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VOLUME 10, ISSUE 30 | JULY 26 - AUGUST 1, 2018
MSCC Homeless and Housing Study Serves as Roadmap, Resource
Courtesy of MSCC
The Midtown South Community Council’s first-ever “Homeless and Housing Study” was undertaken as a way to build a coalition and assist homeless people in their neighborhood.
Photo by John A. Mudd
From 2017: A homeless encampment on W. 38th St. and Eight Ave., successfully disbanded by the Midtown South Community Council in cooperation with homeless services organizations.
cuation an eva e v a h “I ke sure will ma I . n la p s too.” ily doe my fam
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July 26, 2018
BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC For years, the Midtown South Community Council (MSCC) has planted seeds in hopes a coalition will grow to help the homeless. This month, as part of that effort, a sapling sprung when the council released its first-ever “Homeless and Housing Study.” “The idea was to answer the public’s outcries,” said John A. Mudd, the council’s president and a longtime resident at W. 38th St. and Eighth Ave. At the council’s monthly meetings — in which residents can voice concerns directly to the Midtown South Precinct — the homeless and what the police can do about them are often a topic. “Policing has its limits,” according to the study, and “some homeless habits, however frowned upon, are not illegal.” Quality of life concerns for residents — such as public intoxication, loitering, encampments, panhandling, and other issues — are addressed in the report. Mudd said he hopes the study also spurs the public’s involvement in the “age-old problem,” and encourages people to call 311 and provides tips on how to do so. The study notes that calls contribute to statistical data, and a high volume of them “will identify hot spots for active enforcement and outreach efforts.” In addition to the report being a resource for the public, Mudd said he
was hopeful it would break down the silo effect. “You have a lot of people doing great work but we can’t crack [it] unless we come together and work together and streamline efforts,” Mudd said in a phone interview. The study “has enough to educate and map out a plan.” The council’s Homeless and Housing Committee has been meeting, with Mudd saying Community Board 4 (nyc.gov/mcb4), nonprofits Breaking Ground (breakingground.org), and Urban Pathways (urbanpathways.org), and others, including representatives from the city, have been very active. The council is also working with the business improvement districts in the area, such as the Garment District Alliance, and the 34th Street and Grand Central Partnerships. “City agencies, nonprofits, community organizations, and citizens are searching for solutions to intervene in this social crisis and improve the health of our city. It is the hope of this proposal to serve that end and to bring others together to help with solutions to this chronic problem,” according to the study. Mudd said the report took about eight months, and there are plans to update it. For some time, the council has been working on web services, and the report states that Street2home. MSCC STUDY continued on p. 10 NYC Community Media
Fear L Shutdown will be ‘Nightmare on Kenmare’ BY SYDNEY PEREIRA T he N YC Department of Transportation (DOT) presented some fine-tuned details of the L train shutdown plan to Community Boards 2 and 3 the week before last. Complaints about the project’s accompanying mitigation plan that have been raised for months from community groups from the Lower East Side to the West Village were raised yet again — but this time, DOT was ready with more specifics on a few key parts of the plan. Regarding one particular street corner, DOT presented two options for Board 2 to consider for Kenmare St. — where, under the plan, two new bus routes would be added through Soho and Little Italy. A total of four new bus routes linking Manhattan and Brooklyn would transport an expected 17 percent of displaced L train riders. (It’s estimated the remaining 79 percent of former L riders would take other subway lines, while 4 percent would take a new East River ferry route connecting to Stuyvesant Town.) Soho and Little Italy residents are concerned about a tight turn from Kenmare St. onto Cleveland Place. An unavoidable reality is that Delancey St. — a six-lane crosstown corridor — turns into Kenmare. “That is a very challenging corridor to deal with,” Aaron Sugiura, DOT director of transit policy and planning, said at Board 3’s July 10 Transportation Committee meeting. “It’s one of the terrible gifts that our forefathers left us with — dumping Delancey St. out into a street that’s 40-feet wide. We have to deal with that.” Kenmare St. currently runs twoway with two travel lanes, plus two lanes that are used for travel or parking. To add a bus lane, DOT is proposing two possible options. One would include two traffic lanes — with one lane going in each direction — and one bus lane, plus a parking or loading lane on the north side. The second option would scrap eastbound traffic entirely, maintaining a lane for travel or parking on the street’s south side. A separate change would restrict left turns from Lafayette St. onto Kenmare, and add pedestrian space at Petrosino Square, in response to voiced concerns that traffic turning from Lafayette onto Kenmare often veers into the westbound lane to make the sharp turn NYC Community Media
Image courtesy of NYC DOT
To better accommodate a plan to increase bus routes during the planned L train shutdown, the DOT is proposing two options for Kenmare St. One scenario would preserve two-way traffic on the street, while the other would make the street westbound only.
more easily. However, the second option and the Petrosino Square proposal, “would be a disaster,” according to Georgette Fleischer. “How can our fire engines get where they need to go? ” said Fleischer, president of the Friends of Lt. Petrosino Square. “Closing it off is not a solution.” More than five years ago, a fire at 41 Spring St. killed one person, burning her beyond recognition. Fleischer said blocking eastbound traffic on Kenmare St. would make it harder for first responders to access the narrow streets in that neck of the neighborhood. Already, she sees firefighters turn left down Lafayette St. going in the wrong direction against traffic from the Ladder 20 firehouse at 253 Lafayette St. “It’s already a crisis point in terms of emergency vehicles getting where they need to go,” Fleischer said, adding the neighborhood was traumatized after the 2013 fatal arson incident at 41 Spring St. One-third of vehicles on Kenmare St. are going to or coming from the Holland Tunnel, with a majority of the traffic heading westbound, according to DOT. The department predicts HOV-3 (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. — another part of the L shutdown mitigation plan — would cut traffic by 75 percent on Kenmare St.
Small business owners are also concerned the added traffic on Kenmare would make it more difficult to get deliveries and negatively impact them. At least two
people proposed bus routes that would avoid Kenmare St. altogether, including Michele Varian, founder
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L SHUTDOWN continued on p. 19
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Post-Pride Parade, Police Barricades Were the Guests That Wouldn’t Leave
Photo by Paul Groncki
After the June 24 Pride Parade, police barricades remained on W. 16th St. until their removal on July 24.
