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IT’S A WHEEL MESS CB2 Says Narrow Park Bike Path Needs Widening see page 4
Photo by Lincoln Anderson
Brawny bikers and baby carriages converge with runners and pedestrians in a free-for-all mixing zone at 14th St. on the Hudson River bike path.
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON It was 6 p.m. on Sun., July 8, and a little boy on his kick scooter was coming through a dangerous “S” curve on the Hudson River bikeway at W. 14th St. He and his dad were in a temporary pedestrian lane that has been marked out on
the bike path’s western edge — but the turn made the tot suddenly topple off of his scooter, and he fell right smack into the bike lane. The boy’s worried father anxiously reached out to grab his little son’s hand and yank him to safety, right before a lycra-clad cyclist came zipping
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by on a high-tech bike, swerving slightly to barely miss the still-staggering tyke. It easily could have been an awful accident. This is, at the moment, one of the most chaotic spots on the busiest bikeway in America. The “S” curve is a
result of a so-called “connector” project that will run in front of Barry Diller’s Pier55 project to the south, which is creating an extra-wide esplanade along the river between Gansevoort Peninsula PATH continued on p. 4
VOLUME 10, ISSUE 29 | JULY 19 - 25, 2018
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 Downtownâ€™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 theyâ€™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. â€œWeâ€™re here 24/7 for immigrants and undocumented folk,â€? said Makela Duran Crelin. The Occupy ICE movement, which takes its name from the Occupy Wall Street protests that sprang up at Downtownâ€™s Zuccotii Park in 2011, Photo by Colin Mixon
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July 19, 2018
The small group of immigration advocates have set up camp at Foley Square in opposition of ICE and the federal agencyâ€™s attack on undocumented immigrants.
found its spark on the West Coast on June 17, when protestors in Portland, Oregon, formed an encampment outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office there in an effort to frustrate the federal agencyâ€™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 St. 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. The Downtown advocates originally tried to set up their encampment directly outside the US Citizenship and Immigration Services building at 26 Federal Plaza, but agents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gave the band of immigrantrights crusaders the boot within minutes, according to Duran Crelin.
â€œWhen we got here, we originally tried to occupy the grounds of the federal building over there, but in 20 minutes a bunch of DHS guys came and were like, â€˜you gotta fâ€“king go,â€™ â€? she said. So the group headed across Lafayette St. to nearby Foley Square, where theyâ€™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 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 St. until 6 a.m., when theyâ€™re allowed to return to the green space. A small force of NYPD and Park Enforcement Patrol officers descended on the encampment on July 9 to confi scate the signs and fl ags the advocates had affi xed to trees at the PROTEST continued on p. 19 NYC Community Media
DOT Backpedals on Two-Way Bike Lane for 13th St. BY LINCOLN ANDERSON Village and Chelsea residents who have been battling the city’s L train shutdown scheme say they were blindsided last year to learn that the mitigation plan included a two-way crosstown protected bike lane on 13th St. Just as quietly, a few weeks ago, the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) scrapped the idea of a dual-direction bike lane in favor of two separate oneway lanes on 12th and 13th Sts. Village attorney Arthur Schwartz, who is representing the ad-hoc 14th St. Coalition and other residents and community associations in a lawsuit against the L train shutdown plan, was the first to notice the change. About a month ago, when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and DOT submitted a “motion to dismiss” the court case, he noticed the project’s description no longer included the twoway lane, but just two separate lanes on separate streets. According to Schwartz — who is also the Village’s Democratic district coleader — as recently as June 19, DOT was still referring to a two-way bike lane, but six days later had abandoned that idea. “It used to say the bicycle lane would be either a two-way on 13th St. or two one-lanes on 12th and 13th Sts.,” Schwartz said of the plan’s previous iterations, speaking to The Villager last month. “They’ve now chosen — without announcing it. “It’s better than the two-way,” he said of the lanes change. “It’s that much more space for cars.” The plan’s opponents feared the twoway bicycle lane would cause motor traffic on 13th St. to grind to a halt if there were a delivery, a garbage pickup or anything else blocking the single lane left for moving traffic after installation of the doublewide bike lane. They also worried about losing curbside vehicle access to their buildings. Rests for comment from DOT and the MTA regarding the change regarding the bike lane were not returned. However, subsequently, at recent public meetings about the L shutdown plan, DOT officials have publicly acknowledged that the two-way bike lane is kaput. But David Marcus, a leading member of both the W. 13th St. 100 Block Association and the 14th St. Coalition, said local residents remain unhappy at the prospect of getting bike lanes — even thinner, one-way ones. “The 14th St. Coalition still mainNYC Community Media
Photo by Lincoln Anderson
After a meeting at PS41 this past March at which agency officials presented the city’s mitigation plan for a possible L train shutdown, bicycle activists and Transportation Alternatives members showed their support for both the “PeopleWay” plan for 14th St., which would turn the street into a “busway,” and a related plan for a new two-way crosstown bike lane on 13th St. The Department of Transportation recently abandoned the dual-direction bike lane plan in the face of staunch community opposition.
