City’s Bike Lane Marathon 03, 05
West Side Vintage Poster Gallery 12
Mummenschanz, Again! 14
KAVANAUGH PICK STIRS CONCERN
Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
Cathy Levan in front of her apartment building last summer.
Court, Fines Fail to Bring Landlord to Heel BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC The repairs are still not done. The city has levied fines and charges that total more than $151,000, a Housing Court judge mandated seven months ago that repairs be completed within 30 days, and yet longtime tenant Cathy Levan is still waiting for her home to be habitable. “It’s been such a whirlwind of nothing and everything,” Levan said. For 17 years, Levan was happy with her one-bedroom apartment at 940 First Ave. between E. 51st and 52nd Sts. When she moved there in 1998, the street-level storefront was a bustling fish market, the units above were filled with tenants who had lived there for decades, and the building was family-owned. Things were upended in July 2015, when the building changed hands, city property records show, and First Avenue Realty Holdings LP brought the property. Cheskel Strulovitch became the new owner. By September, applications were filed with the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) to turn the four-story property into a 14-story, 13-unit building, according to news reports. Meanwhile, Levan said conditions in the building started to deteriorate. By November, Levan took Strulovitch to Housing LANDLORD continued on p. 4
July 12 - July 25, 2018 | Vol. 04 No. 14
Page 16 Photo courtesy of WH.GOV
ST. BART’S AIR RIGHTS FUEL JPMORGAN MEGATOWER BY SYDNEY PEREIRA JPMorgan Chase & Co. is expected to buy 50,000 square feet of development air rights from Midtown’s St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church — with the option to purchase another 505,000 square feet. The deal comes several months after the company announced it would be demolishing its 52-story building at 270 Park Ave. and replacing it with one projected to rise some 75 stories. “This agreement supports our strong commitment to long-term mission and ministry by helping fund the preservation and maintenance of our extraordinary church home,” the Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe said in a public statement to the parish, whose home is a landmarked Byzantine Revival structure built in 1917. “It is important to remember that proceeds from these transactions will not be sufficient for all repairs and restorations needed, nor can they be used to fund parish programs and ministries, which continue to rely on your generous stewardship giving.” In March, the New York Times reported that Grand Central, another landmarked building, was selling 680,000 square feet of air rights to JPMorgan. The additional air rights from St. Bart’s, and possibly a handful of other religious institutions as reported
by the Times, are expected to secure enough development rights to build a 1,200-foot-tall skyscraper. The Times reported the building could cost $4 billion. Under the terms of the St. Bart’s deal, JPMorgan will spend a total of $20.7 million, which includes $15.6 million for the 50,000 square feet of air rights, $3 million for the option to purchase the 505,000 square feet of additional air rights, and $2 million in closing costs, according to court records. Twenty percent of JPMorgan’s outlay, or $3.1 million, will go into a “public realm infrastructure fund,” which is required under the Greater East Midtown rezoning. The fund is used to improve public infrastructure in the neighborhood to mitigate the impacts of more people and traffic in the area. The rezoning passed last year altered how development rights could be transferred, allowing for taller buildings while also bolstering the preservation of landmarked buildings permitted to sell their air rights in a stretch covering much of the area from 39th to 57th Sts. between Second and Fifth Aves. JPMorgan declined to comment for this article, but a source with knowledge of the deal said it’s unlikeJPMORGAN continued on p. 23
Hudson Guild Has Smart Addition to Early Childhood Education Program BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC There is a new member of the Hudson Guild family. On Mon., July 2, Hudson Guild took over the operation of the Polly Dodge Center, at 538 W. 55th St. (btw. 10th & 11th Aves.) from the YWCA. â€œRecently, the YWCA decided to no longer operate the Polly Dodge Center and Hudson Guild was offered the opportunity to come in and take over the operation of the center,â€? Ken Jockers, the organizationâ€™s executive director, explained in a phone interview. For roughly six years, Hudson Guildâ€™s board has had its eye on expansion, he noted. â€œOur board decided in order to strengthen our services, we would expand in our already existing program areas when opportunities presented themselves,â€? Jockers said. Hudson Guild, a â€œmulti-service community agencyâ€? that serves Chelsea â€œwith a focus on those in need,â€? accordPhotos by Caleb Caldwell
Polly Dodge serves children from the ages of two to four.
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July 12, 2018
Ken Jockers, Hudson Guildâ€™s executive director (seen here), said the goal of the centers is that â€œeach child starts kindergarten ready to learn.â€?
ing to its website, has an early childhood education program. The Polly Dodge Center expands that program, which currently serves children from the ages of two to four and provides â€œsafe, highquality, free and low-cost child care for low- and moderate-income families in the surrounding community,â€? according to the July 3 press release announcing the addition of the center. Families in Hudson Guildâ€™s Early Childhood Education Program qualify
for free or low-cost care based on their household income, Jockers explained. â€œIn 2012, we had the opportunity to take over a child care center on 40th Street and to then to open a new Head Start center [at] the Amsterdam Houses on 64th Street,â€? Jockers explained. â€œNow the addition of Polly Dodge on 55th Street enables us to serve families up and down the West Side in addition HUDSON GUILD continued on p. 8 NYC Community Media
DOT Proposals Peddle More Protected Bike Lanes BY MION EDWARDS Cyclists and pedestrians in the Upper Westernmost territory of Community Board 4 (CB4) coverage could be looking at a safer travel route, in the form of two proposed protected bike lanes. Taking place at the Hotel Trades Council on W. 44th St., June 20’s monthly meeting of the CB4 Transportation Planning Committee (TPC) saw presentations from the Department of Transportation (DOT) on two proposed protected bike lanes: Eighth Ave. and W. 56th-58th Sts./Columbus Circle, and 10th & Amsterdam Aves., W. 52nd-72nd Sts. The TPC voted in favor for the DOT’s fi rst proposal, to have the protected bike lane extensions from Eighth Avenue (W. 56th-58th Sts.) and Columbus Circle. This is not, however, the last stop for implementation. “DOT will present the proposal to Community Boards 5 and 7 in the coming weeks. We will work to incorporate any feedback into our final plans and hope to implement the project later this year,” a DOT spokesperson said. Given the history of the proposed routes as dangerous spots for pedes-
Image courtesy of NYC DOT
The proposed protected bike lane design for Columbus Circle.
trians and cyclists, the DOT’s presentation was welcomed as an overdue course correction. “In 2014, DOT published its Pedestrian Safety action plans as part of the Vision Zero initiative. Eighth Avenue and 57th [St.] were listed amongst the most dangerous corridors/intersections,” said committee cochair Christine Berthet.