BY DUNCAN OSBORNE A month after New York City’s Pride Parade stepped off from Chelsea, the president of one block association in that neighborhood is complaining of delays in removing the police barricades and portable toilets that were part of staging that event. “I love you all, but it has now been 4 weeks since the pride march on June 24th,” Paul Groncki, chair of the 100 W. 16th St. Block Association, wrote in a July 23 email to City Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office, NYPD representatives, Burt Lazarin, chair of Community Board 4, and Bruce Pachter, the head of community relations for Heritage of Pride (HOP) — the organization that produces the annual parade and related events. “There are still police barricades blocking the sidewalk in front of 154 West 16th Street,” Groncki wrote, “and interfering with the subway entrance on the southwest corner of 16th Street and 6th Avenue.” The 2018 Pride Parade was staged in Chelsea with the march heading south on Seventh Avenue, east on Christopher and Eighth Sts., then north on Fifth Ave. to end at 29th St. The parade has never
before been staged in Chelsea. The new route was a test to see if a shorter route would reduce the time required to complete the parade. The march, which begins at noon, ended at 9:14 p.m., just 24 minutes shorter than the 2017 parade, but still longer than the 2016 and 2015 parades that lasted roughly eight hours each. While the NYPD has required all parades to run no longer than five hours since 2010, the annual Pride Parade has not been that short in years. HOP is anticipating a much larger crowd in 2019, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that were the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. Some Chelsea residents, including LGBTQ residents, were already unhappy with the parade being staged in their neighborhood. Those tensions were further inflamed because they only learned of the plan just a few weeks before the march. “For the future, this is not going to happen,” said Kimon Retzos, a co-president of the West 15th Street 100 and 200 Block PARADE continued on p. 21
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NYC Community Media
Time’s Up for Trump BY PAUL SCHINDLER After President Donald Trump’s abysmal and shocking performance in a post-summit press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week in Helsinki, there is no doubt left but that he must be removed from office. Before going any further, I want to acknowledge three points obvious to anyone reading these words. First, the Helsinki calamity was by no means the first indication of Trump’s manifest unfitness for the office he holds. With no meaningful experience in public life, he came to widespread political attention with his outrageous and racist questioning of President Barack Obama’s American birth. His campaign was fueled by xenophobic, religious, and racial bigotry, incitements to violence, threats to have his opponent jailed if he won, the undermining of trust in the integrity of our elections, a refusal to release his tax returns, and his belittling of credible women who accused him of sexual harassment and worse.
Since taking office, he has moved to bar Muslim immigrants; carried out a draconian border control program that cages young children separated from their parents without clear guarantees they will ever be reunited; worked to repeal and, failing that, undermine Obama’s Affordable Care Act and so threaten a critical health safety net for tens of millions; reversed protections for transgender school students and the Executive Branch’s expansive view of civil rights protections owed LGBTQ Americans, while trying to undo Obama’s decision to open up military service to trans people; gutted environmental and climate change safeguards that may already have been too little too late; delivered a deficit– ballooning tax break for the wealthiest; co-signed the legitimacy of neoNazis in our midst, while stirring up racial animosities on a host of issues; packed the federal courts with blatantly unqualified appointments, while handing out pardons to heroes of the far right; insulted and threatened America’s most sacred institutions and
Courtesy of Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign, the leading LGBTQ rights group in the US, projected messages calling attention to the imprisonment, torture, and murder of gay men in Chechnya on the wall of the presidential castle in Helsinki on the evening prior to President Donald Trump’s summit there with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a meeting at which the US reportedly did not raise human rights issues.
traditions and its strongest and most reliable allies, while cozying up to strongmen like Russia’s Putin, North Korea’s Kim, Turkey’s Erdogan, and the Philippines’ Duterte; and fought to make the Justice Department and FBI instruments of his will while undermining the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Second, I am fully aware that — barring some event dramatically more
destabilizing than even Helsinki — Congress, even should Democrats eke out majorities in both chambers in November, will not impeach and convict this president, with Republicans providing cover, today in both houses and even next year at least as a Senate firewall in any trial of the president. I am making this argument now because TIME’S UP continued on p. 8
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July 26, 2018
Courtesy of Related-Oxford
Construction workers position 30 Hudson Yardsâ€™ final beam for lift.
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BY WINNIE McCROY On July 17, Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group placed the final beam on the steel crown of 30 Hudson Yards, the tallest building in Manhattanâ€™s newest neighborhood. Soaring to 1,296 feet, this 2.6-millionsquare-foot LEED Gold-designed skyscraper by Kohn Pedersen Fox is made up of more than 40,000 pieces of steel weighing 91,500 tons, 1.25 million bolts and 196 miles of welding. â€œThe topping out of 30 Hudson Yards, and completion of its steel crown, represents another important milestone as we approach the neighborhoodâ€™s March 2019 opening,â€? said L.
Jay Cross, President of Related Hudson Yards. â€œWe want to thank the entire team of construction professionals for all of their hard work on one of the most challenging and exciting towers in all of New York City.â€? When it opens in 2019, the 100th floor observation deck of 30 Hudson Yards will be (at 1,100 feet) the highest manmade outdoor viewing area in the western hemisphere, and fifth highest in the entire world. And donâ€™t worry about structural integrity; the entire deck was assembled first in Italy (where the steel was fabricated) before being broken down again for its boat ride to New York City. NYC Community Media
Courtesy of Related-Oxford
Construction workers leave their mark.
Courtesy of Related-Oxford
Ironworkers at the highest point of 30 Hudson Yards.
This “jigsaw puzzle in the sky” is made up of 15 primary sections of steel and German-made structural glass, bolted together then anchored to the east and south sides of the building. The end result will be a 7,500-square-foot outdoor viewing area surrounding by a nine-foot-high angled glass wall, providing unparalleled vistas of the New York skyline. The view inside isn’t bad, either; the
Courtesy of Related-Oxford
Architectural renderings of 10 and 30 Hudson Yards. NYC Community Media
101st floor boasts a unique 10,000square-foot event space high in the sky, by London-based hospitality group rhubarb. 30 Hudson Yards will also provide commercial office space for businesses including Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts (KKR); Warner Media and its subsidiaries CNN, HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner; and Wells Fargo Securities. Thirty Hudson Yards is the highest tower in an entirely new neighborhood bringing more than 18 millionsquare-feet of mixed-use development to Manhattan’s West Side. The site includes more than 100 shops; signature restaurants; new residences; 14-acres of public open space; a new 750-seat public school and an Equinox Hotel with more than 200 rooms for the expected influx of visitors. “Today’s topping out is another sign of the progress being made to deliver New York City’s newest neighborhood,” said Michael Turner, President of Oxford. “We are driven by our commitment to connect people with exceptional places and 30 Hudson Yards is a prime example. With less than nine months to opening, there is growing excitement around what will be an incredible destination for New Yorkers and visitors around the globe alike.”
Courtesy of Related-Oxford
A rendering of 30 Hudson Yards’ 100th floor observation deck.