tains that narrow side streets, such as 12th and 13th, are already congested — and with 50 percent more traffic projected to come onto them as a result of the proposed 14th St. traffic changes — are inappropriate locations for bicycle lanes, particularly a protected one. These streets are ill-equipped to absorb that kind of volume and would become more unsafe for pedestrians, vehicles and bicyclists,” Marcus maintained. “Residents and businesses are entitled to curbside access to their homes and workplaces, as are patrons, students, emergency personnel and delivery persons.” Limiting where bike lanes could be added close to the L line, DOT and MTA did not propose adding them just north of 14th St. since there are no eastwest through streets there due to the presence of Union Square Park. Schwartz said DOT did not drop the two-way bike lane plan due to the lawsuit — but simply because there was such unyielding community opposition to it. Last month, however, Schwartz and disabled activists announced that a part of the lawsuit that targeted the lack of handicap access at a number of stations BIKE LANE continued on p. 19
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‘S’ Curve, Chute, Bollards Congest Busy Park Bike Path PATH continued from p. 1
and 14th St., the construction of which is currently bumping the bike path out to the east. (After all the work is complete, this part of the bikeway will be straightened back out again.) Meanwhile, just to the north, construction on Pier 57 — where Google will be the anchor tenant — has taken away the shoulders from the bike path; in addition, poorly thought-out dark construction netting that has been installed on both sides of the bike path around Pier 57 is obscuring path users’ views as they hit this “S” curve, making it exponentially more dangerous for everyone. Removing the dark netting is a no-brainer that would immediately make this spot far safer by opening up clear sight lines. In addition, the crosswalk across the West Side Highway at W. 14th St. that additionally feeds into this “S” curve hot spot was recently closed, which is helping reduce the mayhem — but only a bit, since not everyone is respecting the crosswalk closure. While pedestrians and joggers using the bike path have always been a problem, they are being forced to do so now because of the construction at Pier 57 and Pier55, which has temporarily taken away the dedicated pedestrian walkway. As a result, along this multiblock strip, a few feet on the western edge of the bikeway — marked with “WALK” stencils — has been used to create a pedestrian lane. Although this frenzied stretch of the bike path is particularly bad, park and cycling advocates say the Hudson River bikeway, in general, is bursting at the seams — and bursting with multiple problems. In addition to pedestrians and joggers, there is now a new breed of users further clogging up the path — namely, electric-powered ones — including electric bikes, skateboards and monowheels. However, the most urgent issue affecting the path is to make it safe against terrorism. Last Halloween, an ISIS-inspired terrorist drove a rental truck onto the bikeway at Pier 40 at W. Houston St. and then gunned his vehicle south, killing eight people, most of them tourists riding bikes. In response, temporary safety barriers were installed up and down the path last November. As of last week (when this article originally appeared in our sister publication, The Villager), the state
July 19, 2018
Photos by Lincoln Anderson
Cyclists, joggers, pedestrian tourists and small kids all mix chaotically at the treacherous “S” curve at 14th St. on the Hudson River bike path. Fencing obscures visibility at this point, which is right between the busy construction zones for Pier55, aka “Diller Island,” and Pier 57, where Google will be the anchor tenant.
Cyclists zip through the newly installed security bollards on the bike path at W. 40th St. While these are not as lengthy or bulky as the temporary Jersey barriers and large concrete blocks that were placed on the path last year, the space between the new bollards is only 4 feet wide. The cyclist on the right, above, made a passing move into the opposite-direction lane because he was moving faster than the other cyclist and the bollards require the bikers to pass through them single-file.
Department of Transportation (DOT) has started installing new permanent safety bollards. Some of the new-model barriers had already been put in at W. 40th St. as of earlier this week. The gap between the new bollards is 48 inches — slightly smaller than the width of the smallest passenger car, which is made in Italy. This is 1 foot tighter than the gap — 60 inches — that existed between the temporary bikeway safety barriers.
(Though the gap in some of the temporary barriers does seem tighter than 5 feet.) The new bollards — which are shiny silver metal, topped by bands of yellow — will be installed during the nighttime after 10 p.m. over the next month and a half between W. 59th and Chambers Sts. — which parallels the length of the Hudson River Park — and continuing on all the way down to Battery Place
at the bottom of Manhattan. Workers will flag cyclists around the construction areas. Cyclists passing through the new barriers at 40th St. didn’t seem to be having any problem with them. But only one cyclist per lane can go through them at a time, making passing impossible at that point — though some fastermoving cyclists were choosing to swerve into the opposite-direction lane if they didn’t want to wait. If cyclists mistime or misjudge this move it obviously could lead to accidents. Meanwhile, Community Board 2 (CB2), which includes the section of the Hudson River bike path from Canal St. to 14th St., last month passed an advisory resolution calling on state DOT to do an “infrastructure and traffic behavior” study of the bikeway. The resolution notes that the American Association of State and Highway Officials’ Greenbook cites 5 feet as a desirable width on “shared-use paths.” The community board is also urging DOT to look at widening the path, and also is urging that there be enforcement against illegal electric-powered vehicles and dangerous cyclist behavior, in general, such as speeding, and that a speed limit be set for the bike path and enforced. In general, there needs to be greater enforcement on the path, CB2 said. NYC Community Media
The board asked that no bollards be installed with the 48-inch gaps until after the requested study — but, obviously, DOT is moving ahead with doing it. The CB2 resolution also asks that the Trust provide accident data for the bike path. The board’s resolution was sent as a letter to Paul Karas, commissioner of state DOT. A request for comment for this article from DOT was not responded to by its original press time. The new safety bollards, specifically, are also an issue for the Hudson River Park Trust, the state-city authority that operates and is building the 4-mile long waterfront park. In short, the Trust’s current electric- and gas-powered maintenance vehicles cannot fit through the narrower 4-foot-wide gaps between the new bollards. As a result, more staff will be seen on two wheels, plus the park’s vehicles might not all be based at one central garage anymore. In general, the Trust referred questions about the bike path to state DOT. Hudson River Park Friends, the Trust’s private fundraising arm, reportedly circulated a petition in Albany opposing the new bollards and also calling attention to the bike path’s congestion problem. According to a Trust source, how-
Photo by Lincoln Anderson
Enter the mixing zone: Skateboarders, scooters, Sparky… and everybody else.