“Since then,” Berthet added, “Manhattan Community Board 4 and Assembly member Linda Rosenthal have been asking DOT to improve safety at 57th Street and Eighth Avenue for both pedestrians and cyclists.” TPC approved the proposed plan for the future bike lane, which has been a long time coming since 2014. “This project accomplishes this
goal by adding a split phase signal to turn west from Eighth Avenue to 57th Street, and addresses another board’s request: provide a safe way for cyclists to reach the park and the Upper West Side. We are delighted,” Berthet said. In his presentation, Patrick Kennedy, DOT Senior Project Manager, said the projected bike lane would be able to reduce injuries for cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians. According to the presentation, with the implementation of existing protected bike lanes, pedestrian injuries decreased by 21 percent and injuries to cyclists increased only 3 percent, despite a 61 percent bike volume increase. Members of the community also showed their appreciation for the first proposal with a round of applause. “I bike with my toddler,” said a 49th St. resident who often travels that route with his child, adding, “I’m so happy you’re fi xing it.” Community residents voiced their concerns and praise during the meeting. The only concern for the first proposal was a desire by residents for BIKE LANES continued on p. 17
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July 12, 2018
LANDLORD continued from p. 1
Court to make repairs, with her saying some have since been completed. The next time, Strulovitch took Levan to court — for eviction proceedings in 2016, which were eventually dropped. In the latest round of Housing Court, a judge ruled on Dec. 6, 2017 that the landlord needed to make the unattended repairs within 30 days and relocate Levan in the meanwhile, she said in a recent phone interview. In late December, she moved to an apartment — paid for by her landlord — on the Upper East Side. “It has many issues,” she said, noting a broken oven and a refrigerator that works sporadically. “In essence, you cannot cook there.” Also, the apartment, which is a studio, is around 200 to 300 square feet smaller than her one-bedroom, she said. “Everything is in boxes waiting to be moved back into my apartment,” she said. “It’s like living in a storage unit.” In addition to the building being left to deteriorate, Levan said there was a fire on Jan. 19, at a time when the building was empty since Levan is the last tenant living there. Jim Long, an FDNY spokesperson, wrote in an email that the fire happened a little before 11 a.m., starting on the second floor and then extending to the third. Fire marshals investigated and “determined the cause to be an accidental electrical fire.” At that point, the DOB had a stopwork order in place. The fire department notified the DOB, which went to the scene to inspect work carried out in breach of that order and a violation was issued, according to the department. “I don’t know why they were in the building in January,” Levan said, adding that she has not gone into it since she moved out. As of now, there is no indication when Levan can move back home. “I was naïve, I thought something would happen in 30 days,” she said. “I really believed that.” In Housing Court on June 29, another extension for the repairs was given, with a new deadline of July 30, said Michael
Photo by Cathy Levan
Demolition taking place at 940 First Ave. this past March.
Terk, an attorney with the law firm of David Rozenholc that represents Levan. Terk said the landlord’s lawyers say there is additional structural work that needs to be done and they haven’t gotten the necessary permits from the DOB to do it. (Levan said she has never seen her landlord, Strulovitch, in court.) “Always someone to blame other than them,” Terk said in a phone interview. “Every time we’re in court, there is another excuse of unexpected delay.” The gas was shut off in May 2017 and is still off, according to Terk, noting that some violations landlords are obligated to fix within 24 hours, others in 30 days, and less serious violations within 90 days. “They had a legal obligation to correct these conditions under the [city’s] hous-
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ing maintenance code — independent of the court,” he said. Terk said that they would wait to see if the latest deadline is met. East Side State Senator Liz Krueger said a next possible step is filing a contempt of court motion. Her office has been working with Levan for some time. “This landlord wants to keep Cathy out and tear down the building,” Krueger said by phone. On Feb. 1, the city’s Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) notified the landlord it had placed the building in its Alternative Enforcement Program. Buildings assigned this status have several housing maintenance code violations and are considered “severely distressed.” “So of all the boroughs, my building is
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one of the most egregious in violations,” Levan said. Last August, there were $20,134 in charges, and now it is around $93,000, according to HPD. At the time of publication, Strulovitch had not paid any of it. “It is imperative that owners live up to their responsibilities and maintain their properties so that residents have safe homes,” Juliet Pierre-Antoine, HPD’s press secretary, said in an email. “HPD will use all enforcement tools available to encourage owner compliance.” The DOB has issued Environmental Control Board violations that are adjudicated through the city’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. There are currently $58,550 in those violations, according to the DOB’s website. At the time of publication, the landlord had not paid any of that. “Multiple city agencies — including HPD and DOB — have brought serious enforcement action against the building owner to compel them to meet their legal and moral obligation to provide a safe building and these efforts are ongoing,” Joseph Soldevere, a DOB spokesperson, said by phone. Krueger said, “So far government agencies do not seem to be successful to get him to make the repairs or get in to do it themselves.” Landlords see these fines as the cost of doing business, she said. “That’s our frustration — we’re following every law, every rule, but the landlord, he’s not complying,” Krueger said. Levan said that tenants “are literally under siege because no one collects fines on these buildings — and everybody knows it.” Strulovitch’s attorneys — Todd Shaw of Gartner + Bloom and Janine Getler of Getler, Gomes & Sutton — declined an interview request, with Shaw writing in an email, “Our office cannot comment regarding pending litigation.” Strulovitch did not respond to email interview requests. Levan said she is in limbo, waiting to go home. “I have to remain balanced in the most unbelievably unbalanced, ludicrous situation,” she said.
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Protected Bike Lane Pitched at Queensboro Approach BY SYDNEY PEREIRA A nine-block stretch of Second Ave. requires that cyclists heading downtown merge with vehicles speeding down the avenue to eventually turn left onto the Queensboro Bridge. The stretch — often dubbed the Second Avenue gap — lacks protected bike lanes between 59th and 68th Sts. But now, the city Department of Transportation hopes to fill in that gap and also reorganize the intersection at the Queensboro Bridge. The department presented the proposal, which it hopes to implement by late this year or in early 2019, to Community Board 8 Monday night. “Really, in one word, terrifying, to bike through that intersection,” said Ryan Smith, a graduate student in biology who has lived on the Upper East Side the past four years. “As [the intersection] stands right now it literally interrupts the only way to bike downtown safely on the East Side.” Bike volume along the avenue has more than doubled at Second Ave. and 86th St. and increased by 36 percent at Second Ave. and 50th St. since 2015. At the Queensboro Bridge intersection, the DOT estimates more than 5,400 cyclists use the existing bike lanes every day between April and October. “It’s more urgent probably than any other bike safety [issue] and I should say pedestrian safety in the city,” Smith added about the turning point onto the bridge. At the Queensboro Bridge, the east side of Second Ave. has no pedestrian crossing, forcing southbound pedestri-
Courtesy of NYC DOT
A city DOT graphic showing the benefits of its proposal for changes in traffic flow and control on Second Ave. near the Queensboro Bridge access.
ans to either cross seven lanes to the west side of Second Ave. or jaywalk across nearly a dozen lanes to get to 59th Street. Multiple people at Monday’s meeting noted that pedestrians cross despite the lack of a crosswalk. Cyclists, who are merged with the auto traffic turning left onto the bridge, must navigate through those motorists to continue traveling south. “There’s a lot of tricky things, obviously,” said Chuck Warren, co-chair of CB8’s Transportation Committee. “I think in the end, it may be hard to find another solution easily.” To mitigate the problem, the DOT
wants to add a crosswalk at the precarious intersection and install a bike lane protected during off-peak hours when the easternmost traffic lane would be devoted to parking and loading instead. A pedestrian and cyclist island known as a “porkchop” for its shape would be added to create a waiting space within the crosswalk between the bridge entry’s midway and the south side of E. 59th St. That island would also serve to separate left turn lanes onto the bridge from through traffic. Left turns from Second Ave. onto E. 59th St., beyond the turn onto the bridge, would be restricted under the proposal.
