’ lives. One attendee even raised the issue of sewage capacity in light of the tall buildings already going up north of the Brooklyn Bridge by Pike Slip at the old Pathmark location. “Sewage is going to Newtown Creek which is already working at 110-percent capacity,” he said. “Where’s it all going to go?” Over the nearly four decades when the lot was under Milstein control, nine building projects have been proposed and defeated by community opposition. Following the last battle in 2003, the area was rezoned to a historic district, with new construction capped at 120 feet or 12 stories, and locals are determined to hold the line. “We fought hard for that zoning,” Sheldon said. “We shouldn’t have to give it back.” To erect a structure any taller than the zoning allows, the developer would need to seek special
BIRTHDAY Continued from page 12
around the Lower East Side for chat while he sized them up. His romantic judgement is clearly impeccable, because when asked about the most fantastic thing he has seen in his lifetime after witnessing more a century of history and technological advances, he didn’t hesitate to say the DowntownExpress.com
permission through a process that the community board can influence. “That’s where CB1 comes in,” said Goldstein, adding that Saul Scherl, who oversees HHC’s Seaport developments, is scheduled to speak at the next CB1 executive meeting in July. Kramer said that if HHC plans a project within the zoning limits — say, two 10-story buildings — it would possibly take up to a year to design and two years to build, but anything larger would take considerably longer due to the approval process. “If they want to go taller, there are more challenges,” he said. “Worst case would be it could be built in four to five years.” At the end of the Save Our Seaport meeting, the group dedicated to preserving the neighborhood’s nautical history announced it would hold another community meeting in September to discuss the project further, and organize opposition if necessary. “Community involvement is how we defeated Millstein,” said Sheldon. “We have to keep pressure on. If SOS didn’t exist, this situation would be much worse.”
greatest marvel is his wife. “One thing I can say is, in the 50 or so years we’ve been married, we never had a quarrel or a fight about money,” Nathan said. Rena revealed her husband’s secret for their long and happy marriage. “He has cherished me, loved me, and indulged me, and he has never said ‘no’ to me,” she said. July 12 – July 25, 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
July 12 – July 25, 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.
July 12, 2018