ever, the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and the New York Police Department’s Counterterrorism Unit “have been informing state DOT’s consideration of the 48-inch spacing.” The Trust does not own the bikeway, which was built and is still owned by state DOT. However, the Trust does maintain the bikeway (which is not actually part of the park) for the state and city. In fact, the Trust is currently the subject of multiple lawsuits seeking a total of $300 million in damages
from last year’s Halloween attack. Last November, the New York Post reported that the parents of one of that attack’s victims, Darren Drake, 32, in filing notice of their intent to sue, blasted city officials as “grossly negligent [for] failing to remedy the known occurrence of frequent motor vehicles entering the path.” At that time, the Drakes’ attorney charged, “This tragedy was 100 percent preventable.” They planned to sue the state, as well. The Post also reported back then that data obtained by the group NYC Park
Advocates showed that 50 motorists were ticketed for driving on the bike path — and one was arrested on the bike path for driving while drunk — between January and October of 2017. In the most horrific incident, nearly a dozen years ago, in December 2006, Eric Ng, 22, was killed while cycling by Pier 40 by a drunk East Village man who was driving his car down the bike path after leaving a party at Chelsea Piers. The Trust declined comment on the litigation, and also on whether it keeps data on accidents on the bike path. Dan Miller, the first vice chairperson of CB2, is also currently the chairperson of the Hudson River Park Advisory Council, and helped spearhead the community board’s resolution calling for a state DOT study of the bikeway. “The bike path was created for members of our community — families, children, commuters, the elderly — to enjoy,” Miller said. “It is being hijacked by electric motorized vehicles, bike racing teams and deliverymen, making it no longer a viable option for many members of our community. The permanent installation of bollards, designed by members of the Department of Homeland Security, place emphasis on PATH continued on p. 10
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July 19, 2018
‘Earth’ to Chelsea: Weekly Farmers Market Brings
John Grado, owner of Demi Olive Oil, giving a sample to Bria Miller, who said she appreciated how the market provides “great information about growing and preparing food.”
BY MION EDWARDS Located on W. 23rd St. just off Ninth Ave., Down to Earth Farmers Market holds true to its name by providing a laid-back outdoor shopping experience every Sat., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Dec. 15. The weekend of July 7 was no different, as Chelsea Now had the pleasure of interacting with farmers, customers, artisans, and entrepreneurs, all brought together by fellowship, fresh foliage, produce, pastries, and even an assortment of wine and spirits. The market was intimate and inviting. Upon arrival, vendors greeted potential customers with warm smiles and free
Fresh Kale at the Echo Creek Farm stand.
July 19, 2018
samples. Water glistened on the fruit and vegetables as you walked by. “You’re looking at the guy that picks the olives, makes the oil, bottles, and labels every one,” said John Grado, owner of Demi Olive Oil, “so it’s a direct pipeline to the trees that are over 100 years old.” Grado spoke proudly of Demi’s origins. He’s been in the business since 2005, proudly setting up shop in Chelsea on the weekends to sell his olive oil, which comes from his family’s farm in Greece. At his stand, he offered customers a sample of his olive oil along with a piece of toasted bread.
Photos by Mion Edwards
An Echo Creek Farm employee helping a customer while shopping.
“I do a circuit of farmers markets,” Grado noted, “and for me it’s about relationships. I have customers at all the places that I go. I’ve known these people for years, and that brings me joy.” All of the vendors we encountered were eager to provide Chelsea residents with a garden-fresh option to add to their meals. “We are here to give fresh greens and fresh fruits,” said Tenzin Tenkyong, an employee of Pittstown, NJ-based Jersey Farm Produce. He then noted how their produce is important to the community because “there are no pesticides, and the [produce] is certified organic.”
The ingredients for a kale and green apple salad, with zesty strawberry vinaigrette.
Tenkyong added that anything Jersey Farm Produce grows in order to sell has to be in season. He and another employee helped customers bag, weigh, and complete their orders. “The more customers we have, the more it makes me feel better,” he said. On the day we visited, a steady stream of locals stopped by to take full advantage of the friendly sidewalk shopping experience. “What I enjoy the most about farmers markets are that they’re different from your local grocery store that is open seven days a week,” said shopper Bria Miller. “At a farmers market,” she
The final product: Mion Edwards’ summertime salad, with ingredients from Chelsea’s Down to Earth Farmers Market.
NYC Community Media
a Bumper Crop of Fresh Food, New Ideas
Photos by Mion Edwards
Fresh strawberries from Echo Creek Farm.
Tenzin Tenkyong, a Jersey Farm Produce employee, bagging a customer’s groceries.
noted, “you are able to walk freely and smell the fresh fruit and vegetables. You are able to get to know the different farmers, who are very passionate and knowledgeable about the food.” Miller said she appreciated how she was “able to get great information about growing and preparing food.” Speaking of preparing the food, I didn’t just report on Down to Earth Farmers Market — I put my money where my mouth is, literally, in order to find out exactly what a customer could get for $10. Finding ingredients that could cohesively create a fresh summertime salad was my mission. From Salem,
Echo Creek Farm’s fresh apples.
NYC Community Media
NY-based Echo Creek Farm, I purchased two green apples for $1.50 a pound, a bunch of Italian kale for $3, and a basket of fresh strawberries for $4. My total cost, once the apples were weighed, was $9. With these ingredients, I made a kale and green apple salad with zesty strawberry vinaigrette. I found the recipe on tattooedmartha.com. To create this salad, all you need are the items from the farmers market, and a few things that would normally be found in the pantry. Here are the ingredients for the dressing recipe, which I also found on tattoedmartha.com (I deviated some-
what from the original recipe). 1 cup of fresh strawberry juice (about 8-10 large strawberries) ¼ cup balsamic vinegar ¼ cup olive oil 1 tsp honey ½ tsp fresh ground pepper ¼ tsp salt ¼ garlic powder I put together all of the ingredients listed above into my NutriBullet and ground them until the mixture had a dressing-like consistency. The below measurements will yield one bowl of salad. 1 ½ cups fresh kale, rinsed and cut or torn into small chunks
¼ cup green apple and 5 strawberries, sliced Feta cheese to sprinkle on top Once you dice the ingredients for the salad and mix the strawberry vinaigrette in a medium bowl, you can enjoy the fruits (and kale) of your labor. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy knowing that you’re eating a healthy meal while also supporting local farmers. The Down to Earth Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at W. 23rd St., just off Ninth Ave. For more information, visit downtoearth markets.com, demioliveoil.com, echo creekfarm.com, and grownyc.org/nfdp/ jerseyfarmproduce.