Despite some community pushback against bikes overall at Monday night’s meeting, protected bike lanes have been shown to decrease injuries by 15 percent overall, according to the DOT. Two-way paths around the city saw a 29 percent decrease in pedestrian injuries compared to 21 percent on one-way paths. Although cyclist injuries increased by three percent, that is compared to an overall biking volume increase of 61 percent. The committee won’t be drafting a resolution on the plan this month, but Warren expects the DOT plan will ultimately be accepted. “It’s always hard to predict these things, but people didn’t feel as strongly against [it] as they did on the crosstown lanes,” he said. (See story below.) Concerns raised regarding protected lanes in the corridor leading to the Queensboro Bridge largely hinged on people’s general concerns about bikes, particularly cyclists who don’t follow the law and sometimes injure pedestrians. Some asked whether more bollards could be added to the island to prevent vehicles from driving over it, and only one audience member complained that one lane of traffic would be set aside for parking during off-peak hours. “It’s sort of an interesting clash,” Warren added. “You have a biking community that certainly exists in our area, and then you have people who don’t bike but are concerned about bikes in general and the threat they believe that they pose from people who just don’t obey the laws.”
Crosstown Bike Lanes Remain CB8 Flashpoint BY SYDNEY PEREIRA In a flashback to Community Board 8 meetings from two years ago, the board’s divisions over crosstown bike lanes reemerged on Monday night. After the board couldn’t agree back in 2016 on what Upper East Side crosstown lanes were acceptable, the Department of Transportation returned this week to propose two new pairs of painted bike lanes at 65th/ 66th and 84th/ 85th Sts. “This is the second time around,” said Chuck Warren, co-chair of CB8’s Transportation Committee. “Some people were upset about [the crosstown bike lanes]. People always talk about bike issues generally — not just the particular streets — but the idea.” The two pairs at 65th/ 66th and NYC Community Media
84th/ 85th Sts. would connect Central Park to the East River Esplanade, providing crosstown bike lanes spanning the Upper East Side. They would not remove any parking lanes, but rather, add painted lines to delineate spaces for traffic, parking, and cyclists. Though cyclists voiced support for the plan, many in the crowd were against the proposal. They feared the bike lanes would put at risk children who go to nearby schools, including Saint Ignatius Loyola School, the Ramaz School, Marymount School of New York, and the Chapin School on E. 84th and 85th Sts. Others recounted instances when they were hit by cyclists, suffering cracked ribs and broken bones. “This is not right,” Betty Wallerstein, a
longtime community activist who started the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association and spearheaded the M31 bus line’s Sunday service, said at the meeting. “We cannot do this. It’s wrong. People are going to get hurt.” The crosstown bike lane saga, in part, began when the board asked the DOT for the bike lanes in a November 2015 resolution. The following year included about half a dozen meetings, after which the board couldn’t agree where to put the bike lanes. Since the board is only advisory, the DOT implemented painted lanes in two pairs on 70th/ 71st and 77th/ 78th Sts. Since they’ve been implemented, City Councilmember Ben Kallos noted, the only complaints he’s received are of people parking in the bike lanes, though
an 84th St. Citizens Alliance co-chair remarked that measuring opinion after implementation was no fair measure of community sentiment. “I understand you don’t have any repercussions where the lanes are already put in, but quite frankly it’s after the fact,” Wendy Abrams said. “You’re not going to hear opposition from something that is already put in place.” The painted lanes may be a minimal street treatment, but the DOT has found the lanes at 70th/ 71st and 77th/ 78th Sts. have increased public safety. There has been a 46 percent decrease in crashes, a 75 percent decrease in vehicle passenger injuries, a 54 percent FLASHPOINT continued on p. 18 July 12, 2018
Young Friends Offered Gay Rights Pioneer ‘Late-Life Renaissance’ BY ANDY HUMM Dick Leitsch, who as president of the Mattachine Society, a pre-Stonewall gay group, participated in the first act of gay civil disobedience in 1966, died June 22 in Manhattan after a year-long battle with cancer. It was at the West Village’s Julius’ — at the time a “raided premises” (due to the recent arrest of a gay man there) and fearful of losing its liquor license — that the men were denied service in view of the media, despite the establishment’s history of being a quasi-gay bar since the 1950s. While LGBTQ people had demonstrated and even rioted before this, the Sip-In was the first act of targeted gay civil disobedience and it was successful. The State Liquor Authority dropped its holding that serving gay people made an establishment a “disorderly premises” — and, in fact, denied such a regulation ever existed. For the past several years, Leitsch — who also worked to end entrapment of gay men by the police, and wrote the first eyewitness report on the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion — was befriended by a group of gay men in their 20s who socialized with him at his West 72nd Street home and at Julius’ in the West
Photo by Andy Humm
L to R: Paul Havern, Matt Allison, Derek McCormack, Alden Peters and Ricardo Guadarrama in the garden of St. Luke in the Fields, where Dick Leitsch was interred.
Village. They were with him as he died in hospice care at the Mary Manning Walsh Home on the East Side on June 22. They gave Leitsch “a late-life renaissance,” according to Tom Bernardin, the historian of Julius’. Paul Havern, 28, assistant director of admissions at Cooper Union, was
friends with Leitsch for three years and said, “For a lot of us, Dick was sort of a bridge into a world that was really lost to an entire generation. For many of us he really provided us insight not only into how far our community has come, but also to how similar we all were despite our differences.”