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July 26, 2018
25-to-Life for Brutal 1993 Murder of Chelsea Gay Man BY DUNCAN OSBORNE The convicted killer of James Hawkins was sentenced to 25-years-tolife in the 1993 murder, with the judge in the case telling him that the extreme violence used in the killing warranted a maximum sentence. “I find that the extensive brutality… leaves me no other option than to sentence you to the maximum, 25-yearsto-life,” said Judge Melissa Jackson in Manhattan Supreme Court as a stoic Gordon Francis sat handcuffed in prison garb next to Eric Sears, his defense attorney. Francis, 61, was working as an escort in 1993 and Hawkins was a regular client. He visited Hawkins’ W. 20th St. apartment in Chelsea on Aug. 15, 1993, where he stabbed Hawkins 25 times, with wounds to the victim’s lungs, his liver, and the sac that surrounds the heart. There were three to four liters of liquid and coagulated blood in Hawkins’ chest, indicating that he was alive for some time after the stabbing. Francis cut his hand during the attack and left a trail of his blood in the building’s stairway and on the inside of a door in the lobby. The prosecution relied on the blood and DNA evidence, which unambiguously placed Francis in the building, the testimony of a neighbor who heard the struggle in Hawkins’ apartment and then heard one person exit the building, a Rikers Island inmate who said that Francis confessed to the kill-
TIME’S UP continued from p. 5
I think it’s time for Americans to speak honestly about what we should do, even if it is not what we will do. Even if we won’t do the right thing, we should at least know and say what that is. And that takes me to my third acknowledgement: Trump’s removal from office would mean a President Mike Pence. On so many of the knocks against Trump, Pence is every bit as guilty — in some cases, like his extreme fundamentalist opposition to LGBTQ rights and women’s reproductive freedom, even more guilty, for on those issues he’s a true believer, something the president really isn’t about anything but his own interests. Pence also has his head in the sand over climate change; he has shown no enlightenment on immigration policy; his tax and spending priorities were
July 26, 2018
ing, seven expert witnesses, and a statement he gave to police that was ambiguous, but could be understood to be a confession. Francis’s first trial in 2014 ended in a
mistrial after jury selection had begun, but before the trial itself began. Francis took the stand in his own defense and said that a third person entered the apartment while he was there and stabbed him in the hand. When he fled the apartment, Hawkins was still alive and talking with the third man, Francis said. On cross-examination by Coleen Balbert, the assistant district who prosecuted the case along with Annie Siegel, also an assistant district attorney, Francis could not explain why he did not go to the 10th precinct, which was directly across the street from Hawkins’ apartment building, why he sought medical attention in the Bronx where he was living instead of at a facility closer to Hawkins’ apartment, and why he had specific and detailed memories of that 1993 evening, but could not recall much if anything at all about his relationship with Hawkins before the murder or what took place following the murder. He acknowledged that he worked as an escort in 1993 and that Hawkins was a repeat client. “I don’t like investigations or the police or snitching,” he testified when asked about not reporting what he claimed were attacks on both him and Hawkins. Balbert asked for the maximum sentence at the July 18 proceeding, saying that Francis had spent the 19 years prior to his 2012 arrest as a free man. “He has absolutely no remorse for
what he has done,” she said. Balbert also called Francis’ trial testimony perjured. “There was not a scintilla of evidence to support that anybody else was present,” Balbert said. Only Francis’ and Hawkins’ blood was found at the crime scene. Balbert read a letter to the court from Hawkins’ brother. “I hope that God has mercy on your soul,” it read. “What you did to my brother was horrible.” As he did during the trial, Francis maintained that he was an innocent man at his sentencing. “I didn’t know him too long, but he was a good person,” Francis said. “I did not harm him… [The neighbor] saw the killer, I was not the killer… I’m innocent, the district attorney knows I’m innocent.” In his testimony during the trial, Francis insisted that police and the prosecutor were conspiring against him with the Rikers Island inmate. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office was confronted with several obstacles in bringing this cold case to trial. The original investigative file at the 10th precinct was lost. Several pieces of physical evidence were stored in an NYPD warehouse that was flooded by Hurricane Sandy. Police and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules barred police from handling that evidence because it is tainted by toxic chemicals.
clearly reflected in the Republican bill that became law; and he would not pull back on the ongoing GOP attacks on Obamacare but also wouldn’t offer any humane alternative in its place. Perhaps, most damning about Pence is how he has defended the very worst in Trump — supporting the horrors that ICE has unleashed in recent months, stunt-walking out of an Indiana Colts game to bolster the president’s attack on African-American football players, and — incredibly — saying last week, “What the world saw, what the American people saw, is that President Donald Trump will always put the prosperity and security of America first.” Mike Pence is not a man of great character or courage. If he were president, progressive Americans would still have a daunting and seminal fight on our hands.
But could it be any worse than it is now? On LGBTQ issues, for example, Trump doesn’t seem to have discernible views. He’s largely farmed out those issues — and, for that matter, judicial nominations — to a far right coterie that includes Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the leaders of the Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society, and even more extreme groups. In fact, on issue after issue, Trump has already empowered the players most hostile to any progressive vision for America. Could a President Pence really find advisors any more disreputable to bring into the White House circle? Meanwhile, there’s what we all witnessed in Helsinki. The president takes an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend” this country. That he did not do while standing next to Putin. Some, including former CIA chief
John Brennan, have called his behavior treason. What is indisputable is that his behavior was due to one or both of two factors: either his naïveté and narcissism make him believe he’s the dealmaker he is not or Putin has something on him. Collusion in 2016? The infamous golden showers tape from the Steele dossier? Financial corruption at the heart of his global real estate empire, which would explain his tax returns obstinance? Maybe Mueller can answer that question. If anyone can, the special counsel will. But even without that verdict in, the jury has come back on the existential threat Trump poses to this nation. He is a dangerously, pathetically unstable man and every day he serves keeps this nation and the world in peril. We all need to keep reminding our fellow Americans of that inescapable truth.
Photo courtesy of NYPD
James Hawkins was brutally murdered in his Chelsea apartment in 1993, but his killer went free for 19 years until his arrest was made possible by DNA and blood analysis.
NYC Community Media
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
NYC Community Media
phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.
Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-
haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.
Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and
chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at
a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.
Reading Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.
July 26, 2018
MSCC STUDY continued from p. 2
Photo by John A. Mudd
A recently released report examines the homelessness issue, and how to help those on the street make the move into permanent housing.