This Down to Earth Farmers Market sign beckons passersby.
July 19, 2018
POLICE BLOTTER PETIT LARCENY: Something’s ajar
model valued at $250) was still in the home of his new friend. There’s a good chance it’s still there: Despite multiple occasions when the two agreed to meet up and have the jacket handed over, the meeting never happened. (The suspect, the victim told police, ultimately failed to acknowledge that they ever agreed to meet for the owner/jacket reunion.)
Stealing is bad enough — but the shameless thievery of somebody’s well-earned dough? That really makes our wheat chafe (okay, chaff). Such a high crime of low behavior happened at 6:55pm on Thurs, July 12, when somebody ran off with the tip jar from Momenta, a bubble tea and juice shop at 64 Seventh Ave. (btw. W. 14th & 15th Sts.). An employee told police about the theft, but was not able to give a detailed description of the petty perp, whose thoughtlessness robbed the staff of approximately $70. Surveillance video was available, although Momenta was unable to provide it to police at the time of the incident.
PETIT LARCENY: Jacket ﬂack Note to self: Stop making new friends at 3:15 a.m. That is, perhaps, what went on in the mind of our 31-year-old victim, who chatted up a
HARASSMENT Lowly behavior on the High Line
36-year-old in the early hours of Sun., June 24. The two newfound buddies retreated to the 36-year-old’s apartment just west of Times Square, and hung out for about two hours. When the 31-year-old decided to call it a night, he jumped into a cab and realized his jacket (a grey Ben Sherman
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July 19, 2018
A 23-year-old man decided to smoke a cigarette on the High Line, Chelsea’s iconic and often congested elevated park — when he was approached by a man who identified himself as High Line security. The incident, which happened at 10:15 p.m. on Thurs., July 12, took a strange turn when the self-professed security professional told the aghast puffer, “You can pay the $250 fi ne, or you can rub me out.” According to police, the “civilian was in shock,” and took it upon himself to contact the man’s employer — who assured him that the employee had been fi red.
PETIT LARCENY Our top story: We have no newspapers They’ve been writing the obituary for the newsprint industry for years now—and your community newspaper, Chelsea Now, is happy to prove the haters and pundits wrong by publishing our free publication every Thursday. Look for it in the street corner boxes. As for the papers you have to pay for, it’s been a challenge to fi nd them for purchase at K&K Convenience Store, at 364 W. 23 St. (btw. Ninth & 10th Aves). That’s because, according to a store employee, somebody keeps stealing the stacks of papers left outside the store, via daily delivery around 6 a.m. Representing just one piece in this pattern, a theft occurred on Sat., July 14, when the thief took bundles of the New York Post, New York Times, New York Daily News, and other papers — with a total value of $120. If the thief is caught, we’re not sure it will be front page news — but we do promise an update on the Blotter page. —Scott Stiffler
THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commanding Officer: Capt. Kevin Coleman. Main number: 212-7418211. Community Affairs: 212-7418226. Crime Prevention: 212-7418226. Domestic Violence: 212-7418216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-9243377. Detective Squad: 212-7418245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced. The Council is on break for the summer, and resumes regular monthly meetings as of Sept. 26. MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Commanding Officer: Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney. Call 212-239-9811. Community Affairs: 212-239-9846. Crime Prevention: 212-239-9846. Domestic Violence: 212-239-9863. Youth Officer: 212239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-239-9836. Detective Squad: 212-239-9856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7 p.m., at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & 35th Sts.). There are no July or August meetings. For more info, visit midtownsouthcc.org. THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Commanding Officer: Deputy Inspector Steven M. Hellman. Call 212-477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212-477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30 p.m., at the 13th Precinct. CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawed-off shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.
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July 19, 2018
PATH continued from p. 5
anti-terror mechanisms which are in direct conflict to the enjoyment of the bikeway experience. Rather than rush to put a visual band-aid on the bikeway with harmful 48-inch bollards, a study should be conducted to design appropriate methods to increase safety on the bikeway, rather than make it untenable for most users of the park.” Steve Vaccaro, a cyclist activist and attorney focusing on lawsuits involving cyclist injuries and fatalities, said he agrees with CB2 that the Hudson Park bikeway should be widened. “I think the bike path is coming under pressure from all the factors the community board mentioned — and also from increased popularity,” he said. “It’s wildly popular. It should be widened, absolutely. The widening really should be the main battle here.” Like CB2, Vaccaro said what he called “the heterogeneous traffic” on the bike path is a big part of the problem. Basically, joggers and pedestrians should be using the esplanade next to the water — not the bike path, he stressed. The attorney bicycle-commutes each day from the Upper East Side to Lower Manhattan, using the Hudson River bikeway. “I find myself constantly in conflict with pedestrians, runners,” he said of the West Side bikeway. “What frustrates me is that there is zero enforcement in keeping runners off the bike path.” Enforcement should be done by Park Enforcement Patrol, or PEP, officers or “anyone” from law enforcement, he said. “People know that they’re not supposed to be there,” he said. At the same time, he acknowledged, “At night, they say that the esplanade is too desolate for women — I’m not insensitive to those concerns.” (A woman who was queried while jogging on the outside edge of the bike path a few weeks ago said she prefers it to the esplanade. “There are too many tourists. It slows me down,” Kat, 30, originally from Belarus, now living “Downtown,” complained of the esplanade.) Yet, Vaccaro said, it’s incredibly frustrating to him and fellow cycling activists that it was bikers who fought hard to achieve these car-free spaces, which are now also being exploited by walkers, joggers, e-skateboarders and all the rest. “The runners are what they call in political science, ‘free riders,’” he noted. Why doesn’t the well-funded New York Road Runners club lobby for its own jogging space? he asked.