Havern added. “He really was very humble about all of his actions. He continued to work at St. Mary’s [the Midtown Episcopal Church to which he belonged] until he could not leave his apartment.” When asked why he kept up his volunteer work, Havern recalled, “Dick said, ‘Well if I don’t do it, who will?’” That seems to have been the spirit that drove Leitsch in his pre-Stonewall activism as well. Laurence Frommer, another friend of Leitsch’s, said, “Paul Haven, Ricardo Guadarrama, Matt Allison, and Alden Peters were all with him when he died.” And they were all there for his funeral on June 28 at “Smokey Mary’s” — St. Mary the Virgin, an Episcopal church on West 46th Street, where most of the heads were gray. Guadarrama, 27, Havern’s husband, said, “Dick always gave me hope,” even during his dying days. “It was inspiring for me, especially in this difficult time [in our country] to see someone who was positive and laughing” despite his illness. DICK LEITSCH continued on p. 20
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, 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 . NYC Community Media
Well-Suited: In Midtown, Mohan’s Dresses Chelsea Resident for Success BY SAM BLEIBERG The weather is heating up, and the summer season marks the busiest time at Mohan’s — a family-operated bespoke tailor on E. 42nd St. between Madison and Park Aves. Through the years, Mohan’s Custom Tailors has handcrafted suits for athletes, entertainers, dignitaries, and New York personalities. Their latest client is Alexis Ottenwarde, a young man born and raised in Chelsea and in need of a sharp look for his next step in life. NYC Community Media followed Alexis through the process of selecting fabric, getting fitted, and walking out with a custom suit — compliments of the Mohan’s team. Mike Mohan founded the business in 1972, and spent his early days working out of a hotel room. He received his first celebrity client, New York basketball legend Patrick Ewing, through a stroke of extraordinarily good luck. Mike’s son Victor described that pivotal event: “When I was born in the hospital, the nurse for my mother was friends with Patrick Ewing’s mother. Everyone knew the Knicks were going to pick him first in the NBA draft. His mother called my father and asked if he could make Patrick Ewing’s suit for the
NYC Community Media
Photo by Sam Bleiberg
L to R: Victor Mohan, founder Mike Mohan, Alexis Ottenwarde, and master tailor Ken Wong display the finished product — a fully custom suit and shirt.
NBA draft.” Mohan’s next worked with one of the NBA’s all-time style icons, all thanks to a playful rivalry. “Walt Frazier, in 1982,
he says, ‘You’re advertising with Ewing, but I’m the champion. I’m the style guy,’ ” Victor recalled. The tailor became Frazier’s suit sup-
plier of choice, and Victor said his father and Frazier became inseparable. MOHAN’S continued on p. 10
July 12, 2018
Photos by Caleb Caldwell
Activities for children at Hudson Guild facilities include art, music, dance, yoga, and, of course, unstructured play. HUDSON GUILD continued from p. 2
to our facilities in Chelsea. We consider this a welcome addition to our core programming.â€? The organization also operates a center within the Elliott-Chelsea Houses. â€œIt ensures that families on the West Side continue to have access to care,â€? he said. â€œIt allows Hudson Guild to expand the level of services.â€? The programming at the early childhood centers is aligned with New York
state pre-kindergarten (pre-K) learning standards and the Common Core curriculum. Certified teachers teach classes, which include art, music, dance and yoga activities, and â€œa nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snack are available for all participating children,â€? according to the release. â€œEvery child has access to the same exact level of service,â€? Jockers said. â€œSo each child starts kindergarten ready to learn.â€? It also has an extended day until 6 p.m.,
Earlier this month, the Polly Dodge Center became Hudson Guildâ€™s fifth early childhood education center.
according to Hudson Guildâ€™s website. â€œLow cost, high-quality childcare is essential for all working parents,â€? City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal said in the press release. â€œExpanding access to early childhood education is not only a boon to parents, but also to the children who will enter kindergarten with strong literacy and language, motor development, and social and emotional skills.â€? Jockers explained there are four different pieces to the funding: the cityâ€™s Administration for Childrenâ€™s Services,
Head Start (which is a federal program), city funding for universal pre-K, and private funding. â€œWeâ€™re super excited to have Polly Dodge families and Polly Dodge employees join as part of Hudson Guild,â€? he said. â€œWeâ€™re thrilled at the chance to work together.â€? He added, â€œWe are happily recruiting for the next school year.â€? For more information, visit hudson guild.org/programs/early-childhoodeducation.
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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
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phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.
Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-
haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.
Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and
chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at
a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.
Reading Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.
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MOHAN’S continued from p. 7
Following the publicity that came with dressing basketball legends, Mohan’s became a destination for athletes, earning a reputation for crafting suits for any body type. Other notable clients include Ricky Henderson, John Starks, Daryl Strawberry, Tommy Lasorda, and Bernard Hopkins, along with many more. The founder credits Mohan’s ongoing success with quality, consistency, and freedom of choice. “We make sure that we also educate the client, let them know exactly what they’re getting, while having a lot of fun with our limitless custom options,” Mike said. “Finishing up with a beautiful custom-made masterpiece and a huge smile on the client’s face — I call this the ‘Mohan’s Experience!’ ” Alexis is now the latest athlete to receive the “Mohan’s Experience.” When the tailor reached out to this publication to offer their services to a deserving neighborhood resident, we reached out to the community — and Lisa Jasienowski, co-founder of the nonprofit group Infirnity, referred Alexis as a hardworking alumnus of their program, which combines mentorship, basketball coaching, and academic support. “He has worked so hard to make his way to college,” Jasienowski said. “Receiving a suit as this is pretty amazing fuel to charge the independence and sense of self he is stepping into.” Alexis graduated from Chelsea’s Bayard Rustin Educational Complex last year and is currently working a food service job while pursuing a college education where he can study acting and play on the school’s basketball team. “Infirnity helped me push myself through high school,” Alexis said. “Just having somebody who’s there that supports you, motivates you, and tells you everything will be fine when you’re feeling sad — I appreciate everything they’ve done for me.” Mohan’s has produced complimentary suits for deserving members of the community before, and invited Alexis along with Chelsea Now for the full custom suiting and shirting process. Victor greeted Alexis in the tailor’s office and fitting room of Mohan’s, which is just across the street from Grand Central Terminal. Victor’s Superman cufflinks, rings, and business cards inform the customer that individual flair is welcome on the premises. “I love the creativity, the styles, the trends, opening up my eyes to so many different possibilities,” Victor said. “There are so many shades of even
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Photos by Sam Bleiberg
Victor Mohan, son of founder Mike Mohan, guided Alexis Ottenwarde through fabric choices.
Mohan’s signature raw fitting involves shipping a fitted jacket to the fabricators to mold the suit to the client’s body.