July 26, 2018
info will be the “Amazon of services made to provide: day services, shelters, housing support, supportive housing entree, health services [and] food.” The Midtown South Community Council (midtownsouthcc.org) has invited many speakers to its meetings to talk about homelessness, and it is producing videos of those speakers as well as working on documentaries. The study looks at some of the factors that cause and contribute to homelessness: the criminal justice system and bail, and the lack of educational opportunities for those who are incarcerated; economics and rising wealth inequality; the treatment of mental health issues; federal, state, and local policies regarding housing; urban planning; and the development of the city. “What I want to is draw the through lines,” Mudd said. “It’s like a puzzle… there’s a big picture here.” Mudd points to how Midtown has been developed — started under the Bloomberg administration — with hotels being built in the area. “We’re overlooking housing potential,” he said. “We have to rethink what the city is meant to be.” According to the report, “The oversaturation of hotels in our city is death to our communities. Look no further than 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen from 35 to 40th Streets. The tenement buildings, which serve low- to moderate-income wage earners, are disappearing. The Midtown area was
never known to be heavily residential, and less so today.” There are 276 hotels with 37,986 rooms — both under construction and in pre-construction — across the city, according to city data from 2017. The report also takes a dive into the city’s shelter system and the types of housing available, with Mudd pointing out the pushback from residents regarding a proposed shelter at the former Park Savoy Hotel on W. 58th St. on what has been dubbed “Billionaires’ Row.” “We need to rethink how we look at the homeless,” he said. “We need to think outside the box” about the problem. Many advocacy groups emphasize a “Housing First” model — meaning a homeless person is off the street and has a place to call home. According to Breaking Ground in the report, “Housing is an important social determinant of health. Once a person is stably housed, they are vastly more likely to achieve sobriety and address other important needs for healthier living.” Advocates are also proponents of supportive housing, which offers onsite services as well as a place to live. The proposals in the study need funding with Mudd saying, “We gotta have the resources.” “The homeless crisis is upon us,” the report states. “There are so many related pieces that make up part of the problem, but they can also be part of the solution. We’re looking for those solutions.”
NYC Community Media
Week-Long NYC-to-Buffalo Bike Ride Raises Money to Battle Cancer BY JAMES HARNEY These cyclists are taking the ride of a lifetime â€” to save othersâ€™ lives. More than 150 bicyclists from around the world will pedal their two-wheelers on a seven-day, 546-mile journey across New York State this month on a single mission: to deal a death blow to cancer. Athletes in the fifth-annual Empire State Ride (empirestateride.com) each raised a minimum of $3,500 to benefit cancer research in order to participate in the trek, which a rider from Brooklyn praised as a worthy tribute to patients battling the too-often-deadly disease. â€œWe all know someone who has been affected by cancer,â€? said Phil Zodda. â€œThis last year I lost a niece at just 39 years of age, and I have a cousin and a niece who fight daily for their quality of life. I want to honor them all, and give of myself in a meaningful way to help find a cure for cancer.â€? Cyclists from as far as California and the Virgin Islands will convene at Staten Islandâ€™s Wagner College on the morning of July 29, before hopping on a ferry to Manhattan to start the Ride. The first leg â€” about 57 miles â€” will take riders up Manhattanâ€™s Hudson River and Fort Washington Park green-
Courtesy Empire State Ride
Cyclists raised their two-wheelers in triumph following the 2017 Empire State Ride, a 546-mile, weeklong trek from Staten Island to Niagara Falls that kicks off for the fifth year in a row on July 29.
ways, across the George Washington Bridge, and up to a campground near Stony Point in Rockland County. From there, participants will pedal further north through the Hudson Valley to Duanesburg, where theyâ€™ll spend the
night at another campground. After that, the cyclists will cut west into central New York State, stopping in Albany, Utica, Syracuse, and Rochester, before crossing the finish line in Niagara Falls on Aug. 4.
Zodda is one of the more than 32 residents of the New York metropolitan area who registered for this yearâ€™s event, each with their own personal reasons for supporting the cause. A Manhattan cyclist who will be pedaling in his second Ride said watching his wife battle skin cancer â€” which she beat â€” and his friendâ€™s father-inlaw fight pancreatic cancer â€” which tragically killed him â€” inspired his journeys. â€œI look forward to a week on the road supporting such a worthwhile cause, and to seeing my family at the dramatic finish in front of Niagara Falls again this year,â€? said Matthew Strong. The Rideâ€™s organizers arrange for rest stops and hydration stations, in addition to providing all of the participantsâ€™ meals, support and gear vehicles, camping accommodations, and a bike mechanic. Most cyclists will pedal for the full seven-day experience, but the hosts arranged custom routes for some who canâ€™t roll for the entire week. The Empire State Ride was founded by avid biker Terry Bourgeois as a personal challenge in 2014. A dozen BIKE RIDE continued on p. 23
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July 26, 2018
Summer Style Shines Bold a Name: Aqeel Malcolm Age: 25 Occupation: technician From: New York Describes style as: simple, modern, classic with a twist
PHOTOS AND INTERVIEWS BY MION EDWARDS On a recent walk of the High Line, fashion-forward visitors brought their own unique flair to all points of the elevated park â€” from its Gansevoort St. Meatpacking District origin to the final sectionâ€™s W. 34th St. exit. There were bold prints, flowy silhouettes, minimalist looks, and admirably uncategorizabe combinations. Many of sharp-dressed people we spoke with proudly told us they found their garments at local boutiques, consignment shops, or thrift shops. SUMMER STYLE continued on p. 23
Name: Maureen Dolan Age: 24 Occupation: nursing student From: New York Describes style as: vintage, evolving, relatable
Name: Majora Carter Age: 51 Occupation: owner, Boogie Down Grind Cafe From: New York Describes style as: simple, comfortable, classic
Name: Susan Kreller Age: 45 Occupation: pharmacy employee From: Germany Describes style as: trendy, spunky, chic
July 26, 2018
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and Bright on the High Line Name: Christina Loher Age: 46 Occupation: housewife From: Switzerland Describes style as: energetic, fun, colorful
Name: Alex Cortez Age: 24 Occupation: musician From: New York Describes style as: free-spirited, whimsical, fun
Name: MorĂŠna Wells Age: 19 Occupation: photographer From: Dominican Republic Describes style as: carefree, bold, edgy
Name: Luciana Marins Age: 32 Occupation: psychology student From: Brazil Describes style as: creative, grunge, fun
NYC Community Media
July 26, 2018
Renovated Film Forum to Feature Same Sharp Focus Iconic movie house adds fourth screen, multiple creature comforts
Courtesy of Peter Aaron/OTTO
Photo by Henny Garfunkel
Each of Film Forum’s four screens will be outfitted with chairs from Figueras, and have an accent color: red, turquoise, yellow, or green.