July 19, 2018
Photos by Lincoln Anderson
There’s more than just one of them out there: Electronic monowheels are growing in popularity — and in speed, too.
Traveling through the “chute” outside Pier 57, at W. 16th St.: Construction fencing is right up against the bike path here, giving everyone — bikers and pedestrians alike — a very cramped feeling as they squeeze through.
Also irking him, he noted that most joggers run with earphones in both ears. (Cyclists, on the other hand, can be slapped with a $50 ticket if they have earphones in both ears, though are allowed to ride with one earphone in one ear.) “They never hear my bell,” Vaccaro said in exasperation of joggers. “I ring my bell, I call out, I say, ‘Have you tried using the esplanade? It’s over there.’ They say, ‘F— you.’ ” Miller of CB2 also feels strongly that joggers should use the esplanade — as they are supposed to do. “I agree 100 percent,” he said. “Keep the joggers, who often run side by side, off the bike path! It’s dangerous for
everyone.” Vaccaro also dislikes how electric skateboarders tend to ride right in the middle of the lanes. “They don’t keep right,” he said. “They assume they’re faster — but they’re not.” Meanwhile, electric monowheels are proliferating now, too, and the latest models are hitting speeds of 25 miles per hour, he noted. And it’s anticipated that the number of such electrically powered mini-vehicles will only keep growing. And Transportation Alternatives continues to push for the legalization of electric bikes. But Vaccaro is less miffed at electric bike riders, who he feels at least make
eye contact and “communicate.” As for the dangerous “S” curve on the Hudson Park bikeway at W. 14th St., he said, “Oh, my God. That has gone through several iterations and the current one is terrible.” (Basically a half dozen or more small orange “Detour” signs were recently plastered all over the construction fence there.) “It’s a disaster,” Vaccaro said of that spot. “I’d be surprised if there haven’t been significant accidents.” At the end of the day, Vaccaro’s recommendation is to increase the path’s total width to 18 feet, which would include two 6-foot-wide bike lanes flanked by two 3-foot-wide pedestrian/ jogging lanes. A polling of cyclists using the path over several visits found that most felt a broader pathway definitely would be better. “They should widen it,” said one of them, Alex, 29, from the Upper West Side. At the same time, she noted, as a native New Yorker, she just always anticipates there will be a certain amount of chaos and knows it’s up to her to fend for herself. Sometimes she also jogs on the Hudson River bike path. Whatever mode she’s in at any given moment, that’s her mindset. “When I’m jogging, joggers rule. When I’m biking, bikers rule,” she shrugged, with a smile. “It’s got the New York attitude,” she said of the bike path. “I just focus on where I want to get to — that’s it.” NYC Community Media
NYC Community Media
July 19, 2018
Photo by Jonathan Smith
L to R: Allen Lewis Rickman, Yelena Shmulenson and Shake Baker. “Tevye Served Raw” is at the Playroom Theater through Aug. 14.
From Hilarious Comedy to the Depths of Tragedy ‘Tevye’ serves suitably ‘raw’ homage to the greatest of Yiddish writers BY TRAV S.D. In the middle of this year of grim golden anniversaries of assassinations, and riots and strife, it’s well to remember some positive things that were happening in 1968. For example, that year the original Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof” was two-thirds of the way through its record-setting, six-year run. Based on the Yiddish “Tevye the Dairyman” stories of Sholem Aleichem (Solomon Rabinovich, 1859-1916), “Fiddler” was not just an award-winning box office hit — it was a groundbreaking cultural event, the first mainstream pop cultural depiction of Eastern European Jewry as it existed before World War II. It seems strange to imagine a time (and so recent a time) when theatrical producers actually worried that “Fiddler on the Roof” might be “too Jewish” for mainstream audiences. For some con-
July 19, 2018
temporary producers, apparently, it’s not Jewish enough! The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene is presently showing an all-Yiddish version of the musical, translated from the English version by Shagra Friedman, and playing at the Museum of Jewish Heritage through Sept. 2. And the Congress for Jewish Culture is currently presenting a production called “Tevye Served Raw” at the Playroom Theater through Aug. 14. “Tevye Served Raw” is the artistic brainchild of a trio: the husband-wife acting team of Allen Lewis Rickman and Yelena Shmulenson (best known as the Yiddish-speaking couple in the prologue to the Coen Brothers’ 2009 film “A Serious Man”) and Shane Baker, who styles himself “the best-loved Episcopalian on the Yiddish stage today.” All three act in the production, which consists of adaptations of Aleichem’s
stories by Rickman and Baker, as well as some scenes from Aleichem’s own theatrical dramatization of the Tevye stories. Some portions of the show feature spoken English translation, others make use of supertitles. Rickman directed the show, which, in contrast with the current Folksbiene production, is a showcase for Aleichem’s original Yiddish voice. “[The Public Theater’s] Joseph Papp called Yiddish the perfect language for the theatre,” Rickman said. “Our use of the word ‘raw’ in the title means ‘unprocessed.’ This is the organic, macrobiotic, sustainable version,” he joked. “Everyone in this production is a genuine Yiddish speaker. Yiddish is unbelievably expressive and musical and only someone who really speaks it can tap into that.” Though Baker is a gentile who hails from Kansas, Rickman singled him out for specific praise, saying, “Shane may be