Clients building their own custom suits choose between dozens of options for cuffs, collars, and more.
have my older clientele that is sticking with the classic look.” Alexis opted for a few personalized details, including monogrammed shirt cuffs (although without Victor’s preferred French cuffs). Victor noted that an important part of their philosophy is to make the client as comfortable as possible with the final result, including the price tag. “We always keep it real with the client. We don’t upsell,” he said. “A lot of the time we’ll start by asking what their budget is and give them the most reasonable price possible.” Alexis returned a few weeks after the fitting to receive the completed suit. The fit was perfect, earning Mohan’s another satisfied client. When asked what has kept the business successful after all these years, Victor explained the business builds a
strong connection with their customers. “Our clients are very loyal. This little secret of Mohan’s has been passed on from generation to generation,” he said, adding he was looking forward to attending the upcoming wedding of a client. “The customer walks in and recognizes, ‘This is really a family business.’ ” Mohan’s Custom Tailors is located at 60 E. 42nd St., #1432 (btw. Madison & Park Aves.). Custom suits generally start at $699, and custom shirts at $120. Mohan’s is currently running a “Millennial Special” — a custom suit and shirt for $595. For more information, visit mohancustomtailors.com, call 646-461-1951 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MohansTailors (Twitter), facebook. com/MohansCustomTailorsNYC, and instagram.com/mohan_tailors.
white, different shades of blue. I love helping people change their image.” Between a shirt and a suit, the customer chooses between dozens of details, from buttons to collars to cuffs. The suit starts with the fabric. Over the years Mohan’s has experimented with functional and decorative materials including crushed diamond, water repellent material, and warm weather fabric. Alexis decided on a classic navy wool with a two-button construction. He saved the flash for a shiny baby blue lining. Mohan’s sets itself apart with a raw fitting, which involves sending the actual mold from the in-house tailor directly to the fabricators along with the client measurements. Alexis chose a contemporary, tapered fit. “This is the millennial style, but basically everyone is wearing this now,” Victor said. “I do
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July 12, 2018
Photo by Judy L. Richheimer
Lars Larsson (left) and Robert Chisholm work with their archivist and restoration expert, Fatan Kanaan. Chisholm Larsson Gallery has over 50,000 original vintage posters, not including duplicates.
Chisholm Larsson: Poster Boys for Vintage Posters Chelsea gallery praises the ‘people’s art’ BY JUDY L. RICHHEIMER Robert Chisholm, co-owner with husband, Lars Larsson, of the vintage poster gallery Chisholm Larsson (145 Eighth Ave., near W. 17th St.), shrugged off his own generosity. Two patrons wanted to buy postcards — Chisholm Larsson carries small and oversized cards, reproducing some of the gallery’s collection — but one had only a $100 bill, and the other no cash, just plastic. “Take the cards as our gift,” Chisholm said, “and pay it forward. Buy something for a stranger,” he instructed each. Then he noted to this reporter, “Sometimes it’s just more efficient to give away small things rather than take the time and trouble to ring up a sale.” Chisholm’s attempt to disguise altru-
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ism as practicality is undermined by the numerous ways in which the gallery serves the public: It invites browsers to take postcards from a pile clearly marked “Free Stuff.” During street fairs, tables are set up out front, offering more ambitious “free stuff,” such as art books and auction catalogues; and Chisholm Larsson lends posters to libraries and small museums that cannot afford acquisition. Those openhanded gestures mesh well with the primary product sold at Chisholm Larsson. “We’ve always considered posters a people’s art form,” Chisholm declared. “You can imagine a turn of the century Paris, where these artworks — Toulouse-Lautrec, Mucha — would be on constant display, up on the
street. They really have been a public, free art form.” And, in fact, as we toured the gallery, it was evident that some early posters were seemingly created to entice the eye rather than to advertise — the visuals so inapposite from the product being sold. There was a poster from 1986 showcasing a lovely lady surrounded by tea roses and wearing a gossamer gown, which barely promoted its sponsor, the Revere Rubber Company. Elsewhere, a 1920s poster pictured two beautifully rendered North African children walking hand in hand, with the simple and discreet caption “LefèvreUtile” — a biscuit company. But the first poster that captured Chisholm’s imagination conveyed a straightforward message. It was a French
advertisement from World War I featuring a young soldier, his arm thrust forward, urging us to buy war bonds. Other WW I posters proved equally compelling. “They were dramatic and colorful and heroic and just very artistic,” noted Chisholm, who entered his profession by degrees. In the 1960s he studied English at the University of Virginia and hankered after an artistic life. Initially he wanted to be an artist, but realized, “I had a much better eye than the ability to create. I could see that what I did was not as good as I wanted or expected it to be.” After school, he worked in New York City for the Plaza Gallery, an auction house handling entire estates, “… porcelain, furniture, paintings, prints, rugs; everything,” he remembered. When it NYC Community Media
Photos by Judy L. Richheimer
Art Nouveau master Jules Chéret was known for depicting lovely, cavorting young women — but this dynamic battle scene reveals another side to his oeuvre.
In the windows during June’s Pride Month, prominent was the poster for the Italian release of “Boys in the Band,” with a title that translates into English as “Party for the Birthday of Dear Friend Harold.”
Chisholm Larsson Gallery came to Chelsea in 1989, an early harbinger of the dozens of galleries Chelsea would boast of in the decades to follow.
Business partners and married couple Robert Chisholm (left) and Lars Larsson proudly pose before one of their gallery’s masterworks, a 63-inch high original poster for art house classic, “Hiroshima Mon Amour.”
was time to strike out on his own, Chisholm might have specialized in any of those objets, but chose posters — for pragmatic as well as aesthetic reasons. “They are easy to transport,” he said. “You can go Europe and come back with 100 posters under your arm.” Larsson too had a strong early interest in art, but pursued a career in banking. Born and reared in Sweden, he relocated to New York City to establish the first American branch for a major Swedish bank. Larsson met Chisholm 39 years ago in the Village, where they lived just minutes apart. “He was the boy next door,” Chisholm recalled. The couple wed in June of 2016. Chisholm today is in his late 60s and Larsson his early 70s; they are trim and energetic and appear far younger than their respective years. Larsson became a partner in the gallery in 1993. “It was quite a shift. I was in my early 50s, and it was time to do that change,” he said. Larsson adapted easily, NYC Community Media
according to his husband, who noted, “Lars had good instincts.” Several years prior, the gallery had settled at its present location, a site that formerly housed La Isla Shoes (throughout the ’70s, the gallery moved from the Upper West Side to the Village and, later, to Soho). “At that time, as you will remember, they couldn’t give retail spaces away on Eighth Avenue.” Chisholm recalled of their 1989 arrival in Chelsea. “The place had been on the market for nine months at $850 with no takers,” he marveled. In part, the property was chosen for its unusual two-sided window construction. Today, the windows display an everchanging array of posters drawn from the gallery’s stock. When Chisholm began dealing in the ’70s, Art Nouveau was in vogue. That trend continued into the ’90s, after Larsson came on board. “About 30 years back,” he recalled, “it was very easy to sell French things, especially in New
York City. There was a big demand, whether it was for posters or furniture.” During that period, the couple went to Paris four or five times a year to acquire posters. Eventually Art Nouveau, with its riot of flowers and curlicues lost cachet, at least for many Chisholm Larsson clients. (But Fillmore West posters and other ’60s psychedelia, clearly inspired by that movement, remained hot sellers.) Collectors began to clamor for cleaner lines and for works of more recent vintage. In a statement guaranteed to depress any Gen X or Baby Boomer, Larsson observed: “Young people will come in and ask for something old. We think that means 1920s or 1930s. Oh, no, they mean 1980s or early 1990s.” But that potential buyer may have to wait: Works from the ’80s or ’90s are sometimes archived for 20 years. “Let them mature, let their time come,” Larsson asserted.