Director of Film Forum Karen Cooper has been working hard for months on the theater’s renovation and prepping a solid lineup for relaunch.
BY SEAN EGAN “You know, we wanted to update the theater, we wanted to make it more comfortable, and certainly more modern,” said Karen Cooper, the Director of Film Forum (209 W. Houston St.). “But we didn’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I mean, a lot of what Film Forum looks like and is has a certain iconic feel to it these days.” If anything, iconic is an understatement for an institution so beloved by cinephiles. Since first opening as a two-screen theater in 1970, Film Forum has remained a mecca for independent
July 26, 2018
film premieres and repertory screenings in New York City, a pioneer in the indie film landscape for nearly 50 years. Though the nonprofit theater has stayed at its current three-screen facility since 1990, the idea of a major renovation to the intrepid movie house had been percolating for years. Now, after years of planning, construction, and a threemonth shutdown, Film Forum is finally ready to reopen on Wed., Aug. 1. “There’s been a certain frustration on our part about not having enough screen time for the films that we play,” Cooper revealed, noting, “On the one
hand, we needed more screens, but we didn’t exactly need the number of seats we had.” Eventually, after analyzing their operations and the results of a 2016 survey, it was decided it would be best to add a fourth screen to the theater and redistribute the number of seats within, in order to better serve its programming. To do this would require lots of capital though, and Cooper set to fundraising soon thereafter. However, “No man is an island,” noted Cooper, who has been with the theater since 1972. “A lot of people have been critical to Film Forum’s suc-
cess.” Chief among them include general manager Chad Bolton, director of development Denyse Reed, Alan Klein of the board of directors, co-programmer of premieres Mike Maggiore, and Bruce Goldstein, the theater’s director of repertory programming since 1987. Working together, the team was able to raise nearly $5 million. This includes a million-dollar contribution from the Thompson Family Foundation (which the new screen will be named after), and over $200,000 in city funding FILM FORUM continued on p. 18 NYC Community Media
A Man For All Seasons of Treason Could Trump’s summit SNAFU be the tip of his toppling? BY MAX BURBANK Well, here’s a novel situation! It’s been more than a week since Trump met with Putin in Helsinki for their behind closed doors, super-secret, Best Friends Club summit, and it’s still in the national conscience! I don’t think that’s happened since our Orange Emperor referred to a bunch of tiki-swingin,’ chino-sportin’ neo-Nazis as “fine people.” Turns out all you really have to do to truly focus national attention is commit full-out treason on live television while standing just feet away from a man you knew (since before the inauguration) personally directed the worst attack on our nation since 9/11. The failing New York Times, the Amazon-Washington Post, and all the other liberal media call it “meddling.” I was pushing for “shenanigans,” but my clout in pundit circles is still developing. Give Trump an “A” for effort in attempting to change the conversation. He came as close as he gets to admitting error. That’s something, but not very much. It’s like me saying a recent jaunt I made to see “America’s Stonehenge” in Salem, New Hampshire is as close as I get to the Arctic Circle. See, Donald just “misspoke.” He got one tiny word wrong, said “would” when he meant “Wouldn’t” — kind of like when I say “press conference,” but I mean “giving aid and comfort to the enemy.” “The sentence,” said Trump, and please imagine his voice here, it’s so much better that way, “should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’ ” Sort of a double negative. So you can put that in, and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.” Italics added to indicate how DUMB THAT SOUNDS! All caps added to indicate yelling. Weak as that was, it was more than enough of a retraction for Republicans who’d been ever so slightly critical to hide behind, just as if Trump hadn’t walked it back in practically the next sentence, stating, “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.” Trump’s attempt to put a bow on the story did not clear things up and make them go away. Amazingly, people still seemed interested by the spectacle of an American president rolling on his back like a terrified puppy desperate to gain the approval of a despot who murders rivals and journalists, imprisons dissidents, and alters established NYC Community Media
Illustration by Max Burbank
international borders through violent force. Distraction was for once proving more difficult than what the president had come to expect. So, to the trusty Twitter machine! In the days since the explanation that should have clarified things pretty good by itself (italics added to indicate it just gets funnier every time you read it), Trump has tweeted subjects not limited to but including: Democrats are like MS-13 because they want to abolish ICE; the Fake News Media going Crazy and being the real enemy of the people by trying to provoke war with Russia, presumably because it would be fun to cover; bad (terrible) trade deals with other countries; how NFL players should be fired for not standing at attention, hand on heart, during the National Anthem; using the word “Inconceivable!” TWICE in one tweet
in EXACTLY the same way Wallace Shawn used it as Vizzini, the smartest man in the world, in “The Princess Bride.” The crowd would be disappointed if Trump didn’t play his greatest hits, so he tweeted: Rigged Witch Hunt; No Collusion, No Obstruction; 13 Angry Democrats; Crooked Hillary; Crazy Bernie; the Dirty Dossier; and the big hoax. All fireworks displays need a grand finale, so he closed with an allcaps, howling rant directed at Iranian President Rouhani, ending with “WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!” Boom! Ba-booh, boom, boom. For maybe the first time, it just didn’t work. Why? I mean, okay, so the president trusts
the word of Vladimir Putin over every single one of our intelligence agencies and most of his closest advisors. Is that really such a big deal that we have to harp on it for so long? It’s not as if our INTEL has always been on the money. Remember the weapons of mass destruction in Gulf War II that turned out to not exist? Right? Well, slow your roll, there, Mr. hypothetical devil’s advocate voice in my head. The Bush administration got WMD wrong because Dick Cheney deliberately cherry-picked the available intelligence, selecting only information that supported a decision he’d already made, i.e. Iraq’s guilt. Trump is totally ignoring America’s intelligence bowl, cherries and all, while gobbling shards of glass from the Tupperware Russia brought to the picnic, and unintelligibly babbling about “Mighty Tasty Cherries!” through a mouthful of blood-flecked foam. Returning to the White House Sunday night from yet another golf weekend, Trump was greeted by protesters chanting, “Lock him up!” It was the seventh straight night they’d been there. The Russia story finally has legs. Hillary Clinton warned us about it in fairly explicit detail during the debates. Seems a shame the oh-so-liberal fake news media didn’t take her more seriously, what with her having been a Secretary of State and all. But be fair, she was also kind of unlikable, she used email in the same slightly questionable way every one in government used it before and is still using it now, and she was, you know, a woman. That was a lot of seriously negative stuff that had to be covered lots of times. Not much column space left for a credible argument about the other candidate maybe being a Russian stooge. So now, maybe finally we’re at a tipping point. Now maybe even a handful of Republicans can look at this sinking ship and do what rats do. I’m just concerned it might be too little too late. Trump invited Putin to the White House sometime in early November, though he hasn’t accepted the invitation yet. If he does come, it would likely be before November 6, the day of the midterm elections. On November 10, Trump is throwing himself a lavish, Russian-style military parade. Let’s hope this doesn’t mean Trump and Putin already know the outcome — of the midterms, that is. We all know there’s going to be a parade. July 26, 2018
New Theater Space Expands Birdland’s Vocal Range Billy Stritch, on venue’s charm and potential
Courtesy of Birdland Jazz Club
Opening officially in the fall, performances are already well underway at Birdland Theater.