the most fluent Yiddish speaker I’ve ever heard. He speaks the most gorgeous, idiomatic Yiddish.” Rickman’s father was a native Yiddish speaker from Poland; Schulenson was born in Belarus and grew up in Ukraine. The current production grew out of Baker’s appearances at Aleichem’s yahrzeit, annual bereavement ceremonies honoring the deceased in the Jewish tradition. Aleichem’s will requested readings of his stories at this ceremony each year. Baker had been brought in to interpret the tales several years in a row, and a theatre piece grew out of that experience, with a view to presenting something by 2016, the 100th anniversary of Aleichem’s death. Versions of the show have been presented in Australia, Canada, Israel, and Ukraine. TEVYE continued on p. 14 NYC Community Media
Music Married to Film: The Iconic Scores of Nino Rota Lincoln Center outdoor concert celebrates Rota, Coppola, Fellini BY GERALD BUSBY Italian composer Nino Rota’s most haunting and iconic film scores are being presented in concert, July 27 in Damrosch Park, as part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival. “Hal Willner’s Amarcord Nino Rota” — a reference to music producer Willner’s 1981 tribute album, “Amarcord Nino Rota (I Remember Nino Rota)” — will feature music written for Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” and “Juliet of the Spirits,” as well as Coppola’s “Godfather” films. These classics are unimaginable without Rota’s music. Setting moving pictures to music is like setting poetry to music, and Rota’s film scores for Fellini and Coppola are perfect examples. It vivifies the images on screen, while simultaneously creating a context within which the viewer perceives meaning. Nino Rota’s fi lm music, provided it’s clearly amplified, loses none of its effectiveness when heard in the open air, as it will be in the Damrosch Park Bandshell. Rota’s music creates its own emotional environment. In his Norton Lectures at Harvard, Leonard Bernstein said that the next note a composer writes in a musical phrase should be both inevitable and a surprise. Effective musical phrases are a reminder that perception itself is a creative act that transcends emotional reactivity. Rota demonstrates this vividly in his scores for the “Godfather” films, using just four pitches in a sevennote phrase to personify loss, suffering, and vengeance. An origin of this raw emotional music is, I think, Muslim calls to prayer that emanate from the voices of muezzins in minarets. This unrestrained singing from the gut, produced instinctively by tension in the throat and larynx, is like no other human utterance — it’s a primal scream that emerges from the viscera with twisted NYC Community Media
Courtesy of Lincoln Center
“Hal Willner’s Amarcord Nino Rota” is musical tribute to the Italian composer, known for his work with Fellini and Coppola.
emotional drama. Rota also draws heavily on circus music. Especially in his scores for Fellini, there’s a bouncing, playful, primal energy that propels the action forward. It also reminds us that we’re just characters acting out our individual soap operas for others to mock or admire. Rota sets this mood perfectly in “Juliet of the Spirits” with an oom-pah, oom-pah bass line, moving at a steady walking pace. This familiar tuba figure alternates between “do” and “sol.” The instrumentation is sim-
ple: melodeon, trumpet, trombone, tuba, and percussion. Rota’s textures make use of musical clichés — phrases that everyone recognizes, but, as Leonard Bernstein said, even though you think you’ve heard it before, it still surprises you. The music suddenly takes off, double time, as if announcing a new circus act that is clamoring for attention as it enters the center ring. Calliope-like textures cascade chromatically down the scales, highlighted by the tinkling belllike sounds of the xylophone. It’s breathless, almost frenetic,
and it never fails to reach a climax at exactly the right time. The rhythms, though faster, are still in two. You’re never out of step dancing to a duple rhythm. As I write this, I’m listening to Rota’s film music for “Juliet of the Spirits.” Cues are built on a binary form: sequence and cadence, which gives them a defi nite sense of designation and completion. This isn’t equivocal music at all — it’s very specific with reference to the images it’s ornamenting. It incites an immediacy, a lively presence, that is irresist-
ible. Rota’s cues are “theme” music, in the formidable tradition of Hollywood fi lms, where the theme is often a song that becomes as famous as the movie. An example of this is David Raskin’s “Laura,” composed for the 1944 film of the same name, directed by Otto Preminger. Raskin freely quotes, within his original film score, from Ravel’s “Daphne and Chloé Suite No. 2.” Ravel’s music is the inspiration for “Laura.” It’s unforgettable. NINO ROTA continued on p. 15 July 19, 2018
Photos by Jonathan Smith
L to R: Shane Baker, Allen Lewis Rickman and Yelena Shmulenson. TEVYE continued from p. 12
The pieces range from hilarious comedy to the depths of tragedy — or, as the ads promise, “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll krechtz.” One special gem, called “A Stepmother’s Trash-Talk,” depicts the process by which Aleichem became a
writer: He created an alphabet book based on his stepmother’s curses. Other sections, with titles like “Strange Jews on a Train” and “The Yiddish Sisyphus,” remind us why Sholem Aleichem was known as “the Jewish Mark Twain.” But never far away are harsh realities. “Aleichem and the people who wrote
Allen Lewis Rickman.