One prominent collector, Angelina Lippert, curator for Poster House — which will be the city’s first poster museum when it opens on W. 23 St. (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.) in 2019 — extolled the breadth of the Chisholm Larsson collection. “Robert’s and Lars’ gallery occupies a unique space in the field,” Lippert wrote in an email. “Unlike so many poster dealers who focus only on one particular area (Art Nouveau, Art Deco), they showcase a diverse and seldom-seen array of posters from around the globe, from Polish film posters to American turn-of-the-century circus, 1960s protest to contemporary marvels… as such, [they] have a more accessible, interesting, and vibrant collection than pretty much anyone else in town.” They also, she added, “understand that you shouldn’t have to be a millionaire to buy great art…” Prices for a rare poster CHISHOLM LARSSON continued on p. 19 July 12, 2018
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
July 12, 2018
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. NYC Community Media
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In Kavanaugh, Progressives Fear Rightâ€™s Agenda BY DUNCAN OSBORNE While Donald Trump nominated a conservative to fill the seat on the US Supreme Court left vacant by Justice Anthony Kennedyâ€™s announcement just 12 days before that he would retire, he selected a federal appeals court judge who is less of a firebrand and more of a longtime functionary in official Washington. â€œThroughout legal circles, he is considered a judgeâ€™s judge,â€? Trump said during the July 9 primetime broadcast announcing he was nominating Brett Kavanaugh to replace Kennedy. â€œThere is no one in America more qualified for this position and more deserving.â€? The 53-year-old Kavanaugh has served on the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia since 2006 and previously served in the White House during George W. Bushâ€™s presidency. Bush first nominated Kavanaugh for a federal judgeship in 2003, but Kavanaughâ€™s service under Ken Starr, the independent counsel who aggressively advocated for President Bill Clintonâ€™s impeachment for lying about an affair he had with a White House intern, stalled his nomination and it was eventually withdrawn.
He was nominated again in 2005 and approved in a 57 to 36 vote. Kavanaugh took a poke at his critics at his 2006 swearing-in that was held in the White House Rose Garden. â€œIâ€™ve benefited as a lawyer and as a person from my work for Judge Starr, who has always combined devotion to the rule of law with great personal decency,â€? the Washington Post quoted him saying during the ceremony. Starrâ€™s status as an upright prosecutor was ended during his tenure as chancellor at Baylor University when it was revealed he had ignored rape allegations and convictions and assault charges brought against several university football players. Starr was forced to end his relationship with Baylor in 2016. In his 2010 book, â€œThe Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr,â€? author Ken Gormley describes Kavanaugh as one of the prosecutors in Starrâ€™s office who most wanted to publicly humiliate Clinton with sexually explicit questions about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, the intern. Gormley wrote that Kavanaugh â€œpushed hardest to confront Clinton with some of the dirtiest facts linked to his sexual
indiscretions with Lewinsky.â€? A 1998 article in the Washingtonian magazine on up and coming DC lawyers has Kavanaugh, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees at Yale, first working for Starr when Starr was the US solicitor general under President George H.W. Bush. Kavanaugh then clerked for Kennedy and was going to follow Starr to Kirkland & Ellis, a law firm, but instead took the job in the independent counselâ€™s office under Starr. Kavanaugh joined the Bush administration in its first year and served under Alberto Gonzalez, the White House counsel, where he was tasked with identifying suitable nominees for the US Supreme Court. â€œAt the beginning of the Bush administration in 2001, I tasked Brett Kavanaugh, one of the Associate Counsels in the White House Counselâ€™s Office, to coordinate the initial formal vetting of potential Supreme Court nominees,â€? Gonzales wrote in a 2014 article in the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal. While working in the Bush White House, Kavanaugh was one of three staffers who met with some 200 gay
Republicans in 2003 in advance of the 2004 presidential election. â€œIf we were completely satisfied that the Republican Party was as inclusive as we wished, we would cease to exist,â€? Patrick Guerriero, then the head of the Log Cabin Republicans, told the Associated Press in 2003. â€œItâ€™s obvious that the issue of inclusiveness in the Republican Party is going to be a major issue.â€? Bush eventually endorsed an amendment to the US Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage and the Log Cabin Republicans declined to endorse him in 2004. The Washingtonian reported that Kavanaugh, who was born in the nationâ€™s capital and raised in nearby Bethesda, Maryland, is the son of a Maryland state judge and a cosmetics industry lobbyist. Kavanaugh is a Roman Catholic and attended Catholic schools before college. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Ashley, and their two daughters. The couple met while working in the Bush White House. Progressive groups, including those advocating for womenâ€™s and LGBTQ KAVANAUGH continued on p. 18
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Existing conditions on Amsterdam Ave.
The proposed protected bike lane design for Amsterdam Ave. BIKE LANES continued from p. 3
its vertical elements to more clearly signal drivers of a bike lane. “I live on West 61st and Amsterdam and I’ve been bicycle commuting for the last 30 years in Manhattan. I think it’s great that we are starting to see some more bike lanes coming in,” said James Miller. The TPC as well as members of the community had strong apprehension about the second proposed route, stretching from 10th & Amsterdam Aves. (W. 52nd-72nd Sts). The committee made the decision to delay approval until the DOT returns in July with corrections dealing concerns about safety issues, speed signals, and the split phase signals. “The board’s utmost priority is pedestrian and cyclist safety. In this case, the lack of pedestrian refuges built in concrete, and the lack of a full complement of signalized protection gave us pause,” said Berthet. In response, the DOT said they look forward to working with CB4 to address their questions and concerns about the proposal. At the meeting, there was a reoccurring theme of cyclist and pedestrian safety. “Cyclist safety is paramount for us. We have been the strongest proponents of 100 percent protected bike lanes since DOT installed the first one ever in our district on the lower part of Ninth Avenue,” Berthet noted, adding, “The bike lane will be installed in an area where three major schools and a hospital are located. Calming the traffic, shortening crossing time without compromising safety.” Open to the public, CB4’s next TPC meeting takes place on Wed., July 18, 6:30 p.m. at 500 W. 41st St., eighth floor (btw. 10th & 11th Aves). For more information, visit nyc.gov/html/mancb4.