BY SCOTT STIFFLER Ages and ages in the planning stages, venerable Midtown music mecca Birdland Jazz Club is finally sitting in the catbird seat, having announced the completion of a nesting place that promises to up its game by taking audiences down a level — to the lower level, that is, which is where the new 100-seat Birdland Theater is already flying high in advance of its grand opening this fall. One of the very first entertainers to grace its stage was top-notch arranger, pianist, and singer Billy Stritch — whose Birdland PR reps promised us an exclusive interview if we stopped the barrage of featherweight, avian-based references. Consider it done! Stritch can be seen and heard every Monday night in Birdland’s classy, classic upstairs space — along with longtime collaborator and tireless talent booster Jim Caruso, whose “Cast Party” open mic night draws a sell-out crowd and a roster of performers who run the gambit from current Broadway talent to iconic boldfaced names to undersung local vocalists, with an occasional splash of vaudeville
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July 26, 2018
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Courtesy of Billy Stritch
Marilyn Maye and Billy Stritch.
performance. There, Stritch is in his element, displaying a seemingly effortless grasp of any given performer’s preferred song and style (regulars Steve Doyle on bass and Daniel Glass on drums also make it look easy). Speaking of making it look easy, here’s Stritch in his own words, via that vaunted format know as the Q&A: US: How is this new venue different from the main upstairs space? STRITCH: The new space is definitely a bit smaller; more intimate and streamlined. Because it’s more of a proscenium stage, it will be ideal for not only cabaret performances but also small theater pieces. It’s truly adaptable for many types of shows and performances. US: What was it like “breaking in” the room? (Stritch and Caruso recently gave a free concert; Natalie Douglas was Birdland Theater’s very first performer.) STRITCH: It was really thrilling. I mean, how often does one get to open (or be among the few artists to open) a new room? The room has had a fairly long birthing process, and the energy and excitement in the room was palpable! I definitely had the feeling that the audience was thrilled to witness the genesis of this new space. US: Talk about the collaborative content, energy, chemistry you (and the Trio) have with Marilyn Maye. Is there anything about the show that’s custom-made for, or acknowledges, this new space? STRITCH: I’m not really sure what Marilyn is planning for this show! She calls the shots, but I’m sure that whatever she has planned it will be special and suited ideally to the theater. US: What are your desires for this venue — personally, and in terms of the artists you’d like to see there? STRITCH: I just think it’s so exciting to have a clean, new, performing space in the heart of Midtown. I feel like so many different types of shows and events will fit beautifully in the room. Personally, I’m excited about having a new space — not only for my own shows, but for the singers I am fortunate to accompany. Marilyn Maye and the Billy Stritch Trio are in performance at Birdland Theater (315 W. 44th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.) from Tues., July 31 through Sat., Aug. 4. All shows are at 7pm (doors open 6pm). Tickets are $50, plus a $10 food/drink minimum). To purchase, and for more info, visit birdlandjazz.com or call 212-581-3080. Also visit billystritch.com and castpartynyc.com. NYC Community Media
July 26, 2018
FILM FORUM continued from p. 14
from sources such as the offices of the mayor, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. With this funding, Cooper and company were able to pay not only for a screen, but all sorts of minor modern comforts, including new paint, carpets, and an HVAC system. “When this theater was built for us in 1990, stadium seating was not something that was a going design option,” she explained, confirming that three screens now boast such an arrangement, with better sight lines and more-comfortable seating. Furthermore, the lobby experience will also be changing: “We’ve added a gorgeous, state-of-the-art digital screen above the theater entrance on the wall that faces you as you enter the lobby,” Cooper elaborated. She has already commissioned a number of filmmakers to create original four-minute silent films to play exclusively on the screen, including work from Ken Kobland, Cindy Sherman, George Griffin, and David Byrne. Despite the exciting cosmetic changes, as always at Film Forum, it comes down to the movies themselves. For the reopening, Maggiore and Cooper (who also co-programs premieres) have assembled a characteristically formidable lineup. Kicking things off on Aug. 1 is “Nico, 1988,” a dramatization of the late career of Velvet Underground alum and struggling addict, Nico. Also opening Aug. 1 is “No Date, No Signature,” which Cooper describes as “an exploration of personal ethics” from Iranian filmmaker Vahid Jallivand. “While it’s a film from Iran, a country that obviously is a very different culture than our own, it really brings to the fore a sense that human beings share values,” Cooper asserted. “I think there could be no better time to be discussing values than today.” Other interesting films on the horizon include a documentary on
Courtesy of Distrib Films US
Iranian filmmaker Vahid Jallivand’s “No Date, No Signature” will be one of the first films to play at the reopened theater on Aug. 1.
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
“Nico, 1988,” opening Aug. 1, dramatizes the turbulent late career of the iconic Velvet Underground singer.