‘Fiddler’ were writing for two entirely different audiences,” Rickman said. “The outlook of the shtetl is not the same as the outlook of a Long Island housewife. So Aleichem’s original stories got whitewashed when they made the musical. The ugliness and the horror of the pogroms got covered up. In real life, interfaith marriages were outlawed in Russia. A Jew would have to convert to Christianity. You weren’t allowed to convert to Judaism.” So tears flow between belly laughs in this faithful homage to the greatest
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of Yiddish writers. And, while it’s not a musical, there is one lovely song, a lullaby sung by Schulenson, with lyrics by Aleichem. With very little imagination one can picture this bare-bones, but highly skilled production, touring on the back of a wagon from village to village across the Pale of Settlement. It’s not possible to be more authentic. Sun., Mon. and Tues. at 7pm, through Aug. 14, at the Playroom Theater (151 W. 46th St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.). For tickets ($38), visit TevyeServedRaw. com or call 800-838-3006. NYC Community Media
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Photo by Kevin Yatarola
Damrosch Park, seen here, is the setting for July 27’s musical tribute to Italian composer Nino Rota. NINO ROTA continued from p. 13
Rota’s score for Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” is married to the fi lm. Once the film enters your consciousness, you can’t hear the music without imagining the film, and vice versa. The same is true for Rota’s music for “The Godfather” — the quintessential expression of intense yearning. The ways the creative energies of Coppola’s film and Rota’s music intermingle isn’t easily understood or explained, but
they’re felt as keenly as the most intimate, thrilling sex. Fri., July 27, 7:30pm at Damrosch Park (62nd St., btw. Amsterdam & Columbus Aves.). Free. Seating is first come, first served, and gates open one hour prior to the performance. This event is part of Lincoln Center Out of Doors, a festival offering of world-class music, dance, film, and more from July 24 to Aug. 12. For the full schedule, visit lincolncenter.org/ out-of-doors.
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An Ode to Cattle Egret For Bringing a Little BY LISA RUIMY HOLZKENNER On a dreamy summer afternoon in July, I heard that a new avian creature Was roaming around our Penn South lawns, Somewhere between 24th Street and 28th Street So I wandered back and forth between both streets To meet our new neighbor, but she was nowhere to be found, Neither in nor below the sky. Finally, after hearing that the bird had mostly been spotted on the corner Of Ninth Avenue and 28th Street, I decided there to stay. In solemn silence, with unwavering eyes, and with bated breath I waited, Watching the world go by, people speeding to lives of freedom and chance. The passersby stared at me in wonder. One asked, “What are you looking at up there in the sky?” I replied that I was looking for a bird. “For a bird?” A soft smile brightened his face. I felt compelled to explain: Yes, these creatures, regardless of their size, shape, color or country of origin, Lure us from our sweet homes into nature, flowering fields, and all above To watch them soar and dart right by. We wonder how it feels to fly and see the shadow Of the magnificent earth from the sky. Avian wings make claims on our imagination, Upon which mankind has flown ever further and higher in the orbit of civilization. A few passersby lingered - birds became a bridge to their memories and fantasies. Some with tenderness wanting to be cute, like the chickadee with a cheery attitude, Others wanting to be free and funny, like the parrot, dancing to the rhythm of music. Still others wanted to be a bald eagle - brave, serene, and free, Holding an olive branch, offering peace and war no more. I was delighted and had fun with my new acquaintances’ creative imaginations. As the golden light gleamed upon the trees and the rays of the sun kissed the grass, Passersby with passion for life dispersed one by one, speeding to their destination. With their departure, time sank into silence. The air was languorous with summer scent Stirring my emotions, coloring my thoughts. The rustling leaves danced to the melody of the wind. The darkness of night would soon fall. I was ready to return to my sweet home. Suddenly, the sky filled with echoes of a primal rhythm. I looked up into the glimmering hues of sunset splendor. A spirit of the natural world with luminescent white attire Appearing from the west, hovered over my head like a seraph of peace, Singing in an unfamiliar language strange and sweet, A song of things unknown but still longed for. A bird clever at certain sciences, With a secret compass of her soul able to see in three dimensions, Scans the copious trees, branches, and bushes To harvest her food and build her nest. Slowly descending toward terra firma, swooping over the fence, She landed amidst the freshly mowed lawns of Penn South As if she knew that our community is kind at heart; to birds they do no harm. Audacious bird, unencumbered by the elusive boundaries of man-made rules, Carried no baggage or passport except her bits of hope. With a smile, I murmured to myself, “Birds know no borders.” I could not believe my lucky eyes, Falling on this elegant bird adorned with a majestic white garment Of buff plumes like threads of gossamer With a highlight of orange-pink feathers on her head extending down her back. A feathered friend with a hunched posture, short thick neck, Grayish-yellow short legs, sturdy yellow –orange stout bill, And green-yellow eyes ringed with white, sparkling like stars
July 19, 2018
Photo by Walter Naegle
Looking both proud and elegant. With a smile on my face and a heart filled with hellos I said: “Welcome to Penn South, unwind and cherish your rest in this oasis.” Watching this feathered cousin filled me with wonder and tenderness And for the beholders passing by she became an amusing, thrilling sight. Thank you, new friend, for bestowing your beauty upon our community And bringing some wilderness to Chelsea. I recognized the bird. Softly I whispered, “Egret, cattle egret.” I thought by calling her name she would gaze at me in turn, But her eyes were entranced, spying into the crevices of the earth Placing one foot, then the other, as she wobbled in wide arcs from side to side. When the manna was revealed, Her dagger-like beak was quicker than a human hand. Versatility is her diet; she savors fish, crickets, and small vertebrates, But today she was hunting in her own fashion, Gleaning innumerable insects, invertebrates, and tidbits stirred up from the earth. Finally, after savoring her meal, she stared back at me With a timeless perceptive gaze, Taking me from earthly things to another dimension Where the language becomes wordless. I was touched by something immeasurable, which I could not describe at first. I wanted to invite her to be my guest, NYC Community Media