MAX Photo by Mion Edwards
“I live on West 61st and Amsterdam,” said James Miller, “and I’ve been bicycle commuting for the last 30 years in Manhattan. I think it’s great that we are starting to see some more bike lanes coming in.” NYC Community Media
July 12, 2018
KAVANAUGH continued from p. 16
rights and for health care access, were already concerned about the four people who were on Trump’s short list to replace Kennedy, seeing Roe v. Wade, the 1973 US Supreme Court ruling that struck down laws banning abortion, and the 2015 ruling from that court that required states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as at risk of being reversed. Kennedy was the swing vote on four important wins for the LGBTQ community at the US Supreme Court. Though a Republican, he was seen as a moderating influence on the far right judges on the court. With Kavanaugh, Trump may have shifted the balance on the court to empower a consistently conservative voting bloc. “Brett Kavanaugh may bring the requisite experience, but given Donald Trump’s promise to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that recognized the right to an abortion, and efforts to reverse progress on civil rights and civil liberties, that’s not enough,” David Cole, the legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said in a written statement. “It’s incumbent on Congress to determine whether Kavanaugh’s legal views are compatible with the power-
ful role he will play for generations.” The ACLU does not endorse or support presidential nominees. The National LGBTQ Task Force called Kavanaugh’s nomination an “executive power grab” in a written statement. “There hasn’t been a nominee for the Supreme Court this extreme since Robert Bork,” Rea Carey, the executive director of the Task Force, said in the statement, referring to a Ronald Reagan nominee forced to withdraw and eventually replaced by Justice Kennedy. “Kavanaugh is a clear choice for Trump to expand his own power and escape the Mueller investigation.” The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ lobby, is calling on the US Senate to reject Kavanaugh. “Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh is irresponsible and dangerous. He will undermine LGBTQ equality, women’s reproductive rights, and affordable healthcare,” said Sarah Warbelow, the group’s legal director, in a written statement. “This is not the fair-minded constitutionalist worthy of replacing Justice Kennedy. The US Senate needs to exercise its constitutional responsibility and reject this nominee.”
FLASHPOINT continued from p. 5
decrease in pedestrian industries, and an eight percent decrease in cyclist injuries along those corridors since the the lanes were painted, according to preliminary DOT figures. “It improves safety for everyone because it encourages drivers to drive more slowly,” said Ryan Smith, an Upper East Sider and graduate biology student who lives at York Ave. and 66th St. There was skepticism about the statistics among committee members, notably Valerie Mason, president of the E. 72nd St. Neighborhood Association. Mason questioned why the data wasn’t broken down by each street, to which the DOT’s director of bicycle and greenway programs, Ted Wright, responded that statistical analysis of that specificity would require more data points to be accurate. For recently minted Transportation Committee co-chair Craig Lader, however, the safety data may be preliminary but appear positive so far. “It seems that there is compelling information within that data that should be followed, and whether it becomes a trend to be paid attention to very closely,” Lader said. Though the full board won’t vote
on a bike lane resolution this month, Lader added, it’s key that the board at least take some position. Previously, the board’s failure to agree on a proposal led the DOT to act unilaterally. “We are obviously looking to get as much community engagement as possible, and we like to believe that DOT is going to follow our lead and our recommendations,” he said. “But in reality, I think it’s important to keep in mind that DOT still has policy initiatives that they are working to implement and some of them are going to transcend community board preferences.” Kallos — aiming for unity — said that ultimately the problem is people don’t feel safe. “To a person — whether you drive, you ride a bike, or you’re a pedestrian — you’re scared on our streets,” Kallos said at the meeting. “Folks would just like everyone to obey the rules of the road. Cyclists would like cars not to hit them and kill them. That is the big thing folks would like from motorists. And pedestrians would like to see motorists not him them and kill them.” The councilmember added, “I would say the paint helps bring people there and it also helps create a respect between the motorists and cyclists and it gives folks a delineated space.”
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CHISHOLM LARSSON continued from p. 13
at Chisholm Larsson can be as high as $10,000 — but the majority of their 50,000 posters (more, counting duplicates) range from $100 to $1,000. Household names (that is, if the household happens to enjoy old posters) represented at various times by Chisholm Larsson include Jules Chéret, star of the Art Nouveau period; A.M. Cassandre, known for his monumental Deco stylings of ships and trains; Milton Glaser, an all-around design icon; and Shepard Fairey, whose HOPE poster arguably helped elect President Barack Obama. Often Chisholm Larsson carries works of well-known artists that diverge from our expectations. Currently on view, for example, a poster by Chéret — known for cavorting, lovely young women — depicts an eye-catching, stylized battle scene. Chisholm’s and Larsson’s wide-ranging taste has paid off by attracting customers from around the world, and the partners have noticed certain national tendencies. According to Larsson, Australians like clean lines and “a little bit of fun,” with Chisholm adding, “and nothing earlier than the 1950s.” Danes, too, crave humor; and, Larsson notes, the Japanese want posters that suggest the spare lines of an Audrey Hepburn silhouette. Sometime national tastes flip dramatically. “When the Soviet Union broke up in 1989, they were so tired of the propaganda posters that they grew up with, they just dumped them,” Chisholm recalled. The gallery bought hundreds. “People thought that we were crazy. Now we are selling them back to the Russians.” Serious collectors of posters tend to collect only in that medium. Larsson stated, “I think that you can compare them to people who collect stamps.” And they often collect according to category — aviation is popular — or a specific subject, such as a movie, buying advertisements of the same film as promoted in various countries. Larsson observes, “A lot of time the Italian posters are more sensual and fun. And the actors’ looks change.” Chisholm chimed in, saying, “We’ve seen Italian posters featuring Audrey Hepburn and all of a sudden she’s very zaftig.” Nearly every poster carried by Chisholm Larsson is original. However, when the real thing is impossible to acquire and the image irresistible, they might relax their standards. One example: a poster showing two wholesome-looking young women standing next to their Harleys, planning a road trip — in 1934. The original is impossible to find. They have equally dim hopes of ever acquiring an original for Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis.” Larsson observed, “A lot of people think that they have an original. You hardly can find that.” Chisholm added, “Not for love or money.” Artistry might soften a poster’s message, but at the end of the day, messaging defines the medium. So, do Chisholm and Larsson ever deal posters that they find offensive? “That happens sometimes. We have posters for George Wallace and of course we are not George Wallace fans, and never have been,” Chisholm noted. “But historically they are very interesting. And history should never be obliterated.” A recent controversial poster from Switzerland called for banning mosques in that country; again, the gallery bought the poster, but deplored the message. The expansive tolerance practiced by Chisholm and Larsson does have its limits. “We bristle when people ask us, ‘What’s a good investment?’ We don’t want anyNYC Community Media
one to buy anything they don’t like but think is a good investment,” Chisholm professed. And the partners are chagrined by collectors who don’t protect their posters from UV light. Outside, after the interview, we admire the windows, which generally are curated according to holidays or current affairs. (From time to time, images of British royalty dominate.) Chisholm remarked, “A lot of the things in the windows are unique. The only example we’ve ever seen. So, we want to show them off before they disappear into someone’s home.” Chisholm described the installation on view in the southern window at the time of our visit, during Pride Month. “Almost every June,” he noted, “we adorn our windows with remembrances of gay culture.” This year’s lead was an advertisement for the 1970 movie
“Ann and Eve,” with a lesbian character — a film critic who, unfortunately, is a murderer as well. Also prominent is the poster for the Italian release of “Boys in the Band,” with a title that translates into English as “Party for the Birthday of Dear Friend Harold.” Chisholm drew attention to a poster of Joe Dallesandro in “Flesh,” aka “Andy Warhol’s Flesh,” noting, “We couldn’t resist adding some eye candy.” Just prior to the gay-themed installation, the window focused on shoes. Why shoes? “Those posters are an homage to the former tenant, La Isla Shoes,” Chisholm explained. Chisholm Larsson Gallery is located at 145 Eighth Ave., near W. 17th St. Visit chisholm-poster.com or call 212-741-1703. Facebook: facebook.com/chisholmlars son. Twitter: @chisholmlarsson.