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (Sept. 7). The repertory side of things looks equally interesting. On Aug. 1, Bruce Goldstein will introduce a screening of 1928’s “Show People,” the first in a
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series of silent films accompanied by live piano. Over the next two weeks, a retrospective of filmmaker Jaques Becker will play; later in the month a new restoration of “Chinatown” will get a run. And of course, the for-the-kids weekend series — Film Forum Jr. — will return. “Not only is [Film Forum Jr.] coming back, it’s doubling its presence by having Saturday and Sunday shows at 11am,” Cooper said, noting upcoming series highlights “Yellow Submarine” (Aug. 11 and 12), and Disney’s “Pinocchio.” Cooper is also excited about a rerelease of “The Atomic Cafe,” a film she opened in the 1980s that “collages educational and military and TV footage all about the new atomic age” in a way both ridiculous and “very politically astute.” “I think the key to being a good pro-
grammer is not to have preconceived notions,” Cooper mused, assessing her methods. “I really try to approach everything we look at with fresh eyes. Look at it critically, but consider what the filmmaker’s point of view was. I don’t have one concept of what it is I want to show at Film Forum. I want to show the most exciting, most effective, intellectually provocative, and emotionally moving films I can find.” She also had kind words for her repertory colleague, commenting, “I think unquestionably Bruce Goldstein is the greatest repertory programmer in America. I’m not exaggerating, Bruce has an encyclopedic knowledge that he brings to bear,” particularly when securing old, difficult-to-fi nd 35mm prints from sources abroad. It’s a commitment to quality and diversity of films that Cooper cites as the reason for Film Forum’s longevity — as well as its recipe for success moving forward. “I think it comes down to what you put on the screen… I think the caliber of the programming and the relationship between new and old makes us a dynamic and exciting place, and a reason the people have continued to come to Film Forum for all these decades,” Cooper said. “I think watching [these films], experiencing them with other people in a darkened theater, in the comfort that we will be able to give you — more so than ever before — I think it’s a superior experience.” Film Forum is located at 209 W. Houston St. (btw. Varick St. & Sixth Ave.). Call 212-727-8110 or visit filmforum.org. On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram: filmforumnyc. NYC Community Media
L SHUTDOWN continued from p. 3
of the Downtown Independent Business Alliance. Stores on all the streets that intersect Kenmare St. will have difficulty receiving deliveries, she said. Meanwhile, the added bus traffic and the droves of commuters, Varian and other small business owners fear, will deter people from coming into their businesses. “It will also become a pedestrian deterrent,” Varian said by e-mail, “in that the wall of buses and people unloading and waiting for buses, it will be difficult to cross and navigate.” Some people at the two community board meetings asked DOT and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for HOV-3 implementation at all the East River bridges — even 24 hours a day rather than the current 17-hour scheme that is planned. But DOT representatives argued that would extend the traffic impacts into Long Island and Westchester — increasing the “stakeholder reach” for an already unprecedented and massive undertaking. “To be honest, I was taken aback when they said there were too many stakeholders,” said Kate Birmingham, a Stuyvesant Town resident and community activist. “We should be looking at what’s best for New York City as a whole.” The planned HOV-3 hours of 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the Williamsburg Bridge were better than she expected. However, she and others, particularly on the Lower East Side, want to see the HOV-3 enforcement around-the-clock, seven days a week. “Whatever we can do to break that habit is a good thing for everyone,” Birmingham stressed. “Not just for me, not just for some stakeholders, but for everyone.” Meanwhile, the planned 14th St. “busway” between Third and Eighth Aves. during the hours of 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. would still allow local access along the crosstown corridor. The city explained that for-hire vehicles and commercial trucks would be allowed to turn onto the busway, but then would have to turn off the crosstown artery onto the next immediate avenue. Enforcement would be done through bus-lane cameras and police. According to DOT’s analysis, the majority of pickups and drop-offs occur on the avenues. The local-access policy is a response to extensive feedback from the public, notably the 14th St. Coalition, which is suing the MTA and DOT over the mitigation plan. The coalition raised concerns about preserving local access to 14th St. for deliveries, for-hire vehicles and personal vehicles for residents with private garages. Requests for more electric buses — or at least compressed natural-gas buses — was another top concern at the Board 2 and 3 Transportation Committee meetings. However, the critical issue is a lack of depot space and infrastructure, according to an MTA representative at the meetings. In short, electric buses take hours to charge, which would take the vehicles out of circulation for bus routes that need the maximum amount of capacity during the L train shutdown. Buses are far more efficient than cars since they NYC Community Media
each hold 60 to 70 people. And the MTA reiterated that the buses would meet 2015 US Environmental Protection Agency standards. Nevertheless, the community’s fears about how air quality and, as a result, their health would be impacted during the 15-month L shutdown remain. Also under the plan, various spots in Manhattan would see expanded pedestrian space — including at Union Square, University Place, and Sixth Ave. at 14th St. With changing usage along 14th St., DOT predicts pedestrians will increase by 139 percent — more than doubling the amount of foot traffic, nearing pedestrian volumes seen in Midtown at 34th and 42nd Sts. at Sixth Ave. Along the 14th St. corridor, pedestrian volume at Union Square and
Eighth Ave. would increase by 53 and 76 percent, respectively, under the plan, DOT predicts. The shutdown is slated to begin next April for 15 months. New street markings are expected to be in place by this coming November. In the meantime, community organizations are staying vigilant as the shutdown nears in the coming months, many calling this a crisis moment for the neighborhood. “This is an emergency for Downtown Manhattan,” Pete Davies, a longtime Soho community activist, told Board 2’s July 12 Transportation Committee meeting. “Fifteen months will be the death of a small business that is heavily impacted,” he warned about the Kenmare St. bus loops. “We need resources to deal with this.”
July 26, 2018
The Spirit of ’88 DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s youthful hit turns 30 BY JIM MELLOAN Hip-hop music, better known back in the day as rap, boasts a long lineage dating back to the 1970s, with some precursors, such as the now 50-year-old “Here Comes the Judge” by Pigmeat Markham, going back further. But it took a long time before rap began to crack the Billboard Hot 100 with any regularity. The single that launched the genre in the pop charts is the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” which made it to No. 36 in 1980. That song was a feel-good paean to rapping, dancing, sex, and bad food. To those of a more negative, perhaps punk-influenced, frame of mind, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five’s “The Message,” which made it to No. 62 in 1982, was a welcome contrast, with its sparse, edgy meter, and the chorus that warned “Don’t push me ’cause I’m close to the edge / I’m trying not to lose my head / It’s like a jungle sometimes / It makes me wonder how I keep from going under.” As rap continued to develop in the ’80s, it stayed pretty much a stranger to the pop chart. You needed a gimmick to make it to the Top 40. Run-DMC found one in 1986 with its cover of Aerosmith’s ’70s hit “Walk This Way,” featuring Aerosmith members Steve Tyler and Joe Perry. That one made it to No. 4 — the first rap single to crack the Top 5. White, rock-tinged rappers The Beastie Boys hit No. 7 in March of 1987 with “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!).” The year 1988 saw a huge expansion in the number of rap records released. There to catch the wave was a duo from Philadelphia: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Their single “Parents Just Don’t Understand” broke new ground in the integration of black culture and middle class, indeed upper middle class, concerns. This week marks the 30th anniversary of the song peaking at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Fresh Prince, Will Smith, came from West Philadelphia’s Wynnefield neighborhood, which saw significant integration in the ’60s. He’s the son of an Air Force vet/refrigerator engineer and a school board administrator. He went to a Catholic elementary school — just about as far from Grandmaster Flash’s gritty existence as you could get. The Fresh Prince rapped about his problems with his mom’s dowdy choices in picking out his clothes and getting
July 26, 2018
Courtesy of Mason Vincent
Boston-based reggae/arena rock fusion band The Happy Campers, circa 1988.