Wilderness to Our Penn South in Chelsea To talk about what had driven her astray from her nest, The beauty of the wildlife and the harmony of the forest. Solemnly, with intuitive scrutiny, She opened her mouth like a half moon, her tone full of meaning but without words. With eloquence so soft, in a whisper she recited her story: “My genes are rooted in Africa. My name derives from the symbiotic relationship with all kinds of cattle, buffalos and rhinos to mention a few, upon whose back I forage to take the ectoparasite, a win–win enterprise. In 1817, the wings of the wind blew my ancestors to North America. Wandering to find safety and peace, they immigrated in 1953 to Florida. I once lived in a forest, in a tree, In a house of straw gathered by my father and braided by my mother. I needed no more. But the sacred primeval trees, which within themselves contain all of life’s seeds, were being destroyed. One day my mother whispered in my ear: ‘Fly, my child, seek a safer world.’ I fluttered from my home, facing new challenges of different hues. The forces of destiny have taken me through territories unknown, Some dark nights and some shining moons.” Egret - survivor of her ethos, full of knowledge of the natural world if we only listen: “Man is violating the law of nature By not maintaining the ecosystem in balance and Unity among all creatures on earth. The forest where we once lived was lush with green trees, plenty of food to eat, Places to play and meet during broad daylight or at night, A corner of our own for repose and to build a nest. Now our homes have fallen to the ground, no place to rest our tired wings. The scorching sun rays are harsh, no shadows to cool our heads. The air has died from the smoke, making it hard to breathe. I am afraid I will no longer be able to sing, welcoming the rebirth of spring, Whose myriad blossoms carry the seeds of tomorrow that tell of love and hope, And birds begin to sing, awakening man’s consciousness To the ramifications of unloved earth, The only home in the universe we call our own. Like you, Homo Sapiens, we also have the right to life, In nature we cry, in a language that humans do not understand. For the sake of mankind and all creatures on earth, We must start today to work toward a better tomorrow. Some say Not Now… If not now, then when? If not us, here and now, we have each other to blame.” Sanguine Egret spoke from the heart, Her avian inner wisdom reaching across space and evolutionary time, Wisdom of things true and deep that we mortals, for now, could only dream of. This immortal moment infused my spirit with awe. Like a mother’s heart, my soul vibrated with tenderness and then I just began to cry. Somewhere in the soft fold of memory, I knew this feathered cousin. We had an ancient conversation in a language I no longer understand. Her words were like an aria that was never sung, just surmised. After sharing her story, Egret retreated under the labyrinth of a blossoming tree. There she sat in solitude behind the veil of leaves Conversing with her shadow about her immigrant pain in silent tears, Opening the doorway to ancient memories of exile from her family and friends. The rustling leaves caressed her softly, A solemn affirmation of having survived the mélange of life -- joy and grief. From time to time Egret was loquacious, making a melodious tune, Melancholic and sweet as though calling for some hidden want. By the great design of the universe, her colored feathers signaled She had come of courting age to select her mate and build her own nest. As the sun began to drop below the horizon, day and night merging in mystery, The moon would soon be smiling in its mystical way And the stars would soon be too many to count. NYC Community Media
Egret, with ecstatic motion, with poise and grace, Spread her brave wings of freedom as she swooped and soared, Ascending into the black velvet of the deepening twilight. It was as though she knew the purpose to her destination. I wondered what the night prepared for her. Would she allow her spirit to take her where she longed to be? Mingle with other souls looking for her perfect mate? Or maybe return to guard her nest? Wishing her a safe road that no one else could travel, Only she must travel for herself. My eyes followed her into the infinite sky, Hearing the blessed creature sing a joyous tune to the silence of the night. Her silhouette of glittering white feathers conjured an image of a white flag Resonating with an eternal dream of mine, yearning for world peace, Wondering how many lifetimes it would take for us to realize That in the circle of life we are all interconnected, forming a harmonious whole, From mankind to all living things in this immense world, In ways that our finite minds cannot decipher or understand. —This poem is dedicated to conservationists and all who devote their lives to spreading love and knowledge of birds, animals, and the natural world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Ruimy Holzkenner was born in Morocco, lived briefly in France and Israel, and has resided in Manhattan for the past 54 years. A psychoanalyst with extensive clinical experience in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, early childhood development, and family therapy, Holzkenner has lectured extensively on her clinical work. She loves photographing birds, flowers, and anything visual that creates nostalgia for what we were, what we are, and what we always will be: part of nature. Her photographs have appeared in various publications, as well as in a traveling exhibition on the life of Bayard Rustin. Most recently, her poem, “Hidden Identities in Transition,” inspired by the Jews of Belmonte, Portugal, appeared in the United Federation of Teachers’ publication, “Reflections in Poetry and Prose 2015.”
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NYC Community Media
PROTEST continued from p. 2
park, claiming the protestors were violating city ordinances, according to one occupier. “They took it down without giving us time to take 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 Zuccotti 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
BIKE LANE continued from p. 3
in the shutdown leg of the L line had been settled: The MTA agreed to add handicap-accessible elevators at the L’s stop at Sixth Ave. and 14th St. as part of the work during the L shutdown, leading to that part of the litigation being officially resolved. The city hopes to suspend L subway service for 15 months, starting in April 2019, between Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg and 14th St. and Eighth Ave. in Manhattan, so that repairs can
THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
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Occupiers hold up handmade signs in support of undocumented immigrants
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.”
be made to the line’s East River tubes, which were damaged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. In addition to installing new bike lanes, the city — as part of the mitigation plan for being without the L train for nearly a year and a half — hopes to turn 14th St. into a “busway” exclusively for most of the day. Under the plan, cars would be banned from the major Downtown crosstown artery except for between the overnight/early morning hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. During the rest of the day, the street would be buses
only. Coalition members fear the city’s plan is to make 14th St. an “experiment” by ultimately turning it into a permanent no-cars busway. Agency officials have been cagey on whether they want all the proposed traffic changes to be permanent — instead saying they will assess them later after the changes have been implemented. Coalition members also oppose the city’s plan to expand the street’s pedestrian space into the current parking lanes — again, because they don’t want to lose the ability of having cars use the boulevard.
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A hot-button issue: Buttons bashing the city’s plan for a protected, two-way crosstown bicycle lane on 13th St. were handed out this past February at a meeting of Village and Chelsea block associations opposed to the mitigation measures for the city’s L train shutdown plan.
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