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DICK LEITSCH continued from p. 6
“He was not afraid to be who he was,” Allison said after the service. Allison, 29, an activist and senior campaigner at Purpose, a social impact agency, wrote, “During his life, Dick took many risks and made many sacrifices in the service of LGBTQ people to secure and advance our rights amidst incredible oppression. From an early age, Dick knew he was gay and never sought validation from straight people and society; he always knew deep down that being gay is perfectly natural and not something to hide, change, or ever be ashamed of. It was this deep, inner understanding that rooted Dick and guided his activism.” Peters, a 28-year-old filmmaker, wrote in an email, “His charm was disarming, even at the end of his life. When I spoke with him on the phone after his terminal cancer diagnosis, he spoke about his life and perspective on dying. He said he’s older than dirt, nothing is new anymore, he feels ready, and that if he knew so many people would be calling and giving him attention, he would have died sooner. ‘If I knew dying was this fun, I would have done it years ago!’ Then he gave his unmistakable laugh you could recognize from across a crowded bar.” Leitsch was dispensing his wisdom to the last, according to Peters, who wrote, “I told him that was an inspiring perspective to have. I had been so nervous to call him but his positivity made me, and everyone around him, comfortable with his inevitable departure. He guid-
Courtesy of Paul Havern
L to R: Paul Havern with Dick Leitsch.
ed us through the end of his life with the same joy and care that he lived his life with. When I told him he was inspiring, he apologized. ‘I didn’t mean to be. I’m just talking.’
“In that same phone call, Dick told me the most important part of life is to keep friends close. Lovers come and go, but friends stick around through the years. ‘What’s the secret to keeping those friendships for so long?’ I asked. ‘Well, we all threatened to sleep with each other, but none of us ever did.’” “Dick Leitsch is the kind of person you don’t meet anymore,” Peters wrote. “He’s humble and witty. He makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room when you speak to him. But it goes deeper than that. Speaking with
him makes you feel like your relationship with Dick is unique. So many of us felt so close to him because all of us thought, ‘Dick and I have something special that others don’t have.’ That something special was Dick Leitsch himself.” Allison wrote, “I feel blessed to have been with him and surrounded by other members of his chosen family when he passed. As we held him in the final moment of his passing, it felt as if he had passed his life and legacy on to us to remember, gain strength and knowledge from, and carry forward.”
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JPMORGAN continued from p. 1
ly the extra 505,000 square feet from St. Bart’s will be purchased. “I think it will be a bit of a longshot that they will end up getting purchased,” that source said. The source added that the options are being held in reserve in case other planned air rights purchases fall through, explaining that buyers “spread the love in the neighborhood.” The bank has until February 28, 2019 to make a decision on exercising its option on the additional St. Bart’s air rights. JPMorgan’s new tower will house around 15,000 employees, roughly four times the number it currently holds, according to the company’s February announcement. Construction is expected to begin next year, pending approvals, and will take around five years to complete. The building at 270 Park Ave., between E. 47th and 48th Sts. — known originally as the Union Carbide building — wasn’t thought to be in danger by preservationists during the discussions about landmarked buildings and East Midtown’s rezoning. In February, when the bank announced it would demolish the building, preservation groups were shocked. “We were caught flat-footed,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council (HDC), adding that it was “truly an error in judgment” on the part of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to omit the building from a list of landmark designations in 2016. The post-war period of midcentury Corporate Modernism may not be some people’s cup of tea, he added, but it set the architectural tone for East Midtown some six decades ago. The building embodied, Bankoff said, New York’s status as the “juggernaut” of American financial, economic, and cultural power in the postWorld War II years. The New York Landmarks Conservancy echoed that sentiment. “We think it’s a great building, and we’re sorry the LPC didn’t agree with us,” said Peg Breen, president of the Conservancy. The Conservancy, the HDC, and the Municipal Art Society requested that the Union Carbide building be landmarked in November 2013, along with 15 others in NYC Community Media
East Midtown. Though eight of their recommendations were landmarked, Union Carbide was not. In a letter earlier this year to the former LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, Breen noted that even the Draft Environmental Impact Statement in 2013 for the rezoning included the Union Carbide as “one of the City’s great modern buildings” that “marked the end of that short-lived but graceful clean-cut era as it was followed by many vastly inferior imitators.” The Lever House, the Seagram Building, and Union Carbide make an important trio representative of this period in architecture, Breen said. JPMorgan’s air rights purchases and plans for a new tower are the first of many such projects expected in East Midtown in the wake of last year’s rezoning of the district. Although this zoning district has different requirements than typical for transferring air rights, similar deals are popping up across the city allowing developers to build taller — in many cases, megatowers criticized by some community groups as overdevelopment. The neighborhood’s city councilmember, Keith Powers, while noting he will examine the air rights transfer in detail, said the new building is an investment in the area’s future. “The JPMorgan proposal is the result of the East Midtown reszoning — a large employer is investing in New York City based on the ability to grow in Midtown,” he said in an email. “It will also result in a significant investment in East Midtown. I will review the proposal carefully and ensure that it meets the needs of the city.” Powers added that “public realm contributions were heavily negotiated” in drawing up the district’s rezoning and represent “an innovative tool to use private dollars to address public needs in a congested area.” Bankoff was surprised the bank chose to demolish the building at all — especially for just 20 or so additional stories. JPMorgan, only six years ago, retrofitted 270 Park to be environmentally friendly at the highest standard set by the US Green Building Council. “It strikes me as unnecessary that they’re demolishing this historic building,” he said. “It’s kind of a flabbergasting moment.” July 12, 2018
July 12, 2018
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July 12, 2018