pulled over by the cops when he took his parents’ new Porsche out for a spin. Accompanied by a cartoonish video spackled with harmless day-glo graffiti, the song ushered in a new era of lighthearted, joyful celebration of the mundanities of the good life. Others in this wave included Young MC, who rapped about the importance of Busting a Move and the degradation of being sent to the Principal’s Office, and Tone Loc, who was all about doing the Wild Thing (lyrics by Young MC). It was the last year of the Reagan administration, and the economy was humming. There was such optimism in the air that a Boston improv troupe I was later involved with, Guilty Children, bought a $25,000 Chrysler van in 1987 on the theory that they would easily be able to make the payments on it in perpetuity by doing gigs all along the East Coast down to Key West and back. (This theory proved to be faulty.) A number one hit in the fall of 1988 was Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” That advice had been often touted by Indian mystic Meher Baba, who was followed both by The Who’s Pete Townshend and my (black) friend Jerry’s grandmother. The presidential campaign of George H. W. Bush adopted the song as its official campaign song, until Democrat
McFerrin told them to cut it out (and refused to perform the song until they did). As for me, in April of 1988 I moved into an (Asian-owned) house in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood with the black half of a reggae/arena rock fusion band called The Happy Campers. Front man, guitarist, and main songwriter Mason Vincent is an ex-Marine who was active on the San Francisco rock scene in the 1970s. Bassist Steve Fulton was born to a black man and a white woman in the mid-’60s, and adopted by a large Boston white family. His dad used to joke about putting him out on the front lawn with a lantern. I would often catch Steve mouthing the words to “Parents Just Don’t Understand” when it came up on MTV. As for the white guys, drummer Grant MacKenzie was from the Boston suburb of Sharon, and keyboardist Mike Zalewski was from Maine. The band was expert at living up to their name and creating good vibes at venues in Boston, out on Cape Cod, up in New Hampshire, and elsewhere. The idea behind their sound was perhaps crystallized when they hit upon the notion of doing a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” Their version started with a slow, portentous guitar solo playing the main instrumental theme, then it went into one drop reggae rhythm as Mason sang
lead. Never have I seen dance floors fill up so fast as they did in that moment. Sometimes friends would express negative feelings about “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” or the new sitcom called “Roseanne.” We would respond that we were a Don’t Worry, Be Happy/ Roseanne household. There was a cute little four-year-old Chinese girl down the street. I told her once that one of Mason and Steve’s white friends, Danny, had married a Chinese girl. The four-year-old smilingly expressed disbelief and disapproval. “She should marry a Chinese boy.” Well, the era ended. Will Smith went on to star in “The Fresh Prince of BelAir,” and then become what Forbes called the most bankable movie star worldwide. Gangsta rap became ascendant. In his first nationwide televised speech as president, in September of 1989, President George H. W. Bush announced that he was going to get very, very serious about the drug war. In 1992 producer Don Was, under the alias A Thousand Points of Night, put together a satirical pastiche of Bush sound clips called “Read My Lips.” Steve [Stephen] Fulton is now Deputy Director at Catholic Charities of Boston. Mason is still a working musician. And I like to reminisce about good times, while still having a few. NYC Community Media
PARADE continued from p. 4
Association, during a June 13 meeting with HOP and Chelsea residents. “We will get legal representation to stop this from happening.” In emails sent to Chelsea Now since June 24, Groncki wrote that it took three days to remove the portable toilets that were placed outside his apartment building. In a phone call, Groncki said the barricades were fi nally removed on July 24. “The Pride March stands out in our memories NOT for what it stood for, but for shutting down our neighborhood for a full day, leaving portable toilets in front of my building for 3 days, and leaving police barricades on our street for 4 weeks,” he wrote in the July 23 email. “We will organize and fight against the location of the Pride March kick-off in Chelsea for
next year!!!” Contingents began lining up on the blocks from W. 15th St. to 19th St. between Seventh and Ninth Aves. well before noon. Residents had to present identification to get on their blocks. To spare residents at least some inconvenience, floats were barred from running sound checks for longer than five minutes and were not supposed to turn on amplified sound until they stepped on to Seventh Ave. Chelsea Now walked the 10 staging blocks before 11 a.m. on June 24 and observed that floats were observing that rule, but by early afternoon when roughly 50,000 marchers had filled the blocks that discipline had evaporated and the sound was constant The last marchers left Chelsea at roughly 7 p.m. HOP began planning the new route with internal discussions beginning in
Dec. 2016. The group began talking to city agencies, including the NYPD, in Aug. 2017 and a fi nal decision on the route was made by Jan. 2018. Johnson, who is openly gay and now the City Council Speaker, fi rst learned about it by seeing a post on Facebook. Erik Bottcher, Johnson’s chief of staff, opened the June 13 meeting by saying of the new route, “We don’t like it.” Midway through the meeting, Bottcher took the floor again to note that Chelsea Now was in the room and expanded on his comments. “Last month, the speaker called the mayor’s office and said ‘I want this route changed,’ ” Bottcher said, and added that he then went to a meeting with the mayor’s office. “At the conclusion of that meeting, I made it clear that there is going to be a different process for picking the route next year.”
THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
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Photo by Paul Groncki
Portable toilets remained on W. 16 St. for three days after the June 24 Pride Parade.
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July 26, 2018
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SUMMER STYLE continued from p. 13
Name: Michelle Barinskaya Age: 22 Occupation: model From: New York Describes style as: adventurous, fun, stylish
Name: Ryan Raffloer Age: 21 Occupation: model From: New York Describes style as: fun, trendy, comfortable
Name: Amara Dan Age: 32 Occupation: bartender From: California Describes style as: casual, layeredchic, vintage,
Name: Alisha D’souza Age: 24 Occupation: law student From: Melbourne, Australia Describes style as: minimalistic, easygoing, chic
BIKE RIDE continued from p. 11
riders joined him the following year, and by last year the Ride attracted 100 riders and raised $500,000 for cancer research, its founder said. “Cancer affects us all in some way, NYC Community Media
and the Empire State Ride is an opportunity to make an impact while having an experience of a lifetime,” Bourgeois said. “We ride with the goal to end cancer, but this unique event also offers an amazing personal challenge to riders and the opportunity to create lifelong
bonds with other cyclists, all while seeing some of the most scenic parts of New York State.” Proceeds from the Ride will fund cancer research at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, one of the first centers in the country to be named
a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center — and upstate New York’s only facility with the designation. The institute was founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898 and is staffed by more than 3,200 employees today. July 26, 2018
July 26, 2018
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July 26, 2018